Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Project: 90 Days – What I Learned

Much has changed in the last 90 days. Passions rediscovered, fears overcome (mostly) and objectives redefined along this journey I have shared. While I would have wished for a little more feedback and connection, I definitely appreciate those who took the time to look, rate and comment on the images.

At first, I was ready to call this project an absolute success. The result has been extremely positive for me. But, as I reflect on the last 3 months and what I set out to do, there has been one glaring failure. I don’t feel bad about it or let down. It was simply too much to expect in 90 days. I am talking about the main objective of the project, which was to develop a point of view, a vision, if you will, for my photography. I now realize to have failed in this after 90 days is no failure at all. Many photographers spend their lives developing and refining their vision. I recently read Within the Frame by David duChemin about this very thing and he spent 20 years finding his vision. 90 days. Please.

So knowing that I have more to do in that area, I would like to focus on the many things I have learned in the last 90 days.

Let the image you want to create, dictate whether you go portrait or landscape, not the way it will be displayed on the website. It sounds like a no-brainer, and maybe I’m the only one who gets stuck in this particular box, but I have found myself trying to fit my images in a landscape format because both my blogs are set up to optimally display landscape images. Not only does it limit my vision when I take the picture, it limits the intention of the image itself to not go beyond my website. Limits are to be avoided.

Crop, crop, crop. The way the 90 Days website was set up, the images were arbitrarily cropped to fit the homepage collage. Every so often, the cropped image on the homepage was more interesting than the full image. Sometimes this served the vision of the photo and sometime it didn’t. I learned to compose my shots closer to refine the story I wanted to tell with a more simple image, cutting away as much of the extraneous clutter as possible.

I’ve learned that I’m not as fearless as I need to be when it comes to taking people’s pictures. It took me almost 10 minutes of watching Henry Jones before I could actually step up and talk to him. I think there is a level of audacity that any successful photographer needs, especially if you’re not a landscape photographer.

If the image is not a winner before you get it in Lightroom or Photoshop, it’s not going to be a winner after. There’s nothing wrong with post-processing the image to refine it and bring out the best image from your original shot, but it’s a good idea to avoid what the industry terms “polishing a turd”. I did learn some new techniques for post-processing to bring out the image I had envisioned when I shot it.

The most important thing I have learned is that I would rather be out with my camera, taking pictures, than doing anything else. I have been a photographer for almost 10 years, but for the last five, it was something I did because it needed to be done. Don’t get me wrong, I had some great experiences along the way, but I never had my camera with unless I absolutely knew I needed it. All that has changed. I rarely leave the apartment without my camera and even my tripod.

This project has been life-changing for me in a major way. It has reminded me about a passion of mine and has inspired me to readjust the direction of my career to get me back on track to being a full-time photographer.

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