Zack Arias, Self-doubt and Determination

Visual Psychology

Zack Arias doubts his abilities: Do you doubt your’s?

Photography is a lonely hobby. You can share your work online and be lauded by flickr friends or acquaintances on a dozen other websites, but essentially you are alone. It’s you behind the lens, it’s you composing the shot, setting the exposure, and tweaking the images during post-production.

You. One person.

Photography isn’t like football (soccer to our North American friends): There’s no team. There’s nobody there to save the day if your camera’s ISO setting is wrong, a teammate can’t help you with incorrect lighting or depth of field. Face it, photography isn’t a social hobby. Yes, you can talk about it in internet forums, read and comment on blogs, maybe even join a local photography club: None of that means you’re part of a team. Well, maybe a team of three: Me, myself and I.

For some people that’s the attraction: The “Look what I did, Mom!” factor. You did do it, without a lick of help. That blockbuster image was all you. That shining masterpiece, that one great photo in the thousands recorded on your CF and SD cards, pushes you forward, drives you to improving your photos, and learn more about photography.

Shooting the materpriece is great, but, it’s easy to get waylaid, side-tracked with self-doubt, on the way to photographic nirvana. Many togs look at their captures in Photoshop or Lightroom and think: These suck.

I suck. I should pawn my camera and lenses and start a new hobby, like cross-stitch or stamp collecting – something with tangible results.

Creative ebb and flow: Photog Steven Vigar

Photographer Steven Vigar started with his father’s Olympus in Canada’s frozen mid-west. He now calls the warm Asian island of Taiwan home and shoots freelance for many publications. Meet Steven on this week’s Photog Friday. How did he get started? How does he work? What does he shoot? Read on…

Brief Bio:
Taiwan’s photographer of the year, Steven Vigar was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada where he studied photography at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. He has worked as photo editor for The Nugget and is a regular contributor for the Firstlight Associated Photographers. Currently, Steven is traveling Taiwan, Asia and beyond while working freelance for several publications. Vigar’s most recent work can be found in the Taipei Times, Adbusters, JPG, Taiwan Photographers, BUNK, Taiwan Nights and Waakao. He specializes in documentary, travel and portraiture.

How did you first get interested in photography?
At an early age my father used to let me play with his old 35mm Olympus camera. Loved the creative outlet it gave me the minute it touched my little hands.  I would return after two minutes with the camera looking for more film. “you used it all taking pictures of the cat?!”

Self portraits – Shoot yourself to improve skills

I got my eye on you

Self portraits are a great way to improve your photography skills. You want to practice your portraiture but can’t find a model. Your friends are sick of you and your camera, your spouse hides when she sees your gear bag come out: What are you to do? Self-portraits, son.

With self portraits you don’t need to feel rushed as you would with a model or a friend; you only have to worry about numero uno. You can fuss with the lighting, perfect the exposure, and craft your pose, without looking like a total tool.

What can you do with self portraits? Explore the science (and dark art) of lighting. Learn about exposure, depth of field, and composition. It’s a way to experiment. No, taking self-portraits does not make you look like a typical internet teenager – there’s great value in stepping out from behind the lens. You can use the tips and tricks you learn when you photograph real people. If you’re an aspiring strobist, self portraits give you an amazing opportunity to practice new lighting set-ups, perfecting them before bringing in a bored spouse or significant other.

Phottix Weekly Photo: Untitled

Flickr member mario denmark added this great untitled portrait to the Phottix Photos group.  Another great photo taken with Phottix Professional Photo Accessories. He shoots with a Canon 450D, a Phottix Battery Grip and Phottix Tetra flash triggers. Phottix Professional Photo Accessories – helping make great photos around the world. Join the Phottix Photos group…