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Going From Full-Time to Part-Time As a Photographer Is All About How You Look At It

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Wouldn't be great if all photographers and other creatives could take their love for their craft and be able to do it full-time. The reality is, most of us can't, for a variety of reasons. That can be very frustrating but it is not the end of the world if you can't go full-time. Sometimes you just have to do a little juggling of your priorities.

I just started a new job that requires me to work at least 40 hours a week and the job is not a photography related job. It is a security job where I have a responsibility for a very important high-profile location and over 50 security officers. It is not a photography related job but it does help pay the bills. For over 7 years I haven't worked a normal 40 hour a week job. Over the last 7 years, I have had the opportunity to photograph locations and take trips to do other creative projects. I was lucky and I was content. I loved having the opportunity to do what I love. However, as most photographers and creatives know, doing what we love doesn't also pay the bills and provide us with a pay to buy all the new equipment we need and funds to travel to unique locations to get cool photographs. Another reason most of us work is to provide for our families and save for retirement. The last thing I want is to be broke when I decide to retire for good. Besides, I am still a young man who is not ready to retire for good yet.

It is frustrating for some creatives to not have the opportunity and funds to do what we love to do when they want to do them. Most people have to work. It is called "life". For me, I decided to go back to work on a regular job for a few years and then retire for good. When I retire I can go back to doing what I did over the last 7 year; more photography. Do I need to totally stop doing my photography projects until I retire just because I have a regular full-time job again? Obviously not. I can still do creative projects when I can when I get off work, the weekends, and while on vacations. I just need to do a little planning for my projects. I can still plan short-term and long-term projects and continue to do side jobs for my customers when I am available. Some people think if I can't do my photography full-time, they should just give up. People don't have to do that. They just need to do a little reorganizing of their priorities. I have always believed that people have more than enough time to do a lot of things they enjoy. The problem is we all tend to waste too much time on worthless activities that have no real value. Everyone has time. If you look at the things you do throughout the week, you would be amazed at how much time is wasted. The time that could be used to do the creative projects you love.

If you work a full-time job or two, don't feel you have to give up on developing your creative skills. Just find ways to adapt to your schedule and do what you love when you can. Focus on quality and not quantity. The main thing is just don't quit! For me, it would be great to be a full-time photographer, but for now, I can be a part-timer. There is no shame in that.

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

Hey Creatives! Stop Seeking Others Opinions That Really Don't Care

Have you ever created a cool photo, video, drone shot, other creative product and noticed that some people don't really care about it? I see it all the time. Creatives get so excited about a product, project, or an adventure they took and some people could care less. That is ok. The problem is creatives don't seem to realize that not everyone is interested in their work. Many people could care less about what it took to capture a unique image, create a film, how much time it takes to capture b-roll, how a great drone clip was shot, how much time and money it takes to get capture an image, how a photo or video was edited or just about any part of the creative process. So, if most people don't care, why do creatives still continue to seek others approval or feedback? It is not that a creator did anything wrong or the product was bad. It is that not everyone has a creative mind and most people don't think like most creatives.

Here is the bottom line. Everyone does not care about your creative process. Most family members, friends, co-workers, the public, and just about everyone you think might get excited about your creative projects, don't really care. That is just the facts and as a creative, you have to just accept that. You also have to get away from those people. Not that you have to not associate with them, you just need to keep them out of your creative environment. In a way, they can greatly affect your creative work by making you doubt your work. Too much rejection could actually cause you to want to quit. That is not good.

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The best thing to do is find other like-minded creatives to talk to and communicate with. For example, I have a friend that is a very knowledgeable and talented painter. I love to hear him speak about his art and his painting. I love the conversations and our conversations get me excited to do what I do. We respect one another. I understand his mindset and he understands mine. My son is a very talented graphic designer, photographer, videographer and he is very creative. Some of my favorite conversations are about the creative process and discussion what projects we have going on. Sometimes we even work together which is always fun. Other creatives don't even have to do the same type of work. But they will be more likely to understand how a creative mind works and respect your art, talents, and struggles you go through to create. They can also provide an environment that may lead to more creative projects in the future.

I have learned over time that I should never create something for others and trying to create for others is a waste of time, money, and energy. I should create for myself and because I enjoy the process. If someone truly enjoys my product or services they will want them. My primary purpose is not to create and do things for money. I create because of the challenge and to simply 'create" something cool.

So stop trying to recruit others in to loving your work. The reality is, most people don't really care and you should use your time, energy, money, and talents wisely by creating something cool. You don't need others approval, just yours.

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

Becoming a Freelance Photographer

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Photography and videography are one of those businesses that offer so many opportunities for someone that is in business for themselves. However, it is pretty much a known fact that running a photography business can be expensive, time-consuming, and most photographers and videographers don't make a lot of income. That is why many photographers only do photography on the side and make a few bucks for each job they get. Most photographers that want to make money want to start their own business and want to work for themselves. Very few rarely look at the benefits of working as a freelance photographer. In this post, I will talk about what is a freelance photographer, can all photographers do freelance work, and should photographers focus on specific products and services or should they expand their skill sets to do freelance work. 

So what is a freelance photographer? If you look up the definition on the Internet you can find a wide variety of definitions for the term. In most cases,  a freelance photographer is simply someone that does photography work for others besides themselves. Being a freelance photographer can be profitable if you can find the right business or company that needs your skills. Being a freelance photographer can be expensive because another business is normally not going to provide you with gear, equipment, and software to do a job. So a good freelance photographer has to have the proper gear to do the job. Freelance work can be very time-consuming and can require travel and additional travel expenses. Lastly, freelance photography work is normally a "contract" type of employment which means there is no normal work schedule and companies don't offer benefits. So pretty much, you are on your own. 

Now you may think that being a freelance photographer is not that great but there are some advantages to becoming one. Depending on the work, the money might be pretty good in some cases. I recently saw a freelance real estate job that was willing to pay over $75 an hour to do real estate property shoots within a 30-mile radius in my local area. That is pretty good money if you have the flexibility to do the work, the time, and don't mind the travel. Being a freelance photographer can be exciting because you normally don't do the same thing or shoot the same thing on every project. You may do portrait shoots, all types real estate shoots, special events, video shoots, or even drone photography work. So there are some benefits from becoming a freelance photographer and incorporate those services into your photography business. 

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So, can all photographers do freelance work? Many photographers have the ability to do freelance work, while others don't want to or don't have the proper gear or equipment for the work that may be required. Some photographers focus on a specific form of photography and never want to learn the needed skills to do freelance photography projects. In my opinion, many photographers would like to make a little extra income doing freelance work but don't have all the needed gear. There have been cases where real estate agents have used their cell phones to take images of homes and the images were downloaded directly out of the camera and no post-processing was done. As you can imagine the photos were pretty bad. Today, many real estate companies are looking for certified drone pilots to shoot video footage of homes and land. There are a lot of missed opportunities to make extra income if a photographer can do drone footage. 

I feel the biggest reason many photographers don't do freelance work is their unwillingness to learn new skills so they can offer their products and services to potential businesses. Many photographers are very skilled and have the ability to do freelance work but only focus on a specific type of photography or service. Now don't get me wrong, there are many great photographers that offer some amazing work through their own business and products and services are client specific. There is nothing wrong with that. I feel the issue comes from not being open-minded about taking on some freelance work when the opportunity comes along. Many photographers could not only make more money but freelance work provides them a method to advertise their services and products to those for free. The power of marketing and advertising through word-of-mouth is a powerful thing. Freelance photography work allows photographers to showcase their skills and the potential for more work is possible. 

For many photographers, the question is should a photographer focus specifically on certain products or services or should they expand their skill sets? It really depends on the individual photographer and the goals they set for themselves and their business. For me, I am always working to improve my skill sets and knowledge when comes to photography and videography. I like to study more about photography, how to create new products, and I strive to offer unique services to my customers and clients.  I have no desire to open up my own studio for a variety of reasons. One such reason is cost and overhead. Having my own studio would be nice but it would also not allow me to be flexible in my schedule so I could do freelance work. I want the flexibility to work one-on-one with my clients and customers. I enjoy providing my clients and customers one-on-one attention. That is very important to me. So, for me, freelance photography work makes sense. In my world, I can do both. It just takes time, patience, and the willingness to stay focused on building my business. 

So what is your opinion about freelance photography work? Do you do it now?  Are you considering it? If not, what is holding you back? I would love to hear your take on the topic. Feel free to post your comments on the subject of being a freelance photographer. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

 

Preserving Your Old Photos is So Important

I have always loved old photos. The types of photos where there is only one original copy that still exists. One-of-a-kind photos are special and many times are irreplaceable if they are lost or damaged. The sad part is many people don't think about very old photos until they are lost or damaged. Many historic and family photos are usually located in old boxes or still in an old glass frame where the old photo is usually stuck to the glass and can be damaged if you try to remove it. Believe me, I have had my share of photos that were difficult to remove from an old glass frame and several times the print was totally destroyed. 

Today, people don't think too much about photos because we live in a digital world where current photos are easily taken and shared. But for many old photos that are printed and where is only one copy that is not the case. Old photos need to be taken care of, restored (if possible) and most importantly digitalized. If an old photo can be digitalized it can easily be shared and treasured for years to come. Sadly, some people don't think about it until an old historic or family photo is lost forever. 

Below is an old photo I restored for a friend that is no longer with us. He was a mayor of a small town in North Carolina who truly wanted to help preserve the town's history and had me restore several very old photos that were over 75 years old. He only had the originals and wanted the old photos digitalized so they could be shared for many years to come. He understood the importance of restoring old images of the past and took steps to do that. If you look at the old photo and think about it, those people are gone forever and that photo help preserves their life's history and legacy. That is a power of an old image one-of-a-kind image. 

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Do you have old images that need to be restored and digitalized? If you do I suggest you take the time to gather up those old images and have they scanned, enhanced, and stored away. It is important to take the time to do that. I personally gathered up every photo I could find and scanned them so I could preserve them. The tasked took me over 5 days to sit down and scan every image I could get my hands on. It was tedious work but it was worth it. Now I have all my photos backed up and I can share them. Just remember, once an old image is damaged, destroyed, or lost you can never get it back. 

If you have old images you would like restored or if you have old photos that you would like scanned just let me know I can do that for you. I would love to help you preserve your photos and history. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Beautiful Looking Glass Falls

Every year I am always looking for places to visit and photograph before the crowds start arriving. I love to photograph waterfalls in North Carolina. Of course, I have my favorites. One of my favorites is Looking Glass Falls in near Asheville. It is a beautiful 60 ft waterfall and people come from all over the state to visit the waterfall. It is also a very popular summer hole for many people, including photographers. Looking Glass Falls is not like some waterfalls that are difficult to access and may require a lot of hiking. It is actually located roadside which makes it pretty easy to access. I had no problems taking my image because I chose to photograph the falls during the off-season. There was no one there. It was pretty nice to have the waterfall all to myself.

Looking Glass Falls

Looking Glass Falls

It's pretty easy to access Looking Glass Falls by traveling on U.S. 276, Forest Heritage Scenic Byway, near Brevard in the Pisgah National Forest. To get to Looking Glass Falls, take U.S. 276 North from Brevard about six miles. Or take U.S. 276 South from the Blue Ridge Parkway for about 10 miles.

Directions from Downtown Asheville (about 36 miles): Take I-240 West / I-26 East. Continue on I-26 East to Exit 40 for Highway 280 (and the Asheville Airport). Take a right onto Highway 280 West and go 16 miles toward Brevard. As you enter the Brevard area, you will see a big shopping center on the right (with Wal-Mart). Just past the center, turn right onto US Highway 276 North (Forest Heritage Scenic Byway) to enter the Pisgah National Forest. Go 6 miles.

What is very cool about the waterfall is it is always open. If you go in the summer, be prepared to deal with the crowds. Getting a great image of the waterfall is very difficult in the summer months due to the volume of visitors at the falls. If you are a photographer that loves to photograph waterfalls in North Carolina, I highly recommend visiting Looking Glass Falls.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

 

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 

Stabilization is Kind of Important for Sharper Images

Every photographer knows that there is more to taking a photo than just clicking a button. There are so many elements to keep in mind when it comes to taking a photo. But, one thing I find not mentioned enough for beginner photographers is the need for stabilization and why it is important to keep in mind when planning a photo shoot. In this post, I will explain how I forgot to keep stabilization in mind on a recent photo shoot at a car show in Greensboro NC called "Cars and Coffee". 

I decided to attend the car show for the first time even though I have lived in Greensboro many years. It is that time of year when I look for photo opportunities and like to photograph beautiful cars. So, I decided to attend the Cars and Coffee event. The event was a pretty big event. When I arrived I had no idea the event was that popular. There were cars and trucks of all types and it was interesting to see the cars and the size of the crowd. 

Prior to my trip, I had to decide what gear I would need for the event. I felt it was important that I took my wide angle lens, new Canon 80D, cell phone for taking a quick video, and my tripod. I even took my 50mm lens. I felt that was all gear I would need. I knew that I would need the wide angle lens and I would have to get fairly close to each vehicle to get a decent shot. My original plan was to use my tripod to help me get some very sharp images. But that did not happen. I decided when I arrived at the location that I was not going to have the luxury to set up for my shots and set a 2-second timer like I normally do. There were way too many people and I knew they were not going to cooperate with that plan. So, I decided to leave my tripod in my vehicle and just shot "hand-held". 

Here is why it is important to remember the type of gear you have and do a little additional planning for any photo shoot. In my case, I had no stabilization. My new Canon 80D does not have stabilization. I knew that. However,  I thought my wide angle lens did. I was wrong about that. You are probably wondering if my tripod would have helped. Yes, it would if I could have used it. The problem was there were too many people around for me to set up properly. That is why I left it in my vehicle. 

So, whose fault was it that I could not get the sharp images I wanted to get? Why that would be me. I did not take into consideration stabilization. All of my lenses have "stablization", except for my wide-angle. I forgot that little detail. So, what did I learn from my experience? I learned I need to do a little more in-depth planning and take into consideration all the obstacles I will have when I get to a location. A car show sounds like it can be an easy location to shoot but it is not. Every car show I have ever attended was very difficult for me and I can imagine it is for many photographers. The conditions can be very challenging. 

I learned that no matter how bad I want to use car photos for my gallery it is not going to happen. There are too many people getting into the shots, many times the sun is directly in your eyes, vehicle's glass causes a great deal of glare, and most car shows are pretty unorganized. The Cars and Coffee Car Show was very unorganized. 

With all that said, there really is no excuse for not properly planning for the car show. I learned a valuable lesson about the need to plan for stabilization issues. I can not blame anyone but me for not getting sharper images from the car show. Below is just one of the images I was able to salvage from the photo shoot with a little help with some Sleeklens presets and Lightroom. It is not a great image but the best one I got. I will do better next time. 

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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 

Photography is More Than Just Getting the Shot

We have all heard the motto that "it is not all about the reaching a goal that is most important, but it more about the journey". When it comes to photography and wanting the capture a nice photograph of a location you have never visited that motto can be a great one to remember. Recently, I visited a state park in North Carolina that I had never heard of before even though I from North Carolina. The state park gets very little publicity, but my wife read that the park had a waterfall as one of it's major attractions. Those that know me know I really cannot resist photographing a new waterfall. With the information I got from my wife and the photos she found of the waterfall I thought we would take a road trip and check it out. My objective was to get a new image of a new waterfall and add it to my collection of photos of waterfalls from North Carolina. 

South Mountain State Park in North Carolina was not a far from my home. The trip was only going to take about 2 hours from my home. According to what my wife and I read about the park was the park offered clean campsite, hiking trails, a beautiful flowing creek, and best all the water that is called, "High Shoals Falls". Finding the park was not that easy and took my wife and I deep into the back roads of North Carolina. On the back roads, we saw large farmlands, old country homes, and nice roaming pastures. I was actually surprised that the state park was so far off the beaten path and at times wondered if we were lost. After about 2.5 of driving, we finally made it to the state park. 

When we entered the park we found the park to be rather nice, clean and there were very few visitors. We kind of planned it that way. We decided to visit the park on a Monday to avoid the crowds that we read could be large on the weekends. We made the right decision to visit on a Monday. Once we entered the park we entered a very nice visitors center and got directions to the waterfall. The waterfall was only 2 miles from the visitors center.

We had read the hiking trail to the waterfalls was only one mile, one way. We also read the trail was flat, and it was a moderate trail. Well, the trail was one mile long but the trail was not flat or moderate. The first part of the trail was flat, but about halfway into the hike, the trail became a little more difficult. The trail had large roots from nearby trees near a nice flowing and beautiful creek. The trail had some steep steps that had to be taken to get to various parts of the trail, and more importantly, the last quarter mile of the trail consisted of steeper steps and large boulders to confront. As we got closer to the base of the boulders my wife decided she would stay by the creek side and enjoy the nice weather and listen to the flowing water from the creek. She was the smart one. I decided to venture to the top to get a photo of the waterfall that was not visible from the location where I departed from my wife. My guess was, I was not too far from the waterfall. I was wrong. 

Once I departed my wife, began the short but tiring journey of climbing steep stairs and rocks to get to the summit. On my way to the top, I passed a few people. I passed two young girls on my way to the top (or should I say they passed me). I also had an older gentleman pass me that was coming done from the falls. He had a great deal of difficulty coming down the step stairs descending from the upper falls. I knew the hike was very difficult for him and he stated he had a lot of physical issues. Walking was one of them. I had a lot of respect for the old geezer. He could barely walk but he did not let that stop him from venturing to the top to snap a photo or two of the waterfall even though he had taken the trip many times before. 

Once I reached the top and beside the High Shoals Falls, I was impressed by the amount of water from the falls. Recently, the area had received a great amount of rainfall. So the volume of water was impressive. However, I was disappointed in the view. I found out very quickly that there was no real way to get a good composition for my shot. Another issue was the direction of the sun. I had to shoot directly into the sun and that was not going to work at all. There was a small platform to work from and I was continually dealing with mist from the waterfall. I did take a few images but after I reviewed them they were not worth keeping. After being a little disappointed I packed up my gear and began my journey back down the trail to meet up with my wife. Coming down the trail was a little tricky and it was a place that one would not want to fall, sprain an ankle, or break a leg. As I came down the trail I began to think about the old man I passed and wondered if he made it down okay. I did locate him resting on a boulder 30 minutes after I originally met him. He was taking his time and being careful in his decent. I could tell it was not his first rodeo.  

After meeting up with my wife, I informed her that I did not get a good shot of the waterfall. Then I started thinking that the trip was not a total waste of my time and getting a special image was not that important. What made the trip special was I got to enjoy an adventure of visiting a location that I had never heard of before. My wife and I got to spend quality time together enjoying a beautiful day. My wife got to do a little mediating by a nice flowing creek and enjoy some private time in nature. 

Those in photography, including myself, sometimes get so hung up in getting that "special image" that we can work with and share with others. But, the image is not what made the journey membeable. What makes a journey special is the what happens throughout the adventure. Sometimes is best to go with the flow and enjoy the experiences, sights, sounds, and challenges from an adventure. If one is too focused on getting a great image, one can miss out on what is most important and it living in the moment. 

If you get a chance to visit South Mountain State Park in North Carolina, enjoy the park. It as very nice campsite, a beautiful stream to fly fish and hike by, numerous hiking trails, and most of all a nice waterfall if want to push yourself to the top. Just remember to enjoy the journey. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Biker Portrait Photo Shoot

Just recently I had the honor to photograph a biker friend of mine. I had been wanting to do a portrait session with my friend, Buster for the last few weeks. The weather was our biggest factor to deal with. I was pretty eager to do the portrait session for a variety of reasons. Not only was I looking forward the shoot, I was eager to test out my new camera body. I recently upgraded to a Canon 80D DSLR. I also purchased a new Rode microphone, and I was still testing my new Tamron 18-400mm zoom lens. So I had a lot to look forward too. 

Besides the weather, I had an issue with finding a good location for the photo shoot. I always like to find locations that are a little rundown or bring a historical feel to the photos for my biker shoots. Most of the time selecting a location can be a challenge. I have to factor in the look of the biker, the type of bike, lighting, weather conditions, accessibility, and safety. The place I found required me to contact the owner to get permission for the photo shoot. It is always a good idea to seek permission to conduct your portrait sessions if the location is not normally available to the public. The place I chose was an old gas station in historic Jamestown North Carolina. The owner was very nice and allowed me to shoot my session there. 

The biker I photograph was my friend Buster. Once Buster arrived for the shoot we discussed some posing options. I always like to discuss with my client what type of photos they would like taken and not base the images on my option. Getting feedback from the client is very important and makes the client part of the overall process. I believe that is very important for a successful portrait session. If you have never shot biker portraits it can be difficult to choose the proper poses for a biker. However, Buster was a great guy to photograph. He had the type of biker look I like to photograph and my options to photograph him were a little more flexible. Bikers like Buster allows me to create biker images that can be nostalgic and some images can be more modern. I had to consider Buster's look and the even the type of bike he wanted me to photograph. He has a beautiful Honda Goldwing that was great to photograph. Below is an image from my biker portrait photo shoot with Buster. 

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I really enjoyed my photo shoot with Buster. He was a great guy to photograph and was easy to work with. I look forward to more biker portrait photo shoots this year. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Colors of Spring are Coming!

Well, it is that time of year when the great state of North Carolina and other surroundings states get to enjoy some much-needed rain. Some people don't like rain but I do. Rain is vital to our area producing some of the most beautiful colors in Spring. I created a simple slideshow of some my images of flowers in the Spring of last year. The images are part of my SquardUp Collection. For those that don't know, the SquardUp Collect offers some beautiful metallic prints in three sizes, 10x10, 12x12, and 16x16. Most people that purchase the SquardUp prints use them to brighten up there homes. I actually have 3 prints for my home. 

Below is my "Colors of Spring" slideshow to help get everyone pumped up for Spring. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger Younce