Seizing Possibilities

Seizing Possibilities
Seizing Possibilities

Friday, December 31, 2010

Ring out the old and bring in the new.

Follow Me...

Sunlit Path
The autumn and winter path that leads to spring and summer.

Since it is the final day of the year, I hope you have all taken time to reflect on the blessings and successes you found in 2010 and have forged ahead creating tangible goals for the coming year.   I have so much to be thankful for and I take a deep breath believing that 2011 will be a stellar year for me accomplishing the goals I have for myself as a photographer and personally.  Wednesday I listened to a good 30 minute video by Brian Tracy about setting goals; so if you want some good advice on how to go about setting some tangible goals, go ahead and watch it!

When the New Year arrives I decided that as an artist and art instructor I would begin writing in my blog and cover the five Elements of Art first, and then move into the five Principles of Art.  They all are basic concepts for consideration in being aesthetically pleasing in what you do. Some people just seem to have “an eye” for things, others can easily learn and we all can understand a bit more by learning these simple concepts which will help us refine what we do.  I especially want to begin to explore what they bring to photography.  Hopefully it will bring a new look into my own photography and will be of some help for you as well.   By looking more closely and thinking about these aspects of art I am believing it will help in the continual refining of my vision in a more clear and purposeful way.  Helping me to more fully know what I want it to bring to the viewer and how best to incorporate these concepts into my photographs to create a more evocative image.  I believe they will not only help me but also that they will help you to perfect what it is you do and have to offer as an artist.   Each of these can play a role and some are definitely more dominant than others in our vision; but generally, if we are aware of them we can more purposefully know what they convey, how they make us feel and whether we might want to emphasize one over the other to bring across what we as individuals are trying to say in our work.  Hopefully we can achieve a more clear vision for ourselves and those who enjoy our work by understanding these concepts.

Have a Happy, Healthy and Successful New Year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Looking back to look forward- Follow your heart.

Well, the New Year is just around the corner now and it is traditional to assess the year that has passed and look forward to the new; to set goals, make resolutions and move forward with renewed passion and resolve.  In your business or work, looking back on the year’s successes and failures will help you to realize where you need to make adjustments and look toward new avenues or outlets for your business to be profitable.  As a new photographer on the scene, there is a LOT for me personally to assess!  So I am trudging forward like the stickman in the snow with his little sled.

Life dealt me a curve ball in April, when I lost my full-time job and it took me some time to let it settle in my heart and then let the activity of the things taking place around me settle a bit more before I knew it was time to follow my heart.  To believe in myself and to take the “bull by the horns” so to speak and move forward in a direction of the seed planted in my heart as a very young girl, even when it seemed impossible, it was what I needed to do. 

I will definitely say using the social media aspects available to me has helped to launch me in the right direction.  So I would definitely suggest, if you are moving toward making photography your business, having a FaceBook Fan Page and Twitter and LinkedIn seem to be a great asset in getting your name out there and to begin to be recognized.  Make them all uniform so people begin to associate your name with your work, personalize your URL.  LinkedIn photography and art groups have helped me make connections with others of my profession. Networking with other photographers will be high on my list for the coming year.  The benefits of Flickr for me need to be explored.  Many of you have been on my recent journey of building my website; a monstrous mountain to climb which in the end I am certain will bring good things in the coming year, but if you can afford to have someone else work on this for you, you might be miles ahead!  Selling to just friends and family is not enough!  Donating photographs to causes (Davin Gordon ) has been a great way to make everything I do worthwhile and I look forward to being able to do it again this coming year. 

I have a lot to learn, a WHOLE lot to learn! I can never stop learning and growing and evolving into being better than I was the last time out taking my photographs.  Becoming more excellent in every way at what I do and want to accomplish must be part of my list.  Make this list more specific! I need to find out what I need to learn technically, aesthetically and personally and make that part of my intent and goals in the New Year.  Of course there are some things I have no idea I need to learn yet, so it’s time to consider a workshop with someone I admire and who perhaps works in an area of photography I would like to break into.

Perfecting a portfolio that says to someone else what I do, where my passion lies, what I am compassionate about and which photographs in my work best represent that and the vision and dream I have; to take it beyond the photograph and into the hearts of those viewing it.  To reduce my portfolio to a place where others want to see more of what I do and have done in the past.  Perhaps working with a coach might be a direction I need to take, someone who has helped others in my position to live their dreams and follow their hearts.

Submitting my work to entities that I would love to work with and who might benefit from my compassion and point of view; to branch out and reach farther.  To dream big, to follow it and to succeed. 

Dream.  Believe. Work hard. Live it.

What do you need to ponder on from last year and consider for the coming year?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A break for the Holiday

I think it is time for a holiday break.  I’ll be checking in over the next several days and if I am inspired may write something more but otherwise, I will keep editing and doing what I can to prepare things for my website, I have actually decided to keep my photographs “pointed” to my external hard drives for editing and keeping my computer running a bit more smoothly.  It is the only real decision I have made as I work on the raw files and convert them to DNG’s to change out the jpegs already uploaded and for new galleries.  I have a lot of thinking to do over the holidays about refining my vision and keeping my galleries and portfolio geared primarily to that vision so people know what to expect when they hire me as a photographer.  Good advice from the video series by Selina Maitreya that I posted the link for yesterday. I have been working hard on my portfolio as well as a year end pictorial for my family and close friends but for now, I want to wish everyone a happy holiday season.  I celebrate Christmas and will be busy helping my sister and her family as we prepare the various foods for all the family and friends gathering at the house.  For those of you celebrating Christmas have a wonderful, safe and festive Christmas enjoying your family and friends.  Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The start of something good!

May I suggest you take a few minutes, if you are serious about your photography and listen to some free videos from consultant Selina Maitreya check them out at:

Well worth the time to help establish your photography vision before going any further!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Don't let that overwhelming feeling get you down!

Today I am thinking about forming priorities.   Lying in my bed this morning before jumping out into the cold, I lay snuggled warm under my covers and began to think how overwhelming building this website has been for me.  I am someone who has taken photographs for years and has tens of thousands to look through and I could flail on for a long time without a purpose if I don’t keep my goal in mind.  So, what are your goals for your photography?  What kind of photography do you want to do? How can you best express it with your online websites and galleries?  Concentrate on those photographs first then you can go back through the others.  I know I can take that overwhelming feeling away if I just stay with that premise and work through the most recent work that helps convey the kind of work I would like to do with my photography business.  Working toward getting my portfolio together is one of the most challenging aspects and even though I thought I was prepared and had laid a lot of ground work, there are still many stumbling blocks and setbacks.  Write that artist statement and keep it posted next to you to serve as a constant reminder of the purpose and focus of your work and your website.  Let it serve to inspire you to move forward.  My goal before Christmas is to keep focused.  I am going to steer myself straight, how about you?

Visit my ongoing project at

Friday, December 17, 2010

Protect your images!

Today, I’m going to get side-tracked because someone alerted me to the very easy task someone has to download photographs from Facebook and remove the copyright.   My daughter-in-law who’s wonderful at helping me and “watches my back” actually did it and showed me her results!  I wasn’t very pleased.    I do always try to reduce the pixel count to a 72 dpi but that isn’t really good enough, even one slip allows for complete ability to do whatever they want!   So I spent the better part of my evening removing albums from Facebook.  I have a bit more to do on Facebook to prevent thievery, but realized having a website becomes even more valuable.  I will link to my photographs there where they meticulously protect them, instead of posting them directly on Facebook.  That is helpful in itself bringing traffic and friends to a website where purchasing my photographs is made easy!  All-in-all it is a good revelation.  I’ll bring my fans on Facebook together with the art I do and help them with the ability to order the photographs they have always enjoyed!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I Love the days that go Smoothly!

When a day goes smoothly, it is time to rejoice!  Every day that passes seems to make contributing to my website much easier; a lot of work, but much easier!  Some days, when file uploading is easy because I have prepared properly, just makes me rejoice and gives me a lot more time to find the RAW files I need for other albums.  The good thing about all this building of websites, my photographs will be much easier for me to find and going forward will make keeping them organized much easier as well as I understand more of the processes involved.  Using Lightroom3 has been wonderful; knowing your camera, good idea; photographing things, exhilarating; keywording, tedious; organizing photographs, priceless! I wouldn’t be without a program like this if you are serious about photography. 
I am glad I took the step forward to building a website; it has taught me so much.  If you have any initial questions you might want to ask because you are contemplating having your own site, please ask and I will do my best to answer it for you.  Eventually, as things go more smoothly for me in building my website, I’ll venture into other aspects of my work and things that might help you as a photographer and an artist.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Room Service?

I was always told there might be days like yesterday!  I submitted a question about how to change out my photographs on the site with the larger more detailed files of DNG’s for my JPEGs but it took them nearly all day to answer the question.  I tried replacing the image but it didn’t change any of the EXIF that existed about the photograph so I knew that wouldn’t work and I was hoping for a better answer than having to upload those files once again and rearrange them and write everything all over again.  But to no avail that was the answer.  They had this wonderful upgrade planned for last night.  So what to do with a day like this?  Room service!!  Well actually I took the time to work on my blog page, organize more photographs and do some crafting for my sister!  Enjoy the new blog.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What's your Logo or Watermark?

Today I’ll touch upon an aspect I really never gave much thought to until I started my website.  While I knew what my website was going to be about, my art, photography and why I do what I do; I didn’t give much thought about a concise way to show and promote it with a logo or watermark stamp.  The real impact came when I saw the watermark they put across my photographs!  YIKES!!  That wasn’t what I wanted at all.  So I feverishly began to draw and think and I tried to run some ideas past trusted friends and family.  In the meantime I used a simple signature to at least get the garish copyright wording they provided off my photographs!  I have since come up with the logo I want to use and what I think says Dru, this is what I do! 
So for today’s tip, think seriously about a logo and copyright symbol to identify yourself and what you do.  If you are not savvy in this area of working with Photoshop or Elements, find someone to help you.  I did mine myself so I don’t have any “go to” people for you, but a graphic artist would be a good place to start.  Ask around locally or use someone who is willing to listen to what you are trying to accomplish with your work.  Come with ideas that they can build upon and then, let them do their stuff until it is tweaked to your liking.  Don’t hesitate, it can be great fun and exhilarating once you get the, “Aha! That’s it!”
My Logo now looks like this:

Monday, December 13, 2010

More than Photographs...

While it is obvious you must have your photography galleries ready for uploading to a site, there are other things that you must prepare as well. Plan to have an artist statement ready, which is simply a statement about why you choose to do what you do.  There are several components to an artist statement which include a brief statement about your work and your approach to your medium.  It should compel someone to want to look further at what you do, so make it brief and enticing.  Write it in the first person with two to three paragraphs.  Let it change as you change; but initially write it using descriptive words to provoke further looking into your site.  Consider writing more than one for different bodies of work.  Write it then set it aside and come back later after you’ve worked on your photographs for a while and have a trusted, honest friend read it to give any insights they might have for you.  There are several good resources online to creating one.  This is the one I found most useful:

The other document you should have ready to go is a brief bio of yourself, a short paragraph or two is good.  This should be brief stating who you are and what you do, if you want to include or have any awards or accomplishments to entice people to want to use you and your work, do include those as well.  If you have the capability and want to include a PDF file of your resume’ onsite you could do that as a download, but I wouldn’t suggest you put that directly on your site.  I would have one ready to send to a potential client if they ask in PDF or as a doc. file.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

First things first!

The most important thing to do prior to obtaining a site is to have several albums “waiting in the wings” to be uploaded.  What this means is your photographs are sorted and you have them in the largest file size the website will allow and the file type they suggest.  I learned AFTER I had sorted and uploaded albums that they suggest RAW images on their site so they are ready for potential buyers.  I was unaware this was even possible let alone the BEST way to have your photographs prepared!  So I have to go back and find the raw images whose jpeg files I have already renamed.  Thank goodness metatdata stays with the photograph.  The other thing that is advantageous to do prior to obtaining your site is to make sure your photographs have been keyworded and that they are titled.  It saves a LOT of time once you have your galleries uploaded.  I wasn’t certain how this all worked when I started.  (I use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop elements, but my primary editing tool is Lightroom 3.)  But through trial and error have learned a number of things.  First, be sure to have your IPTC set at import.  In Lightroom 3 when the import screen comes up on the right, there is a box called metadata.  Click on the arrow and then on edit presets.  Fill in as much information as you can for the batch of photographs you are importing to Lightroom, be certain at the very least you have the copyright box, author and other contact information you want to share in this preset; then name the preset so that you can access that every time you import new photographs.  Next, add as many keywords as makes sense for the batch you are importing.  The location should be something they all have in common at the very least.  All of this, if done on import saves lots of time as you work with your photographs, sometimes this aspect is the most tedious and time consuming aspect of preparing your photographs.  If you work this into your everyday workflow you will save a lot of time when you get ready to move forward.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Website building

I just took the dive into building my website and initially found it overwhelming.  There really are some ways to prepare better for this and hopefully as I begin to be a more faithful blogger I will be able to share some of the struggles and successes to give you better insight into taking "the plunge."  But I will say, if you are thinking about it.  Just do it!  You will never be perfectly ready and even if you think you are, you will encounter new and interesting days filled with tidbits of frustration and elation all at the same time!  If you are not quite ready to have your own website, which by the way, I would obtain my own domain name, much more professional looking and it's one of the cheapest aspects of having your own site, there are a number of things to do to prepare your files!  There are definitely a lot of good hosting sites out there to choose from and I would try to narrow it down and then take a tour as much as possible to understand some of the things you can do and what they offer you.  Decide what it is you actually need for your photography and then give it a try.  Most sites have a free or very inexpensive initial offer.  It's been only five days since I started my Photoshelter account and it gets easier and I understand more each day I work at it, sometimes hours on end when I am on a roll.    So far I am very happy with the account that I have there and have not taken full advantage of all the things they offer you, but I will and I'll do my best to help you get ready to "take the plunge!"