How To Find Your Style (Video)

How To Find Your Style (Video)

How to Find Your Style in Photography.

We find it looking back at our output, not ahead at someone else’s.

Imitate. Assimilate. Innovate. – Clark Terry

It is not what you shoot, it is how you shoot what you shoot.

Most of us start out shooting everything that comes in front of our lens. We simply fall in love with the process of fixing a still image from our visual surroundings.

We love the act and product of photography.

But down the road a bit, we start focusing in on the subjects we choose. Perhaps we lose interest in urban street photography in order to make more portraits. Or we find less and less to shoot in the city because all of our efforts seem to be focused on the wild that lies beyond.

Natural progression.

But after a while we begin to see a particular kind of image more and more in our work. Perhaps it is a way we compose, or a consistent way we present our subjects. Our post processing begins leaning toward that ‘look’ and we have the beginnings of style.

Style is NOT just a filter set or a plugin.Style is NOT using a specific lens.
Style is NOT making images that look like someone else’s style.

Style is what we do with all of the tools at our hands.

How we compose, frame, light, interact, present emotion (or not), deliver a story (or not). treat the subjects relationship to the world, reframe the subject into a place that may or may not represent reality.

It is how we make images that are uniquely ours.

Totally unique?

Nope. Damned difficult to do.

But unique to us in that they are a cohesive set of images – a body of work – that relates to our vision and presentation of the photography.

We find our style looking back on what we love.

So we need to make a lot of images before we begin to see our ‘style’ emerging.

Imitate. Assimilate. Innovate. – Clark Terry

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15 Things To Consider When Leaving Your Corporate Gig

15 Things To Consider When Leaving Your Corporate Gig

Going Pro Photographer from a corporate gig is not as easy as many think it is.

Here is part one of things that you should think about before making the switch.


The List

  1. Turn a 9 – 5 job into a 5 – 9 job
  2. Do not underestimate the power of a good budgeting system. If you are not good at delayed gratification, this will be harder than it seems.
  3. Learn to love Mac and Cheese and Ramen
  4. If you don’t use it weekly, you don’t need to own it
  5. You will hate your boss… you will work when you are sick, and never be late
  6. If you are not working harder than you did at your corporate gig, you are failing
  7. Dress for the day. PJ’s and slippers will not put you into a work frame of mind
  8. Make sure you have a calendar and stick with it. There are far too many distractions to deal with otherwise
  9. Forget TV
  10. Save for rainy days… they happen
  11. Spend time with your family and be there when you say you are. Important to not work when you are with family time
  12. Shoot something every day… or every other day at least.
  13. Don’t measure your self or your work against others, just don’t.
  14. Watch closely for resistance… it can show up in the damnedest of disguises
  15. Don’t hide in your office… get out and meet people – especially other entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Being prepared is the best way to make anything work out.

The Headshot Ebook: For You

The Headshot Ebook: For You

John McAllister is a talented and hard working photographer in High Wickham, Buckinghamshire. He specializes in product and people photography for commercial clients who expect exacting standards and high creativity.

In order to serve his corporate and headshot clients better, he created this wonderful Headshot EBook that we are sharing here with you. If you get some ideas on creating your own book for prospective clients, then we are happy to have helped.

Here is the book. Download it for your use and enjoy.

The Headshot EBook PDF

John’s Website

Contact Info

John McAllister Photography
London Road
High Wycombe
Buckinghamshire, HP11 1DQ
United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 1494 464287

(All images copyright John McAllister)

My Utah Trip With Maciej

My Utah Trip With Maciej

A few weeks ago, photographer Maciej Blaszczuk and I took a road-trip together. This was a consultation with him on how to grow his business, where to go with his new ideas, and how to implement them in order to be more manageable. I help photographers focus, and I like to do it in a situation where we are relaxed, engaged, out of a familiar element, and being creative.

Hence: The road-trip consult. Genuinely successful, and a hell of a lot of fun.

This road-trip consult ended up being in southern Utah, so I rode my motorcycle up to Vegas, and Maciej flew in from the Bahamas. Maciej is based in both Bermuda and Poland and is a travel/adventure photographer focused on smaller camera work and cameraphone mastery.

I am happy to see he is implementing what we discussed and making his business more successful. And it is a fantastic new approach to a business model.

I love southern Utah. Some of the most amazing country on the planet, easily accessible, and marvelous people willing to help you find a canyon, choose a great restaurant,or pull your rental car out of the mud… heh.

The images presented here were either shot on my iPhone 7 and processed in the iPhone, or on a Nikon Df with an assortment of lenses (28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm) processed in LR / Pshop CC.

Day one we met at the Vegas airport (where I parked my bike for the duration) and headed out in a rented Volvo 4x4… and was that thing loaded! Power everything, full open view roof, lots of power for icy roads and some lovely interior features that made the trip out to the wilds of Escalante a lot more luxurious.

Our first night we spent in Cedar City. Great hotel with complimentary full breakfast AND dinner. We opted for some Mexican food and went in search of the best Cedar City had to offer. It was amazingly good Mexican food too. Don Miguel’s is the place, and it is on the main drag so easy to spot. Ask them for the spicier roasted pepper salsa they make for themselves. Yum!.

After dinner, we went exploring out west of Cedar City in a grand prairie-like environment. We found lots to photograph.

DAY TWO: CEDAR CITY TO ESCALANTE

Cedar City over to Escalante, via Bryce Canyon, was a blast. It was so cold at times I thought my fingers were going to freeze, And watching the blizzard conditions move across the mountains and valleys before us was almost magical.

We had lakes, vistas, frozen waterfalls, and a little pass where there was an amazing amount of Petroglyphs… simply amazing!

Things we discovered this day:

  1. Not many people travel that part of Utah on a Monday. The roads were empty and we once went almost an hour before seeing another vehicle.
  2. Devlishly hard to find hot coffee in that area, that time of year. We finally found a little diner with great pie, and indulged while it snowed.
  3. Weather changes on a dime at that altitude. From snowing and dark to sunny and comfortable in a manner of minutes.

I want to go back to that area… same time of year. Loved the aloneness of it all.

Day Three: Escalante to Waterpocket Fold

We spent this day exploring the Escalante / Grand Staircase area around Escalante, and I finally got to see Waterpocket Fold with my own eyes. I have wanted to see it since I was 20 years old and reading about it in a photography book I owned named “Slickrock”.

It was glorious.

But first, we drove up the mountain northeast of Boulder, Utah to some very high elevations, lots of snow, and a deep, perpetual cold.

That part of the trip was so amazing… the clouds, peaks, tree skeletons and more combined for some truly fun imagery.

Way up on the top of the mountains east of Boulder, we found so many wonderful places to shoot. I must say it was simply stunning. All the trees on this mountain range are Aspen so no pines were present. White tree-bones, white snow, and blowing snow made a whiteout occur on occasion. I was able to get a few shots in the moments when it would let up.

Road trips invigorate me. They make me realize how amazing it is to be here – in this spot – at this time. Being surprised at every corner, interested in every view, and engaged with the elements. Well, there is nothing like it.

While we were on top, in the blowing snow, three guys on Harley’s rode by. I suddenly realized how cold they must be… wow.

But then, we do what we need to do to be reminded that we are indeed alive!

SMALL SLOT IN LONG CANYON

HIGH ON THE SUMMIT

THE ROAD FROM ESCALANTE TO BOULDER

BURR TRAIL SWITCHBACKS (WATERPOCKET FOLD)

This part of the road rides a ridge with very steep canyons on both sides for about a half a mile. It is simply amazing.

DAY FOUR: ZION TO VEGAS

We were pretty beat from the long day in Escalante and Waterpocket fold so we elected to stay at the hotel in Kanab and have breakfast before heading to Zion. Good thing too… the light was mediocre and the traffic was horrendous. The breakfast, on the other hand, was superb!

We were going to eat lunch in Springdale but couldn’t find a place to park so we headed on down the mountain and decided to drive over to highway 93 through Modena and Caliente and then on into Vegas. I was quite surprised at a number of mountains in that part of Nevada. I thought it was all flat like over on 95, but it isn’t. Bluffs, peaks, mountains and canyons are plentiful in a high desert area. Simply beautiful.

On the way back we stopped in Modena – an empty town of maybe 3 people, saw a grass fire on the prairie and generally had a great discussion about what Maciej was going to do next. Fabulous!

Thanks for coming along on the virtual trip. I hope you enjoyed the images.

If you are interested in doing a one-on-one road trip consultation with me, just drop me an email and we can talk about what you are looking for. (NOTE: I do not do hotel conference rooms, or other sterile, non-creative environments.)

See you next time!

27 Images That Show the Diversity and Power of Black and White Portraiture

27 Images That Show the Diversity and Power of Black and White Portraiture

27 Images That Show the Diversity and Power of Black and White Portraiture

Black and white portraiture is not simply the decision to desaturate the color from an image, it is a decision to remove color to create something powerful and artistic. Monochrome portraitists know there is deep emotional consideration when removing color.

Color can be distracting in some situations. Color can be wrong in some situations.

Think about the badly mixed colors in the wardrobe, or distracting dead grass in the background. What if we didn’t have to deal with that at all, only with the graphic possibilities that the elimination of color gives us.

Shooting good black and white means PLANNING on the image being monochrome. Knowing how colors will reproduce in a black and white image is extremely important. An orange shirt and blue shorts may pop in color, but in black and white the luminances can be so close that both turn a dull gray and there is no differentiation between them.

Black and white has a sort of timeless beauty to it, and the interest in that timelessness has not been diminished by the digital camera (which shoots in color by default). A black and white image can be haunting, engaging, beautiful, emotionally driven, and captivating.

Here are some portraits from my “Mastering the Black and White Portrait Class”. 

The photographers learned a ton of techniques and approaches to shooting black and white, with the strength of deliberateness, and it made them better photographers in general.

“MASTERING THE BLACK AND WHITE PORTRAIT” is currently enrolling for a May 6, 2017 start. If you are interested in what the class covers, hit the link and check it out.

Take control of your black and white portraits with this 8 Week Workshop.

 

PROJECT 52 PRO 2017 BEGINS SHORTLY

If you are interested in developing professional-level skills for your photography, please check out this online, year long workshop. Designed for people who have day jobs, but want to improve their photography and learn how to work like a professional.

Whether you want to be a full time photographer or just pick up some gigs along the way, this class will take you through the all the stuff that is not taught in traditional photography classes. Learn more about this unique class.

Learn More