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Incredibly Important Composition Skills
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Before / After
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We Need To Talk

Upload from September 26, 2011

Look. We need to talk.

Geez, just writing that makes me nervous!! Ok, let’s just jump right in. On all of our articles there is a Comments section at the end where you can leave your thoughts. You’ve probably already seen it, assuming you read articles to the end. :) It’s not just for show. The comment section is there because we really want to hear from you! For a lot of reasons, actually.

First up, it’s going to help you learn better. If you can start verbalizing what you learned from the article in a comment, you’re instantly getting more out of the time you spent reading it. So even just the simple act of saying “Cool article, I really liked the part about [insert something you learned here]” will help you remember the content. You’ve taken ownership over the knowledge. You’ve rephrased it into your own words. Seriously, it makes a big difference.

Second, it’s a chance for you to get some clarification if there were parts you didn’t understand, or found yourself with new questions. We try really hard to answer all questions that are asked in the discussion section. For that reason the discussions are well worth a read through—maybe someone else had the same question as you. And if not, just ask!

It’s really really really important that you know that there are no such things as dumb questions. Not here. We’re all at different levels, and that’s great! If you’re just starting out, you’re going to have a TON of stuff to learn. So please ask. Don’t feel silly or embarassed. Every photographer starts at zero, and works their way up! Chances are there are at least a dozen other people wondering the exact same thing.

So if you have a question about an article, ask it in the Discussion section. We’ll do our very best to help! And what’s super cool is that other readers can help too!! Which leads me to the next reason we want a discussion going.

We don’t know anything.

Well, in a sense. I mean, we try really really hard to do our research and give you the best content we can possibly create on the site. But when you think “big huge picture”, yeah, we don’t know anything. Socrates has a very nice way of putting it:

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. - Socrates

We really believe that. We try to remind ourselves constantly that we only have our own experience, and have completed only a sliver of our career. Not only do we have a LOT left to learn, but each and every one of us is going to have a different experience as well. We can’t ever really know what works for everyone.

And so a discussion is seriously important. We’re just two photographers out of millions. What we say isn’t *truth* in any sense. It’s just one perspective. And the more perspectives we can consider, the more diverse and full our understanding of this art form will become.

So your thoughts on our articles will help make you, us, and everyone who reads them a more rounded photographer. Your thoughts are important.

Consider this a standing invitation to participate in the discussion section. Get engaged with the content, and share your reactions. There’s no judgement—just a place where people care what you think.  Remember, there’s no right and wrong here. Just a lot of diverse perspectives.

Since it would be silly to not at least try to get a discussion going on this post, I’ll get it started with a question.

What did you learn about photography this summer?

I’ll go first. We shot a LOT this summer, and learned a lot. One of the big ones for me is the importance of photographing our own life. We shoot for other people so much, and we’ve neglected our own friends and family. We’ve started to try to correct that, and the experiences have been so incredibly rewarding. We’ll be sharing more about all that in an article soon!

So now tell me what *you* learned!

And, after you’ve done that, you can check out a few posts where there is some good discussion going! Different perspectives, good tips, and lots of great energy!

Check Out These Articles With Great Discussions

Lauren Lim

Hey friend, I’m Lauren! I’m a photographer and head ninja here at Photography Concentrate. I’m downright obsessed with photography, and love sharing it with super cool folks like yourself. When I’m not shooting, or writing, you can find me cooking (and eating!), traveling, and hanging out with wonderful people.

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Extremely Essential Camera Skills

Extremely Essential Camera Skills

A multi-media tutorial designed to help you get control over your camera, and get creative and confident with your photography.

Learn more →

Discussion

19 Comments // Leave a comment

  1. I've been working on my client experience this summer. I really want to increase the relationships I have with my clients. What I have spent my summer doing to trying to look at the photoshoot from their perspective. Best way for me to do that was have our own photos done.

    And I learned a new way to sharpen my images, and how much I love my 105 2.8 for portraits in addition to macro work.

  2. Like Tricia, I also wanted to work on client experience and treatment this summer (and continuing in the fall). I also thought that getting our own photos done was a great way to see it from the other side of the lens. So we went with the experts in this field.

    I have also focused on being judicious with presets and lightroom and working on more subtle treatments.

    Worked on more defined location scouting, especially for weddings, and ensuring I have a proper timeline, route map, parking and shoot direction.

    One thing I need to work on is being able to say no, or at least set aside weekends/weeks where I take no bookings.

  3. This summer I was a second shooter for a wedding for the first time, and followed that up two months later by shooting my first wedding. A LOT of experience gained there and I'm still trying to process all the things I've gathered from those two events!

  4. First, a huge THANK YOU for Photography Concentrate! It's incredibly helpful, attractive, fun, and you guys honestly take the cake on generosity and kindness. Seriously, I notice how kind you are to everyone in the comments. So to what I learned this summer… I learned what kind of photographer I don't want to be and narrowed my approach. I'm refining my brand, working furiously on a brand new website and starting from scratch on every single piece of communication.

  5. *@Tricia:* Thanks so much for commenting! Client experience is so important, and I totally agree that the best way to understand it better is to be photographed yourself! Right on! And yay for sharpening and great lenses :)

    *@Evan:* Lol, you are too funny ;) And wow, you have really been upping your game, it's so awesome to hear!! I really hear you about setting time aside. Sometimes it takes us actually booking an airplane ticket to be able to do that. Very tough!

    *@Derek:* Congrats on shooting your first wedding!! You must have learned buckets of new stuff!! How exciting! Thanks so much for commenting :)

    *@Misty:* You are too sweet. Thank you so much for the kind words! We are truly having a blast sharing and helping as much as we can! Wow, I'm so impressed with what you're working on. It's so so important to know what you do and don't want to be, and to have a brand that reflects that. How exciting!!

  6. First of all, I LOVE this site. (See my pinterest page for "exhibit A".) But I'll admit, I'm one of those silent readers who assumes that everyone is crazy busy and challenged to find the time to answer every little question that a newbie like myself might be wondering. I really appreciate that you guys took the time to let us know it's OK to speak up!

    This summer I learned how to shoot in manual and now I am learning how to organize a workflow in Lightroom. I am passionate about capturing moments and doing so beautifully… but then it all falls apart from there. My desktop and laptop are a mess of various libraries and files. And until now I "enhanced" my pictures in iPhoto. (Insert HUGE, shy smile.) So much to learn!! And you guys have been a HUGE help… so thank you!!

  7. LOVE you guys: your insight and your work! Thanks for sharing it with us.
    I'm with you, in that I feel like I'm neglecting my family and friends. I feel like I'm living my life through my viewfinder and behind my computer…and I need to find a balance. I'm really looking forward to that article – can you fast track that one please?! :)
    I'm trying to learn to relax in a shoot – and before the shoot. If you have any wise words on how to do that (especially before) I'd be extremely grateful!
    xo

  8. Great article! ;)
    I've written something like this on my own blog (in danish) – I know first hand the feeling of having "silent visitors": It's like having strangers walking around your garden, picking the flowers you put out there, without them even giving a nod for a greeting.
    And up until now I've had a guilty concience since I've done the exact same thing to you guys: Sampled the fruits of your photo-concentrate garden without even saying "thx" in the discussion. I'm sorry. :)

    What I've learned this summer? Lightroom is fantastic! I've been using Bibble 5 for a while but have felt like I couldn't get that last something out of my photos. Your articles gave me the last push to try out Lightroom 3 – and after little more than a month of use I *love* it. When working with LR I feel like a talented chef preparing a meal: A little of this spice – some of that, and voila!: Something amazing happens. Delicious. :D

    Thanks for a great blog.

  9. This summer began, with me buying the Nex3, and reading your review on it.
    As it was the first time that I bought something other than a compact camera, I was focusing mainly on the basics use of the camera.
    So I know that for me being in full manual, is taking me too much time. I like staying in shutter priority mode, and if necessary change the iso. I don't have to think too much about the settings, just the composition of my photo.
    I know that I love taking picture of people, but I'm still too shy to dare asking them.
    I learned how to optimise my workflow, on lightroom, it's organised (but now that I think of it, I forgot about the RAW to DNG convertion that wrote about!).
    I learned to take pictures as much as possible.
    I realise after writing these lines that reading your blog was helping me learning photography.
    Thank you :)

  10. first off, you guys are amazing. as people, as photographers, as business people, and as sharers of your knowledge (for free no less) I really appreciate all your posts and always share them with others. Your blog is attractive, funny, simple and to the point, and also full of info I just don't always get anywhere else.

    So what did I learn this summer? Better workflow, look for the light more and maximize my use of Gmail to get better with keeping on top of that inbox. I shot a LOT this summer and I'm still sane! As a mother of three kids under 5 without any type of daycare or help in the home, that in and of itself was amazing :) But my passion for this 'job' has kept me happy and in love with what I'm doing. And getting better images in camera, learning how to edit them better and faster, and improving my workflow for my clients (and my family's) betterment.
    Last but not least, I've joined PPO and I'm submitting images for accreditation this year. For a girl who didn't know what the 'M' was on a camera 4 short years ago, this is big. And I'm still in love :)

  11. I'm not sure exactly how I stumbled onto your site, but I have been a lurker (sorry) for several months.

    This summer, I made the jump to full manual. Now I actually feel like a proper photographer. I also am learning that I need to value my own time more and either charge properly or say no to work that doesn't fit in my life.

    Thanks for all the knowledge you share. Love your site!

  12. Wow you guys. Thank you so so so much for all these amazing comments!

    *@Dawn:* Thank you so much for commenting! So happy to hear from you! Right on for learning to shoot in manual! That's a huge step! And all the organization stuff is super challenging, we're still trying to figure it out, so you're in good company ;) We're so glad we've been able to help!!

    *@Kristy:* Thank you so very very much! We're loving getting to share with so many awesome people! Haha, ok I'll fast track that article for you. It's been on my mind a lot lately :) I've written a bit about what I do to help me relax "in this article.":http://www.photographyconcentrate.com/2010/oct/18/take-five-meditating-photography/ Hope that helps a bit!

    *@Christian:* I love your metaphors! Gardens and cooking! Such cool ways to describe blogging and editing! Please don't feel sorry though! I'm not saying anyone *has* to comment. It just is really fun when they do! And we love getting to chat with our readers, so thank you for saying hi! Lightroom is AWESOME hey?? Delicious indeed :)

    *@Pioum:* Sweet!! We're camera buddies!! I totally hear you on being shy about asking people. Just dive in though. Seriously. It gets much easier the more you do it! Start off asking friends and family, and then strangers. Wow, you've learned a lot! Great stuff! And we're so glad we've been able to help you learn photography. That's what we're here for :)

    *@Tamsen:* Gosh. Thank you. That means so much that you share our articles!! And right on! You learned a TON, and with three kiddos! That's seriously impressive! Congrats on all your progress!!

    *@CJ:* We're so glad you found us! No need to apologize. We're so happy to hear from you! And right ON for going manual! It feels so good to be in totally control hey?? And that's such an important lesson, valuing your time. Life lesson, in fact :)

    Thanks again everyone. We're so so so happy to hear from you all!!

  13. love your website, and your happy attitudes :D
    thanks for sharing all your photo wisdom — it's awesome!

    the best thing i've learned this summer is not to be shy about raising my rates — so far i haven't heard any complaints, and it's been a big boost in my esteem!
    i've also learned to encourage mothers to make sure their kids get naps before the photo shoot!! (although i have no idea why moms would deprive the kids of naps, it's just awful for everyone).
    the last thing i've learned is to always take some time after each shoot to sit down and reflect on what went really well, and what i could've done better. sometimes i even take notes for myself ;) it's been really helpful, and i have been beating myself up less after shoots i felt could've gone slightly better! it's a process, right?

  14. I would love to be part of the discussion! I seem to always read the comments, but need to post my own. I love Photography Concentrate and it has helped me out in so many ways. I am so impressed that talented photographers will share their knowledge with others since many people are so close-lipped about their techniques. We are all in this together!

    This summer I bought the Extremely Essential Camera Skills to brush up on the basics and i have been working on shooting manual.It has been fun and has challenged me to the next step.

    One question I have is about white balance. My pictures don't always have accurate color (which I know exposure plays a huge part) but I was wondering if I could get some tips: is a custom white balance necessary? I tried the custom, but it seems to be a long process. Any other options? I shoot with a Canon 50D.

    Also, Lauren…this summer I emailed you because I moved to a new state where I hardly knew a soul. Thank you SO SO much for the advice. I tell everyone I meet about my photography and I have talked to owners of stores that are relevant to weddings. I am also going to places where young couples associate to get my name out there. I really appreciate your (you+Rob) willingness to help all of us succeed! Thanks a million!

  15. Great comments!

    *@Colleen* Thanks for sharing what you learned this summer! Great tip about making sure kids nap before the shoot. And reflecting after a shoot is also a great idea! I definitely have a tendency to beat myself up after shoots. Reviewing images and writing down ideas always goes a long way in terms of improving future shoots and confidence. Definitely a process!

    *@Marcelle* Thanks for commenting and for the kind words!

    A quick note about white balance: We generally shoot auto white balance (with Canon 5Ds) and fine tune the RAW files in Lightroom. Occasionally we select from the different white balance presets (shade, bright sun, tungsten, etc) especially when shooting video.

    I've heard of some people using "Expo Discs":http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=expodisc&N=0&InitialSearch=yes to get perfect white balance, but I haven't tried them myself. I feel that for the portrait work we shoot it's not necessary to do custom white balancing – but I would love to hear how other readers handle things. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful!

    Awesome to hear your relocation is going well! I would love to hear more about it! I'm sure you've found some tactics better than others in terms of spreading the word about your business.

    Great to hear from you :)

  16. I learnt this summer that if I must continue to learn get out of my comfort zone. I have also learnt that I must always be marketing, whether it is just saying Hi or posting interesting articles I must keep talking to my clients and potential clients.
    I only found this blog today and I have already learnt so much!
    Thank you for sharing.

  17. Many thanks for your articles. You're awesome!

    This summer I lernt to work deeper with Lightroom+PS.
    I've made two differents studio sessions and clients were very confortable with the result.

    And I'm learning a lot with your blog.
    Many thanks.

  18. *@Paula:* That's a great lesson about getting out of your comfort zone! One that everyone can keep reminding themselves of. Great stuff happens when you really push yourself to do something new! And also so true about marketing. It's a constant effort! So glad you found our blog, and that we've been able to help!

    *@Santiago:* Thanks so much for the kind words! Sounds like you've learned some great stuff this summer, and did some new things! Right on!!

  19. You asked for it! Commets, questions and all other things you will get!

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