I’m a full-time photographer and photography educator and I’m also one of the members of the Photo Cascadia team. I’ve been on NPN since the early 2000s. Most of the Photo Cascadia members met through NPN. It’s also where I got to know Tony Kuyper a little before he published his very first luminosity mask tutorial here back in 2006. These days I split my time between my own photography work and teaching photography. I lead workshops with my Photo Cascadia mates, speak at photography conferences and also produce video tutorials on image developing and to teach Tony’s TK Panel.
As I often tell people, I spend as much time as I can out taking photos…sleeping in my truck, stumbling around in the dark, eating bad food and avoiding showers.
I’m excited to be answering your questions for 24 hours starting at 2:00 pm Eastern Time, August 27. I’m happy to answer any and all questions you might have…taking photos, developing, luminosity masks, gear, travel, adventure, photography biz, tall tales, how to avoid showers…just ask away below.
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Hi Sean! Looks like I’ll get things kicked off. First of all, thank you (and NPN) so much for doing this. I think it’ll be a great feature on this site and i hope to see more soon!
What do you see as the most important post processing technique that you utilize, or one that might be under rated or utilized for how much impact it can add? It’s apparent to me that post processing is so important for really perfecting that final product, but I struggle to figure out how so many of you get there, especially in terms of amplifying that ‘drama factor’ if that makes sense.
Hi you don’t look at all like podcast voice. I think I listened to an old conversation you had with Matt Payne where you spoke about taking pictures of the same places and losing motivation because of it. Since I can’t afford to travel to exotic or interesting locations I’m pretty much confine to places within driving or hiking distance. After years of taking pictures I find I lack motivation to get out and take pictures anymore because even though I haven’t I feel like I’ve photographed all the interesting places near me. To add to the frustration the people in my life have no appreciation for photography. When I try to share a photo I think is interesting I’m asked “why did you take a picture of that?” or worse “that’s nice”. My typical response is because it’s there. So do you have any advice on how I can rejuvenate my passion for the art? I should also add that I started in photography back in the days much like I think you did with an inexpensive point and shoot. With the advent of digital some of the mystic of waiting to get the developed prints or slides has been taken away some of the joy. Sorry for the dissertation.
Thanks for getting things rolling CJ! As with all topics in photography, I have a hard time nailing down “the one most important editing technique”…so many things are important. However, to pick ONE, i’m going to say creating a really good refined sky/land selection in PS is something I use on just about every landscape image. Being able to separate the sky and the land for adjustments to exposure, color balance, saturation, dodging and burning and many other things is really important for me to create balance and enhance drama across the image.
I am very new to DSL camera photography and really like your photos. I am hoping you can help me learn how to setup a Nikon 7500 for long exposures photos. I am training to hike the A.T.( Appalachian Trail From Georgia to Maine will be starting next season. ) I am section hiking the Delaware gap to Big Bear MT in New York State next week. Just finished MT. Minsi got some new pic but I know they can be better. But I will be heading in to an area with great river and waterfall views. Would really like to learn to take long exposures, but I am lost at how to setup correctly.
Any info and help would be great. I also have lots for photos I would like to get feed back on (looking to correct my mistakes) if you like to see them and give your much need advice please help me figure out how to upload pic.
Long time listener/first time caller. Sometimes I think the lack of shooting opportunities near me here in the midwest holds me back a bit. Despite my friends’ impression of me as ‘always taking photos’, the number of occasions that I actually get out for some serious landscape photography is less than once a month, and I often feel rusty with both my shooting and processing. How often do you shoot, and do you think there is a minimum amount to keep advancing your skills?
HI Tina! Great to see you here on NPN. Thanks for the question . Boy…that’s a can of worms you opened there. Since I probably wouldn’t be considered a “gallery artist” I’m not the best source of advice on this. This would be a great separate discussion topic to have with someone like Aaron Reed, @bruce Omori or @Erik_Stensland . I have a loose and sliding cost per square inch formula (between 55 and 75 cents per square inch) that I use to get my base price for each print size. Then I add on the cost of printing and shipping to that to get to my final price.
How do you deal, or have you ever had to deal with a jealous wife (of adventures, not other women lol). Being a full time architectural/real estate photographer I’m self employed and able to get time off of work much more than my wife, so if I want to take a little trip with a buddy she gets upset that she can’t go. We do trips together but I think it still bothers her. Anyone in your circle deal with this?
Additionally, if you take a trip with your family anywhere, do you just put the camera away?
Hi George. I hear you and take heart that you are not alone. Here are some principles that I work from to keep it fun and exciting. Perhaps they can be helpful to you…
I photograph for myself and what interests me foremost. If others enjoy or appreciate a photograph then that’s a bonus, but not required.
I’m more likely to chase light and atmosphere than locations. I watch for opportunities for expressive light and dramatic atmospheric conditions, especially close to home. When these fall in to place, it really doesn’t matter where I am or what I am photographing. This also keeps the mystery and excitement alive for me.
When I’m not feeling it I don’t photograph. When you have been doing it as long as you and I have, it isn’t necessary to be out photographing all the time. When I get the itch for photography I go out. But sometimes I won’t get the camera out for weeks or months at a time.
I focus on enjoying being outside, hiking, looking, exploring…even if the conditions are not photogenic. Being out is the main goal, even if I come back without any images.
Hi Sean, I would love to know what steps you take to get set up for the beautiful landscape photos that you take, your position, the camera settings, etc. ? I know each is unique, but I am sure you have a general formula that works for each.
First things first, thank you and NPN for the iniciative. And let me say it’s an honour.
So im curious about what’s your positioning about “pre processing” and post processing. Do you prefer to do the heavy work on the spot (filters, etc) or do you do a lot of work on the “desk chair”? (Ahah sorry for the expression) and where is the line for you on digital manipulation? (Sky replacement etc)
Yo Richard! Thanks for that! It’s funny…before I did photography I was a middle school teacher. When I started photography in the early 2000s I assumed I would make my living selling photographs. People would ask me if I was also going to teach photography. At the time I didn’t see how that would work, and I felt like I had put in my time as a teacher anyway. Fast-forward almost 20 years and it seems that there is a bigger interest and market for photography education and experiences than there is for the photographs themselves. I do still make some of my living from selling prints and licensing images, but probably 80-90% now comes from tutorials, classes, workshops and public speaking. Who knew? Fortunately, I really love teaching and being able to share…so I think it has been a perfect fit for me.