When I was newbie photographer, I made it a point to photograph anything and everything that I could get my hands on. I was doing it all from newborns, to corporate headshots, weddings, families, you name it. I was just so interested and hungry to hone in on my skills and see where I was at in this new "professional" world of photography. I even got myself involved with a mentor, a very highly respected photographer. I felt I was ready to learn even more.
(Side Note) Sometimes we can just be busy and not effective.
On one of our training days, I remember being at his home and asking him to upload some of my images that I had taken into his computer so that he could give feedback. This was literally a heart wrenching moment for me as I was putting it all on the line. I was exposing what was so precious to me to allow someone to possibly rip it apart. I sat silently while he went through all the different photos I had taken, and awaited his possible compliments or dreaded critiques. He finally got through with them and like all well trained teachers, he began with a compliment stating my posing skills were phenomenal. However, I knew this exercise, I knew what was coming after that. He then took one of the images and blew it up on his big 26 inch screen, that reveals all and pointed to my subjects eyes and said but your focus is off.
(Side Note) We have to open to being vulnerable and seek guidance from someone that may me a little more learnt then we are.
I was so excited about just getting clients to photograph that I hadn't taken the time in to learn how to focus properly. Like literally step one in photography after picking the camera up. Although with the regular eye and to most non professionals, the pictures looked great at a glance. However, after seeing them on the big screen, I could see that most, if not all the pictures I had taken lacked focus and this would make it almost nearly impossible to print anything bigger than an 8x10 portrait.
In our lifetime, we can become so obsessed with just doing, that we don't even concentrate on the full picture. We tend to shoot and then aim. There is nothing wrong with with being an action taker, however in the end we may notice that our focus is off and we are aimelessy just staying busy.
Lack of focus can kill our productivity. If we are not concentrated, on what could be the most important part of the picture, we can end up with a product or service that is lacking and useless in the end. Many times I find my wheels turning in so many different directions. Part of that is being diagnosed ADHD, in my definition: the artist in me and some of that is just mindless wandering and getting stuck in the sink hole of social media. Either way, we need a good source of energy and concentration to bring us back to purpose. A few good techniques that I am in the course of learning and some that I am currently practicing are;
Try to get organized.
If you are someone like me and organizational skills are at the bottom of your, the things I'm good at list, then start small. Just a little tidying up can really make a huge difference in your life. Endless amounts of time are often spent looking for things that are sometimes right in front of our face. Cleaning up can help you stay focused and not have you running the rat race looking for things. Generally speaking, our mess can show us a lot about what is going on, inside of our life. Take a look around your space and let that mental picture soak in to remind yourself of what you may need to cleanup in your mind as well.
And remember that 90 percent of what we do and who we are is by choice. If you want to be more focused whether it be on your kids, your marriage, your career or life in general, just a simple mindset shift will start to lead you in the direction that you need to go to get back on track.
As I was going through a few pictures albums the other day, looking back at my baby boy as a newborn, a toddler, and a young kid, I sat quietly just staring at the photos with a smile on my face. My oh my, where has the time gone?
Now a highschool senior and halfway through mind you, I was just in awe! A friend of our family was visiting our home, (side note), this young fellow is considered a millennial but also on the verge of Generation Z, walked by me and asked what I was looking at. I smiled and passed the album over to him and said, "Joeys baby album." He laughed and said, "that is so 90's!" The funny thing about this statement was I wasn't shocked! As a photographer, I know the way the world sees photos now a days and even more so that everyone is about having those digital photos!
Oh the days of hanging pictures on our wall or doing the "90's" scrapbooking thing for everyone to see. I never thought I would hear myself saying the good old, "well back in my days!" But things really have changed havent they! We are now in an era that is known as the Lost Age. An age where millions of digital photos are taken everyday but with that, most will never see a wall. In fact, it's been shown that 86% of people have no plans of printing the photos that they take. You see, now we do the,"hey, come on over to my computer and let me show you my family pictures."
I believe so much in the power of a print that the moment when my clients walk through the door, they see a 40x65 Heirloom print of my family photo on the wall.
I love the way that people, not just my clients, stop and look at it in admiration for minutes. I catch my kids friends staring at it for moments and wonder if they think we are truly a mobster family! Its a conversation starter, an attention grabber, its my history, its my story, it's my beloved family!
That's not the only place you will catch printed photos on my walls. The moment you begin your descent downstairs, to the most comfortable spot in our home, is the moment you will find yourself walking a little slower then what you normally would. Here you will see more of our legacy and history as a family. Different moments, different vacations, different ages in our life, some of our most valued memories shared with everyone.
I make it very clear to my clients that I am proud to be a Print Artist.
Most of the time they will just nod and shake their head in agreement. Some will ask the question, "well, just what does that mean? I mean really, Sally from up the street gave me all my pictures last year on a disc and sent me on my way, won't you do that too?" That's my que to really explain the definition of why being a print artist is so different. I explain that when hiring a professional photographer like myself, they are investing in so much more than the quick pass off of a digital image. I explain that I honestly find it a disservice not to offer them an art piece for their wall. I believe that they too, should have an heirloom piece to pass down. I let them know they should not solely rely on the "cloud" that is somewhere up there, to store their photos, forever hidden from the world, unless ofcourse you are on Facebook. I explain that the images I print should outlive them. I tell them that I believe in giving them something tangible that they may pass down to their loved ones, etching their history into time. I want my clients to sit in their living room everyday enjoying and cherishing the photo that is hung on the wall or placed in a book and let it make them smile in remembrance of a time, a place, or moment that meant something to them. Even if that moment was "just the day that we met the photographer at Helen Hunts Falls, kids were crying and it was so windy, but we laughed, had a great time and now have a wonderful portrait from it."
Print artists like myself, aspire to give clients something to hold, something to touch, something to see off the screen. This allows us to connect with it so much more. It allows us to have those moments that tug on our heart more frequently when our images our right in front us and throughout our homes. It allows us to have those quite, teary eyed moments staring at a loved one who may not be with us any longer. It allows us to share our own story while others look with admiration. It allows us to share the history of the generations before us paying homage to who they were in our life and the life of others. This is a the power of a print. This is why I am a print artist! Lea