Will I ever get there?

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Truck in the dust at sunset

learn how to take great sunset shots

This is a question I get asked a lot as a photo coach and critiquer. Often people compare their photos with others they see online and they wonder what the point is, there are so many great images out there and I will never be as good as them so what’s the point?

We need to think about why we take photos.

First and foremost they are memories or snapshots of our lives and our experiences to share with others.

As such our photos reflect our experiences and our memories so they are going to be unique to us even if there are photos of the same thing out there that “appear” better.

People are seeing so many great images that they all begin to look the same, it is the personal touch of you sharing your experiences that makes them great and relevant to your life and your friends.

The next reason for photography is to relax and enjoy yourself, if you are an outdoors person it is a chance to get outdoors and emerge ourselves in nature, for those who are into portraits, it is a change to meet and connect with people.

Regardless of how the photographs turn out, the act of taking the photo is where the joy of photography is. It allows us to forget everything else and just take time to be totally in the moment. This has a great healing component for the body and the soul.

“But I love photography and want to be good enough to make some money from it,” I hear you say.

This is where the asthetics and techniques of photography comes in and the only way to be a really good photographer is to practice

One of the great photographers once said you will not succeed until you have taken 10,000 photos. Why? Because first we have to learn our craft, then we need to study the masters and then we need to develop our own style.

For some people finding their style comes naturally for others it takes time and elvolves as we progress. The same applies to the techniques of photography, some people have a natural flair and some have to work harder, but at the end of the day it is the one who is still out there taking images after 10,000 photos that will be the one making money.

Selling your work contains a few processes. First and foremost we need a market, who would be interested in purchasing your work and why? Then we need to successfully shoot and process the images and then we need to know how to market that product.

When I look back on my early work that I sold in an online stock agency I cringe at all the things I can see wrong in the images, but I made money. How? I marketed my images so people knew where to look. In amongst the cringe worthy were some great images:)

I know know that when it comes to sharing your work you are only as good as your worst image, so if you are looking at setting up a proffessional portfolio you need to look carefully at your images, but you also need to believe in yourself and back yourself.

I would encourage you to never give up, firstly because you are making irriplaceable memories that no one else can create and secondly for the great healing capacity photography has.

Finally we need to know it’s okay to make mistakes, we all do it, like getting that totally blurred image or that horizon that is tilted and many, many more. most proffessional photographers will never show you their photos straight out of the camera, it would show up all the mistakes, it is like seeing a half finished painting, it has potential but needs finishing.

I have a freind I go out shooting native orchids with, these are tiny delecate wild flowers that move in the slightest breeze and are illegal to pick. She says, “how come you always get nice photos and mine a blurred.” I laugh and tell her I take more images. Where she will take five images of a flower I will take 10, then I will look at them on the LCD a screen and if I don’t think I’m quite there I will take 10 more and so the odds of me getting that perfectly focused image are greatly enhanced. (By the way she also has great images, but like all of us she sees the bad ones more clearly than the good ones.)


Hybrid terrestial orchid. These are about an inch or 3cm across. Tiny gems of nature.









I have been doing photography for over 20 years and I am still learning everyday, so I would encourage you, don’t give up, get out and take photos for the joy of it and to create the memories to share with others and with time and practice you will look back and see how much you have improved.

For those of you who would like to learn more of the techniques and understand how to take a better photo I would highly recommend Digital-photo-secrets Dash course. It is very affordable and has options for beginners all the way to advanced.

Here is the link if you want to learn more.  http://www.digital-photo-secrets.com/aff/Jkh/20854b63.html

For those of you doing the Dash I would encourage you to compare apples with apples, by that I mean if you are a beginner don’t compare your photos with someone who is advanced.

Remeber photography is all about getting out there and having FUN!!!

Happy shooting.


Less Known Composition Rules, Notan

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Well I have covered the main composition rules for photography, but there are three more which are often forgotten.

The first is Notan

What is Notan?

Notan is said to be negative and positive space. Light and dark working together to create a whole, the yin and yang of a high contrast image.

A lot of the time with HDR images the creating on Notan is forgotten as we open up the shadows and loose the true negative space in an image.

A perfect example of negative space is a silhouette.

To use Notan, we need to make shadows actual shadows instead of dark, light areas.

A great way to see the Notan in an image if you have Photoshop is to use the Threshold adjustment layer. It will show you the black and white in the image.

A beautiful example of Notan was provided by one of my Photography Dash students, Mona Nissen



Composition rule Notan









Above is an example of the black and white areas of an image that helps to create the Notan effect

We can see the actual Notan effect by going to Photoshop and in the adjustments select Threshold and you will see the black and white and the composition it creates.


This helps to show you why the first image works so well. We don’t consciousl see the Notan effect, but it still creates a strong image when we use it.


How to Create Images That Stand Out

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In such an over saturated market like photography, how can I get my photos noticed.

Digital cameras and smart phones with cameras are everywhere and  it seems that every moment in life is captured and shared, so how can we create images that stand out from the crowd?

There seem to be so many great photographers out there.

With the advent of social media every person who ever picks up a camera has a captive market. People see so many amazing photos that they go, “wow look at that, I wonder where that is I want to go there,”

a palm frond frame








Very few few people say “Wow, who took that amazing photo?”

So how do we get them from looking at a photo, to asking who created it and wanting to see more of this persons work?”

There are many ways to do this. Good training and good work ethics still apply, but this isn’t enough.

Whenever you pick up your camera to create art as opposed to just taking the snapshots of life, you need to ask yourself a few questions.

What is it that makes me want to capture this scene, object, person etc?

What is the story I want to tell with this image? What story is going to capture people’s imagination?

Think about what types of books sell best? What emotions compel us to want to own something for ourselves?

Start with these as ideas to create images.

Who or what is the central character?

What is the mood I want to capture?

Now look through the viewfinder. What elements that I see add to the story? What elements take away from the story?

I once read an article that said something to the effect that, when we paint or draw, we start with a blank canvas and add to it, when we take a photograph we take an overcrowded canvas and remove from it.

We need to simplify, to create a story that doesn’t answer all the questions, a story that leaves room for the viewers imagination, a scene that will draw the viewer in and hold their attention.

Old Shearing shed

Days gone by







I will add further articles that will help you do this step by step. For now though, when you go out to take a photo, slow down and take time to decide what you really want to share before you even pick up the camera.