I have had the pleasure of working with landscape and travel photographer Colby Brown through TWiT Photo, both as a guest and as a judge for our Guest Quest contest. In this guestpost, Colby talks about what passion can do for your photography, and he couldn’t make a more fitting example. After picking up his first digital SLR just 5 years ago, this ambitious newcomer has already amassed major clients such as The Sierra Club and National Geographic, and his infectious enthusiasm for the art has made him a leader in the growing Google+ community of photographers. Just look at the pictures below to see what Colby means when he says that each of his photographs “tells a story of life on this planet.”
Follow Colby Brown on Twitter.
Post and Photos by Colby Brown
There is no doubt that the digital age has left its mark on the photography industry. Not only are cameras and lens more affordable for the average photographer, but the increased popularity of social networks has allowed photo sharing unlike ever before. Google+, for example, has only been in existence for just a few months and already it has hosted over 3.4 billion photos, which is a ridiculous amount. Because of these factors, and others like it, the act of taking photographs has never been easier or nearly as popular.
However, like many other art forms, photography might be easy to pick up, but it is also difficult to perfect. One of the most asked questions I get from students of my photo workshops is, “How do I take my images to the next level?”. For most photographers, I believe that it is easy to grasp the concepts of exposure, light reflection and even all of those fun “guidelines” we all read about, such as the rule of thirds. But a photograph is much more then a mathematical equation or a set of tips to help with composition, right?
You see, many of us who do this for a living learned a very important lesson at some point throughout our careers. We realized that while an image can be a dime a dozen, our passion as artists was truly unique. All the great photographers of our time were not only passionate about their work, they learned the importance of capturing that passion in each of their photographs. Have you ever looked at a photograph and been drawn to it, but not sure why? I believe that certain undefinable aspect is the artist shinning through. Anyone can take an image, but not everyone can capture a photograph.
Now I am happy to answer your next question, which most likely is “How do I do that?”, but I think you might be a little disappointed, because it is as simple or as complicated as you wish to make it. For many of us, it took years to fine-tune our creative vision and learn to truly find our passion within this artistic medium that we love. While there are certainly many aspects of running multiple photography businesses in the photo industry that I do not enjoy — such as marketing — as a general rule of thumb, I try not to work on projects or accept contracts where I am not connected to the subject matter. If I don’t care about what I am documenting, why should I expect others to?
At the end of the day you should always try to follow your heart when it comes to your photography work as it is the first step in attempting to take your images to the next level.