February 6, 2010


I posted a pic on Flickr of my new Gretsch G6119 Chet Atkins Tennessee Rose guitar the other day. Several in my audience were surprised to learn that I am also a musician. It’s very interesting to me that so many people who read my stuff or listen to my shows are also heavily into both photography and music.

Ansel Adams was a concert pianist. He expected a career in music before photography took over his life. Many current prominent professional photographers are also musicians. Tony Sweet  is a serious drummer and accomplished jazz player. Scott Kelby is a multi-talented musician with great skills on many different instruments.

I minored in music in college. My mother was a music teacher. She made me trade two hours of _______________ fill in the blank with piano, violin, guitar, etc. practice for every two hours of football practice. Since football was everything to me as a kid I went along and of course hated every minute of it. Until, that is – I got to high school and all of a sudden became popular with girls because I could play in a rock band :)

Fast-forward to my photographic experiences. You might also be surprised to find out that I often write music while I am photographing wildlife. I hear melodies in my head and I’ll quickly sing them into my iPhone so that I can remember them. Then when I come back from the shoot, I’ll do a slide show and write, perform and record the music for it.

I think it makes for a more complete experience for the audience. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of great music out there. I’ve even sold some of mine to companies who re-sell it as clip music. I can’t always come up with something I like and in those cases, companies like TripleScoop Music are a great resource.

In any case, music is a powerful compliment to photography. Just for fun, ask yourself, even if you don’t play, how music might enhance or improve your photographic experiences or those of your audiences. Perhaps you could shoot to music (although I personally find that distracting since I am often writing in my head at the same time) or edit in post to music (now you’re talking) or go all the way and write some (yes YOU – write some.)

Music and photography go together like Kentucky Fried Chicken and fat guys. Give it a try – the music that is.

This post sponsored by the Digital SLR Store