Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Photog Blogs

Photography: The art, practice, or occupation of taking and printing photographs. (dictionary.com)

This definition makes it sound simple enough, doesn't it? One takes the picture. One prints the picture. The practice of photography is thereby complete. The art of photography is a little more complex, involving training, practice, discipline, and creativity. And we all know that it takes awhile to develop the particular artistic flair that distinguishes one photographer from another. It still doesn't seem too terribly complicated.

But what about the occupation of photography? These waters are a bit more... elusive and turbulent, in my mind, and rather nebulous. I've heard some claim that all a person needs is a nice camera to make money in this realm. I strongly disagree with this statement. But what does make a successful photographer? How do some rise to the $5k per wedding bracket within 2 years of doing business, while others inch along year after year, barely scraping by? How does advertising and branding play into the equation? What makes a successful website? How do photographers get their names out there for the public?

I don't really have the answers to these questions. I'm not in this for the money (I consider money a necessary evil). I don't care about success or fame as our culture defines it. I pursue professional photography for other reasons. Photography is not my passion; God is my passion and pursuit. But in the pursuit of God, He has led me to also pursue professional photography, and I see it as a means of touching my other passions: people, communication, and discipleship. My dream is to one day pursue missions photojournalism, if the Lord wills, to document the faithfulness of God in the lives of His saints worldwide, to support those who are passionately walking out their individual God-given callings, and to use my images to motivate further Christ-centered pursuit in the hearts of Christian young people in the United States.

Until that day comes, I'm in the business of portraits and weddings, trying to earn enough to purchase necessary equipment, acquire training and experience, and put money away for those days of international travel that are, hopefully, on the horizon. I work hard now with an end goal in mind. I want to be successful, so that I can do more of what I love later on.

So here we are back at those questions: what makes a successful photographer? What distinguishes one from another? About a year ago I sat down and did some research in this area. Again, I don't have all the answers to these questions. But I have come up with some good ideas. And these have come as I've studied other photographers.

I started collecting blogs. Actually, what I mean is that I started making wise use of Google Reader. In the course of my research, I stumbled upon a few of the top wedding and portrait photographers in the country. I noticed that almost without exception, these photographers use their photo blogs as one of their primary means of networking and advertisement. So I subscribed to a few with Google Reader. Every once in a while one of these blogs would link to another incredible photography blog. So I subscribed to that one, too. I started collecting photo blogs the way some girls collect shoes. To date, I subscribe to 77 photography blogs. I look at poses, lighting, composure, wedding coverage, and advertising styles every single day. I hope that looking at great images will increase my ability to see potentially great images when I look through my viewfinder.

I've listed a bunch of my favorite photo blogs below. If any of you know of any other great, out-of-this-world photo blogs that I could add to my collection, I'd love to check them out! Note: I don't condone, recommend, or approve everything that I see on these blogs, but for the most part these are clean, good photographers with good eyes and lots of creativity. Definitely worth learning from, in my opinion. Just had to put that disclaimer in. =)

And if any of you are interested in learning more about the business of blogging, check out this article.

Cheers and blessings to each of you on your photographic journeys!


Adam Barnes | This guy is openly Christian in life, work, and worldview. I love most of his work.

Amelia Lyon | A husband-wife shooting team. Very, very beautiful work.

Ann Hamilton | I just started following her. Her work is great.

Bebb Studios | Cool husband-wife team with cool post-processing.

Becky Hill | Fresh & creative.

Benjamin Derkin | Very, very cool work. Always creative and inspirational.

Cathy Crawley | Sydney, Australia-based wedding & portrait photographer. Cool stuff.

Daniel Lanton | Fine-art portrait photographer, who is also a Christian. Very photoshopped, but incredibly gorgeous work.

David Schwartz | Beautiful lighting, most of the time. I like this guy.

David Witttig | He has a very different perspective.

Fred Egan | Beautiful, beautiful work.

Gabriel Ryan | This guy is good.

The Image is Found | Another husband-wife team. They're very creative. Not always to my taste, but still very creative. And they have quite the sense of humor...

Jasmine Star | By far one of my favorites!!! Jasmine is a Christian, and her husband JD second-shoots for her. She is pretty much ridiculously awesome. And her work is out-of-this-world amazing.

Jeff Newsom | This guy has some gorgeous work.

Jeremy Lawson | Quirky, funny, creative. And goofy-cool.

Jessica Claire | Another of my all-time faves. Jessica's work is always a treat to look at.

John Lyons | Pretty good work.

Jose Villa | Shoots in some amazing places. And his ring shots are incredible.

Joy Lyn | It's Joy (Jensen) Phillips! Her work has always inspired me.

Juxtapose This! | She has come good stuff on here.

Kelly Moore | Just flat-out amazing. I always look forward to her blogs.

Kyle Barnes | A natural-light portrait artist. Very nice work.

Leo Patrone | I just stumbled upon his blog today, but I like what I see.

Love Life Images | Pretty amazing work. Check out each individual photographer's blog instead of the Love Life blog.

Mark & Candice Brooke | Husband-wife team. Some good work.

Michael Norwood | Stunningly beautiful.

Morgan Matters | Fresh and bright

The Parsons | Another Christian husband-wife team. I love that combination. =)

Poser Blog | Amazing, amazing work right here!

Rae Leytham | Creative and cool

Scarlett Lilian | I think this gal's a Christian, too. Some cool stuff, but I'm not a huge fan of how intensely saturated her images are. She definitely goes for the high-glamour look.

Scott Strazzante | Chicago-based photojournalist. Usually posts just one image. Good stuff.

Sloan Photographers | Another husband-wife shooting team. Cool work.

Stacy Cross | She has a good eye for detail


poser said...

hey, im a christian!! ;)


matt sloan said...

thanks for the kind words!

Wes and Rae Leytham said...

Hey....we're a husband/wife team too! And, we're Christians! Thanks so much for the blog love. It is really an honor to be amidst such talented photographers. Cheers, rae (and Wes too)

gabriel ryan said...

thanks for the shout out! and keep it up. yes, life as a professional photographer is turbulent, but if it is what you were designed to do, i couldn't imagine doing anything else!!

Chenoa said...

Sarah, thanks for sharing! I already spend way to much time reading photog blogs, and since you asked here are a few of my favorites: http://www.xanga.com/kiddosphotos (this lady is one of my role models... such an amazing christian woman...#1), http://nelyphoto.com/blog/, http://benharrisonphotography.com/news/, http://www.jennawalkerphotography.com/blog/, http://www.melissajill.net/, http://whiteboxweddings.squarespace.com/whiteboxblog/(amazing children's portraits), http://whiteboxweddings.squarespace.com/whiteboxblog/, http://kabloomstudios.blogspot.com/, http://laurenclarkphoto.squarespace.com/(friend of kelly moore), http://kristenleighphotography.blogspot.com/, http://www.jamiedelaineblog.com/(a complete inspiration), http://www.studio3z.com/blog/, http://kaiophotography.blogspot.com/(a personal friend-husband & wife team), http://www.kimberlybee.com/blog/(my newest absolute favorite...such beautiful images!). I think blogs and photographers were meant for each other...enjoy!

Stacy Cross said...

Hey Sarah! Thanks so much for your kind words! :) Keep your eyes on the prize (Him) and you will go very far! :) Blessings, Stacy

Lydia said...

Hey Sarah,

Here are some more that come to mind right now:

Justin & Mary Marantz
Audrey Woulard
Liana Lehman
Butterfly Chaser Photography
Matt Saville
Jacque Lynn
Rebekah Westover
Jessica Strickland
Lena Hyde
David Jay
Dane Sanders
Sarah Rhoads
Tara Whitney

I'm claiming your disclaimer though!

Jessica Shae said...

Hey Sarah
Thanks so much for posting all of these...I am so excited about looking through them all!

I just thought I would echo Chenoa on two of the blogs she recommended. First of all www.xanga.com/kiddosphotos. This one is my absolute favorite. She is an amazing photographer and from reading her blog I have gathered that she is a Christian, homeschool mom of six children (and just revently announced that she is pregnant with the 7th!). She and her husband grew up in ATI, and she has the most amazing testimony of what she has gone through over the last few years and what God has been doing in her life. I also like reading her personal blog where she also posts alot of family pics, and that is http://www.xanga.com/resolved2worship . Also, she lives in San Antonio...so I am hoping to get to meet her someday since that is only about an hour away from me :)

And the other one that I would echo is http://kristenleighphotography.blogspot.com/ She is really good as well, and I love her editing. She does alot of cool stuff with lighting and things that I LOVE!

Anyways...thanks again for posting these. I too love to look at good photog's pictures.

Beautiful Moments Photography said...

Hey, thank you so much for the link! It's always wonderful to find out that people enjoy your work :) Good luck with your business!

adam said...

hi sarah! thanks so much for mentioning me on your blog! i am so blessed! have an incredible new year!!!