tutorial

ATMOSPHERE eBook and Preset Collection

I’m proud to release a new eBook ATMOSPHERE ~ How to create atmospheric photography. I took all my knowledge about how to create evocative photographs and combined them into the eBook. If you want to learn how I approach mood in photography and editing take a look, and I believe anyone can learn something from the eBook.

The ATMOSPHERE eBook includes topics about what creates mood and from generating ideas to planning and capturing the photographs. The eBook consists of seven different editing tutorials from some of my favorite pictures.

These are the things you will learn from the eBook

  • What creates mystery and atmosphere

  • How to use color to create mood

  • How to capture atmospheric photographs

  • In-Depth Editing tutorials

    • First Snow ~ Color editing

    • Old Ghost In The Mist ~ Learn simplistic editing

    • Blizzard ~ Learn light editing

    • Path ~ How to use color to create mood

    • Heart of the Storm ~ How to create atmospheric photo manipulations

    • Pathway ~ Creative editing in Photoshop

    • Strange Ways ~ Using blur to emphasize mood

  • Extra Content

    • How to find your vision & style in photography

    • Deconstruct photographs and learn faster

Example pages from the eBook

Tutorials from the eBook

NEW ATMOSPHERE PRESET COLLECTION

A new Preset Collection included in the ATMOSPHERE Bundle you can find on the eBook page. The ATMOSPHERE Preset Collection was made with the photographs in the eBook and it contains 23 high-quality presets for Lightroom CC Classic (7.3 and later) and for Camera Raw.

Example images created entirely with the new presets

How to keep yourself motivated and take better photos?

As I'm looking back to my ten-year journey in photography, I realize that I have had my ups and downs. The thing that I have found out to be one of the keys to my success and for the other photographers I spend time with is perseverance. It's not a surprising thing, but how many of us overlook it? I certainly did. Why? Is it because we don't want to admit that it takes a long time to create beautiful work? 

It's much easier to focus on things that don't matter. Or it might be because someone else is developing stunning work, they must have it in their genes? Why do we do this? It's paralyzing! 

As I have been creating the Day & Night video course, I have realized that I can't focus on many things at the same time. It led me to focus only on the course, which then lowered my ability to go out and photograph. And I haven't been active on social media either. Looking back over the last two months I have barely gone out to shoot which has dropped my confidence in creating beautiful work. If you didn't know by now, I'm not perfect. 

I haven't seen many posts about motivation when it comes to photography, so I decided to write one. I'm sure all of us sometimes lack the motivation to take photos, but I think it all depends how fast you can bounce out of it.

For me, it's sometimes hard to find balance. I love to share my knowledge with people, but if I "can't" go out to photograph I feel uninspired. I think we all have these assumptions of how we are and that we cannot do anything about it. In fact, I think that those are just scripts that run in the back of our mind to keep us taking action needed to break out from the jam we are.

So what are the steps we can take to break out of these excuses and keep us motivated to create beautiful photographs?

1. PLAN

Make a plan that is easy to follow through. I use an "easy-motivation-planner" I have created when I'm planning my week. I don't plan all of my weeks like in the below example. Instead, I use it if I haven't been photographing lately or find it hard to go out and take photographs. The planner has a day, time, place, goal and ideas sections.

A preview of how the planner looks like.

Here is a breakdown of the planner:

  • The Day, of course, is the day you want to go out and photograph in a specific location.
  • Time is when you need to head out from your home, so calculate enough time before the sunrise, sunset or any time you want to visit a location.
  • The Place is a specific location you want to visit that time. If you don't have a place in mind, use Google maps as a location scouter.
  • The Goal is what it is that you want to capture, is it perhaps seascape or landscape or anything you wish to achieve from the location.
  • Ideas are from your idea archive. Put at least one idea for the shoot in this section.  Don't know how to create ideas that are unique? Check out my video course

Download a copy of my easy-motivation-planner here.

2. Make it Impossible to fail

I bet there have been times when you have woken up but felt that you need to keep on sleeping instead of heading out to photograph. I know I have. Or you have been busy doing something else and forgot to go out and capture the sunset. We all have many excuses not to go out and photograph...

One of the best things you can do is prepare for it. Take the excuses away!

  • Charge your camera & gear beforehand
  • Pack your gear into your backpack and keep it ready
  • Make sure you have enough gas in your car if you wish to travel with it

When you want to capture the sunrise

  • Keep your clothes prepared near your bed
  • Make it easy to take a coffee or tea with you or grab one on the go
  • Cook your breakfast the day before 

You can add any steps you think makes it easier to go out. If you have gone through all of these, I bet you would feel stupid not to go! 

3. TAKE ACTION NO MATTER WHAT

It sounds counter-intuitive but if you doubt yourself the only way to break out of that doubt is to take action. Go out and take photographs, no matter what. When you make a plan, you can always say to yourself that this is what you promised yourself when you were thinking about the best interest of your photography. So listen to your past-self and take action. Action-cycle is where you want to end up!

4. GO OUT WITH OTHER PHOTOGRAPHERS 

Chat with a fellow photographer and plan a trip, whatever it takes for you to start taking action and going out to photograph. If you make yourself accountable to other photographers, you will make progress. "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." Yeah, it's a cliche already, but having people around that increases your positivity is crucial! Having like-minded people who want to create work that stands-out makes you feel inspired.

5. STOP SPENDING TIME ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Scrolling the internet (except my site of course) or using the smartphone instead of going out is a way to kill your productivity. I'm not saying that you should entirely stop using social media or any platforms that connect you with other creators and followers. I'm just saying that you should have more time for creation than for watching what other people have done. Create work that inspires you!

 

The above steps have worked for me, let me know if you find them useful!

I know this post was something different, so leave a comment and let me know if you want to see posts like these in the future. Enjoy Spring everyone! 

 
 

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Mikko-Lagerstedt-Passing-Moment.jpg

How to find your vision in Photography

How to find your vision in photography, art, and life? One of the most common questions I get from people is: What should I do to find my vision as I'm just starting in photography? In this guide, I have gathered some tools you can start to use straight away. Without further ado, let's cut to the chase!

1. Practice your craft DAILY

When you are first starting and want to find your unique vision. Try any kind photography you can think. Keep your camera with you everywhere you go. If you already know what kind of photography you want to focus on, then you just keep on doing that and there is no point on not to photograph another type of photography. Start with what you got. No matter if it's a camera, mobile phone or a pen. The key to success is not to wait.

2. Give it 100% – Say NO to excuses

If you want to be good at something, you have to give it your 100%. Sitting around and reading about photography tricks and tools gives you insight but you have to use that insight in the field. There are plenty of times I have said that "no, not today" yet crawled out of the bed at 1.00 am to photograph the night sky. Or when I have stayed up the whole night to get that first view of the sunrise. I believe in the 10 000 hours rule. For those who don't know what it is, it's practicing your craft for 10 000 hours whether it's photography, painting and so on. I would say I'm somewhere over the half way of this, and I still have a lot to learn.

3. Create, don't imitate

It's useful at times to use someone else's work as an inspiration but copying another painters or photographers work is unoriginal and uninspiring. Add your unique vision to the inspiration you gather. Keep a small notebook or a mobile phone with you to capture your thoughts and ideas. Don't hesitate to put bad ideas there as well. 

4. Study your work

If you want to get better at your craft, you have to go through your paintings or photographs with a perspective of a critique. Study what you enjoyed about the work and what could have been better. This way you always learn something new even though when the work was not good enough that you would like to share. 

5. Identify your inspiration

By creating and producing work, it's important to find those moments where you get inspired. Whether it's from other people's work, nature, movies, music or whatever. Once you understand what motivates you, you have an idea of what you can pursue. 

6. Share your best work

What this means is that you need to publish the photographs you find most inspiring to yourself. Not just the stuff that you can see gets a lot of attraction. It's crucial to find the courage to share your work. How do you know what is your best work? Well, that's the thing, you don't necessary know until you have had the courage to share it. You will get better at this the more you share your work. Search for a community where you can share the work. For photographers, there are many different platforms to use. For example, 1x is an interesting place to share your photographs this is a great site since you can get insightful feedback about your pictures. For painters and digital artist, there are fantastic opportunities as well such as deviantArt

7. Evolve and change

Don't be afraid to change your vision while you are working on your craft; it is one of the keys to finding your true artistic vision. It's a lifelong journey!

8. Challenge yourself

Creating photography challenges such as photograph each day for the next 30 days, or learn a new post-processing trick each day is an excellent way to boost your motivation and find out more about your vision. 

Try one of the following 30-days exercises

  • Photograph every day
  • Post-process pictures every day
  • Capture only five pictures per day

If you want to challenge yourself with a 52-week program check it out!

9. Book recommendations

These are the books that I feel works as a knowledge boost about the rules I have stated. Do the job while you read these, don't try and hide behind education it's just one kind of procrastination. 
Mastery – Robert Greene
Show Your Work – Austin Kleon

Enjoy the journey and have fun!

Mikko Lagerstedt – Red Night – Tuusulanjärvi, Finland 2015

Eight key things that make you stand out on Social Media – Major PING Alert!

Here is something a bit different from my regular posts. However, I believe it's something you will enjoy and learn from, whether you are a photographer, business owner or a freelancer.

Last year I had the pleasure to teach a workshop in PING Helsinki (maybe you saw this post back then), which was a fantastic opportunity to share my knowledge about photography. This year I had the pleasure to get an invitation as a Content Guru. 

So what is PING Helsinki? It's THE place where businesses and content creators are gathered together to share their vision and knowledge but most of all it's about the community and fun! I enjoyed the inspiring keynote speakers and workshops; I learned a lot. The most important message from the festival for me was that it made me remember what is the most important part of my work. The community! 

I have been a photographer for over seven years and through the time, I have been part of many communities. My first real online community was Flickr, which was the biggest photo sharing network at that point, and still people are using it. Getting feedback about my work was an essential part of my journey. I never would be here if I would not have been part of this community. See one of my first posts on Flickr. Getting comments from other photographers gave me the courage to continue with my work.

I have had my share of luck with social media, for instance, my Facebook page has now over 870 000 followers. I believe it's because I have always tried my best to keep up with the comments and share my knowledge as best as I can. Answering to messages and emails and by replying to comments can take up time. I still think it's essential. I have also been sharing my techniques and photography knowledge. It's about the community; it's not just about you or your work even though it all starts from there.

Eight key things that make you stand out on Social Media

  1. Create the kind of work YOU enjoy doing
  2. Do it regularly
  3. Share your work
  4. Keep your work consistent
  5. Fail
  6. Learn from your mistakes
  7. Engage with the audience
  8. Repeat

And I believe this works for any work you put out and for different kind of platforms as well! 

PING Helsinki 2016 – That's me second from the top left with a bunch of my fellow Instagrammers – see my huge ears and a black cap...

PING Helsinki 2016 – That's me second from the top left with a bunch of my fellow Instagrammers – see my huge ears and a black cap...

Shoutout to my fellow Instagrammers from Ping Helsinki

If you didn't know this is my Instagram: @mikkolagerstedt

Juuso Hämäläinen – @juusohd
Jaakko Kahilaniemi – @jkahilaniemi
Jaakko Kivelä – @jaakkokivela
Julia Kivelä – @julia_kivela
Anna-Elina Lahti – @annisellis
Sofia Lavaste – @slavaste
Joonas Linkola – @joonaslinkola
Konsta Linkola – @konstalinkola
Pekka Pelkonen – @pekkelsson
Konsta Punkka – @kpunkka
Teppo Tirkkonen – @teppotirkkonen

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it! If you have any suggestions for future tutorials, leave a comment. Finally, thank you PING Helsinki for the hugely inspiring festival! 

If you are on Snapchat, follow me there to see behind the scene footage! Click here @mikkolagerstedt to add me on Snapchat. (You need a mobile phone with IOS or Android to use it)

Presets Collection Saga

After a long wait, I finally present you the new fine art landscape and night sky Lightroom Preset Collection Saga! If you want to add a unique look to your night and landscape photographs the Saga Presets are perfect for you! It includes over 180 presets to suit your style with my post-processing techniques. The collection uses the same technique of step by step process as the Phase Presets. Below you can find before and after photographs edited with the new collection. 

video on how to use Saga Lightroom Presets