What is your title, and can you explain what your daily responsibilities are?
I wish I was a full-time photographer, but rather I am a medical transcriptionist by day and a photographer/graphic artist the rest of the time. I take time almost every day to take pictures and work on my Photoshop and Lightroom skills. I have occasional paying photography jobs, which I love, and I have sold several canvases and prints of my work.
What inspired you most to become a Photographer? Why did you pursue this as a career?
I have been an artist since childhood, but back then it was only with paper and pencil, pastels, and paint. I had several art classes growing up, but never really got into photography until I was an adult. I worked at a photography studio during college and remember using colored pencils to mask small imperfections and ferrying other prints to the air-brusher for detail work. Ever since then I have owned a camera and taken pictures whenever I had the opportunity. I loved when cameras became digital and jumped on the bandwagon pretty quickly. Although I could not afford Photoshop, I remember getting Photoshop Elements 2 at some point (LOL!). As I began working more on honing my photography skills, shooting manually and using various free editing programs, my friends encouraged me to look into pursuing this as more than just a hobby. So when my kids left and went off to college, I decided to take the plunge. I made the commitment to work harder at it and market myself a bit more. I bought Lightroom and Photoshop Elements 11 (which I upgraded to PS CC as soon as the cloud version came out), and committed to learning the programs as much as I could. I have grown by leaps and bounds in my editing skills in the past year and a half and look forward to continuing the process. I have had several weddings, which I totally love doing (and my customers have been happy), as well as various other photo shoots for events and individuals. I would love for this to be my full-time career, but I am just at the beginning…and excited to see if someday that would be possible.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle to pursuing a career in the creative fields?
For me personally, it is fear. I am very critical of my work and never feel as if what I do is quite good enough to make the leap to pursuing an actual career in it. I think we all struggle with that. Even those that become successful fear losing their edge or the next big thing coming along. We all have to deal with this in varying degrees. But I am personally working on it, putting myself out there and pushing myself forward in learning and growing, and who knows? Someday it may just become my actual career!
With all the new versions of Photoshop and Lightroom what changes do you personally feel are the most exciting or brilliant?
I am always looking forward to what Adobe is going to include next in these programs. Because I am so new to them, there are still regular things that I am just finding out. The latest discovery for me was the Selective Color adjustment layer. Don’t laugh! It was quite the revelation! I love that Adobe put the Photographer’s package together in the Adobe Creative Cloud. It made Photoshop accessible to so many of us who didn’t have the big lump sum to put into Photoshop. That was a big jump for me, but well worth it to be able to have all these tools available to work with.
What Photographers & Photoshop artists do you follow, and why do they stand out from others in your opinion?
My favorites are Eric Johansson, Thomas Dodd, Joel Grimes, Alberto Seveso, Andrei Oprinca, Glyn Dewis, Gavin Hoey, and Randy Monteith among many others, including all the wonderful ones I have met through Andrew’s Photoshop and Lightroom group on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/pshopandlightroom/ I like most of these specifically because they are creative. They don’t just take a photo, adjust the contrast and saturation and call it a day (I’m simplifying). They actually create. I have always seen my photography as a starting point to create art, so I love to see the work of others who are doing just that – making art out of pictures. Some is more complicated than others. But I figure that if I expose myself to all this greatness, perhaps a bit of it will rub off.
What social networks do you like most? Which present good examples of Photography the best?
My favorite social network is Facebook. I also use Instagram, but not as much. I have a Twitter and Google + account, but honestly I do not have enough hours in my day to keep up with all of those. I love viewing the great stuff on 500px, and they are probably the best I have found for viewing other’s work.
What is your prediction of the evolution of social networks? How do you think these networks will showcase artists and Photographers better in the future?
Undoubtedly social networks are here to stay, and they are continually growing and changing. My college-aged kids are using ones I have never heard of, because FB has become too mainstream. As a marketing tool, I think Facebook is great, but I am just sitting back and watching as they make changes to the whole marketing process. I hope it will be able to continue to be a great place to interact with friends, other artists, potential customers and other businesses. But I remember when MySpace was to die for…and look where it ended up. I think social media will grow and develop, and in the process we will find new and exciting ways to put our stuff out there.
What predictions do you have for the future of Photoshop and Lightroom?
I think, as long as Adobe commits to continuing to making their products cutting edge, they will stay at the forefront of the industry. I look forward to what their future holds as technology expands and these programs grow along with it.