Photography

Getting the Image

Living Country

Living Country

Photographers are always looking for great images. It is what we do. We look for compositions, lighting, angles, and other elements that could make a great image. In the past, I have had jobs that required me to travel. I am not a big fan of traveling unless it is for pleasure like a great photo shoot. On one business trip a few years ago I traveled to a another part of my state and I and my trip back and forth between home and my assignment required me to drive. I really don’t have a problem with driving because it gives me an opportunity to explore new locations and of course, photo shoot opportunities.  

On one of my trips I passed by a location that really caught my eye. The location featured a pasture and farmland off of the main highway. Those that know me know I love to take photos of old historic locations that represent a part of the past. My job required me to travel pass by a beautiful county side location for about 5 days. Each morning and each evening I told myself I have to get the shot before my assignment was up. I really had no reason not too, but each day I put off stopping to get the shot. Each day was a nice day for the photo but not a great day. The skies were clear, cloudless, and blown out. However, on my last day, I told myself, no matter what the conditions I will stop and get the image.

On the last day, the conditions were completely different from the other four days. On the last day and my last opportunity to get shot, the weather began to become rainy, stormy and a low-level fog blanketed the county side. Most people would think that the conditions were too bad to get the shot. Of course, I did not. I felt the conditions for the shot provided the mood I was looking for the the image. The mood was perfect.

I learned a valuable lesson about putting off getting a shot. I learned to never think I could always get the shot anytime and get the results I want. Sometimes it is better to be patient and wait for the right conditions to get the right shot. I also know that sometimes there may never be a good shot. I was lucky to photograph the image that I call “Living Country”. Those that grew up in the country understand what this image means and it creates a warm feeling for them. I love to hear stories of how others grew up in a place just like the one I photographed. When others tell me how the image touched their hearts, I know I got the right image. A great image should move people, regardless if it is the viewer of the photographer. My advice is, never pass up a great opportunity to get a great shot and never take for granted the image will always be there. 

Until next time, keep shooting! 

Roger Younce  

Capturing a Unique Image

As a photographer, it always fun to experiment with all types of images. By experimenting, it allows a "creative" photographer to try new things. I love to photograph landscapes, nature, and wildlife, but I also enjoy capturing unique portrait images. One of my favorite portrait images came from a visit I had the honor to go to in North Carolina. The event is only held in October and getting tickets is very hard to do. I was lucky because I knew someone that had connections that could get me in the event. I was told the event featured an environment created to represent a special place in history. I love attending such events because it allows a great opportunity to capture unique images of the past. 

The Lady on the Porch

The Lady on the Porch

During my visit to the historical event, I was fortunate to see players that represented individuals of the past. The players walked around the site and portrayed their characters very well. I was able to photograph soldiers, adults, children, a schoolhouse the children, animals, old buildings, and unique and historic items from the past. However, my favorite image came from two women who simply sat outside a cabin on the porch. When I saw the two women in their costumes I knew I had to get the shot. Not only was the setting great the women played their characters with no regard to the people around them. The image of the lady I captured was very special to me becuase the lady was willing to work and pretend I was not around. However, the best thing she did for me was to pose for me. When I started to take the shot, she actually stopped sewing until I got the shot. I loved that about her. I knew immediately what I was going to do with the image. I wanted to create an image that looked like a painting. I wanted to create a feel for the image and the feeling had to represent the past. The image is called the "Lady on the Porch" and is one of my favorite portraits. 

For me, photographing a variety of subjects only makes me a better photographer. Photography can allow all photographers to shoot a variety of subjects and situations. I personally cannot understand why any photographer would ever become bored and say there is nothing to photograph. There is always something to photograph. I love to photograph all types of subjects and events, except for weddings. I do not have the patience for weddings. However, I do respect those that do. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger Younce

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

 

Enhancing a Special Image for an Old Friend

One of my favorite things to do in photography is to help an old friend with an old photo. Recently, an old friend sent me an old photo he has taken and wanted to know if the image could be blown up and asked if the quality of the image good enough to have it printed so he could hang the image in his office. He stated the image meant a great deal to him so of course I wanted to help my old friend out. Below is my friends story behind the image;

On my first trip to Amsterdam last April I was able to see some great sites; the famous channels, the thousands of bicycles, buildings, tulips and of course the home of Anne Franks. But it was my excursion to the northeast town of Volendam that made the trip. Volendam is a Dutch town on the Markermeer and is well known for the colorful wooden houses, traditional clothing worn by some of the residents and the old fishing boats in the harbor. The waterfront of the town is packed with seafood vendors, souvenirs shops and restaurants and let me just say the food is awesome. After my meal, I was walking along the waterfront and I wondered what it must be like to sail the open water and what that freedom must feel like. I was also impressed with the many old fishing boats that I had seen and when I saw this particular boat pull into the harbor after a day of fishing I was struck by its beauty and elegance for its age. Much like me this ship is old and still functioning in order for that family to keep fishing. An old boat is still very much the backbone of the family so they are able to provide that daily haul of fish. I took some pictures of the boat as it pulled in because it looked cool in the lighting and moved through the water like it had a purpose. This boat reminded me that even the old have a place in the world – we just have to keep moving with a purpose.  

As I looked at the photo I felt that the image needed some work. My friend sent me an image that had been edited and it had a moody feel to it. So I decided to do some work based on what had already been done. His edited image provided me with a starting point. I knew I was going to start by using some of my favorite presets in Lightroom to begin the editing process. I like to use presets because I feel they give me a quick start to the creative process of editing an image. I have hundreds of presets and my favorite presets are those available through Sleeklens. Sleekens has a variety of great presets for just about any effect I could ask for. I started the post-processing by finding a nice moody preset that would bring out the clouds in the image. The image also needed come clarity, sharpening, exposure corrections, color enhancement, lens corrections, and leveling of the image. My friend also wanted me to suggest what would be the best size for the image. I suggested a 10x20 print so the image would not have to be cropped and so the smaller boats would remain in the image. I also suggested that the image should be printed on metallic paper to bring out the moody colors of the image, depth, and details. Below is the original image and the edited moody image. 

Original Image

Original Image

Edited Moody Image

Edited Moody Image

I truly enjoy enhancing old images. I understand that images that may not be a big deal to others are many times very special and have special meanings for others. It was an honor to help out an old friend and I believe the new and improved image will look great in his office. 

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  

Definition of an Artist

Many people that are artist and creatives have their own definition of what an artist is. The definition is different for many people and can depend on the discipline they are passionate about. I enjoy communicating with people about all forms of art and what art means for them. People that have drive and passion for a particular art form are very addictive to hang out with and you cannot help but be inspired by their love of art.   

One such artist is an old friend of mine that shared his definition of what an artist is to him and how art has truly changed the way he looks at life. Jeff is a very talented painter from North Carolina and creates some very impressive paintings. He allowed me to share his definition of what an artist is to him.

"An Artist is a soul born gifited in the image of the Creator. This gift gives rise to a passion that lives and breaths in every fiber of an Artist and it manifest itself thru their works. To such an individual inspirations are everywhere. Its in the trees, the sky, the water, and the mountains. Its in the way they see the folds of a blanket draped over a chair or a cup on a table with sun light caressing its form. Its in the gathering of people in a restaurant or on a street corner or going about their daily lives. An Artist makes art of all these things. To them even their family and friends become artistic inspirations. Wherever an Artist goes and whatever they do this passion is always with them and they bear witness to it by way of their works so that others may experience the pure joy that comes from Art in all its forms. This is what it is to be an Artist".

- J.A.Poe                                                                                                                 

So the question is, what does being an artist and a creative mean to you? Does your photography bring out the creative spirit in you? Share your thoughts of what it means to be an artist. 

 Roger's Tip: Be proud to be a creative person and artist. Without creatives and artist, the world would be a pretty dull place. Don't be dull. Do something epic and share your passion with others. They will thank you for it. 

Until next time, keep shooting. 

Roger  

Sometimes You Have to Go Back

As a photographer, I have not always liked the photos I have taken. I actually delete a lot of my photos and I am not one to keep thousands of photos that I will never use. Telling people I have thousands of photos is not a "badge of honor" for me. To me, I would rather have 100 great photos than 10,000 worthless photos. As I sometimes review my past images I have a great desire to go back and conduct another photo shoot at the same location. I want to see if I can produce a much better image than the last time. In most cases, I do.   

One reason I am able to create a better image is through the process of time, study and experience. I look back at some of my old images and I have to admit, most were not that great by my standards. Luckily for me, my standards have improved and that is a good thing. I have learned more about photography over the years. I have learned more about my camera, composition, lighting, post processing and how to use some important accessories like filters. My photography has improved because I have taken a more proactive approach to studying other photographers work, listen to photography podcast and even taken advantage of a endless access to photography channels using Google and YouTube

What I have learned over time is sometimes I have to take the time to look back at my work and ask myself, can I do better with the knowledge and experience I have now, and can I capture a better image I can be satisfied with? The answer to that question for me is, yes and no. Yes, I can create a better image and no, I will probably never be really satisfied. If I was satisfied I would not try to improve my photography skills even more. That would not be a good thing. Let's face it, most photographers are never really satisfied with their images. 

For me, I will be going back to some locations to get a better image. I have actually started creating a list of places I need to go back and visit for another photo shoot. I need to. Frankly, I am tired of looking at the same old images and the ones that are not up to my standards. The only way to get a better image is go back and do it all over again. Not as a task I feel I have to complete, but as one I want to complete for myself. So, if you find yourself not liking your old images or tired of look at images you took years ago, think about going back to some old previous visited locations to get more images. It may do your photography soul some good. 

Roger's Tip: Stop telling yourself you need to take more photos. Tell yourself, I will go get more photos. 

Until next time, keep shooting,  

Roger  

 

Finding Photography Inspiration With Music Videos

When it comes to photography it can sometimes be difficult to find inspiration for capturing the types of photos you enjoy shooting. All proactive and successful photographers take the time to research other photographers work to get some creative ideas for their own photos. But, have you ever really looked at music videos for inspiration?  

Recently, I was viewing a few music videos on YouTube and I was looking for songs that told a story. Fortunately for me, I enjoy country music and country music videos many times tell great stories. One video that caught my attention was a song called "Wild Child" by Kenny Chesney. I have always liked the song and had only seen the video once. After watching the video again I was taken by the great images in the video. Even though the images were in a video format I noticed there could have been some beautiful still photos taken during the shoot. The video gave me some great ideas and inspiration for my future portrait photoshoots.  

So what videos could you go back a review from a photographers point of view? I am sure if you look hard enough you will find that well produced music videos can provide you with inspiration for your future photos. You just have to look for the right videos. Below is the video I was referring to. If you don't like the music turn down the sound and focus on the video production. If you do like the music, enjoy: 

Roger's Tip: Always be looking for inspiration for your photography projects. Many times the inspiration is right in front of you.

Until next time.  

- Roger Younce  

Photographers Should Never Give Their Work Away

One of the most popular questions for a photographer that has a photography business and wants to sells his or her work is, what should I charge? I have to admit, it is an important question and there is really no correct answer to the question. However, I believe that as photographers we should never give our images away for free. The sad thing is I see that happen all the time.

I see so many photographers that will spend many hours traveling to distant locations for photo shoots, spend a lot of money on expenses and supplies to capture a great image and then practically give the image away for free. The question I have for photographers is how much is your talent worth? Is your time, money and expertise worth nothing and that is why you give your photos away? Giving away your images or charging very little tells everyone that you think your image is worth very little or even worse you think it is worth nothing. That is not good. 

So, why not charge what you are worth? That doesn't mean you can charge anything you want. Photographers need to do a little research and find out what an image like theirs would be worth and be competitive in what they charge. If an image is a great image, real serious customers and clients will buy a great image no matter what the cost. There will always be those that tell photographers they love their photos and they want to buy a photo one day but they never do. I suggest photographers stay away from those people. Those types of people tend to waste your time and you could be using that additional time to create more great images and selling them to the serious clients and customers. 

My advice for photographers is do your research, charge what you are worth and don't give your work away for free. Create an aggressive marketing plan, create a great website to showcase your work and let everyone know you have some great work to sell.  If someone does not want to pay what you know your image is worth don't get upset. Real and loyal customers will be glad to buy your image not matter what the cost.  Find and work with those customer. Just remember the golden rule, don't give your images away. You are worth more than that.

- Roger Younce

Why You Should Scan All Your Old Photos

Do you have a lot of photos that you have collected over the years? I am sure you do. If you are like me you have hundreds of old photos in old boxes, drawers, in the attic or hidden away in a basement. You might even have old photos stuck in old photo binders or even worse framed on a wall that maybe stuck to the glass in the frame (getting those photos out without destroying them is always fun). The next question is how many of those precious photos are one of a kind? In other words, you only have one copy. If you are like me you probably have hundreds of photos that need to be scanned in a digital format, backed up and stored away. 

A few years ago I was bored and took a look around my home and realized I had a lot of photos that were printed out. Many of those photos were over 40 years old. Most of my old photos were in boxes and cabinets throughout my home. I started thinking, what would happen if I lost all my old one of a kind photos of my family and my life. What if I had a house fire and lost the photos? I did not want to think about how devastated I would be. So I knew I needed to do something quick. I decided to hunt for all my photos that were printed out. I mean, every photo! That meant photos in drawers, my attic, in closets, in binders in file drawers and  even the photos framed on my walls and throughout my home. I collected all my photos and started scanning them. 

Scanning my photos was not a quick fix. I had hundreds of photos. The project took me four full weekends to scan every photo I could find. The scanning project was very important to me. I wanted to make sure I preserved every photo I could find. I knew many of the photos were the originals and there was no digital backups. 

Oh backups! That was the next step in my journey. Once I had all my photos scanned as digital images I need to stored my photos on my computer. But that was not the end of my story. I needed my photos backup and not on an extra hard drive in my home. I needed my photos stored and backed up using a off-site live backup service. Having my photos on my computer was going to be useless if I had a house fire of my computer crashed. 

After four weekends of my life scanning and storing my old photos I felt pretty comfortable with my decision to scan my old files. I never wanted to lose any of my old photos. All of them are a record of my life and my family. The photos are a record of my history and I wanted to make sure those photos would be available to for years to come. 

When you get a chance, take a long hard look at where your photos are and think about how you would feel if you one day lost all your photos. I suggest you take the time to scan and backup your photos as soon as possible. You will not regret it. 

Tip: Roger Younce Photography does offer scanning services. For more details contact me

Until next time. 

Roger