Ouioui. Photo club for beginners

by Vicente Dolz in interview - a year ago

Ouioui. Photo club for beginners

by Vicente Dolz in interview - a year ago
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Hello OuiOui, thank you for accepting our invitation to participate in this interview.  Please share with us some thoughts about you and your work.

 Thanks to you. I’m always happy to share my experience and my work

Where are you from? Can you tell us a bit about your passions?

 I’m French. I live near the alps near Annecy. I don’t know if I call this passion or hobby or ways to fill my free time, but I love music. I have composed some pieces some years ago. I play guitar and I have a piano keyboard and some home studio software. But for some years now my passion is more oriented on photography

What inspired you to approach photography? How did this journey start? 

 It probably started when I was in college. There was a tombola and I won the first prize. It was a Kodak Extralite. I have played a lot with it. And some years after when I became a Father, I decided to buy a reflex camera. A Minolta. I don’t remember the exact model. It was with a 28/105 lens. I’m sorry, but I was not using 100 ASA films ;) but 400 ASA 36 poses Kodak Gold films, and I was asking for a contact sheet to select to print only the best photos.

Of all the genres of photography, which do you feel most drawn to?

 Because of my studies in engineering, I love all that is a bit technical. I am a better technician than an artist. So I love the genres that need some reflection and some techniques. I like to do things right, even if I’m an amateur. And the most important is that I love to test what I don't like

I was afraid of insects, so I have done a lot of macros. And because I think that we must give ourselves the means to do things correctly. I have bought a Good macro lens. In fact, I have even bought “Macronator” the Canon MP-E 65mm. A lens 100% dedicated to Macro. You cannot do anything else with it. 

I was not loving to shoot humans and 4 years ago a Belgian friend that is making a lot of studios organized me a shooting. And then again, I have decided to do it seriously. I have dedicated a room in my house for this with several studio flashes, paper backgrounds, accessories, etc.

For the moment, I’m not ready to wake up at 4 AM and stay 8 hours in the cold with a 600 mm lens waiting for a south Philippine dwarf kingfisher (Ceyx melanurus). But who knows

What can you tell us about your vision as a photographer? What do you want to convey through your work?

 I’m totally convinced that you will always find better that you, or let's say than me for sure. So I don’t want to show that I can be the best because I’m not. But I want to show beginners that is it possible to do decent work if you just invest a little time and stop being afraid of some techniques. That is why I try to popularize them

So when I post a photo, I like to have questions to explain what was done.

Today it is very easy to take photos. On social networks, you have a lot of people giving their opinion without having any training in art or photography. This is called ultracrepidarianism. So you can post a blurred photo of a cat, badly composed, badly developed, and you will have a lot of likes and the poster will think that he is a good photographer

My goal is to explain to them, without telling them what was done was bad, that it is possible to do better and to explain how.

Regarding my portrait work, most of my models are amateur. And most of them came because they are not confident. They dislike their body, they are ashamed of something and my goal is to make them more confident and to show them that they are legitimate to make photos. A sort of therapy. The relationship with the model is, for me, more important than the photographic result. And because my photographic activities don’t have to be profitable, I can spend a lot of time explaining to the model what she has to do to improve the final result. And when they live, they want to reserve the next shooting because they feel better

How did you come up with the idea of a photography blog?

 After my first reflex, I became lazy. 3 kids take a lot of your time. When the first digital cameras when out I bought a Canon Powershot A75 in 2004 and I stop using my reflex. I was just shooting family photos from 2004 to 2010. In 2010 because I had some more free time I just ask myself “What do you like ?” and photography came back to my mind. A bought a Bridge Camera with the idea to buy a DSLR one year after. The bridge was just for me to test, to see what I like before investing in a better camera. I was looking on the internet for some info and all I found was too complex. Because of my education, I can understand them, but I was thinking of beginners without a technical education and decided to create a website to help them to understand all the concepts needed in photography by popularizing them as much as possible without making too many shortcuts

How did you manage to implement your idea of a photography blog? What is the mechanism of creating such a site and how difficult was the whole process?

 I’m in the IS/IT business. So creating a website was not that difficult. I manage also a lot of projects so having clear ideas, and defining priorities are also not that hard for me. And in my day-to-day activities, I’m in contact with people from all other the world to explain how to manage some industrial or supply chain processes. So I’m used to the popularization of concepts.

When I started in 2010, we were making more websites than blogs or vlogs. So the idea of the blog came later in 2014. When I started to use more frequently Lightroom And Photoshop, I decided to make more frequent articles with small videos of less than 15 minutes and then create a blog/Vlog that was more adapted to frequent publications. In the beginning, I was making a publication per day. Now it is 2 per week, that is already a lot. I’m a bit overactive ;)

I found your articles, useful, simple, and to-the-point explanations. How would you describe your "beginner photo club"? Who are your users?

Thanks a lot. My blog, my site, my forum, etc. are made for beginners. But a have all types of users in my community. Beginners of my community search on the internet for information, but when they see the answer, they don’t understand it is the answer. It is because they don’t understand the basic concepts. So the answer is in front of them, but they don’t understand what they read.

On my publications or on the answers I can give on my Facebook groups, I always start from a basic idea. The requester is a beginner and doesn’t have a good level of IS/IT or photography. And I don’t judge them. There is no stupid question. I think this is why my users stay

Most of the time when a user is less active in my community, it is because his level has reached a good level, and he doesn't need me anymore. And this is for me the aim of the full OuiOuiPhoto concept. Leave me when you are ready.

It is like with children. When they leave your house, confident about their future life, you, as a parent, have done your job ;)

I liked the idea of making the "Glossary" and articles according to the progress of the photographers. What is the feedback for your website? Are you satisfied with the number of users visiting your site?

 All my activities are done to occupy my free time. Nothing is monetized. The monetization is not even activated on my YouTube channel. I consider that sharing knowledge is key. So I do all this for free.

Because my articles or my video are in French and speak of photography, it is a “niche”. So having a lot of users or beating the competition is far from my mindset. I refuse all the proposals to put advertising on my landscape.

With my blog, my site, my forum, and my Facebook groups, my community is big enough to occupy my free time

Now, having a French Lightroom Facebook group with 9.6K users or a French YouTube Chanel with 15.6K users is rewarding, but what is most important for me is having feedback from users thanking me.

When someone, thanks to my training, which is unusual and made for beginners, tells me that after 3 failed attempts with the usual training he now succeeded to use Photoshop, I’m happy

When someone thanks to my publication on how to color a background tell me that he succeeded, I’m happy

Those thanks are frequent enough to keep me helping my community. 99,9% of the feedback I can have are positive. Now, there are always some haters, but I’m experienced on the internet. I was on the internet before the internet ;) So I know how to manage haters and trolls

How could you attract more users, and how do you think you could improve your site in the future?

 Do I want to attract more users? My answer is no. With more users, I will have more questions and not enough time to answer. Attracting users needs to invest time and I’m not ready to do it.

Now, improving is important. I have for example a Photographic forum. And this forum is too old-fashioned. The 100 ASA concept is way better to animate a community

But Improvement should not come at the expense of fundamentals. And my fundamentals are clear. Beginners, popularization, and friendship. The feedback I have on my training videos is that people have the sensation to have near to them a friend explaining

Many photographers decide at some point to do workshops or photo walks to help others "face to face" to understand different photographic techniques and notions. Are you considering this for the future?

 Because of the covid pandemic it was more difficult to do it, but each year I’m organizing an OuiOuiPhoto weekend to meet face to face some members of my community, and we organize some workshops

And if someone is stuck and close to my place, I just invite him to come. The last time I have done it was for one of my models who is also a photographer and was shooting all at 3200 ISOs with an Old Camera and was not understanding why the photo was not that sharp ;)

Several times a year I'm requested to make face-to-face training in Lightroom or Photoshop, but I don't have enough time for it. So, I do it on exceptional cases, and for some specific subjects by taking the control of the requester's computer and showing him or her how to do it. I have even installed on my Windows computer a Mac Virtual machine to be able to speak the same language as Mac users

What do you like on 100ASA?

 I post my photos on several sites. Instagram, Facebook, 500px, Youpic, and now 100ASA. I post just to have a trend on what is liked or not. I don’t post to make money or sell anything or be famous. It is just a way for me to see that a portrait became more popular than another and to analyze why. And those days 100ASA is my preferred for two reasons

The curation is done anonymously. On a social network, the more followers you have, the more friends you have, and the more likes you have. They like you, hoping that you will like them in return. On 100ASA because it is anonymous, you don’t have this behavior.

On most photographic dedicated sites, they can be sensitive to the nude. Giving you a warning if you forgot to put your photo in a “Non Safe For Work” category if there is 1 mm of the breast visible. On 100ASA you just don’t take care of this. 100ASA will take care of you

This is why 100ASA is my preferred Photographic community those days