the blog of Seldom Seen Photography

Stepping Toward Becoming Great

Seattle AbstractI recently had another article published on the Travel Photographers Network (TPN). This one is a book review of The Passionate Photographer, Ten Steps Toward Becoming Great by Steve Simon. If you have a goal of improving your photography, and haven’t already read this book (which was published last year), you really should. Steve Simon explains in a step-by-step fashion how to turn photographic passion into unique, strong images. This is not a book on what equipment to buy or what camera settings to use, but rather how to take the your own photographic drive and move up to the next level in your craft.

Briefly, Simon’s book has 10 chapters, each dedicated toward one step toward becoming a great photographer. Each chapter explains how the step fits into the larger goal of improving your photography and provides concrete exercises to help work on the particular step. I have decided to try to work on these ten steps. Periodically throughout my coming blog posts, I’ll report my progress on the steps, and you be the judge whether my photography improves.

First, step one. This step involves working on personal projects. Simon suggests taking on photographic projects that challenge you as a photographer, but ones you have some passion. He gives several examples of projects he worked on, and challenges his readers to brainstorm on their own projects.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about personal projects I might work on as step one and came up with a list of six or seven. I’ve picked five that I want to pursue, three of which involve photography that I might not normally concentrate at – portraits and still lifes. The fourth involves travel photography, and the fifth involves documentary photography. I’ve started work on three of the five – the one involving travel photography, the documentary, and the one with still lifes.

For my travel related project, I’m covering travel photography sites in Seattle. My goal for this project is to publish an ebook about Seattle travel photography. If you’ve followed my posts this spring, you know I’ve been up to Seattle several times working on this project. The black and white shot included here is from that project – its an image of the downtown Seattle Library and some of its surrounding buildings. The still-life project involves making images of found objects on Tacoma streets in my studio. I’ve started collecting stuff I’ve found along the streets (mostly in my neighborhood of North Tacoma) and, so far, have come up with a few interesting objects, including the small Radio Flyer four-wheeler shown here.

The third project involves documenting the demolition and re-construction of the Tacoma Mountaineers building. I’ve been taking photos of it approximately weekly since January. When the building is finished, I’ll post a video that shows its evolution – stay tuned! Meanwhile, take a step toward being great and read my review of The Passionate Photographer.

Four-wheeler

Advertisements

4 responses

  1. Reblogged this on Iris Pinson.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:22 am

  2. The photograph of the downtown Seattle library and surrounding buildings is awesome! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the book, it sounds interesting. I am what I call a ‘hobbyist’ photographer. For many years I have had a project in mind but don’t really know how to get it started. Maybe this book could help get me moving in the right direction. ~Andrea

    June 11, 2012 at 6:22 am

    • Thanks Andrea. The hardest part about doing a project is getting started. One of the projects I put on my list, but am not yet working on, is one I’ve had floating around in the back of my head for years and have never put into action. A large part of it is being scared of whether I could pull it off or not. That is often the hardest part to overcome. I’m not quite there on that project, but I’m close. Maybe when I finish one of the current ones, I’ll get the courage to start that one.

      June 11, 2012 at 5:15 pm

  3. Pingback: Keep Shooting ’til it Hurts « joebeckerphoto

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s