Tip of the Day: Shoot What You Love!

Antarctica IcebergBeing a photographer (or artist in general) is by definition a freeing and exciting experience. But what happens when you become stuck, when you lose focus, when you become so wrapped up your next shot that you forget what an amazing experience it is to be able to do what we do?

Shoot What You Love!

When asked recently about my dream location to shoot, I answered with “I am living my dream and anywhere I dream to shoot, we go.” and that is the truth. Last weekend it was sunflowers in Missouri, the weekend before it was the meteor shower in South Arkansas, this week? Who knows? That’s the point, shoot what you love! Dream it and do it! If you can’t get to Africa or Asia this week, then shoot in your own backyard.

Take a walk/train/drive/plane and find what excites you, what moves you and start there. My favorite experience shooting was at 2:30 am on an Antartic expedition and I was the only one awake and on deck. I was in shirt sleeves and the sun was beginning to peek up from the clouds, and the silence and stillness was breathtaking. I captured one of my most award winning photographs and still one of my favorites.

We get to show people a side of nature and life and the world they would never get to see on a regular day, and that is worth shooting!

Tip of the Day: Don’t Worry About Style

cropped-HP0112-copy1.jpgThese days we hear a lot about developing your own personal style with all kinds of advice on how to magically pull the style rabbit out of the hat.

Truth is, you don’t need to waste another minute worrying about personal style. Photograph subjects you love and the style will magically happen all on it’s own. Before you know it, people will recognize your style, perhaps even before you!

Here is my checklist for what to do until your “style” finds you:

Work On Improving Your Vision

How you see your subject is the only thing you have that no one can duplicate, others may copy but that’s another subject!

You improve your vision by becoming a critic. Criticize your own work ruthlessly then be just as critical of every image you see. If you look at your work from last year and think it’s the best you can do, you are done and won’t improve this year. We’re bombarded with imagery more than ever, make a habit of analyzing as much of it as you can.

Embrace Challenging Subjects and Light

We all love the golden light at sunrise and sunset, but that only gives you an hour of opportunity every day. Force yourself to photograph during the harsh light of day and you’ll find great images can be made around the clock.

Tighten Your Technique

Are you getting the best image quality every time?

  • Use a sturdy tripod
  • ALWAYS use a remote and mirror lockup when possible
  • Bracket and blend you shots so everything in the frame is at the optimal exposure

Shoot More Often

You may have heard it before, but “The First 10,000 Images are Your Worst”.-Henri Carter-Bresson.

You’re going to photograph a lot of stinkers whether you like it or not. Get them out of the way as quickly as you can.

Developing your “style” will happen after years of photographing the scenes you love, the way you love to see them. It’s a continual process that never ends.

I best shut this down and get back to developing my “style”!


International Photographic Competition Results Are In… Gold Again!

We at Ed Cooley Fine Art Gallery are so excited and proud to announce that Ed has been awarded the “Gold Photographer Award” by the Professional Photography Association For the second year in a row.  The award is recognition for outstanding achievement in the International Photographic Competition and we want to congratulate Ed on his hard work! Please enjoy the following photographs and follow the links to see more on our website. Thank you Ed for all you do and THANK YOU readers, collectors, clients and fellow nature lovers for supporting our passion to bring beauty to so many lives!

image“Morning Glory” Mt. Rainier National Park

“When photographing I wake up day after day dreaming about mornings like this. I could hardly believe my eyes as Mt Rainier was gloriously bathed in one of the most beautiful sunrise displays I have witnessed.”

Eilean Donan Castle“Dreams of Scotland”

“Eilean Donan Castle is one of the most recognised castles in Scotland, and probably appears on more shortbread tins and calendars than any other. It is, without doubt, a Scottish icon and certainly one of the most popular visitor attractions in the Highlands.”


“Spring Eternal”

“Nestled up to the edge, I snapped this photo. I felt honored to have found this place of pure relaxation. I sat there for awhile observing this natural spa. Refreshed and hiking out I felt younger than I have in years.”

image1“Dolce Vita”

This vibrant image of Venice captures everything loved by locals and visitors alike. The beauty of the location and intensity of the colors elicit an immediate emotional response of dreams and desire to be a part of the image.                                                                       *Photo is set for release in November, 2015

Once again, Congratulations Ed and Thank You! Be sure to stay tuned as we announce more of the pieces awarded and click on the links for more information about the winning photographs.



The Landscape Photographer’s Biggest Mistakes (and How to Fix Them)

We get it: you find yourself perched on cliff, 50 feet above the most glorious landscape you’ve ever seen, or walking down a cobblestone street with a perfect row of 200 year-old houses. You are in awe, you stop and pull out your camera and shoot what has to be the greatest photograph ever taken. Then you look at it in your camera view/computer/lab and realize the awful truth: That’s not what I saw! That’s not the scene I witnessed! What happened?!

Sound familiar? Yup, happens to us all, but how can you side step this tragedy?

Take Your Time

Allowing yourself plenty of time and plenty of range will drastically change the way you are shooting landscapes. Most beginners believe that you see what the camera sees and unfortunately that is not the case. Make sure you are taking the photo from several different angles to allow yourself plenty to work with while editing and allow the camera to speak. Lighting and composition will change drastically with each shot.




Boys Will Be Boya

Exposure, Exposure, Exposure

Sight is in the eye of the beholder and cameras are no different. While you may see a well lit horizon, your camera may see too much sun, reflections, shadows and other defects that your eyes cannot pick up. Make sure you are shooting at various times of day (peak times will vary by location, but always try for a sunrise/sunset shoot time to allow for the best natural light) and at different angles. Once again, this will allow you some extra working material in post production. And speaking of post production…


Blast of Color on Mt Rainier

Drop The Bias…

You wouldn’t paint your home without going back over it and doing touch ups would you? So why wouldn’t you employ the same techniques with photography? So many artists want raw and untouched, but unfortunately your clients aren’t as interested. That shadow that fell incorrectly across the tree? Get rid of it. That blurred bird that unexpectedly became the focal point? Ditch him. Go over your photographs and understand what you are seeing as a whole photo and what you are wanting to convey to your viewer, are you accomplishing that well?

Blog Post Before and AfterThe Photo As A Whole

When we talk about landscape photography, we are speaking of a true landscape, a vast and wide moment in time. How can you possibly capture everything in that moment? Most don’t frankly. You use a wide angle to capture the entire portrait, but completely miss a focal point. Or they try to capture a focal point and completely miss what is happening in the foreground. It is truly best to understand what you are wanting to convey; a rock, a skyline, a storm rolling in, a herd of deer and focus. Do you really need an expansive sky in the foreground if the focus is the deer? If you are shooting a storm, why is the flat land taking up 75% of the photo? Make sure you are focus and then focus your camera.


Here are some additional tips on how to avoid major mistakes: http://www.digitalcameraworld.com/2013/07/10/10-common-landscape-photography-mistakes-every-photographer-makes/