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To continue our “Myth of Talent” series this week, professional photographer Jani Bryson sent us some before and after photos from her portfolio – three photos from a few years ago that she once thought represented her best work…and three from her present collection. Someone once told Jani that she was born with a special photography talent.  I’ll let you be the judge. Her story below… –Lori Lori Allen Director, Great Escape Publishing P.S. Jani’s background is in real estate, not photography.  She was working extremely long hours running a real estate brokerage before she made the switch to full-time photography. She uploaded her first few photographs in May 2005 after a trip with her son to Scotland.  But it wasn’t until she met professional photographer Shelly Perry in 2007 that she really got serious about it.  Today Jani’s photos have been downloaded over 85,000 times at istockphoto.com and her royalties have far exceeded her best years in real estate. Jani will be with us this September in Ecuador to show you how it’s done.  She’s leading a special stock photography expedition through the villages and markets of Cotocachi, Peguchi, Otavalo, and more.  You’ll find pictures from last year’s trip, videos, a schedule, and more here.  Or call Alice Derry at 202-370-6459 or toll free at 866-415-1425 to reserve a seat. ********************** June 17, 2010 The Right Way to Travel **********************

“Born with Talent”

By Jani Bryson in Kansas City, MO “What beautiful work. How lucky you are to be born with talent.” The stranger was admiring one of the 57 matted and framed fine art photographs I had displayed in my gallery. It was my first solo show. The words soothed me, giving me much needed confidence that my work was worthy of such prominent display. I’ve often thought back to that night and the remark from one of the guests: “How lucky you are to be born with talent!”  If someone said those same words today, I mightn’t be so gracious of the compliment. Now I realize that I wasn’t “born” with this talent — I worked hard to “gather” it over the years. The truth is, there are very few people in the world — be they artisans, craftsmen or professionals — that are actually born with their talents. While it is true that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart debuted at the age of 5, and Pablo Picasso at 8, the vast majority of well-known artists, musicians, and craftsmen have earned their talent through a desire to learn, follow proper instruction, and practice. The way I see it, there are three keys to talent: **Creativity Contrary to popular belief, everyone has innate creativity…that’s what makes us human. Each of us is blessed with different life influences which make our creativity unique. Recognizing and being open to your own creativity is the start of many great things. It can be a learned process, and it is available to everyone! **Tools, Instruments, and Materials Your talent will grow exponentially as you learn which professional tools are available for your particular art, the benefits and features of each tool, and how to use each one of them expertly.  All that is required of you to master them is a desire to learn. **Practice and Repetition True talent generally requires a bit more than unleashing your creativity and mastering the tools of your craft. A true artist or craftsman will spend countless hours, days, and years first doing, then analyzing results.  Redoing, reanalyzing results.  And so on. As a photographer, it should be your goal not to have to stop and think before you shoot. You should be able to easily and quickly choose the appropriate lens for certain situations, as well as appropriate accessories and modifiers.  And you should be able to quickly make the proper settings on your camera. The ultimate goal should be to do all of this mindlessly so that you can release the shutter and capture an image the moment you have a vision. A large part of photographic talent is the ability to accurately predict results so that the moment in time you are trying to capture, or the creative vision you are trying to portray, does not get away from you.  Fortunately, mastering this skill is learned, not innate. Remember the stranger that told me I was lucky to have been born with talent? Here is the series of photographs she was admiring: Jani Bryson While I feel her comment at the time was genuine, I have always felt this series to be a bit of a failure. I had a vision for this image when I captured it, and while the creativity was there, the method was lacking. This is one of my first fine art pieces as a serious photographer. At the time, I did not have a complete understanding of light, nor of my equipment. Today, I have a much better understanding of both.  And just a couple weeks ago, I was able to capture this extreme action shot during a Memorial Day trap shoot held at a local country club: I wouldn’t have been able to create an image like this a few years ago.  So, perhaps today I am “born” with a little more talent than I was the night of my first solo show. [Editor’s note: You’ll find more of Jani’s photos, below: If you, too, are interested in selling your photos to online stock photo agencies, join our Breakfast Stock Club, here.  Membership is FREE and you’ll receive a new weekly newsletter dedicated entirely to selling your photos as stock. Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

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