A few months ago I attended a photography course at Bellevue College called “Shoot to Show”. The purpose of the course was to learn how to shoot pictures that people would want to buy, frame and hang them in a public showing and try and sell some work.

We had a window of a few months to go and take pictures that followed a theme. The class could pick its own theme and the one we selected was “The Beginning or End of Day”.  We spent ages picking the theme and even when we selected this one not everyone was happy.  In the end the images taken were supposed to make you think of the beginning or end of the day but having said that I’m not sure all the images were successful, but I don’t think it was really that important – we had fun.

Once we all took a load of pictures, we had to submit them to a jury to select their favorites. Our jury had four members, one of which was the dean of the college and they stack ranked your pictures in their favorite order.  We were only allowed to frame and hang 3 pictures and they had to be the top three pics from the jury.

I submitted nine pictures in total and the jury’s top pick was my favorite too, but the other two were a surprise.

  • My first picture was taken on the west side of Lake Washington looking at a pier and in the distance Bellevue.  I had a neutral density filter on the camera so I had a long exposure and the water looked smooth like glass.
  • The second image was taken of Snoqualmie Falls.  When I took this picture I got completely soaked.
  • The last image was taken in Bellevue Downtown Park of a tree as the sun was setting.

I liked all three but they weren’t the ones I would have picked.  That said I framed all three for the show.  I went to Aaron Brothers in Redmond and brought some frames (they had a great deal on where if you brought one frame you got one for 1c).  I printed the images out myself and purchased some pre-cut mats (to keep the framing costs down) and framed the images myself.

Part of the course was instruction on how to frame your images.  Details on popular frame types and colors, how to select mats and how to finish the frame with backing and wire.  All stuff I really didn’t know.

Well today was the day that I got to hang the images.  I drove over to Renton and joined the other students on the course and we all learnt how best to hang your images for best effect.  (Trust me it’s more than just throwing them on the wall).  Ray (our instructor) asked us to provide details on the images and prices, along with a bio and head shot.  He printed out all the information and backed it on foam board.  Having hanged the pictures we added the details for each image and our bio and picture.

The showing opens officially on Tuesday night and I’m looking forward to see what happens. The whole course was very good, I learnt a load, and made some new friends and if I’m lucky, I make a few dollars too (not that that really matters of course).  The real reason I did this is that we have a load of coffee houses in the area and many of them let you show your work and sell it out of the shop.  So haven’t gained some experience I may try doing this on my own.

Again this isn’t really a big money making opportunity, but if it pays for some camera gear every now and then, that’s great.

After Tuesday I’ll let you know how it goes, but for now here are my three images hanging on the wall.

Here’s the three pictures.

Over the last couple of weeks something interesting has started to happen.  People have started coming to me with requests and ideas for pictures.  Some are ideas for serious pictures and some people suggest scenarios for the Halo guys.  This really couldn’t come at a better time – as I’m running out of ideas :-)

I created a blog page to provide a location for you to suggest “Stuff” and give you guidance on what would be helpful.  You can go to the page here: http://blog.tonyseeley.com/?page_id=676

If you don’t know what to suggest today but come up with an idea in a weeks time, you can find this link under the Pages section on the right hand side of the blog.

So don’t be shy, make a suggestion, you never know, it may end up on the blog (and you’ll get all the credit).

To make the resolution fun, I have decided to post two images a day – yeah I know I’m mad!

The first is a serious attempt at photograph, portraits, landscapes, you know, the usual “stuff”.

The second is a fun image, something people shouldn’t take too seriously.

So what’s the fun image about?

Well for Christmas, Santa brought me three Halo soldier action figures, ok I got them myself but in my defense there was a motive (it’s not like I like playing with toy soldiers or anything!)

The idea is I put these Halo dudes in “funny” situations and take a shot.

Now as I write this I’m actually cringing, as it sound’s really lame, but I have some ideas so let’s see how this pans out.

So to summarize, expect two pictures a day, a serious one, and a fun one.

As a hobbyist photographer I wanted a site where I could upload my images.  I had been posting to sites like Facebook and Google+ and while that was great, there wasn’t an obvious location to go to where you could see all my work.

On top of that a number of friends and contacts (and friends of friends) started asking me if they could order prints.  This was a huge surprise to me, obviously a very pleasant one, but still a surprise.

Not wishing to disappoint, I joined SmugMug and set up a site where some images could be purchased, after adding a small nominal fee to me of course (SmugMug isn’t free and I thought if I could recover my hosting costs that would be good).

So the site went live (in early January).

Being the kind of guy who’s never really happy I wanted to add more functionality to the site and as everyone seems to have their own blog, I thought I’d join the masses and start mine.

Now I’ve thought of having a blog in the past but in reality never had enough to say (those who know me will tell you that’s impossible), but I didn’t feel I would post frequently enough to make it worthwhile.

But late last year (2011) I decided one of my New Year’s resolutions would be to post a picture a day though 2012.  Having never attempted this I didn’t realize how much work it would be.  Initially I thought I’d force myself to take a picture a day and post that, but in reality that’s just not possible. As a result I changed the rules of the resolution (you are allowed to do that right?)

The new rule became;

“I must post an image a day, and that image must have been captured in 2012 and never seen before.”

This was much more realistic, but is still proving to be hard work as I have a full time job (that has nothing to do with photography) and a family that I want to spend time with.  Add to this that fact that I want to post an image I like and am proud of, not just a shot of my office chair or a salt and pepper pot makes this quite time consuming.

So anyway (rambling here), this is my new blog.  I will post links to my image of the day, along with some context around where I took it and anything interesting that happened when I took the shot.  If nothing interesting happened I will make something up :-)

Let’s see how long I last…