How I Am Able To Read So Much


As a kid I never liked reading. It felt like a chore. My reading comprehension was pretty poor to. In 2014 all that changed. Primarily when I started studying reformed theology. I grew to love reading. A wide variety of subjects as well. In 2018 I ended up reading seventy six books. Here are some tips on how I am able to read so much.

First of all read How To Read A Book by Mortimer J Adler. If I had read this in middle school I guarantee my reading comprehension would have been better. I would have enjoyed reading way more to.

Second of all I read books in different formats depending on the genre. Audiobooks are preferable for fiction. Real tangible books are great for business and personal development books. Non fiction books, where I’ll be taking lots of notes, work well in ebook format. I can easily copy and paste text from the ebook into Evernote.

I find myself reading primarily ebooks. This is because of the price. I rarely spend full price for anything. I make a list of books I want on amazon and check daily to see if they are on sale. I primarily read books on my iPhone. I can enable a text to speech option to turn any of these books into audiobooks as well. This makes it much easier to get thru books quickly. As mentioned prior, this makes note taking easy. I have notebooks in Evernote full of books I’ve read in the past so I can easily review my notes.

When it comes to purchasing books I usually buy them from Amazon, in Kindle format when they are on sale. I have also had good luck finding cheap books on thriftbooks, ebay, and local goodwill stores. Many free books can be found in the public domain. These can be accessed free at Gutenberg or other more niche sites like Monergism. Free public domain audiobook versions can be found on Librivox. Quality varies. For higher quality versions of ebooks in the public domain many can be found for only a few dollars on Amazon. The formatting of these books is usually far superior to that of the free Gutenberg ones.

John and Valerie Carter Wedding in Centralia, Washington


I had a great time photographing John and Valerie Carter’s wedding in Centralia, Washington! John and I had went to church together at Christ Covenant Church in Midland, Michigan before he moved for work. I was very excited to hear that John and Valerie where interested in having me photograph their wedding in Washington. Since high school I had wanted to do a road trip across the US. Their wedding game me an excuse to finally go thru with it. Huge thanks to John and Valerie for having me come out to Washington for their wedding and all the people who helped make their day a success!

More images from John and Valerie’s wedding can be seen here https://ryanwatkinsphotography.smugmug.com/John-and-Valerie-Carter-Wedding/n-bdC7Qc

Don’t Be A Snob


A lot of people take interest in photography. Starting out it is all fun. Learning about gear. Taking nice photos. No pressure. After awhile someone will ask you how much you charge. Before you know it you are starting a business and doing it for real. After doing it for a while. Getting some high paying clients and some nice photos. The snobbery kicks in. The Dunning-Kruger effect. It happens to almost all of us photographers after a while. Sadly many never outgrow it.

Back in July 2018 I posted an article about how and why entrepreneurs have a higher rate of depression in my Facebook group the Michigan Photography Network. One member started going on a tirad about how most “entrepreneurs” he knew where actually unemployed and about how much better he was than them. As someone who has lost two close friends to suicide I had little tolerance for this guy’s egotistical tirade and blocked him from the group.

Sadly many can’t separate themselves from their work. They assume if they take a bad photo or have a rough month business wise they are a failure. This thinking leads to depression and for some even suicide. This is one of the reasons I intentionally do many things outside of photography. I’m a member of a local Jaycee chapter, a local presbyterian church, and regularly meet up with friends who could care less about what I do for a living.

A few months later I came across an article on one of my favorite blogs, fstoppers, about not bad mouthing cheaper photographers. The article was great. Those in the comments sections disagreed though. They were going on rants about how cheap photographers should “know their worth”.

Sadly a lot of people make work into something akin to a religion. I don’t though. I realize this makes me worthy of scorn in many circles in both the photography and entrepreneurial circles, but quite frankly I don’t care. I’d much rather make time for the things that matter in life instead of working and networking 24/7.

A lot of times non photographers bring their “photographer horror stories” to me. These include photographers not giving photos to clients. Photographers messing up important shots on weddings. Or photographers just acting unprofessional. Most people seem surprised that I don’t rip into these people. Why? Because we all start out there. Entrepreneurship and photography requires a lot of trial and error. Early on your going to mess up. Some more than others. I get why people hire new inexpensive photographers. But it is a gamble. Your taking a risk. Sadly I get a decent amount of clients each year who try people just starting out and end up hiring me because the shots didn’t turn out the way they like. I don’t badmouth these photographers though. Maybe professional photography isn’t for them and it will remain a hobby. Which is fine. Maybe they will learn from their mistakes, stick with it, and become professionals. Which is just fine to.

I don’t dislike the new guys. We all start out there.