Friday, October 6, 2023


One is never too old to learn new skills. Photography has such a wide depth of genres to pursue, one cannot learn, let alone master all of them in a lifetime. But one can spend time learning new techniques and skills that can be applied to your area of interest.

As I have suggested to many young people, how can you know what you like if you don't know what you dislike? That is why we encourage young people to date many different people, try many different types of food,  careers, etc, it applies to all avenues of life. Discovering what you like, what you are good at, what comes naturally, also means having to learn what does not appeal to you. 

None of us are blessed with the same exact skill sets or abilities. The key to having a meaningful life is to find what you are good at, find what you enjoy doing, what fits well with your abilities and interests, then pursue it with a passion. It can be one or several talents that fits you, but never everything. Even the world's smartest people are still dumb at many things. 

The story goes, a new hire tells a co-worker, "I know everything about everything, but can't do anything. 
The co-worker pauses, then asks, "So where did you get your PhD?

Okay, bad joke... back to image-making...

Last weekend, I spent two days attending photography classes on portrait work and lighting. 
I learned I do not like using lights nor working in a studio to create images. 

I like finding natural lighting for my images, whether outdoors or by a window if indoors.
Natural lighting creates the mood and settings that excites me.

The visiting instructors were all very skilled professional photographers who make a very good living creating portraits that sell.  With every image they capture, their first thoughts are: "Can I sell it?"

I am retired and don't wish to start a new business. I enjoy photography as a creative outlet, a challenge to stimulate thinking, seeing, and then capturing the vision I have in my mind.  
And when possible, sharing those images with others who enjoy the visual experience.

The University brought in several young aspiring models for the workshops.  

Following are four images that I created. While others were quick to shoot the models, I would study the model, see how they walk and carry themselves, listen to how they talk, perceive how they feel about themselves, learn what their goals are...

All the while, my mind is processing this information to conjure up an image of what it is that I see in them.  Then deciding how to create that vision with the camera.

Our first model is a seventeen year old young man who creates Tik-Toks videos. He heads off to college next year. There is a promising future in store for him. He has his eyes focused on his future.

Model #2 is shy, quiet, yet confident and intense. Struggling to learn the English language probably contributes to that. 
She cares a great deal about how she is perceived and accepted.

Model #3 is only thirteen years old, yet has a wisdom far beyond her age. 
One might say she has an old soul.  

While being shadowed by her mother, she is at first shy and reserved, 
but once in front of a camera,
 her heart, feelings, and emotions blossomed forth.

Our final model #4, has that classic 1960's look and demeanor of French actress Catherine Deneuve. Again a young lady in her teens, but with a timeless look and beauty far beyond her years.

All four models were a pleasure to work with. They tolerated my stupid jokes when trying to relax them, were patient while I struggled to find the right camera settings, willing to repeat a pose or try a new one.

It is easy to claim to be a portrait photographer when you have four beautiful models to work with. 
Thank you all.

While much of the workshop was geared toward being a full-time professional photographer, 
I still learned a few techniques that I can apply to my style of image-making.  

The two days were well spent. Thank you Precision Camera for hosting it.



  1. Jan: I think you captured the beauty and soul of each of these models.

    1. Thank you Harry, I think you and I each saw a slightly different angle of each personalities with these models It was an interesting photo challenge..

  2. Portrait photography is something that I will probably pursue in the future, Like they say, we are never too old to learn something new. Congrats!

    1. Kolfa, great to hear from you. Every photographer I have talked to about portraits say the hardest people to photograph are your own kids. Having access to willing models made it so much easier to practice and learn.


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