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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

10 Steps To Photographic Fulfillment

Take the journey from disappointment to delight

Labels: How-ToColumnTech Tips
Step 5: Pursue Your Project. Nothing happens until you make it happen, so don't leave this to chance. Calendar your plan, handle logistics and follow through. Organize your results so you can easily access and review them. There will be twists and turns, but don't let them completely derail you. Continue to define yourself and your goals as you progress.

Step 6: Adjust And Adapt. As you advance in your project, you'll find out what works, what doesn't work and what needs to be changed or abandoned. Incorporate new knowledge into your plans. Expect your project and goals to evolve, and your skills and results to improve, as you proceed!

Step 7: Follow Through At The Computer. Digital captures require postprocessing. One of the great advantages of the digital realm is the ability to take full control of your creative efforts so the end result is as good as, or better than, what you previsualized. This means you must maintain a capable computing system and master those aspects of image editing and optimization that apply to your work. Return to the educational resources discussed in Step 4, and practice.

Step 8: Invite Criticism. If you bring your iPad or prints to me at one of my seminars and ask me to look at your images, don't expect that I'll just give you an encouraging pat on the back. I'll do that as warranted, but I'm also going to tell you what I believe you need to know to improve your work. You need to seek unbiased and informed input, and you can best do this by submitting your work to camera club critiques, enrolling in online mentoring through venues such as BetterPhoto.com and taking advantage of professional critiques offered at major conferences such as NANPA and Photoshop World. Check your ego at the door and listen to others' suggestions. You can pick your ego back up on the way out, knowing that you've opened yourself to constructive criticism and learned from it.

Step 9: Use Your Work. If it's worth doing, it's worth sharing. Putting your images out there invites criticism, sometimes unwelcome criticism, but see Step 8. Even if you don't sell your work, it can speak for you from your own walls, from your note cards, as illustration for newsletters, in the local newpaper's readers' contributions, on your Facebook page and as contest fodder (see Step 8 again). Give a talk about your latest project at the senior center, local museum or library.

Step 10: Share Your Knowledge. Once you've attained a high level of expertise (meaning you've distinguished yourself within a certain photographic genre or community), you can share your work and knowledge through articles in newsletters and newspapers, instructional talks at the camera club and local high schools, exhibitions of your prints within local nonprofits and businesses, and at community art walks and fairs. You now can publish in ways only available at great expense to professionals in the past. Look to publishing-on-demand services, such as Blurb.com or Lulu.com, and ebook development software, such as Adobe eBooks. You, too, can sell your creative production on Amazon.com and be seen on an iPad or a Kindle on the other side of the world!

One more thing about my 10-Step Program: It's a process I go through every time I take on a new project, when I want to learn a major new technique, and in a less intense way, before each trip out the door or into the studio to undertake photography. I have a specific vision, and a purpose, and these can't be realized without critical tools, knowledge and skills. I build on (and acknowledge) the foundational achievements of others, then adapt, learn and modify my approach as I'm working in the field. I share my images with capable colleagues and ask for their feedback. I put it out there for others to critique (and they're not always kind). And, then, when I've got it to the level that satisfies me—even delights me—I share it. And, now, back to Step 1.

Follow George Lepp's exploits, see his latest photographs and be part of the discussion on his Facebook page: www.facebook.com/georgelepp. Lepp is part of the OP Blog at www.outdoorphotographer.com/blog/author/glepp.


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