Behind the lens- Colby Brown

Over the last couple weeks I’ve been in talks with Colby about photography as he is the man behind the new viral group that has started on Google+ called Behind the Lens- Photo Critique. Which has in just a few short days amassed over 100’s of photographers and hopeful ones(like me). What the group does is let photographers post pictures on Google+ with the tag “Behind the lens- Photo Critique” and other photographers, give their honest opinions on the photo. Besides being a full time photographer and a new father, he is also an avid Android user who was the one who actually alerted me that the Droid3 was rooted via one of his post. Following that we talked about doing an interview with him and here it is…

1. Tell us a little about your self?
I am a full time professional photographer and photo educator that specializes in landscape, travel and humanitarian photography. I have the privilege of working in some of the most beautiful locations around the globe as well as with organizations such as National Geographic and The Sierra Club from time to time. I teach a variety photograph workshops, both on location and online, both here in Colorado and around the globe. I am based out of Denver, Colorado, where I live with my wife, new born son and dog.
2. What got you first into photography?
When I was 17, I went to Costa Rica for a Habitat For Humanity type of trip and that really gave me the travel bug. When I got to college I knew I wasn’t in a huge rush and so I would save up money and take a year of of school here and there in order to explore some of the world. By this time it was pretty much an addiction. By the time I graduated, I knew I didn’t want a started 8-5 job, but I took one anyway working in a hospital. That lasted for about 6 months before I decided to sell everything I owned and move up to British Columbia to live near Vancouver, BC (I am a dual citizen). It was hear that I had that outlandish idea of trying to be a photographer so that I could continue to travel the world. After buying my first DSLR and picking up a few books I began to teach myself the basics of photography. When I felt I was good enough I bought a one way ticket to Bangkok, Thailand with the idea that I was just going to see what happens. On the plane ride over was a woman from Jackson Hole, Wyoming that had been visiting Thailand for years. She had fallen in love with a local Thai man and was getting married. At the last second, her friends that was going to shoot the wedding for her had to back out and I managed to convince her to hire me. So my first paying photography job ever was shooting a traditional Buddhist wedding in a tiny rural village in Southern Thailand. The rest they say is history…..
3. Saw your post about the Droid3 being rooted, what got you into Android?
I was an avid Apple guys for years. I had Ipods, iphones and ipads. My laptops where Macs as well. But eventually I got tired of not being able to use my phone how I wanted. I am a DIY kind of guy. I am always tinkering with my gadgets, building my own computers and figuring out new and creative ways to take my photography to the next level. I always felt limited with the iphone and ipad. Plus I can’t stand social trends and once the i-anything became a symbol of social status…I started looking else where. On top of that, I had been a loyal AT&T customer for years and when I moved to Denver, I found the service here HORRIBLE…BEYOND HORRIBLE. So when all of those pieces came together, I knew I wanted something more. I had seen the commercials for the HTC Android phones and thought…that looks cool. Widgets…customization….tinkering. Sign me up. I picked up an HTC Incredible and enjoyed it but it was buggy at first. Then the Droid X came out. I picked that up and fell in love with Android.
4. With Google+ have you noticed your “fans/followers” have grown where people are now able to find you more?(I’ll be honest, never heard of you before here but glad I did)
For sure. Every social network has its advantages and disadvantages. I studied business for a while in College and I have learned the importance of not only a solid business plan but a good marketing strategy when it comes to running my photography company. For me, Google+ is by far the most active, engaging and meaningful social network for the photo industry and my photography business in general. The photo industry has really taken kindly to G+ and because I have worked hard over the last 8 years to establish myself in the industry and the fact that I was able to get on G+ on opening day, I have been able to position myself at the forefront of the photo community there. To date I have over 16k followers on G+ which puts me at the 4th most followed professional photographer there. One of the main reasons for my growth is because I value the photo community there. I have worked hard at making G+ the most engaging platform for the photo industry and I think that work is paying off. Every day I see more and more people engaging and connecting with eachother. It has turned into a create learning experience for many through projects like my “Behind the Lens: Photo Critiquing Group”. And of course at the end of the day I am still running a business. As a photographer, the more eyes I have on my images…the more print sales I make, the more contract work I pick up and the more workshops I can fill.
5. Have you noticed the interaction on Google+ either rivals or is greater than on other social networking sites you are on?
For me, the level and quality of interaction and engagement on Google+ is far beyond the other networks. While I accept that this might only be with the photography community, it doesn’t change the fact that I see the industry shifting to Google+ and the experience only gets better with every small update Google rolls out for G+ (Which has been a lot in the last 60 days of its existence).
6. Did you before Google+ use Flickr, if so have you noticed that you have used it less due to Google enabling you to have unlimited space if you upload via Google+
For me, Flickr was on the way out long ago. Since then I have replaced it with both 500px, 1x and of course Google+. While photo sharing is not perfect on Google+, the quality and layout are nothing short of beautiful.
7. Noticed through your pictures on Google+ you’ve traveled alot, where the place you most want to shoot that you haven’t yet.
While there are certainly a few places that I have not been able to cross off my life list yet, the one that sticks out the most is Mongolia. I love Asia and there is something about the Mongolian people, frozen tundras and mountain scenery that has grabbed my attention for years.
8. Favorite/Most hated part about Android
Favorite: The amazing developer community that seems to out due the manufacturers and carriers in terms of quality and effective software. Mostly talking about ROMS and Kernals.
Hated: I worry about processor segmentation. I have a Xoom and a Droid 3 and sadly there are already a bunch of games I love on the Xoom that I can not play on the Droid because of the games that are made only for the Tegra platforms.
10. Being a photographer and knowing how things look, how would you change the look of Android?
Honestly I think it comes down to cleaning up the interface. While I love widgets and the high level of customization…the one thing I miss is how fluid IOS seems to run. I know Apple spends a lot of time working on perfecting simple functions like window switching and scrolling. Even with the new Droid 3, I find that my phone hangs on occasion when waking up or switching screens…and yes I have used all of the launching apps (ADW, Launcher Pro and Go Launcher). There is no reason that a cell phone with a dual core OMAP processor shouldn’t run like butter.
9. Do you see in the future with the ability for camera phones growing a time where you just care around your phone and not your camera any more?
Honestly, no. But I do welcome cell phone cameras getting more advanced and allowing for higher quality images. Currently most cell phone cameras can take half way decent photo in nice light but when light is in question, the photos look like crap. I imagine we are 5-10 years away from that changing. In the end, the ability to change lenses and control depth of field through various focal lengths will keep DSLRs around for a while.
10. Any last words you’d like to tell those who want to start getting into photography?
Try to figure out what exactly you want to get out of photography. By that I mean if you just want to peruse it has a hobby, to make some supplemental money or to do it full time. If it is the latter of the three, TAKE a small business class. Most photographers are horrible business people and it is something I see a lot of people struggle with. Aside from that, just have fun. Photography is an art form and remember that no matter what anyone tells you, there are NO RULES. Get out there and experiment…you never know what you might be able to create.
11. What Social Networks/Sites are you on so people can find you 
Twitter: CBphotography09
If you’d like to be featured on Behind the lens make sure to contact [email protected]