Hello again dA, as you can probably tell I've been inactive on the site for quite a while. I've started adding things to 500PX and Flickr again but I don't know about dA, I think the community is just a bit too broad for me. I was finding it more annoying than inspiring to have to sift through 3,000 drawings every day in my deviant watch notifications panel so that was my cue to leave.
An update on me.
I have completed the first year of photo school at my University. I shot and developed my own film all semester using my own Nikon FM2 SLR and the photo department's enlargers/baths/darkrooms etc. On the whole I think the experience academically has been beneficial but I do find I'm struggling from time to time to go photograph.
I think this is a problem a lot of artists face where they've gotten past the learning curve of their medium or have been at the top of their class for a while and think, "now what do I do?" or "what do I try to learn now." It's not that I haven't been taking pictures, quite the opposite, I'm just getting a lot more picky and a lot more of a perfectionist with everything that I don't post online too frequently anymore.
My photos have improved so so so so so so so much since I began posting on here and on Flickr, but I still have a ways to go before I get to the skill level I want. I've been lucky enough to do some commissioned work for a few museum catalogs and also do some work as a freelance videographer. Being able to work in the field has been a tremendous eye-opener and a great learning experience so far. I've been able to take the money I've earned and reinvest it back into more gear/books/cameras and things which has helped me progress more quickly. I started editing on a Mac with a Wacom tablet and that alone has made me 10x better with post-production work. It's been a very wild few years but I'm excited to see what's next.
I want to leave you with a few good resources since I know I probably won't be back on here very often but dA is still in my bookmarks toolbar so maybe I'll check in.
Most useful gear:
- Wacom intuos 4 small
- Western Digital My Passport 1.5TB External Hard Drive (used on every photo shoot, small and fast, good to go)
- Lowepro Backpack (Used on every photoshoot and every commute to and from school for winter/spring break/weekend shoots)
Tips for the photographers starting to shoot commissioned work:
- Shoot tethered (Gets major points with the client and sells the "experience" of the photoshoot, instant view of photos right on laptop)
- Get an Amazon Prime membership (especially if you're a college student, you get a 6 month free trial)
- Don't underestimate the quality of generic/off brand items. Save money!
- Use time machine to backup your photos often
- Calibrate your monitors often
- It's worth it to take a step back and analyze your work and figure out where you want to go next. What work would you like to be making? What's wrong with what you've made? How can you improve? Who does work like that already?
I think out of all the books on photography that I've read these 4 have covered the most ground and I think would probably be responsible for more than half of my understanding of photography, both modern processes and film. Everything from how light travels to the layers of chemicals on film strip to how to get accurate color in a workflow to the bare bone basics of photography, it's all covered.
A few other things
Over the past year or so I discovered Phlearn, and it is now my go-to place for all things Photoshop. I like it because all the tutorials are from the same guy, with the same teaching style, making them all super easy to follow and understand. AND they're not just basic PS tutorials like there are on youtube where the guy eating cheesecurls on the other end of the computer has to show you around the interface every time he tries to do anything. If you really want to get down to brass tacks in Photoshop or are a beginnner, Phlearn is the way to go.
If you'd like to follow me and my photographic endeavors you can read my blog here. or you can follow my Twitter
Anyways, thanks for the fun times and I'm sure I'll see you around!
-Alex Hochstrasser (AlexHawkPhotography)