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Shutterbug Life podcast

Shutterbug Life is a weekly podcast that celebrates the creative photographer's lifestyle. Through a series of discussions, expert interviews, and photo challenges, the podcast examines everything you need to be, do, or have to reach your full photographic potential. Episodes are designed to be helpful no matter where you are on your learning path. Shutterbug Life podcast is hosted by Lynford Morton, a second-generation photographer who build one of Washington, DC’s fastest growing photography Meetup communities, Shutterbug Excursions. He has also trained thousands of photographers to take great pictures in Washington, DC and New Orleans from the business he founded, PhotoTour Excursions. Now he recreates the community of enthusiast photographers with Shutterbug Life.
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Sep 18, 2016

When I was growing up, you could always find stacks of photo albums under our coffee table. You know the albums where you stuck your photos under that thin film of plastic? We had more than 20 of them, full of photos that documented every facet of our lives.

Today’s photographer has a more sophisticated option — a finished book that goes on top the coffee table. 

Is it time for you to publish your own photo book for your coffee table? Here are the many options you should consider. 

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Sep 11, 2016

If you want to get the low down on latest new cameras hitting the shelves, you need to find your way to a launch event.

Launch events are where camera stores invite reps from the camera manufacturers to come out and answer your questions while you play with the store models.

I got an invite to a launch event for the Canon 5D Mark IV and Fujifilm X-T2, and I decided to take you along. While we are in launch mode, I'll share some new photo tours as well.

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Sep 3, 2016

If you want to have your photography stand out from the millions of picture takers flooding the internet, Levar Burton has a message for you. 

You will have to do more than be the artist and creator. You will have to be your own advocate. You will have to learn how to promote and distribute your work. You will have to hustle.

And only when you are willing to hustle, will you demonstrate your commitment to getting the job done. That's what Levar says. What will that mean for you? We unpack the quote in this episode.

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Aug 27, 2016

What should you be doing now if you are trying to get to the next level with your photography? That depends on what stage you are currently in.  Stages of Platform Growth and share some details of the first stage.

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Aug 23, 2016

When 6-year-old Desiree took my microphone to sing a song, she unwittingly belted out the theme of the day.

"You are so beautiful to me..." she sang out with all the emotion she could muster.

I couldn't help but think that was the theme of the day. We assembled 21 volunteer photographers and photo editors to create portraits of homeless families in Washington, DC. More than that, we wanted to share Desiree's message. You are beautiful and special to us.

You don't have to take my word for it. I share interviews with our volunteers and the Edgewood Brookland Family Support Collaborative staff.

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Aug 13, 2016

Have you ever tried to make sense of the Auto Focus alphabet soup on the back of your camera? You aren’t alone. This frustrates so many DSLR shooters, yet it is something we need to master. Very often, the right setting here is the difference between getting blurry images and sharp images. 

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Aug 5, 2016

It's time to talk gear again. Where were some of the most interesting industry announcements in the past month or two?

Let's talk about the new gear and technology and what we think about them.

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Aug 1, 2016

You'd think that storytelling is natural and obvious skill. We all grow up listening to stories and even falling asleep to them. You might have even been wrapped up in the dramatic stories of the big screen.

Storytelling with your camera can be just as engaging and can be an effective way to create images with impact. Not all great photographs need to tell a story, but the ones that do tell a story often stand out.

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Jul 23, 2016

So you decided to create your photography blog, but something still isn't right. Maybe you only hear crickets when you post. Maybe you aren't getting the feedback you'd hoped from your visitors. You're not sure exactly what is going wrong, but something needs to change.

Here are 13 common mistakes photographers make when starting blogs. Let's see where we all measure up with our efforts.

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Jul 15, 2016

I was catching up with an old friend in a crowded coffee shop in Washington, DC, when she asked a question many of us wonder privately but don't say out loud.

"Why do you think one person will get so many likes and great comments on a photo when another person with photos just as good gets nothing? How do some people get so popular and others don't?

"Seriously? I don't get it."

I know it can seem arbitrary, but often it can come down to your personal branding choices. 

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Jul 1, 2016

By her own admission, Emily Carter Mitchell was just a girl with a camera who loved to go shoot.

"I got my new DSLR about six years ago, and I was trying to find out what was going to be my passion," she said. "It took a couple years to start down the road I'm on now, which is nature and wildlife photography."

Emily's journey of self-discovery took her down the path of creating a photography blog, Bella Remy Photography. "Short of putting my photos on my computer or maybe on Facebook, I wanted to have a platform where I could share your experiences. That's where the idea of starting a blog came from. It gave me a creative way to share my work when I'm out exploring."

Along the way, Emily's blog has opened many doors — to get published, create a Meetup, and lead workshops. Oh yeah, it helped her find who she was as an artist.

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Jun 23, 2016

Let's start with the end first. When I asked Parish Kohanim what advice he would give to a photographer who aspires to make a real impact, his advice was succinct.

"Listen to your own voice... Don't listen to people. They will give you a hundred different opinions that don't speak your voice."

That might seem like easy advice to dispense from a photographer with a resume like Parish has — a commercial photographer for more than 30 years and a Canon Explorer of Light, one of only 40 people in the world with that designation.

 

But there were other voices — a famous fashion designer who told him to give up photography because he had no future in it. And his first college instructors who never liked anything he created. 

That kind of feedback could give even the most confident photographers second thoughts.

You know how the story ends. He proved them all wrong, but how did he get there?

Now let's take the journey.

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Jun 18, 2016

Like so many photographers, I was introduced to photography in a home where cameras were commonplace.

Credit it to nature or nurture, when a child grows up in a home of a photographer, it seems photography comes naturally.

For Father's Day weekend, I wanted to tell the stories of photographers and their fathers.

In part II, I interview Emily Carter, a nature photographer in our community. Emily's dad was a Latin American anthropologist who used his camera to document the lives of Indians in the Andes Mountains. I share the story of Sheldon Katz, who remembers his early life with his dad. Finally, I interview my three boys to see how the third generation of photographers is faring.

Listen to part II.

Jun 18, 2016

Like so many photographers, I was introduced to photography in a home where cameras were commonplace.

Credit it to nature or nurture, when a child grows up in a home of a photographer, it seems photography comes naturally.

For Father's Day weekend, I wanted to tell the stories of photographers and their fathers. My selfish reason, of course, is that I get to interview my dad and share his story.

Listen to Part I

Jun 10, 2016
“What’d you do today?"
 
“Excuse me?” I responded.
 
This wasn’t an innocent or idle question. I’d been fretting to a colleague that I didn’t reach a goal I’d set for myself. Her response was curt and dispassionate.
 
“What’d you do today? What did you do yesterday?” 
 
She never said anything else but just let me live with my own responses.
 
If you want to make a difference with your photography, your degree of success is often found in the actions you took today. And yesterday. It’s your level of effort. It’s your hustle.
 
I was listening to Chase Jarvis interview Levar Burton on the 30 Days of Genius series when Levar dropped this truth bomb.
 
You have to not only be the artist and creator, you have to be the promoter, too. The distributor. The chief bottle washer. You have to sweep up. You have to hustle. You have to hustle. And I believe one’s hustle is a sign of the degree to which one is really passionate about getting it done. So where is your hustle game?
 
Let’s unpack that quote because in it Levar Burton gave us the opportunity, the prescription, and the challenge.
 
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Jun 3, 2016

Karen said she needed to call me with some exciting news, but what she told me broke my heart.

She had an exciting opportunity — a request from a national TV publication to use her photo — and she planned to give her photo away. Karen decided that her photo wasn't worth any money because of her lack of experience and because she shot it with an entry level camera.

I know the feeling because I have thought that myself. This photo can't be worth much because I didn't really work that hard to get it. I don't deserve payment. Fill in your own reasons.

If you have ever nursed one of these seeming innocent untruths, I have three messages for you.

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May 27, 2016

When Mike Bowen ran through Constitution Gardens and down to Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, he completed his goal of running 58,282 miles — one mile for each name on the wall.

And that is where I will begin my personal photography project, Warriors at the Wall.

In today’s episode, I practice what I preach. We will talk about how you can create a personal photo project, but it won't be just theory. I will use the framework to create on a photo project for myself.

Create your photo project, too. Let's build them together.

May 19, 2016

I dreamed I bumped into a younger version of myself.

It was me from college, the guy taking his first photography class. I saw the younger me in the French Quarter working on a photo assignment, so I stopped to say hello.

I wanted to tell him to stick with that photography thing. It works out in the end. You'll end up teaching right here. But before I could say that, younger me asked a question.

"Based on what you know now, what helpful advice can you share?"

Good question. Here's what I told younger me. Come to think of it, this advice is just as useful for me, the old guy, too.

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May 12, 2016

As a bonus, I am also sharing a selection of an interview with gallery owner Cory Woods. I interviewed Cory several years ago during a photography webinar. Many of his insights back then are valuable in this context. 

Listen to the bonus interview

May 12, 2016

It took almost a year for Bridget Murray Law to finally agree that it was time to hang her photos.

It's not like she shouldn't have known. Bridget is an accomplished Washington, DC  street photographer who loves to document the transformation in many of the local neighborhoods. She has even attracted an Instagram following of more than 5,000 fans.

But she didn't think she was ready.

"As a photographer, you’re always going after the perfect shot. A lot of times I don’t think of my photos as a collection. I’m always going after the next perfect shot."

Her fiancee, Gary Nabors, knew better.

He said, "why don’t you look at what you have already done?"

After a year of pushing Bridget to do a show, she relented.

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May 5, 2016

Some people might go to their local bookstore to find books. Others might go to read magazines or sip coffee.

Steve Rosenbach went to his local bookstore to hang a photography show. But he didn't stop there. He hung shows at a local library, a city hall, and a camera club.

In fact, after more than six photography shows, he has learned a few tricks. In our interview, he shares what works and doesn't and how you might hang a photography show in one of your neighborhood businesses.

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Apr 29, 2016

I have a big ole hug for thehanterman1. He says my video put him to sleep. I also have a big ole hug for snapjockey. He said my video sound was "crap". 

You ought to save some hugs for your haters, too. 

I just read the book "Hug Your Haters," by Jay Baer. With his subtitle, "how to embrace your complaints and keep your customers," Jay is clearly speaking to business owners and marketing professionals. 

But I wondered, doesn't this message apply to photographers as well? 

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Apr 27, 2016
Part of my ritual when I return from my weekend workshop is to do an After Action Report. It’s an old habit from my Army days where you document what you learned after each exercise, and more importantly, what you can improve.
 
After my most recent trip, I also thought about some random photography principles as part of my lessons re-learned.
 
Here are five lessons that occurred to me in New Orleans that will work for you anywhere you travel. You can even use them in your home city.
 
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Apr 25, 2016

What's it like to pack up all your photography gear and drive across the country photographing anything that looks good?

That's what Mike Lennett hopes to find out. He recently embarked on a two-month bucket list photo trip. He was one day into his excursion when he stopped to chat about his expectations.

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Apr 20, 2016

In a rooftop graveyard overlooking Flemington, NJ, Matt Hill created a ghost with his camera — and was hooked on night photography.

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