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When I first picked up a camera, I just kept shooting and editing until I felt my work truly represented me. It took a long time, I would say maybe a year until I felt like I had my style.

Even after years of photographing, I’ve found my style ever so slightly changes. It depends on the subject, the goal of the photograph, the mood. Every artist evolves – maybe our audience notices it, some don’t. Some photographers shoot film and let a lab process. Some photographers prefer the creative control and enjoy editing. Others love the post processing for imagination – burning the edges, dodging shadows, the ability to be creative in post. Fifty Paths to Creative Photography by Michael Freeman, was sent for me to review and I was hoping the pages would inspire me and push me to think outside of my frame of mind (bada boom my joke).

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After years of doing the same thing, I am always looking for inspiration – whether through a book or attending a workshop. I want to be a better story teller – for my blog readers and my photography clients.

The photos showcased aren’t my style – but I love that – because I’m tired of my style and I want to learn from seasoned photographers who have different perspectives. I have had the same and it’s time to add more skills. Michael also insists forget the rule of thirds, forget the rules, period, do the exact opposite of predictability – skirt the rules.

I was looking for that golden takeaway – you know when you take a course or workshop you hope a lightbulb or new technique comes into play that you can practice, cultivate and make it your own.

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I enjoyed reading the wisdom seasoned photographers gave in this book. I realized all the work might not be my style but I wasn’t looking for work to emulate as much as I was looking for creative wisdom. Whether someone is a photographer for a newspaper or high fashion, it was incredibly inspiring to read their thoughts and tips.

My lightbulb moment was Photoshop. I think sometimes we get away with SOOC photos, and can I be frank – sometimes they can look good but our camera isn’t that creative and never overlook post production. Back in the photo labs developing the film, dodging and burning shadows, all of it was part of photography. I had so much fun in my film photography course in high school and learned so much that it was great to have digital tools now that photography has gone digital.

“Change reality! If you don’t find it, invent it!” – Pete Turner

And so – I want to remember to add the finishing touches in post production to continue to convey what my feelings, sights, and share how I see the world.

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I burned the edges, the creek and dodged where the light came in through the trees. I feel like the finished photo illustrates exactly how I felt – pleasure in the pathless woods.

Check out Fifty Paths to Creative Photography by Michael Freeman, it’s $18 on Amazon.com and is a great tabletop read or when you feel stuck creatively to pick it up, read some quotes, and don’t force the moments because you’ll miss the moments.