Art, Photography, photos, Portraits

Photos and Being a Professional Artist

This post is going to be all over the place today.  I thought I would show you some of the new photos I have been doing and include a gallery so I, and you, can see all the images I have done so far, the good and the bad.  I also want to talk about some of the things that are important to me.

First let’s look at some of the photos.

Leanne Cole - Remembering the MomentI photographed Emelia last week.  She was so different to others that I have photographed.  I think because she was older, but she is more experienced at modelling and I think she could act as well, so when I asked to do something she pretty much knew what I wanted, it was really nice.

I like the above image, it has a very different feel to the other images, and is quite romantic.

Leanne Cole - Saying No to the AppleI was attempting to do another version of the apple being refused here, and I think she is very clear about not wanting to eat the apple.

I am not sure if it works as an image, the sun was a bit annoying and I have spoken about this before, I need to work out how to work with the sun in these situations.

Klara also posed for me.

Leanne Cole - IntensityI like the intensity in Klara’s face, but the sun was again a pain.  I really want to try this one again.  I think she loves the image, well she loves her hair in it.

Leanne Cole - The Offering, 1st VersionThis image was more Klara’s idea and I helped her work out how to execute it.  She wanted to be a witch with a bleeding heart in her hand.  We decided to use the red fabric balled up to be the heart and the draping down to represent the bleeding heart.

It was interesting working to someone else’s brief, though she was very happy to do it my way, and I think she even enjoyed it in the end.


I have to make a decision between the two organisations.  I am a member of both, but one is more for professional photographers and the other for artists.

I joined Australian Institute for Professional Photographers (AIPP)  because they ran courses and workshops, they had competitions.  It costs $300 a year to be an emerging member, to be the top level member, Accredited, you have to pay $400 a year.  I have been a member for over a year and a half and have never been to any of their courses or workshops, none of them have seemed relevant to me.  They are also quite expensive.

Then, I thought, I would wait for the competition, then I took a look at it and to enter it is so expensive, as far as competitions go.  I can’t afford to pay $160 to enter 6 images in my category.  There is another competition, I can enter 5 images for around $60, so I am finding the $160 just a bit much.  To me the AIPP seems to be all about getting more and more money from its members.  I just can’t see any benefits in it.

Magazine subscriptions were included, but the magazines have gone digital, and I just don’t remember to look at them anymore.  They can’t even send an email to say when it has been published.  Who can remember when they are published quarterly.

With National Association for Visual Artists (NAVA) that have resources, produce books, give legal advice, well some, and also let artists know about competitions, grants and all sorts of things that are relevant for practicing artists.  It only costs $60 a year for an individual.  There are other levels of membership, with the most expensive being $230.  Though that top level also includes a fantastic insurance package for artists as well.

Really, is there a contest between them?

I also saw a great article today by Peter Eastway and what is real photography, so if you are interested in seeing what he had to say then click on this.

Now for my gallery of my work so far, it is going to be interesting seeing it all together like this.  Most you have seen, but couple you may not have.

Enough for today.


  1. Klara looks beautiful, and her hair is wonderful. Great work as always, Leanne.

    • Lovely and striking images.
      Always avoid organisations which bleed the member for little meaningful return.

      • Thank you Colonialist.
        I think I have to agree, which is why I won’t be renewing my membership, I think I’ve worked it is cheaper to be a non member and just pay the little extra for anything I want to do, if by some chance something came up.

  2. Wonderful…thanks so much for this great blog…would you mind if I reblogged it on We Drink Because We Are Poets?

  3. Beautiful images Leanne. It has to be NAVA doesn’t it? I think your work would sit more comfortably under a visual/digital art organisation anyway – rather than a traditional photographic society.

    • Thank you Mark.
      I think you are probably right. It feels like I should be with NAVA more. I don’t think I will be renewing my membership with AIPP.

      • That isn’t to say that you aren’t a worthy photographer btw to be a member of AIPP, it’s just that your portrait work is very theatrical with poses, costumes and story-telling – they are staged like a scene from a play. Then your Post Processing takes that further, pushing the bounds of reality to complete your creative, artistic and fairy-tale like vision. They definitely aren’t your average studio portrait shots. They deserve as wide an art loving audience as possible.

      • I completely understand Mark, and I think you are absolutely right, spot on really. I actually put in a submission to a gallery the other day for an exhibition and have seriously started looking at competitions that I can realistically enter.

  4. have been hard at some of the images and thank you for the link to that very interesting article..

    • Thank you, I have been working a bit, it has been great, nice to have a real project to work on.

  5. Sonel says

    As usual I absolutely adore and love your work Leanne! You are creating magical moments and I love how you play with the colours and how great they blend together. Your work is truly artistic and I think you should stop worrying about these people who complain because you are creating something absolutely beautiful with your photography. These are your photo’s, they were created by your brilliant, imaginative mind and this is art! Well created and stunning art indeed! What those idiots who bring you down like that don’t realise it that it took you a lot of time and effort to create these wonderful images. Loved the article by Peter Eastway and it is true what he says about photography and editing. One quote I do agree with Ansel Adams is when he said : You don’t take a photograph, you make it! And that is what you are doing hon. Keep on “making” them. You are doing a wonderful job!

    Sorry for not commenting here as much as I would have loved to…been down in dumps lately and trying to hold it all together and keeping myself busy so I won’t give in to whatever I’m feeling like lately, but I feel distanced from everything and just going through the “moves” but as I visited your blog today and saw your beautiful work it really touched me and showed me no matter what, there is always hope and as long as someone like you can show us the beauty and give us inspiration, then nothing is lost. :D

    Have a great day sweetness and keep on creating! I love it! :D *big hugs*

    • Thank you Sonel, that is wonderful to hear. I love working on them and it is great to hear when other people like what I have done. You are such a nice person and I appreciate it. I really liked that article as well, I agree with everything he says. I like what you said about making images, that is very true, and I think that is what I am doing more now.

      Hey don’t stress about not commenting, I completely understand and I know how hard it can be. I find commenting so hard too. I hope my post today put some sparkle and imagination in your world today.
      You take care and thank you so very much, and many, many hugs back. :)

  6. Lena says

    Leanne, I normally like your images, but some of the above look too photoshopped. Sorry, I am not critical about you but just wanted to say how it looked to me!

    Best wishes from France!

    • You say that like it is a bad thing, they are photoshopped and some are photoshopped more than others, that is what I am going for. I don’t want them to be normal everyday images. I think what you are trying to say is that you don’t like them, and that is okay too, I would be a fool if I thought everyone liked my stuff.

  7. I think of it this way. If there was no such thing as photography what would you do? If you said not make anything, then you are not an artist. An artist would always be driven to seek other means to articulate their vision.

    Leanne, you definitely have a vision.

    Wow, that was pretty serious… I think a Groucho Marx quote is in order to balance out my comment.

    “I would not join any club that would accept me as a member”

    With the sunlight dilemma, I faced a similar problem back in 1983, when my photography lecturer, Henry Talbot, handed me his camera with a polaroid back and told me to pose him and take his picture there and then.It was full sun straight in the face… My result was horrible but then he showed me and the group how to do it properly in any lighting conditions. In my case it was a matter of moving so the light direction came from the side and behind instead of hitting the front of the subject. Provided you can move position this is worth a try.

    • If there were no such thing as photography I would be painting, I know that. I am an artist and I think it is time I realised it.
      Thank you, I do, for the first time, in a long time feel that I do have that vision, and I really need to work for it.
      I love the quote, someone else said it recently, I think it must be a sign, it keeps coming up.
      I know you are right about the sunlight, I need to find a way to work with it, or work around it, It can be your friend, but sometimes, it can work against you.
      Thank you for the encouragement, I really do appreciate it.

  8. Superb, as always, Leanne. (Personally I like the fact that you’re using Photoshop to it’s full capacity. Photoshopping is a skill and art form in its own right.) In my opinion you shouldn’t be wasting your money or organisations that are, on the whole pretty self-serving. What you should be doing is organising your own exhibition. The Internet can only go so far. An exhibition would place your work in front of a genuine, buying audience and, as well as increasing your public exposure, should also get your photographs firmly established in the market. Besides, they’re fun.

    • Thank you Brian, I agree about photoshop. I don’t like this idea that you shouldn’t use it, or images shouldn’t look as though you have used it. It is certainly a skill and one I have spent a long time learning how to use.
      I also agree about self-serving organisations, I won’t be re=joining.
      I am thinking that about the exhibition and I did send in one submission recently. It is a small local gallery, though I have heard the woman running it doesn’t like photography work, so I am not hopeful. But it is getting to the time where galleries are asking for submissions, so I can try more. I am also trying art competitions, which also means getting your work into an exhibition, which is the real aim. So fingers crossed.

  9. Wonderful images and you are right about having an experienced model to work with. Thanks too for the Peter Eastway article – all of which I agree with and have been saying for years when people get tweaky about using Photoshop – a photograph is the photographer’s version of reality, not reality itself.

    • Thank you Robert. It was nice using an experienced model, I did learn a lot from her, and hopefully the next time I am photographing someone I can use some of the techniques I learned from her. I have to say I also agree with Peter about using Photoshop, it is just another tool really. If you are a builder do you not use a cordless drill because it isn’t doing the job by hand, or not a nail gun because you think you should bang the nails in with a hammer. It is so weird.

  10. Just a gorgeous set of work – I love the rich intensity, women as moody and complicated, sometimes dangerous, and surrounded by rich reds and deep pinks – not soft and overlit. Wonderful vision.

  11. Dear Leanne, thank you for your great Blog and your wonderful images. Your work inspires me to become more and more braver while taking pictures and photoshopping them. Thanks for that! Best wishes, Charlotte

    • That is wonderful to hear Charlotte, you should just go for it, what is that saying, something like the only thing stopping you is your imagination. I wish mine would stop sometimes. Thank you and good luck with your own work.

  12. Beautiful work. Love the intensity of the colours and the mood you’ve created. It’s very unique and bold. Wonderfully one of a kind!

    • You are very welcome, and thank you. They are very different organisations, I don’t think I will be renewing my membership with AIPP.

  13. Reblogged this on We Drink Because We're Poets and commented:
    This morning in the We Drink Photo Challenge, I mentioned Leanne Cole, and by way of pure serendipity, she published this blog not long afterwards, which by her kind concession I’m reblogging to you.
    I’ve been a Leane Cole fan since I first saw one of her posts…her work is pure art! She’s also a very generous person and has offered to allow writers and poets to use her work as prompts for stories and poetry…I for one have taken her at her word at least twice. Just be sure that if you do so, ping back your work and make mention where you found the photo! :-) Thanks once again Leanne.

    • I love that image, and did you notice the words are from Romeo and Juliet. I thought that might add to it a little bit. Thanks Nora.

  14. Photos close to home says

    It’s always fun to watch an artist’s vision grow and mature. You’re doing wonderful work now. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

    • I am feeling exactly the same. I feel I have done the copying thing, now it is time for me to fly. Thank you.

  15. Well, Leanne, your photos are arty and great and we like them, that’s why we follow you :) You don’t need the serious stuff, throw the renewal in the bin and then photograph it for us all to see :)

    • LOL, that is great and thank you, though I don’t think I will get a renewal like that, I think you get a email. I don’t know when it runs out, I think in about 4 or 5 months, but I won’t be renewing. :)

  16. These are great and I love the portrait of Klara – beautiful! The deep rich colors add a certain air of mystery and intensity – they are stunning!

    • Thank you, Klara is enjoying having her photos up. She was really great to photograph as well and now I think she will do more for me.

  17. Leanne, I love this new direction you are going in-the fairy-tale images in particular are beautiful-it seems you would be better suited for the artists’ organization? Keep up your wonderful work!

    • Thank you, I think you are right and I am very glad I rejoined the arts association as well. You do get a lot more for your money. I don’t think I could stop doing this work now, I am excited to see where it goes.

  18. Leanne, if the gallery owner who doesn’t like photography saw the reactions you get here she might think differently. I guess the question for her is ‘does photography sell?’

    I think your work has grown a lot in the last 12-18 months in the sense that it has a greater feeling of self-confidence. Maybe someone will soon write “Influencing me…. Leanne Cole”.

    • Apparently she had a show recently that was by a photographer and it bombed, I don’t know what the work was, so she maybe be a little put off. My CV is quite impressive, I have had some shows at some really good galleries, and my degree is from one of the best art schools in Australia, so I do have that going for me, so I know I will get somewhere, the only thing that may stop me is because the galleries don’t like the work.
      It is funny you saying the stuff about self-confidence, a friend thinks I am not confident enough and that I should be talking myself up a lot more.
      Now wouldn’t that be something, someone writing about me. maybe one day.
      Thanks Andrew.

    • YOu are too kind, there are some images there that don’t work as well as others and images that I learned a lot from. Thank you.

  19. more fabulous photos…I just love where you are going here Leanne, Photoshop and all!!! I love Emelia, she is stunning and Klara is beautiful…you are a true artist!

  20. Hi Leanne, I’m taking a free Photoshop and Camera Raw webinar this morning to learn more about how TO USE Photoshop! I think the first organization is exceptionally high. Our professional organization for social studies teachers is $60 a year with a journal and 6-7 newsletters a year – and me as President starting a week from yesterday. It’s one of the most expensive state organizations in the country. The national organization is only $66 a year. No costs to enter contest of teacher of the year, and other honors. You could almost start your own international professional photography organization. I noticed last night you are in several online communities on Google +, too. So there are my opinions. As always, a fan from California! :)

    • YOu will have to tell me about the webinar on Photoshop. How was it? I think the organisation for photographers is very high, I suspect it is a money making thing, but I also think it is so they can be elitist, they only want successful photographers in their club. I don’t use google+ much, I don’t really know how to work it out, haha, not sure I want to, but I hear it is important, so I might need to start taking more of a look. Thank you Marsha. Always good to hear from you. :)

      • The webinar was great. It was free. Since I had heard of some of the things from you, I was able to understand a little better. When I hear something for the first time, like I did with you – even when I take notes, I can’t get it all. We were all over the map that night because we looked at lots of issues. This guy chose his issues, and the ones that we had talked about made me perk up my ears and watch carefully. So it was a great follow-up to our session together. Tomorrow I’m doing the advanced webinar. Keep in mind it’s only an hour. We are going to cover the gradient thing, which fascinated me, but I couldn’t find it when I went back. The curves, too, are something that I don’t get yet, so when I found out that he was going to talk about those things, I chose to take that one also. :)

      • I think the difference to was that I was more into critiquing the images rather than showing you photoshop, I think I was just trying to show you the possibilities rather than how to do it. Teaching someone photoshop is a whole other ballgame. Enjoy the workshop.

      • We had a lot more things going on than just Photoshop. So his hour class helped me to do a little better some of the things we talked about. Even with that, it’s a matter of taste, and talent. I used the auto correct in Camera Raw just to get an idea of what to change. That made it a whole lot better, and I didn’t think it was bad to start. I also cropped, so that I had the garbage out of the way, or I had a focus. I have so much to learn. Even when I learn it, I will have a long way to go. My brain doesn’t see things ultra creatively, but what I do see will be better executed! :)

      • Camera raw is like a whole new thing. I didn’t start using it until I had my head around other stuff, though I had been using gimp for many years and then photoshop for a while before I even knew about it. You will get there, it is all time.

  21. Amazing work, Leanne. I find myself considering purchasing these people more than I did the landscapes, which is interesting to me. I’m not sure the exact reason. But I will be one of the ones contributing for the new camera in exchange for a discount on a print! (I have been thinking about that idea and I really like it.)

    I did go and read the Peter Eastway article and it was fantastic. But I have a different question, when is a photography art? For me, altering the photo is what makes it art. Thank you for pointing us to the article because I discovered something about my own thinking by reading it. Just like I’ve discovered something about what compels me the most strongly in your art, the people pictures. (Now I’m remembering the photos you took of the street artists.)

    • Thank you Nia, it is great to hear that you are more drawn to actually wanting one of these images as opposed to the other work I have been doing. I love them and have sent away to get some printed now, just to see how they look, and as a couple of the girls are about to turn 18, I thought it would be nice to give them one for their birthday. I think you are the only person who has said yes to this, so thank you. I had many saying they couldn’t afford it, but only one, you, that said they would like to do it. It was a bit disappointing, but I have to admit, I did expect it. I have noticed that people like everything for free, but they don’t want to do anything to support people financially. I think I have had less than 10 people who have ever donated money. Oh well, I need to move on and get on with making money away from here.

      That is a brilliant question, and I am not sure I know the answer to that. I might have to think about it, so now I am thinking, can you see it.
      I suspect the difference is that photography is more about recording or showing reality, whereas photographic art is about making artwork using the medium of photography, changing reality. Oh, I don’t know, I am not making any sense. Maybe it is a question would should throw out to everyone. I will think about this and get back to you.

  22. I think what you are doing with your portraits is very creative, and that you have found one excellent path for your artistic expression. Thanks for sharing that article, as it was quite well written. I have had people make similar comments to me about “real photos”, and have declined to enter that discussion, as it’s like trying to argue politics or religion. Keep up your good work!

    • Thank you Marilyn, I think I have found it as well. It was a great article and I thought it was well written and expresses what I feel as well. I like the way you react to it, and I am starting to find that I am doing the same sort of thing, not always, but it is something I need to watch.

  23. Yes, I think NAVA is the way to go, and they have some great resources too, and are also helpful if you need to ring them. I rang last week to enquire about artist pay rates because i couldn’t find it on the website and they were very helpful :-)

    • They are great, and I think you do get a lot more value for your money with them. I have been a member on and off for a few years now, but thought I would try AIPP, however, I just feel like I am paying lots of money for nothing. Time to say no more. Thanks Dawn.

  24. An organization that charges that much with little to no benefit to you certainly isn’t worth renewing…but you knew that as soon as you wrote it all out (if not before) right?
    Your new work is fabulous. Klara looks like a warrior-goddess :)

    • Yeah, I think I did, I just wanted to say what I thought about it, as I am a bit annoyed with it, okay I just wanted to complain, lol. I won’t be renewing that is for sure.
      Thank you Marie, I am loving the new stuff too, nice to see it altogether as well. I will have to tell her that one. :)

  25. Great photos! As for the photography organizations, I am a bit suprised with the prices and what they offer in this digital age. Here in Greece you have to be a member of one of the organazition in order to practice as a photo journalist and there are a couple official for artists, with the oldest being EFE (it stands for Hellenic Photography organization) with an annual 60 Euro fee. It is pretty good, with many workshops and recognized by the government as the oldest photography organization in Greece. It is the official member of EFIAP of Greece.

    • Thank you. I have been surprised too, you pay a lot of money to be a member and then they offer workshops which gives you a discount, but for non members, you only pay about $10 or so more to go to the same thing. I have never found any of them to be the type of thing that I want to go to. They are for the full on professional wedding or portrait photographer, the type of photographer that I have never wanted to be. Then when they have events, they cost hundreds to attend, it is just always so much. I just think it all sucks big time. Then when I get the information about how much the competition costs to enter, well, that did it for me. I would be better off not being a member and just paying as a non member for anything that I might want to do, I will save an amazing amount of money that way. The member benefits, are not that great, unless you are prepared to pay even more for your membership.

  26. Favorites here are romantic Emelia and your very intense Klara.

    Regarding professional societies and affiliations, it seems moneymaking has become more important. I’ve dropped my professional memberships because of the high dues – $300 per year and a rather thin, weekly digital magazine.

    • Thank you David, I like those as well.

      It does seem that way, they hire too many staff and then have to put up membership to pay for it. I just don’t understand why you need to pay so much. I think I will be dropping it as well. I can save my money, and I never read the monthly magazine they do anyway. It just doesn’t seem relevant to what I am doing.

  27. Reblogged this on Writings of a Mrs and commented:
    Fantastic Photographer and Artist willing to share her art and images as long as you ping back to her original post and where you found the work!
    Fantastic resource for bloggers supporting fellow bloggers and proper image features!

    • Thank you, that is wonderful, I really like this work and it is great to hear that others like it as well.

  28. Reblogged this on JC Lynne and commented:
    This is some stunning work. I love the colors and shading. Also, dig the spectacluar back piece…..I’m having tattoo envy!

  29. This art form in photography is fabulous! I love the work that you’ve been sharing in this format. AWESOME!

    • Thank you RoSy, I love it too, I love planning, executing and then working with the image on the computer.

    • Thank you Ian, I like the different too, I don’t know how different, but I really like doing them. :) Oh I am sure there will be plenty more.

  30. I think the one of Emelia and her smiling at the flowers is the best so far. Having that experienced model seems to bring out your vision

  31. Very cool imagry! YOU need a gallery show. A good gallery in a well to do suburb or city.

  32. These are amazing. I especially love the floating apples. I think you have captured the fusion of artistry and photography quite literally.

  33. So much artistry in so few weeks Leanne . I love the support that you are getting on here with your plans for the future and your foray into an almost subversive unexpected view of faerie tales many of us remember . Your fine art background sets you apart I feel in thinking and exploiting creativity with this new direction. Your photographs and post processing are an absolute joy.
    I’m savouring each and every post . You clever thing ;-)

    • Thank you Poppytump, I love all the support as well, it has been really good. I like the word subversive, I enjoy trying to come up with ideas that are not on the page, if that makes sense.
      That is so wonderful Poppytump, and I love getting comments like this, you probably don’t realise that you are also helping me to work out what my work is about and how I need to pursue it, so I thank you for that. :)

  34. Pingback: Looking at and listening to this week… | dicedimagery

  35. Wonderful work, Leanne …. but you’re still dark … I love you bright photos more, but that is only my personal view. Yvette 2 & Sandra 4 are my favorites of this fantastic gallery. *smile

    • Haha, you know my work is always going to be dark, that is what I like to do. Faerie Tales are dark too. Scary stuff. I am glad you found a couple that you liked, that is good, thank you Viveka, hope all is well in your part of the world.

  36. Your work is fantastic, and I love seeing all these images together. It gives a real feel of it. You have great creativity and eye for this.

    • It was great for me as well. It is always good to see a body of work altogether like that. Of course, in a gallery would be better, maybe one day. Thank you so much for that last part, it is amazing how much I need to hear that.

    • Klara does that evil eye very well, it scares me sometimes. Her turned out really good in these. Thanks

  37. Pingback: Life is one grand, sweet song… | elladee_words

    • I agree, for my photoshop is very important, the images looking really boring when I go back and look at the original. Thank you.

  38. That first shot is really amazing, love everything about it! I also love that your daughter helped model for you! I love her look and that first picture of her is so pretty :) Wow, that whole contest just sounds complicated, can’t life be easy? HAHA! Guess not. I think you’re doing what you need to do and your collage toward the end was just beautiful!

    • I had her thinking of her boyfriend in that first one. My daughter can be great to photograph, and she can do some amazing faces. I really want to do that first one of the close up again, so her face isn’t in the sun. I love her hair.
      The competitions are just a rip off, I can’t understand why they need to cost so much money, my thoughts is that they only want certain people entering them, or they are just trying to raise money. I just the national event, and it is almost $300 to enter and you can only enter 5 images, I just entered a competition yesterday that was $55 and I could enter 5. The one yesterday will be much better for me, so the AIPP can you go you know what.
      Thank you Amanda, I am really enjoying what I am doing right now, it is wonderful.

      • She really does have such an amazing look to her :) that’s really just crazy Leanne. I’m glad you were able to enter your work some place a lot more reasonably priced haha! I can’t wait to hear more updates and see what else you do with that picture :)

      • I think the other comp is much better for where I want to go right now anyway. Thanks Amanda.

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