Monday Motivation: You’re Never Too Old…


Always See the World Through Youthful Eyes

“You’re never too old to experience youthful imagination and wonder.” – Michael Stagg

Yes, today’s quote is something I’ve had in my head all of this past week. Ever notice how, no matter what’s going on, a child seems to remain ever optimistic and hopeful? Some of us, as we get older, tend to let go of that ability to believe in the abundance of the Universe and its willingness to supply us with our every desire. Perhaps it is because we are conditioned to “grow up” and live in “reality” instead of so-called pipe dreaming.

My own experiences come to mind, especially when it comes to photographer. I was in grammar school when I first learned about the wonders of camera and lens and although I am just now able to pursue that dream I’ve always held on to it regardless of what people thought. So I submit to you that if photography (or painting, or racing or any other pursuit) is something you’ve always wanted to do then run, don’t walk to the nearest camera or electronics shop – our your Smartphone, it doesn’t matter – and pick up a camera and start shooting! I can all but guarantee that you’ll reignite the passion you felt just like I was able to. 🙂

Monday Motivation: Life is a Series of Experiences…


“Battlestar Galactica” Poster by Mika Ruottinen

“Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger…for the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grief’s we endure help us in our marching onward.” – Henry Ford

Short and sweet (because I’ve been up all night working on projects and watching Battlestar Galactica…Mostly watching Battlestar Galactica), what we consider mistakes are, in reality, our greatest teachers. As a budding photographer I admit to making plenty but I do not allow those mistakes to hinder me or deter me from pursuing my passion. On the contrary, when I make photos and the results are not what I expected I don’t give up, I don’t blame others and and I don’t blame my equipment. I try to, as objectively as possible, look at what I’ve done and look for reasons why I didn’t get the results I expected. Sometimes it’s a simple matter of adjusting aperture or shutter speed, other times I might need to pay better attention to lighting. Whatever the case may be, I sit, I study and then I go out and try it again. OK, I say I was going to be brief but the point is, in life or photography, we go through things. We can either learn from them or be doomed to repeat them… Kind of like the story of Battlestar Galactica, huh?! So say we all! OOPS! There goes my inner Adama again! 😉

Monday Motivation: Easy Doesn’t Enter…



“Easy doesn’t enter into grown-up life.” – Michael Caine in The Weather Man

I hear people all the time expressing how “life isn’t fair” or “I’m not trying that; it’s too hard”. Thankfully, not everyone thinks that way or we’d never have this marvelous medium known as photography. Think about it: if Louis Jacque Mandé Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot had decided that “it wasn’t fair” that someone else was developing picture-taking technology or that doing so was “too hard”, then we may have never experienced photography as we know it today.

There have been days when I didn’t think I wanted to continue pursuing photography because I wasn’t grasping the techniques as quickly as I wanted. Instead of quitting, I did the one thing I rarely enjoy doing – I asked for help. You see, nothing that matters is ever as easy as we’d like it to be but that doesn’t mean we give up or quit. You have to push on until either you find a way or you get smart like I did and ask for help. No, easy doesn’t usually enter into our adult lives; idleness and procrastination shouldn’t either.

Monday Motivation: It is More Important…

Model and Adi Barkan

Credit: Reuters | Nir Elias

“It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter” – Alfred Eisenstaedt

In the final days of my photo design class the top of discussion among many of my classmates was how difficult it can be to work with people. Some claim that people are too flaky and unreliable. Others stated working with people means that you are at the mercy of someone else’s schedule. As for me, I find that each of these statements can be true but even a nature photographer has to wait for his/her subject to appear or, in the case of a landscape photographer, waiting on just the right moment for the sun to appear (or disappear) is required to capture breath-taking images that move us. The point is, it’s all about how you handle your subject.

When I saw this quote over on the Photofocus blog I immediate thought of the exchanges with my classmates. I complete agree with the premise that as photographers, “it is our job as photographers to set the mood, break the ice, inject confidence, and the one (and only) way is to Talk” (Bollinger). Building a rapport with the people we work with is just as important, if not more so, as capture a great image. Now, I’m a shy fellow but when it comes to working with people I always do my best to learn about them before our session and make their time with me as enjoyable as possible.

Do you have a special way to connect with your clients/subjects? Please share in the comments below; I’d love to hear them!


Bollinger, Stephan. “Portrait Photography – Click with People.” Photofocus. N.p., 30 Jun 2012. Web. 1 Jul 2012. <;.

Monday Motivation: Amateurs Worry About…


© 2012 Michael Stagg Photography

“Amateurs worry about equipment, professionals worry about money, masters worry about light… I 

just take pictures…” – Vernon Trent
I still find myself thinking like an “amateur” sometimes and saying stuff like “I’ll bet I could have gotten the show if I had this, that or the other piece of equipment. The truth is – and, again, I’m still learning this – that  the camera a photographer uses is no more important than the brushes (or graphics tablet) an artist uses. It’s just a tool and only as valuable as the artist wielding it.

While I do want photography to be a profession I don’t want to get so wrapped in the “bottom line” that I forget to enjoy the act of photography. Likewise, I want to master lighting but not at the expense of the moment or more correctly capturing a moment. I think Vernon knew what was important: the experience and joy of taking pictures.

Know an awesome quote I should us on Monday Motivation? Send it to me via message and I’ll be sure to use it!