Posts in Category: Commentary

Missing a few weeks

The month of April has not been a good month. It started off with celebrations. My grandmother celebrated her 100th birthday on April 8th.

The month came to a close with her death on April 19th, followed by the period of mourning and celebration of her long life.

Photo: Laura Virginia Atkinson - April 8, 1015  to April 19, 2015

Laura Virginia Atkinson
April 8, 2015 – April 19, 2015

Tip: Be True to Yourself

Recently I was asked to offer a tip to other photographers. While others were giving technical tips or offering criticism on photos by others, the one thing that came to my mind was to ‘Be True to Yourself”

In my view there are three types of professional photography. I’m sure if you ask other photographers many would disagree and say that there are more. But I have taken it to what I think are the minimum and nearly all professional photographers will fit into one of these and many will fall into all three.

They are: Photojournalist, Commercial and Artistic.

Causal shots of human interest whether or not they are ever publish. This category would also include most amateur photographers and those with cameras in phones

In general commercial photography is when you are hired by someone. Some of those that fall under this heading would be Portraits, Wedding, advertising, etc. In general your photographs are commissioned by others and your goal is to please them.

When your photographs, whether out of the camera, lightly touched up or overly processed, are done with your vision without concern on how others may feel.

Coming back to my saying “Be True to Yourself”, while learning there is nothing wrong with listening to what others may say. But in my view photography in general is an imprecise science. You need to learn and understand the basics. But when taking and working with a photograph, you have to be happy with the outcome. So ‘Be True to Yourself”

This is the first in a weekly series of Photography Tips. While I am far from being an expert photographer, I am feeling that I have learned enough to pass on some of my thoughts and try to turn hard to understand concepts into words that I and others can understand.

Each Wednesday I will post a Photographic Tip I hope will help the beginner better understand photographic principles. See you next week.

December is for the Best of ’13

This morning I heard that a number of Photographers are doing a Photo a Day project for the remaining of 2013.

I have already placed a number of Best of ’13 photos up. But since I have taken thousands of Photos during the past year, I shouldn’t have any problem posting a photo a day for the remaining days of the year.

This is the 2nd of December, but even though I missed a day, I’ll place two up today and one a day for the rest of the month.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Three Things – I’m Gulity

Recently I read a blog post by Anthony Mrvica about 3 Stupidly Simple Reasons Why Most People’s Photography Does Not Improve. The three things are:

1) You don’t take your camera with you

2) You are going to fast

3) You are worried about what people will think

I will admit that I am guilty of all three of these. Although maybe not as much as I was a year ago.

I now rarely go anywhere that I don’t have my camera bag with me. I haven’t gotten to the point that I carry it where ever I go, but it is usually in the car. I guess I learned that the hard way when I didn’t have it with me a few times and wish I had.

I use to go from place to place without looking around me. Lately I have slowed down, not to the point that I am getting beeped by going to slow. I look around and do see things that would be a great picture.

And that’s when the third thing comes in place. I don’t always stop to take the shot. And it usually is with an underlining feeling of what people will think. The person behind me. The helpful individual who may stop and ask me if everything is alright.

But I am starting to move away from doing these things and breaking the rules.

What Do Photographers Do?

On the surface the question “What do photographers do?” seems like a dumb question. One that could be asked with the question “Don’t photographers take pictures?”

Yes they do.

But is that all?

Some photographers will spend a lot of time working with the subject, adjusting light, position and making camera adjustments trying to get the perfect picture ‘in the camera’. They do very little post production work with software programs such as Light Room, Photoshop and others.

Other photographers will take a picture and then spend hours with the software program working with the picture until it’s what they think is perfect. Sometimes even to the point that the photograph has little resemblance to what was actually shot.

In short there are all sort of photographers and all pretty much do what they want to do. That is unless they are being taught by a photographer and trying to emulate what that person view as being the right things to do and the right way of doing it. I wonder if this isn’t the old adage ‘those that can do, those that can’t teach’.

Some photographers just want to go out and take pictures of things that they see. Call these the amateur photographers, but I’m sure that may experience and professional photographers do this too. In a way isn’t that what photojournalist or event photographers are doing.

There are those who mostly see themselves as artists. The camera and digital image is just the tool and the beginning of their artistic masterpiece, similar to a painter with a paint brush, paints and a canvas. Some even want to take a series of similar shots.

There are those who say they are taking pictures, while others will tell you they are taking photographs. At times the difference between the two is no more than what they themselves call the final result.

So I think the at short answer to the question is, photographers do what they want to do. They follow the rules that they wish to follow. That is even if they know the rules. And break others.

For me. I like to take pictures at events and activities in a photojournalist style. Although that doesn’t preclude me to wanting to explore others area.

Jobs for Photographers

One thing I know for sure, as long as I am publishing my Web sites, I will have a job as a photographer.

The Chicago Sun Times has just laid off all of their full time photographers, who I would also term as photojournalist. Apparently they are moving in the direction that their journalist armed with iphone can do both the reporting as well as taking photographs.

Will this work? It may but let me relate a personal experience.

I live in a small county and as one person publish information on what’s happening locally in my area. Most of what I publish deals with upcoming recreational and entertainment activities. However, I do attend events and cover them mostly as a photojournalist. I am often there with the local print reporter who also happen to have a camera to take pictures as needed. Often I have been standing beside her and something happens while she is taking notes and I had the camera up to my eye waiting to take a shot. Shots that I have gotten shots that she missed.

My thoughts are what will really happen is the the Chicago Sun Times will still be paying for photographs taken by photographers. It’ll only be now done via one photograph at a time, instead of having the photographers on the payroll. Some of the photographs may come from their former employees. Others from freelance professional photojournalist. And even other just from people on the scene who happen to have a camera.

Now that everyone is walking around with some type of camera, who doesn’t have a cellphone with a camera in it, the professional photographer has changed and will have to adapt. I don’t think that being a professional photographer is a dying breed, just one that has to think of other ways to market themselves.

The Body Beautiful

In recent months I have been thinking about doing a series of Photographs using the subject line “Tasteful Naturally”. The concept would be to take the ordinary woman of any age and size and take pictures of them in a natural (nude or semi-nude) but tasteful pose.

This morning on the Today Show they did an interview with Jes Baker. Jes is the blogger ( that wrote an open letter to Mike Jefferies, the CEO of Abercombie & Fitch, criticizing his, and the stores, views regarding Plus Size Women. Jes Baker is a size 22 and with few exceptions none of the clothes at A&F would fit her.

On the blog posing of her letter to Jefferies are a number of pictures she and a model posed in depicting sexually provocative shots. ( These are perfect example of the type of poses I had in mind for my series.

Other similar shot are at

Jes, I want to thank you for coming out and bringing attention to the subject that one doesn’t have to be a size 0 model to be able to pose for sexy shots and most importantly to bring out into the open a conversation that real woman have curves.

It has also encouraged me to move along with my idea of ‘Tasteful Naturally’.

Does Being a Photographer Suck?

I recently read a blog entry on 10 Reasons Why Being a Photographer Sucks.

I would have to agree with most of the points. But I also feel that if you want to be a photographer, most of these 10 reasons can be overcome.

One of the reasons is Post Production Sucks. But in a way this is where the creativity is achieved. If you think it sucks then you probably didn’t get the shot. Yes you could spend hours cleaning up minor details, but that also may be going to far. I am still in the very beginning stages of learning to do things in Post Production, but so far I have discovered that in general the biggest problem is picking the shots to work with and that those only need some minor corrections. AT least that’s my opinion, whether others think that is another one.

Being a photographer is as much as anything a passion. And either you enjoy it or you don’t. If you don’t it’s probably not the profession you should choose. As the old saying goes, if you enjoy your job, you will never feel as if you worked a day in your life.

Another Photography Blog

When looking on the Internet it seems that every photographer has a photography blog. And I’m not different. In fact you could say I have two of them. This one and the one on, where I am going to place photographs that I take throughout the Delmarva Peninsula.

What will I be posting on here?

Even though I rarely do any teaching, I have always felt I could be. I like to take complicated technology and try to put it in every day terms. So I am thinking of taking the things that I learn and put them here to share with whoever wants to read it.

So I suppose that this is just another photography blog.

Art or Photography?

Recently I came across a Web page showing pictures of adults Photoshopped to look like toddlers.

See –

Which brings me to ask the question is this photography?

I suppose it depends on how one looks at it. In my opinion it’s not. To me the photograph is what you see through the lens of you camera and what appears on the sensor (or film) to make a pictures. Sure it’s alright to make a few chances, such as cleaning blemishes, cropping the image and even removing some distractions, such as telephone/electric lines. But when one does major changes like these, I don’t think of it as photography.

To me it is Art. One that take the original photograph and manipulate it as one desires. Pretty much the same thing as an artist taking some steel or rock and turning it into a sculpture. That steel or rock is no longer just steel or rock, but now a piece of art. The same goes for these images, which are no longer photographs but pieces of art.