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“What kind of a photographer are you?”

A question that many of us in the profession are asked. Some people can answer it quickly with I am a Landscape Photographer, a Portrait Photographer, a Photojournalist, or a Wedding Photographer. I am not sure why they want to narrow down what they do to one specialty. I want to be the best photographer.

I have learned that as a Photographer, all you really do is, capture light. You need to learn how your camera works. You need to switch it to manual mode and take pictures, lots of pictures in every possible situation. You need to take a picture and look at it. Try to figure out why it looks like it does. Perhaps manipulate the settings a few times and review it at home on the computer.

Once you learn how to capture light and manipulate your camera to get the image you want, you are on your way to be a photographer. To many people are photo takers. They press the shutter release on their camera in Automatic Mode without understanding what is happening.

Years ago, several department stores hired high school kids to be portrait photographers. They had a studio set up with the lighting, a camera in a specific spot and all the props located so all they had to do was point and shoot. There are still a fair number of portrait photographers that have a studio with the lighting set up and their pictures turn out ok. While they have learned how to pose people, they do not understand the way they are capturing light. Even in a perfect environment one size does not fit all.

I have learned how to shoot outdoor festivals like the National Cherry Festival from morning to night. I have also shot the Microbrew and Music Festival where, light not only changes but, rapidly disappears. I have shot Suds and Snow where the light is over powering and you have to compensate in a different way to get great images. At those events I play the role of a Photojournalist as well as an Event Photographer.

I have captured some amazing night shots from the moon, stars, the Milky Way, and stunning Northern Light shots. Shooting low or almost no light is a true art form and I Love it. When out shooting at night I would be considered a Nature Photographer.

When people ask me what kind of a Photographer you are, I never know how to answer. I want to say, “I am a great photographer and the only one you will ever need to hire.” I know I am not the best photographer in the area. I have a large number of friends that are fantastic with a camera. Yet few are as versatile as I am.

If you are thinking about becoming a photographer remember a few things. First, take pictures of what makes you happy, you need to keep doing what you love. Second, find people to go on photo adventures with. I learn something every time I shoot with someone else. Third, learn how to use your camera to capture light by taking lots of pictures. Finally, be a photographer to capture memories and emotion not just to take pictures.

Be a Photographer.

Northern Lights from Old Mission Peninsula May 5th 2018

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