Getting the Passion back in your Photography

Incredible views from this lookout midway through a 12km alpine hike to this glacier lake. I set up this shot and waited for clouds smile emoticon I'm using the LEE Filters 10 Stop Big Stopper ND filter to get a 21 second exposure in the middle of the day.Also used Lightroom's new dehaze setting to pull more details in the mountain.Gear: Canon 5DMK3 + 24-70mm f/2.8, 21s at f/8.0, ISO 50.Tripod: Really Right Stuff TVC-23 + BH55 Pro ball head.Bedwell Lake, Vancouver Island, 5DMK3+24-70mm, 21s at f/8.0, ISO 50.

I find that many photographers, especially the perfectionists among us, feel a huge pressure when it comes to their photography. Gaining good editing and photoshop skills, as well as pushing yourself creatively is an important part of becoming a better photographer, but when you start feeling perpetually unsatisfied with every picture you take, you start to lose the passion and love for the thing you love to do.

I’ve noticed this with my attitude towards my own photography, so I thought I’d share some tips to help you generate a little bit of heat between you and your camera.

Tips for getting your photo groove back:

Seal Bay Nature Park, Comox Valley. Canon 5DMK3 + 24-70mm, 4s at f/16, ISO 50.

Share your photos:

Never feel embarrassed to share your shots with others because you don’t think they are “good enough”. We are all at differing levels of ability from a day old shutterbug to Annie Leibovitz. And let’s face it, not every shot is destined for the front page of Vogue, so cut yourself some slack and don’t get caught up in negative feedback.

Criticism is never easy to take, especially with something as personal as photography, but learning from our mistakes is how we grow as photographers. By not sharing your photos you are not only preventing yourself from growing, but also shutting yourself off from receiving praise and encouragement from others.



Photograph something completely different

Sometimes switching up your focus can help reset your creative brain. Always shoot landscapes? Grab a portrait lens and photograph some humans. You must know a few. Take a beautiful naturally lit portrait out in a field of grass or by a lake. Take what you know about landscape photography and apply it to a portrait. You can achieve stunning results simply by placing a person in a landscape.

Don't miss a photo opportunity

The world has an annoying habit of producing amazing photo opportunities at the exact moments when you don't have a camera on you. I've learnt this the hard way by missing many magical moments: A double rainbow over a field of hay bales in the south of England, a golden magic hour backlit shot of wild Pronghorn antelopes in Jackson hole, and a perfect sliver of light shining between two glassy high-rises in downtown Vancouver illuminating a beautiful woman carrying a red umbrella. *sigh* 

It may annoy your friends more often then not, and you will probably hear this phrase a few times: “Why do you take so many pictures all the time?” and possibly,“What’s so interesting about about that old storm drain anyway?” But you’re a photographer, that’s who you are, so keep that camera close and capture as many moments as you can. You never know when that double rainbow is going to spring up.

Networking with other photographers is one of the most motivating things you can do. So, put yourself out there a little and post a photo!

Now it’s your turn. Make me a promise that you’ll fall in love with your photography again! Happy snapping & share your shots in the comments below or with me on TwitterInstagram or Facebook :)



Don't have any regrets with your photography

Santa Monica Pier Sunset Santa Monica Pier Sunset, Canon 5DMK2+24-70mm, 3.2s at f/22, ISO 100.

Never walk away from a potentially great shot thinking, "I’ll get that later". Persevere & take it now! ‪#‎noregrets‬

Sometimes a great shot is snapped in seconds, other times it takes 4 long hours of freezing your butt off. I can relate to feeling tired, cold, sore, and frustrated as a photographer, but if there is anything I have learnt over the years, it’s never walk away from a potentially great shot. Odds are that if you just wait longer or try harder, you will get the shot, especially if you have right conditions for a great shot like billowing clouds, magic light, or a gorgeous subject.

Never say, “I’ll just come back tomorrow” or “I’ll get that shot later”. You never will. Persevere through your sore neck, cold feet, and frustration and get that shot now, especially if you are traveling. I have never regretted staying an extra two hours to get a magical shots. I have always painfully regretted not stopping to get a shot, but I never regret staying to the bitter end of a glorious sunset to get a perfect shot.

Now I just shoot until I can’t shoot anymore. I stop the car and jump out and shoot when I see a rainbow. I now think, “this is my only opportunity to get this shot,” so make sure I nail it before I leave.

Learn to edit & critique your own photos

One of the many sunsets we enjoyed during our honeymoon on the Big Island. I learnt that flip flops are the worst things to wear whilst scrabbling over sharp lava rocks. Ouch! It's all worth it for the shot, isn't it? Canon 5DMK3 + 16-35mm f/2.8 + Circular Polarizer, 1.0s at f/14, ISO 100. Tripod: Really Right Stuff TVC-23 + BH-55 Pro, Remote Canon TC-80N3. Puako sunset, Canon 5DMK3+16-35mm, 1s at f/14, ISO 100.

I get a lot of emails from people asking me to critique their photos. I’m always happy to help guide new photographers in the right direction, but ultimately it’s up to you to learn how to critique your own photos. Photography is art and the judgement of art is relative.

Almost anyone can tell you whether a photograph is composed and exposed well, but does it capture a meaningful moment, does it say something about the world, does it present a new concept or change the way someone feels about a subject? It’s up to you to decide what your answers and and present them in your own personal photographic style.

Once you’ve decided on a style, don’t let anyone shake your vision. People will inevitably disagree with your style, say mean things about your photos, and tell you how your photos would be much better if you did things their way. I get feedback like this almost daily. Almost every photographer I know does. Unless someone I really respect gives me meaningful criticism, I ignore the noise.