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The Four P's of Success

Text Copyright and Photography Copyright Jan A. Allinder
All rights reserved.

As long as I can remember, I have loved being outdoors and observing wildlife. I can remember flipping though the pages of National Geographic admiring the great photographs all the while trying to visualize what it would be like to lead the life of an adventurous nature photographer. Although I may have started a career in photography later in life than most people, my dreams are still very much alive.

I enjoy wildlife & nature photography more today than I ever have. However, being successful in this very competitive market requires a lot more than just going out and taking a few pictures. In order to become the best photographer I can be, I have devised what I refer to as the Four P’s of Success… Passion, Purpose, Preparation and Perseverance.

To me, Passion is the key ingredient to being successful. Passion is defined as “a dedication or strong desire for some activity, object or concept”. It’s an insatiable thirst. I love the “rush” I get when I photograph a breath-taking sunset or capture a magnificent bird in flight. I love it and no matter what it takes, I want more!

My photography must have a Purpose. There has to be a “method to my madness”. By setting both short term and long term goals, I am able to focus on where I want to be as a photographer not just next month but ten years down the road from now. Goals are dreams put in writing.

Too often, we photographers forget about one of the most important aspects of wildlife and nature photography - Preparation. Not only must I have a complete understanding of my camera equipment and use proper technique, I must also have a thorough understanding of my subject’s biology in its natural environment. This knowledge is essential. I increase my odds of capturing excellent images when I have done my homework and am confident of my understanding of proper photographic techniques.

Perseverance, patience and persistency are all great words with very similar meanings and a vital part of the Four P’s. Simply said, I will not give up my dreams, I will not quit, no matter how great the odds are or how long it takes, I will succeed. Very few of my best images were taken the first day at a particular location. I know that I must research, make observations, ask questions and go back as often as I can, determined to capture the shot and better the images I already have.

I know that if I adhere to the Four P’s of Success, I will achieve my goals and so can you.

Jan A. Allinder has always enjoyed being outdoors. She purchased her first camera, a Nikkormat EL, while in college working for the student newspaper. In 1995, when Jan’s older daughter was in her first year of college, she began pursuing her long-time dream of photographing wildlife in its natural habitat. She feels that through her photography she can combine her passion for wildlife and artistic abilities to help increase public awareness of the wonders of nature.

Jan shoots with the Nikon F5 & D1 cameras. Her lenses consist of the Nikkor 600 AF-S, 400 AF-S, 80-200 AF-S, 28-70 AF-S. The Wimberley head on the Gitzo 1548 carbon fiber tripod supports the 600 & 400 lenses. Jan also likes to use the Tokina 400 for hand-held flight shots.

As the vice-president and educational coordinator for Mississippi Outdoor Photographers, Jan enjoys working with aspiring photographers of all ages and skill levels. Currently, Jan is the “Outdoor Photographer” columnist for Mississippi Wildlife Federation’s newsletter. In addition to her photography, Jan has designed several wildlife photography and nature-related web sites. You can see some of Jan’s work at her personal site Lucid Images Wildlife & Nature Photography.

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