Thursday, April 30, 2015

To Post or Not to Post...

(Originally posted on on March 10, 2015)

... that is the question.

I've been putting my photographs all over the place in an attempt to "get my name out there" for a couple weeks, now.  I have accounts on Smugmug,500pxGoogle PlusFlickr, and of course, Facebook.  My goal, for the next year, and hopefully significantly longer, is to post a single picture, every day, on each of these sites.  There will be days, like when I am traveling, that I won't be able to post.  And that's fine.  I'm posting in this way because if I were to simply post every picture I deem worthy of posting at once - like, now, for instance - what would I talk about and show off to try and garner interest?

Choosing what to post is quite difficult.  I purchased my first DSLR in 2007, and between then and now, my hard drive has accumulated (as of May 10, 2015) 41,594 .jpgs.  I'm not entirely sure what that means as far as pictures I've actually taken in the last 8 years, because I've certainly deleted many more pictures than I've kept.  My hard drive also has 10,467 RAW image files.  These are duplicates of .jpgs, but duplicates that I deemed to be of high enough quality that they may some day be worth editing.  I have 6,778 .tiffs.  These are images that I've created by editing the RAW image files.  All told, my eloquently-named "Pictures" folder contains 69,581 files and 1,813 folders occupying 729 Gigabytes of hard drive space.  Trying to edit and sort through this number of photos in order to choose those that will ultimately be posted on all my sites has been quite an imposing task, but one upon which the last couple years on Jeju have allowed me to make tremendous progress.

And it is here that one difficulty (of many) appears.  How prolific should I be?  Obviously, the more pictures I post, the lower the average quality will become.  I've looked at profile pages of some excellent photographers on 500px who have been members for years and years, and some have only 50 pictures posted.  The fifty pictures some of these photographers have are of unbelievable quality, in some cases better - and I hate to admit this - than the 50 best pictures I've ever taken.  But, in the case of these photographers, they only provide fifty pictures to look at, which I think has a legitimate downside.

Similarly, there are photographers who have thousands of photos posted.  While many of these thousands of photos might be of excellent quality, there are too many 'mediocre' shots for these photographers to stand out.

I don't know where I want to fall on this spectrum.  I tallied the photos I have already posted, as of today (141), and those I intend on posting (390).  531 pictures, total.  That seems like a lot.  And that doesn't take into account the shots I'm hoping to get on my next adventure, which begins in less than two months and will likely be the topic of my next blog post.
I just removed a few pictures a couple hours ago as I thought about this issue.  Here are the four I took down:


Taken off the site.

I like all these shots.  I think they're objectively good... but probably not great.  The two images on top - the crows and the bee - were in my South Korea album, which had 59 pictures already - probably more than what is needed for what I feel will ultimately be one of my weaker albums.  More specifically, while the crows are kind of cool because of the black and white contrast, they're just crows.  Everyone's seen a million crows, and no one wants to purchase a print of a crow.  As for the bee, I have a fair number of better bee shots, and a fair number of better flower shots in the same gallery, so it probably isn't worth keeping an inferior duplicate.

The bottom two shots are from my Nepal album, and raise another difficulty.  I'm aware of my subjectivity in deciding what is a 'good' photo, but I'm not sure awareness is enough.  I like these shots, and again, I think they're good.  And while I think viewers might find the picture of the donkeys interesting, it faces the same difficulty as the crows.  There probably aren't many people out there that want to purchase a picture of donkeys.

I'm now realizing, as I type this, that pictures like these will make good filler for this blog, as I move forward with this whole endeavor.  They might not be sale-worthy, but perhaps an accompanying story will make them at least post-worthy.  On the blog, if nowhere else.

Is 531 pictures too many for someone just trying to get into photography professionally?  Maybe.  I guess I'll have to give this some more thought.

Friday, April 24, 2015

When Being Professional and Being Honest Collide

(Originally posted on February 22, 2015)

I launched this site a little over a week ago, and I'm still trying to figure out in what direction I should take it.  This dilemma applies specifically to the professional vs. honesty conflict I have to deal with when thinking about my photo comments, and blog posts, etc.  This probably isn't a black-and-white issue, so wherever I land will be neither 100% wrong, nor 100% right.

The honest truth is that I am not currently a professional photographer, but some clarification on the way the terms are interpreted is necessary.  I'm not a "professional" because I don't make my living at photography.  Yet.  Perhaps within a year, I'll be able to unhesitatingly claim to be a pro.  That's the dream, anyway.  Having looked at a fair number of "professional" photographers' sites, I can confidently (although, admittedly, with an unfair bias) conclude that my work is good enough to exist, and hopefully stand out, in the world of "professional" photographers.

So for now, do I make my site, and my comments, and captions and the personality I try to portray on everything I do related to my photography, clinically neat, politically-correct, and for lack of a better term, bland, in order to appear professional, while being self-aware that this is not an honest reflection of my personality?  Or do I make non-PC jokes and write my captions casually, as though I were talking to a friend?

It's tricky.  I pride myself on my honesty.  I want my writing to reflect my personality and opinions, but I'm aware that making jokes about praying mantises eating their siblings isn't likely to help me sell pictures of a praying mantis.  But this is something I would likely joke about when telling a friend about my interesting photo I just took of a praying mantis.  So what do I do?  I guess I toe the line, for the time being.

One nice part of being unestablished is that I can write blog posts like this, since in all likelihood, no one will read it.  Years from now, who knows.  But for now, I guess it serves as some kind of a photography-related diary.

"Dear Diary, does anyone have any thoughts or opinions on this matter?  If so, they're encouraged to leave a comment."

Thursday, April 23, 2015

First Blog Post

(Originally posted on on February 14, 2015)

First blog post.  What to talk about?
Well, after years and years of talking about trying to turn my photography hobby into a career, I'm finally making moves to make it happen.  One year from now, I'll either be earning enough money at this to, you know, eat food and stuff, or I won't.  In which case I'll probably be teaching English somewhere sandy and a bit behind-the-times on social issues.
So what is involved in trying to "go pro?"  Hell if I know, I'm pretty much hoping to figure it as I go, and hoping that the quality of my photographs will be sufficient to carry me forward.  Getting this website looking how I want hasn't been particularly difficult, but is only one of several places I'm trying to get my name out.  I'm making "Glenn Lewis Photography" accounts on Flickr (I think it's a few years past its prime), 500px (which seems like a good site for sharing photos), Smugmug (where I basically have a clone of this site up), and Facebook.  If I ever get a more modern phone than this one ...

...maybe I'll even have to get Tweeter or whatever it's called.  Man, I'm already a grandpa, and I'm only 32.
I think that's enough for now.  I'm going to have to make an effort to update all of my websites and blogs and whatnot pretty regularly from here on out, so I guess I'll try and keep these things brief, so I don't run out of stuff to talk about.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I'm back

Oops.  About 26 months have passed since my last post.  I've spent the entirety of this time on the South Korean island of Jeju, working as an English teacher at public schools.  Lots of stuff has happened, but I'm not really going to talk about it.

I just want to say that I'm back.  I'm one week from finishing my job here in Korea, and I've got a bunch of exciting travels and life adventures coming up.  The biggest news, I suppose, is that I'm leaving this job in order to try and become a professional photographer.  This blog will contain a lot of photography talk.  It's going to have a lot of travel stories.  It's going to have a lot of kick-ass pictures.  And it's going to have a lot of blatant self-promotion.  Hopefully not so much that it scares anyone off!

In the next three months, I will visit China, Mongolia, Kenya, and Tanzania, en route to my home in Colorado, USA.  Before I post anything about this, though, I'm going to post copies of recent blog posts I've made on my newly-formed, personal website,

So, read on, and join in on Glenn's Adventures!