I get it. A self-employed photographer wears many hats. There is no marketing, accounting or human resources department. It’s an army of one. If you don’t tell the world how great you are, who will? (maybe your clients, but thus I digress)

There is no denying the power of social media in advertising. Why do you think every company and human being on the face of the planet is Twittering or setting up a Facebook fan page? Why blog when you can tag clients on Facebook and immediately get feedback and comments from all your friends and clients? People who can’t take a minute to share a comment on a blog will spend all day leaving comments on Facebook.

Dustin and Amy Ruth

It just so happens that many of my friends on Facebook are photographers. It can be an isolated work experience. Most of us are sole-proprietors. The industry specific water cooler talk, gossip and trend awareness all happen at conventions, forums and through social media. But lately, I’ve noticed a trend happening in my global network. And I’m not alone…
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  • I dunno, sometimes it’s time to blog the latest shoot and are at a loss of what to say. I never go so vanilla to say amazing. I just say it was marvelrificlious.

    Whatever you do, just don’t call it EPIC.ReplyCancel

    • Steve… I concur! The overuse of adjectives is not so much about blogging, but Facebook status updates. Our lives have been reduced to 140 characters of adjectives. EPIC never fails!ReplyCancel

  • The problem is, we can’t post anything negative about our clients, which sometimes is a little limiting, isn’t it? One can’t say, “Dude! I just had the most amazing bridezilla ever and she was awesomely horrible!”ReplyCancel

    • Well, you could CHOOSE to say something negative, but that would probably be a bad choice in so many ways. On the other hand, my point was letting the photos speak for themselves and again, we’re not talking about blogs. I’m talking about jumping on Facebook or Twitter and telling everyone you just “rocked” a high school senior portrait session or just got back from the most “amazing” wedding. The couple totally “rocked”! It’s our job to find the story and not get hung up on the bridezillas. Either that or we could just start a Facebook page about what NOT to wear to a wedding… or perhaps talk about the horrible tyranny of strapless dresses…ReplyCancel

  • Randy,

    I love reading your posts and reflecting on the ways photography and writing are the same and different. We writers fall in love with our stories (but also in hate until we wrangle them). I think with a picture you can look at it and know if it is amazing but a writer doesn’t always have that kind of perspective about her story. I may have confidence, but someone else has to read it, or when I read it outloud to someone else, I realize what’s not working (and I get to re-write, not so possible with photography). And for sure writers have to let our work stand on it’s own without too much “it’s amazing” going on.

    Your work stands on it’s own for sure. But the one time I had professional head shots done, I liked it when the photographer told me which ones he loved.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle Saxton

    I love this! This is something that bothers me a lot, yet as photographers it can be difficult to blog about a session, find adjectives to use and still make it real and sincere. I am doing my best, but your blog has made me remember why I need to do it more.ReplyCancel

  • Randy, what a thought provoking post. It was a very refreshing to read a photog blog post that differed from the usual modus operandi of many other photography blogs. In the last few years it seems like one of the big catchphrases used by us photographers in our posts, tweets and Facebook status updates is “so-and-so totally rocked it in front of the camera” or “I love rocking it out with my camera”. All I can visualize is some photographer who has worked him/herself up into some other realm of consciousness, doing nothing but rocking back and forth with their camera, silly grin and all, while their clients look at them completely bewildered. =) Going forward I’ll be mindful to avoid abusing adjectives and maybe blogging my images without an accompanying write-up.ReplyCancel

  • Thank you Joel. I think it’s great when photographers share the process of creativity, especially about their shoots. I get tired of every photographer expressing how amazing their clients are. Try to find the things that are different and unique about the couples you work with. Share that in your blog posts. I enjoy reading the things that you would not know from looking at photos alone. The things that show you really connected with your couple and appreciate their unique personalities.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I sincerely appreciate it!ReplyCancel

  • Randy, your blog is great… I’m glad I stumbled upon it.ReplyCancel

On any given day, the biggest challenge I face in getting things done is managing my time on the phone. A few phone calls in the morning, a flood of emails and the next thing you know, my entire day is thrown off balance. We all struggle with squeezing every bit of efficiency out of our time. What is the best way to deal with this growing pandemic?

Maui Panoramic by Randy Kepple

We’ve all heard that less is more. What exactly does that mean? How can that be applied to getting things done? I’ve always struggled with the concept that if I work harder, put in more hours every day, I can stay on top of the growing list of things to do. Yet, day after day, month after month, that list keeps getting longer and longer with little to no change. After a while, you realize that the way we get things done needs to change.
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  • Brian Laurent

    Great advice and insight. Thanks for sharing Randy!ReplyCancel

  • Bob Hackler

    Unfortunately, I can remember those phones pretty well. Also probably the reason I try to take a nap under the desk everyday.

    Here’s my favorite chinese proverb (paraphrased): “You can understand the way the world works and the world will be as it is. Or, you can not understand the way the world works, and the world will be as it is.” So true, on so many levels.

    Including how we work.ReplyCancel

  • You know what that phone sounds like just by looking at it! I kind of wish my cell phone had a ring that distinct!

    Love the Chinese proverb… so very true!ReplyCancel

  • Pawel Pachniewski

    Regarding the first step in exercise: start with building the habit of exercise through conscious effort, but make the effort minimal. I wanted to do daily push-ups but I didn’t feel motivated enough. So what I did is started with 10 push-ups, since that was such a low number that I’d do it just for the sake of doing it. Even when feeling tired it was easy enough to go through with it. Keep this up for 30+ days and the habit starts kicking in, and what do you know? You even did build up some more strength and doing 20 push-ups is now easier. My rule for this is I can skip Sunday and I can always skip one day, but a skipped day is always, without exception, followed by a day where you do do the push-ups.

    To be fair, after 3 months I stopped twice for 2-3 weeks, but then getting the habit started again was very easy. My back feels way better when I keep doing them(I had some back problems.).

    Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

“And though I’m now miles from what you would call a practicing evangelical, a lot of the teaching I received from that time in my life still sticks with me. After all, good advice is good advice. Doesn’t matter where it comes from. Nowadays I’ll take a spiritual lesson from wherever I get it: Jesus, Buddha or the guy who cuts me off on the 101.” Drew Carey

It’s refreshing to see celebrities taking it down a notch and sharing a side of themselves that’s very personal, relevant and relatable. I discovered that Drew Carey is blogging. I’m sure with his responsibilities and schedule, it will be less frequent than more, but given the nature of my last post, who am I to judge?

Be inspired, no matter what you do today, no matter where you go. Breathe.

Maui Panoramic by Randy Kepple

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“Time is what prevents everything from happening at once.” John Archibald Wheeler

Apparently, even time could not prevent everything from happening at once. My absence is due to many things and I’m not about to make excuses. My intentions were good and then the month of May happened.

Like a shadow in the night, the 6th anniversary of my humble blog came and passed. At the last minute, an opportunity to photograph a beautifully intimate wedding on Maui serendipitously came into my life. And to think I’d never been to Hawaii in my life and honestly wondered if I was the only person who’d never been there. Another opportunity arrived to travel back to Maui and teach a natural lighting class as part of the very intensive Tropical Island Boot Camp for Creative Photography. Getting the proper permits to shoot from the Hawaii Film Commission alone, took a month.

The workshop was born from the sweat and passion of Maui photographer Randy Jay Braun— an 8 day workshop with a small number of inspired and creative photographers. A lifetime of friendships from an amazing 8 days of grueling challenges. That trip alone added 3,700 images to my hard drive.

randykepple.com

What else has been happening? Well, for the past several years, I’ve been honored to be part of the prerelease beta testing for Adobe Photoshop. Starting with Photoshop CS, I’ve been involved with Photoshop CS2/CS3/CS4 and the recent release of Adobe Photoshop CS5. A year of testing, squashing bugs and feature development ended in May. I’m also proud of a collaboration with Adobe Senior Creative Director Russell Brown that resulted in a new Adobe Watermark Panel for CS5. It’s been a lot of late nights sitting in front of my computer, watching one day pass into another.
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  • Lovely image…
    I’m pretty sure that’s not the proper speed limit for your life, though.

    Much luck with all of your growing pains… at least you are still growing.ReplyCancel

  • Randy, I have only recently subscribed to your site and this post really spoke to me. As a fairly new photographer (3 years in business), I find myself getting swept away by the whole “hype” of it all. Your statement “I tire of the constant hype and pimping that I see on most blogs. Where is the substance?” struck me. Thank you for sharing…now I have a lot to think about…I’m subscribed and will look forward to your next posts.ReplyCancel

  • Ok I won’t be shy. Not a professional, but I have a passion for making images of people. Your “Way of the Artist” gallery connected with me. I would love to see more of your work that you do for you.

    Good to see you posting again.

    RiggsReplyCancel

  • Jamie… thank you my friend! And you are right… I live a life where there are no speed limits! Or so it feels most days. I hope to continue growing the rest of my life and if I’m really lucky, I’ll be able to share that journey with you.

    Kim… Thank you for posting! It’s nice to know someone is actually reading my blog and as I stated, even better to know that what I’m trying to say is resonating with you. I hope you continue to speak out and share your thoughts.

    Scott… Welcome! Thanks for stepping out into the light on the internet! I will continue to share the work that I do for myself. I’ve been trying to challenge myself to do that more these days. As I shared with you in the blog post, I’m tired of all the hype. Those days will come, it’s the nature of being self-employed. You have to toot your own horn most days, but I hope to make this blog a bit more rounded. Sharing the process, the struggle to be personally inspired while providing a service to clients.

    Thanks for your support and for sharing your thoughts!

    RandyReplyCancel

  • Randy,

    Nice to see you blogging again, and I say that from a totally selfish point of view. I’m always inspired here and feel like I never leave without something. Thanks for your openness and all the effort this takes to produce. So just keep doing what you are doing here. And if you need to take a break, no problem, I’m sure it will be worth the wait.ReplyCancel

  • Thanks Gary! I appreciate that you find inspiration here. That makes it worth doing and continuing to do. You of all people can appreciate how much time it takes to run a photography business and do things like blogging. Especially when you are trying to create content that more than just marketing hype!

    So, what should I do to celebrate the 6th blogging birthday (belated)? Any ideas?

    :)ReplyCancel

  • Amber

    Here you have done it again. :) I teared up reading this post.

    This… “Sharing the thought process behind the creation. The challenges and how they were handled.” …is exactly what I feel from you when I look at your work. I felt this way before we had our shoot and I especially feel it since.

    You’re wonderful.ReplyCancel

  • Thank you Amber! I always enjoy hearing from you and appreciate your continued support of my efforts.

    YOU my friend are wonderfully beautiful. Thank you!ReplyCancel

Stephanie and Josh drove almost 2 hours one chilly weekend to Portland for an engagement session along the scenic waterfront. You can almost feel the love between them. There is no denying how much they care for each other.

Josh is currently deployed in the Armed Forces, so finding a weekend he was available was challenging. Stephanie is a full time student, so this beloved session was all the more special. Josh has the most amazing blue eyes and Stephanie has an infectious smile and easy-going personality. To say we never felt the chill in the air is not a stretch of the truth.

Rumor has it that Josh recently returned just long enough for the two of them to be married this past week. Congratulations to the newly married couple! I wish you both a lifetime of happiness. And a special thanks to Josh for your service to our country. It was an honor to meet both of you and share in this moment of your life. Congratulations!

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  • Randy,
    I really enjoyed this series. You did a great job capturing their feelings for each other. Nice work.
    ScottReplyCancel

  • Nice one :D Infectious laughter that girl.
    Your pictures are so natural :)ReplyCancel