4 Ways to Find Your Photography Passion

photography-passion

If you read just about any photographers bio I’m sure somewhere it will say they have had a passion for photography since a very young age. If you’re getting into photography later in life this can leave you wondering if you have what it takes or more importantly how do you become passionate about photography because being excited and being passionate about photography are 2 very different things. Today I'm going to show you exactly how to discover your passion in photography in just 4 easy steps.

First we need to talk about passion. What is passion? Passion is a feeling right? If you have it you have it and if you don’t you’ll know. Wrong. Let’s talk about what passion is NOT!

Passion vs Excitement.

You may think they are similar but would you say that you are passionate about finding a coupon for free shipping from your favorite online retailer or would you say your excited about it? Excitement is everywhere! I get excited when I get a free cup of coffee after I have already bought 7 others. But I’m not passionate about it. Passion is not instant. It takes time to cultivate. Be excited about everything you can about photography, but be passionate about one thing.

Passion vs Dedication.

If you have ever been on a diet for several months you become dedicated to it. Everything you do somehow revolves around the diet you are dedicated to. Go out with your friends to that new burger place? Sure but you know you will be ordering something you wouldn’t be if you were not watching what you ate. But if you were passionate about eating healthy and you went out with friends you may still make a bad decision because enjoying the social setting with your friends is more important in this moment than saving a few hundred calories in the long run. Passion is merely the catalyst and dedication is what keeps you going.

Photo by Flickr User Joey Yee

Photo by Flickr User Joey Yee

So there are 3 levels of joy here. Excitement, Passion, and Dedication. Excitement is everywhere and the joy can go as fast as it comes. You can even be excited several times a day. Passion is the next step you think about hard and often. You become curious about it and seek out the answers. You may only become passionate about something once a year. Dedication is a whole other beast. You dedicate your time and your life to 3 or 4 things in your entire lifetime. They are rarely physical and often ideas or practices. Like your faith or your partner.

Why is it important to find your passion in photography? Well it lets you control your time. If you have a day job please don’t get into photography for the money. The desire for money will lead you into taking shitty gigs just because they come with a paycheck. You will become so unhappy with what you shoot and grow to resent photography. You may have got into photography as a way to leave your full time job and that’s fine, but think of your job and the paycheck as a lifeline. A way to fulfil yourself creatively and shoot only the things that excite you.

Photo by Flickr User Airman Magazine by J.M. Eddins Jr.

Photo by Flickr User Airman Magazine by J.M. Eddins Jr.

So now that we know what passion is not and why passion is so important let’s talk about how to cultivate and find your passion within photography.

1: Learn As Much As You Can

Chances are, right now you’re extremely excited about photography but you would like to become passionate. You’re looking for an area to focus on and dive headfirst. But you don’t know what you don’t know so step 1 is to learn all that you can. We all know that youtube is a powerful platform to learn just anything you can imagine but I would suggest giving Creative Live a try. They offer hundreds of in depth courses on anything you can imagine related to being a creative. They are all for sale BUT 24 hours a day they run multiple courses for free. With creative live you know your course with be in depth and be taught by a professional in their field. Which can’t always be said for Youtube.

2: Don’t Shoot What Doesn’t Interest You

Photo by Flickr User Peter Roome

Photo by Flickr User Peter Roome

Does everyone tell you that the only way to make money in photography is by shooting weddings but you know that you don’t want to give up your weekends? Then don’t shoot weddings! Check out Outdoor Adventure Photographer Kat Carney. She is a professional photographer who lives out of a converted 4x4 suburban! She’s doing it because she’s passionate about shooting nature and being outdoors. Not because it’s the most popular option. Now I’m not giving you a pass to not be curious. When I first got into photography I didn’t think I wanted to shoot weddings but I gave it a try and fell in love.

3: Learn When To Move On

You got into photography because you enjoy it. It’s fun. Not because you felt obligated. So if you ever get to the point where you become bored or no longer into it as you were before, move on. Photography is really something that you can learn and grow with and sometimes what you thought was passion was actually just excitement. When I first got into photography I really enjoyed the idea of macro photography. Being able to see the world in a completely new way was fascinating to me. Almost a decade later, I don’t even own a macro lens anymore because it was not as enjoyable as I had previously thought and it took much more effort to get a great macro photo and I didnt think the pay off was worth it. So I moved on to keep the passion alive.

4: What Are Good At And What You Enjoy

Photo by Flickr used Michiel Gransjean

Photo by Flickr used Michiel Gransjean

I’m good at math. But I do not enjoy it. I’m not good at speaking other languages but man do I love when I’m able to piece a sentence together. When you take an inventory of your strengths and then pick out what you love to do you may have just found your match made in heaven. I love newborn photography but I’m terrified making a mistake that could hurt a newborn so I don’t do it. I love going to new adventurous places and meeting new people and I’m good at making people feel comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera so engagement and wedding photography is a great fit for me.

I simply took something I love and something I’m good at and focused my attention on it. This is where passion lives. From here I know what I should be focusing on. Flash photography for weddings is entirely different than high fashion flash photography. Now I don’t have to waste my time learning high fashion photography because that not my passion. 5-10 years from now wedding photography may not be my passion. And if that day comes I’ll be happy I wrote this guide to look back on and continue to grow!

As you can see being passionate about an area of photography is the only way for it to be sustainable but you have to start somewhere. If you are still struggling to learn the basics of photography, sign up for my free 14 day video course. Photography Basics for Beginners!

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Having More Fun With Your Photos

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When I first started taking photos I would go out, snap away, come home, edit the photos and then they would sit on my hard drive never to see the light of day again. At the time I thought, I’m not a professional photographer, my photos are probably not worthy of sharing. This was totally the wrong mindset to have and it wasn't until I changed that mindset that I really started to find joy through my photos that lasted longer than it took to edit them. Sharing your photos can not only be a rewarding way of keeping up with friends and family, but can also grow your skills as a photographer.

My problem always comes when I take a hundred photos of my son’s birthday party, Thanksgiving with the family, or that sunny beach vacation. I don’t want to post all the photos at once to Facebook or Instagram because it’s clunky and no one wants to really spend 10 mins looking through all of your photos. It’s the modern version of a slide projector. So how can you turn your photos into something compelling enough that family and friends will want to see more, all while being fast and super easy to use and share? After all would you want to spend all day editing photos of your son’s birthday that was only 3 hours long? I use Animoto.

Animoto lets you create fun video slideshows quick and easy. They have a ton of video templates and access to thousands of songs to add some flair. If you have ever dragged and dropped files on your computer you can make an amazing slideshow with Animoto in just minutes. Here are some examples of videos I have made to share on Facebook. These slideshows took less than 15 mins to create using the Animoto app (available on iOS and Android) which means I was able to share our fun time with the world in less time that it took to drive home!

But as much as I love Animoto, there are a few things I don’t care too much for. I also create slideshows for all of my weddings and engagement sessions (again I can make them in minutes and my clients go crazy for them) but one thing that bugs me the most is that for a few templates the photos you upload get a filter applied to them to match the video template. This does not bug me if I’m just sharing photos of my family outing but it bugs me when I go to upload wedding photos that I have already edited as applying a filter to an already edited image can create a photo that looks a bit overrated. While I have never had a bride complain and it might just be me being too over controlling it is something to be aware of. It would be great if there was an option to turn off the filter being applied. But if you can look past that, Animoto is the most fun you can have with your photography!

If you’re interested in trying out Animoto click on my affiliate link below and get one month for free to try it out so you can make great videos, easily!

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This blog is not sponsored by Animoto, I was not paid by Animoto to create this information for you. These opinions are my own! I truly enjoy using Animoto and I think you will too!

6 Reason Why The 35mm Lens is BETTER Than The 50mm Lens!

6 Reason Why The 35mm Lens is BETTER Than The 50mm Lens!

35mm-vs-50mmP.jpg

So you've been shooting for a while. You used the lens that came with your camera as long as you could before upgrading and adding the 50mm 1.8 to your camera bag. The lens is great but at times can feel quite limited especially in close quarters but going back to the stock lens that came with your camera is not an option, so what lens should you get next? Great questions. Today I'm going to share 6 reason why the 35mm lens is BETTER than the 50mm lens. This blog post does contain affiliate links and is not meant to reflect negatively on the 50mm lens as it truly is a gem.

#1 You’ll Get More in Focus.

What's that? You miss focus a lot when shooting your 50mm lens at f1.8? To know why your missing focus will help us unlock knowing how the 35mm lens will let us get more in focus. Focus is determined by 3 factors. Your subjects distance from the camera, the aperture your lens is set to, and the focal length of the lens. With a 50mm lens you may find that on a crop sensor camera, when you're indoors the lens may be “too zoomed in” or “too tight” and on top of that when you try to take someone's photo they tend to get too close to the camera and the camera won’t focus on them. That’s perhaps because they are within the lenses minimum focusing distance. Meaning your 50mm lens can not focus close enough to get a lock on your subject, leaving them out of focus. With a 35mm lens you can focus closer than the 50mm lens. Next the wider field of view allows for a deeper depth of field. Depth of field is the distance of how much will be in focus. If you focus a 50mm lens to 10 feet at f1.8 you will have 9.7inches of focus. Everything in front of that will be out of focus and everything behind that will be out of focus. The same settings on a 35mm lens will give you more than 20 inch depth of field. More than double the space to get your subject in focus!

More is in focus. Photo by Flickr User Tobi Gaulke

More is in focus. Photo by Flickr User Tobi Gaulke

#2 It’s More Versatile

I’m sure you have been in a situation with a 50mm lens where you just can't back up far enough to get everything you want in the photo. I know I have and it sucks! The 50mm lens is considered a “Standard Lens”. It’s not wide, and it’s not too zoomed in. The characteristics are very close to what our human eye sees. This is not the case however when put on a crop sensor camera as the field of view becomes closer to an 85mm lens. 85mm is considered a telephoto lens. A 24mm lens is classified as a “wide angle lens” because it takes in much more than our eyes do, and to do that it creates distortion in the form of bowed lines. So where does the 35mm come in? Well it’s like a wide angle standard lens. The 35mm lens is much wider than a 50mm lens but does not cause nearly as much distortion as the 24mm lens. Because of this it can be a wide angle when you want it to be and also a standard if you want it to be! You can go out and shoot wide landscapes, then just move in closer and still be able to shoot portraits. Something not possible with a 50mm lens.

Wide when it needs to be. Photo by Flickr User gato-gato-gato

Wide when it needs to be. Photo by Flickr User gato-gato-gato

#3 It’s More Revealing

When was the last time you were 40ft away from someone and felt an intimate connection with them? I’m guessing it’s not often. That’s what it’s like with a 50mm lens. Sure you can isolate them but are you getting a clear view of who they are? The 35mm lens forces you to get close to your subject, to learn who they are, to get you into their personal bubble. This amplifies true emotions. If they feel comfortable with you, you will know right away from how relaxed they look, and if they are not comfortable it can create some tense images.

#4 It Tells The Whole Story

What does every story need? To know who, what, when, where, and why. We learned this in grade school. We can know the WHO with the 50mm just fine but when you start shooting with a 35mm lens you also open up the door to the What, When, Where, and even Why if you have a keen eye. It’s all context. With the 50mm you might get a picture of someone eating a disgusting looking corndog. With the 35mm you can see that your subject is at the state fair eating chocolate covered bacon wrapped corndogs at night in front of the beautifully lit and colorful ferris wheel. See the difference?  

Who, What, When, Where, Why. Photo by Flickr User  gato-gato-gato

Who, What, When, Where, Why. Photo by Flickr User 

gato-gato-gato

#5 Wide and Fast Make Photos that Stand Out

We have all seen beautiful wide photos that can perfectly fit a whole mountain landscape and we have all seen portraits with a shallow depth of field that perfectly isolates the subject while throwing the background out of focus. Well with a fast 35mm lens you can get both to create something that stands out since it’s not something we can see with the human eye.

Wide and Fast. Photo by Flickr User Mike Monaghan

Wide and Fast. Photo by Flickr User Mike Monaghan

#6 Better for Travel

When traveling packing light is always a concern but so is having all the gear you need to take the best photos. This usually consists of every lens you own and a few you rent, just to be sure you don’t miss a single moment. But what ends up happening is that you get so wrapped up in taking photos that you are no longer present on your adventure. Then what good are the photos if you can only experience them after getting them printed (or worse, just uploaded to facebook)? The who, what, when, where, and why are what make a great photo. The technicals are just extra. That's why when I travel I just bring a 35 and an 85mm lens. And guess what? I rarely ever use the 85, the 35mm lens is the workhorse. Its ability to tell a story, shoot in low light, its versatility to be a wide and a standard, and be light enough to not break my back makes it a must own in my book and a better option than the 50mm lens more than 75% of the time.

Travel Photos to write home about! Photo by Flickr UserKarl Stanton

Travel Photos to write home about! Photo by Flickr UserKarl Stanton

If you are looking for a new lens, and you don’t have a 35 in your camera bag, well look no further! Here are some links to amazon to pick up a 35mm lens for your camera system, in return for purchasing a lens through my link amazon gives us a tiny commission at no additional cost to you!

Note: Canon does not have a 35mm lens under $500 but the 24mm lens provides the 35mm field of view on a camera with a crop sensor. 

5 Must Have Accessories For Every New DSLR Owner

Your camera is a pretty amazing tool. It is essentially a time machine freezing anything that you point it at. As powerful as it is, it can’t do everything. Luckily there are plenty of accessories out there to help us get the most out of what out cameras have to offer and can also make getting out and photographing life a much more enjoyable experience!

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The Complete Guide To Great Travel Photos: DSLRs

Traveling is the one thing everyone wishes they could do more of. So When you get to travel you want to make the experience last and a great way to do that is through photography. Having the ability to relive your travels through your photography can bring you joy years after you return home. You don't want to take the same boring vacation photos as everyone else. You're a creative and want to showcase your abilities so when you're showing off your vacation photos to family and friends they feel like they were right there with you. So here are my top tips to getting incredible travel photos with your DSLR. 

Colorado Springs Hike

Colorado Springs Hike

1. Tell a story

A photograph will retain information better than our brains will so get as much info in each photo as possible. Get try to get at least 2 the 5 W's in each photo. Who What When Where Why. Most of the time the WHY being most important. Who you are with and Where is the easiest. Tell the When and the What if you're going to a festival. Combining multiple W's will always make your photos more interesting and compelling to look at for others.

Who, What, Where. Friends Hiking in the Mountians. 

Who, What, Where. Friends Hiking in the Mountians. 

2. Pack Light

When on vacation I often just bring one lens with me. More often than not its its a prime too. The flexibility of a zoom lens is great don't get me wrong but You still want to enjoy yourself and be in the moment. The weight of a zoom lens is just not worth it to me. It could be for you if you are going to a more scenic location or large event. I might pack one flash with me for getting creative shots but more often than not It gets left in the bag. My bag just has the camera, lens, spare memory cards, an extra battery, and a lens cloth. Most of that could fit in my pocket if I wanted it to. I ultimately want to enjoy as much of my vacation as possible and not have to worry about the excessive amount of gear I could bring. 

3. Don't forget the details

What makes travel so great is seeing how different the rest of the world is. If everywhere was just like the town you live in than travel would now be that cool. So figure out what makes that place so unique. Is it the beautiful mountains, is it the incredible food, or is it just great friends? You are telling YOUR story so focus on what makes the place so great to you! You don't have to reinvent the wheel here. Go ahead and take a photo of the leaning tower of piza along with the million other people. But make it your own. Try a unique perspective.

Details like where you are give more context

Details like where you are give more context

4. Take some video!

"But Raymond this blog is about taking better travel PHOTOS" Ask yourself WHY are you taking photos? To relive an experience. Photos can be great for that but sometimes you can tell part of a story quicker with video. Thats why Youtube is the number 2 search engine in the world and Flickr is not. Every DSLR that has come out in the past 5 years has the ability to record great video. Just take a few seconds of every day life in this place. People walking, the cool shops, the locals. Keep your clips short. 10 seconds will be enough. But what are you going to be doing with all of these video clips?? Funny you should ask 

5. Put it all together!

Here is your chance to tell the whole story and not just the bits and pieces with each photo. If you want the ultimate control bring all of your photos and videos into a program like Adobe Premiere or even Apples iMovie. While you will get the control and flexibility with both of those programs they will take up a good chunk of time to create the final video. Thats why I use Animoto for the majority of my videos. Their easy to use drag and drop interface and video themes makes creating incredible fusion slideshows simple and painless. The last night of your trip you can easily make a video of the whole vacation to share with family and friends back home on social media. I made this video below simply with iMovie as I wanted a bit of creative control with the music and the drone shots. This video contains more than just DSLR footage but you get the idea. It took about 5 hours to put together. 

 

6. Back up your photos.

If the point of taking photos is to be able to relive your memories then backing up your digital photos so you don't lose them forever is essential. If you're able to travel with a laptop bring along a slim portable 1tb external drive to back your photos up to. If you're not able to travel with a laptop there are a lot of great wireless hard drives that let you back up memory cards to. My recommendation would be the WD My Passport pro. It has a ton of storage, downloads the cards quick, and has a built in battery that can also charge your other devices like your phone! Score. Then when you get back home to your computer you can off load them to start editing!

 

Taking these photos so you can remember your trip later is the goal here. So don't get so wrapped up in taking every photo you can think of or perfecting your technicals that you don't actually make any memories of the trip yourself. Follow these tips and you will be sure to get great photos on your next adventure! 

But there is so much more to a great photo than just good settings. Some of my favorite photos I've taken were technically very poor. So if you want to take more meaningful and emotional photos while learning how to master your settings, sign up for our free 14 day video course!

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