I don’t remember the year but I remember it was in the afternoon. A fresh layer of snow was on the ground and I was eager for an adventure in my parent’s backyard. My parents back up to a state park that never ends. It’s over 10,000 acres and when It’s raining a lot I have a 45 minute hike to explore a wonderful waterfall. It’s a steep and challenging hike but rewarding. This day though I had a idea in mind, to go check out the swamp that was up and down the huge hill behind our house. I wasn’t really into photography at the time but I had a small interest in it. I threw on all my clothes that I could find grabbed a little 2.0 flip video camera and began the hike. Of course, I only got 30 minutes up the hill already freezing cold and sweating wondering what the heck I was doing. Almost miserable, I pushed myself on to explore the winter wonderland some more. I finally got to the top of the hill, took a deep breath in of the cold air drank a little water and began my trek to the bottom. It was silent. I was the only person around for about a mile and it was wonderful. As I got closer to the destination I looked up and couldn’t believe what I saw. It was more than what I saw in my mind. The snow had begun to fall again, there was a small steady breeze, and fresh snow was on the logs in the water. I pulled out the small video camera, lined up what I thought would be an image and took the shot. Sadly, I have lost the original file but to this day it is still one of my favorite pictures I have ever taken. At the time, I had no clue what I was doing with the shot. The horizon of the swamp is in the right position, the log you see is in the middle of the frame, and there is a line on the far left-hand side of the image in the perfect spot. When I went on this adventure I realized that I wanted to peruse photography one day. I didn’t start right away but when I go on adventures now that are photography based I always think back in my mind to this day as to why I do it. People always ask me, Jerrod do you not ever get tired of exploring as much as you do? The answer is and always will be no. Photography and exploring are my two favorite hobbies. I relax when I do them.
Let me start off by saying I value my time that God has given me here on this Earth. I’m 26 and I cannot believe how fast time has already gone by. On top of that they say the older you get the faster time goes by. I believe it. Lately I have been asking a few people I have come across if they want to do a free photo shoot with me. I’m doing it for several reasons. Of course, in hopes to get my name out but also as another means and excuse to meet new people. I know a lot of people. I love people! I am a people person!. To get back to the point lately I have been asking a few people if they’d be interested in doing a free photo shoot with me. That takes a lot for me to offer up my services for free. When I do a free shoot I offer up a lot of valuable time, but in order for hopes to get my name out there. As some of you know my passion is landscape but with winter here and it being cold and miserable outside I figured it would be a good time to improve my portraits! I am starting to get frustrated though. It takes time for me to find people. I love it when a person tells me yes and they are willing to model for me for free. However lately I have had several people that have told me yes. We plan something then they back out at the last minute or never respond to me when it’s time to do the photo shoot and leave me hanging. Life is busy, I get it, especially during the holidays. All I ask for when I ask to do a photo shoot with you is to be honest with me. Please do not waste my time and do not waste yours by telling me you want to do a photo shoot with me and then back out at the last minute. Not only are you wasting your time but you are going to waste mine and in the end, I will probably be frustrated at you. I am going to respect you more if you point blank tell me sorry I am busy and don’t have time to do a photo shoot with you rather than you say yes then leave me hanging. Long story short all I want from people is to be honest with me. I get it, I seem like a nice guy (because I am) and you don’t want to tell me no. Please though tell me no so I am not upset and frustrated in the end. That is all I ask!
You’re a photographer. You go out on the field, snap a few pictures, and edit them quickly. Then you start posting them to Instagram and start comparing yourselves to other photographers. You get excited about all the likes you begin to get on your pictures. Let’s face it. We all do this. I’m guilty of this myself. I post a picture to Instagram and start reloading my feed to see how many likes my picture is getting. In reality if you just take picture just to post them on Instagram to see how many likes you’ll get, you as a photographer will never improve your shots. Of course, social media is a great way to get your name out there & it’s a great place to be inspired, but think back as to why you started taking pictures. For me at the beginning it was an excuse to get outside and explore new places. I’ll admit when I started gaining followers sometimes I would just go to take pictures for Instagram. Over the few years though I’ve learned that my most creative shots were when I thought of a picture or idea myself, then went online and did some research on how others got the shot. The worst pictures I have taken were when I went on a adventure to take pictures just to post them on my feed. Bottom line, if you evolve your work around Instagram instead of your own creative way you will never improve your shots. Stop taking pictures just to post them on Instagram. Start taking pictures because you are the creative person you were designed to be!