For the last year or so, I’ve been working at this new career as a “photographer.” (The lifestyle blogging thing is more of a side project.) With my seven years of experience, curating art and photography for My Modern Met, I knew I had a knack for picking out creative photography but I wasn’t quite sure how I would define my own style.
To be a successful photographer, one has to decide on what field to go into. What you want to be known for. Which genre appeals to you. Every day for a few months I would take pictures of my boys, honing my technical skills but also trying to figure out if family or kids photography was right for me.
So what have I learned? Sadly, not much. As much I loved taking pictures of Parker and Logan, I didn’t try going outside of my comfort zone. I’d look at Instagram images from some of my favorite photographers, like Max Wanger, Alice Gao, and Paul Octavious, and wonder what my niche and style would be. Like Max Wanger, would my photos have a light and airy feel about them? Would I be big on negative space? Or like Alice Gao would my photos be more clean and crisp, looking like an advertisement I’d see in a luxury magazine? Who would my clients be?
I felt like Alice in Wonderland, the girl who fell down the rabbit hole. Where would I begin? First, I took a few photography classes on Skillshare, then on Lynda.com but I would only pick up bits and pieces of information. Nothing seemed groundbreaking. No class inspired me to find my own voice.
Then, I remembered that there’s a website called CreativeLive that teaches Photography (and many other subjects). The company was co-founded by a photographer himself, Chase Jarvis. They’re curated classes taught by the world’s top experts. Perusing their website, I noticed that these classes wouldn’t be cheap. You could watch them for free when they’re live but if you wanted to watch an archived video, at your own pace, (they call it “on demand”) you’d have to pay, on average, close to $100. Is/was this a good investment?
The format is interesting. Each class is taught with an instructor speaking to a “live” class. The people in the room become participants, so the classes are somewhat interactive. They’re like stand-ins for those of us who are at home.
Yesterday, I selected six courses that spoke to me. They are:
Finding, Defining, and Marketing Your Photographic Style with Julia Kelleher
Family Photography: Photojournalism in the Home with Kirsten Lewis
Getting Started in Professional Food Photography with Steve Hansen
Story on a Plate: Food Photography & Styling with Todd Porter and Diane Cu
Adobe® Photoshop® for Photographers: Beyond the Basics with Ben Willmore
Photoshop for Photographers: The Essentials with Ben Willmore
Then, today, I picked up three more:
Incredible Engagement Photography with Pye Jirsa
The Complete Wedding Photographer Experience with Jasmine Star
Wedding Photography: Capturing the Story with Rocco Ancora, Ryan Schembri
I see these online courses as an investment in my career. You could go to a local college or photography club to learn these things but why would you when you can do it all from the comfort of your own home? Before I purchase a class, I like reading the reviews. They help lead me into making a decision on whether or not I should buy it.
If you haven’t checked out CreativeLive, you should. Especially with the sale they’re having right now! I’ve only started watching the first video, Finding, Defining, and Marketing Your Photographic Style, but so far I can say that I like the way it’s taped (with a live studio audience) and that the subject was exactly what I was looking for.