Tag Archives: collaboration

The Self Edit Mini-Challenge (Sorta)

27 Jul

One of the hardest things for any photographer to do is be objective about their work.  It’s not surprising – photography is an emotional art.  You aren’t just sharing an image.  You’re sharing your vision of the world, and your feelings about the moment as you press the shutter.  Photographers pour their heart into their work, and sometimes, it’s difficult to separate the emotional attachment you have for an image from the compositional and connective realities of what lies within the frame.

So David Pasillas and I are issuing a two-part mini-challenge.  First, push the limits of your creativity.  Second, embrace your objectivity.

Step 1: Grab your camera, any camera. Creativity isn’t limited by the tool, it lies within the artist.

Step 2: Pick a subject and take 100 different photos of it.

AGGGGHHHHHH!!  100 photos!!!???!!  We know, it’s a very intimidating number, but before you run for the hills, read the rest! 

100 photos isn’t that much, don’t let the number scare you.  For most people, especially those who shoot digital, that’s only about a ½ hour of work.  Consider it a 30-minute challenge rather than a 100 photo challenge.  And we fully encourage you to use those 30 minutes to rock the heck out of the photo world.  Use those 30-ish minutes to explore new angles, try different settings camera settings, manipulate the light subject.  If it’s something you’re interested in shooting – a flower, a tree, grandma, a car, whatever… – you’ll reach 100 images before you can say “Cheese”!

Step 3: BE RUTHLESS!  Choose your best 5-10 images, thinking about things like emotional impact, composition, exposure, artistic effect (etc) and edit them.  Of THOSE images, submit only the 2 strongest images to submit@davidpasillas.com.

This awesome challenge is going to allow for growth as a photographer in a couple of areas. First, it will put you in a position where you’re forced to push your creativity when shooting. Most likely, you’ll run out of ideas and end up crawling around on the ground to get a different perspective. If you don’t get to that point after 100 shots, shoot another 100….seriously. The more you shoot, the more you will get out of this exercise.

Second, you will gain some experience as an editor, because truly, being able to distance yourself emotionally to see an image for what it is…well, it’s an invaluable skill.  Self-editing is part of the foundation upon which your reputation will be built.  Not every photo taken is five-star material, but the strongest photographers know the importance of putting only the best images into a portfolio.  In this case, appearance is everything.  You want your name to be associated with powerful images, and the first step in that process is learning to recognize the weak ones.

Note, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t love your art…just know that your emotional connection to an image doesn’t necessarily equate it to a marketable image.

In this case, imagine that you’re the editor of National Geographic, Life, or Sunset magazine. You get hundreds, nay, thousands of images coming across your desk each month. You have to choose the best of the best for the cover photo. You should have the same approach with your images. Choose the ones that you think should be in a magazine. Learn to pick out your best shots, understand why they work, and understand why the others don’t. Improve your skills as an editor and you’ll see the quality of your photos improve.

Here are a few helpful hints from David:

The first time I did this challenge, I was told to take 500 pictures of a single flower. I got to choose the flower and was free to do whatever I wanted. I feel like 500 might be a little intimidating for most of you at this point, so let’s start with 100.

Some things I tried or was told to try:
I used different lenses
shot both, wide angle and zoomed in
different aperture settings
many different angles and compositions
shot through things
shoot at different times of the day
set to manual focus and take some photos out of focus to achieve a painterly look
spray water on the flower
tear off the petals and make something with them

If you’re using an iPhone, try shooting with different camera apps. Get creative. Get weird.

This challenge will run through two weekends, from July 28 (Saturday) until August 5 (Sunday) at midnight.  So…ready to get your creative on???!!??


19 Jul

I admit, I have a serious love affair with mohawks.  They’re not right for everyone, but I have to respect any person willing to try it.  After all, mohawks are symonymous (in some dictionary somewhere) with self-confidence, which is a good thing.  Right?

This is a silhouette of my friend Rick, bass player for the band Hearts & Thieves. HashtagRockstar.

Mohawk Silhouette

Mohawk Silhouette


18 Jul

I always tell myself I’m going to be at my genius sunset locale at least an hour beforehand.  I put it on my to-do list…charge batteries, pack batteries, triple check I’ve packed the camera itself (though for some reason, I don’t always remember my tripod. haha) and lastly…be there before the sun sets.

That plan works about 1% of the time.  The rest of my shoots involve more traffic than I accounted for, more gas than I had in my tank, and stopping for more snacks than I brought with me. haha

For this particular trip, I believe I got to the Castle Hill lighthouse as the sun was setting.  I remember grabbing my backpack and tripod (thankfully I remembered it this time!) and literally sprinting to the shore. Set up tripod, slap the camera on top, 2 second composition, check your camera settings, shoot.  Pick up camera, run to next spot, repeat.

Oh…and somewhere in there add “sweat” and “huff and puff”. haha

The end result?  A silhouette!

Lighthouse Silhouette

Lighthouse Silhouette

Challenge Photos

15 Jul


Thanks to everyone who participated in the mini-challenge Will and I hosted last week.  We had gave you 1 week, you gave us 15 photos.  Not bad for a holiday week, eh? =)

Its awesome to see the world through your eyes and hear your stories on this project.  The 10 Minute Challenge is supposed to be an exercise in creativity, because – as I’m sure you found out – sometimes finding that shot take a little work and thinking outside of the box.  We loved seeing what you came up with, and how your turned the occasional lemon into lemonade!

Again Thank You to all who submitted and helped out with the project! A special Thank you goes out to David Pasillas for introducing us to this exercise.  It’s the first of several Will and I plan to co-host, because really…who doesn’t need a little more fun and art in their lives? 😉

Now go check out the pics!! Click on the photo-link below!

Community Collaborative Project::July

13 Jul


Ummm…wait…that came out wrong.  What I meant to say is that it’s time to announce the details on this month’s Community Collaboration Project (CCP for those of you who are hip to acronyms and initialisms).

But First!!

Before we spill the beans about this month’s skill set project, we wanted to give a RIDICULOUSLY LOUD, GINORMOUSLY HUGE thank you to all who have participated in our last couple projects!!  Did we mention we had over 100 images submitted to our Scavenger Hunt??  OVER 100!!  Seriously, give yourselves a round of applause.  I mean, think about it…you took on an ambitious project, rocked it full of creativity, and throughout it all, you continued to make new friends (*cough network cough*) all while becoming stronger photographers.  That’s like a win-win-win…um…win.  Or a win x 4.  Or a win to the 4th degree?

Anyway, we are so appreciative to have you all on board for these educational, yet fun community projects.  Without all of your continued support, well…there would be a win to the zero power. haha

We look forward to continuing to make these projects bigger and better in order to consistently stretch your creative imagination and skill sets.  So…um…keep spreading the word, mmmkay? 😉

Okay, now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for. <insert drum roll, please>

If you’ve been following along on our Facebook and Twitter pages (which is where a lot of the day to day details of these projects get posted.  So, you might want to subscribe.  Just saying!) then you know we asked for suggestions on what YOU GUYS wanted to practice.  After all, we’re here for you!  We mulled over the recommendations we got back, and decided that this month’s skill set would be……..


Silhouette Barbed Wire

Silhouette Barbed Wire

Now, in the coming weeks, Nick and I will be throwing a lot of silhouette how-to’s and guidance your way but for today, we wanted to give you the basics:

● Silhouettes engage the viewer by allowing them to fill in the how’s and why’s of a story.  You’ve created interest by removing detail!

● Silhouettes are created by underexposing the foreground of an image, while properly exposing for a well-lit background.

● There are no details within the silhouette, so make sure to choose a strong subject, with a distinctive outline.  This will help avoid any confusion on the part of the viewer.

● Focusing can be tricky, so you can use one of two strategies.  First, try pre-focusing on the subject, then metering for the light.  Or, you can make use of aperture to create a larger depth of field, so more of the image remains in focus.

● Flashes need not apply!  The idea behind creating a silhouette is to leave the foreground of your image in the dark.  Make sure to turn your flash off.
The project will go from tomorrow, July14th to Sunday July 29th at midnight EST.

Anyone and everyone is welcome to join in on the photography fun. If you have a way to capture images – film, dslr, point n shoot, camera phone, pinhole camera, medium format – then this project is for you!  And all of your friends, don’t be stingy with the fun, ok? 😉

As always, the most important part of this project is that you have fun and get creative with it.  We know that last month’s project was extremely ambitious, so this month, we’re giving you a break.  You can submit up to 3 images (that’s only 1 per weekend!  Totally do-able!) but we really want you to focus not just on the technical side of underexposing a foreground, but on the creative side of making a great image.  Focus on making silhouette art.

When you’re ready, send an email to submit@nickexposed.com with “Count me in for Silhouettes” in the subject line. Also include the blog/web address you will want your pictures linked to when we put together the gallery at the end of the month.

We can’t wait to see what you make of this!  So far, you have continued to impress and inspire us…we have faith that this month will be no different. Get those cameras out and make us proud!

Ready?  Annndddd….GO!

A Bit of Gratitude

11 Jul

When you’re motivated to succeed, it’s easy to lose the forest for the trees.  The stats, the likes, the shares…in today’s photography world, those details are a huge part of running a successful business.

When we start out, it’s easy to talk about why we love our hobby/art/passion.  The excitement is fresh and the accomplishments seem monumental.  Every photo we edit is a new adventure.  It’s the taste of success that changes things.  Accolades go hand in hand with goals, because they make our dreams seem that much more attainable.

While I do think it’s important to have a plan, with a set of incremental but reachable goals…I’ve also come to believe that stats aren’t everything.

In order to have a well-rounded life, every aspect of your life needs to be more than just the sum of other people’s assessments of you.  It’s so important to hold tight to the passion that led you down this road in the first place.  If we forget why we became photographers (or…insert passion of your choice), if it loses its shine…then in the end, we devalue the experience.

With that in mind, I wanted to express a little gratitude both to you, and to the universe.

When I reflect back on my photography career, I can see – little by little – my personal growth.  I still have a long way to go, and at times that seems overwhelming.  But in those moments, I do two things.  First, I remember to appreciate the things I have accomplished.  At one point, the milestones I’ve already passed seemed insurmountable, but I passed them.  Second, I remind myself that photography is supposed to be a lifelong process.  It is something you never fully master…which means I will have something to keep me busy for years to come.  No matter how I old I am, I will never need to learn how to knit.  Or play bridge. 😉

Beyond my own personal growth, I am thankful for the experiences and interactions that have come as a result of my camera.  The friendships I’ve built, the conversations we have, the perks of chatting with our well-known peers….  They are all moments I cherish.

In particular, I’m appreciative of our creative community.  Time and again, our collaborations projects are knocked out of the park by your creative interpretations and unique perspectives.  It truly impresses me, and I’m happy to be a co-host for such inspiring collaborative efforts!

The Scavenger Hunt that I co-hosted with Nick from NickExposed, for those of you who don’t already know, was a smashing success!  We received over 100 image submissions, all of which can be viewed here. =)

The mini-challenge I am co-hosting with Will of wheretowillie was a ton of fun.  Seriously, you guys rock these things!  We gave you less than a week to wrap your head around the idea of the 10-Minute-Challenge and while the number of submissions was small, the quality of the submissions was mighty.  I’m in the process of sorting the images, so if you haven’t sent in your email, you still have a little time.  Key word being little!  Get them in asap to wheretowillie@gmail.com! 🙂

Three Sisters

Three Sisters

And…ANNNNDDD…as if that wasn’t enough!!!!!!??!!  I strongly recommend you keep your eyes peeled for an announcement later this week about next month’s challenge.  It’s going to be a skill-set month…the question is, what will we work on???  Hmmm???

As always, thank you all for both your continued support and feedback, and for creating memories with me and my other fellow creatives.




9 Jul
The Sound of Silence

The Sound of Silence

I think one of the best things about the monthly collaborative photo challenges that I co-host with Nick at Nick Exposed is that it encourages us to think outside of the box.  Not every idea we come up with will be a home run, but the experience we gain will be incrementally invaluable.

For June’s challenge – a photo Scavenger Hunt – the category of “Silence” had me scratching my head.  It was another scenario where we had to create an image of an intanglible concept.

To me, the opposite of silence is communication, and visual communication is the written…um…in this case, typed…word.  Therefore, the visual yin to communication’s yang is a blank sheet.  The unwritten.

**Speaking of photo challenges, as a reminder for those of you participating in the 10-Minute-Mini-Challenge that I am hosting with Will, make sure to have your entries in to wheretowillie@gmail.com by midnight CST tomorrow night!

Scavenger Hunt

2 Jul

As a general rule, I don’t put up much in the way of pictures of myself as a way to market my photography, but there was no way around it. My super genius ideas for the Hunt categories “What’s Your Sign” and “Lyric Quotograph” required my participation.

I enlisted the help of a good friend, and fellow photographer for the 5 minute shoot.  I told her the idea, we found a good place with the appropriate lighting and viola! Instant photo!

This particular image turned out exactly as I had envisioned it, and it gives a sense of what I wanted to convey about myself to the viewer.  Photog, yes.  But a photog who is willing to work for the photo. =)

What's Your Sign

What’s Your Sign

So why don’t I put up a whole lot of images of myself?  Well, to be honest, I have thought about it.  I’m definitely not a “look at me!!!!!” kind of person, but at this point in America, there is no doubt that marketing a woman’s…ummm…attributes will gain you fans.  But obviously, since I don’t have photos of me taking scenic landscape shots in a bikini, you can tell I’ve hesitated to go that route.

The reason?  First and foremost, it’s not who I am.  I’m not opposed to spending time in front of a camera (in fact, I think it’s an essential learning step for anyone who wants to shoot portraits.  You should have experience with the things you are asking a model to do!), and every girl likes to have a few purty photos of herself…but it’s not the side of the camera where I get the most out of the experience.

Second, I don’t want my photography to be all about me.  To some extent, every photo you take has a piece of you in it.  It’s the way you see the world, or the way you feel about a situation.  But I want to do more than just express my vision of the world.  I want to share those moments with you.  I want you to feel the same sense of awe I do at a gorgeous sunset, the same sense of peace I feel at the top of a mountain, the same smile I get when I look at an adorable puppy/horse/child…

And finally…well…to put it bluntly, privacy matters to me.  I know, I know…old fashioned thinking.  But too many people – especially younger generations – forget that once something is out in the interwebs, it’s permanent.  A hurtful comment, a thoughtless decision, a tasteless photo…they’re like a bad tattoo.  It may not mean much when we’re young, but it’ll haunt us later in life.

So I wonder, has anyone else put any thought into this matter?  Privacy vs Marketing your business?  How personal you make your brand?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! =)


23 Jun

We are getting a lot of Scavenger Hunt submissions (which is great!!) and are making sure to post them on our Facebook pages (SSP and NE) and on our Twitter feeds (SSP and NE).  If you are posting, please make sure to tag us so we can recognize and share your work! 🙂

How are the Hunts going?  What are you crossing off of your list today? 😉

Hodge Podge

19 Jun

You know…ever since I discovered that phrase on Jeopardy as a wee lass I’ve been on the look out for situations where it would be applicable.  I find that I don’t need to say “Miscellaneous” all that often, so when the opportunity arises…well…the “Hodge Podge” comes out! haha

I’m really not writing this post to tell you my thoughts on synonymous phrases.  Really.

I do have a number of things I wanted to tell you about though, and the only common theme between them is that I’m doing the telling.  So…let’s get to it, shall we? 🙂

First and foremost, another big shout out to Mr. Bunny Chow and Abra Alani for spreading the word about this month’s Scavenger Hunt!!  The more people we have, the better this is going to be.  I think our plan is going to be to post the images by category, and personally, I can’t wait to see how many things Chuck Norris has destroyed ’round the world!

<< Insert (reblog) Subliminal (reblog) Message (reblog) Here >> 😉

Ohhh…speaking of…  I wanted to share one of our first submissions to the Scavenger’s Hunt, a “Chuck Norris” photo by Dan Miller at My Days In Focus.  Trees everywhere are on notice!

Show Dan a little photo-love, ok? 🙂

Yesterday, I mentioned a great video by Lorne Resnick regarding the idea of capturing emotional connection in your images.  For those of you interested, the video can be found here.

Also…I know you have all just gotten started on your Scavenger Hunt photos (how is that going, by the way??) but Nick and I are already planning for next month! So…our question to you is…do you have a particular skill set you want to work on? I mean, we’d be happy to choose…but we’d also be happy to have your input.  These ARRRREEEEEE community projects, after all!

Let us know your thoughts on all of this.  Comments…emails…morse code…carrier pidgeon… However you can get us your ideas, do it!

In the meantime, get to Huntin’! 🙂