Feed Your Fire

Feed Your Fire

Being inspired is a crucial part of being creative. The more things you feed your brain with, the more chance a great idea will bubble to the surface. I try to take inspiration from many sources but in this first instalment of what will probably become a sporadic series, I want to share with you a few photographers that never fail to give me an inspirational and motivational shove in the right direction.

davidhobbyDavid Hobby (aka The Strobist)

If you are into photography or lighting enough to be reading my blog, you are bound to have heard of The Strobist. David is the man who brought about the huge off-camera flash renaissance and drove the price of old Nikon flashes through the roof on eBay  If you’ve not read it yet get the hell out of here and go read Strobist 101. I’ll wait! It was reading that series of posts and seeing just what you can do with small flashes that really sparked my interest in lighting. He’s since released two DVDs. The first is a solid intro to off-camera flash with some great live demonstrations while the second really shows how David has finessed his style and will take you even deeper. His current project is HoCo360 – a visual journal of his home county.

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zackariasZack Arias

Zack is based in Atlanta and describes himself as an editorial and commercial photographer but he is also a great educator. Between them, David and Zack got me interested in working with lights and taught me more than I’ll ever be able to thank them for. Zack’s OneLight DVD is out of production unfortunately but his “shutter speed controls ambient, aperture control flash” mantra really made the penny drop for me. Not only is Zack incredibly good at explaining complex concepts, he has a practical, down to earth, no BS attitude that I have taken a lot from. His honesty and openness is refreshing in a “fake it til you make it” world. Zack also as a huge Tumblr site which is dedicated to nothing but Q&A. This is solid gold! There is everything from advice on lighting and composition to business and marketing tips. To give an idea of scale, Zack has answered well over a 1000 questions, but only 100 of them were needed to fill the The Photography Q&A Book

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chasejarvisChase Jarvis

Chase epitomises frankness. He’s been blowing open the doors of the photography world for years, or as he puts it, he was “transparent long before it was hip to be so”. So long in fact that the old guard accused him of ruining the industry by giving away all their secrets! It’s Chase’s “rising tide floats all boats” ideaology that inspired me to start sharing what I have learnt with the world.

He even stages what can only be described as his own monthly live chat show on which he sits down with a variety of inspiring creative people. Add a few past episode to your YouTube watch later list, you can’t fail to be motivated. Chase is also the co-founder of CreativeLIVE, an incredible training resource with a unique business model that lets you watch every course, live, as it’s being filmed for free. Being able to ask some of the names in this list questions via Twitter and get a live response for free is well… priceless!

On top of everything he gives back to the community, Chase is an amazing photographer, a hugely likeable chap and walking proof that being different, not just incrementally better gets you places.

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Sage advice from some amazing photographers

Sage advice from some amazing photographers

Anyone aspiring to be a successful photographer needs to invest 16 minutes of their life and watch this video shot at Gulf Photo Plus. Then rewind and watch it again.

Lee Morris and Patrick Hall took the opportunity to sit down and talk to Zack Arias, John Keatly, Joe McNally, Peter Hurley, Scott Hargis, David Burnett, David Hobby and Gergory Heisler and ask them just what it takes to be a success, not just in photography, but in any field.

If this doesn’t inspire and motivate, you might want to check your pulse.

Here is the link the original FStoppers article with lots of background info.

Photography Sucks!

Photography Sucks!

The fact you are here, reading this blog, probably means you are like me and you love photography. Not just like or enjoy, but love. Put a camera in my hands and I’m happy. I love being able to unleash my creative side that starts to scream from inside if I keep it bottled up too long. I love how it makes me think on my feet in changing light and situations. I love being able to make a picture that looks nothing like the actual scene my subject and I were standing in at the time and seeing the reaction on their face.

But two weeks (sometimes two days) later I look back at the images I was so pleased with and hate them. I see all the imperfections, I criticise my lighting. I scroll though my portfolio judging everything: “This sucks, this sucks, that’s old, I should have done a better job on that, this all sucks!”. Nothing stacks up against the work I see coming from the photographers I admire.

Only that’s not my quote.

That comes from a photographer I admire.

Zack Arias.

It’s so reassuring to know that Zack, provider of inspiration and the reason the “aperture controls flash exposure, shutter speed controls ambient exposure” penny dropped for me, has the same moments. It’s also a little sobering. I had hoped that when I was producing work as good as that and had achieved that much, I’d be living the Johnny Photographer lifestyle.

But it seems like photography is always going to suck.

It’s a good job I love it.

Thanks to Craig Swanson at CreativeLIVE for getting this segment from Zack’s 2nd three day course edited down and posted to their YouTube channel so I could share it here.