My first reinvention happened when I moved to Mexico 10 years ago. I found myself so immersed in the rich colors of this country that I started trying to capture the images and feelings I experienced with my camera. I soon ended up with over 1,000 photos and no idea what to do with them. Well, I soon had an answer.
My second reinvention was as a tour guide. I began offering walking tours to share my excitement and love of this culture with tourists who came to learn more. With them came more opportunities for photos, which I emailed to my clients as a thank-you and posted on my website as a way to market my walks. I found that many were as interested in my photos as my walking tours! So, I had another idea…
My third reinvention was as a local artist in our community. How did I do this? I began printing my photos, mostly of local scenes and events, and selling them at the artisan market as blank cards. I shot them in color of the local sculptures, people, buildings, waterfront, sunsets, etc. Since Puerto Vallarta is a tourist destination, my cards became popular.
By this time, I was on my third Canon PowerShot camera—a small point-and-shoot. I wanted more, so I attended my first GEP Ultimate Photographer’s Workshop in 2016. Here I learned so much and was introduced to Lightroom, a great tool for enhancing my photos. I also learned how to improve my smartphone photography.
My fourth reinvention happened after taking another Great Escape Workshop in 2018, where fine art photography grabbed my interest. This is when I decided to leap into mirrorless cameras, and bought the Olympus E-M10 Mark III. By now I felt I was ready to call myself a cultural photographer, much like a wedding or portrait photographer. I have traveled to many countries and now began to reevaluate some of my best shots as potentials for fine art.
I am just getting started in this area but am finding many folks who want larger photographs to hang in their condo or office. Because I live in a humid climate, I have opted to reproduce my photos on cotton canvas using solvent-based inks that are burned onto the canvas. These are not giclees, but I believe is an equally fine process that is able to give amazing resolution and color to prints that will last a long time.
Living in Mexico presents some challenges to photographers. It is difficult to find quality printers who offer the latest production techniques. The metric system and the Spanish language offer their own frustrations as I am used to measurements in inches. Shipping is also difficult and costly, with customs adding another layer of bureaucracy. I provide my prints on stretchers or rolled for travel. I am now considering online sales but that will take some time to figure out.
And so here we are. My fifth reinvention is yet to present itself. Do I make a lot of money doing this? Not that much, yet. But my advice to you is from author Marsha Sinetar: “Do what you love and the money will follow.”
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