Category Archives: General Commentary

My Love of Photography and Teaching

I have always loved photography.

With my having a Master of Science Degree and a love of art, photography is a perfect combination of science and art for me.

I also love teaching. The first photography class I ever taught was back in college, which was decades ago. I have since organized numerous photography groups in the Austin area, and have taught countless numbers of photographers from beginner to very advanced.

I love helping people improve their photography skills and find their own artistic expression through the camera. In my later years, especially, I am finding great joy in that. (That’s one reason I encourage every photographer take my “Photograph: Finding Your Way: Creativity and Inspiration Workshop.“)

To be honest, I’ve never been one who is too motivated to “market myself” to impress others about how great I am. In fact, in many cases, ego gets in the way of true artistic expression. I believe we all just need to pursue the art that excites and inspires us without worrying about comparing ourselves to others.

I love this insight from Ansel Adams:

“No person has the right to dictate what other people should perceive, create or produce. Everyone should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.” – Ansel Adams

When I look back on my career, what I remember most fondly are the experiences I have had and the wonderful people I have met along the way. In fact, I can honestly say I have really loved the people and the experiences even more than the photography itself.

I feel so blessed to have had this experience as a photographer and educator and friend to so many people who have come through the door of studio or joined me on our many destination workshops.

What I find particularly touching are all the kind and humbling words I have heard from former clients/students. Thank you for that.

Click Here to See What Former Students Have Said

I am in a perpetual journey of gratitude for my experiences with all of you. Thank you all for being a part of my life, either because you gave me the honor of allowing me to photograph you or teach you about the art and science of photography.

Kevin Gourley

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The Importance of YOU

It is often so tempting to think the most important aspect of our photography is the camera we own. Ansel Adam’s insight is critical for all of us photographers to acknowledge. “The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it!” (YOU).

If you want to improve your photography, instead of upgrading your camera, upgrade the photographer! Photography is all about YOU and how you see the world around you, AND it is about operating that little machine called the camera. Remember the camera is just a machine. You are the artist.

We offer a workshop that I encourage ALL photographers to take. It is called “Photography: Finding Your Way – Creativity and Inspiration Workshop.”

If you are wondering what steps you can take to advance your photography, this class will help you discover the way forward. It is about photography. It is about you. It is about your art. It is about creative expression. It is what I wholeheartedly believe all photographers will benefit from exploring.

Journey with us as we help you find your way to better photography, greater artistic inspiration, and if you feel like you’ve been in a rut, we’ll get you out of that rut and back on the road to creativity!


See what former class participants have said about my Photography: Finding Your Way – Creativity and Inspiration Workshop:

  • “I really didn’t think I needed this class, but I signed up anyway. Wow, I am SO glad I did. This class totally renewed my passion for photography and how I see the world around me! I fell in love with photography all over again! Thank you!!!”
  • “It’s so easy as an amateur photographer to become overwhelmed with all the technical aspects of photography. And as a photographer at any level, there is often an expectation of working to get the best technical picture. Kevin does a wonderful job of teaching the technical aspects of photography, for sure, but his Finding Your Way class focuses instead on the joy of photography, on photography as an experience and way to express ourselves. We are all creative beings, an image of the great Creator, and it is healing to the soul to pursue that. In addition to revealing the depth of Kevin as an amazing person, this class gives permission and encouragement to explore our individual path of creativity using photography. We laughed, we cried, we learned, and we found the spark that drew us to photography in the first place. Thanks, Kevin.”
  • “I just finished taking Kevin’s “Finding Your Way” Workshop. Wow. I have been a passionate photographer for most of my life but over the last 18 months I have struggled due to my health. As a nature, wildlife and landscape photographer it became very difficult to photograph the things that spoke to me for so long. So, having taken many classes from Kevin before, I decided to see if I could re-ignite my flame for photography. I did some soul searching and was able to focus my attention using a different approach. Now I have several projects lined up as well as a strategy of combining three of these projects together to reach a goal. Kevin, as always, you never disappoint. You are not only a great photographer and teacher but even more importantly a great person. I can recommend Kevin’s workshops without reservation. Thanks so much.” – Don Simpson
  • “Thank you for providing an avenue for me to begin to recapture my love of photography!”
  • “When I was preparing my homework for the Finding Your Way class, I found that I actually enjoyed it; whereas, in the past the thought of sharing my work with others absolutely terrified me. This is huge.
  • “If you are in a rut and don’t know what to shoot or don’t even know if you still like to shoot, you MUST take this class. It is a virtual buffet of ideas that builds on itself each day of the class. There are dozens of ideas, videos, music, poems that are guaranteed to stimulate your imagination and make you want to get out and start taking pictures. This is one of the best photography classes I have taken in a long time and I now have a long list of project ideas to work with. Even if you have great technical skills or know everything you need to know about Photoshop and Lightroom, this class is for you. It is not about skills, it is about tapping into your creative mind which so often gets pushed to the side. This is one of the best investments you can make as a photographer.”
  • “This class has been an inspiration, and an opportunity to once again learn how photographers see so differently from one another. I have learned much from your sharing of your photo projects, and from the other participants as well. It’s been a great use of my time and effort!
  • “Thank you for a wonderful workshop. I always believed you could not teach someone to be creative. You did it. I came home with many ideas that I could tackle that would bring my unique self to my photographs.”
  • This class is different than any other photography course I’ve ever taken in that it lends one to truly thinking about photography in a way that deepens the connection and benefit one gets from not only taking images, but how they interpret and share them. The material and content was diverse and thorough and ultimately Kevin assembled and presented a large collection of information that everyone can put in their personal creative toolbox and use it every time they use their camera. As usual, Kevin also provides nice outlines and a notebook to memorialize the experience and collective analysis of a topic that any photographer who is wanting to up their personal approach will take aways in a very meaningful manner.”
  • “I took this class last year and it was so good and inspiring and so broad in its scope. I could not imagine how I could learn creativity by taking a class, and I was so shocked to discover how well you did it.”
  • “I want to tell you that the class yesterday was EXCELLENT. It is different than any other and better than most any. I have played it over in my mind many times even in the short time since it ended.”
  • Great inspiration and offerings to stretch my thinking when considering a photograph. Made me THINK! And finally a photography project to implement those thoughts.”
  • “Once in awhile, as constant learner, you take a class that shifts your way of thinking and approach to a subject. I found Kevin’s course to have that affect. As an amateur and hobbyist photographer, I really appreciated Kevins approach to looking inside your self and how you view it vs. getting new equipment or going to an exotic place for inspiration. As the saying goes the change comes within yourself. I like this new approach to getting out of a rut. Kevin also demonstrated that you can take your photography to other venues of providing service . I think this helped me look at possibilities of going into a different venue for photography. That in itself was worth the class. I highly recommend this class if you want to start carrying your camera again and just start shooting. Great course.”
  • “Kevin presented a rousing, creative program that really enabled me to visualize a host of new directions for me move that will give me more joy in my photography. He helped me ‘take my blinders off.’ Now it’s apparent that there is a universe of new ways to help make my photos more meaningful TO ME!”
  • “I felt the thoughtful, caring attitude that was projected not only by the teacher but students was the strong point. I very much liked the huge number of thought provoking suggestions and the videos were delightful but more than that they got the points across.”
  • “I like the stimulation to get out of my photographic rut(s). Showing me innumerable examples of different photographic approaches was very helpful. But mostly, I liked your non-critical, non-directive encouragement for me to find more satisfying ways to enjoy photography.”
  • “I have been on a number of workshops with Kevin, which were all amazing, but this was exceptionally different.”
  • “a chance to consider new ideas and approaches, a chance to try new things”
  • “I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for new sparks or wanting to push yourself in new ways creatively and technically.”
  • “really helped me to look at my photography in a more emotional way rather than being so concerned about technical aspects”
  • “I loved the projects and homework we were given to apply the information after leaving the workshop”
  • “It was a fantastic experience.”
  • “Kevin’s creative ideas for sparking photographic enthusiasm and the opportunity to think about project ideas, and go out and photograph with that new philosophy, made holding a camera in my hand new and exciting again.”
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Enjoy the Journey

My wife (Gail) and I went out for a walk this morning on a trail very near our home. It was such a nice cool morning, we just had to escape from our daily routine to enjoy the outdoors for a little while. I call these walks my “sanity walks.”

I have been SO busy lately, leading a variety of destination photography workshops and local classes. I totally enjoy these experiences and the wonderful photographers I have met along the way, but this was our personal venture into the nearby forest to simply walk, with no agenda other than to enjoy the journey.

I didn’t bring any sort of “fancy” camera. I just had my iPhone 12 (which arguably IS a “fancy” camera in its own way). I used my iPhone just to capture images of a few things that caught my eye along the trail.

Sometimes if you go hiking for exercise, the objective is to get the exercise done. It’s about pace and time and heart rate. Pushing those objectives aside, there are times where the venture might be a richer experience if we focus on the journey rather than the destination.

Take more time to just pause and look around. Take in your surroundings with all of your senses. Feel the cool air. Pick up a fallen leaf. Smell the scent of the cedar trees still damp from this week’s rains. Listen to the birds and the rushing water at a nearby waterfall.

Look in all directions, not just where you’re going, but also where you’ve been. A trail can look totally different if you simply turn around. You might even see something beautiful you missed along the way.

Sometimes just stop for the sake of stopping. Rest. Give thanks for this miracle of life on this amazing planet floating through space. Give thanks for your ability to walk and see and hear and feel and enjoy the trail. Give thanks to be alive. Never take ANY of this for granted, or you’ll miss the beauty of it ALL.

Walking with a deeper sense of gratitude, you might just see things you would have otherwise passed on by without giving it a second thought.

We only have so many days on this Earth. Enjoy the journey.

Kevin Gourley

P.S. I invite you to join us on some of our future photo workshops!

P.P.S. If you’d ever like to go hiking with us, let me know! We could organize a future hike for anyone interested.

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Photography is an Adventure

One aspect I have loved the most about photography really goes beyond the picture-taking. I have loved the experience… An excuse to get up at 4am to head up to the side of a mountain to wait for the sun to rise on a new day… To encounter wildlife splashing in a lake… To explore and wander and discover some of the beauty of this amazing world. Equally meaningful to me has been the experience of meeting so many wonderful people who also have a love of photography.

I have loved the adventure of it all. If you have lost your inspiration in your photography, I encourage to focus your attention to those things that excite you and you find rewarding. We aren’t all nature photographers. We aren’t all portrait photographers. What we bring to the art of photography is our own unique perspective on life. Reflect on the things you love the most and do more of that, whatever that is! That’s part of the secret to staying motivated to continue to learn and grow and strive to be better at your art form, whatever it is.

For me, what keeps me going is the adventure in it all, and I love teaching and helping other photographers grow in their skills, so that is where I focus a lot of my energy these days.

Join us on some of our destination photography workshops. We’d love to have you be a part of our fun adventures.

Kevin

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Looking Back… The Gift of Photography

Reflecting back on what I have loved most about my life and photography, I find it’s not really just about the photographs.  Rather, it has been the experiences that went along with those moments with my camera, family activities, the wonderful people I have met, new friendships made, the sights I have seen and the places I have experienced, and the memories that were made along the way.  The value of the photographs, for me, really is to serve as a reminder of the blessings I have experienced in my life.

Every photograph is a two-dimensional snapshot of a moment in time, but there is a rich and deep story behind each image. What was happening at that moment? Who is in the photograph? What were we saying to each other? What compelled me to take that photo? Where was I? What was I doing there? Why was I sitting on the side of that mountain waiting for the sun to rise? Who was with me? How did I feel at the moment when I clicked the shutter? All that remains from that moment is this image I created and the memories I carry with me.

Then, over time, the memories fade, the deeper stories are lost, and we hand over this set of photographs to our next generation.  And yet, the photographs still matter. They become like a keyhole in a door we can peer through, into another world, a world in the past. We can’t step through that door to go into the past, but we can at least peer through the keyhole.

Several years ago, I scanned some old black & white photos of my family, from way back, before I was born. My brother, Ken, said they were photos from a family reunion in Grand Lake, Colorado. I couldn’t ask my mom or dad since they passed away years ago. We weren’t quite sure of the specific location of those photos, and I certainly had no memory of the time since I was not born yet.

After a lot of detective work, I found a clue in one of the photos that had a blurry out-of-focus sign in the background. That led me to some Google searches that ultimately led me to some answers. I then went to Google “street view” and was able to explore further. I found with absolute certainty where the cabins were located! I was so excited to piece together these parts of the puzzle that were long lost.

When I was in Grand Lake recently, I was able to visit those very cabins! Although I’ve been to Grand Lake many times, I had no clue that my family stayed there around 65(ish) years ago. It was so exciting to find the cabins! I now had established a connection to a specific place where my family had enjoyed the mountains of Colorado and swam in the beautiful lake. Knowing a precise spot where my mom and dad and brother had been so many years ago changed how I saw the area. I almost felt like I was stepping into another dimension when I stood in the very spot where my dad stood over six decades ago. It was like a sacred moment for me. I am deeply grateful for this gift the photographs gave me.

You just never know how much someone in your family, many years later, may cherish a photograph you create today. The person who might appreciate it the most might not even be born yet… perhaps a son, or daughter, or grandchild, or brother, or nephew…

OR, it might not be a family member who is grateful for the photographs you take. When I was photographing the cabin there in Grand Lake, I spoke with someone there who knew the owner. He asked me to text him the old black & white photo of the cabin, to share with the owner. The owner was so excited to see the photo!

Ah the gift of photography.

Then and Now

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My New Book – Available on Amazon

My dear friends, I am pleased to announce publication of my new book, available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions. It isn’t a book about photography. It’s a book about life.

The book is entitled “Grateful Moments – A Journey with Mom“. I am releasing the book now, in honor of Mother’s Day and I am donating 50% of the royalties I receive for the first 6 months of publication to the American Cancer Society.

Grateful Moments – A Journey with Mom

Sixteen years ago, my mom had a tough battle with a rare form of cancer in her final year of life. I devoted a lot of time helping her, and with me being a writer, I created a blog, as a way of journaling about the experience, the good moments, the hard moments, and some of the lessons learned. Many people said I should publish what I wrote into a book, because they related so much to the insights I shared, seeing a bit of their own experience in caring for an aging parent.

The blog no longer exists, but I finally took the time to transform what I wrote into this new book. It is a very transparent and intimate account of the pain, struggles, sorrow, faith, fear, and yet moments of gratitude I experienced in those last months of my mom’s life.

As I say in the book:
“Grief is another form of love. It is what love looks like after someone you love dies. It is a moment. It is a season. It is a state of being. It is life under a dark cloud, trusting that one day the sun will shine again. This book is my personal journey through grief and loss, sharing some lessons learned and an affirmation of the importance of living with a sense of gratitude for the life you are experiencing right now. Even in the challenging times, find the beauty in the moments you are given.”

Kevin Gourley

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LAST CHANCE to Take Advantage of These Special Offers!

Don’t miss out on our final special pricing.

Scroll down to read the full story about the changes we’re making, AND make sure you take advantage of our special offers on pricing before these opportunities end!

Our Pandemic Special Reduced Prices AND “Name Your Own Price” options are coming to an end!

CLICK HERE TO VIEW OUR UPCOMING CLASSES


Photography: Finding Your Way
Creativity Workshop

Whether you are just starting out in photography or you have years of experience, this class will meet you where you are and help you find new directions to head to discover your unique artistic expression in photography! THIS IS THE BEST OPPORTUNITY YOU WILL EVER HAVE TO TAKE THIS CLASS AT SUCH A LOW PRICE!  Why take this class??  Read the reviews on the web page.  Former class participants tell you in their own words why this is a must-take class.

  • Class Starts Next Week!
  • Evening Class: Mon/Wed April 12+14+19+21 +May 3, 2021

Lightroom Classic CC Class
Learn how to organize and enhance your photographs with this powerful program!

  • Evening Class: Tues/Wed/Thurs April 27+28+29, 2021

Photoshop for Photographers Class Series
Learn important Photoshop editing skills and features all photographers need to know in these interactive online classes.

  • Photoshop Level 1+2 NEWNow offered as a combined course!
    • Evening Class: Tue/Thu May 18,20 + Tue/Wed/Thu May 25+26+27, 2021

We encourage you to take both of these classes:
Photography Essentials + Photography Essentials Level 2!

  • Photography Essentials Class
    Start your photography learning here! Or take this course as a refresher on the important fundamentals of photography. Learn important photography essentials! Up to 4.5 hours of learning in this online video conference!
    • Morning Class Tues+Thurs May 4+6, 2021 10am-Noon CDT
    • Evening Class Tues+Thurs May 4+6, 2021 7pm-9pm CDT
       
  • Photography Essentials LEVEL 2 Class
    If you have taken my Photography Essentials Class or Photography 101, this is the next step we’d recommend! Or take this course as a refresher on additional important fundamentals of photography.
    • Morning Class Tues+Thurs May 11+13, 2021 10am-Noon CDT
    • Evening Class Tues+Thurs May 11+13, 2021 7pm-9pm CDT

Remember we have several great destination workshops planned this year!
Safe and fun outdoor experiences for photographers!

2021 Rocky Mountain Photography Workshops
A fabulous photographic adventure in beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park of Colorado.


Texas Bird Photography Ranch Workshop
Friday-Sunday October 15-17, 2021
Sunday-Tuesday October 17-19, 2021
Sharpen your photography skills in bird photography at a fantastic wildlife ranch near Uvalde, TX. RECENTLY ANNOUNCED, SPACE IS LIMITED TO JUST 5 PHOTOGRAPHERS!


Photographers Spring 3-Day Weekend Getaway
in the Beautiful Texas Hill Country

April 15-18, 2021 SORRY THIS CLASS IS SOLD OUT!


FULL STORY ABOUT THE CHANGES WE’RE MAKING…

FIRST OF ALL, I want to express how grateful to ALL of you who have taken our classes.  We survived the most unimaginable year in 2020.

When our world turned upside down due to this pandemic
, my business faced challenges I never imagined.  It was devastating to my studio photography business, and I had to (almost overnight) re-tool all of my teaching to be online.  I had to navigate through so many hard choices in cancelling or rescheduling classes and destination workshops. Many thanks to all of you who were so understanding about that.  Every month has frankly been a struggle as we have placed a priority on your safety in following federal and local guidelines in dealing with this pandemic.

I realize our little business was not the only local small business that suffered and struggled to survive. When we participated in the GoFundMe Small Business Relief Fundraiser Initiative, I was deeply humbled and amazed at the support from so many of you. All I could say was “wow.”  We could not have made it without you

Helping Our Community:  If you have ever been a client of mine, you know me, and you know I very much believe in giving back to the community and I have devoted a lot of effort in helping many others in the community in their attempts to make this world a better place. We continued to keep this as a priority, even during the entire pandemic.

As a part of my helping the community, I took a leap of faith and set up all new classes at much reduced prices AND I set up a pricing model where for many of the group online classes, you could “Name Your Own Price” as my way of helping out any of you who, like me, found this past year to be a painful financial struggle.

All good things must come to an end:  I have decided it is time to starttransitioning back out of “pandemic mode” and wanted to let you all know, the classes I am currently offering at reduced prices and/or the classes where you can name your own price are the last ones I will be offering at this special pricing!  For some of these classes, you will never see prices this low again. 

Check out all of our upcoming classes.  We’ll be adding more, but the ones currently offered still are using our “pandemic special pricing” and we’d love to have you sign up.  (Plus we really could use the business right now.)

Asking a favor:  REFER YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER FRIENDS!

Thank you all!
Kevin Gourley

Kevin Gourley Photography Workshops – Support Local Small Business – Serving the Community 

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A Local Small Business Focused on The People We Serve

Help Us Spread the Word!

The article title sums up my highest priority of my business (Kevin Gourley Photography and KG Photo Workshops) over the past 15 years. My focus has been on the people I serve, whether I am doing photography for them, or teaching photography to them.

I have always placed the people I serve as a higher priority than maximizing profits, growing sales, or treating them all as just numbers on a spreadsheet.

I have organized numerous Austin wide photography groups over the years to help (several thousand) photographers. I have supported countless non profit organizations, and have helped many individuals who are making a positive difference in our community. We opened up our studio on Monday nights for free for the past couple of years to just bring people together as a way of getting to know our neighbors more and engage with the community around us.

When this pandemic turned our world upside down, last year many of you demonstrated totally unexpected overwhelming generosity through our GoFundMe Small Business Relief Initiative campaign, and I will always be eternally grateful for that.

I decided to go the extra mile in helping others through this hard time by offering several lower price class options and changing our pricing model for many of our classes using a “name your own price” option if people could not afford the suggested price due to their own financial hardships from this pandemic.

We also made seemingly endless hard decisions in how we navigate through all the many COVID-19 safety recommendations and requirements imposed by local, state, and federal entities. We were forced to cancel or postpone almost all of our destination workshops in 2020, and we decided to temporarily just offer online options for our group classes, and while we are open for business for studio sessions, we are doing so in a way that is totally respectful of the guidelines of the CDC and believe mask wearing and social distancing are wise at this time, until medical experts indicate otherwise. Of course this has been hard on our little business, but we are determined to make it through this. We are a local small business. We are not sponsored by any large corporations. We do not run fancy radio and TV ads. We’re just a little photography studio trying to make a positive impact in our world.

Maybe we are starting to “see the light at the end of the tunnel.” We are cautiously optimistic.

With all that said, I wanted to ASK A FAVOR from you all. We ask your continued support and help us spread the word about our classes.

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Gratitude


If anything, these past 12 months have been a reminder of many things we may have taken for granted.  All it takes is to remove those things, and then we realize how much to be grateful for:

  • the ability to be with friends (unmasked)
  • to have income and be working in a business that has not been shut down (or to be enjoying retirement)
  • to be able to afford to buy basic items for survival
  • to participate in worship services (in person)
  • to be able to have a vaccine for a new virus- to be able to turn on your water and have water flowing out of the faucet
  • to have that water be drinkable
  • to have heat in the cold weather
  • to be able to flip a switch and your room has light
  • to be able to take a hot shower
  • to be able to leave your home
  • to be able to drive in a car (not just walk)
  • to have fuel readily available for your vehicle
  • to have streets cleared of ice
  • to have working traffic lights
  • to have emergency personnel on call to rescue you if you are an in accident
  • to have a crew of professionals working 24/7 in bitter cold, sleet, snow, rain to repair power lines or water mains while you wait in the comfort of your home (at least more “comfort” than what they were enduring)
  • to be able to go to the grocery store and find basic food needs stocked on the shelves
  • to be able to get medications or go to the hospital and to find a crew of medical professionals there waiting to help you 
  • to have friends and neighbors who watch out for one another and help each other through crisis
  • to have access to communications through cell / phone / Internet / radio / television the list could go on and on…

    But remember, with all we have been through, there are MANY people in our community and the world who have none or very few of the things on the list above.   For most of us, the loss of the things above have been an inconvenience, maybe even a major inconvenience, but for others, not having those things is a way of life.

    In everything give thanks.  Even be thankful for the painful reminders of all the things we weren’t being thankful about.

P.S. Support local small businesses! There are many (including mine) that were totally shut down for over a week. :-}

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Pandemics, Politics, and Photography

What an incredibly challenging year this has been for us all. We have seen our worlds turned upside down, where “normal” life abruptly changed. Depending on your life circumstance, you might be retired and feeling a bit trapped at home. Or you might be in a career that puts you out there with the public several days a week. Or you might have the added challenge of raising kids in the midst of all of this, and dealing with the you working from home and the kids doing “school” from home. Or this pandemic may have caused you to shut down your small business you worked so hard to build up.

Then add the intense political polarization that has hurt us all, pitting neighbor against neighbor, family member against family member. The pandemic is bad enough, but with this toxic mix, it has led to a crisis of isolation for many. Many people are suffering from a situational depression from all of this mess.

So what does this have to do with photography? (I’m glad you asked 😉 )

What I Changed In My Photography Classes – One thing I have done is acknowledge that this pandemic has financially impacted everyone differently, some with little impact and others pretty substantially harmed. So back in April 2020, I announced a wide range of new classes, and established a unique pricing model where YOU set the price for the class. I give a suggested price, but you can choose to pay a little more if you would like to help us out (because, yes, this has been really tough on my business also) OR you can pay a little less if you are financially strained also right now. I figure we’re all in this together. Let’s get through this together, helping each other out.

Coping With This All Through Photography – There is a very important connection with how we might all cope with these stresses of life, and using photography as a channel through which you can express yourself. Photography is really an expression of how you see the world around you. We only photograph what we see, and every person sees things differently.

Gratitude Project: One way you might use your photography is through practicing intentional gratitude on a daily basis. Look for those things in life for which you are grateful. That includes the big things and the small things and especially the things you might often take for granted. Make it into a project to photograph those things. You could do it just for your own personal project to create those images. Or you could then use some of them to make a photo collage to hang on your wall as a reminder of all that you are grateful for. Or you could post your photos on social media to tell the rest of the world what you are grateful for, and it might get them started doing their own gratitude project! Numerous studies have found that people are more happy if they practice a life of gratitude and express that gratitude to others.

Story Telling: Another photographic idea is to set out on a project to tell a story about the impact of this pandemic and how life has changed. Later on, after we get through all this (hopefully sooner rather than later) we’ll have photos to remember this time. And note the impact isn’t all bad. I have been going on daily walks (I call them our “sanity walks”) and in the process I have met neighbors even several streets away from our house and my circle of friends has increased. I have also seen more instances of parents out playing with their kids. Figure out a way to tell the story, YOUR story, of the great COVID-19 pandemic.

Give Yourself a Project to Expand Your Photography Skills: Choose some area of your photography you think could be improved. Maybe it’s how to operate your camera, or how to use Manual Exposure Mode, or learn more about your auto focus system in your camera. Or maybe you could set out on a project to expand your creativity and artistic expression. Or maybe decide to learn how to use Photoshop to do some of the photographic digital imaging “magic” you see other photographers doing. Choose a project. Grow your skills. Become a better photographer. Right in the middle of a pandemic, do it.

Connect with Others: A couple of years ago, we started something new at my photography studio in NW Austin. We called it “LifeInsights” and its purpose was really just an opportunity to connect with others and do various book discussions, but we quickly expanded to to discussions about various TED talks, and then I started inviting various wonderful guest speakers, and we went on group outings, got together at area restaurants, and held occasional pot luck dinners. Then the pandemic hit, and we were forced to shift over to doing our sessions over Zoom. It’s not the same as meeting in person, but it at least allows us to continue, and we have had some wonderful discussions over Zoom. If you’d like to know more about our little group, click here to learn more about LifeInsights. This offers another way to beat the isolation this pandemic has imposed on us all, and it is FREE (it’s always been free). 🙂

Classes: If you are interested in learning more about photography, make sure you check out my upcoming classes. If you have photographic questions, you are more than welcome to email me any time. I’m happy to answer your questions via email, no charge for that.

We’ll get through this together, my friends.

Kevin Gourley

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