Mastery Workshops Special Offer Holidays 2017

The Holidays 2017 Mastery Workshops on USB/DVD Super Special Offer is live.

This offer will save you 20 to 40% and more off my regular pricing. Several gifts and new products are part of this offer.

Check out all the details on the Special Offer Page:

http://www.beautiful-landscape.com/MDVDs-Collection-2017-SPO.html

Get the new Master Files Examples Collection #2 at a huge discount
when you order one of the Mastery Workshops.
Click here to download the table of contents

Get the new Podcast Collection FREE when you place your order.
Click here to download the free table of contents

 

Alain Briot
beautiful-landscape.com

2017 Zion Fine Art Photography Summit movie

This movie features artwork by 2017 Zion Summit Participants.

The 2018 Summit takes place in Moab Utah with Alain Briot and Jeff Schewe as instructors and field photography sessions in Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, the San Juan River, the Needles district, the bluff area and Monument Valley.

A detailed description of this exciting learning event and photographic expedition is available at this link:http://www.beautiful-landscape.com/Workshop-Summit-18-Moab.html

Blue Dawn at White Sands: How it was done

This photograph was taken at dawn, at the blue hour that precedes sunrise.

The sky was clear and still not tinted red by the sun.  The light on the dunes was only from the blue sky. The white sand dunes, being neutral in color, took on the color of the sky.  While the sand was white it looked blue to the camera.

My eyes did not see the blue color because human eyesight neutralizes colors.  To me the dunes looked white.  To the camera they were blue because digital sensors, and film to some extent, capture color the way it is.  Unlike human sight they do not neutralize colors.

During processing I altered the color slightly to create harmonious blue tones and make the scene aesthetically pleasing.  However the color was there to start with.

CF020070-600

 

About Alain Briot

I create fine art photographs, teach workshops and offer DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. I am the author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available as printed books on Amazon.com and as eBooks on my website at this link: http://beautiful-landscape.com/Ebooks-Books-1-2-3.html

You can find more information about my work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to my Free Monthly Newsletter on my website. To subscribe simply go to http://www.beautiful-landscape.com and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive 40 free essays in eBook format immediately after subscribing.

I welcome your comments on this essay as well as on my other essays. You can reach me directly by emailing me at alain@beautiful-landscape.com.

Alain Briot
Arizona
November 2017

Eclipse

Eclipse

This photograph was created during the 2012 Eclipse of the Sun.

The photograph was taken from the Island in the Sky viewpoing in Canyonlands National Park, not that it matters since you cannot tell from the photo where it was taken.

I used a 250mm lens on my medium format digital camera. The image was cropped during processing. #eclipse #canyonlands

 

Alain Briot

http://www.beautiful-landscape.com

alain@beautiful-landscape.com

The 2017 Zion Fine Art Summit

The 2017 Zion
Fine Art Photography Summit

You can register for this event now by clicking here

Zion-sunrise-collage-pano-crop-700 Sunrise, Zion National Park

Introduction
Each year for the past 15 years we have offered an event called the Fine Art Photography Summit.

This event used to be organized jointly by Uwe Steinmueller and myself. When Uwe passed away in 2014 I continued organizing the Summit with my wife Natalie.

The goal of the Summit is to offer an event that covers all the different aspects of fine art photography: field work, image processing, one on one work, printing and print reviews. The goal of the Summit is also to give you the opportunity to photograph some of the most photogenic locations and learn from different guest instructors each year.

To achieve these goals the Summit features both field photography sessions and classroom presentations. We capture photographs during the field photography sessions, at sunrise, sunset and during daytime, and we study, process and review these images during the classroom sessions.

The classroom sessions include instructional presentations given by myself and by Jeff Schewe who is the 2017 Guest Instructor. Classroom sessions also include time for personal work as well as time for one on one work. During the one on one sessions Jeff and I work with you personally and help you with specific aspects of your work. This gives you an opportunity to get personalized help and to focus on what matters to you.

The Summit takes place in a different location each year. Over the years the Summit has taken us to Death Valley, Arches, Canyonlands, Navajoland, Antelope Canyon and many other locations. This year we have chosen Zion National Park as our location. The Summit classroom sessions will take place in the Zion Holiday Inn at the entrance of the park. The hotel will be our base for this event. From there we will explore the park daily to photograph the best locations at sunrise, sunset and during daytime.

The Summit is an educational, creative and fun event. Participants include both new and previous attendees. This creates a learning and sharing environment in which study, creativity, fun and camaraderie are essential components.

Zion-IMG_2769-Pano-700Classroom Session during the 2015 Death Valley Summit

The Instructors
The summit is taught by Alain Briot and Jeff Schewe. Jeff is our guest instructor for 2017. Jeff is one of the most knowledgeable persons about Photoshop and Lightroom. I can guarantee that he will answer each and every question you may have about Photoshop and Lightroom.

My personal focus is fine art photography and my presentations will teach you how to create fine art photographs. Specifically, I will show you techniques that will take your work beyond documentation and into the realm of art, working with Lightroom, Photoshop and other software packages.

The advantage of having two instructors is that you are exposed to two very different ways of creating fine art photographs. These differences are obvious when you look at the workflows that Jeff and I use. While our goal is the same, namely to create fine art images, the way we reach this goal is very different. We use different workflows, different tools and we have a different philosophical approach to art.

This is a huge advantage for you because it proves the point that there are many ways to create art. Being exposed to this diversity opens the way to finding your own personal style. You can pick and choose what you like and don’t like and create your own personal approach to fine art photography.

Alain and Jeff teaching during the 2016 Summit

 

Our Schedule
The Summit schedule is carefully organized. Natalie takes care of all the logistics and scheduling. Having a dedicated person taking care of logistics insures that everything runs smoothly and that our photography and instruction time is maximized.

The Summit takes place November 3rd to 6th 2017 in Zion, Utah. The Summit is followed by a three-day Photographic Vision Field Workshop to Bryce Canyon, Escalante-Grand Staircase and Capitol Reef on November 7th to 9th. The full schedule and Field Workshop itinerary is available at this link:
http://www.beautiful-landscape.com/Workshop-Summit-17-Zion.html

About Zion
Zion National Park is one of the Jewels of the Southwest. The park consists of two main areas: Zion Canyon and Zion High Country. This layout has the advantage of offering roadside access to both the canyon bottom and the canyon rims, a combination unique in the Southwest. In comparison Grand Canyon only offers roadside access to the canyon rim. To access the bottom you have to hike a mile down into the earth. Similarly Canyon de Chelly only offers roadside access to the canyon rim. To access the bottom you have to hire a Navajo guide and four wheel drive into the canyon.

Having easy access to both floor and the rims of Zion canyon multiplies the photographic opportunities this National Park offers us. Because these two areas are totally different they allow you to create a greater variety of images. These include views of Zion’s Canyon towering walls, photographs of the river and the narrows from the canyon bottom and views of the high country where the variety of sandstone formations offer endless opportunities for creative photography.

About the Summit Vision Field Workshop
The day after the Summit ends we start on the second part of this event: the Summit Vision Field Workshop. The Vision Field Workshop is your opportunity to practice and develop the skills you learned during the Summit. It is called the Vision Field Workshop because the goal is to focus on finding a personal vision for your work.

The Summit Vision Field Workshop is popular because it allows you to maximize the value of your trip by visiting and photographing additional locations. This year we will visit three different National Parks and National Monuments: Bryce Canyon, Escalante-Grand Staircase and Capitol Reef National Parks.

All three parks offer superb photographic opportunities and all three are little visited meaning that we can expect to see few and at time no other photographers. Please note that if you are joining us and you want to attend both the Summit and the Vision Field workshops you need to act quickly because the field workshops are nearly sold out. The combination Summit + Vision Field Workshops always sells out first because participants want to maximize their time by taking advantage of the photographic opportunities offered by both.

Bryce Canyon, one of the locations we will photograph during the Summit Vision Field Workshop

 

Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument
A second location we will photograph during the Summit Vision Field Workshop

 

Jeff and Natalie during the 2016 Summit Vision Field Workshop to Navajoland

 

Link to the Summit description and registration page
The full Summit description, pricing and registration information are available at this link:
http://www.beautiful-landscape.com/Workshop-Summit-17-Zion.html

This link also features biographies for Jeff and myself, a detailed itinerary and additional important information about the Summit.

Free Raffle
We always have a diversity of gifts that we raffle to Summit participants at the end of the event. These include books signed by Jeff and Alain, free gifts, Epson inkjet paper and even the Epson printer we use to print participants work during the Summit.

Last year we raffled the Epson Printer we used to print participants work during the Summit.
The raffle was won by Roz (between Jeff and Alain) who returned home with a free printer,
an extra set of ink cartridges and boxes of Epson inkjet paper.

Questions
If you have any questions not answered here or on the Summit description page simply email me at alain@beautiful-landscape.com

Thank you.

Alain Briot


Testimonial from Stefano, 2016 Summit participant

The Zion Narrows

 

Copyright © Alain Briot 2017
All rights reserved worldwide

.

 

One on One Consulting and Mentoring Program

My Consulting & Mentoring Programs

 

I offer two options for Consulting and Mentoring:

First, One on One Consulting over the phone:
http://beautiful-landscape.com/Workshop-1-on-1-details.html

Second, One on 1One Consulting In my studio:
http://beautiful-landscape.com/Workshop-1-on-1.html

After the first consulting call with a student I always pause and ask myself if I want to continue working with each student.  My decision to continue or not is based on the student’s motivation, on the quality of their work and on whether their work is marketable or not. I know you are committed, that you strive for high quality, and that your work is sellable. This is why I am making this recommendation.

Let me know if you want to join the consulting program.  The money you spend on consulting will be more than recouped through sales that would otherwise not happen and with the satisfaction of selling your work to people who appreciate it and are willing to pay adequate prices for it.

I must also point out that just revising your price list, which is what we did during the first session, is not enough to guarantee success.  While important, a price list is not a marketing vehicle and will not, by itself, generate sales, as I mentioned during our call.

We can go session by session if you want to focus on printing, processing or have specific questions about selling your work that I can answer quickly.  However, if you want me to prepare a marketing plan for you, you need to enroll in the 7 sessions program.  The reason being that we need to do follow up calls to implement and fine tune the program.  It’s not something that can be done in 1 session.  If you enroll within a month, then we can count the session we just did as part of the 7, leaving 6 to be billed.  After 30 days too much time has gone by and it is best to start all over again.

Needless to say, I strongly recommend the Marketing Plan approach.  It’s what you need and what will give you the most return both in terms of income and of personal satisfaction.  The other approach is ‘touch and go’ and not as effective because it goes from one thing to another without having a pre-defined goal.  The marketing plan on the other hand starts with a specific goal then charts the way to reach this goal.  This is why we need 7 sessions.  If you go that way we will focus on setting specific goals during the next session, work out a marketing plan, set deadlines, then use the remaining 5 sessions to implement and fine tune this plan.

Alain Briot

About Alain Briot

I create fine art photographs, teach workshops and offer DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. I am the author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available as printed books on Amazon.com and as eBooks on my website.

You can find more information about my work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to my Free Monthly Newsletter on my website. To subscribe simply go to http://www.beautiful-landscape.com and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive 40 free essays in eBook format immediately after subscribing.

I welcome your comments on this essay as well as on my other essays. You can reach me directly by emailing me at alain@beautiful-landscape.com.

Alain Briot
http://www.beautiful-landscape.com
928-252-2466

Four categories of photographers selling their work

Four categories of photographers selling their work

Selling your photographs is a serious decision. How you approach this decision depends on your personal goals.  I have been studying and teaching he sale of fine art photography for a long time.  One thing I found is that most photographers fit in one of four different categories. Below is a description of these categories.

The goal of this essay is to help you chart your path in regards to selling your photography.

1 – You are considering selling your photographs
If you are considering selling your images I strongly encourage you to attend the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Seminar even if you are not selling right now.  The reason is that acquiring the knowledge necessary to sell your work professionally and profitably is needed before you start selling, not after.  After you can only try to fix problems.  Before you can save yourself many mistakes, headaches and frustrations and be profitable much faster.  The discount package for the workshop + the seminar is also a good reason.  We have many students who do both so attending the seminar will allow you to make friend with workshop participants right away.

2 – You are starting to sell your photographs
You may have been selling for a few months, a year or two years, and you are trying to ‘learn the ropes’ and figure out how to build your business.  The main question at this point is to realistically assess your level of success.  Are you making a profit or not?  Is your income justifying the hard work and long hours you are spending to sell your work? Are you happy with your present situation or are you frustrated, or worse angry, because of what you have to go through?  If the answer to these questions is yes the answer is to attend the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Seminar because you will get solid answers and solutions right away instead of trying to find the answers by yourself which can take years, if you find them at all.

3 – You have been selling your work for a number of years
You have been selling for a number of years and you have your system.  It may not work as well as you’d like, but it works well enough to continue.  You would not mind finding a way to make it truly worthwhile though, more profitable, so that you reach the next step, make more money and kick butt.

Again the important thing here is to realistically asses your level of success in regards to your original goals.  However this is not enough.  Another important step is to take a good look at your dreams.  Most photographers dream of achieving more than they have but settle for less because they do not believe they can do better.  Fact is you can do better, but you have to know how. There is a much higher potential for success than you believe, you just need to know how to get there.

4 – You have stopped selling your work
Photographers rarely stop selling because they reached their financial goals.  Just about all those who quit do so because of problems.  You may have quit because selling your work was frustrating, or you did not have enough sales, or problems piled up, or adversity of one kind or another overwhelmed you.  However you have this longing feeling that somehow you did not give it your all and that there may be a way to make it work.   In other words, you would give it a second try if you knew how to make it work.  You still want to achieve your dreams.  You know that there is only one way to do so.

I designed the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Seminar to help you regardless of which of these four main areas you are in.  Success is possible, but you have to know what to do to be successful.  Quite simply, the goal of the seminar is to teach you what that is.

Take a look at the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Seminar description to find out how this will be done.

Alain Briot
Arizona

About Alain Briot
I create fine art photographs, teach workshops and offer DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. I am the author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available as printed books on Amazon.com and as eBooks on my website.

You can find more information about my work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to my Free Monthly Newsletter on my website. To subscribe simply go to http://www.beautiful-landscape.com and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive 40 free essays in eBook format immediately after subscribing.

I welcome your comments on this essay as well as on my other essays. You can reach me directly by emailing me at alain@beautiful-landscape.com.

Alain Briot
http://www.beautiful-landscape.com
928-252-2466

My Philosophy

My Philosophy

My Philosophy

1 – Introduction
This essay focuses on my approach to fine art photography. In order to explain how I do what I do I thought it was important to describe my philosophy in regards to art and photography.  As such this essay describes the aspects of art and landscape photography that are essential to my work and therefore particularly important to me.

2 – Gear
I like great gear but I am aware that improving gear means getting better gear, not creating better art. Quite simply better gear equals better resolution, sharpness, dynamic range, stability, functions and other technical qualities. Better gear does not equal better art or more interesting photographs. Better knowledge of art and photography equals better art and more interesting photographs.

My artistic skills are not defined by my gear any more than a painter’s skills are defined by the brushes, the paint or the canvas that he uses. Interestingly enough, unlike photographers painters don’t sit around talking about the quality of their gear, be it paint, brushes, canvas, easels or other. Neither is there a DxO Mark equivalent for the various dynamic range combination of paint, brushes and canvas. In fact there is no such thing as paint dynamic range, paint clipping or out of gamut color palette. Painters simply do not have to worry about color balance or any of the other technical concerns that many photographers seem obsessed with. Rather, they are concerned with expressing their vision and their emotional response to the subject, something they arrive at rather quickly not being bothered by the countless technical considerations that photographers concern themselves with.

Neither does there seem to be a hierarchy among painters based on the gear they use, at least not the way photographers approach the relationship between gear and skill level or even self worth. To return to DxO mark, this time from a photographer’s point of view, for most of us visiting this site is a humbling experience because we seek to find how high we are on the sensor-rating scale, from rock bottom to top of the line. However, what seems lost on most photographers is that this evaluation is based not on their skill level but on their ownership of a specific camera. While on the one hand having a low rating camera can generate low self esteem, having the top-ranked camera can generates insecurity for no one knows for sure how long it will be until a bigger, better and unfortunately often more expensive camera will supersede the current ‘champ.’ For those in between the highest and the lowest ranked camera, the level of self esteem drops proportionally to the relative ranking of one’s camera. This is often accompanied with the feeling that we are has-beens if our camera is anything past a year or two old, or 5 to 6 cameras below the top ranked model of the day, if that much.

3 – Field photography
Creating images in the field is where everything starts. There is simply no substitute for being inspired by nature itself. While there can be inspiration before field work, regarding where to go, what to do, how to approach the subject and so on, it is when I witness the beauty of nature in all its grandeur and glory that my heart and soul become filled with the desire to create a work of art.

I like to take a lot of captures when I work in the field. I don’t subscribe to the idea that a photograph has to be captured with a single frame. I find no glory in getting the shot in a single exposure. For me this a film based concept that is no longer relevant today. This concept was based on the fact that film and processing were expensive and that we could only carry a limited quantity of film. This was particularly true with large format, say 4×5 and larger, but it was also true with smaller formats. With digital capture there is no cost after the first $20,000 (adjust to fit your budget), and I have no limit as to how much storage I can carry because even if I fill all the storage cards I can carry I can always download them to a computer and start again. Therefore, limiting how much I shoot means bypassing one of the most advantageous aspects of digital photography which is that the number of captures I can make is unlimited and that capturing images carries no real cost due to the ridiculously low price of storage devices. It is therefore to my advantage to put the numbers on my side and to return home with as much data as I can, knowing that the cost of returning to the location is what is expensive, both in terms of travel expenses and in terms of time.

Collage-1-FS-layersLes Sentinelles Eternelles
One of my most recent images as of the writing of this essay.
The creation of this image follows the approach outlined in this essay.

I also do not make a call in the field in regards to what are my best captures. I can do that at my leisure in my studio when I return home. The purpose of field work is to gather data, of the finest quality I can and in as large a quantity as I feel. From this data the final images will emerge and no one needs to know how many images led to the final ones unless I decide to share this information.

In the field I also shoot wide and later crop as needed because high resolution cameras free me from having to figure out the perfect crop in the field. The difference in resolution is unnoticeable because the lack of image data is insignificant. However the final cropping is far more accurate than I could ever do it on location.

I also like to shoot both horizontal and verticals, try different compositions of the same scene, and intentionally capture wider views than I intend to use. Approximately 50 % of my work is composed of collages done not for the purpose of increasing pixel density but instead to increase field of view beyond what my widest lenses can capture. I also like the look of collaged images better than the look of wide angle photographs, even if they show the same field of view.

Once back in the studio I look at the different images I captured and progressively narrow the number of keepers based on technical and aesthetic considerations. I make a pre-selection in Lightroom then a second and narrower selection in Photoshop. I make the third selection after the images have been optimized to the technical layers stage, and the fourth selection after the image has been optimized all the way to the artistic layers stage (see below). The fifth and final selection is made after all the images have been optimized to their final state, and after I have had time to study them and reflect upon them.

4 – Image processing
It is in the studio that the second part of my work takes place. Inspired by my emotional response to the scenes I photographed, I enhance and manipulate my photographs at my heart’s content to express what I truly saw and felt. In Lightroom and Photoshop I do what I like to call ‘unspeakable things’ to my photographs and if you ask me, yes sir, I manipulate my work and I am proud of it. In fact, let me add that it feels great, carries not risk of heart disease, and some even say that it enhances life longevity through stress reduction induced by the liberation of all concerns for what others might think.

I don’t see anything that can be done with digital processing as being inappropriate when creating art. If I was doing forensic or documentation photography I certainly would rule many things as inappropriate. However, art is the domain of imagination and personal expression and digital processing opens the doors to possibilities that film photography never offered. This to me is a dream come true and I embrace all the possibilities that the medium offers. Nothing is out of bounds, taboo, illegal, or whatever term you may want to use to tell me that I should not do it.

In other words I do not limit myself to darkroom processes enhanced by digital imaging. Rather than restrict myself to dodging, burning, density, color adjustments and cropping, all done with more control and perfect repeatability from print to print that I could ever have in the darkroom, I use all the functions available in Lightroom and Photoshop to enhance and optimize my photographs and make them conform to my vision. I warp, collage, HDR, reformat, clone, stretch and otherwise manipulate my images at will. Instead of feeling guilty about doing this I embrace the possibilities offered by digital photography and I welcome whatever functions will become available next. These functions make life easier for me by alleviating many of the unnecessarily tough aspects of film photography and by bringing possibilities I could only dream of before.

5 – Fine art printing
The outcome of all this work is a fine art print. Not an image on screen, regardless of impressive the quality of today’s monitors might be, but a fine art print on paper (or other substrate), because paper requires no technology to be seen. I don’t need electricity, I don’t have to plug-in hard drives, connect USB cards to monitors, download and update software, or worry about forward and backward compatibility. I also don’t have to wonder if my descendants will be able to make sense of my file structure, or if later software and hardware will be able to read my files, or if someone will be kind enough to continue updating my entire computer storage and display system to guarantee access to my work ‘forever’. While they may not last ‘forever,’ my prints are accessible to all, requiring only eyes and the desire to look at them to be seen.

6 – Print quality
Print quality is of the upmost importance to me. Fine art landscape photography it a low drama medium. While I may depict a dramatic sunset, rainbow or storm, not much happens in the way of action, unlike in reportage, street, or sports photography for example. Therefore, while in reportage photography the content creates the interest and print quality is secondary, in fine art landscape photography the print quality is just as important as the content. In fact, it is often more important than the content. This is because natural locations being accessible to all, the same locations are photographed by many photographers. In this situation the difference between a good photograph and a stunning one of the same location is often the difference in print quality. In a head to head contest it is the print quality that separates a good photograph from an outstanding one.

I spare no efforts in creating the finest prints I can create. In doing so it is the processing of the image that matters most because it is during processing that print quality takes place, or not, as the case might be. While printer, ink, paper, printer profile and system calibration are important, they are variables that can be controlled through technique and experience. They can also be purchased with anyone with the necessary funds. In many ways printers are default devices. What varies is the image file.

File preparation therefore is just as much an art form as a technical exercise. In fact, once the technique has been learned to the point of becoming second nature, it is all art. So much so that my image optimization workflow is separated in two primary parts: technical and artistic. I work in Lightroom and Photoshop, doing basic file preparation in Lightroom then continuing the optimization in Photoshop using adjustment layers. I start by creating a set of technical layers whose goal is to create the technical foundation of the image. If I was doing documentation I could stop there because at that stage the image is perfect in regards to being a documentary record of the scene. However, it has no artistic qualities besides the composition of the image in the field, the choice of subject and light, and the decisions I made regarding lens and angle of view. It is the second set of layers, the artistic layers, that give the image the artistic qualities I seek to share with my audience. This second set of artistic layers include all sort of manipulations, from color changes to contrast adjustment, to cloning, to transformation of the image geometry using warp, distort or other transform functions, to reformatting of the image, for example making a vertical image an horizontal through stretching either the entire image or part of it, and more. As I said earlier on I enjoy doing ‘unspeakable’ things to my images and this is where this part of the process takes place.

While the set of technical layers usually takes me only minutes to complete, the set of artistic layers takes me much longer, anywhere from several hours to several weeks or months. Of course I do not remain chained to my desk for weeks on end, but it does takes me that long to work on the image on and off as inspiration strikes, trying to find the correct combination of colors and contrast needed to make a specific image work.

_DSF4588-FS-Flat-900 - copieCloud Filled Dawn

7 – Instruction
Teaching is important to me because I want to pass the torch so to speak and share my knowledge and my passion for fine art photography with other like-minded artists and photographers. To this end I teach a small number of workshops per year. I keep the number small because by limiting the number of workshops I can focus on the needs of my students 100% instead of being pulled in every directions by an overwhelmingly busy schedule. In practice I teach only six workshops per year on average, interspaced with one on one work with dedicated students who want to go beyond what can be learned in a group setting. My workshops are small, consisting of 12 students in my regular field workshops and 6 in my little known workshops series. I offer one on one mentoring because when studying fine art there comes a time when specific challenges can only be met one on one. Creating a personal style for example, or expressing a personal vision throughout a body of work, or working on a focused project, or again putting together a successful marketing plan are aspects of fine art that require a one on one environment.

I separate my courses in three categories: field work, studio work and marketing instruction. While there is no substitute for field work, as I explained in section one above, studio and marketing courses are offered both as live events and as Mastery Workshops on DVD/USB. I offer these two options to meet the needs of students who like to study in person and by themselves. While there is a value in studying in person, there is also a value in studying by yourself with a master tutorial that you can carry everywhere, refer to at will, and study at your leisure instead of having to learn and remember everything in 2 days. My mastery tutorials also saves time and travel expenses, and they remove the risk of not remembering essential information because note-taking failed you.

Collage-2-FS-Flat-900 - copieAfternoon in Canyon de Chelly

8 – Art
Art is my goal. In working towards this goal I am fully aware of the distinction between fine art photography and commercial photography. Doing commercial photography means being hired by a client on the basis that I can successfully create the photographs that this client wants. I am paid if I fulfill this contract. Fine art photography means creating images that please me, images that express my vision of the world in my personal style. People buy my work if they like my style and can relate to my vision of the world.

I also know that art is a matter of personal taste. What people like depends on people’s taste. Plus, when it comes to art opinions are polarized. Therefore, creating art means that some will love my work while others will dislike it. As such I am not surprised to have both fans and foes. In fact I consider this normal. The fact that I do means that I am creating art and not just documenting the world.

9 – Exhibiting
Showing my work starts with finding an audience who likes my work. While there is a difference between fine art and commercial photography, as I explained above, I still have to somehow manage to communicate successfully with my audience.

There are limits however to how far one can communicate successfully when it comes to exhibiting art. I learned a long time ago not to try to convince the inconvincible. Too many photographers waste valuable time trying to change the mind of people who don’t like their work. This is futile. My time is better spent looking for an audience who likes me and my work and helping this audience like my work even more.

It took me a long time to understand this but doing so saved me a lot of time and worries and helped me live a happier and longer life. Today I seek an audience who likes me and my work and I refuse to waste my time on those who don’t like what I do. I never lose sight of the fact that my goal is to create images that allow me to successfully share my vision and my emotional response to the subject with people who share my vision of the world, not with those who despise it.

10 – Conclusion
My goal is to to create images that expresses and share beauty. In doing so I am often amazed at how many people have misconceived ideas about art. Certainly I understand that art is not a mainstream concept. We live in a technically oriented society in which art and art instruction have taken a backseat. However this is not a reason for art to be dismissed altogether. We need it as much as we need technology. As Picasso said, art washes away the dust of everyday life, and we certainly have a lot of dust to wash away, wherever this dust may come from.

In thinking about this I consider several things in no particular order. First, art does not have to be perfect. As Dali put it: do not seek perfection for you will never reach it. Art is different from engineering in that respect because it does not need to be functional. Art only needs to look good. It does not have to perform a mechanical function, or any function for that matter, except aesthetic. Art does not have to work the way a machine works for example. If you design a machine and it does not work, you are fired at best and sued at worse. With art, if you create an unsatisfying work of art there is no penalty. At worse no one likes it. You won’t get fired over it and you won’t go to jail or be sued for having failed to express your vision successfully. I find this aspect of art freeing, refreshing and stress reducing and it is one of the reasons why art is an activity I enjoy.

I am always surprised by people who find that in order to be ‘good’ art must be hard to create. For me the quality of a work of art is not measured by how long it took to create it any more than good food it defined by how long it took to cook it. Good is good, that’s all. I pay attention to how much beauty, enjoyment and insights the work brings to me, not to how long it took to make it. For me a sketch by Picasso that took only a minute to complete is just as valuable and enjoyable as a painting by Picasso that took weeks or months to complete.

I am equally surprised by people who want to impose their view of what is ‘good’ art onto me. Surprised because I made the decisions that led to the the work I exhibit deliberately and with complete awareness of what I was doing. Therefore when someone tells me, for example, that the noise in the image bothers them, or that the colors are not to their liking, I always answer by saying that these do not bother me one bit, and that in fact I like them otherwise I would have made different aesthetic choices. They, as well as everyone else, have a choice when it comes to art and that is to not look at art that they do not like. I personally love my work and I have no desire to change it because someone does not like this or that. It is after all the nature of art that someone will dislike it, therefore by saying so those who do confirm that this aspect of art is alive and well.

Art is measured by how much emotion and pleasure it brings to us and to the viewer. I often say that if I do photography seriously and I am not having fun, something is wrong. I mean it. What is the point of doing something for fun if I am not having fun doing it? After all, no one forces me to do this. I do it because I want to, not because I have to. I do it because creating and sharing beautiful art makes life richer and more enjoyable.

Alain Briot
Arizona

About Alain Briot
I create fine art photographs, teach workshops and offer DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. I am the author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available as printed books on Amazon.com and as eBooks on my website.

You can find more information about my work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to my Free Monthly Newsletter on my website. To subscribe simply go to http://www.beautiful-landscape.com and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive 40 free essays in eBook format immediately after subscribing.

I welcome your comments on this essay as well as on my other essays. You can reach me directly by emailing me at alain@beautiful-landscape.com.

Alain Briot
http://www.beautiful-landscape.com
928-252-2466