Meet The Photographers Who Write For Digital Photography School ~ Anne McKinnell
You’ve been reading their articles for months or years, have you ever wondered “Who are the photographers who write for dPS”? Today we meet Anne McKinnell, one of our brand new, fresh and minty smelling writers.
1. How long have you been shooting?
About 6 years if you add it all together.
The first time photography was part of my life was in university 20 years ago. I wrote for the student newspaper and bought a used Canon AE1 so I could take photographs to go with my stories. I used to roll my own film, develop it, and make prints in my bathroom. After university I did some travel photography in eastern Europe.
Back then I lived in a darkness. My images were journalistic in style and focused on problems in the world, sad stories, homeless people, and I even had a whole series on graveyards. It is as if I lived in a world full of only bad things.
I photographed less often during the time I was building my career in software and working to pay for my house. When digital photography came out, I gave up on it all together thinking now anyone could make a perfect photograph.
A decade later I realized that digital photography does not mean anyone can make a perfect image. I renewed my interest in photography and purchased my first DSLR about 4 years ago.
Well, about a year and a half ago I made a rather huge change in my life. I sold my house in Victoria, BC, closed my software consulting business, bought an RV and hit the road for the life of a nomadic photographer.
I decided that if I ever wanted to be a travel photographer I should just start living that life and see what happens. So I’m a full-time photographer now, it’s my second career, and I’m having a happier and more fulfilling life. I don’t make as much money as I used to but I’m happier.
3. If you had to limit yourself to one genre of photography, what would it be and why?
When I got back into photography four years ago I did it for a specific reason. Photography is the tool I use to become a happier person and so I decided to only photograph beautiful things and leave the darker side of life for other photographers.
I have a tendency to see and focus on all the negative things in the world. I wish I was one of those positive people who see the bright side of life, but I’m not. Being inspired by Dewitt Jones, I try very hard to focus on “what is right with the world” and I use photography to help me do that. It really works and has changed my perspective greatly.
So my one genre of photography would have to be landscape and nature. When I see something in nature that is beautiful it reminds me that the world cannot be all bad. My favourite thing is to get out in nature and find beautiful things that inspire me and keep me sane. Seascapes at twilight is what really does it for me.
4. When did you start writing for dPS and why?
I’m new! I just starting writing for dPS a couple of months ago. I have always loved writing and I did a lot of teaching in my software business so it seemed natural to combine writing, teaching and photography this way. It also helps me bring my photography to a wider audience.
5. What do you shoot with and what’s your favorite lens?
I have a Canon 7D. My favourite lens is my 24-105L lens, probably because it’s my only L lens and it’s the perfect range for those times when I go out with only one lens. It’s extremely versatile. However I have to say that on a couple of occasions I have rented the 400mm f/5.6L for wildlife photography and I LOVE that lens.
6. What would be your number one tip to any new photographer?
Slow down. You have to change the way you go about photography to progress from making snapshots to making great images that have impact. Spend some time thinking about the scene and what you want to say about it. I like to spend a little time coming up with adjectives that describe the scene and then use those adjectives to decide what kind of image I want to make. For example, if I come up with adjectives like “peaceful, calm, blue” I might use a very different technique then if my adjectives are “dramatic, stormy, gritty.”
7. What’s your next big project?
I’m currently writing a series of eBooks for new photographers that will help them enhance their vision, exercise their creativity, and learn new tools and techniques along the way.
It’s a bit of an unconventional approach because I believe in learning a bit of everything at the same time. When you get your first DSLR it’s no fun to memorize your camera manual until you understand what every single button does without making any images. It’s no fun to study composition endlessly without trying some fun techniques too.
I think of it like a chemistry class in high school. Sure, you have to learn the formulas and memorize some stuff, but you also have to melt things and set stuff on fire or you’ll get bored and start to hate chemistry.
You need to learn a bit of each thing and progress in all areas simultaneously and that’s how I try to guide new photographers in my eBooks.
8. Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
The best place is on my website where I have a blog about my travels and how I make each of my images. I also have two free photography eBooks available there.
My website: http://annemckinnell.com
I’m also on a bunch of social networks: