BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
joy e. GLENN

anyone willing to be a mentor

I know that we can post here and get excellent advice from many photographers. But is anyone willing to mentor me one on one via email? I am not a beginner, but feel I am stuck. I would also like to have better knowledge of photoshop. I wont be a pest, but maybe ask 1 0r 2 questions a week, and maybe critique my best work. Thanks!

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9/6/2006 11:46:57 AM


I know the very basics of Photoshop and I really am learning that as I go along. But I've been a photographer for many years, so feel free to email me offline whenever you'd like! Hopefully I can help! =) Just use the Contact icon in my gallery and that will send it to me offline. I'm sure many others here would be just as willing to help you out! Good luck!

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9/6/2006 11:54:31 AM

Ken P. Madland
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/2/2006
  I have been using photoshop for quite a few yers I will be glad to help with what I can. I have a few sites that I can send you when I get off work that have some verry usefull video tutorials.

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9/6/2006 3:56:05 PM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
My suggestion would be to post your specific questions on this board.
That way, you'll get more than one idea on how to skin the photoshop cat! LOL
I've used Adobe PS for years, and still I am learning; although I will say, there are very eloquent ways to accomplish tasks in photoshop, but over the years and after learning much, I now seek the faster ways to get the job done with professional results.

All the best,


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9/6/2006 8:29:59 PM

joy e. GLENN   Thanks for your offer and advice! I really appreciate it. I may be writing you a quick email here and there. Have you had that experience of trying to teach yourself photoshop and realizing you have been doing the same thing over and over and it has failed each time? But you kept doing it...or spending an hour clicking on everything to do an action on the photo? Its still fun though

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9/6/2006 8:37:08 PM

Debbie Del Tejo
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/30/2005
  First of all, get away from that computer and GET SHOOTING....You need more photos on your gallery.

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9/6/2006 10:07:57 PM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/6/2004
  here are some VERY helpful tutorials that will help a LOT:

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9/7/2006 1:33:57 AM

Jerry Frazier   I, personally, would never pick ONE person as a mentor, unless they were, literally, God. Otherwise, I'd say that you should pick multiple people. And, you should pick people that have differing opinions on the same topic so that you can get different sides of the same thing.

Also, whoever you pick, make sure that they give good advice. What does that mean? Well, they may have a POV about things. But, it may not be an accurate POV. Sure, they have a business, and it works for them, but maybe they are lazy, or maybe it APPREARS that they are successful, but the truth is they scratch by every month.

You need to pick someone who feels right, who will give accurate advice, and who can truly mentor and guide you.

It's actually a pretty big deal because that person will influence how you shoot, work, and view the world thorugh your lens. So, you need to pick wisely.

I personally would use different people for different things. Workflow, one person. Shooting, several other people. Photoshop stuff, a few who do work you like to look at. Business stuff, read books, and ask stuff here, but take it all with a grain of salt and do what you feel is right. Consult professionals, not people with opinons; lawyers, accoutants, tax consultants, etc

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9/7/2006 11:17:08 AM

TERESA J. SWEET   Jerry stated everything perfectly =)

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9/7/2006 11:18:59 AM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  Hello Joy,

I'm certainly no Photoshop guru, but if you're stuck creatively there are many who visit this site who be might be willing to help.

Creative photographs require accomplished photographic vision.

You must have in your mind at least the blueprint for what you perceive as the final result.
You can click and correct all you want as long as the result is what you had planned all along.

If you are in a rut for really seeing things as they appear at the scene...and you feel that you are falling short in capturing the beauty and intrigue of what you are attempting to portray, there are a few folks here who can help with that as well.

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9/7/2006 3:13:32 PM

Jerry Frazier   Bob made a great point. When I first tried photographing seriously, I would see something, and take the picture. But, when I saw the resulting photograph it didn't look anything like I had felt when I photographed it. In other words, I totally missed it.

Now, when I shoot, (this is going to sound weird), but it's almost like I separate myself, but I am still there at the same time. So, I enjoy the emotion or whatever, but I also step back and find the cause of it. It's as if I am having an out of body experience. I am concious, I know I am laying there, but I also look around, and see everyone standing over my body trying to bring me back to life. It's kind of like that - both things at the same time.

That's how I capture emotion and beauty. I find that I first have to feel it, then find it.

The best example of this is one time I was with my daughter who was very young, and she was just in amazement when she saw some of the characters at Disneyland. I took photos of it. But, when you look at the photos, it's just a photo of a kid smiling. There's no POV, there's nothing to put the whole thing into context. Had I been a better photogapher, I would have known that I needed to add context in order to make in meaningful in some way. A few simple moves could have taken care of it. But, I didn't know better. I was too focused on catching her smile than I was on framing the context of her happiness.

I hope this makes sense and inspires you to think about your next shoot.

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9/7/2006 4:49:37 PM

joy e. GLENN   wow, that is interesting, I am still trying to grasp that out of body experience you mentioned..I need to think on that one. I think you know the second you press the shutter when you have captured "the" picture. Especially with film cameras, you knew it when you shot it and couldnt wait to see the end result. I spend the afternoon taking pictures limiting myself to my backyard, just snapping at whatever I felt. I didnt capture "the" picture, but it was a great exercise in seeing possibilities that I didnt know were there before. and sometimes what I felt sure was nothing, ended up more beautiful thru the eyes of the camera in the shot.

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9/7/2006 6:36:35 PM

Debbie Del Tejo
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/30/2005
  Joy, Not only with film cameras...I use digital and even though I can see the photograph right away, I can't wait to get home and see it on my computer....BIG!!!! with excitement is even better now then when I was shooting film, because I have TOTAL CONTROL!!!

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9/8/2006 5:47:27 AM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  Photography in itself, is a kind of high.
When we have become one with our subject...when we start muttering to ourselves nonsensically while clicking away, we realize that we have evaluated the scene before us and have utilized our knowledge, experience and instincts to record that vision as accurately as possible.

When we can't wait to to see the results that we will eventually portray, we know in our hearts and minds that we had nailed that scene!

We are confident that our inital thoughts and intent will be self evident in the final image we present when we shoot from our inner vision.

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9/8/2006 2:26:52 PM

Debbie Del Tejo
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/30/2005
  Bob, I think you should be the speech writter for MR BUSH!!!!!

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9/9/2006 10:03:37 AM

anonymous A.    I'd suggest, Joy, that rather than inviting people who might want to "mentor" you, you look through some of the galleries and ask people whose work inspires you to critique your work. But even good photographers may not be good mentors...some can't really explain what they do or how they achieve their results or their "look". Others can be very pedantic and opinionated; not many can analyse an image technically and aesthetically and give useful feedback and opinion.

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9/9/2006 12:30:08 PM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  i'm just glad there is someone else who talks to themselves while shooting.i often feel there is a student/teacher relationship and then I remember I must have a split personality,i'm by myself!
I took my misting sprayer out early this morning and shot spider webs,neat for some and creepy for others.
and yea I had to look another word up in the dictionary.
good points of view,sam

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9/9/2006 1:07:56 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  "Bob, I think you should be the speech writter for MR BUSH!!!!!"

( long as I don't have to say "nukyelar") :)

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9/9/2006 1:28:17 PM

Bob Chance
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/19/2006
  hi Joy:

Well you have certainly received your share of offers. Funny, how so many suggest that you seek more than one mentor and yet, there are probably a dozen here who have already offered to help.
Bob C. is right as far as sometimes a photo isn't quite as we remembered the subject. Ansel Adams was the master of pre-visualization. He saw the scene as he wanted it to appear in his photograph and he knew what all he had to do to make it that way. From composition to exposure to printing and developing.
I think it todays hi-tech world with computer imaging and powerful tools like PS, we are missing the most important thing about photography. Pre-visualization. It's knowing what it is about a particular subject that caught our attention and then being able to show that in the picture. I think many of us are guilty of just shooting away at something, thinking we can make it all work out in PS. Sometimes we can. But too often when we look at the picture, it is so dissapointing, we can't remember why it was we shot it to begin with.
If we see a friend standing amidst a group of people, we would easily recognize our friend. However, if we took a picture of the same scene we would have a cluttered picture of a bunch of people and anyone viewing the picture would not be able to tell that the center of interest was your friend.
Techniques, either in camera, darkroom or on the computer, should be more than just fancy smancy stuff to make a picture look interesting. These are tools to help us draw the viewers attention to the main subject in our pictures. We want our viewers to see what we saw when we took the picture in the first place.
Selective focus and DOF are a couple of tools, but even in the scene of your friend, it might not be enough to draw attention to one person standing in a crowd. In PS, we might desaturate or convert to B/W everything in the picture but our friend. Or maybe we'll use a gaussian blur on the surrounding subjects so our friend will stand out.
The hard part isn't learning the techniques themselves, knowing what techniques you'll have to use to accomplish this in a picture, before you even press the shutter.

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9/10/2006 6:28:06 AM


BetterPhoto Member
  Bob its mentor, not mental

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9/10/2006 6:29:22 AM


BetterPhoto Member
  By the way DOF sucks in the digital world. So I shoot everything in focus with the light that I like then blur it out in PS to draw attention to my subject. Im fast in PS, but slow in camera thinking (oh well, at least I get the effect I want)

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9/10/2006 6:33:20 AM

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