My very first trip to Imaging USA and what an experience!!!! (I don’t usually use that many exclamation points so you know it must have been special!). I mean how could a conference packed with industry leaders, both young and old, not entertain thousands of photographers. From the top fine art photographers like Clyde Butcher (www.clydebutcher.com), legendary photojournalists and life long National Geographic photographer Sam Abell (www.samabellphotography.com), modern masters of weddings, portraits and fashion like Jerry Ghionis, Lindsay Adler and Peter Hurley and Commercial photographers like Dean Bradshaw and John David Pittman and who could forget the keynote speaker Mrs Amy Purdy who’s inspirational story of overcoming obstacles in her words “forces us to get creative”. Below you will find my top 5 takeaways that I will be putting into action this year and a series of tips from the photographers and speakers whose classes I attended.
Now to put it all into action with my 5 top takeaways from Imaging USA!
- For starters I learned to never be scared of putting my full personality into my work and marketing. Not that I feel reserved now, but, I do sometimes feel like I hold back with some clients, scared that my personality will not be a perfect match for theirs. Allowing the ideal client to accept me totally as a human being and totally loving my style is definitely worth working towards and will positively affect the images we create together.
- Never stop learning! Yes I know this is as much a life lesson as is it a reason to continue to educate myself in my career. But seriously, with technology changing at lightning speed now, and software updates happening every other day it is vitally important to stay competitive and never loose touch.
- Work to develop a style that is as unique as me. In a world saturated with images from mobile phones and apps like Instagram making it easier and easier to upload and share, how do your create a style of your own and how do you make images that will be recognizable as a ‘Carl Kerridge’ original piece of Art?. It’s a tough question to answer but this year I am challenging myself to define and embrace my style.
- Think like a director. I am a still photographer, not making movies with huge Hollywood studio sets, but Dean Bradshaw’s explanation was that you still have to control your entire environment to make great images. The more I think about this one the more it resonates with me and I have made a conscious effort to examine the stories I am telling through the lens, looking for answers to the question behind the motivation for me to push the shutter button.
- Compose the picture and wait. I have Sam Abell to thank for this one and I think it might just be the most important lesson of all. It is too tempting with digital capture and our growing desire for instant gratification to simply push the shutter button without properly taking the time to visualize the final image, set the composition, layer the photo and control the lighting. We are often too busy and simply moving too fast. So this tip from a photographer that worked with film his entire career and has 2 images listed in the top 50 at National Geographic is well worth paying attention too.
Fun tips from the teachers!
- Begin at the back of the photo and work forward, see the layers and separate them – Sam Abell
- The promise of photoshop is perfection, the promise of photography is truth – Sam Abell
- The most important thing is insight, the curiosity to wonder and muse – Dean Bradshaw
- Lighting should always serve the story, fit it with the concept – Dean Bradshaw
- Stories connect us with a shared purpose – JD Pittman
- Obstacles can either stop us in our tracks or force us to get creative to overcome – Amy Purdy
- Connect your passion with your purpose – Amy Purdy
- Put the technical stuff in your back pocket and learn the art of communicating – Peter Hurley
- We are the clients mirror so tell them what their face looks like – Peter Hurley
- Photograph subjects through the eyes of a loved one – Jerry Ghionis
With all these great tips I hope you are excited to get out and shoot something new, rediscover a passion that you have for image making or fine tune your skills in one area. Below are several photojournalistic images I made at the event, enjoy..
Find your own inspiration at Imaging USA, the PPA’s annual conference and if you see me there don’t forget to say hello.