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Your Camera Is The Key

Published by Diana Tula · June 12th 2013

We love guest posts! Today’s awesome article is by Pete Collins, both designer and a photographer from Florida, USA. Pete has extensive wedding, events, stock, commercial, portraits experience. Not just an eye for grabbing a great shot, but the technical know-how to turn a good shot into a great one. Today Pete will share with us a story of how you can treat your camera as the key to world domination. Enjoy!


Last year I found myself doing something that I never thought I would… Photographing my kid sister’s wedding. It was a wonderfully amazing yet nerve-racking time. I mean c’mon if you mess up a client’s wedding, you can blame it on the second shooter or the computer and then move town if need be. But how can you escape your family? Honestly, it was one of the biggest privileges of my life and it reminded me of how awesome it is to be a photographer and realize how instrumental a camera has been in allowing me to have some of the best moments of my life.

Getting started

I started photography back in college during the dark-room ages as an art student. I fiddled around with my camera for years, just making nice little pictures and doing some photos for my work. Then I had kids and I became known as the camera guy at all my kids events. Then my kid’s school needed help shooting pictures for the yearbook. That led to networking with a local paper. Now I was dangerous! I had a press pass! I was no longer just shooting my kids events… I was shooting big events that I loved like college football and Indy races. At one of these very events I met Scott Kelby, which led to a friendship and a job.

Your camera may be one of the best tools to get you where you want to go. I am not just talking about being a commercial success and everyone knows you as the greatest photographer in the world, but rather letting your camera help you follow your dreams… or at least have more fun than the average person.

Let’s say you love to take pictures of animals. It so happens that you have a great zoo nearby, but you can’t afford to keep paying for tickets to go shoot the animals. What if you could go a couple of times and really work on getting some great shots of the animals, and then go to the marketing department of the zoo and offer then a couple of you photos in exchange for access? And with that access you could become known for your animal images and start going on safaris… and get eaten by a wild animal… oh wait… that might not be the right story for this blog.

Look for opportunities

Or what if you start shooting your son’s golf team? And then you hear that a big golf tournament is coming to town. It just so happens that the father of one of the other boys on the golf team works for the company that is one of the sponsors. Since you have done a great job taking his son’s picture… he will be glad to get you a press pass. During the tournament you meet some other photographers and they invite you to help them shoot a commercial shoot for Nike. Or maybe a golf ball hits your camera and you get knocked out and it becomes a YouTube sensation. That is the wonderful aspect of camera life… it is full of opportunities.

Opportunities will open up all around you… but you have to be ready when they come. The first step is to always be working on your craft. Learn how to shoot in every situation that you have access to, the knowledge is transferable. It doesn’t matter if you are just shooting your daughters first grade spelling bee… have the mindset that you are going to learn how to shoot that event like a pro. 90 per cent of all event photography is going to be in crappy light… so this dinky little spelling bee now starts preparing you for shooting any indoor event. If you want to get to shoot big sporting events, then go shoot the local high-school or junior high games. You will get to learn how to shoot in really tough conditions and you may even make some contacts that get you into shooting bigger events.

What that means is that you have to plan and practice and sacrifice to learn how to shoot the events or situations that you love. For instance, I like cars; I like to drive them and I like to shoot them… and because of my background in shooting some races for the paper, I was able to meet with a client that wanted myself and my friend RC to shoot their exotic cars for there website. Next thing you know, not only are we getting to shoot some beautiful cars… but at the end of the day we are getting to drive them as fast as we possibly can around the track. Talking about getting to check off a bucket list item! It wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have the skill set to give the client what they wanted… But I did thanks to the experience I had shooting other smaller car events, which seemed like a waste at the time.

Having a camera and getting to shoot one type of opportunity then leads to other opportunities. I can trace a line back to early events that I had to shoot that I rolled my eyes at when I started, but now I think God I had the opportunity, because it prepared me for the events that put a permanent grin on my face. Like getting to shoot inside the ropes with Tiger Woods at a pro golf tournament? Or, getting to sit at the feet of two photographic legends and hear them discuss their work. Just two weeks ago I was so privileged to get all access passes to shoot onstage with one of my favorite bands. The camera will allow you to get access to people and events that others only get to dream about, but you must be purposeful in how you use it.

Have a goal

I have four kids and I live semi-near Orlando… so we go to theme parks quite a bit. Now I get motion sick so easily (I am a big wuss and I admit it). However, what that means is that I am holding the bags and gear while the rest of the family is riding rides. This gives me time to scout and shoot at the various parks. Now, I have a plan which hasn’t come to fruition yet, but I am creating a portfolio of amusement park images in the hopes that one day I will be able to show the right person and they will give me credentials to shoot at the parks freely. (Mickey Mouse if you are reading this… call me :D) I am both enjoying my photography, but I am also trying to use it to meet a goal in my life — world domination.

Your camera is a passport to a world of new opportunities, now your job is to figure out how to best use it to get where you want to go. I hope this will inspire you to go out and get even better at shooting the things that you love, and in the end, it will open doors that will let you check off some of the items on your own bucket list.

This is our last guest blog post in collaboration with the awesome Kelby Media Group & Kelby Training. If you’d like to read previous posts visit How To Get A Photo Pass for Concerts and Listen to the inner voice. Do you want to write a guest blog post for our blog? Get in touch.

Thank you for taking time to read! If you'd like to add Pete Collins to friends visit his 500px page.


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Emil Edilersky  11 months ago
Very interesting post!
Massimo C.  over 1 year ago
KOS TAS  over 1 year ago
Great post Pete. Opportunities hide around every corner! thanks
Awesome Account
Max Burnett  over 1 year ago
This is such a great article and you've made me realise how much more my camera is than just for taking photographs! Thank you! :D
Robert Plack  over 1 year ago
You are absolutely right! Has a lot to do with "being in the right place at the right time", but realizing it.
Often we (me) figure out a day or two later that we had a great opportunity and missed. Gotta pay attention.
Frewuill Rodriguez  over 1 year ago
Thank you for sharing this!
Naveed Ahmed  over 1 year ago
Great post, very inspiring
Rodrigo Ferraz  over 1 year ago
Great post. Kudos and good luck!
Parulika Banerjee  over 1 year ago
Witty and inspiring!Thank you :)
Awesome Account
Johnny English  over 1 year ago
really inspiring great post
Christiane Nicely  over 1 year ago
Great blog-post! You're 100 % right, plus it's never too late! :-)
Seoirse Brennan  over 1 year ago

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