My photo
Greg Taylor is a digital marketing professional and a music photographer from Tempe, AZ -originally from Warren, NJ. Feel free to email me with any questions regarding my company GRT2 Studios, marketing, photography or music at

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Silence of Photography

The deafening silence of photography is powerful. When making photographs or viewing photos no sound is captured. The sound of the people, the music or the weather lays within our minds.

I was inspired to shoot some Tempe architecture by viewing my friend Jon VanderMey's photos of his local architecture and sights.  ASU has some great buildings for photography - so I took advantage of this great winter day and went on a photowalk.

Typically I do a lot of concert photography and there is always sound associated with each picture. Not so today. More than the picture I made I enjoyed the silence of the subjects. I was able to create my own soundtrack to today's shoot. Do you know how powerful that can be?

What do you think about or listen to when you are taking photographs? (All photos from today can be viewed here!)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Has Digital Photography Raised or Lowered the Creative Bar?

Has the creative bar been raised now that the point of entry into photography has been lowered?

My mind wonders sometimes and during an afternoon in traffic school I posed this question to myself. Now that almost anyone can afford a camera whether it's an entry level DSLR or 'Point and Shoot' - what has happened to us creatively?

I'm sure there are plenty of arguments for both sides but I think that the creative bar has been raised. Professionals now are separating themselves exhibiting a higher level of expertise more than ever. If we took three photographers (professional, serious hobbyist and amateur) and shot 5 photos of 5 different objects - I'm sure the professional would take away the best pictures. No brainer...they have the most experience and the highest level of technical skill.

The new reality is that the professional has to be on their game so that they do not come back to the pack. No longer can a professional photographer show up and deliver mediocre photographs. My sister's cousin's brother could have delivered mediocrity - but a way. That's why they are a professional and not someone who take photos occasionally.

Granted, there may be more professional photographers but creatively the hobbyist is pushing the professional to justify their title (and fees.)

What do you think - Has the creative bar been raised? I really want to hear what others have to say about this topic...drop me a line - GRT2

Thursday, December 10, 2009

When Is Familiarity Important? Three Part Series - Part THREE

Sometimes there are situations in photography that the moment is instant and spontaneous. Capturing that moment, that feeling and making a great photograph is the only thing that is on your agenda. There is no time to get familiar with the subject or the location. - click or it may be gone.

There are rules to photography. There are rules and there are suggestions. I try to know the rules and suggestions (I am not the most technical photographer I work on instinct with settings etc.) and when it comes time to make a picture - go with what feels right.

Central Ave Boxing Gym is a place I had never been before. I never really knew what a boxing gym looked liked or what it felt like to be in one. (I can tell you now that it's very hot.) I didn't know what the lighting conditions would be like or spacial restrictions. I went and spoke to some people and observed for a couple of moment before shooting anything. This photo was taken from a balcony above the training floor. It was the place that I could get the best exposure and the best composition.

Moments like this are great when you walk into a situation without knowing anything and leave with a photograph that you really like.

The more you know about something the better your end result will be but don't let that limit you. The best way I've found to familiarize yourself with a subject is immersion. Go out and shoot something, then go photograph it again. Measure your progress - keep notes. What do you wish you did differently? Go and repeat. Great photographers are made by shooting photographs.

Monday, December 7, 2009

When Is Familiarity Important? Three Part Series - Part TWO

Concert photography is like gambling in a casino - the odds are mostly against you. However, there are those times that if you know the game well enough and see an opportunity to come up and have the nerve to follow through - the payoff is huge.

My favorite band to shoot is Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers. Local act gone national, great rock-n-roll and it's always a good time. I've seen RCPM tons of time but I have just started photographing them seriously.

Although I've seem them a lot it wasn't until I saw them as a photographer did I realize how hard this band was to photograph. With every shoot I started to realize how the stage presence and gestures were dictated by the song or tempo. Roger has a great stage presence and is very energetic (someone commented on a photo of mine and said it was trying to photograph a moth in a bright light.) After a while and after watching and after missing shots - it all clicks. Ok here comes the song (Mekong) ok he's probably going to do this...ok here's this song (Counterclockwise) I should be positioned over here a little.  Believe me it makes getting shots like this one (taken on 11/21 in Tempe, AZ) a little easier. Going back to the initial gambling analogy - you're able to stack the deck in your favor a little.

I've never shot soccer before - let alone kids soccer (or kids for that matter.) I was bored one day and I wanted to take photos and I ended up in Snedigar Park in Chandler, AZ. It was hot that day and I decided on setting up in a corner under a tree with a telephoto lens. (Truth be told I never use my telephoto lense - I don't know why.) After reviewing my action shots which were good - not great I saw this photo. A picture of a bunch of kids waiting for play to start. 7, 8 and 9 all in a row. That's what makes the shot. If I was little more familiar with kids soccer or more specifically I may have shot a great action photo - but this is what I came away with. A numeric composition.

Next post will deal with something that I briefly familiarized myself with a left with making a great photograph.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

When Is Familiarity Important? Three Part Series - Part ONE

Yesterday I commented on a "How to photograph skateboarding" article and it got me thinking - When is it important to be familiar with your subject? I'll stay with skateboarding for a moment...

If you don't know skateboarding the chances of you taking a great (not just good) skateboard photo in minimal. There are so many subtle nuances in skateboarding that make a great shot. With that being said these nuances that are predictable when you know the athlete and the sport. Here's a photo of Neal Hendrix I shot at The Skatepark of Tampa / Tampa Pro.  Neal is a perfect example. As a skateboarder he is super consistent and since was a contest run he was doing the same tricks in the same parts of the ramp - which is typical of contest runs and in practice. But if you didn't know Neal or the tricks he was doing - you would be at a severe disadvantage. (Thanks Neal for being a good example.)

I ask myself constantly - "Why am I shooting this?" Many times the answer is "because I want to" or simply "this looks cool." I'm fine with any answer that makes someone pick up a camera but if you go back to the why - it's something that interests you - right? Why else would you want to capture that moment in time?

With all that being said sometimes the subject is something that doesn't take a long time to get familiar with. In the next posts of this series I'll give examples of different subjects: subjects that I had to get to know well before I made a great picture and others that I familiarized myself quickly with before a great photo was made.

(Note: Thanks for reading my blog. Please post comments as you see fit or send me an email ( with any questions etc.)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Personal Photography Tipping Points : FOUR Photos

Thinking about myself as an artist is a daunting thought. I don't know why but I am extremely uncomfortable with the label. However, I can distinctly remember photographs I have made that made me stop and say I'm on to something. Here they are:

The Vampire - This was taken during a winter trip home. We were walking through the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the opportunity just presented itself. I was actually unaware what was going on until Amy pointed it out. Her presence of mind and awareness made this happen - I just had all the right settings dialed it. This shot was altered in Photoshop to make the imagery more powerful.

Jackson Hole, WY - This photograph was the first time I pre-visualized the shot and went back to the spot and made a picture happen. I was driving to the skatepark in Jackson and saw this sight. Not having a camera with at the time made this experience what it was. I saw exactly what I wanted to capture and went back a couple of hours later and created it.

God and Basketball - (Gila River Indian Reservation) While driving around in Arizona I just sort of let the road take me. I ended up on the Gila River Indian Reservation about 25 miles south of Phoenix. After stopping to take a couple of photos I found this site. This was one of the most powerful places I have ever been. The spot was perfect. I had a basketball in the car which completed the picture.

Kristina Snake River Overlook - (Grand Teton National Park) I set out to recreate Ansel Adams' famous photograph. I took about 25 or 30 pictures of this famous spot with my camera in Black and White mode. As I was putting my equipment away I called Kristina's name and she turned to look and this is the resulting picture. This was a one shot moment that I couldn't duplicate again (much like The Vampire) photo.

These are the four photos that make me consider myself a photographer and someone who make pictures. I don't know what else to really say about it. When I look at these photos I am taken back to the exact time and place they were taken - I can't describe it any better then that...