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The Internet Can Be a Waste of Time for Many Creatives

I have a question for my fellow photographers, videographers, and creatives. Do you feel there is too much of the same content on the Internet and it is continuously being rehashed over and over again? I do. I see the same content repeated by many people on all types of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, personal and commercial websites, and my favorite, Youtube.

In my opinion, there is really no real content that is unique. The same information is being regurgitated over and over again and packaged as being new. Take for example, if you search on how to take a photo? If you search on that simple topic you receive dozens of links to videos, websites, and pretty famous photographers that repeat the same information. I find it a bit interesting how many hours and days a person invest in reading and viewing the same content and not really producing a unique image. For me, looking over the same content no matter the resource is a waste of valuable time.

I enjoy what the Internet has to offer to me. I have learned a lot of great information when researching a particular topic. I also have caught myself wasting a lot of hours and days looking at the same content hoping to find something totally new. Basically, I wasted a lot of my time when I could have been out producing and creating new content.

Dave Morrow

Dave Morrow

For me, I enjoy studying great creators that provide content that is original. Some great creators understand the importance of being unique and actually get really bored recreating the same old content in a different package. No matter how you present the same material, you haven't produced anything new. One Youtuber I find interesting is Dave Morrow. He is a landscape photographer that ventures into the wilderness on hikes that last weeks. He does not waste a lot of time on social media sites, does little post processing, and provides content that is us unique and very interesting. For him, it is all about the journey and not producing the same old content. I like that.

So, do you find the same information on the Internet useful or a total waste of time? Do you find yourself wasting your time looking over the same old content? Let me know your thoughts. I would love to find out what you think.

Until next time!

Roger

Why Real Estate Agencies Need Certified Drone Pilots for Real Estate Jobs

In today's commercial and residential real estate world, there is becoming a great need for drone photography. Drones provide a unique perspective when it comes to showcasing properties. Drones can easily be used to showcase large properties and industrial areas. Drones can provide high-quality aerial photos and videos. For many real estate agencies and agents, drones play an important role in selling properties. The reality is, all drone pilots are not the same and it is important for agencies and real estate agent to choose wisely.

One of the biggest questions is to decide if an agency buy there own equipment and drone and do the job themselves or hire someone. One would think it would be easier to do the job themselves but that could be a costly mistake. Flying and drone is not that easy for everyone and purchasing one is not cheap. A good quality drone with a high-quality camera can cost between $1200 and $5000. Crashing one can be very costly.

Another option is to hire a licensed FAA certified drone pilot. A licensed drone pilot who is Part 107 certified is authorized to shoot photos and video for their clients. The Part 107 certification requires a pilot to pay $150 and pass a written test. The test is very detailed and provides the pilot with the knowledge needed to work legally and commercially for their clients. To see what is required for a certified drone pilot visit "Become a Drone Pilot"

Another reason to choose a certified drone pilot is that most professional drone pilots understand the importance of having liability insurance coverage. Drones can cause great damage and personal injury. That is why having insurance coverage is so important.

When making a decision to use drone there are important factors that you have to take into consideration when using a drone. Do you buy a cheap drone and try to do the job yourself? Do you take a chance and hope you don't damage property or injury individuals during a commercial shoot? Do you hire an FAA certified drone pilot that has the skills to use a high-quality drone, knowledge of FAA drone standards, understands how to get the proper images, and can legally do the job? My advice is to hire someone. You will be glad you did.

If you need an FAA drone pilot for a commercial or residential shoot, contact me to schedule an appointment.

Until next time!

Roger

Social Media Platforms Vs Having Your Own Website

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As most people know that read my blog regularly, I am not a real fan of social media platforms even though they are extremely popular in our society today. Just because a social media platform is popular doesn't mean it has real value. Three of the most popular social media platforms are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. In this post, I want to express my views on the three platforms and explain why having your own website can be much more beneficial for one's business and even one's personal life. But first, I want to share my views on the top three social media platforms.

FACEBOOK

One of the biggest social media platforms is Facebook. Facebook has been around for a long time and over the years has had its problems with security issues, privacy issues, content bias, and poor leadership in how the platform was being run. I remember back in the day when the use of Facebook was fairly innocent. Families and friends could post articles and express themselves on a regular basis. It was fun. But today Facebook has become a platform to post content that is, in my opinion, brings no real value to my life, especially if I want to use it for my business or to advertise my content and brand. It is not a place to express one's thoughts, ideas, and creative processes. It is limited and greatly controlled. Post on Facebook is never current. Think about it. Have you ever liked a post on Facebook and went back to find a post a week or later and it took you forever to find it? That can be very frustrating and total waste of my time.

If you are a creative person who likes to express yourself, Facebook is not a great place to do that. You are limited by what you can put on Facebook. Besides, most people are not going to read a long article listed in a post on Facebook. Facebook is not made for that. Thankfully, one can visit an external link on Facebook if Facebook does not block it. Depending on who reviews content, information is routinely blocked by Facebook. They can do that. It is their platform. I understand why content may need to be controlled, but I don't like the idea of someone else deciding what should be controlled and limited when it comes to my content. With my own domain, I get to decide what content can be posted, when it can be posted, and how much. As the owner of my site, I am in control.

Facebook is a good platform if you want to see what others are doing and to be kept updated with friends and family. However, it is also a place to waste a lot of time and energy on mindless content. Facebook is also a place to be bombarded with advertising you really don't need or want. If you have your own website, there is no advertising that needs to be ignored or blocked. Better yet, with your own website, you can put as much advertising as you want for free.

Facebook does have some useful attributes but for me, it is a waste of time, energy, money, and productivity. If I want to hear from family and friends, I can always pick up the phone and communicate as we did back in the good old days. There is nothing truly social about Facebook in my opinion.

INSTAGRAM

Instagram is a different beast from Facebook. Where Facebook provides you with the ability to post more content, Instagram is all about photos, favoriting post, likes, and followers. If you have the need to be liked and followed it is the place for you. But not for me. I do enjoy the ability to get feedback on the content I post. When I post a photo on Instagram I am looking for feedback and not likes or followers. I could care less about how many followers I get and I am not going to buy followers and many Instagram user do. Like Facebook, Instagram can present the illusion that people on Instagram are popular and successful, but the reality is many are not. I have followers on Instagram. Do I personally know them? No, I do not. Are they real? I have no idea. Do I care? Not really. That is why I do not spend too much of my time on Instagram. Instagram, like Facebook, provides me with no real value in my business and personal life. However, if you like to spend most of your day looking at other photos, it is the place to be. For me, I would rather be out taking the photos.

As for me posting content on Instagram, I am limited. I cannot post active links to my Instagram post. No one is going to copy a link I post on an Instagram feed to get to my website no matter what click bate image I use for a photo. Having to copy a link is too much trouble and a waste of others time they are not going to do it. However, Instagram is good for posting images. As a photographer, I like that. What I don't like is how the quality of my photos are presented on Instagram. As a photographer, I want to present my images that I may want to sell in the best possible way. Facebook and Instagram are not the best resources for showcasing my images. By using my website, I can present my images more effectively.

Instagram is a better platform than Facebook in my opinion. Facebook, in my opinion, is losing ground in the social media platform arena. Instagram is growing more in popularity for the masses, but I am becoming less-and-less a fan. I can post photos on Instagram, but I can't post my content. For example, even with this post, I would not be able to express myself or provide information the way I would like on Instagram. Instagram was not created to do that. Instagram has limits. Limitations are not a good thing for a creator. That is why I rarely use Instagram today. I prefer my own website with no limitations.

TWITTER

Oh, Twitter. How I hate Twitter. Of the main three social media platforms, I hate Twitter the most. The reason is that Twitter over the years has become a place where a lot of people like to complain, harass, attack others, and post some of the most useless information on the Internet. I rarely visit Twitter or post there. If I do, I post on photography related topics. I do have followers and I follow a selected few. In other words, I don't follow or care about others that don't have similar interest. I don't care about retweets or random followers. I do enjoy blocking followers that want to follow me and really don't know me. Blocking Twitter followers in one of my favorite activities when I do go on Twitter. I do have to give Twitter a couple of thumbs up. Twitter has increased its character length and allows me to use hashtags. But most importantly, it allows me to create active hyperlinks for my website. So I can redirect people to my site. Which is where I want my followers, customers, and future subscribers to go. The goal for me is to redirect my visitors to my website. As I mentioned earlier, I hate Twitter.

WHY I LIKE HAVING MY OWN WEBSITE

There are a variety of reasons why I enjoy having my own website over using social media platforms to distribute my content. One of the main reasons is I like owning my own website. I am the owner. By being the sole owner I get to create my own content. I get to decide what I want to put on the website, how much, the design of the site, who can post to it, when I want to post information, and I can express what information is important to me. I get to share my interest with others and hopeful, over time, meet others who share the same passions. If I want to advertise anything I can do it and it requires no additional cost to me. I can get analytical data, reports, site activity information and even sell my products online. I am the creator of my website and that is very important to me.

Having my own website allows me to build my own brand. I understand that building my own brand takes focus and time. It is a process. If you took a hard look at many successful creators, you will find they have developed there own brand and utilizing a great website helped them do it over time. Building my own brand is a continuing process and over time my brand, views, and photography business may change. That is okay with me. I like "change". I like the journey and looking forward to new experiences over time.

Owning my website allows me to be more creative with no limitations like having to adjust to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter company policies. I get to be creative in what I want to develop as far as information, products, and additional content. As a creator, it is important to have no limitations. Creators who are limited cannot create or express themselves when using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. When using any of the three social media platforms, creators can only provide a snapshot of their ideas during a specific moment in time. Over time, their information gets lost within the garbage the social media platforms collect and propagandizes.

Another important reason that I like having my own website is I have the ability to collect feedback on my website. I can collect and review productive feedback for others. I also have the ability to control feedback that is useless. For example, I can review feedback before it is posted to my website. I get to choose if I want the feedback to be public. On many social media platforms you don't have to the ability to remove replies from trolls that love to post stupid replies to get attention. By having my website, I get to decide if the feedback provided within the post will benefit others in their growth as a creator. My goal for my website is to build a great community. I cannot do that on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It may sound like having my own website sounds like having the power to control others. It is not. Having my own website allows me the ability to control what information I allow in my life without being limited by others. Trolls are not allowed on my website. Just the "Cool Kids".

If you don't have your own website and have considered it before, I suggest you go for it. Having your own website can be a learning process but well worth it over-relying on social media sites and apps to share your thoughts, ideas, and views. My advice is if you are considering getting your own website (I use Square Space), do your research, buy your own domain, evaluate your website features, and then get to work. It can be a lot of fun.

Until next time!

Roger

Social Media Can Be a Waste of Time for Photographers

Over the last year, I have been taking a close look at how important social media can be for my photography work. Over the year I have felt that it is important to devote a lot of my time in creating consistent content for my social media platforms. I believed that if I created a lot of content and used social media it would help me distribute my work to others and maybe even help me to make a little money along the way. However, I have started to look at my photography journey a little differently lately. After carefully examining my current views on how I develop content, distribute content, use time management, look at the cost versus reward, and quality over quantity, I have come to a conclusion I need to make a change.

My views changed when I took a look at a Youtube photographer that has a unique view of what helps him to become a better photographer. He approaches his art of photography in a unique way that I really find interesting. He does not use social media in the same way many photographers use social media. He uses it very sparingly and selectively. He is very selective in what he puts on social media, how his content is distributed, and even how much time he devotes to editing his content. In other words, he does not put content on social media platforms for the sake of just posting something on social media. His does not concern himself with quantity. He focuses much on quality and capturing unique images at unique locations. He enjoys the journey and it is important to him and what it took to get a photograph that most people will never have the opportunity to capture or be willing to do what it takes to capture. He is not interested in taking photos of the same locations that thousands of photographers have taken. That is one reason why Dave Morrows spends 9 months out of the year hiking through the country recording his journey's as a photographer. He writes journeys and feels even the art of writing helps him improve his skills as a photographer, communicator, and most importantly, a creator.

So is social media important? Yes, I feel, not at the expense of devoting hundreds of hours on any social media platform. Social media can be useful but you have to ask yourself, at what cost? Today many people, including well-known photographers spend many hours on social media. I am guilty of that as well. I have spent many hours posting new images, old images, sharing others images, and reposting meaningly post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other lesser known sites. Has it helped my photography? The answer is no. It has put me in the same category as many other photographers who really are not growing as photographers.

The importance of social media is an illusion of success. Photographers continue to distribute the same old content with no originality or uniqueness. If you take a close look at social media content by photographers you can see photography information is reposted and repackaged many times. The information is repetitive and becomes very boring. Over time, looking at the same content, even from different photographers (including the ones I admire), becomes valueless. That includes content from Youtube and even photography podcast.

If you want to hear a unique view and perspective on photography checkout Dave Morrow's Youtube Channel. He has a unique perspective on photography that I believe will make you look at your views on photography differently.

Let me know what you think of the video and feel free to leave your comments. I would love to hear them.

Until next time!

Roger

The Importance of Capturing Images of Yourself

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Isn't it crazy how a tragic death of a friend or family member can put life into perceptive and remind us of how important memories of a friend or loved can be? Sometimes we lose a special person quickly and without notice and wished we had spent more time with them. Not spending more time with family and a friend is something we seem to regret when we find out that special someone has passed. We long to hear them talk, see their expressions, and to be able to go back and capture those special events and days with them all over again. The sad reality is, we can't.

Remembering an Old Friend

I recently had an old Air Force buddy pass away very quickly and suddenly. It was a shock to many people. My friend was actually pretty young. He was one of the kindest and most caring guys I had ever met. He loved life and he was loved by so many. I was fortunate to have lunch with him about 10 years ago and it was the last time I actually spoke to him. However, I was able to follow him on Facebook for the last few years. It was a shock to hear of his sudden passing.

Collecting Memories

After being notified of his passing I scrambled to find photos and videos of my friend. The sad reality is I had very few photos and no videos of my buddy. This was not the first time I had a friend pass away quickly. I had another Air Force buddy who passed away and I learned a valuable lesson from that experience. That lesson was to collect and keep as many photos and videos of old friends and family members so I could remember them in the future. So, every opportunity I could get, I would download images and videos of my friends and family in case they passed away suddenly. I wanted to be able to look at old photos and videos so I could remember the days we spent together. Today, each photo and video are priceless to me.

Recording Yourself

Thankful, I understood quickly how important photos, audio, and video can be when it comes to remembering someone, special memories, once-in-a-lifetime events and other special moments in my life. But, have you ever thought about how important it is to record video and photograph yourself? For many people having a photo or video shot of them is something they don't like to do. They feel they don't look good in videos and photographs. Many people fail to realize that when you are gone your loved ones and those that cared about you could care less how you looked, what you were wearing, how you sounded, how old you are, or anything else superficial. They just want to be able to see you again or at least an image of you. Today, that is very easy to record and photograph yourself. It just takes the willingness to do it. If not for you, at least for those that care about.

Leaving Your Legacy

I feel images, either photos or video is very important. Simple imagery help remind others of who you were. For example, I have 2 grandsons that I want to remember their "Pappy" long after I am gone. I don't know how long I will be around and I want them to have something to remember me by. Having images of parents and grandparents are important. I wished I had more photos of my grandparents. I have only a couple of photos and videos of one of my grandmothers that I cherish. I have no images of my other grandmother or great-grandparents. It would be so special to have just one image of them today. Of course, I can't have that but I can leave my own legacy for my grandchildren.

Taking Action

I can make a conservative effort to record myself, either through photos or video. A video is the best way for one to leave a part of their legacy. A video is very nice because one can leave a recording of their voice and those that love and miss them can hear their voice for years to come. Shooting your own videos allows you to tell others of your thoughts on a variety of subjects, your likes, dislikes, and you can ever share your life's story. You cannot do that with a photograph. In the future, I will record more of me. I will create videos of myself talking about things that are important to me. It will be a way to share a part of who I am and who I was. I will leave photos and videos for my wife, son, and my two little grandsons. Recording myself is something I have control of and something I feel is very important. I just need to sometimes remind myself how important photos and videos can be for others.

Thanking My Old Friends

I would like to thank my old Air Force buddies for reminding me how important images and memories can be. I will always remember those that were a part of my life, even if was only for short time. RIP, my friends and thank you for the memories.

Roger

Go Ahead and Shoot Yourself

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Isn't the title of this post catchy? When I say people should shoot themselves I am referring to photographing or shooting video of themselves. Why? It is simple. Because today in our society recording your life is so easy to do. We see people all the time doing selfies, taking video, uploading videos to Youtube and other social media sites. Of course, most of the videos and photos are trashy, meaningless and have no real value or real purpose. However, shooting video can be very important and can serve a real and meaning purpose when it comes to recording your life.

Shooting video is a lot of fun and is pretty easy to do these days. Everyone has a camera and shooting all types of videos. However, most people don't seem to understand how shooting stories of their life and special events can be very important for future generations. People fail to realize that if they take the time to record themselves they can leave a part of their life's story and legacy behind for others. Think about it. How much do you think your family and friends truly know about you and your life? I would guess very little. Do they know when you were born, stories about your childhood, where you went to school, how you met the love of your life, your friends, historical events that affected you throughout your life, the birth of your children, precious photos of family and friends, your plans growing up, your achievements, your failures, and even your regrets. All that can be told "BY YOU" through video and on a simple little device called a camera.

The good thing is today we all have the ability to record our life and create a biography of ourselves to pass on to others long after we are gone. We can tell our own life story in our own words. Those words and visuals can be shared with our children, grand children, extended family members, and friends. All it takes is the willingness to take the time to sit down and record yourself or have your personal biography professionally done. I remember when I researching how to create personal biographies for my customers a gentleman made an important statement during a testimonial that I will never forget. He said he wanted to have his story told so he could share his life story with others long after he is gone. The biggest statement that touched me was when he stated that his grandmother was Native American and would have loved to had the opportunity to see her and hear her life story in her own words via video.

Today it is so easy to shoot/record yourself. It just takes the willingness to understand the importance of leaving a piece of your legacy behind for you those you love. Forget how old you are, how you look, if you can speak effectively, or how you may sound in a video. No one will really care. All they want is to hear is you telling your own story. Recording yourself can make that happen and it is not that difficult to do today. The bottom line is, we can all record silly or worthless video to put on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube. Or we can record video that is meaningful and priceless. It just takes the willingness to do it.

Until next time!

Roger

Photographers Who Inspire Me

Do you have a photographer that inspires you? Most creatives have those they admire. I have some people that inspire me to become a better photographer, try new things, get out of my comfort zone, and explore different types of photography and creative adventures. 

Today I want to tell you about four creatives that inspire me every day to become a better photographer. 

Nick Page

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One of the first photographers I learned about when I got serious about becoming a photographer was Nick Page. Just about every photographer knows about Nick. Nick is a unique photographer that has humble beginnings. He is actually a self-taught photographer. He is from one of my favorite states for photography, Washington. He is from Southern Eastern Washington. He is a very talented and well-rounded photographer. I have always admired his landscape and travel photography. I love his images because no matter what the subject is, his images have a moody feel to them. I love his amazing coastal images the most. He is also a world traveler. His has visited many locations including China. It amazes me how he has learned so much on his own. He's also very humble and that is many times rare in the photography world. To learn more about Nick check out the links below;

Nick Page Website: www.nickpagephotography.com
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxv1rK6prSp2aoNqNyxD_Vg
Facebook: @nickpagephotography 
Instagram: @nickpagephotography

Thomas Heaton

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Another great photographer that inspires me is Thomas Heaton. Thomas is also a landscape and travel photographer from the UK. He is a very popular Youtuber. I really enjoy Thomas’s work because not only is he a great photographer he is one who likes to explain his shots and is a very patient photographer. It is not unusual to follow Thomas on one of his travels and find out he never took a photo. He is one to live in the moment and enjoy the journey and the beauty of the location he is in. Thomas is also a minimalist when it comes to his photography. I like that. His work can also be described as abstract. Thomas’s Youtube channel is also a lot of fun to watch and very popular. I admire his love for photography and his simple approach to it. To learn more about Thomas Heaton check out the links below;

Thomas Heaton Website: https://thomasheaton.co.uk
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfhW84xfA6gEc4hDK90rR1Q
Instagram: @Heatonthomas

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Brendon Porter and Aaron King (Photog Adventures)

Not all the photographers I admire work alone. Two of my favorite photographers are Brendon Porter and Aaron King from the beautiful state of Utah. Brendon and Aaron are masters at the art of night photography. Both guys visited my state of North Carolina last year to see the Autumn colors and visit the Blue Ridge Parkway. Both Brendon and Aaron have their own business and very popular Podcast called the “Photog Adventures”. As you can guess from the title they travel to various locations to take photos not only in their state but all over the country. I admire both guys because of their knowledge of night photography but also their love of landscape photography. When I got the chance to hang out with them I was blown away about their love for photography and the desire to seize every moment to get the most out of their adventures. I was also blown away at the friendship and how they feed off one another. 

What makes their adventures so unique is when they record their adventures they tell you everyone about what went right and what went wrong. Their adventures are very entertaining and I always learn something from them. Brendon and Aaron inspire me to enjoy photography and take advantage of every photography adventure. To learn more about Brendon, Aaron, and Photog Adventures check out their links below;

Podcast: https://soundcloud.com/user-407436417
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/PhotogAdventures
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/photogadventures/

Jordan Younce

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As you can guess from the name, Jordan Younce is my son. He is also one amazing real estate photographer. Every time I see his work I am amazed at how talented he is. I also have no idea where he got his talents from. Jordan is a great NC real estate photographer, podcaster, trainer, videographer, and manager with of Sleeklens. Jordan’s love has always been real estate photography. He loves residential and commercial photography. 

Our relationship is unique. We love photography and going on photo shoots together. I really enjoy going with him when he does a real estate photo shoot. I love so much from him. 

Jordan’s residential interior photos are the best I have ever seen and in my opinion, no one can match his interior home images. I would describe his interior images as fresh and clean. He as the ability to make a routine reality location come to life. I admire Jordan’s desire to go the extra mile for his clients. He offers additional services such as video and drone services that blows me away. I know by watching Jordan, I will become a better real estate photographer. He inspires me to become a better “all-around” photographer. To learn more about Jordan check out the links below;

Jordan Younce Photography: http://www.photographynorthcarolina.com
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH6ISG59IG_yg75x3_n2mXg
Instagram: @jordanyounce

There are so many photographers that inspire me. The four photographers I mentioned produce so much great content and have very impressive photography skills. Their adventures are fun to watch too. They truly do inspire me. So do have a favorite photographer that inspires you? If you do, who are they? I would love to hear your stories and why they inspire you.

Until next time, keep shooting! 

Roger

Absorb, Discard, and Add to Your Photography

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One of my favorite quotes was by the legendary Bruce Lee. His quote was “Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own" The quote can apply to so many things in life and even in one's photography. When I look at the quote I see three elements that are very powerful and meaningful. When it comes to photography I like to break down the quotes into each specific element, studying them, and apply them to my life.

The first element of the quote states that one should absorb what is useful. In photography, there are so many things that a creative person can study and obtain for his or her art. However, the question is, what is useful? Of course, the answer to that question is different for each individual. I see so many photographers that fail to absorb what is really useful. They feel everything is useful or important. The reality is, not everything is useful or even important. Many times we do not need the latest and greatest equipment, gadgets, and spend money on things that do not bring true value. I have seen some photographers spend so much time and energy on nonproductive adventures and materialist items that are not helpful and bring no real or productive value to their craft. There are those that devote a great deal of money on repetitive activities that bring no real value to the development of one's photography. Some photographers equate being extremely busy and spending money on what they believe will improve their skills as a useful benefit, but in reality, it is a waste of valuable time and energy that could be used more productively. 

The second part of the quote is disregarding what is useless. I actually love that part of the quote because I am all about ridding myself of things that I find useless. Useless things could be how I spend my time and money, ineffective communications, wasteful research, interacting with unsupportive people, and trying to revive worthless past practices that really are not productive. One of my latest productive actions involves Facebook. Using Facebook as well as Instagram to market my photography products and services was a waste of time and money. I was able to see that there was no value in continuing to use the social media outlets for my business and advertise my brand. Using Facebook and Instagram was a waste of time and money. I decided to discard Facebook as a marketing tool and unpublished my Facebook page. I actually deleted many other posts about my photography business, because I realized that many people were never really interested. Of course, I don't need to waste my time on such people.

The third element consists of adding what is specifically your own. Bruce Lee was a master at that. In his martial art practice, he studied all he could from others, hacked away the things he found useless and used what he determined was useful for him.  He made his martial art practice and study uniquely his own. The art of photography is somewhat similar. A great photographer studies other artist and works hard to improve his skills. Over time, a great photographer will learn what is useless and what is useful. He or she will eliminate what is not needed and focus on what will help him or her improve their skills. By doing so, he or she is free to create more effectively. Their work becomes a part of who they are and is uniquely their own.

Bruce Lee's quote has always been a great quote I that feel it can be applied to not only in photography but in life itself. I personally do not like wasting my time, energy, money, and life on useless activities. I do enjoy ridding myself of things and people that do not help me grow. There is nothing wrong with making things in your life uniquly your own; even in your own photograpy. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger Younce

The Benefits of Quitting Social Media

Well, I finally did it. I finally decided to cut the cord with all my social media accounts. Some people may ask why. It's pretty simple. My social media accounts were providing me with no value, wasted a lot of my time and energy, and I wasted a good chunk of change trying to promote my Roger Younce Photography business using social media. I fell into the trap of trying to build an audience and like most social media addicts I wanted to have more likes, followers, clicks, and have my boosted promotions viewed.  After 2 years of using social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Vero, and Instagram I realized that using social media was a complete waste of my time. I even had 510 followers on my Roger Younce Photography Facebook page. I have no idea if I really had 510 followers, but Facebook wanted to make me think I did. Did I mention I hate Facebook?

I have been considering getting off my social media sites and apps for a long time. Then my son sent out a post about landscape photographer, Dave Morrow, who explained why he deleted his social media accounts. After reading his comments and watching his video about the subject, it made me realize I just needed to do it. I had been thinking about it for a long time. You can read his story, This Photographer Deleted His Social Media with 1.5 Million Followers or watch his video. 

Over the last 2 or 3 years, I have spent a tremendous amount of time on social media sites that I could have spent doing things to help me become a more productive photographer. I was focusing on the numbers of hours I spent on photography and the number of photos I could post. I figured if I posted a lot of my work on social media sites or got a lot of likes, received so-called friends, or followers that would equal success and be profitable. I was totally wrong. Sadly, it took me 3 years to realize my mistake. 

This morning was my first morning of not grabbing my phone and checking for new comments, likes, or followers on my social media accounts. It felt great to not have those accounts to check and I immediately felt I had new energy to focus on other things. I immediately began thinking about what I could do with my new free time. I began making a list of the things I wanted to do with my new free time. I will work more on developing my website, planning more blog posts, study videography and incorporate that art into my photography and other creative processes. I want to become a better photographer by studying others work, watch tutorials, and other photographers on Youtube. I want to work with other photographers and videographers. I want to travel and take better quality images than I have taken in the past. That will require me to go back to some of the same locations that I have visited in the past. I want to spend more time in nature and less time behind a computer screen. By not having wasteful social media accounts to read, I can do that now. 

As a photographer or a creative person, do you find spending time on social media sites helps you or hinders you? Some people say social media is just part of our culture today. I have said this before, social media is not social. It is an illusion. My advice is cut the cord and get off social media. Spend more time doing things that are much more productive and creative. Go out and create something awesome!

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Dumping Facebook

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It seems that Facebook is very much in the news today and in my opinion, the news is not good. I have learned a great deal about Facebook over the last couple of years and I have learned it is pretty much a waste of time for me and my photography business. My Roger Younce Photography Facebook page has been active for over 2 years. I have tried boosting ad for my business services and products. As a result, I have wasted a lot of time and money hoping Facebook would help me advertise my business. Getting a large number of Facebook clicks from a post does not equal earning money for one's services or products. I believe the number of clicks was actually fake anyway. What frustrates me the most is not knowing if my efforts were even worth it. As a Facebook user with a business, I have no idea if anyone is even seeing my post. I have been stuck on 510 likes for my Roger Younce Photography
Facebook page for over 6 months. I know that is not accurate. 

After some thought, I have decided to unpublish my Roger Younce Photography Facebook account. I have determined it provides me with no value, has wasted a lot of my time, and cost me money in boosting my post. Starting today, a large part of my business advertising and networking will be through my website. I have control of the content of my own site. I have access to analytical data I can review because I use Square Space for my web hosting. I can reach more users if I use the proper tools and methods to bring more visitors to my website. In other words, I don't have to rely on Facebook anymore. Facebook, in my opinion, is a dying platform anyway. I see no value in it. 

Do you have an opinion on the effectiveness of Facebook to advertise your business? Feel free to leave your comments. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

 

 

Stay Away from the Internet Trolls

Do you like motivational quotes and like to follow people that inspire you? I know I do. With the Internet and especially through social media, I see many motivational quotes from people that really inspire me. Now don't get me wrong, I don't need a lot of motivation when it comes to pursuing what I like and many of my goals. However, a nice quote never hurts. 

What I routinely see on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are people that don't seem to have any goals so they do there best to belittle others goals and aspirations. Those types of people hate motivational quotes and really don't little successful people. I chalk that type of negativity to pure jealousy. I call such negative people "trolls". According to Lifewire, a troll is "Someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”. Those that don't have goals enjoy making fun of others with goals, their goal in life. Below is a quote from a Casey Neistat, a guy that many people may not know but is a very successful vlogger on Youtube. Casey Neistt has an unbelievable number of followers and inspires a lot of vloggers, videographers, film makers, and photographers. 

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For many people that follow him, he is very inspirational. I actually like the guy and he very entertaining. If you look at his quote, you may say his quotes are common sense quotes. However, those that don't know him or like him may not have any of that. Besides, how many of us have read a great quote and have said I like that quote, but 5 minutes later forgot it?  When I find a great quote that inspires me, I write it down and post it so I don't quickly forget it. 

Many people like to stifle creators creativity because they don't have the desire to be better and a have no creativity of their own. They don't set goals for themselves. They have no interest in anything except putting people down. Trolls thrive on the Internet and throughout many social media platforms. They don't take chances or take action to achieve any specific goals. However, they do spend a great deal of wasted time putting down those that do. Take photography for example. I have goals that I set out to achieve. Some of my main goals are longterm. Many of my photography goals are broken down by daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly goals. I have plans and action steps that I work on to achieve my goals each and every day. I hate the word "try". If at all possible, I don't use that word. My photography and lifetime goals required action, not trying. Talk is cheap! One of my favorite quotes about taking action is from the late great Bruce Lee who said,“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.” I have always liked that quote and strive every day to follow it in all aspects of my life. 

I admire those that are proactive in their pursuits in life. I love to read, watch, and study them. I like Casey Neistat because he is a man of action and that alone is inspiring to watch on his Youtube channel. You can find Casey's Youtube Channel by visiting "Casey Neistat". I personally enjoy hanging out with such people. However, it is hard to find those people anymore. Oh well, I will have to make it one of my new goals to find more of those people. Better yet, I will strive to help inspire others by taking action. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger  

Does Your Photography Website Represent You

Do you have your own photography website? Does it represent you? I have always been interested in studying other photographers work and wanting to find out if their website (if they have one) represents them or does their website reflect what they feel their audience wants to see. A website can be important for any business and can be very important for photographers. Most photographers want to share their work and receive feedback from others using a variety of methods. Today, many photographers share their work on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vero. Those are great advertising methods but they really don't allow others to get to know a photographer. Sadly, having a good photography website is slowly becoming a thing of the past. But, websites can be very effective if a photographer can create a website that that truly represents them. My question is, do a lot of photographers give up their creativity to please others, achieve fame, or seek to make a buck or two? I tend to notice that with many photography websites. 

What I see when reviewing a lot of photography websites is a lot of repetitive information given by photographers that is not that original. That is not really the photographer's fault. Photography information and topics can be very repetitive. Repetitive photography tips, tricks, and technological information can become very overwhelming to many people and sometimes, very boring. When having your own website it can be very easy to get hung up on repeating the same information over and over again and losing your audience on your own website. What most photographers struggle with is creating new content that is informational and entertaining while hopefully keeping an audience. Many of today's photography websites do not do that. 

In my opinion, a photographer's website can be more interesting if it can effectively represent the photographer and what he or she wants to photograph regardless of all the advice by other photographers. Some photographers say you should focus on a particular style of photography and make that one style your specialty. Some photographers say you should shoot all types of photography and be well-rounded.. I really don't follow the logic behind either view. I feel that you should photograph the type of photography you enjoy and are passionate about. I feel one's website would be more effective if more photographers would do that instead of trying to follow the same model as others. Many times being original as a photographer can be very cool and personally rewarding.

Not that my website will win any awards but I do like to create and build my website based on what I like to photograph and how I feel about photography in "my world". I like to express my views on having my own photography business. I can do that because it is my website and I can be as creative as I want to be.  I am aware of what types of photography that I don't care for or enjoy doing. If you look at my website you will not see a definite theme. My website is not technology based. I don't share a lot of tips, tricks, or gear information. I am actually all over the place. I photograph landscapes, wildlife, nature, and even biker portraits. I photograph such subjects because that is what I like and I find creatively rewarding. I don't photograph images just to please others. If others like my images, , products, services, and views, that's great. But, pleasing everyone is not my main goal. 

Trying to develop a website and a style that will please everyone is not my ultimate objective. My website reflects who I am as a photographer and as a creative person. I enjoy creating new images, styles, unique products, and services that I find fascinating and interesting. If one looks at my website one can see that it does represent me. I love to visit landscapes and photograph their beauty. I love to capture interesting images of nature. I enjoy photographing amazing animals. I am very passionate about capturing images that tell a story. I want to offer products and services that I find interesting and I believe others will too. I want to share my thoughts about photography and life in my blog to anyone that might find my views interesting. I want others feedback. Those are just a few things about my website that represents who I am and my photography journey. 

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So do you have a website that features the same information that other photographers post? Or, does your photography website reflect your style, creativity, and your uniqueness? My advice is not to follow everyone else but study them, learn from others and share yourself with an interesting website. Keep in mind anyone can build a flashing website with all types of information that is many times very repetitive. People will visit a website with a personal touch. Allow them to take a journey with a photographer. If you have a website that truly represents you, people will want to follow you on your journey. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Number of Social Media Followers and Likes Mean Nothing

Have you ever wondered how some people that use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other popular media platforms get so many likes and followers? One would think that some people that have so many likes and followers must be doing something right to get such a large following, right? The reality is the number of followers or likes mean very little when using some of the most popular social media. Take my Roger Younce Photography Facebook page for example. It is a small Facebook page that has over 500 likes. One would think that I have a lot of people that like my content. The reality is, I get very little traffic to my Facebook page and many people don't realize how much control to our Facebook pages and content we DON'T have. So the question is, why is it?

Facebook is not the only useless way to think we have a lot of followers and likes. Twitter, Instagram, and Vero are just as bad. I like to do a little experiment when studying my traffic to my social media outlets. I like to see if I can view just how many people visit my website and view my content. I am pretty proactive when it comes to putting out content, uploading photography news, adding new photos, updating information, and putting out a blog post on a consistent basis. When I do put out content I like to view my traffic source details to see where my visitor originates from. I use Square Space and they have great analytical tools that allow me to review my web traffic views from all over the world. The analytical tools provide me with some interesting and detailed stats of my overall web traffic. 

One of the things I like to do is post some content on my website and then go to my social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Vero, and Instagram and post that new information that has been posted to my website. I always create a hyperlink to the resources to make it easier for visitors to view the content. So all they really have to do is click on the link to visit a page where the content is loaded. Here is the interesting part. When I put content out to the social media outlets I get a lot of new likes and followers on the social media platforms. That sound awesome, right? Not exactly. The reality is 99 percent of the people that say they liked the content never visited the site. That brings up an interesting question;

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I feel that social media platforms give people and businesses false data that they should never rely on to measure success. Social media data is very unreliable. If you have a business and a website that allows you to track real-time web traffic and you can use the data to help build your business I suggest you take advantage of the analytical data and not so much on how many followers and likes you have in your social media feeds. Follows and likes mean nothing. One last thing, using emails or email advertising is just as useless. Many times, when you sent out information via emails, very few people click on those links too. 

The bottom line is, those that truly like your content and actively follow you will appreciate your work. Don't waste your time or your productivity in an effort to reach those that really aren't following you or liking your work. You don't need them anyway, right?

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Why Do Photographers Do What They Do?

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Have you ever wondered why people like to do photography? I am always been fascinated by why people like to take photographs or shoot video. It is fun to explore why some people find photography and videography so interesting. Some people love the artistic aspect of the two mediums. Some people are very creative and like to create new things and share their work with others. Many people get into photography and videography because they want to make money and want to do it as a business venture. Of course, there are many other reasons. 

For me, it is all about capturing life and in a way, leaving a legacy after I am long gone. Many years ago, I started taking photos to capture special events. Some of the photos I have taken over the last 40 years are some of the most important treasures of my life and the images are priceless to me. I have always enjoyed taking photos and shooting video. While on a cruise, my wife and I met an interesting couple who we had dinner with one night. I got into a discussion with the husband who was an amateur photographer. He and I talked about photography and I was fascinated in hearing how much he enjoyed photography. He told me he takes hundreds of photos where ever he went. My wife picked up on the fact he had a nice looking camera that was much better than mine and said: "you like to take photos, so we need to get you a better camera". My wife understood that I enjoyed not only taking photos of interesting locations, but I loved to take photos that had special meaning to me. From the beginning, it was all about the moment and the ability to capture special memories and preserving past images of not only my life but the lives of others. As I get older, my passion for capturing memories and special moments continue to be my main reason for taking photos and shooting video. My passion for photography is not understood by many people like family and friends. I tend to drive a lot of family members and friends crazy.

As my photography journey has grown I realized that the more I studied the art of photography and how important video could be, I have learned I could do more and I am not limited to one specific form of photography. I have learned over the years that I do not need to learn everything about all forms of photography. I have learned that there are some forms of photography I do not like to do. For example, I love to shoot landscapes, wildlife, nature, simple portraits, couples, etc... However, I have learned I have no desire to shoot weddings all day. I don't want the hassle of shooting a wedding or dealing with the drama and stress of shooting such events. That is why I love to shoot landscapes so much; mountains don't talk back and I don't have to please a landscape. 

It is important to learn what motivates you and to learn what you really love to do regarding photography. The art of photography is a creative journey that is unique to each photographer or videographer. It is a never-ending journey that never ends because there is so much to learn and the art of photography continues to evolve very quickly. That is a good thing. 

Whatever your passion or reason for doing photography is, continue to develop your skills each day.  There are so many ways to improve one's photography skills. The first step is to find your passion, and go for it. That is what great photographers tend to do. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger Younce 

 

 

A Photographer's Life Should Be All About Balance

Let's face it, photography is a lot of fun and a true passion for many of us. Most photographers love to travel and go see unique places and they sacrifice a great deal to get some amazing images. However, I have noticed a negative trend from some photographers that I enjoy following today. I have noticed a trend where some photographers are trying to do too much, too quickly. One travel photographer that I follow plans to do some meet ups as he travels across the United States and leaves for Europe. That sounds exciting but he plans to do about 8 to 10 "meet-ups in 4 days. Now, don’t get me wrong. I enjoy meeting up with other photographers to get some great shots but after about 2 days I would enjoy sleeping more. 

Some of the photographers I follow are young men and women and are much younger than I am and can go “non-stop”. At one time in my life, I was one of those people. I felt I was unstoppable and I would be that way forever. I was a little mistaken. Over the last couple of years, I have followed several photographers and their journeys and I have really enjoyed watching them capture great images, travel to unique locations, and tell their stories of their adventures. Their journeys and adventures are very inspiring and entertaining. But, I wonder is there a price they may pay in the future for the amount of time, money, and energy that they put into their craft. I see photographers that travel very heavily to get unique images and frankly, I don’t see how they can afford it. I see photographers spending a great deal of money on equipment and gear they I guess they really can’t afford. I see photographers that devote more time to their photography than they do their own families and friends. That is not a good thing. 

In my opinion, there has to be a balance between one’s love for photography and other more important things in life. It is not a good thing to concentrate on one thing. If you do, you miss out on other important things in your life like family and friends. I feel that some photographers try to do too much and they will eventually burn themselves out. That could be avoided if they work smarter and not harder. In my opinion, understanding the importance of balance comes with age and maturity. 

What are your thoughts? Feel free to leave a comment. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Facebook is Worthless for Business

After a couple of years of using Facebook for my photography business I have come to the conclusion that Facebook is pretty much worthless and a waste of time for my business. When I first considered using Facebook I thought it would be a great platform to reach an audience. I was interested in finding out how many other businesses were able to get so many "Likes". Of course, I associate”Likes” with a great customer base. I noticed that many well-known businesses had thousands of “Likes”. The reality is that "Likes" plus "Followers" does not equal income and success. I feel that success of using Facebook is an illusion. In 2017, I spent hundreds of dollars on marketing through Facebook and even Instagram. Yes, I got a lot of likes and clicks, but that does not really mean anything. 

So this year, I have decided to not use Facebook for my business. I have decided to use the platform I should have devoted more of my time, energy, and money to; my website. I feel I have a good website through Square Space. Square Space provides me what everything I need to operate my business. I am very pleased with them. My website will be my new home to reach my followers, friends, and loyal audience. I feel the new focus will provide better information to my customers and give me a realistic look at my actual audience rather than a bunch of unrealiable stats from Facebook and Instagram. 

To find out more about how Facebook is changing for the worse for small businesses visit the article on FStoppers at https://fstoppers.com/business/your-facebook-business-page-about-get-lot-less-traffic-212154.  

Are you a business that uses Facebook or Instagram? Have you seen success in using them? I would to hear your views. Feel free to provide your comments.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger Younce

Listening to Critics is a Waste of Time and Energy

We all know that critics are everywhere and it seems that everyone has an opinion. Just look at the worthless comments on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. In my opinion, Twitter is the worst. Many comments that photographers receive are not only terrible but unproductive for a photographer. Just this past week I viewed a photographer’s Vlog on Youtube that I follow and he went over some of the comments from critics about his work that he received over the last year. The photographer is Thomas Heaton. Thomas did the right thing by reading the comments and making fun of them. I guess the critics thought they were being funny. Of course, their comments fell flat and lacked any real humor. 

Some of the comments Thomas received talked about how he only does photography to sell products from his sponsors. He was told his images were terrible, not creative, and could be shot from his own backyard, even though he does travel a lot to get his images. Thomas did actually get a chuckle out of the backyard comment. Some comments posted on his Youtube channel stated he only gets the photos he gets because he has all the great photography gear one needs to get great shots. It was funny when the Thomas pointed out some of his best photos were taken with a camera and lens that he was given for the photo shoots and he did not really own them. Some of the most direct comments stated his images were terrible and he was not a good photographer at all even though Thomas has nearly 192,000 Youtube subscribers. Thomas did the right thing. He ignored the critics and actually did a good job making fun of them. He even thanked them for their input before blocking one commenter whose profile said he was Chuck Norris. Now, that is a brave critic. He would not even use his real name. Below is the link to Thomas Heaton's Youtube Channel and his reaction to the comments. Just click on the link below the photo. 

So how should photographers respond to unproductive and nasty comments? It is easy, don’t. Unless you want to have a little fun with critics and publicly make fun of them. The reality is critics and comments like the ones the Thomas received adds no real value for any photographer. It only showcased the immaturity and childishness of the critics. I have never liked critics myself. However, I do respect those that are talented and want to provide constructive input to make things better but do not criticize. Many critics do resort to criticizing others work because they have no real skills themselves. They love to demean others and really enjoy doing it publicly. I guess that makes them feel superior. Of course, they are not. 

Receiving constructive input from others who you expect can be very productive. However, it is important to remember that everyone has unique likes and dislikes when it comes to photography. That is a good thing. Some people need to keep in mind that photographers usually post their work for others to see and enjoy. They want to inspire others to create their own work of art. A photographer should not allow critics to influence their work in a negative manner. Photographers are “creatives” and should never take critical input at face value. In many situations, there is no value in listening to critics. So don’t. Photographers should create what they want and not listen to critics because in most cases they only waste one’s time and energy. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger Younce

 

Reediting a Not-So-Old Image

As most people know I love waterfalls. I can't get enough of them. When I can't photograph a beautiful waterfall I do the next best thing; I reediting the ones I have. Today was a great day to look through some of my favorite waterfall photos to see if I could work some creative magic on an old image. I decided to work on a small but beautiful waterfall called the Mountain Meadows Falls. My objective was to use a combination of Lightroom CC and Luminar to edit the image. Here lately, I have started my editing process by beginning with Luminar. Luminar provides me with a nice baseline to start my edits. Some of the presets are great for landscapes and provides some creavity options to work with. 

Mountain Meadows Falls is a simple waterfall in North Carolina and the location provides a nice hidden type of mood to the image. I wanted to focus on the rock formations and the beautiful flowing water from the falls. After I found a nice preset in Luminar I exported the image to Lightroom and used a couple of my favorite presets from Sleeklens. Sleeklen presets are awesome and there many preset packages to choose from to get the look I wanted for the waterfall. I think the image turned out great and judging from the positive feedback from my socials media channels, the image was a hig hit.  

 

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Mountain Meadows Falls. 

Until next time, keep shooting. 

Roger