Almost every amateur photographer reaches a milestone of validation shortly after learning to correctly capture an image on their first SLR camera. They show the first well exposed photo of a sunset to friend who replies, “Wow, you have a really good eye! You should sell your photos, I would totally buy that and hang it on my wall.” For a moment, your newfound passion for photography seems like it could be more than just a hobby and you fantasize of traveling the world to shoot in exotic locations while your gallery assistant rings up sales for wall-sized pieces back in your resort town home base. Snap back to reality, and you realize that you don’t know the first thing about selling photography. I was told very early on in my first job as a semi-pro photographer that shooting good photos is easy. Learning to sell your work and make a living as a photographer, now that’s the hard part.
For me that moment of validation came shortly after moving to Jackson, Wyoming a little over 7 years ago. I stumbled upon a beautiful sunset along the outer road of Grand Teton National Park where the mountains and sky were lit up in every shade of purple and orange that I could capture in a single image. Family and friends gave me greatly appreciated words of encouragement over my work and my excitement for photography had never been higher. But Jackson is full of a lot of talented people in all walks of life, and being my own worst critic, I would compare my images to all the other local photographers with work hanging around town. I would walk into Tom Mangelson’s gallery on the town square, be blown away by his photos and realize that I was the low man on the totem pole when it came to landscape photographers in Jackson Hole. I know it was not fair to try and compare my work to that of a master with decades of shooting experience under his belt, but I knew that my limited catalog of images wouldn’t quite stand up in any galleries like taht. And while this might have made me decide to put printing and selling my images on hold, it motivated me more and more to get out and shoot.
The Teton Region is a awe inspiring landscape and I am lucky to live in such a beautiful area of the world. These mountains have taught me so much about photography in the past seven years. They have taught me about exposure and composition while trying to capture the rays of light that shoot out of the canyons as the sun dips behind the peaks. They have taught me to carry my camera with me everywhere I go, because you never know when your leisurely afternoon hike will turn into an opportunity to observe wildlife. And they have taught me to stop for a moment and take it all in; take my head out from behind the lens and take a second to appreciate what I am seeing before clicking the shutter and capturing that moment as an impression in my camera’s memory. Living in Jackson can sometimes be full of uncertainty (have you tried finding a reasonably priced, reliable place to rent in this town in the last year?) But every time I head into the mountains and fill a memory card full of images, I am filled with an appreciation of my environment, and I am certain that I am home.
It is with this certainty and appreciation that I started Stephen Williams Photography and Design LLC here in Jackson and present my first series of prints for sale, ‘Teton Impressions Part I‘. These are just a few of my favorite shots from around Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park and will be followed by two more sets of images from the region in the coming months. I want to keep as much of this business here in Jackson as possible and have chosen to take on all order processing on my own instead of using a photo fulfillment service. All of my photos are being printed by Asymbol, who are in the process of moving their gallery and professional imaging services to Broadway right next to town square. Rocky Vertone at Full Circle Frameworks is handling all of my framing and canvas wrapping from his shop on North Glenwood. I believe that quality of work from these locally owned businesses add a value that I would never be able to get from any random printing and framing services I could find online. My business is a member of 1% of the Tetons which will be putting 1% of my proceeds towards region sustainability projects and will become a member of the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce soon.
Getting to this point in my career as a photographer is definitely a milestone for me but by no means an end point. This is only the beginning of a new dedication to my photography in which I am more motivated then ever to continue to learn the art of capturing images. I am not only motivated to continue my landscape and wildlife work, but also my other passions in photography including shooting live music, skiing and more. I am grateful to have a reliable full-time job that affords me the opportunity to continue to live in Jackson and I am not trying to quit that. I am selling prints as a means to help continue my passion for photography. Like all gear nerds, I want to keep up on the newest camera technology and expand my quiver of lenses to be able to capture the highest quality image as possible. I also want to be able to expand my reach as a photographer by traveling and hope my work with my new business will allow me to grow and progress as a photographer.
Finally, I need to take a second to thank everybody who has helped me along in this process over the last few years. I would not be able to without the support and encouragement from my family and friends. Thanks for taking a minute to read through my story (sorry it ended up being so long, TL;DR.) It is my sincere hope that even if you don’t purchase any photos, you will enjoy my images and they help you to appreciate the beauty of Jackson Hole as much as I do. Thanks!
Next up in my series comparing photos taken with my Holga camera to the same composition taken with my digital SLR is the first Tram Tower at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. I took this photo right after the wires were first put on the tower after noticing how well the tower was lit from the parking lot below. The light and the stars were picked up much better by the SLR of course, but I really like the way the square ratio frames the tower from the Holga photo.
The Tram Tower shot at night with a Holga Camera
The Tram Tower shot at night with my Nikon D300
This weeks inspiration post collects 10 amazing typography works from across the web. Follow my Tumblr Page for more inspiring images.
Into the Wild – Luke Choice
Adam Ewing Photography Branding – Alex Ramon Mas
Moving to Austin – Ryan Hamrick
Hooligan – Cymone Wilder
Magic – Colin Tierney
Lost Paradise – Andrei Robu
Williams Design Studios – Joe White
Voyager – Pellisco
Split Decision – Christopher Craig
This is the first in series of posts collecting images I draw inspiriation from for my work. I will be switching off between photography, graphic design, typography and other fields on a weekly basis. Check back here soon or visit my Tumblr Page for more inspiring images.
Berufjörður, Iceland – Andy Lee
1 – Aleksandr Kolubako
Light and Shade – Jeff Dejoannis
Shasta Way – Joe Azure
North Cascades – Ian Coble
Bowman Lake – Brandon Kendall
What an amazing winter in Jackson Hole. With just shy of 500 inches of snow falling in bounds and a base reaching over a 140 inches at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, it was one of the best winters I have seen since moving to Wyoming 8 years ago. I have become more and more of a fan of black and white powder skiing photography. I think in black and white, you can pick up so many more tones in the snow that otherwise get lost or blown out in color. Check out some of my favorite shots from this winter below.
12/14/13 – Brian Schmidt – Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
01/10/14 – Erin Sours – Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
01/10/14 – Mary Lynn Young – Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
01/10/14 – Blake Cash – Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
01/14/14 – Benja Glatz – Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
01/19/14 – Marian Herbick and Ellie Stratton-Brook – Bridger Bowl
02/05/14 – Kat Gragnolati – Baldy Knoll Yurt
02/06/14 – Adam Glos – Baldy Knoll Yurt
02/06/14 – Nick Grenoble – Baldy Knoll Yurt
02/06/14 – Eric Dooley and Adam Glos – Baldy Knoll Yurt
02/06/14 – Kate Gragnolati – Baldy Knoll Yurt
02/08/14 – Rachel Fortier – Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
02/08/14 – Adam Glos – Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
02/22/14 – Blake Cash – Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
02/22/14 – Nick Grenoble – Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
03/02/14 – Brian Schmidt – Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Backcountry
03/02/14 – Mark Byall – Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Backcountry
03/15/14 – Alex Howell – Grand Teton National Park