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.

RecOp (Recreational Optional) of Western Washington is a competitive gymnastics program that provides gymnasts an environment to develop skills and abilities in gymnastics with quality training and competition experience while developing confidence and sportsmanship without strenuous costs or time commitments. At least that’s what their website says!

For Abi (my beautiful little girl – OK she’s nine so not so little any more but she will always be my little girl), this is an opportunity for her to learn gymnastics and compete every month with other young girls in the Seattle area.

Now Abi has been going to gymnastics since she was a year old, back then it was hysterically funny to watch, lots of uncoordinated kids trying to walk in a straight line! In fact I took my Dad once to watch her and he nearly pee’d himself laughing (highly inappropriate of course – needless to say I was doing the same right next to him).

Over the years however she has got better and better and now she’s pretty impressive (at least to me) and today she competed in Bellevue at Gym East. Now Abi has never really seen herself compete (obviously) and as I’m really into still photography she only get’s to see still shots of herself in action. But today I thought I’d take some video. Now I should say at this point I SUCK at video, so I apologize that it’s all shaky etc., but at least family and friends in the UK can now see her in action.

She did really well today too. She came first in the Floor, Beam and Bars events, and fourth in the Vault (obviously in her age group). She came first overall, so was top of her age group. Clearly I’m a very proud dad :-)

Hope you like the video.