P&P Blogger Profile: Doug Stremel

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“Home Alone”
Doug Stremel of doug stremel photography 

I’m Doug Stremel, and I live with my wife, three boys and two cats in Lawrence, Kansas. I’m a creative director/writer/designer for my smallish advertising agency called Blam Creative. I rediscovered photography about three years ago and it quickly turned into a wonderful addiction. Although I shoot primarily for myself, I have slowly increased the number of paying photography jobs. Over the next several years I hope to make it my full-time gig. I’m also addicted to football, BBQ, great food, movies, the outdoors, and spending time with my boys.

Why do you blog?
When I got back into photography, I found flickr.com, Lensbabies friends, and a ton of great photoblogs. I was hooked, but I put off starting my own blog for the longest time. Several photo friends and I decided to start a group called Photodudes, and developing a blog to share photos started soon after (photodudes.com). Two of the founding photodudes, Bruce and Mike Snell, were already veteran bloggers – so they were an inspiration to start my blog. I love the whole world of blogging. It encourages me to explore new ideas and share my life with the world.

If you only had time to read three blogs a day, which ones would they be?
I used to be a photoblog junkie, but I’ve moved onto blogs with photos + insights from talented photographers. I find as much inspiration from the stories as the photos. Here’s my three:

1. Bruce & Mike Snell (brucesnell.blogspot.com and www.thatsmymonkey.com/blog). These guys inspire me every day.
2. Chromasia (www.chromasia.com/iblog). David Nightengale’s blog was one of the first photoblogs I stumbled on when I started. The blog design and photography are so simple and clean.
3. Superficialsnapshots (superficialsnapshots.blogspot.com). This is Allison Smith’s blog, and I love her photography. It’s an elegant execution of less is more. I hope I get to meet her someday.

How long have you been using Photoshop/been a photographer?
I fell into the design/advertising agency business in 1991 – so I got to see the whole evolution of Photoshop. I was a writer back then, but I got to see talented designers learn and master Photoshop. I went out on my own in 1998 and jumped into design. I’ve been using Photoshop ever since. I learned photography in high school, spent five years as a TV photojournalist, and then after a long break took up digital photography in 2004.

What type of camera(s) do you shoot with?
Nikon D200 and D70. I also play around with a Holga and a Polaroid. My lenses: Nikkor 70-200mm VR, 17-35mm, 35mm, 60mm macro and a Lensbaby 2.0.

Mac or PC?
Die-hard Mac.

What is your favorite piece of photo or computer equipment (other than your camera)?
My Mac, of course. Adobe Lightroom is the coolest, and I’m always trying out new Photoshop actions.

What piece of equipment would you most like to get but don’t have?
When I got back into photography, I struggled with the Nikon vs. Canon issue. I chose Nikon, but I’ve had Canon envy since. I love my Nikons, but I would like a camera that performs better in low-light, high ISO situations. Hopefully the new D3 and D300 will solve that.

What advice do you have for a novice creative professional/photographer?
Shoot, share and study. Assuming you know the basics of good photography – start shooting – a lot. Carry a camera with you wherever you go. It can be your DSLR, a point-and-shoot or even the camera in your phone. Shoot everything. Find ways to make the mundane special. Develop the confidence to photograph people. Give yourself a fake photo assignment and go do it. Shoot, shoot, shoot.

Share your photos. Flickr (and others) is a great place to meet other photographers from around the world and get feedback on you photos. Start a blog, dig into photo forums, join a photo group, enter a photo contest, have a show, and continually explore new places to share your work.

And finally, study photography. That includes studying great photographers, learning more about your camera, new techniques, old techniques and post-processing. The basics of photography are constant – but technology is a fast-moving target.

The most important thing to remember is to find a good balance between shooting, sharing and studying. Oh yea, don’t forget to have fun.

What inspires you to create?
Mostly, other creative people – artists, writers, comedians, entrepreneurs, chefs, directors, designers – the list is way too long. There are so many talented people who have interesting and unique perspectives of the world. I’m mostly inspired by creative people who will try anything and don’t mind if they fail. It’s a cliche, but failure really is the best teacher.

What would be your most important piece of advice about life?
The idea of pay-it-forward. I truly believe that optimism and kindness make life much more special. It’s a Karma kind of thing. I just hope I don’t come back as a bug.

Where would you most like to live (other than where you live now)?
Oregon or New Zealand

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m a movie-a-holic. I admire how great directors/actors can make you experience every emotion (whether you want to or not).

What talent would you most like to have?
To sing and play like Sting or Bob Marley or Ray Charles. How cool would it be to perform in front of thousands of people and have them sing along with you. Great singers have a gift for making the world happy.

From Inside the Actors Studio:
What is your favorite word?
okie-dokie (I love how Anthony Hopkins said it in the movie Hannibal.)
What is your least favorite word? cancer
What turns you on? The sensation of taste. Especially amazing, new tastes.
What turns you off? Right-wing radio
What sound or noise do you love? Cicadas singing
What sound or noise do you hate? Chewing loudly
What is your favorite curse word? the f-bomb
What occupation other than your own would you like to attempt? college professor
What occupation would you not want to participate in? Military
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Hi, I’m God. Make yourself at home.

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