Slow down…

Some days I try too hard with my photography.

Do you know the feeling?

… commitment and purpose meets with an emptiness inside. Try as we might, on some days it is a struggle to conjure up any creative vision or energy to inject into our photography.

Now, I have learnt to slow down and even stop, with out guilt. For me, it is the “without guilt” thing which makes a huge difference in how quickly I can bounce back with creative vigour.

I spent a few days wondering the sand hills north of Sydney a few months back.  I lacked any real motivation so I just decided I would enjoy walking and if I made no pictures that would be ok.

Mamiya 7II / Velvia 50 film / Steve Coleman

Mamiya 7II / Velvia 50 film / Steve Coleman








I relaxed and took the pressure off myself.

I walked and just enjoyed the warm sun; must have walked for an hour or more without even thinking of my camera.

I have this habit of framing and arranging what I see as I walk. I look at everything I see and break it down into compositions. It can be exhausting at times. But this day I did none of that.


I just let my mind zone out. It was so relaxing… then I saw something that just grabbed my attention. It was nothing too remarkable, just light on the sand, but just relaxing had put me back into the zone. I was ready to make photographs again. I spent the next few days capturing so many wonderful photographs on film. Had I tried too hard I think I would have missed many of these images. I would probably have gone home early.

My learning for myself:  don’t try so hard.

Some more photographs from this sand dune series can be found here.

Photographs were captured on Velvia 50 120 film / Mamiya 7II camera.
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Becoming a photographer: Learning To See – Part 2

This is part 2 ~ Learning to See. 


Learning To See


Strange as it may sound, one of the limitations we have as photographers, are our eyes.

Our eyes are highly functional. They simply see what is in front of us. Therefore, the temptation to photograph only what we can physically see is very powerful.  In fact, this is what most new photographers assume they need to do; you see something nice, so you photograph it. Simple.

The results as I discovered, are often sterile photocopier images; nice pretty pictures, well exposed, but nothing more

My early attempts at photography were frustrating in this regard, but it lead directly to the most significant step I took in learning how to become a photographer; a realisation that I was not seeing things in the same way that experienced photographers saw them.

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Becoming a photographer ~ part 1: the struggle to see

Part 1: The struggle to see

I remember being disappointed at my early attempts at photography.  I would look at my work, and my heart would sink.

Now, looking back, I can understand.

In those early days, what I was producing was a functional record of my day out with a camera. It was as if a photocopier had just copied what was in front of my eyes. I saw something nice, so I would take a picture of it. Simple.

The result was nice pretty pictures, well exposed, but there was not a lot more. I felt uncomfortable because I sensed that something was missing.

What I know now is that a ‘photocopier’ had taken those shots. I had been, not much more than a courier,  transporting a camera to a location and then letting my camera do all the work. I had thought I was a Photographer!   In reality, I had no idea what that meant.

Continue reading “Becoming a photographer ~ part 1: the struggle to see”

Life & The Business of Photography


As we go through life and business we all stumble and fall. For every win there are probably a few challenges we have had to manage. Hopefully we learn.

Here are a few things which life and business has taught me. I hope you find these of help on your journey…


~ Be honest with your clients. Don’t be afraid of them. Tell them what you think and what they need to know and do. The right clients will respect you for it.

~ Produce quality…. because there are always clients who will pay more for quality.

~ Respect yourself. If you don’t others won’t.

~ Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up when things go wrong, because they will.

~ Don’t be too obsessed with gear and equipment. They are important,  but they won’t make you a great photographer.

~ Don’t spend too much time in front of your computer, get out and make photographs.

~ Hire people better than yourself.

~ Don’t expect big wins every day. Little wins are OK… and they will add up.

~ Clients will disappoint you. They are human, with failings. Don’t let those disappointments distract or deter you.

~ Save for rainy days. It will rain often.

~ Build a good quality mail list… send people examples of your work.

~ Best way to overcome fear? Just start doing.

~ Start a blog and tell people something about yourself. Help them understand who you are as a person.

Continue reading “Life & The Business of Photography”