The journey of a photographer is often marked by the other photographers we meet, the inspiration that bolsters our creativity, and the education we receive.
We also remember the moments and the gear that helped us get a particular shot or a whole career’s worth.
Here, I want to share some of my favorite image makers, education resources, photography books, and more to help you on your own journey.
A pair of hikers enjoy a view of the Susquehanna River from The Pinnacle in Lancaster County, Pa.
Favorite Image Makers
Ken Sklute – I had the good fortune to have been tutored by Ken, one of the best in the industry, who taught me the valuable lesson of “control what you see.” The truth is Ken taught me so much about lighting and photography that his is the voice of my “photography conscious” whenever I’m out shooting.
Lindsay Adler: Lindsay is a highly regarded fashion photographer, and while she creates eye-popping portraits of such rich color that will astonish you, she’s incredibly helpful for every day photographers on posing. Just search her name and “posing” in YouTube, sit back, and enjoy learning how to make any portrait, whether fashion or wedding or just around your backyard with your kids, that much better.
Joe McNally – Few photographers today are as influential and well-recognized as Joe McNally, who’s written several amazing books and authors a fantastic blog that takes you inside his mind as an expert on lighting and environmental portraiture.
Susan Stripling – In an era of light and airy, Susan’s brand of dramatic wedding photography will show you why light draws the eyes but shadows are the soul of an image.
KelbyOne – You simply cannot find a better value than a monthly subscription to KelbyOne, the online photography education platform started by Scott Kelby. The massive catalogue runs from image making techniques to editing.
Scott hosts one of the best image critique shows you can find. Check out this video, and at 4:52, you might recognize a certain someone’s work:
Six-Figure Studio: I am a huge beneficiary of this program, which accelerated my sustained photography business growth. And I simply love Sandra Coan, whose personality and expertise combined with her enthusiasm will propel anyone forward who wants to make photography into a sustainable business.
I’m an ambassador for the program.
Check out this interview Sandra did with me and two other students of the Six-Figure Studio to learn more, and click this link to sign up:
Photography books to read
Photo Therapy Motivation and Wisdom by Rick Sammon
The Real Deal by Joe McNally
The Art of Outdoor Photography by Boyd Norton (I’ve included this because, although it’s a little dated, it was the first one I read and lit my enthusiastic fire for photography)
My favorite photography gear
Canon: For a lot of photographers, their preferred camera and lens company is often the first one they tried. One reason for that is because you enter an exclusive ecosystem – buy a camera body, buy a lens, buy a second lens that works with that camera body, and on it goes.
The price to change manufacturers? Enormous once you’ve gone deep into one company’s ecosystem.
By nothing more than what was on sale at my local Best Buy ten years ago, I’ve been with Canon for a decade. I don’t plan to ever change.
You really can’t go wrong with the others. But let me speak to what I love about Canon.
Their customer service and my experience with repairs has been very good. Their camera bodies are intuitive, and I love the quality of their lenses.
When I buy a Canon lens, I know I’m getting a tank as far as build quality and image capabilities.
FJ Westcott: I went with Westcott when I launched my athlete portrait business for several reasons. I knew them to make quality strobe lights and light modifiers, but there’s something more.
FJ Westcott’s off-camera strobe lights and modifiers are my go-to lighting source for athlete portraits.
Their company ambassadors are fantastic. If you join Westcott’s Facebook group or see them out in the world, I’ve found them to be the most engaging and helpful group of photographers associated with an image making company that you can find.
That, combined with excellent products, will keep me with Westcott for a long, long time.