Most photographers today realize that unless you are doing photo journalism the image that comes out of camera and the image you have in mind are far from each other. If you are a photographer like me who wants to create fine art photography the camera is just the start. Something like an artist first pencil of the rough image, or a writers first few sentences this is not the final product but just the beginning.
With all the digital tools we have to create it is no wonder we are seeing some amazing digital art and photography all over the web. When I first started down the photography road and just learning to get comfortable with my camera I remember looking at those amazing images and saying “yes but they are not real they were photoshopped” like photoshopped meant that the photographer did not have to have the camera skills to take the photograph but opted to just do something with it in Photoshop. As I learned and grew I realized this is far from the truth.
You have to be an accomplished photographer to get a great image, even if it is just the starting part. You need to know what subject your subject is, where to place the subject in the photograph, how to direct the viewer to the subject, get great exposure and focus and do this all under great light which is really like your paint. A photographer with experience hopes you will linger in the photograph and connect as they did to the subject. What comes out of the camera is only the start to achieving this goal.
Sometimes however in the case of this photograph, I had no idea what I wanted to do with this image. I just knew that when I saw this mare and foal I loved the close connection they had. There were many distractions in the background but I was focusing on them. In fact when I uploaded this image I passed it by several times due to all the distractions, and just wrote it off as a lesson in moving to avoid distractions and get a better angle. I did not delete it, but it was going to live in my archives as a lesson learned for quiet a while.
But it kept haunting me because of the eye of the mare and the connection she had with her foal, Something told me it was worth looking at again. Then it dawned on me that if I play with it maybe I could use the digital tools I have to make something create something.
Here is where I started and the different things I tried before getting to the final image at the top
After trial and error of this photograph I had finally created something I really loved. It started as just a photograph, but it would not leave me alone and ended up to be an art piece I loved so much I made the investment to have it framed and is now hanging proudly on my wall. It also taught me to look at photography a bit different. Look for the art, look at my subject more and know there could be a hidden gem in there. I do not always have to take the perfect photograph when it comes to background and distractions but I do have to make sure the exposure is correct, the focus is right and the subject is placed where I need it to be. But the bigger lesson is to slow down and listen to what my subject wants to say. Then it is my job to create and tell that story.
This image will be available for purchase on my website https://gigiembrechts.com
Some of you may not know but I live half the year in Belgium and split my time between Belgium and Colorado. After living there for 5 years I find this small little country very interesting. They have unusual traditions, politics and economy. Much different from the USA
I have linked a video of just one of those crazy traditions. It is call Paardenprocessie Hakendover
This dates back to mid-evil times as you can see on the video of the first riders. I guess there is a saint that protects the crops in the fields, so to prove that every year after the planting of the field 200 horses stampede across the field to tear it up. But as the tradition goes, the crops are protected and still grow and thrive even after the riders stampede across the field.
Very strange tradition but has been going on for years and years.
At this time last week I was frustrated and confused. I had more questions than answers about my business and managing my life. I was pushing for the answers and pushing myself to do more, learn more, market more and on and on. I was trying to control my business and my life and it was driving me crazy.
Then I remembered the message in a book I had read last year called “Dying To Be Me” by Anita Moorjoni A book about being who you are and finding joy. Anita had witnessed her own death and came back with a strong message for all of us.
I decided to just stop and look for the joy in my life. I was not going to strive and worry and try to figure it all out.
After that decision I instantly felt relief. I went about my day doing what was only in front of me. It felt good to let go of what I was trying to make happen.
Then some amazing things started to happen. I went to my photography club competition and one of my photos won in my division. I later got an email from a client that wanted to buy two more prints for her home. I had invigorating conversations with my husband and close friends. I hosted a cocktail hour for some neighbors and had a wonderful time. A foot of snow fell, I love snow. Then on Sunday morning I could see out my window that the morning fog was coating everything in beautiful crystals. I grab my camera and drove to the lake and wildlife refugee near my home. It was a magical morning, a photographers dream. I was in natures playground of beauty. I could not take enough photographs. Although I should have brought my tripod, I was still just so enjoying the beauty and stillness of the morning.
I can not say how important it is to just live in joy. It’s time to quite spending our lives striving and fighting against things we can not control. Just let it unfold. Find the joy that is waiting for you in your life
Have a great week and experience the extraordinary.
I decided to start writing about chasing the dream. That dream of making a decent living with the craft of photography. Did I just get your attention? Probably because most of us who are not doing this just as a hobby are trying to make a living in a very saturated industry.
I heard this quote the other day.” If your business is costing you money it is a hobby not a business, is this true? What about the cost of a start-up? What about the cost of education, equipment, marketing, etc for any new business? I think that you should expect it is going to cost you a lot of money to get to the point of making photography a business. It is also going to cost you a tremendous amount of time in practice and education. Photography is not like a franchise, this is a craft that will most likely take years to perfect. I am going on my 6th year of full-time education and daily practice trying to master my vision. I will not even say what this all has cost me, just incase my husband reads this someday.
Another suggestion I hear is that if there is no competition there is no market. Really? So we need to do what everyone else is doing if we want to make a living? I had to sit with that for a bit. I suppose that is true if you want to be a commodity but if you’re an artist, you want to run and run fast from becoming a commodity.
I feel fear when I think about my vision for my business because I want to focus my photography on draft horses. Which for a business plan in the so-called “real world” would falter due to it is such a small niche part of the market. Then I watched a podcast on TWIP about this guy Don Kamarechka who has poured himself into snowflake photography and is now attempting to publish a fabulous book. This got me thinking. How big could the snow flake market be? But he is now known as the expert in snowflakes. Who could imagine that for a market?
The world does not need more of what we have already have. We need new stories, visions, art, products, and perspectives.
It is so easy to walk down the path that is well-worn and mapped out. But to follow the path your heart is calling you to follow takes courage, dedication and the wiliness to not listen to the masses. I believe you are experiencing such a calling when you feel fear at the very thought of doing what you have been called to do. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of status and reputation. When you feel these fears it is a good sign that you are on to something and you need to take serious look at this because there is something here that is designed with you in mind. It is also a path that you can choose to follow or pass up it is completely up to you but if you pass up the inspiration it will move on to someone else and you will have missed the opportunity. I am sure you can recall such a situation.
Will I be able to pay my bills and live a comfortable life by following my heart? I have no idea, but you can follow along with me as I share with you this dream and vision and the challenges I am sure to face.
Let the journey begin. I will post something about my journey each Tuesday, even if it is just to say I can not post today because of ???
I love visuals of all kinds. Recently I entered a 30 days of filming video challenge from a Creative Live class given by Sue Bryce. If you know her you are probably wondering why I would take a class from a photographer who teaches glamour photography which is so far from what I am doing, but she is an amazing teacher and I love to learn every aspect of photography.
Well back to the point. In this class she was teaching us short video to use as promotion. Her guest was Hailey Bartholomew who does an amazing job with producing short videos. She challenged us to begin by filming and producing a video of the things you love and appreciate for thirty days to help us develop our skills.
I joined in on the challenge and this is my video: Window View
I submitted it to her contest, not sure how it will do but I learned a lot and found another avenue to sharing my vision. I can not wait to use this skill when I am photographing the draft horses in Belgium this spring and summer.