Speaking of Barriers

One of the really fun and satisfying things about photography is how varied and personal a pursuit it is. 

We’re all drawn to and moved by different things, and that’s something you want to channel into your photography. It’s often said that photographs are as much about the photographer as they are about the content of the photograph.

This image was something that made me smile on my way to catch a flight at Denver International Airport…so I spent 3 minutes exploring a few different ways to capture this scene. Now, as you look at this, are you getting a feeling about who I might be as a person? I hope so. 

I find there are two barriers to really enjoying and to improving as a photographer. The first is not being open to all the things going on and how they are affecting how you feel. Take it ALL in. Editing is something you do after you shoot. While you’re out with your camera, spend less time judging and more time making pictures. Photograph whatever moves you. 

The second barrier is fear of embarrassment…as if someone is going to judge you for what and/or how you choose to photograph something or someone. Who knows? Maybe someone will. To that, let me just offer, “…and so what if they do?” 

I’ve chosen not to photograph things because I let fear get the better of me and I always regret it. Embarrassment is temporary. A photograph you have forever. 

So, the next time you’re out photographing — being more open and stepping thru your fears — remember that worthwhile photos aren’t always about the WOW things in life. Sometimes they’re just simple things that make you think , “Huh…look at that.” Like a smiley face on a metal plate hanging from a wire over a roadside barrier.

That's What Praying Is For


Towards the end of a workshop about composition I was teaching at Union Station last weekend, we got to talking about news photography and storytelling. I’d be rambling on for a couple of minutes when my girlfriend's voice popped into my head, “Give them examples, dummy!” (Ok…in her defense, I added the “dummy” part). So I stopped and asked, “What would you photograph if you were asked for a picture to go with a story about the hot weather we’re having?” Kids playing in the fountains was the unanimous choice. With our subject decided, we were reviewing how to make compelling compositions of the scene when the question arose, “But what if the kids aren’t playing where the best composition is?” My obvious response, “That’s what praying is for.”

PHOTOSHOP or Lightroom? Keep It Simple.

A woman tapped me on the shoulder as I was working at one of my satellite offices (i.e., local coffee shop). 

"Is that Lightroom? I just bought a camera and I'm trying to figure out what kind of software to buy to make my pictures look better."

I'm such a bad person to ask this question to because I get all nerdy and fly off on ridiculous tangents when all someone who asks this probably wants is just a simple answer. 

I'm a big advocate for all things simple, so I'm going to narrow the choices to the two leading photo software tools - Photoshop & Lightroom (both products of Adobe). 

Here's my simple answer.....buy Lightroom. More specifically, now that Adobe has gone to a subscription model for all it's software , you will be looking for Lightroom CC (part of Adobe's Creative Cloud suite of products). 

Lightroom CC is $10/month, it's fantastic software and simple to learn. Adobe has tons of quality tutorials on Adobe.com. Plus, there are in the vicinity of a billion tutorial videos on YouTube to help you on any LR question imaginable, Adobe updates it regularly, and just keeps getting better. 

I'm very proficient at both Photoshop and Lightroom and Photoshop is definitely a more powerful tool. But, considering I spend at least 80% of my production time in Lightroom, if I could only have one tool - Photoshop or Lightroom, I'd choose Lightroom. I would miss the things Photoshop can do that Lightroom can't, but I'd miss the speed, simplicity and presentation options in Lightroom. 

If you get serious about your photography, you will eventually add Photoshop to your photo software toolbox...and all kinds of third-party plug-ins, as well (we photographers love our toys!). Until then, dig in - and go deep - learning all the things you can do with Lightroom CC (and there is a LOT). I promise, you won't regret it. :-)

Photo Workshops

My career started as a result of instruction and inspiration I received at a photography workshop. It's nearly 30 years later and I'm launching photo teaching workshops of my own. Find out about some of the workshops we're working on - CLICK HERE

Let us know which one - or ones - you'd like to see offered first. And, definitely share ideas about things you'd like to learn. We're putting together a whole new site devoted to photo education and the more input we receive, the more valuable we can make the site. So don't be shy!

Oslernado 2016

Every summer, my extended family gathers in Long Island for a week of summer fun. It’s a perennial tradition that was incredibly important to my mother, and is now incredibly important to us all.

Life moves quickly, in all directions, and the great joy of this year’s reunion will settle back in our memories until next March rolls around, when the bristling begins as we fight thru the hassle of coordinating and planning the coming summer’s get-together.

Then, mid-summer 2017, the time will arrive when we’re together again to laugh and share in each other’s company — and, most significantly, to punctuate how much we NEED this too-short, too-infrequent time together…and be reminded how lucky we are to have the gift of family.

This photo really belongs more to my daughter than to me. She conceived it, organized it and executed it. All I did was push the shutter button. Thanks, honey!

This photo really belongs more to my daughter than to me. She conceived it, organized it and executed it. All I did was push the shutter button. Thanks, honey!

A Little Excitement To Loosen The Rust

12 Jan 2015 - At least 8 police cars (not sure jurisdictions), one Denver fire truck and an ambulance responded to a lockdown situation at Smiley Middle School Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, precipitated by an incident at Venture Prep, according to a message from the Denver Public School system's automated messenger.  (copyrighted photo by Mark T. Osler. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Contact at (303) 549-6873 or mark@MarkOslerPhotography.com) My daughter's school went into lockdown today after a weapon was apparently found in the high school that shares the middle school building. I drove by to see how serious it was. Not much going on when I arrived. Not sure if it was more active before I arrived. I was just getting ready to pull out to pick up my son at his school when I got pinned in by an ambulance and fire truck...uggghh! So, figured since I was stuck there, I might as well do something useful. This is certainly not much of a news photo...largely because it wasn't much of a news event. Still, it's the first even semi-news photo I've taken in...geez, a while (to be specific) :–)

In the photo are the first two non-official people to leave the building after the lockdown was lifted, along with a Denver police officer in the foreground. Thought I'd share because...well, just because!

For what ails ya...

Ice melting. Denver, Colorado. Jan. 9, 2015. © Mark T. Osler. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Last Friday, we woke up here in Denver to a thin sheet of ice on everything. I didn't get the picture of me wiping out on the stairs as I came out of my house -- THAT would have been a picture! I did, though, get this fun little shot. Not quite as effective as aspirin for my poor aching body...but it was some consolation! Happy New Year all!