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Photography Since Day One By Kyle Willis

Published on May 29, 2013, by in Advice, Photography.

Photography Since Day One By Kyle Willis

As many of you may know, I’m a photographer. It’s my passion, in my veins and I feel like it may be a family phenomenon. My father has been my true inspiration since I purchased my camera last December. When other family members told me to “put down my plastic toy and do something that would better myself,” I would feel offended but would ultimately brush it off and say okay just to make them happy. What most people don’t understand is there’s a difference between having a hobby and having a passion. 

Ever since my parents bought me my first camera at the age of five or six I’ve always been fascinated by it. With my father being a professional, he always had the nice equipment and I fell into what us photographers call “gear hungry”. It’s when one drools over equipment that they don’t have and lose interest in what their current gear can offer them (at the time I had a little 110 film camera). This is actually hard to get past in my opinion but once you get past it, you regain your self realization that your equipment is  actually very beneficial. Without being “gear hungry”, the focus turns to the images as opposed to the equipment used to capture them. 

In the early stages I thought of photography as a hobby and that it wouldn’t get me anywhere. To be blunt I was clearly wrong. Taking pictures has brought me great joy over the past year and I anticipate it carrying on for many more. The investment that I made in December 2011 and January 2012 was the best choice I have ever made, but I can’t take all the credit, my parents contributed a significant amount. After that investment and what truly got me to where I am today was my good friend Daniel Quiyu. Before I had purchased my iMac I was actually leaning towards buying a PC because it was a lot cheaper. He offered to download the Adobe Suite onto my computer but he only had it for Mac, so that’s the reason why I have a Mac. Daniel has also helped me a bunch after that, even with videos. The first shoot I had with my good friend, a model Emmaleigh, was with a lens Dan let me borrow since I didn’t own one. Another time he let me borrow the lens was for my cousin’s wedding, which proved super useful.

I’m talking about the Canon 50mm f1.8; one of the cheapest Canon offers but yet my favorite lens I’ve ever put on my camera. Using it the two instances Dan let me borrow it helped me save up the money and purchase it. Now it’s on my camera 95% of the time. Using it on a crop sensor is a bit tight but I make the most of it. 

Having a family member ask you to film their special day was one of the scariest questions I said yes to, but that answer was the best one I could give. Being on that side of the party was different indeed. Extremely fast paced and having to keep an eye open for the perfect moments wasn’t hard though. Since my cousin hired a professional photographer as well, he gave me tips and even when my flash ran out of batteries, he offered me some of his. I had never met this man in my life but he was extremely helpful with a lot of things. Even when I accidentally set my camera’s shutter speed faster than its maximum sync speed. He told me my minor mistake and it was quickly fixed. That wedding gave me so much more confidence in my shooting and I’m so thankful for my cousin asking me. 

The next largest event I was asked to shoot was with Hurricane Productions. My first professional gig with an established group of people, literally the most nerve wracking situation I’ve ever been in. Since the party was upstairs, I actually accidentally shot photos of someone in the party downstairs, honest mistake. The place was beautiful and my eyes glanced at everything. Then I reached the top of the stairs and there were these huge set of white doors, which I was hoping where my destination was. Thankfully it was and Hurricane greeted and made me feel part of their family. When the party attendees started to arrive, that made me even more nervous. But when the lights went off and the strobes began to flash, that’s when the party really began. I had never seen so many people on a dance floor before with such great entertainers. I’ve been to sweet 16s before where the DJ would just stand behind his laptop and play songs but Hurricane really made it fun. Strato was an excellent DJ and Vincent and Nick were extremely helpful.

I am lucky enough to have friends that love being in front of the camera, especially Ryan Ramoo and Emmaleigh. Since they began modeling, I’ve practically built their portfolios and it’s been an amazing experience. The styles and locations we’ve been at have been great and the photos that came from those shoots are still my most viewed images to date. Shooting them so many times allowed me to become so comfortable that now are shoots are literally just hanging out and talking but still getting work done. I can recall my most popular image which is Emmaleigh standing on the pier of Assunpunk Lake in a pea coat in 30 degree weather. Props to her for being able to hold that pose. 

Over the past year I’ve definitely developed an artistic eye. What helps the most is knowing what the photo is going to look like before capturing it. Personally, I’m a huge fan of making my images replicate film. However, I’m not such a big fan of very vibrant images with the exception of landscapes and some skateboarding photos. Practicing my photography skills during skateboarding activities is really when I started snapping away. My first purchase after my camera was a fisheye lens, a skateboarding photography necessity (this was before I started doing portraits). When that huge piece of glass came in the mail I was like a toddler in a candy store. I literally stared at it for a good ten minutes before I put it on my camera. The front element itself was about four times the size of the fisheye on my small video camera. 

Having said that, taking photos has brought me to great new places. From taking my father’s camera without him knowing to working with the great team at Hurricane Productions, photography has done it for me. The amazing individuals I’ve met along the course of my journey have been so incredibly helpful I can’t even think of a way to thank them. Thanks to everyone that has given me support, the motivation it gives me is incomparable. The best thing I ever picked up was a camera. 

Links to People Mentioned

Daniel Quiyu, owner of Cue Skateboards Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/frontsidedan

Daniel Quiyu Instagram: FrontsideDan

Cue Skateboards: http://cueskateboards.com/

Emmaleigh Hauck’s model page: https://www.facebook.com/EmmaleighAngeline

Ryan Ramoo’s model page: https://www.facebook.com/ramooryan

Hurricane Productions: http://hurricaneproductions.com/

See More of Kyle’s Photography

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kyle-Willis-Photography/194853693912230

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kylewillisphoto

Instagram: Kylewillisphoto

 

 

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Why Non Profits Need Photography By Kate Siobhan Havercroft

Why Non Profits Need Photography By Kate Siobhan Havercroft, TGL Operations Manager

There’s a long list of modern needs for the average Non-Profit. Gone are the days of mail-out newsletters and pamphlet’s. These days, with the onset of raging social media, Smartphone’s and instant updates, many NGOs, are often operating with limited resources, and as a result they are struggling to keep up.

There are loads resources that NGO needs to utilize nowadays; websites, Social Media accounts (Facebook, Google+, twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Reddit, Instagram, and new ones everyday), blogs, and of course a staff to keep everyday operations afloat! In the midst of all this, we, as viewers, tend to give new websites or fan pages about three seconds to prove their worth to us. It’s not our fault – we’re bombarded everyday with new requests, piles of links, and LOLCatz.

One of the biggest reasons we as viewers move along quickly are the instances when there isn’t enough visual stimulation to hold our interest. We’re a visual society now, and we can tell the difference between an even slightly dated website from a “cutting edge” one in the bat of an eye.

This brings us to just one way – of many ways – that we, at The Giving Lens, are able to step in and help some NGOs. Through media we offer compelling, timeless, meaningful images that tell a whole story at 1/1000th of a second. But how do we do this?

The Giving Lens is an organization that leads international teams, around the world, on travel photography workshops with a twist: We partner with an incredible Non-Profit doing amazing work in-country, and volunteer our photography and our skills to further their efforts. This ranges from photo-education, to documentation, to intimate portraiture, too much more. The possibilities, and the needs, are endless. When not volunteering, we run workshops at places most people only dream of going. And when it’s all over, we share up to 50% of our profits with the NGO we just worked with, along with all the images. 

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The Wandering Wayfarer By Mark A. Paulda

The Wandering Wayfarer By Mark A. Paulda

We never want to believe that there is a magical reality, though there are a myriad of magical places in this world. We all too often choose to ignore the wide-open door leading elsewhere, and instead live vicariously through fictional characters beamed onto our televisions. Perhaps the outskirts of town is a foreign land as one gets tangled up in every day life, or maybe even the thought of hopping on a plane today seems like more hassle that it is worth.

Instead, we want to live uncomplicated, and simple lives, staying put. We want to swim in reality, and remain in our “safety zones,” but while swimming through it, we can miss out on so many idyllic landscapes, vibrant cultures, and amazingly beautiful architecture waiting for us to discover. Yes, we do get a glimpse of another world without realizing at times, though there is no real substitute for travel. In fact, no matter how much you have learned in a classroom, there is no better education than experiencing a land beyond our borders first-hand.

During my adult life I have grown tremendously, and have learned to “think internationally” simply by opening my mind while visiting countries foreign to my own. As a travel photographer, I have flown a million miles, trundled step after step, and have clicked the shutter on my camera more times than can be counted.

Throughout this article you will view some rather magical places, and this is my reality. One could say – everything I have learned, I have learned from traveling around this world, and yet, there are still so many lessons to be learned, and so many more corners of this world to discover… 

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Ordinary To Extraordinary By Cathy Hickis

Ordinary To Extraordinary By Cathy Hickis

When I was asked if I wanted to contribute to this blog I wasn’t sure what I would write about. I am not a very technical person, even when it comes to the camera. I am more the artistic type. I have a passion for color and the things that are not normally seen by the average person. I bought my camera about 2 years ago because I was going to the Galapagos Islands and wanted to have a good camera. For the technical ones, I have a Nikon D3000 and an 18 to 55 mm lens and a 55 to 200 mm lens. As of this date I do not have a flash except for the one being in the camera. That is going to be my next purchase and next lesson.  To date I have just adjusted my ISO when the light wasn’t cooperating. I guess you can say I am a work in continuous progress. 

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Sports And Actions Shots By Cathy Hickis

Sports And Actions Shots By Cathy Hickis

I am sure those of you who specialize in Sports Photography have more knowledge than I do about this type of photography, however, I find Sports and Action Photography to be very rewarding even with my limited expertise.  There is something exciting about capturing action on camera.  This is how I started out taking photos and fell in love with photography.  

The first race I photographed was an Annual Bike Criterium where I live.  I had just purchased my Nikon and went into town to watch the race. With my tripod set up on one of the corners the racers would be coming through I snapped away for a few hours.  I had no idea how the photos would come out and when I downloaded them I was pleasantly surprised and excited at the shots that I did get.  I decided this was something I wanted to do and I got my first chance at doing it for a profit when a friend who was putting on a race asked me if I would be interested in taking photos. I got up at 5:30AM to get to the race site by 7AM.  I took over 1000 photos that day. Not all came out as I would have liked but quite a lot of them did.  I sent the entire file to my friend who passed the info along to the participants so that they could download a copy of a photo of themselves.  Since then I have set up my website, set prices and now charge for those photos.  Not everyone buys because of our technology today and all the phone cameras.  But I have sold some nice photos that they could not get on their phone. The quality, the composition and the emotion that I can capture with my camera sets the photos apart.  I have done some night races which are very challenging due to lighting and I really could use a better camera and lens but I can still make it work with the camera I have.  For me it is a continuous learning process and a lot of trial and error.  You have to love it in order to do it or you will become very frustrated.

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Shooting The Deep By Klaus M. Stiefel

Shooting The Deep By Klaus M. Stiefel

You probably have already done it several times this week, and without all that much effort: take a photograph. The advanced lenses, sensors and software of modern digital cameras make it easy to take pictures, and sometimes even good pictures. Cameras have come a long way since photography was initially invented in the late 1700s. Back then it was a cumbersome and slow business! Bulky photographic devices had to be set up for exposure times spanning hours, followed by tricky chemical procedures to develop the images. Today the near-magic advancements of optics and electronics have rendered the photographic process so simple that a whole class of consumer cameras is quite correctly called point-and-shoot.

But in some cases, taking pictures still involves extraordinary efforts, like those I made for my deep-diving underwater photography during the last few years. I brought my camera along dives on the spectacular drop-offs of tropical coral reefs in the 50 – 80 meter (165 – 260 feet) range, well below what recreational divers can reach. I experienced an amazing biodiversity, with a coral cover in pristine condition, majestic large barrel sponges multi-colored sea feathers and pulsating anemones everywhere. I saw rare and unusual animals, some of them possibly never before seen by human eyes, and I took photographs of many of these sea creatures. I took pictures of marine life separated from the regular realm of humans by a barrier of 80 vertical meters of salt water, exposed to a pressure of 9 bar, which is 9 times as much pressure as on the surface. In this hard to reach environment taking good pictures down there took even more of my efforts than merely going to these places. As a reward, I got shots of unreal beauty and scientific significance. In this article I want to share what it took to get these shots. First, I will briefly describe the diving techniques I employed; Then I will tell you about the photographic gear, techniques and mindset I had to have to resurface with beautiful images of deep reef marine life. I hope that this description will be interesting in itself; I also think that a lot of the photographic approaches I used constitute good lessons for any under-water or nature-photographer.

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Compositing Images to Extend the Dynamic Range By Steve Paxton

Compositing Images to Extend the Dynamic Range By Steve Paxton

High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography exploded in popularity several years ago and continues to captivate new and experienced photographers. Most people are struck by the extreme contrast and dramatic look of HDR images. With programs like Photomatix, virtually anyone with a digital camera can combine a series of images and extend the overall tonal range of a scene.

You can also enhance the perceived dynamic range of a scene by combining multiple images into a single composite. In this walk through, I demonstrate techniques for manually combining several photographs taken at varying exposures into a final HDR composite. I also share several of my favorite processing techniques for landscape photography. Image compositing takes patience and skill, but the results are usually worth the effort. Here’s the image we will be working with:

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Getting Started with iPhoneography… and Instagram! By Lolita B.

Getting Started with iPhoneography… and Instagram! By Lolita B.

I’ve loved taking photos since I was a child, a love affair that continues today. As an adult I did all the things most amateur photographers do: invest in a good DSLR camera, take courses and determine what my path in the wide world of photography would be. That path took shape in a very unexpected way in March 2011, when I downloaded a then-unknown app called Instagram. I was immediately hooked and my devotion to iPhone photography began. As a result, many doors have opened, I’ve made some wonderful friends…and my love for photography has increased tenfold! Here, I’ll share with you tips and advice that I’ve acquired along the way which can be applied to Instagram, iPhoneography, social media and even good ol’ DSLR photography!

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The Emerald Goddess of Dancing, The Aurora By Moyan

The Emerald Goddess of Dancing, The Aurora By Moyan

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It was like an emerald goddess dancing for me in the silence of a dark night…….

It’s called aurora, better known as northern/southern lights, or aurora borealis/australis, depending on which pole you are referring to. In my opinion it is one of the most desirable shots for any photographer to capture. It is a spectacular yet elusive shot. Fortunately for everyone, 2012 and 2013 will provide multiple opportunities to capture this beauty.

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Self-Publishing Photobooks By Alex Baker

Self-Publishing Photobooks By Alex Baker

Bored with taking pictures of the same old stuff in the same old way? Make a photo book with a theme!

Although I love my home and wife and kids and cat and garden and neighborhood and town and state, I confess I can get bored taking the same old photographs of all the same old stuff.  I have to come up with new ideas and new places and new methods to keep myself interested.  One of the really great advantages of the digital age that I find  interesting and enjoyable is self-publishing. Back in the in the pre-digital era, publishing your work, was filled with frustrating barriers and expense, and out of the question if it was just for your own enjoyment to share with family and friends. Well, not anymore, it’s a new day and all the tools are at hand on the popular photo hosting sites like Snapfish, Flickr, Picasa, Smugmug and others. Full disclosure: I have a pro account on Smugmug and I’m very happy with it.

Things are changing rapidly. Some wedding photographers will even give you your wedding photos on a CD and let you make your own wedding albums.  That can be a loss of income for the photographer, but also a loss of significant aggravation and time that could be spent shooting.  When my wife and I got married a few years back that is just what I did in fact and it worked out really well.  I had made my first printed photo book. Not my photos, but I learned how easy it was to do. In that case it was a simple Snapfish album.  My daughter and her wedding photographer did the same thing later on.  Then when one of our sons got married I did it again with the candids that his step-mom and I had each shot, so they had a real profession (and excellent) wedding album from the professional wedding photographer and another “family” album of amusing, touching candid shots that we had done.  The two albums complimented each other.

Making a Wedding Album – it’s easy!

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