digital photography tips with Digital Photo Mentor Darlene Hildebrandt

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Love the bleep out of what you do!

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This week it is my pleasure to introduce a great photographer and friend of mine, Renee Robyn. She's a model, a photographer, and she's amazing at both of them! I first met Renee during my Alberta Railway Museum Photography Workshop where she modeled in period costume for our students during the “Understanding Available Light” portion I was teaching. The weather was less than ideal and she was such a trooper posing even though she was half frozen to death.

The thing I wanted her to share with you is her passion for photography and what it means to her to be a photographer. She is not formally trained and in some ways I think that's to her benefit, she hasn't learned how someone else does it. I'm constantly blow away by her images, she seems to have such a natural talent.

So, allow me to get back to the title of this article. We're going to let you fill in your word for the bleep, so it can be four letters or not, that's totally up to you. But I think when you really feel it, when you're really passionate about it – it IS a four letter word all the way!

I leave you with Renee . . .

edmonton fashion photographer renee robyn

One of the most common questions I get asked, when speaking to fellow artists, is ‘What do you think the most important thing in photography is?' It’s usually then followed by a bunch of suggestions such as ‘camera, lights, lighting, composition, props, locations’ etc. All those things are incredibly important to photography, but realistically, there is only one key factor:


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Photography Is Difficult Business

They say if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. I disagree. Even if you love what you do, you are going to work your ass off.

Photography is a difficult business, full time or part time, for many reasons. As an artist, you are putting a piece of yourself into every image. Every image you feel, and become even a little bit emotionally involved. When you have a client who dislikes their images, or something that you feel is outstanding, someone shreds beyond any belief, it’s hard to not take that personally. You have likely had difficult clients, bad days, burn outs, equipment failures, among a plethora of other catastrophic failures. Let’s face it, shit happens.

Being in love still means you’re going to have days where you’d like to throw out your camera, turn off your computer, and toss every roll of film you ever exposed. You’ll have paperwork, photos to edit, emails, software to update, shutters to replace, and insane hours sitting in front of your computer, when you’d much rather be playing outside in the sunshine. Those days can leave such a bad taste in your mouth that the very thought of picking up your camera again becomes something that just isn’t worth it anymore.

Chances are you’ve been there. However, if you truly love what you do, it’s that love that will get you through those times and keep pushing you to become absolutely amazing.

fetish photographer renee robyn

Love what you've got

My studio is nothing fancy, and I started in much less than what I have now.

It’s in a basement of an old warehouse with a broken concrete floor, ceiling height that is under debate as to whether it is 9 or 10 feet, pipes running in weird spots, and no storage. I have little 5×7’s taped all over the walls of photos I think are fun, a table that was donated from a friend, chairs that are in various states of decomposition, and a mirror that should mount on the wall, but is sitting on the desk precariously balanced between a stack of books and a clock that isn’t plugged in.

But it doesn’t matter. It’s mine, and I love it.

I share my studio with other artists who I respect and admire. When I walk in, no matter how bad my day as been, it all melts away when I close the door behind me and turn on the lights. All the little cracks, malfunctions and problems remind me of my frailty. All the photos remind me of where I’ve been, and the business cards scattered like seeds, remind me of all the other amazing people who are somehow involved in my twisted little web of a life.

I love what I do.

I dream about it when I am awake, when I sleep (honestly, I’ve solved editing mysteries in my dreams), and in the age of the internet, inspiration is everywhere.

Pushing through the rough times

When I have difficult clients, and I spend two days crying and wondering why I do what I do, my love for the art keeps me coming back for more.

I remember that yes, there will be more bad days, there will be more amazing ones too, and I am learning to appreciate them both just as equally. They all make me who I am, and who I am becoming.

I feel it from deep within my chest and it flows out my fingers and toes and into the images that are produced.

It’s a thirst that will never be quenched.

I love photography.

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This is what I hope for you. This is what I think is so absolutely key about photography, and life. I hope that you will love what you do with all your heart. That your creativity will know no bounds, and in loving something so completely, you will become all that you can be and be absolutely amazing because of it. Nobody will ever be you, nobody will ever see the world the way you do. Embrace who you are. Your life, your pain, and your successes, are exactly what make you so unique and so wonderful.

Be grateful that you are a part of capturing the world that we live in. Share your vision, and always . . .


edmonton fetish photographer renee robyn
Photo by Jason Abbott

Renee Robyn Bio bits:

Renee is a Edmonton fetish and fashion photographer with a background in dance, modelling, and sketch art. Currently stashed in the outskirts of Edmonton, Alberta, she is constantly on the look-out for the next adventure out of the local area code.

You can see her work on her website, all about Fashion Fetish Hair Beauty and Underwater Photography. Her Facebook and too of course. Go take a look and be impressed because I'm thinking I'll be saying “I knew her when . . . ” one day in the not to distant future!

What Are You Passionate About?

Darlene speaking again – so my question for you is, what are you passionate about? Do you live it, breathe it, can't live without it? Share your thoughts with us and if you're as inspired as I am to get out and shoot something – just do it!

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