When it comes to one being a photographer, sometimes the biggest obstacle actually is one's self.

Those words come from Louis "Lou" Meluso, who is the executive director for the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum and has been a professional photographer for 30 years. He has made it a personal mission to both share his knowledge with the public and, in his words, prove that virtually anyone can create impressive photographs.

"I am really passing along the things that I have learned along the way," Meluso said. "Everyone has their own style and approach to doing any kind of art-making, whether it's photography, painting or sculpture. I am sharing these things that I've come across in my career and to offer some ways for people to overcome some of the obstacles that stand in the way of creativity."

Meluso will present the second of his quarterly photography lecture series, "Unleashing the Photographer Within," from 6-7 p.m. Aug. 16 at the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum, 1601 Rogers Ave. The event is aimed at photographers of all ages and talent levels and is free for museum members and $25 for nonmembers; registration can be completed by calling (479) 784-2787 and by emailing info@fsram.org.

Among the factors that "stand in one's way" of being the best artist he or she can be are a lack of self-confidence and a desire to place too much attention on expensive photographic equipment, Meluso said.

"I don't talk too much about cameras in my lecture," he said. "I tell people, 'Let go of the camera.' That is a point I make. A lot of people put so much stock into what camera they have or don't have, and that limits them. It has nothing to do with the camera because you can get good photographs from any camera, even from an iPhone or Android phone.

"I talk more about us exploring the preconceptions that hold back creativity," Meluso added. "In this lecture series, we will deploy the tools that allow the inner artist to rise to the surface."

Meluso also will present a "path to improvement" during the lecture, which shows how photographers can improve and always be open to embracing creativity. One of his theories calls for the photographer to, in his words, simply "shut up" and let the world happen in front of the camera lens.

"I tell people to sit quietly and let nature unfold in front of them," said Meluso, who cites nature photography and portraits as his favorite photo genres. "You don't have to go to Asia to find beautiful nature to photograph. All you have to do is go sit in a field, quiet your mind and then work the scene.

"You are there," he added. "And don't just take one picture. Move around one inch here and once inch there, which can make all the difference in a photograph."

Meluso said he plans to continue offering photography lectures at the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum and is open to offering additional workshops and presentations in the community.

"When you stop trying to impress people and you stop worrying about what other people think, that is when it's amazing," he said. "There are all these little mental games we have to deal with when creating any kind of art. If we can at least recognize them when they rear their ugly heads, then it's better."

According to Meluso, a photographer should never be afraid to form a temporary connection with a subject.

"I appreciate the technical side, but being interactive with the subject is way more important than knowing all of the technical aspects," he said. "I tell people to let the right part of their brain dominate, to get in touch with their emotions. When you see something that begins to form the word 'Wow' on your lips, that is the time to place your camera to your eye."