I have felt a great sense of pride over the last few weeks, when reading the Success Stories that Easy Way students have been sending in. Thank you to those of you who have had the courage to share your story with me!
As a teacher, there is no greater reward than to hear that my students have taken those tools and techniques and used them to overcome the obstacles, achieve their goals and find a greater passion and joy for the art of photography!
That’s enough about me – it’s time to introduce Sandra Dann and share her ‘Success Story’.
I knew Adam before he was known as Easy Way and I have to say it, “G’Day Adam”!! I remember doing a one on one class with him and he showed me the Transform Tool. I had no idea what that was or why I would use it!!
My, how things have changed!!!
My photography journey started in 2012 when I moved to Queenstown, New Zealand as a “mature age back packer” for a working holiday. Every chance I had, I would get out with the camera and photograph the beautiful winter landscapes. New Zealand is where I cut my teeth in photography and processing my images. On my return to Australia, my passion for photography continued. I joined a camera club and again, every chance I had, I was out with the camera. I entered club competitions and the feedback was “tones are muddy” and “photoshop skills could be improved”. This then drove me to improve my skills in Photoshop.
I did a few workshops with Adam when he was first starting out teaching and I found his style easy to follow and to learn from. Coming from an Adult Educator background, I appreciated how much work went into his workshops. In those early days I learnt the importance of having a workflow to follow. I had the Easy Way workflow sheet printed and next to my monitor so that I could work on my consistency. I called myself a Landscape Photographer then, and I was like a sponge, learning different techniques to improve the processing of my landscapes.
I learnt from many sources and I started to experiment with replacing skies and trying many different techniques to get a different look and feel to my images. I would watch YouTube video’s, then Adam started his Easy Way On Line Courses and I subscribed. I would certainly recommend his Easy Way On Line Classes to photographers that want to start using Photoshop as the learning is in bit size chunks, is self-paced and gives direction when trying to learn about layers, masks, curves, levels and so much more.
“Don’t be frightened of Photoshop – invest time in learning and keep on challenging yourself.”
In 2016 I was still photographing Landscapes but my style changed in processing as I experimented with many different techniques such as motion blur, textures, replacing skies (you should see my sky library now). The passion ratio between photography and creative processing was starting to become equal. I loved creating images – they were becoming more than photos out of camera for me. I continued learning and entered competitions with some success. This was the year I won my first Silver. Woo hoo!
Moving forward to 2018, my style really changed as I experimented further with different camera and processing techniques. Pushing boundaries with my style, constant practice and investing time in fine-tuning my Photoshop skills, the fruits of my labour paid off, with a highlight for the year of winning my first Gold and winning a Creative Category.
I continued to work on my style, colour techniques and knowing what I wanted from my images. I topped up the “visual library” by looking at art, other photographers work, and sifting through photography platforms for ideas and inspiration. Constant practice, learning from others as well as self-learning, investing time in developing my craft in processing was time well spent. I began to realise that the camera was the tool I chose to capture photos, but it was the processing that was the exciting journey for me.
In 2019 I was fortunate to win Gold in a Creative Category. I had developed my style of using soft pastel colours, creating composites using my landscapes as the background and the technical term of “whacking” in trees, buildings, creating whimsical and arty images. I discovered myself as an artist – using the camera was the tool to capture “moments in time” and Photoshop was the creative tool to allow me to create whatever I saw in my mind.
“Now I call myself a Digital Artist, though I still use my landscapes as the base for some of my images, those which I call “Altered Landscapes”. I have to feed the creative soul.”
I have aimed to keep on improving, learning and moving forward in my journey. In 2020, the year that never was, I re-invented myself again, not by choice but by circumstance. Being a Tour Guide and having no work, I fell back on what I am passionate about. Photography, teaching others, self-learning and being creative. The year that never was has allowed me to be creative and take a new direction. Moving back to that lesson with Transform Tool, I now know how and when to use it and thank you to everyone who has been part of my learning journey.
Photography means different things to different people. Some are purists in their photography while others want to create art and explore – no one way is right. Find your lane and don’t compare yourself to others! Invest time in learning and more importantly, allow yourself to play and experiment – a great way to learn.
“Find what makes your soul come alive, whether it’s being out in the landscape or other environments or creating art. And most importantly have fun for isn’t that why we do what we do?”
These images below are a small timeline of my journey with the camera and processing techniques.
Thank you so much to Sandra for sharing her inspirational ‘Success Story’. I hope that you enjoyed hearing about one of our fellow Easy Way Students, as much as I did! Well done in your persistence, dedication and pushing your craft throughout your nine year journey.
Sharing and celebrating success, teaches, inspires, challenges and motivates others to achieve similar goals and we would be excited to share your success story with fellow students at Easy Way Photography.
Perhaps you have succeeded in mastering sky replacements or created your first composite image. Or you have found the courage to enter your first competition.
If you feel that you have succeeded in any way and in doing so, would like to give others a great sense that they are not alone on their photographic journey, we would be excited to share your story.
Please provide a brief summary of your success story, to be considered for an interview to be featured on the Easy Way Photography Blog, Facebook Group, Instagram, Facebook business page and via email to Easy Way Photography subscribers.
Share your Success Story!
Please supply 2-4 images to support your story.
Measurement – 2000 pixels on the longest edge
Colour space – SRGB
File image format – JPEG
Please send your Success Story together with any questions you may have, by return email to