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Linda King: Designer, Photographer, Retoucher, Creative Artist.

Tasteful photo retouching, photographic enhancements, creative photographic artistry. Retouching, Restoration, Special Effects.

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Articles: A Letter to Brooke

Photography Questions Answered

The following letter was in response to a request I received from a Middle School Student in North Carolina named Brooke. Brooke found my photography website and asked if she could do a research paper on me as a photographer. I ended up sharing with her a synopsis of my life story. Later I was rewarded by an email from her teacher saying Brooke's project was wonderful.  She earned a 95 on her research paper, and a 100 on her oral presentation. Her teacher went on to say, "I was so very proud of her. I can not thank you enough... You are a remarkable woman and you touched her more than you will know..." AJ

Out of respect for this student's privacy, I've removed full names as well as the name of her school, and personal information.

My Letter to Brooke

February 13, 2008

Brooke
North Carolina

Dear Brooke,

In response to your inquiry, I've attempted to answer your questions in a way that will hopefully inspire you to pursue your dreams, and work hard to be the best you can be.

Questions Brooke Asked

  1. Did you go to school to become a photographer? How Long?

  2. What made you become a photographer?

  3. What are the price ranges for a lesson?

  4. What is the most popular style of photography for your client? What is your favorite?

Linda's Response

I have no formal education past high school. What I have are years of discipline, as well as a love for learning and self-improvement. My education consists of conferences, seminars, workshops, networking, and continual, persistent self-study (pretty much on a daily basis).

I believe formal education would have helped me in many ways, particularly related to obtaining business skills. Due to personal challenges, I was discouraged from pursuing college. I struggled through grade school and high school with learning disabilities, which at that time were not understood as they are today.

I started life with what would now be considered classic dyslexia, and the common accompanying challenge of attention deficit disorder. Also during those formative years came the added emotional burden of my parents separating, and my mother having a nervous breakdown. There was little time or emotional fortitude for my family to be available as a support for me (an only and unexpected late child of my mother, and an unexpected forth, and much younger) child of my father. Thankfully, by the grace of God, my life turned out stable and fulfilling. Still, the learning challenges I started with have followed me through life. I have had to come to terms with my limitations, while developing an increasing determination and tenacity to overcome, continue learning and moving forward to acquire new skills.

I encourage you to take advantage of whatever training you can obtain, but don’t settle for conventional education alone. If you really want to stand apart from the norm, you must determine what is worth your time and what is not. This mindset is not for everyone. It’s for those who are willing to spend weekends alone (when necessary), choose study over partying, and allow your self very little television. It means choosing to network and befriend those you respect, on a professional level and personal level, by way of skills as well as character. It means making and taking opportunities, and trying to be two steps ahead of yourself.

Prepare for what you want to do, and start now. Keep your reading materials with you at all times. When you have nothing to do, pick up where you left off and continue to study. Take notes, make flash cards, memorize, and practice… but most of all enjoy the process. This is what my life has been like for the past 15 to 20 years.

Side note: I encourage you to strive to develop good character. Integrity is something far more important than education, and makes all the hard work worthwhile.

Though I did not attend school for photography, I have been, and continue to be, educated in the disciplines and art of photography. I have not arrived, and there are still challenges I face that sometimes puzzle me, but I don’t stop learning and growing.

I am primarily a self-educated graphic designer, who has come to love and appreciate as well as pursue photography as a natural extension of the design business. For years I purchased quality stock photography to use for client jobs. This was a discipline that taught me to recognize and appreciate quality photos.

My skills began to expand when asked by a client to shoot a product, portrait, or something else related to the job. Recognizing this as an added opportunity, I then determined to improve and increase my skills, and learn the disciplines and art of photography. I started including photography in my continued self-educational pursuits. It also gave me reason to start the process of including photographic equipment in my budget for future purchases.

My education consists of a large collection of photography books, magazines, and digital training media. It also encompasses statewide and out of state conferences and workshops I’ve attended for the past eight years for photography, and 15-20 years for design. Last but not least, much personal assistance and vital filling in of gaps has come through a network of photographers I've had the pleasure of interacting with… through user forums, seminars, and local affiliations.

Another part of my education has been not so comfortable, and at times very painful. At times I’ve subjected my work (and myself) to other photographers, only to end up embarrassed and ridiculed. However, I have to say, that despite the discomfort and pain this caused, it served to motivate me to work that much harder. These things happen to someone who is willing to step out on a limb. But provided you are willing to take the heat, and come out on the other side, it only serves to refine and improve the artist inside, and hopefully produce empathy for others in your character.

Education

I have learned a great deal through NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) since I first joined in 1999. I've attended Photoshop World eight years in a row, and had the privilege attending countless training seminars. I’ve also attended several workshops by well-respected professionals.

Memberships

  • NAPP, PPGPB, FPP, PPA

  • Conferences and Workshops

  • Photoshop World – Eight years attendance

  • DWF (Digital Wedding Photographers Forum) Convention – Tampa 2007

  • Capture & Creativity Tour 2007, IDC – Maura Dutra

  • David Ziser Wedding Workshop (Boston)

  • Several other local workshops in previous years

Instructors

The following is an incomplete list of instructors and lecturers who have contributed to my education.

Classes and Presentations

Jim DiVitale, Kevin Ames, Joe Glyda, Frank Cricchio, Todd Morrison, Vincent Versace, John Paul Caponigro, Helene Glassman

Workshops

David Ziser, Moose Peterson, Vincent Versace, Stephen Johnson, Jack Davis, Ben Willmore, Dan Margulis, John Woodward, Bruce Dorn, Jane Conner-Ziser, Fay Sirkis

Photo retouching, correction, enhancement, artistry, color management and workflow classes: Bruce Fraser, Ben Willmore, Katrin Eismann, Eddie Tapp, Scott Kelby, Taz Tally, Bert Monroy, Deke McClelland, Julieanne Kost, Rob Ker

Lectures & Presentations

Joyce Tenneson, Jay Maisel, John Paul Caponigro, Joe McNally and Annie Leibovitz

Back to other questions…

What is the most popular style of photography for your client? What is your favorite?

Each client is different. But lately I believe many are looking for custom black and white and photojournalistic.

I prefer a combination of photojournalistic with natural posing. I generally like to capture the eyes, and produce a product that connects the subject with the viewer. It seems I am leaning more toward family portraits and children than weddings. I’ve enjoyed the limited number of weddings I’ve done, but find myself feeling more of an affinity with portraiture.

I wish you the best on your research paper. Hope my contribution helps, but most of all I hope it helps as you form a vision for your life. Whether you end up in photography or another field, take the time to think, reflect, and decide how you want to spend your time in order to reach your goals. And more importantly I encourage you to think about who you want to be as a person. This is the most important decision of all.

Please keep me posted on how your research goes.

Best wishes to you and your future!

Linda King

Palm Beach Creative Services, Inc.