For the share idea blog post I shared the idea of myself as an artist. For my presentation I want to further that by thinking of ways to self promote using YouTuber Mark Smith’s methods which I learnt about in my comparative research. I will think about the possibility of setting up a photography workshop and talk about the different social media websites that I could consider using to self promote.
Omar Drummond, an outgoing and talented individual, interestingly born in Canada where he spent only 3 days he now lives and studies here in Nelson New Zealand. Omar is now 20 years of age and he is pursuing his Bachelors of Art and Media here at NMIT. He understandably chose this career path because of his natural talents in drawing and painting which landed him consistent top of the class excellence grades and endorsements throughout his time at college. NMIT was a top pick for Omar because of its close proximity to home. Studying close to home was also one of the most money smart options for Omar allowing him to save on living costs and so forth.
I quizzed Omar, asking him what he thought was the best thing he could take away from the course so far. Something I can strongly relate to, Omar said that being back and working in a classroom environment is something he loves. Being around others, it helps him to get inspired. Getting to see the way other people work and their creative processes helps to encourage his own. Unfortunately, with the recent lockdown this wasn’t exactly an option. Omar admittedly found it tough not being able to work around others in a classroom environment where he can ask the important questions and easily take notes that he needs. Knowing Omar, he is definitely more inclined towards working with pen and paper mediums and he said he found it slightly difficult at first getting used to using the computer more at home for his studies. Thankfully lockdown is now over and Omar along with everyone else can get back into the full swing of things.
At the moment Omar is only in his first year of study. He knows he wants to pursue Art as a career in future and he is hoping that as he gets closer to completing his goal of finishing his Bachelors of Art and Media his future goals will become clear to him and he will have a more decisive view on what career he might follow.
Myself as an artist.
I always loved to draw as a kid, I thoroughly remember pausing the TV or taking pictures and trying my best to copy them into drawings constantly. I would always love to do Andy Griffiths inspired doodles on any paper that was lying around and fill a page with random thoughts. Going into college I loved art design class. I did well here, and this is likely what caused me to pursue studying at NMIT. Art design was where I first got to use Photoshop and to this day I still love using it. I have shifted heavily from drawing into mainly using Photoshop and a drawing tablet now. With a good knowledge of Photoshop I became increasingly interested in getting a camera and trying out different kinds of photography.
From trying out photography I found a real niche for taking photos of different birdlife/wildlife around the region. This has grown into a bigger passion and something I would love to pursue as a job in future. For me to continue producing photographs in future I would love to have a bigger target audience. I think using this comparative study is a good opportunity for me to think of ways to promote my own work by incorporating other popular wildlife photographer’s communication practices into my own to amass a bigger following. Currently any photos I take and like get edited and uploaded to Flickr but without much of an attempt to gain following.
One of my favorite influences for my own work is Mark Smith , a Florida based youtuber who regularly uploads video narratives to YouTube documenting all his favorite photographs from a wildlife shoot. Mark talks in one of his recent videos about how his channel started. He says he just started sharing his photos and stories with his family, when his son recommended he uploaded it to YouTube . He has now conjured over 50,000 YouTube subscribers in just a couple of years which is pretty humbling. I’ve found his videos one of the most interesting and entertaining ways to present wildlife photography.
A few of Mark’s Instagram uploads
I know from watching countless hours of YouTube that it can be a tough place to gain a strong following and requires regular uploads to gain subscribers. It should be common sense that knowing your target demographic paired with regularity and quality will help you accumulate higher status on any social media platform . I know this can be easier said than done. Mark Smith also has an Instagram account with over 15,000 followers . This is important as he is catering to different audiences by using multiple social media platforms. Instagram is subjectively one of the most popular platforms for photo sharing, so it makes sense to upload here. You can imagine some people may not have time to watch a 10-12 minutes video containing a large photoshoot and would rather just see his finest work condensed into a portfolio and this is one of many great places to do so.
With the addition of a following Mark now has his own website where he offers up wildlife photography workshops  and even has his own collection of books  that can be purchased digitally or physically. Again, he is catering to different audiences and this provides a way for his followers to connect with his work. He also has his own merchandise on his website which can act as a small business whilst allowing people to show their appreciation. Mark has done a great job creating a large following out of something he was passionate about using various social media platforms and I hope there are things I can take away for my future work.
Aside from Mark I would like to think about other social media platforms that would well suit the demographic of wildlife photography. Myself I have used Flickr  to try and share my wildlife images. Pinterest  is another great website. Both these websites (Flickr & Pinterest) are places people predominantly go to find photographs/artwork and you can tag/flair your work to help people find it by searching key words. For example, I might tag a wildlife photo with #Nature and the name of the animal so that people in my demographic could have a change at finding my work. Once people find you they have the options to follow and share your work if they like it allowing you to further expand.
Hardly every have I picked up a paint brush in my life. Having barely worked with acrylic this was a completely new experience for me, and kinda scary seeing we had to jump straight in without an overload of instruction.
Here’s the paint and here’s what your copying, with a few tips on top (no pun intended). Here is how my painting turned out…
On the left is the acrylic base painted in blue. The middle is my finished oil painting and on the right is the reference image by Wayne Thiebaud. All considered I think my painting worked out somewhat. Sure its not perfect in any way shape or form but you only get better with time and effort. I guess you never know till you give it a go.
Living in New Zealand there is always something great just around the corner to photograph. I first purchased my DSLR when my interest of the night time sky peaked a couple of years back. I decided upon a Nikon D3400 as it was one of the cheapest digital cameras that could fit the bill. One interest evolved into another as I began to really enjoy photography!
After coming to the realization I enjoyed photography I thought of what else there is to photograph in the region. Wildlife had always sparked an interest and we have plenty of unique animals here. So I soon decided to equip myself with a zoom lens. Looking at it it has proven very beneficial. To this day I still love photographing wildlife whenever I am given the chance.
Just from photographing wildlife in my own pastime I feel strongly I have developed a good set of skills and a real passion. Wanting to get better at photography and pursuing a career have been my main driving forces for studying here at NMIT. I hope I can gain more skills whilst I am here.
Here are some examples of photos I have taken in my pastime. I will talk about the processes I generally go through to get these photos and how I think I have evolved.
These are a couple of more recent photos. A fantail on the left and a bellbird on the right. You can tell that I often try to shoot with a wide aperture, generally as low as I can go [f/4-f5.6]. This means I can have a fast shutter speed to pause motion and it creates good background blur. This also means you can keep your ISO lower than 800 almost all the time. I will always try to stay under 800 ISO as anything higher doesn’t tend to produce sharp images. Sharp images are quite crucial with wildlife as you want to show off all the detail on the animal. ISO should always be kept as low as possible e.g. 100 in pure daylight, 200 in overcast and 400 in shade. When photographing wildlife I have found you have to be patient and sometimes accept that the shot wont turn out right.
Fantail on the left and a Robin on the right. Here are a couple of examples from when I first started taking pictures. I hope you can see how I have got better. Its easy to see both photos have missed focus and sub optimal lighting. This only gets better with practice. Take it upon yourself to try some photography in your own pastime to adapt your skills.