How a 365 Project Crushed My Creativity

Mythical creatures are a part of every culture on Earth. From yetis, mermaids, satyrs, and centaurs, to fairies, nymphs, sirens, and krakens– all of them inhabit our literature and spur our imaginations. The Loch Ness Monster of the Scottish Highlands, the chupacabra of South America, and Bigfoot in the Pacific Northwest have inspired pointless quests to prove their existence. Although I’m reasonably sure that vampires actually do walk the streets and back alleys of New Orleans, the rest shall remain a mystery.

There is one mythical creature, however, that I feel compelled to pursue. Although I don’t think I’ve ever crossed paths with someone who has actually completed a 365 Project, I’m told that such beings actually do roam among us.

The truth is out there.

In all seriousness, though, before I go any further I have to publicly applaud any photographer who has managed to complete what many consider to be the apex of all personal photography projects. If you are reading this and you are one of the precious few, please stand up and take a bow. I salute you.

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Why Registering Your Copyright Matters

Copyright infringement is one of those problems that never seems to go away. It doesn’t seem to matter how well we educate our clients or the general public. Unfortunately, there will always be people–photographers included– who just don’t seem to get it. Clients think that purchasing a photo grants them eternal, all-encompassing rights to whatever they choose to do with our work, wherever they choose to do it. People have it in their heads that just because a photo shows up in a Google Images search, that this somehow makes it open season for use on their websites, newsletters, blogs, and Facebook posts

As photographers, we know that we need to protect our work from all of these varying degrees of infringement. Unfortunately, too many photographers don’t take the relatively easy steps to adequately protect themselves from the unauthorized use of their hard work.

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10 Things I’ve Learned as a Professional Photographer

It sort of hit me from out of the blue the other night. There I was– hanging out on the couch, watching a hockey game, when I realized I’d forgotten all about my anniversary. Thankfully, I’m not talking about my wedding anniversary, a fact which should be obvious since I’m still alive to tell the tale. No, this was my other anniversary. With the holidays and wrapping up all my end-of-the-year stuff, the tenth anniversary of ditching my law career for one in professional photography had somehow slipped past me.

I mentioned it to my wife, who muted the television, looked at me, and asked, “So– what have you learned in ten years?”

The question caught me off-guard, but it got me thinking.

“I’ll have to get back to you on that,” I replied.

So, after much thought, I started a list of lessons learned over the past ten years. It is by no means complete, but here are ten entries from the list that particularly stand out for me.

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7 Essential Accessories for Your First DSLR

If you read my post back in September about Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS), you know that I’m a firm believer in making smart choices about photography-related expenditures. It’s so easy to get hypnotized by all of the shiny new trinkets and pieces of equipment that if you aren’t careful you’ll find yourself at the bottom of the rabbit hole with lots of great gear, but little else to show for it. That being said, if you are one of those lucky individuals who just got their first DSLR over the holidays, there are seven accessories which should be at the top of your new wish list. I usually hesitate to use words like “essential,” but sometimes it’s the little things that pack the biggest punch.

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10 Tips for Better Photography Conventions and Trade Shows

It’s a new year and that means a new round of photography conventions and trade shows. I’m writing this about 2,000 miles from where I’m actually supposed to be right now, which is the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Family obligations, freakishly cold weather, and gremlins all conspired to keep me away from what would have been my first CES. I even had press credentials. So if you’re there and can convince someone in charge to give you my swag bag, it’s yours.

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The Recesky TLR DIY Camera Kit – A Review

It occurred to me recently that I’ve been a regular contributor here at DIY Photography for four months, and I’ve yet to actually write anything DIY-related. So, before anybody notices and rats me out to the boss, today’s the day I bring a little DIY to the table– compliments of a Chanukah gift from my 12-year-old son.

This particular man-cub is one of the most thoughtful people I know, which is one of the reasons he gets so pissed off every year around the holidays and my birthday over the high price of camera-related goodies. He wants to do something nice and can’t afford it. This year, though, he was bound and determined, and let me tell you– that kid of mine struck gold. For about twenty bucks, he got me the Recesky TLR DIY Camera Kit.

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18 Photography Apps Each Smartphone Photographer Should Consider

If you stop to think about it, that little eye on the world on the back of your smart phone is a technological wonder– particularly if you grew up in an era when leaving the house or office meant nobody could reach you until you surfaced somewhere with a land line. Even when compared to point-and-shoot digital cameras of just a few years ago, these cameras which are constantly with us keep advancing at an incredible rate, creating images often indistinguishable from those taken with our DSLRs.

But it’s not perfect– and never can be–.since perfection means drastically different things to different people, Thanks to ambitious app creators, though, we can trick out our smart phone cameras with a seemingly endless supply of options. From filtering and sharing, to editing and correcting, if there’s something you want your smart phone camera to do, chances are there’s an app for that.

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Tips for Overcoming Shyness as a Photographer

“If you are a silent sniper with a telephoto, when they do notice you they will feel like you’ve taken something from them.”

As photographers, we often measure our moments in hundredths of seconds. As a result, we are regularly faced with the undeniable truth that missed moments are gone forever. It’s one thing to miss a moment due to technical issues or circumstances beyond your control, but how many times has an opportunity– business, artistic, or personal– been lost because you’ve been too shy to capture it?

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12 Pointers That Will Help Your DSLR Live Longer

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It’s that time of year again. Can you feel it? Camera companies have launched shiny new, “must-have” trinkets. Your GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) is raging like an inferno at an all-time high. And– of course– nothing celebrates the birth of a savior or the rededication of a holy temple quite like upgrading your camera. It’s a simple, unavoidable fact-of-photography-life. It’s the holiday season and you want a new camera. So do I. It doesn’t matter how pristine or properly functioning my cameras are at the end of the year. Without fail, I always want a new one. Every year. And this is why I’m engaged in my annual Battle of the Voices. I’ve got the devil from one shoulder talking about new cameras in my ear, while the angel from the other shoulder is trying to give him a serious beat-down.

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On Being Generous – With Your Photography and Your Time

I received the following email a few weeks ago:

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“Hello, my name is Sam. I am a 7th grade student at _____ Middle School. I am doing an independent project on photography and saw some of your posts. I was wondering if you could give me some tips or anything about photography. Please get back to me as soon as you can. Thanks!”

This was my reply:

“Hi, Sam. Thanks for touching base with me. I’d love to be able to give you some tips for your project, but I think you need to narrow down your question a bit. Simply asking me for tips on “anything about photography” doesn’t give me enough information. For example, I have no way of knowing how much you already know. If you can send me a list of specific questions regarding things like exposure, composition, etc., I’ll see what I can do to help you out. Best, –J.”

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