You’ve bought your first camera and now you have some good shooting time beneath your belt. You’re waiting to move beyond that kit lens and there is some money burning your pocket, begging to be spent on new glass.
When I’m asked for advice on what a photographer’s next lens should be, my response is usually, “What do you like to shoot?” The answer to this is the best way to determine what the next lens should be. With that in mind, here are my recommendations for the lenses which should follow your kit lens.
Parades are a popular choice for photographers who want to make images of people. However, standing by the sidelines while people march or drive by doesn’t provide the most interesting and engaging photographs. Instead, I prefer to photograph people before and after a parade. It’s then that some of the best images are possible.
Over the past 8 years, I have conducted well over two hundred interviews with photographers on my show, The Candid Frame. These conversations have featured well-known master photographers such as Mary Ellen Mark, Sam Abell and Greg Gorman. Other conversations have featured lesser known names, but whose work was no less exceptional such as Penny De Los Santos, Rinzi Ruiz and Jerod Foster.
These in-depth conversations have taught me a lot of things about photography, but it’s also demonstrated what it takes to be a successful photographer. And by success, I don’t just mean achieving financial security or fame, but rather creating bodies of work that are exceptional and express a unique vision and point of view. Here are ten things I feel I’ve learned most from my many conversations.
Making a living as a photographer has never been more challenging. We’re being asked to deliver more work for less money. Expectations for transfer of copyright are being demanded in the form of a buyout or work for hire agreement. Newspapers are letting go of their photo departments and transferring the picture responsibility to a writer, toting nothing more than a smartphone. And new photographers are entering the competitive arena who are willing to work for far less than a seasoned professional would ever consider fair.
Yet, despite all these external challenges, the greatest obstacles lay not with others but with ourselves. It is often the choices that we make not just as photographers, but as business people the reduce the viability of making a living as a photographer. Here are some common ways that many photographers self-sabotage their work and their careers and some remedies to combat them.
I used to have to face a brutal commute. For 5 days a week, I would be trapped in my car for an average of 2.5 hours, all to make a 30-mile round trip. Though I had tried listening to music, talk radio and books on tape to help endure the notorious stop-and-go traffic of the 405 and 210 Freeways, it was podcasts that transformed the drive from feeling like an extreme sport to an enjoyable part of my day.
It was my fondness for podcasts that helped inspire my own show The Candid Frame, but I still listen to a lot of shows to help keep me informed and inspired, especially when it comes to my photography.
Though there are a lot more choices than I had 8 years ago, I wanted to offer my own personal favorite podcasts (most of which are photo related) for you to discover and explore. I hope you find enjoyment in them whether or not you face your own challenging commute. They are listed here in no particular order.
A new year brings with it a lot of New Year’s resolutions, and it’s no less so with photographers. And though we are always well intentioned, we can easily let life get the better of us. However, keeping our commitments to ourselves doesn’t have to be so difficult or challenging as long as we have some idea of how to achieve our photographic goals. Here are a few suggestions that may help you to be more creative and productive in 2014.