Tuesday’s Tales from the Shoot – So WHAT kind of Photographer ARE you?

I travel to lots of places and drag along all my camera gear, and I frequently get asked the same lame questions – “Oh, so are you some sort of photographer?” No I just carry it all for my health? Of course I am a photographer! However A Photographer is not a Species, nor are there any Sub Series; Landscapes, Portrait, Time Lapse, Wedding etc, etc.  I suppose if I have a really big fancy camera then I must obviously take really cool pics too? If there are so many people now taking up photography or even phoneography as a hobby, why do we still get asked dumb questions? I guess that is one benefit of phoneography, so many people use their smart phones for happy snaps anyway, it’s considered normal, but pull out a DSLR and I am automatically an alien?


It is then usually followed by “So do you make much money out of it?”  It kind of reminds me of that question as a kid “So what do you want to be when you grow up?” No it’s not my day job, but it’s a hobby I am passionate about, sure occasionally I get paid to do Portraits & Birthdays, but that just helps to pay for other gear. I don’t photograph things to become famous (or rich), I do it because I truly love it. I would be thrilled to make a living off my Landscapes, Seascapes, Portraits, Compilations, Floral etc, etc, etc. I would love to travel the globe looking for the next exciting thing to shoot. I could be coy and say I only do Portraits to pay for my hobby, but the truth is I really enjoy doing Portraits as well, I can’t wait to do a Newborn or a  Wedding, I do not have either of these in my portfolio as yet.

Then you get the other end of this from so called Professional Photographers “Give a someone an expensive camera and they think’s they can call themselves a photographer.” This is also offensive, yes I have a camera, yes I take photographs, there fore, yes I am a Photographer. Do I make lots of money; No. Do I do photography professionally, No not really. Do you have to sell your photos to be considered a Photographer? Are people who take photos on their Smart Phone (iPhone whatever) any less of a photographer because they do not use an SLR? No! There is room in this world for everyone. It does not matter if you take natural photos, family happy snaps, animal photos, deep sea diving photos, fine art photos, compilation, digitization, landscapes, seascapes, creative form, people or anything else. If you take photos and do it often, surely you can you call yourself a photographer? Sure there is Professional, Semi Professional and Amateur you can tack onto that, but in the end it doesn’t matter does it?

Sorry, that’s my rant, but to continue on…………so WHAT kind of photographer are you? Do we need labels? I like to photograph lots of different things, I am sure I am not alone. Often I see a post someone has put on Social Media; WordPress, 500Px, Facebook, Google+ etc, etc and I say WOW, I wonder if I can do something like that – it inspires me to try. I do not want to copy someone else work, I want to put my own spin on it, but I do like to give credit where it’s due.  I do enjoy doing Portraits, but I do like to put a creative spin on them, offer something just a little bit different. I really enjoy animals too, yes even the snakes! One of my favorites would be the beach,  I really enjoy the beach, whether it’s close ups of shells on the sand, waves crashing, rock pools, sea life, I seem to have the connection with the ocean. It’s really very strange, I do not live near the ocean, I do not have a boat, I do not like fishing; but for some reason I feel at peace when I am by the ocean. I will often be found walking along the shoreline, taking photos, pick up shells or driftwood (I always look at them carefully and then put them back – I do not remove them from where I found them), or otherwise looking in rock pools, or sitting on the sand meditating. I do not however lay on the beach sun baking! I stay away when it’s hot. I love to be out on a boat, especially a sail boat; just coasting along, wind and spray on my face. A Sense of pure freedom I cannot seem to get anywhere else. Moth and I have been working our way around the coast of Victoria, short trips here and there, but it has been so enjoyable.

Dandenong Ranges
Dandenong Ranges

I like forests and mountains as well, but not to the same degree. I do not like heights, nor do I feel comfortable at high altitudes, but I do like to look at mountains, especially if they are covered in snow (Discovered that joy in NZ). I love to walk through forests, not long arduous hikes; just gentle strolls, to take in the wonder of fauna and flora, we have lovely native rain forest not far from us and we visit quite often. Especially in summer, there is peace and quiet and coolness in the forest. As I said I do not like to get too high, I feel ‘uncomfortable’ at high altitude; sorry it is difficult to explain, it’s not just the thin air, it’s something else. Mountain air, that is different and wonderful and clean.  In saying that I also enjoy taking photographs of towns, especially old historic towns, they are full of such interesting items and architecture. There are unfortunately not that many in Australia, there are a few, but we are still such a young country, we do not have 100’s or 1000’s of years of history and culture. I can also find interesting things in Big cities, although I must admit, I do not venture into them very often. I like street art and buskers are wonderful entertainment.

When it comes to photography I like still, a little action (I have not really done any sport photography, it is not high on my priority list, but maybe one day), I wish to study astro (night time) photography, and long exposure, I have done a little, but I am not very good at it as yet. I like to capture life, moments in time, children, adults, animals. I find interest in piles of rubble and graffiti, and clouds. I like to shoot some Macro, although I have not really done a lot, perhaps with the colder weather it is time to move indoors, or at least close to home and shoot some macro – but what? Flowers and bugs? Mmmmmm I need a little inspiration here. I would like to find away to earn a little play money to support my all consuming, expensive hobby. I do Portraits and Parties, perhaps more Product Shoots? but at the same time I do not wish to spend all my time doing things for other people and not myself. How DO YOU Support your hobby? Do you travel, do you print you photos (personally I rarely print them, they are digital format only).

There are things I would like to try if ever given the opportunity; Under water photography, a Big Game Reserve (you know like in Africa) photography, time lapse nature photography, Weddings, New Borns (not births, barely had the stomach for my kids lol), Wild Life animal Photography (not just Zoos), or at least not behind glass/cages. I would love to stage a food fight and get involved and photograph it, or one of those Color Runs…………..they look such fun, but SO MANY people, I am not good in really big crowds. I would like to try my hand at competitions or even to hang my stuff in a gallery, I would get a real kick out of that, but I do not think my work is good enough for that level as yet. Perhaps I am over critical; we usually are of our own work aren’t we? I would love to travel to ancient places; Egypt, Jordan, Istanbul and photograph the sites, explore and live in the moment; perhaps one day.

So where would you go? What do you like to photograph? Do you photographs tell a story? Does your personality dictate your photos? Please let me know I am interested in what others do.

– Julz