Is my photography hopelessly out of style?

Styles change.  Fashion never sits still.  Yet there are plenty of photographers who still churn out the same old style year after year.

Recently a photographer on a Fine Art America forum was moaning about their dropping sales this year.  They had great sales in the past but now nothing.  Perhaps the market has left their style?  Maybe sad looking big eyed children just aren’t the thing any more?  Things do change and people do get tired of certain styles and move on.

Perhaps ten years ago they wondered into a Peter Lik gallery while on vacation and said “wowza, I love this over saturated, metallic paper landscape” and have  been striving to achieve that look ever since.  Or they had a Ansel Adams poster in their dorm room thirty years ago and have been traveling to the southwestern US every chance they get to create dramatic black and white images of Yosemite or the desert.

Or maybe a five years ago they caught the HDR bug and have never left to the realm of surreal colors and impossible dynamic range.

Avoid the HDR and cliche photography trap!

So what happens when HDR becomes a cliche?  Something for amatuers or for people to do with a phone apps?  Perhaps its time to go to a more traditional or classic style.  More retro.  Or more futuristic.  It depends on you, your sense of style and what the market is looking for.

Ask yourself.

  1. Do you have any style?
  2. Can you describe “your” style?
  3. Can you adapt to trends or are you going to wait for your style to come back in fashion?

According to Format Magazine the trendy styles for 2017 are:

  • Minimalist Fashion Photography
  • Plants
  • Chairs
  • 35mm Film
  • Suburban America

  • Girl Gaze

  • Collages and Diptychs

    Read more here:

https://www.format.com/magazine/features/photography/photography-trends-2017-predictions

 

Love of Photography or Love of Being on Vacation?

I think there is some confusion out there in photography land.  There is a true love of photography and then there is a “love of being on vacation with a camera”.

 Photography Prints

A true love of photography is the deep need to document the world around you.  This when you never leave the house without a camera, you are always taking photos and looking around for photo subjects non-stop.

Sell Art Online

Then there is the pull the camera out of the closet, dust it off, perhaps buy a new lens because finally it is vacation time again!

Art Prints

You can tell this type of photographer in online forums as they are the ones arguing about the latest cameras and which lens is the sharpest.  They are also the ones asking for photo spot suggestions and where they should go on vacation – Cuba? Iceland? Ireland? Which national park is the best? etc.  In otherwords, where can I justify pulling out the tripod and standing next to my fellow vacationers to get that same photo I see on the post card rack.

Art Prints

Nothing wrong with this of course, I do it myself.  I get pumped for a vacation with the family and think about all of the great shots I’ll get while the family impatiently waits so we can go to dinner.

Sell Art Online

Every new location brings a fresh scenes to captivate the imagination and a change of scenery recharges the soul.  Plus its good for the brain to have to plan out your adventure and navigate a new landscape.  Often one is restricted to basic equipment so planning and adaptation is required.

Photography Prints

But the true artist can bring out amazing images from their own backyard. The amateur puts full faith in the exotic location in order to impress.  As if their vision lays within their equipment and relies on the landscape to provide the artistry.

Photography Prints

Perhaps if the amateur didn’t put the camera back in the closet after an exotic vacation they would learn to see the wonders all around them in their own backyard.

 

The Other Side of the Tracks

Old Train Bridge Bath, NH
Old Train Bridge Bath, NH

My Train Portfolio

My love of trains brought me back into photography after a long absence fraught with the concepts of career and raising a family. Making a move to a house with a bonus room rekindled an idea of building that dream model railroad I’ve had since I was a kid reading Model Railroader magazine.

Train photography by Edward M. Fielding
Train photography by Edward M. Fielding

Researching ideas online lead to the desire to document my progress which lead to my first serious DSLR, a micro-four thirds Panasonic G2. And then this snowballed into more lenses, an upgrade to a G3 and then eventually to starting to sell my photographs which justified upgrading to a full frame Canon 6D as well as various studio lights, lenses, bags and so on.

Train photography by Edward M. Fielding
Train photography by Edward M. Fielding

No doubt this is a similar trend. Typically people probably purchase their first serious camera when a child is born which may for may not lead to an obsession that takes them way past taking family photos.

Train photography by Edward Fielding
Train photography by Edward Fielding

But my train obsession has continued although its certainly not my only subject. I’ve shot trains and train tracks, stations, abandoned equipment and lost lines all over New England and even in Canada. From museums to living breathing steam engines on tourist lines.

Train photography by Edward Fielding
Train photography by Edward Fielding

One of my most intimate train experiences came one summer in Connecticut when I was helping my parents move out of their summer home for a permanate move to Florida. In between trips to the Goodwill and the dump, I was able to sneak away and capture some great shots of the Essex Steam train.

Train photography by Edward Fielding
Train photography by Edward Fielding

I shot on the train and from vantage points carefully mapped out along with the train schedule.  By the end of the summer I knew every crossing and every parking spot up and down the Connecticut River from Essex to East Haddam.

Train photography by Edward Fielding
Train photography by Edward Fielding

I got some of my most iconic shots of those great old steam trains that summer and what happened to my model railroad?  Unfortunetly photography bit hard and my poor model railroad sits unfinished waiting for me to get off the real real railroads and back into the attic.

See more great train photography here

 

Sometimes you just get lucky

Do you know a photographer who always seems to get that lucky break?  Some amazing shot that looks like he/she might actually know what they are doing?  Well, truth be told, getting lucky has a lot to do with being prepared and ready.

Sure luck happens. But the working photographer puts themselves in situations in order to increase the chances of luck and they are always prepared to capture moments when they suddenly appear.

One of my favorite things is finding vintage cars in the wild.  This particular shot of an old vintage truck in front of a dinner looks like might have been planned and set up for a magazine shoot but it was completely a lucky situation.

American Classics by Edward M. Fielding
American Classics by Edward M. Fielding

We had just dropped off our son at summer camp on Squam Lake (On Golden Pond) and were headed home when we decided to stop off in TIlton, New Hampshire for dinner at the Tilt ‘n Diner.  As we are finishing up our burgers and milkshakes, we start seeing vintage cars roll into the parking lot just as the sun is starting to get low on the horizon.

What timing!  We were dining at a spot an hour from house in the middle of the week and it just happened to be old car night!  So of course my wife took car of the bill and I headed out to get my camera and started shooting.

Unlike at a car show when the cars are all packed in tight and often festooned with awards or signs, this situation was perfect as the diner provided a great nostalgic background for the cars and as they drove, the first cars had plenty of space around them so they appeared more natural.

Sell Art OnlinePhotography PrintsArt PrintsPhotography PrintsArt PrintsArt Prints

More vintage car photography can be found in this portfolio – http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/car

5 Examples of Abstract Photography

Sell Art Online

Like abstract painting, abstract photograph chooses to isolate shapes, lines, color, divorced from reality and boiled down to the very essence of a sensation or impression.  The difference is painting starts with a blank canvas and adds elements whereas in abstract photography the photographer uses a camera to isolate and subtract from reality.

Photography Prints

Finding shapes, patterns, detail and composition from the larger world and eliminating all sense of context and meaning other than the pure sensation and tension created by line, texture, light, dark, color and perhaps movement.

Photography Prints

Abstract photography, sometimes called non-objective, experimental, conceptual or concrete photography, is a means of depicting a visual image that does not have an immediate association with the object world and that has been created through the use of photographic equipment, processes or materials.

Art Prints

An abstract photograph may isolate a fragment of a natural scene in order to remove its inherent context from the viewer, it may be purposely staged to create a seemingly unreal appearance from real objects, or it may involve the use of color, light, shadow, texture, shape and/or form to convey a feeling, sensation or impression.

 
Photography Prints
 

The image may be produced using traditional photographic equipment like a camera, darkroom or computer, or it may be created without using a camera by directly manipulating film, paper or other photographic media, including digital presentations.

Bad hair days and Dog Breath – Modeling is hard work

Clowning Around
Terrier photograph
Just Chilling by Edward M. Fielding http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/just-chilling-edward-fielding.html

The life of a super dog model is not all bones and biscuits. Sure some days the kibble rains down and luck shines but some days its a bad hair cut and stupid wardrobe.

“Just Chillin'” is just one of hundreds of photographs that Tiki the Westie has modeled for in fine art photographer, Edward M. Fielding’s series of dog photographs.

Example of a licensed image.
Example of a licensed image.

Some of the best Tiki the Westie supermodel photographs have been collected in this small gift book called “the Quotable Westie” and is available on Amazon and direct from the publisher CreateSpace – https://www.createspace.com/4070210

Clowning Around
One circus is closing, a new one is opening. http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/1-clowning-around-edward-fielding.html

“This modeling thing, it’s pretty easy, but actually it’s also really tough” – Cara Delevingne

Writers Block
Writers Block http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/writers-block-edward-fielding.html

“I was successful and I enjoyed modeling, but it got to a point where I felt like I had ‘been there, done that.’ I wanted something that would inspire me and challenge me. I needed something that required more creativity. I started writing and I started auditioning. Simply posing in front of the camera was no longer enough.” – Julia Voth

Wash Day Framed
Wash Day – http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/wash-day-edward-fielding.html

“Modeling, for me, isn’t about being beautiful but creating something interesting for people to look at and think about.” – Kylie Bax

Great framed art
http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/portrait-of-a-westie-dog-edward-fielding.html

“I think the only reason I wanted to do modeling, really, was because I knew I wasn’t ready to act; I knew I didn’t have enough life experience, and I knew that doing photo shoots was a way of acting. Playing a character each shoot and being able to just emerge yourself in these awkward experiences – it was amazing.” – Dree Hemingway

 

http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/pho-dog-grapher-edward-fielding.html
http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/pho-dog-grapher-edward-fielding.html

“I didn’t mean to be a TV presenter, I just hated modeling. It feels very odd that it’s turned into this ‘It-girl’ thing. What does that even mean? I wear clothes and I go out. It’s so weird.” Alexa Chung

When is photography art?

Ah the perpetual questions of photography’s place in the art world, which started with the birth of photography 150 or so ago. Is photography art? Is all photographer art? What makes some photography art and other photography not art?

Art Prints

Most importantly IS MY PHOTOGRAPHY ART? Or which of my photograph are considered art and others simply snapshots?

Photography Prints

For me the argument has been settled long ago when photographer’s began to be shown at art shows in galleries and museums and collectors began collecting photographs as fine art.

Photography Prints

Photography is an accepted fine art medium. All major art museums have photography collections. Photographers has been granted major retrospective at MOMA, The Tate Modern and other predominate museums. Photography is taught as a fine art medium in art schools around the world.

Sell Art Online

But certainly not every photograph is considered art. To me the difference is the intent of the photographer. The artist uses photography to create a specific vision they wish to communicate with the world. This is different than a randomly shot snapshot. The intent is to create a single image or series of images that explore an idea.

Art Prints

This is why the modern art world ignores Peter Lik and no major museum has his work in their collections. He creates beautifully rendered postcard images but there is no meaning or intent behind them other than to create a pretty picture. Today’s museums collect art which explores ideas beyond simple beauty. So photography that explores ideas is considered fine art while a beautifully shot landscape basically falls into the realm of craft.

Art Prints

When is photography art? When it pushes the boundaries, when it shows us a new way of seeing, when it exposes a truth, when it explores an idea, when it pushes us out of our comfort zone, when it shows us how to see anew.

Happy Printer a wireless, inkless, portable fun printer!

Happy Printer with Zink inkless technology
Happy Printer with Zink inkless technology

I was researching DIY photobooths for possible set up at my son’s prom when I came across this cool little printer called the Happy Printer from Zink.

It uses a heat activated ink less color technology developed by a spin off from the old Polaroid Company. Its kind of like the label printer I have that used special heat activated label. The great thing is there is no ink to purchase.

The Happy Printer uses rolls of special paper in a variety of widths such as two inch, one inch, 3/4 inch and 1/2 inch. The rolls are about 20 feet long and there is even an app available to “stitch” strips together if you need a bigger print.

And if printing off little color photos or strips of photos isn’t enough fun, did I mention that the paper is also a sticker? Double the fun when you can stick the result right into a scrapbook project or on a lunch bag.

There are two versions of the Zink Happy Printer currently on the market and a number of other little portable printers that use the Zink technology.

The ZINK Wi-Fi Enabled Wireless Printer with Arts and Crafts App sells for $99.  ZINK hAppy Smart App Printer hAppy is the portable, Wi-Fi, app-accessory that allows you to print directly from smart phones and tablets. Just download the free ZINK Design & Print Studio app onto a smartphone or tablet (or use a 3rd party compatible app); load a ZINK zRoll™ (photographic-quality ZINK Paper in roll form), design, and then wirelessly print to the hAppy. It’s compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. hAppy is also compatible with Android smartphone and tablets and Amazon Kindle Fire tablets. hAppy works with Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print apps.

The ZINK Wireless Touchscreen Printer. Wi-Fi Enabled. Built In App for Editing and Printing Photo & Labels On-The-Go. Prints Directly and from IOS & Android Smart Devices sells for $199 and adds a touch screen for creating images right on the device.

ZINK hAppy+ Smart App Printer. Featuring the Google Android operating system, the hAppy+ has built-in Wi-Fi, a touchscreen, and runs ZINK apps, making it your all-in-one tool for designing and printing whatever you can imagine, all from the palm of your hand. Via built-in ZINK apps, users can create and print directly on the hAppy+ without needing other devices. Just load a ZINK zRoll; create the design on the printer’s touchscreen; press print; and then place and adhere the print to create a variety of projects. hAppy+ is also compatible with Apple AirPrint and Google Cloudprint. The hAppy+ can also work as a companion to smartphones and tablets.

Zink stands for  “zero ink” is a full-color printing system for digital devices that does not require ink cartridges and prints in a single pass.  The printing technology and its thermal paper are developed by Zink Imaging, Inc., a US company. Zink Imaging makes all the paper; makes a printer for printing labels and other designs on rolls of Zink zRoll; and licenses its technology to other companies that make compact photo printers, and combined camera / compact photo printers that print photographs onto mostly 2×3” (about 5×8 cm) sheets of Zink Paper.

The Zink technology and Zink Imaging started as a project inside Polaroid Corporation in the 1990s, which spun out Zink Imaging as a fully independent company in 2005.

 

Photobooth App with Zink

Printing PhotoBooth Photos with Happy Printer
Printing PhotoBooth Photos with Happy Printer

Happy Printer can be synced with Photobooth apps like Photobooth and SimpleBooth to create a photobooth for events.

Other Printers That Use Zink Technology

There are a number of small, mobile printers (and instant cameras like the Polaroid Snap) that use Zink’s inkless technology but they use sheets instead of rolls of the Zink paper.  Instead they use packs of 10 sheets at a time.  I don’t like this method as much as the Happy Printer’s long rolls but here are the options.
Polaroid Zip mobile printer

HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer


Kodak Mini Mobile Wi-Fi & NFC 2.1 x 3.4″ Photo Printer with Advanced Patent Dye Sublimation Printing Technology & Photo Preservation Overcoat Layer (Gold) Compatible with Android & iOS

Fujifilm Instax Share Smartphone Printer SP-1

Canon Selphy CP1200

SkyMall Mobile Wi-Fi Printer

How to Succeed in Fine Art Photography

How to Succeed in Fine Art Photography with Brooke Shaden plus further reading.

“Anyone can become a fine art photographer, but not everyone can become a gallery-represented artist.”

Talent alone will not bring you recognition as a fine art photographer. For that, you need exposure to collectors and museums. Galleries can give you that exposure, but first you need an effective marketing plan to reach the galleries. You will find that plan in From Photographer to Gallery Artist.

Author Kara Lane conducted hundreds of hours of research, and contacted over sixty galleries, to find the best strategies for getting your fine art photography into galleries. Now she is sharing the secrets she discovered with you.

In this complete guide to finding gallery representation, you will learn:

  • The criteria galleries use to evaluate fine art photography
  • Three primary resources for identifying the best galleries for you
  • The tools you need to showcase your images and experience
  • Six major marketing strategies for attracting gallery representation
  • Key issues to discuss with galleries before agreeing to representation
  • How eight famous fine art photographers achieved their success
  • Self-assessment questions to help clarify what you want from your life and art
  • Lists of recommended portfolio review events, art fairs, juried shows and competitions, art magazines and blogs, artist websites, and other resources to help you become a gallery-represented fine art photographer
  • With your talent, effort, and persistence…and the research and marketing strategies in From Photographer to Gallery Artist…you can achieve gallery representation!

Did you know? Fine Art Photography – Known also as “photographic art“, “artistic photography” and so on, the term “fine art photography” has no universally agreed meaning or definition: rather, it refers to an imprecise category of photographs, created in accordance with the creative vision of the cameraman.

“Fine art is about an idea, a message, or an emotion. The artist has something that they want to have conveyed in their work.

That idea or message may be something small, a single word such as abandon, or it may be a whole statement, like exploring the way the moon affects the tides. It is a start. It is like a hypothesis.”


In recent years as the field of photography has exploded, many photographers consider selling their work to make a profit and to help defray the high costs of equipment. But, many photographers don’t have the business and marketing knowledge required to successfully sell fine art photographs; and many of those who have tried have been met with disappointment. Until now, little information of value has been available.

In Marketing Fine Art Photography, Alain Briot offers practical, up-to-date and field-tested marketing techniques from the viewpoint of a fine art landscape photographer who earns a living from the sale of his fine art prints.

Briot teaches that by taking control of the selling process, you can increase your profits and, ultimately, direct your own destiny. Briot’s approach is based on offering quality not quantity; and offering something unique, rather than something that is mass-produced. Though directed toward selling fine art, this method can be applied to other products.

After a series of trials and errors, Briot devised a marketing system that allowed him to get out of debt, pay for a state-of-the-art studio, and purchase his first home, all from the sale of his photography. Briot has taught fine art photography marketing to numerous students in seminars, through one-on-one consulting, and through his Marketing Mastery tutorial DVD.

Topics include:

Defining fine art photography
Wholesale, retail, and consignment
Knowing your customer
Where to sell and how to price fine art
Fundamentals of marketing and salesmanship
Profitability and honesty in business
Packing and shipping fine art
Common marketing mistakes
The unique selling proposition (USP)

So God Made a Farmer – Paul Harvey

So God Made a Farmer – Paul Harvey

And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker”

— so God made a Farmer.

God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper, then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board”

— so God made a Farmer.

Old Cabin in the snow
Old Cabin in the snow – http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/cobber-cabin-stowe-vermont-edward-fielding.html

“I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild; somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait lunch until his wife’s done feeding visiting ladies, then tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon — and mean it”

— so God made a Farmer.

Inside The Horse Barn Black And White
Inside The Horse Barn Black And White – http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/inside-the-horse-barn-black-and-white-edward-fielding.html

God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt, and watch it die, then dry his eyes and say, ‘Maybe next year.’ I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps; who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, and then pain’n from tractor back,’ put in another seventy-two hours”

— so God made a Farmer.

Ely Vermont Old Wooden Silo And Barn Black And White Framed Print
Ely Vermont Old Wooden Silo And Barn Black And White Framed Print – http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/ely-vermont-old-wooden-silo-and-barn-black-and-white-edward-fielding.html

God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds, and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor’s place

— so God made a Farmer.

Red Door Winter Barn, Windsor, Vermont
Red Door Winter Barn, Windsor, Vermont – http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/the-red-door-edward-fielding.html

God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark.”

It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners; somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week’s work with a five-mile drive to church; somebody who would bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh, and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says that he wants to spend his life “doing what dad does”

— so God made a Farmer.

Old Tractor Black and White Square
Old Tractor Black and White Square – http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/old-tractor-black-and-white-square-edward-fielding.html
Farm Fresh Eggs
Farm Fresh Eggs – http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/3-farm-fresh-eggs-edward-fielding.html

Paul Harvey, ‘So God Made a Farmer Speech’ to the FFA delivered November 1978, Kansas City, MO.