Advice and help on becoming a world class photographer by Sports Photographer Vince Rush

Posts tagged “photography

Faces In The Crowd

By Ohio Sports Photographer, Vincent Rush

Are you shooting sports photography to earn a secondary income, or are you shooting sports photography because it’s a hobby that you have no intention of ever expanding into a business?
If you are doing it to earn an income, and are like most aspiring sports photographers, you shoot a Friday night or Saturday football game and capture hundreds of action shots and run home to your computer and upload your favorites to a website such as Smug Mug www.smugmug.com and then sit back and hope the cash starts coming in.
You will also notice that there are several other photographers at your local events, with the same intentions.
I’ve always said, live by the philosophy of “Observe the masses and do the opposite”
One of your “hidden treasures” in any high school event is the kids in the crowd.
I consistently sell more 5×7’s and 4×6 prints form my journeys up into the stands that the actual game photos, simply because…NO ONE ELSE DOES!
There is a secret though, don’t just fire off snap shots that anyone with an I-Phone can capture. Be a little creative and always take a second to make sure you don’t embarrass anyone kid or post up some idiot that is flipping the finger in the background.
Oh. Yeah…I’ve saw worse than that in the background of some of my photos! Examine them carefully. There’s an idiot in every crowd.
I particularly take care to remove bad acne in a shot like that. I do not want a kid with a developing self image to be made fun of by his peers so I am very meticulous in taking care of that detail before I post a picture.
If you don’t want to sell the pics, but still want the efforts to produce fruit, post them on a local kids or schools Facebook page.
Kids will tag themselves and share the photos, garnering you some free “Brand Exposure”.
Posted by Monroe Ohio photographer Vincent Rush, Cincinnati Sports Photography and Dayton Sports Photography of Monroe Ohio. Vince Rush can be contacted by phone at (877) 858-6295 or by email at vrush@rushintl.com or visit http://CincinnatiSportsPhotography.com

I’m An Incredible, Amazing Photographer!

“Protect this House” by Cincinnati, Ohio Sports Photographer Vincent Rush of Cincinnati Sports Photography

By Vincent Rush, Ohio Sports Photographer

Ok, not really!

I was just echoing the most overused quote on Facebook, regarding photographers.

It’s school season and more specifically “Senior Portrait” season and among my very close and personal 1400+  Facebook friends, I am constantly seeing photos posted, either great, good, average or just plain poor, with someone’s name and the word “Photography” attached to it.

Then of course the subject or parent goes on to describe what an “Amazing Photographer” said individual is.

As a photographer myself, I am always amazed at some of the pictures that aspiring “photogs” allow to be posted in an effort to establish their brand and style.

In today’s world of photography, with camera technology and lighting techniques along with a basic understanding of Photoshop or other editing software, anyone can take acceptable quality portraits and produce a picture that any Mother would love.

I have never claimed to be anything special, other than an exceptional sports action photographer. I know my niche and what I’m good at.

Every photographer should take inventory and know what their true talent is…as well as what it’s not!

And even at that, I know the real secret to being a “Great Photographer” is in knowing what to delete and what to share with the world.

When I began building my brand, which is more important than building a business because without the brand, the business can’t survive, I was very protective about what I shared with the public.

That discretion allowed me to build my value and identity as a sports photographer.

Every “Photographer” I see on Facebook, has a few great shots that I myself wished that I had shot. However, I often see those pictures sandwiched in between mediocre snap shots that anyone with a “Point and Shoot” could have captured.

I am also seeing, in my opinion, waaaaay too many snap shots posted with a watermark identifying the picture as property of, “XYZ Photography”.

Is everyone with a camera today a professional?

I can however, also appreciate anyone trying to build a little business and produce additional income in today’s economic climates.

I admit, I had no traction in 2006, when I was given a Nikon D2x, as a gift and began shooting for the first time since 1990.

There was also no Facebook or social media back then, so I cannot say that I would have not taken the same route.

But even back in the day, I was very careful about what kind of pictures I exposed on my website and handed out at ball games.

Two good examples of what not to do come to mind;

I have a photographer friend that shoots a lot of low budget weddings and senior portraits.

Now my friend has really improved on their skill and mastery of lighting over the past couple of years and is really starting to do some outstanding work.

However, my friend also keeps damaging their “Brand” by publicizing some really, how do I phrase this…gnarly pics. By gnarly I am implying…non attractive photos of things like, overweight brides in unflattering dresses with even more unflattering tattoos, unless you’re a big fan of “Honey Boo Boo Child”

They are wedding pictures and Senior photos that may be only attractive to the Mothers of the photographed…if you know what I mean.

It’s OK to shoot those, and if your client is happy, that is all that really matters. However,  photographer should use a fair amount of discretion on what to “Share with the World”!

There is a reason Victoria’s Secret does not put the women who actually buy their outfits in their catalogs, much in the same way Canali or Armani would not put ME in theirs!

Another example is a local sports photography business, consisting of two guys in my community.

They will cover a sporting event for football or baseball and while they capture some great images, they then dump 400 pictures from the game on their Smug Mug site, forcing a parent to have to sift through to find a photo worth paying $15-20.00 for.

I have had good success carving out a niche to where I rarely do general game coverage anymore.

Most of my business is now “client shoots”, where a parent hires me to come and cover their kid or their team for an entire game.

The price for these events I do range anywhere from $300-$400.00.

I then present the client with a CD of edited…I REPEAT…..EDITED photos and keep the total to between 60-80 shots.

I have a website at http://CincinnatiSportsPhotography.com that has numerous examples of sports photography and illustrates what I am talking about.

I also get asked every year to do a handful of senior portraits for $500, of which I provide 4 poses, on location, and present a CD to the parents. I typically do about 5 a year.

I asked one of my friends recently, what they charge for the same thing and twice as much work, when it came to senior portraits.

While I never got a clear answer, I assume it was around $250-$300, forcing them to shoot 8.3 jobs compared to my 5.

This friend commented that is was hard to get that kind of money in a small town. While I noted that I lived in a smaller town, I pointed out that it’s not the size of the town, but rather it’s the perceived value of the service rendered. That value has been diminished, not because they are not talented, but because they are not particular about what they post as their calling cards.

So determine, what you are worth and what to you want your value to be perceived as? They are in fact two different things.

By the way, two GREAT sports photographers that I admire in Sports Photography is a guy by the name of Rick Lohre @ http://ricklohre.com and Barb Trimble @ http://trimphotoandvideo.com/

And two Cincinnati photographers that I really like in portrait photography are Moon Beam Studios @

http://www.moonbeamstudios.co/seniors.php and JMM Photography @ http://jmmphotography.us/

Happy Shooting! Vincent Rush, Cincinnati sports Photography


Step by Step: Getting Your Name Out There

Cincinnati Reds Photos by Sports Photographer Vincent Rush

 

Over the years I’ve met and talked with thousands of professional photographers. One of the questions that comes up on a regular basis, especially with new photographers, relates to getting your name out there. A few of these I’ve written about before, but let’s see if we can come up with a list of projects to help you get started.

• Decorate the doctor’s office: I’ve been talking about this one for years. How much money do you or did your parents spend on doctor bills, especially with the pediatrician? Well it’s time for payback! The last class doctors takes before getting out of medical school is about decorating their office. They’re taught to not spend more than $50!

Think about your last doctor visit. There wasn’t much on the walls of the waiting room, unless your doc was a high-end neurosurgeon and then maybe they had a few Ansel Adams posters! So, here’s a great idea and it’s perfect for the pediatrician.

Offer to put some images on the walls of the reception area! Kids, family portraits, anything with a sense of children. Then in the corner, on the table next to that 1984 copy of Popular Mechanics put a stack of your business cards or brochures.

Here’s the deal – women make 98% of the purchase decisions to hire a professional photographer. Who takes the kids to the doctor’s office? It’s Mom and she’s sitting there bored, with nothing to read. This is about the subliminal message you can plant with a few well done family and children’s portraits!

• Restaurants and coffee shops: They all need help, especially if you’re a regular customer. Helen Yancy told a group of photographers at Summer School about getting started at a local Coney Island restaurant in her area just by decorating the walls of the restaurant with her images.

• Meet and Greet: Take a couple of days and just wander around your local business area. Get to know the neighborhood and introduce yourself. Local businesses, sooner or later, have imaging needs and you want to let them know you’re there.

• Start your own network luncheon. Contact everyone in the area who has something in common with your target audience. Find an inexpensive diner type restaurant and get together once a month for lunch just to talk about what’s going on in the community.

• Get involved in your community! With or without a camera in your hand, get involved with the people you’re looking to support your business. Join Kiwanis, Rotary, Exchange Club etc.

• Do your own fundraiser! Vicki Taufer did one of the very first pet days in her area three years ago and today she’s one of the best known pet photographers in her community. She tied in with the local animal shelter, but you can set up a fundraiser with any organization.

• Is there a local children’s store? It’s another great one from Vicki Taufer, who when she was first starting, did all the children’s portraits of the clerks and owner of the local children’s clothing shop. They all became her ambassadors.

• Develop promotions and advertise! I know it’s obvious, but this is the first one in the list that will actually cost you some money, but you have to have a plan. If you think you can get away with running just one ad and then waiting to see the results, think again. You need to have consistency in your timing and in the placement/location of the ad.

• Cross-promote with other vendors. It’s easiest to explain within the wedding category, but essentially you’re going to give a discount certificate to any bride for the local florist and the florist is going to give the bride a certificate for something from you, but try and stay away from discounting. Give an hour of extra coverage or an addition 8×10 – go for added value rather than price reductions.

• Contact the PTA at the local schools. Isn’t it time we upgraded the bake sale concept? How about offering family sittings for a holiday card shot. It’s only September and you’ve got time to work with any local association or group and have an image in people’s hands in time for their holiday cards.

• Career Day and Adult Education: All of you are qualified to do a career day at the local school and help motivate an interest in photography with kids. Many of you are also qualified to teach an adult education class on photography. This is about getting involved in the community and don’t forget to do a press release to the local paper with a picture of you interacting with the participants at each event.

• Enter photo contests and competitions. Most of the national associations have some level of print competition. Local chapters have regular print competition as well as portfolio reviews. This is a great way to get feedback outside your immediate circle of family and friends.

It’s not costly to get your name out there, but it is labor intensive. This is where outsourcing comes into play. By not doing everything yourself you can find the time to market your personality and skill set. Your time is best spent getting to know your client base rather than sitting behind a computer editing images!


Your Rights as a Photographer

http://www.tutorial9.net/tutorials/photography-tutorials/your-rights-as-a-photographer/


Ohio Sports Photographer Vincent Rush joins forces with Prodigy Fitness of Springboro, Ohio

Amanda Joiner by Ohio Sports Photographer Vincent Rush

Amanda Joiner of Buckner Martial Arts Academy by Sports Photographer Vincent Rush

Cincinnati Sports Photography has teamed with Prodigy Fitness of Springboro, Ohio to provide professional sports photography services for upcoming events.

The first will be the inaugural “Swamp Stomp Mud Challenge” in October. Details to come.

Team Prodigy is the largest venue of its kind in North America. Devoted to the sports of boxing, wrestling, martial arts and mixed martial arts, it also offers state-of-the-art training facilities for fitness and conditioning.

Our clean, family-friendly environment offers training areas for each discipline, including a boxing ring, MMA cage and more mat space for martial arts than a city’s worth of dojos put together. Our heated wrestling room offers athletes optimal training conditions not only to improve their technique but to make weight.

With more than 100 pieces of specialized fitness equipment and a collection of free weights, all of our members and athletes have the opportunity to shape their body to its maximum potential.

Posted by Monroe Ohio photographer Vincent Rush, Cincinnati Sports Photography and Dayton Sports Photography of Monroe Ohio. Vince Rush can be contacted by phone at (877) 858-6295 or by email at vrush@rushintl.com or visit http://CincinnatiSportsPhotography.com Check out my about.me profile!


Capturing or Freezing Motion in Photos by Nikon

Ball State Cardinal Womens Softball by Sports Photographer Vincent Rush

Ball State celebrates a game winning home run against the Miami Redhawk's by Ohio Sports Photographer Vincent Rush of Monroe, Ohio

One thing that makes photography unique is its ability to freeze a moment in time. As humans, we see what’s in front of us as a continuing chain of events. The camera, however, is able to stop time from moving forward, giving us the opportunity to study that fraction of a second. And it’s being able to control those fractions of a second that makes this possible.

There are two elements in every camera that affect how much light enters the camera and finds its way through the lens to the camera’s sensor. One is the aperture and the other is the shutter.
The aperture is the opening that can be adjusted to allow more or less light to enter the camera. The varying sizes of the opening are called f/stops and are referred ao in numerical terms: f/4, f/5.6, /8, f/11 and so forth.
The shutter is the mechanism that determines how fast the aperture will open and close. The slower the shutter speed the more light that enters the camera. Shutter speeds are measured in seconds. Most cameras have shutter speeds that range from several seconds-some as long as 30 seconds-to fractions of a second-up 1/1000 of a second and above.

The camera’s shutter speed determines how the action in a photo is recorded. A fast shutter speed can freeze action, even stopping a hummingbird’s wings. A slow shutter speed can let action blur or even make a moving subject seem to disappear. First, let’s look at how a high shutter speed can stop action.

When you want to take a picture that stops the action of your subject, you have to first consider the speed of the action. The speed of the blades of a helicopter in flight is much greater than that of a kid biking down the street. Trying to freeze those helicopter blades might require a shutter speed above 1/1000 second; stopping the movement of the bike might be possible at 1/250. Thus, the shutter speed you choose has to be relative to the action you’re trying to stop. A good rule of thumb would be that 1/500 second is a good starting point for stopping motion that’s fairly fast.

Sometimes it’s better to not stop action and let it blur instead. This type of blur can add to the feel of the picture. In the case of the helicopter, showing some blur in the blades may look more natural than having them stopped completely while in mid-flight. The proper shutter speed for achieving the amount of blur you want is dependent on the speed of the action. You can see blur in helicopter blades at 1/500, but showing the motion of a snail crossing a log may require an exposure of several seconds.

As you begin to work with shutter speeds, you’ll learn there are different types of blur. For instance, blur can be brief or pronounced. The slower the shutter speed, the easier it will be to see the resulting blur. Traditional blur is when the camera is being held still and a moving subject is photographed at a slow shutter speed. In that case the non-moving area around the subject will be captured with no blur, and only the subject will be blurred. Panning is when you do essentially the opposite.

In panning you follow the subject with the camera during the action, actually tracking the subject. Doing that means the background will now blur because you’re moving the camera during the relatively slow exposure. And because you’re tracking the subject, it’s possible that part or all of the subject will be captured with little or no blur. This technique is very effective when it works. The key to making a successful pan shot is to shoot a lot of photos. Because you’re shooting a slow shutter speed, and moving the camera, you’re likely to have several photos that don’t work, but when you get one, it can look great.

Extremely slow shutter speeds—20 or seconds for example—can make moving subjects seem to disappear. A good example of this is shooting a roadway at night from a tripod. Despite a number of cars passing by, only their bright headlights and taillights will show up in the exposure, because they weren’t in the same place long enough to record on the film or sensor.

Experiment with different shutter speeds to you find the one that gives you the most pleasing effect for the scene and subject.

Posted by Monroe Ohio photographer Vincent Rush, Cincinnati Sports Photography and Dayton Sports Photography of Monroe Ohio. Vince Rush can be contacted by phone at (877) 858-6295 or by email at vrush@rushintl.com or visit http://CincinnatiSportsPhotography.com Check out my about.me profile!


Breaking The Rules Of Photography

Arizona Sunset

Scottsdale Arizona Sunset by Ohio Photographer Vincent Rush of Monroe, Ohio

Sunset in Scottsdale Arizona by Cincinnati, Ohio Photographer Vincent Rush

I was having a casual conversation with a renowned photographer. And he proudly said that it was all about breaking the rules – he never follows any rules. He said he does that because if he followed the rules he would never have grown beyond those rules.

Though breaking the rules is creative, lately I’m getting the feeling as if it’s becoming a fashion statement – such statements seem to be lacking depth and knowledge and irresponsible. I have a more conservative approach to “breaking the rule” rule. It is this attitude that prepares you for a long haul at photography. So go ahead and break those rules; but here’s a checklist before you set out to break them.

  1. Know the rules

    You can’t break something you don’t know about. You need to understand what the rule is, why is it practiced and what is the barrier it poses to your creativity. Certainly there must be a drawback else why would you bother to invest time in breaking the rule.

  2. Perfect the rules

    Understanding the rule is not good enough. You should be perfect at following them. If you are not, you are already neglecting them. That’s breaking the rules in a sense – but it also implies what level of control you have on your art and equipment. Practice till you set some of the best examples for yourself. You will realize, at some level the rule gets in the way of your creativity and results. Now you know you can explore further.

  3. Don’t reinvent the wheel

    Most of the times people just end up reinventing the wheel. I asked this photographer “Do you make use of the rule of thirds?” He answered that he never followed any rules. The rule of thirds is a rule of composition that helps you frame shots which are aesthetically more pleasing. This and similar rules are tested by specialists and through big surveys. When you make such a statement saying that you don’t follow the rule of thirds, you are saying you don’t invest efforts in making your composition more aesthetically pleasing. You may make some great compositions and then you may make some other – but in this context they are more of exceptions than rules. At the end of the day after shooting a few hundred shots you realize all the best shots follow some or the other rule of composition.

  4. Work to get better results

    Breaking the rules is a great idea provided you get better results than you’d have got following the rules. What’s the point in breaking the rules when you end up with something which doesn’t make sense? Get better results – that’s the way creativity is rewarded.

  5. Experiment

    Breaking the rules doesn’t work by itself. You have to spend hours experimenting with light, composition and several other parameters, get creative, visualize and try again. Explore your talent and get creative. Getting creative is the way to breaking the rules. It is when rules get in the way of your visualization and creativity that you have to chose not to follow them. Creativity is what makes a photograph stand out of the thousands. Creativity gives you the edge and you realize the individuality of the photographer within. The more you experiment, the more you get experienced and the better your work becomes.

So go ahead and break the rules. But tick off this list first.

From Adavanced Photography

Posted by Monroe Ohio photographer Vincent Rush, Cincinnati Sports Photography and Dayton Sports Photography of Monroe Ohio. Vince Rush can be contacted by phone at (877) 858-6295 or by email at vrush@rushintl.com or visit http://CincinnatiSportsPhotography.com Check out my about.me profile!


11 Tips for Photographing Children and Pets

Pictionary

Pet Photograph of my kids guinea pig shot with a new Canon 60D

Photo by Cincinnati Photographer Vincent Rush of Cincinnati Sports Photography

Photographing children can be fun. They have entirely different reactions to the camera, are very unpredictable yet lovely in their own ways. And most of this is true for pets too. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of it.

  1. Be Patient: In photography patience can be ultimately rewarding (or frustrating on a bad day). Children and pets are unpredictable so it may take quite some time to get the shots you want. Things are mostly out of control and waiting it out is the key to success. So, don’t be irritated,try to be cool and get familiar with child
  2. Be Ready: Don’t let your patience get the better of you. Be alert and prepared. Keep your eye on the viewfinder and don’t hesitate to shoot. In the days of the digital you can always delete the unwanted shots. Set your camera to continuous-auto-focus (or the sports mode) so that activity and movement doesn’t throw the subject out of focus. This setting is present on almost all consumer and DSLRs nowadays.
  3. Maintain Distance: If you are not family and not a friend it’s advisable to maintain a distance to avoid distracting your subject. Also there’s a technical angle to this reasoning. Shooting pics from too close may induce unwanted geometrical artifacts and distortions. Thus rely on a zoom lens.
  4. Come Close: Against the exact opposite of the above, sometimes you may intentionally want to get close to get some geometrical distortion to get a funny look to the shots and the faces of you pet(s).
  5. Capture Natural Poses: While kids can be directed to pose, try to freeze some natural moments to eternity. You’ll cherish these for the times to come.
  6. Keep Friends and Family Close: When shooting pets or kids it’s good to have one of theirs close ones to assist you. When you are holding the camera it can become quite difficult to make the child smile or pose. This also can induce reassurance to kids who are not comfortable with a stranger following them around with an scary something.
  7. Use Props: Children either love to pose or hate it. In such a situation you can use props and toys to engage them.
  8. Expression: Most important feature of the photograph, keep the expression natural and original.
  9. Multiple Shots: Children and pets are always moody, unpredictable and very active. Thus it becomes quite a task to get it in a single shot. Always shoot in continuous mode and if your camera doesn’t come with this feature, be prepared to hit the shutter-release every few seconds. Later when you sort them on your computer you can pick and choose to keep the best.
  10. Color: Lively and energetic as children are peppy, vibrant or soft colors compliment them and the entire scene. Try to avoid dark and dull colors unless you know what you are doing.
  11. Angle and Perspective: It’s important to get your camera to the level of your subject for a vast majority of the shots and normally means being on your knees at the very least. But feel free to break the rules and try some crazy angles to portray the madness in the scene.

From Advanced Photography 8/23/2010

Posted by Monroe Ohio photographer Vincent Rush, Cincinnati Sports Photography and Dayton Sports Photography of Monroe Ohio. Vince Rush can be contacted by phone at (877) 858-6295 or by email at vrush@rushintl.com or visit http://CincinnatiSportsPhotography.com Check out my about.me profile!


Bokeh and Depth of Field in Photography

Joe Markiewicz

Joe Markiewicz Autographed Baseball by Ohio Sports Photographer Vincent Rush

 

Bokeh and depth of field, both the techniques help the photographers in creating beautiful photographs. In the approach of photographing at lower f-numbers, the distinction between depth of field and bokeh vanishes and the hobbyists and enthusiasts often end up using the terms bokeh and DOF interchangeably. To photograph the aesthetics of the subject and the background, one should be clear about what DOF and bokeh stand for. To effectively use the two techniques, let’s have a quick view at depth of field, bokeh and the differences between the two.

What Is Depth Of Field

The depth of field refers to the area of sharp focus in a photograph. When taking a photograph, sometimes it may be desirable to have the entire image sharp and at other times you may be interested in focusing only a small portion of the scene. You can easily achieve the desired effect by tuning the camera to aperture priority mode for either high depth of field or small depth of field.
A high depth of field is the scenario where everything in the plane of focus is in sharp focus. The shallow depth of field on the other hand is the technique of focusing only a small portion of the plane of focus resulting in effectively focused subject amidst defocused background and foreground. The shallow depth of field helps in profoundly separating the subject by beautifully blurring the background clutter.

What Is Bokeh

Bokeh is the aesthetic quality of blur in out of focus areas of the image. Bokeh is the terminology used for defining the quality of blur achieved at shallow depth of field. Bokeh thus refers to the quality of blurred imagery rendered by the lens for out-of-focus points of light.
The bokeh refers to the circular discs formed as the result of blurring the background. The pronounced  bokeh effect is created when the camera is tuned for shallow depth of field. The effective brightness in the background of the subject renders  beautiful imagery to the out-of-focus areas, thus, resulting in smooth, soft circular discs in the background.

The Difference Between Bokeh And Depth Of Field

The above definitions clarify the fact that the depth of field and the bokeh are not same. While depth of field is the technique of presenting the area of sharp focus, bokeh is the craft of artistically presenting the out-of-focus area of an image. Bokeh is more of a qualitative aspect of the photograph. You can eventually identify the bokeh as good or bad, but there is no way to adjudge the depth of field in terms of qualitative adjectives. The DOF is determined by the camera-to-subject distance, the lens focal length, the lens f-number, and the format size or circle of confusion criterion. The bokeh on the other hand is influenced by influence the phenomena outside the focal plane like foreground / background brightness, lens aberration, speed of the lens, color and shapes & patterns of the subject, etc.
Thus we can say that bokeh is dependent on depth of field but depth of field is in no way dependent on the bokeh. The bokeh and the depth of field are two different techniques used for specific purposes. The sole purpose of depth of field is to represent the area of sharp focus in the photograph, whereas bokeh is artistic quality of out-of-focus area. The two techniques (shallow depth of field and beautiful bokeh effect) when used together produce stunningly beautiful and creative results.
Posted by Monroe Ohio photographer Vincent Rush, Cincinnati Sports Photography and Dayton Sports Photography of http://mainstreetmonroe.com and Monroe Ohio. Vince Rush can be contacted by phone at (877) 858-6295 or by email at vrush@rushintl.com or visit http://CincinnatiSportsPhotography.com Check out my about.me profile!

Ten Reasons to Learn to Take Good Photographs

Eaton Eagles

Eaton Eagles vs. Valley View by Ohio Sports Photographer Vincent Rush

By Nancy Hill

Everybody has a camera, so why should you bother taking pictures? Let someone else worry about shooting the family reunion, the kids, the sports. You can always ask them for prints. Right?

Maybe not. You could be missing out on a lot if you settle for someone else’s photos instead of learning to take good pictures yourself. Here are 10 reasons why it’s well worth the effort to learn to take good photographs yourself.

1. Photographs are personal. Only you know how you see the world.
Everyone views the world differently. Your perspective is unique. Your sister will not capture your family reunion like you would. She will focus on the kids, while you like how many generations are in your family. Your best friend with her fancy camera does sweeping landscapes. You were with her on the shoot. While she was fussing with her tripod, you were fascinated by the kids fishing with their mother. She never even thought to look. Only you can capture the world you live in. Leaving it up to anyone else will mean your vision is lost.

2. Photographs provide an historical record.
Maybe all those Little League games you go to seem tedious after a while, but 20 years from now, your kids will love looking at those pictures, recalling their glory moments (and they will remember some), the kids on their teams, and the coach who kept believing in them. Same goes for other things in your life. Taking photos of your house will remind you of what you once valued, and what your tastes were. Cars change, woods give way to roads, property is sub-divided, old homes are torn down. Having photos of how things are now will give you a record when things “ain’t what they used to be.”

3. Taking photographs will kick your brain into a creative mode.
Simply by looking through the camera and deciding what part of the scene in front of you belongs in the picture will kick your creative side into action. The more you shoot, the more your creativity will come out. It’s a wonderful part of you. Let it play.

4. Photography is great therapy.
This is close to number 3, but it goes beyond creativity. Photography can help you see the world differently. If you’re upset, grab your camera and go out looking for beauty. You’ll find it. If you’re down, spend an hour shooting photographs – of anything – your house, your yard, your city, flowers, animals. Life through a camera lens is full of wonder. Focusing on how the world around you looks can also help break through your negative thoughts.

5. Photography is a great way to make new friends.
Photographers – amateurs, hobbyists, and pros alike – love to talk about photography. You’ll never lack for company if you join a photography club. You’ll also learn a lot more about photography by someone who takes good photographs than you’ll ever learn in a book.

6. Photography is a way to share your life with others.
Sometimes it’s hard to talk to family members. Just because you share relatives doesn’t mean you have much in common. Sharing your photographs with them is a good way to break through barriers, to show someone what’s important in your life. You can also share travel photographs with groups interested in the area you visited. The photos you took of soil eroded around a river might be just what a environmental group needs to get a grant to save the area. The possibilities are endless.

7. Photography is a gift you can give others.
Cards with your photographs on them make great gifts, and a calendar of family photos is a perfect present for your parents who have everything they could possibly want or need. Getting cards and calendars made has never been easier; you can even have it done online. You can also use your photographs on mouse pads, shirts, mugs, and even postage stamps. What could be more personal?

8. Photography will improve your web site and/or blog.
Your words alone aren’t likely to keep people on your web site for very long, so you need to include graphics. You can always use someone else’s work, but your own will be easier, more personal, and say a lot about you. Don’t overlook the power of a good photograph. It can take your web site to a new level.

9. Photography brings accolades.
Your images might not make you famous, but being known as someone who takes good pictures is a real self-esteem builder. It’s great to hear, “Wow! That’s beautiful! Can I get a copy?” Even a simple, “You take such good photographs. How do you do it?” makes the effort worth while. Praise is good. None of us can get enough of it.

10. Photography can bring in money.
Yep, it’s true. Take good photographs, and chances are you can pick up some extra cash. Whether it’s taking your neighbor’s kid’s high school senior pictures, winning a little cash in a photo contest, or selling your cards on a web site, photography can bring in some extra cash. Maybe someone backs into your neighbor’s fence and they need a photo for court. Who knows, maybe you’ll get so good your work will be published in newspapers or magazines some day. You could start small. Lots of magazines, especially women’s magazines, pay $25-50 for cute kid shots. There are lots of possibilities.

The more you learn about photography, the better your photographs will be. The better they are, the more confidence you’ll have – not just in your photographs, but in yourself. Don’t waste another minute — Grab your camera and start shooting!