Our favorite camera-wielding writer/Tweeter/media-maven Leigh Caraccioli shares a super-fab article about keeping your photography fresh and…well, Kung Fu-ed on the blog today.



Super-awesome photo recipe [shown above]:

Minor tweaks in ACR

Lux @ 22%

Select-O-Sharp @ 70%

Get faded (autumn) @ 21%

  • Contrast @ 38%

    Boutwell’s Magic Glasses 100%

Remember your first snipe hunt. The earnest but futile hunt. The dupe.

As hunters and gatherers our biological makeup has us seeking, yearning for personal evolution. As photographers, we see the world differently and want to depict it breathtakingly.  So the hunt, the quest for improvement is always on.

Sometimes I think I didn’t choose photography; it chose me. Perhaps you share that deep yearning to share your vision of the world, the view in your mind’s eye and the rare beauty you see through the lens. If so, you know being a photographer is a creative calling and consuming passion which keeps odd office hours.

Forgive me for sounding certifiably nuts, but whenever I go for deep thoughts, I hear Jack Black as Kung Fu Panda . Yeah.  It’s bi product of my watching the movie a million times with my kids and there was a time when I alluded to canons of English Lit instead of DreamWorks but JB makes me belly laugh. So I am using him to help illustrate this point.

Po: [breathing heavily] I know you’re trying to be all mystical and Kung Fu-ey, but could you tell me where we’re going?

We’re going on the search for the jar of secret ingredient, of course.  As an industry we’re searching for that photography special sauce, that perfect camera or piece of glass, the workshop that will make you a Kung-Fu photography master, the perfect storm of a shot, the perfect action or preset, searching for THE THING that will make you the super shooter you dreamed of being?

Well, stop.  Hear me out. {Cue in the Panda & his noodle soup making father.}

Mr. Ping
The secret ingredient is… nothing!

Po: Huh?

Mr. Ping: You heard me. Nothing! There is no secret ingredient.

Po: Wait, wait… it’s just plain old noodle soup? You don’t add some kind of special sauce or something?

Mr. Ping: Don’t have to. To make something special you just have to believe it’s special.

[Po looks at it again, and sees his reflection in it]

Po: There is no secret ingredient…

Sure, we have photography tools that function as savory ingredients to our images.  Some tools are essential for me like all the Totally Rad Actions which I use on nearly every photo. I may go out on a limb and assert that they ARE special sauce with their unlimited TRA recipe possibilities, uniquely tailorable so that you can use them AND maintain your individual style.  The challenge lies in not letting them take over the soup.

Many photographers don’t know yet that they already HAVE the secret ingredient.


The secret ingredient is…you. Specifically, your belief in you.

Nearly four years ago, while getting to know my way around my first digital camera I reached out to fellow writer/photographer, Joyce Smith, for sage advice. Believe me, I needed it. I was all over the place, trying on varied styles like a fashionista at risk of being a cheap carbon copy of those I admired.  She kindly told me, "trust your gut." Her cryptic advice gave birth to my photography in a way that a simple tool or training couldn’t.  That was the reveal for me. I put trust in my instinct, believed in my own personal style, and my business immediately took off.

It’s sometimes that simple, like Secret Ingredient Soup. While it’s easy to want to produce photographic art like the masters in our industry for a moment.  Let that moment pass.  My advice to you is to believe in your individual style, trust your gut like a divining rod. It will lead you well. And in the words of the panda,

Po: They’re five MASTERS, and I’m just ONE me!

Shifu: But you will have the one thing no one else has!

I believe in you. Go fulfill your destiny.

- Leigh


Mostly I’m a storyteller, armed with a camera and a blog . I enjoy people. Shooting weddings, personalities and their personal brands for fleur de leigh photography makes me a lucky girl.



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