Keep it Fresh, Photographers

16 Mar

I’ve just received the latest issue of my favourite magazine, Photo District News (PDN.)

PDN is the most industry relevant photography magazine I have come across. It’s chocked full of articles that range in topic from the best equipment for shooting video on a Digital SLR, to launching a photography career in todays market.

In the past five years that I have been getting my photography career tuned, fine tuned, and re-tuned – I’ve learned a couple things that have stuck with me. Something about getting this issue in the mail today, and skimming through the images inspired me to blab away on my blob. I like blobbing.

A lot of people ask me if it’s possible to make a living at photography. My short answer is, yes. Although it’s true that everyone and their mom owns a decent camera, and some editing program on their computer – I’ve found it is actually possible make a living at it. Despite the latest gear, there is something more than technology found behind the best photographs.


I don’t mean obsession in the creepy, unhealthy way – I mean it in the not creepy, healthy way. All photographers I am inspired by have stories of working late hours into the night, spending far too long in one spot for the best light, and going into questionable areas of town to get an image that is different – an image worth sharing. To me, that’s the healthy kind of obsession. They have become known through their audacity, their tenacity, and their often aggressive (sometimes abusive) approach to getting the perfect shot. They’ve put in their time.

I’m by no means saying that photography, if you want to make it a career, should take priority over what is truly important in life. In fact, I’ve found it to be the opposite. Sure, there are times that I maybe spend too much time talking about it, and my wife tells me it’s time to shut the laptop, along with my mouth. I find the experience I gain with the camera in the bag, really just builds on my photography when I get back to pressing the shutter. And an article I read today, might be useful six months from now. It’s definitely a journey.

I think the best attitude for anyone working towards taking better photographs, like mastering any craft, is self discipline. And in order to sustain any form of self discipline – at least for me, it has to have passion behind it. If a project lacks passion, it lacks the fuel for completion. And passion and self discipline require direction – vision; A reason for doing what you do.

For now, my vision is the sharing of a story that is happening here, with the people who are there, along with the fact that I’m curious – curious and interested in connecting with people and hearing their story. Photography lets me do that, in a creative way. Creativity + Connecting = Now we’re cooking with gas, boy.

For my buddy John Butler, photography is a little different. I assisted John on making some beer images a few weeks ago. John loves sweaty beer. He actually goes out of his way to make beer look sweaty and delicious. And he makes it look like you could pick it up off the screen and take a sip. And let me tell you, he works very hard to get one good shot of a sweaty beer. You know what, I’d safely say he enjoys photographing beer. I think that’s probably at least 57% of the reason he is good at it. The other 43% is because he works hard.

How does this all tie into PDN? Well, PDN is full of different voices – voices of photographers who are passionate about what they do. And not only that: they’re succeeding at what they do! I think the best thing you can do is meet others who are doing what you enjoy – and chat. Bounce ideas back and forth. Learn more. Teach more.

Anyway, I’m just excited after skimming the magazine. Think I’ll head down town and grab a snack and read some articles.

All the best!

– Cole

One Response to “Keep it Fresh, Photographers”

  1. Katrina Beers May 16, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    ❤ it!

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