Photo Philosophy

Figuring out what works for you photography-wise is an evolution. At least it was for me. I didn’t start out knowing what style I liked or how I preferred to shoot or what gear was my favorite.

But eventually I discovered that all it comes down to is this:

Sacrifices & Priorities.

I’ve learned that every choice comes at a sacrifice of something else, so I had to learn what was most important to me. Better lenses are usually (but not always) more expensive and a lot heavier. But more affordable ones sacrifice image quality.

And to me, experiences trump photo taking most every time. So if I’m out and about in the world, I don’t want my photo taking to interfere too much with what it is I’m doing – whether that’s hiking Mt. Fuji, snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef or capturing someone’s wedding.

Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

At the same time, I want to have the best, most appropriate gear that will allow me to capture everything I want to capture.

Here’s my take on…


  • Creativity is a process, and with practice and patience you’ll only get better.
  • Trying new tools and techniques can be a great way to improve, but newer isn’t always better. Sometimes it just take a bit of refining.
  • Creating beautiful, moving images is more important than always following the rules and making technically perfect images.


  • Most digital images (especially RAW files) can benefit from some – but not a lot – of editing.
  • You can usually do most of your editing in one program.
  • It’s worth spending some time developing a good workflow for ingesting, naming, backing up and keywording your images so you can find what you’re looking for later.


  • You need a lot less photography gear than you think.
  • Having the right gear and tools to photograph what you like to shoot is essential.

Bride and Groom - California Wedding by Kim Olson

This is one of my favorite wedding shots I took when I was second shooting a wedding with a friend.

He only had one DSLR camera body with him and for some crazy reason it just stopped working.

It was the 4th of July so we didn’t have the option of going somewhere to rent another body, so I lent him my camera. Because I was only the second shooter and it was actually the second wedding I’d ever shot, I didn’t have a backup camera body. What I did have, though, was my small compact camera. And this is the shot I took using it – and I love it.

My point is, don’t underestimate the gear you do have. You never know when or how you’ll manage to capture images you love.