Friday, October 30, 2009

Blog Blog

KEN POSNEY: DAILY POST

Summary on "10 QUICK and EASY Ways to Improve Your Photography". The rest of this information will be posted on our Training Site.

1. Read Dane Sanders book, "Fast Track Photographer". It's $25 and can literally save your photography career from going down the wrong path.

2. Promote and Network! Tag, you're it. It's up to you to promote your photography. Shout it from the top of the world and let everyone else decide if they like your work. Share Facebook pages and "Suggest to Friends". Comment on blogs. Post your images. Tell your friends and family.

3. Constantly improve your portfolio

a. Consider your potential customer asking this question when looking at your portfolio: “Why should we hire you to capture our most important day?” Put yourself in the client’s shoes.

b. Are you jumping at the chance to improve your portfolio? Are you taking every opportunity to shoot and improve upon your work?

c. Have you submitted/uploaded your best work?

d. Use Lightscribe and pochettes (or similar) in your packaging. Impress your customers from the time they meet you to the moment they receive their long-awaited images.

e. Have friends, family and acquaintances review and edit your work. Ask them to take out five images from your portfolio.

4. Biography

a. Biographies and blogs help to break the ice. Potential clients like to feel connected to the person who will document one of the most important days of their life. They need to trust in the person who will give them their finest artistic representations of themselves.

b. Have you provided a bio; one that tells a story about who you are, what you believe in, what your photography style is and what’s important to you?

c. Give your potential customer the opportunity they’re looking for. They’re looking for a reason to connect with you. They want to feel safe and taken care of. Put yourself in the client’s shoes.


5. Survey, Listen and ask for Referrals

a. Don’t tell the customer what they need. Ask them what they need and simply listen.

b. It’s not about you. It’s all about them. You’re awesome…but they’re awesomer.

c. Referrals: This is the lifeblood of your business. Ask for it.


6. Attend Workshops

a. Learn from the pros, like Dane Sanders and Mike Larson!

b. These are FREE to TPG Photographers!


7. Professional Web Site
Simple, consistent, fresh, professional, easy to navigate, images come up quickly. Your web site will change many times over the course of your career. You will look back on your old web sites with disgust. You will ask yourself, “What was I thinking?”. Do not blaze your own path on this…too much. Do not get fancy. People just want to see your work, with a small amount of effort, in a short period of time. Review what the top photographers are putting up. There is a method to their madness. It’s simple, they load quickly, it’s easy to understand, it’s good for search engines, it’s clean, it’s not confusing in many aspects. There are some terrible sites from some of the top photographers. Use what you like, throw out what you don’t find necessary.

If you were to have the opportunity to shoot for a big time celebrity, for the President of the United States, for National Geographic, or a client who can appreciate your photography, would you be proud to show them your site…are you ready? If the answer is “no”, this web site is keeping you from getting the business you need. Same goes for the images you are displaying. Do not cling to images because of a personal attachment (i.e., we hiked for seven miles in the snow to get this shot).

You are showing your potential customers, in a few seconds, who you are and how much they should value your work. Where are you intending to get your business from? Your web site is your FIRST IMPRESSION.



...come back tomorrow for more!

BLACK STAR RISING
Tread Carefully When Photographing Religious Events
When visiting a country where religion is a visible part of daily life, you’ll find that pictures of religious activities reveal cultural insights better than photographs of landmarks and landscapes. Rituals, festivals, and people dressed in religious garb personalize faiths otherwise unfamiliar to us. more…


DANE SANDERS
Dane's Speaking Calendar

KEN ROCKWELL
NEW: Photos from Yosemite and California's Eastern Sierra
I was away all last week shooting, and busy all this week processing the digital dross to present these photos. I've presented many of the original JPGs, DNGs, and JPGs derived from DNGs, which means that these are also the highest-resolution complete images ever published on the Internet. Previous science experiments may have allowed people to browse or scroll around larger stitched images, however this is the first time anyone has published complete files from anything with higher-than-DSLR quality.


MIKE LARSON
Brandon & Kaleena {Rancho Las Palmas}
Located in the Palm Springs area, Rancho Las Palmas was a beautiful setting for this amazing wedding....

Photo of the Day

PHOTOFOCUS
Watermarking Your Images
When I post an image online to photo sharing site (like Flickr) I put a watermark on nearly every photo I upload. I do my best to make it so the watermark does not overpower the photo – the ones I use are usually small, and sometimes even blended into the background so it’s not the first thing you look at. (more...)

Five Things You Can Do Right Now To Grow Your Photography Business
If you are a pro or going pro, you have probably realized that the business side of photography is just like any other business. It’s hard work. I’ve been at it a while and I’ve compiled this list to help you grow RIGHT NOW.

1. Own Your Own Zip Code
Don’t spend another second worrying about becoming a nationally-known photo rock star. Don’t worry about breaking out onto the national photo speaking circuit. Don’t worry about trying to get on Oprah. Just worry about owning your own zip code. It doesn’t matter where you live, YOU should be the photographer that everyone knows and talks about in your own zip code. It’s feasible, even in large cities, to knock on every single door within one zip code. It’s possible to phone or meet everyone who lives near you. So do it. If you’re like most people, you shop and spend your time and money on basic entertainment and services in your own zip code. Make sure each of the places you patronize knows you’re a professional photographer. Get THAT business first. Then expand to the next zip code and the next and the next. Most famous rock bands didn’t start playing the coliseum. They started playing in the local bar.

2. Show What You Want to Sell
I cannot believe how many times I’ve been called into consult with a studio that wants to expand or solve a cash flow problem or to just generally become more successful, only to see that they aren’t showing the work they want to sell. One photographer came to me with his portfolio full of great looking nature shots. Problem…he ran a wedding studio. It may seem like common sense and you’d think that everyone knows this but they don’t. Show what you want to sell. If you want to sell baby portraits then have lots of baby pictures in your portfolio. But don’t stop there. Make sure that if you prefer a canvas look, only display canvas gallery wraps in your studio. People will buy what you show them. If you’re not selling the products you want, chances are, you’re not showing it to them.

3. Network Like Crazy
Are you a member of your local PRSA (Public Relations Society of America), Lions Club or Rotary Club? How about the Chamber of Commerce? Do you volunteer at the Local YWCA? Networking is the best way to grow your business. You will meet new people who don’t know you or your work. This gives you the opportunity to show your stuff and clients a chance to see what you’re made of. Volunteering to be the group’s newsletter photographer or website photo editor will give you a chance to really demonstrate what you can do. When people around you find out how great you are, the jobs will follow.

4. Avoid Time Stealers
Wasting time is one of the biggest mistakes emerging pros make. Don’t spend time doing things you don’t do well. If you’re not a trained accountant, don’t do your own accounting. Hire a part-time bookkeeper. It will take them less time than it will take you and they’ll do a better job. You take ALL that time you would have been doing the books, and spend it marketing your services. This applies to everything you do. If you’re not the expert, find the expert and hire him/her. Then spend that time doing the job you WANT to do, which is making photographs. This rule also applies to friends and family. Resist the urge to meet with pals for a coffee every morning. Meet them AFTER work. Spend your work time working and your play time playing. Don’t let anything steal your time. Once it’s gone, it’s gone and you can’t get it back. Think about what could have been accomplished during that half hour if you’d spent it on the phone contacting editors to discuss your latest photo expedition and the images you made.

5. Charge More Money
It’s a simple fact…most photographers undercharge for their services. In a down economy, it’s tempting to think that lowering prices is the way to attract or save new business. It’s not. In fact, it’s the worst thing you can do. In a down economy there are only two groups who survive, and only one of them really thrives. The folks at rock bottom survive. They typically price their work so low that they get lots of jobs, but they work so hard to make the money, you could hardly describe what they do as thriving. On the other end of the scale is the group that not only survives, but thrives. The high-end is where the money is and in any economy, there are always people who want the best. The photographers charging the most money get the best chance for this business. The real problem is that most people are stuck in the middle. And that’s the worst place to be. Particularly in a down economy, consumers flee the middle.
So be honest with yourself and decide whether you’re really being fairly compensated.

CONCLUSION
It’s not easy to run a business, let alone a photography business. But you can do it and do it well if it’s your destiny. I hope you’ll give these ideas a try. They worked for me and I think they can work for you.

PHOTOJOJO
How to Photograph a Ghost — A Spooky Photographic Trick

STYLE ME PRETTY
Inspiration Board for Brides

TIM GREY (Digital Darkroom Questions)
Tim Grey is regarded as one of the top educators in digital photography and imaging, offering clear guidance on complex subjects through his writing and speaking. He loves learning as much as he possibly can about digital imaging, and he loves sharing that information even more.

Tim has written more than a dozen books on digital imaging for photographers, including the best-selling Photoshop CS4 Workflow
and Take Your Best Shot
. He has also had hundreds of articles published in magazines such as Digital Photo Pro, Outdoor Photographer, and PC Photo, among others. He publishes the Digital Darkroom Questions email newsletter, as well as the Digital Darkroom Quarterly print newsletter. Tim teaches through workshops, seminars, and appearances at major events. He is a member of the Photoshop World Dream Team of Instructors.

Today's Question:
I have the in camera option of saving my files in 12 or 14 bit images. In the real world, what difference does the increased file size make?

Tim's Answer:
The actual increase in file size doesn't make any real difference, since that increase in file size is not the result of additional pixels. Instead, it is the result of more decimal places of accuracy (in a manner of speaking) for each of the individual pixel values. So the real question is, is there an appreciable difference between 12-bit per channel and 14-bit per channel color?

In absolute terms, there is a considerable difference. An 8-bit per channel image contains only 256 tonal values per channel, and thus only 16,777,216 million total possible color values. That sounds like a lot (and it is), but it is a small enough number that significant adjustments can lead to posterization (loss of smooth gradations of tone and color within the image). At the top end of "normal" digital photographs is 16-bit per channel, which allows for 281,474,976,710,656 possible color values 65,536 tonal values per channel). With so many colors possible, posterization is highly unlikely even with very strong adjustments to your images.

So, where do 12-bit and 14-bit stack up? A 12-bit per channel image allows for up to 4,096 possible tonal values per channel, and thus a total of about 68.7 billion possible color values. A 14-bit per channel image offers up to 16,384 possible tonal values, for a total of almost 4.4 trillion possible color values. That's a pretty big difference, but frankly in the real world it doesn't amount to a particularly huge difference (at least not anywhere near as big a difference as the numbers presented here would imply).

When applying typical adjustment to an image, you're not going to do enough damage to cause posterization with either a 12-bit per channel or 14-bit per channel image. Because of the additional number of colors available with a 14-bit per channel image it is possible you'll retain greater fine detail within the image. Gradations may be more smooth, and some areas may actually contain more visible detail than if you worked with a 12-bit per channel image. In most cases you would have a very difficult time telling the difference between the two, although in some cases it can make a difference that is clearly visible when you zoom in closely to certain areas of an image.

Despite the fact that there is a very minor benefit in most cases, I do recommend capturing at the highest bit-depth available for your digital camera. Keep in mind that this bit-depth setting affects the accuracy of the analog to digital (A/D) conversion within the camera. The final image you create when you convert the RAW image to a "real" image file format will be either 8-bit per channel (which I don't recommend, as you would be throwing away all the "extra" information you gathered by capturing in RAW) or 16-bit per channel. Photoshop doesn't offer 12-bit or 14-bit per channel file formats, so the 12-bit or 14-bit data will be placed into a 16-bit per channel "package". You don't really have full 16-bit per channel data (though some cameras do offer this support), your data is just held by an image file capable of storing more data than you actually have.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Blog Blog

KEN POSNEY: DAILY POST

Summary on "10 QUICK and EASY Ways to Improve Your Photography". The rest of this information will be posted on our Training Site.

1. Read Dane Sanders book, "Fast Track Photographer". It's $25 and can literally save your photography career from going down the wrong path.

2. Promote and Network! Tag, you're it. It's up to you to promote your photography. Shout it from the top of the world and let everyone else decide if they like your work. Share Facebook pages and "Suggest to Friends". Comment on blogs. Post your images. Tell your friends and family.

3. Constantly improve your portfolio

a. Consider your potential customer asking this question when looking at your portfolio: “Why should we hire you to capture our most important day?” Put yourself in the client’s shoes.

b. Are you jumping at the chance to improve your portfolio? Are you taking every opportunity to shoot and improve upon your work?

c. Have you submitted/uploaded your best work?

d. Use Lightscribe
and pochettes
(or similar) in your packaging. Impress your customers from the time they meet you to the moment they receive their long-awaited images.

e. Have friends, family and acquaintances review and edit your work. Ask them to take out five images from your portfolio.

4. Biography

a. Biographies and blogs help to break the ice. Potential clients like to feel connected to the person who will document one of the most important days of their life. They need to trust in the person who will give them their finest artistic representations of themselves.

b. Have you provided a bio; one that tells a story about who you are, what you believe in, what your photography style is and what’s important to you?

c. Give your potential customer the opportunity they’re looking for. They’re looking for a reason to connect with you. They want to feel safe and taken care of. Put yourself in the client’s shoes.


5. Survey, Listen and ask for Referrals

a. Don’t tell the customer what they need. Ask them what they need and simply listen.

b. It’s not about you. It’s all about them. You’re awesome…but they’re awesomer.

c. Referrals: This is the lifeblood of your business. Ask for it.


6. Attend Workshops

a. Learn from the pros, like Dane Sanders and Mike Larson!

b. These are FREE to TPG Photographers!


...come back tomorrow for more!

BLACK STAR RISING
No Matter the Brand, Your Camera Is a Door into People’s Lives
Photographers often ask me which camera or lens I think is best. “Would past masters have used Photoshop and digital cameras?” they wonder. “Should ‘real’ photographers choose Leica, Canon or Nikon?” I’ve learned in my career that those aren’t the right questions to ask. It’s not about the brand of camera, or the method of making a print. It’s about the journey — the many doors into people’s lives that photography can open for you. more…


DANE SANDERS
Dane's Speaking Calendar

KEN ROCKWELL
Redwood Motel
2009 M9
, 1970 50mm f/2, ISO 1,600, hand-held at 1/6 second at f/2, Nik Dfine 2.0, 6:40AM, 25ºF (-5ºC). Whew! I snapped this on the run as we headed out to Twin Lakes before dawn on Sunday.


MIKE LARSON
Pictage Partner Con!
Next week! I'll be speaking & leading a shooting workshop at the Pictage Partner Conference in New Orleans! For those of you who are going who did not make it into the class, I'll be doing a another workshop in San Luis Obispo, CA from 12/1 - 12/3/2009. I'm super stoked for this workshop, its been almost 3 months since I've spoken, its been a busy shooting season!

Photo of the Day

PHOTOFOCUS
Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO & The Fourth Musketeer
We hear a great deal about shutter speed, aperture and ISO, but there’s another control we need to remember and often don’t. That’s the white balance. For those of you shooting video on a DSLR it’s particularly important. Video folks spend much more time worrying about color balance than still photographers. One of the reasons is that changing color in post is more complicated in video than in still photography. In my opinion, everyone should pay attention to white balance no matter what they shoot. It saves time in post and therefore is a good thing. You might know that we’re sponsored by ExpoImaging. I’ve never reviewed their Expodisc assuming that folks would just ignore my review since it features a sponsored product. But I have had some requests for more information on how and why it works, so I’ve decided to oblige.


PHOTOJOJO
How to Photograph a Ghost — A Spooky Photographic Trick

STYLE ME PRETTY
Inspiration Board for Brides

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Blog Blog

KEN POSNEY: DAILY POST

Summary on "10 QUICK and EASY Ways to Improve Your Photography Business". The rest of this information is posted on our Training Site.

1. Read Dane Sanders book, "Fast Track Photographer". It's $25 and can literally save your photography career from going down the wrong path.

2. Promote and Network! Tag, you're it. It's up to you to promote your photography. Shout it from the top of the world and let everyone else decide if they like your work. Share Facebook pages and "Suggest to Friends". Comment on blogs. Post your images. Tell your friends and family.

3. Constantly improve your portfolio

a. Consider your potential customer asking this question when looking at your portfolio: “Why should we hire you to capture our most important day?” Put yourself in the client’s shoes.

b. Are you jumping at the chance to improve your portfolio? Are you taking every opportunity to shoot and improve upon your work?

c. Have you submitted/uploaded your best work?

d. Use Lightscribe and pochettes (or similar) in your packaging. Impress your customers from the time they meet you to the moment they receive their long-awaited images.

e. Have friends, family and acquaintances review and edit your work. Ask them to take out five images from your portfolio.

...come back tomorrow for more!

BLACK STAR RISING
The Trouble with Online Photography Portfolios
I’ve spent some time over the past couple of weeks looking at photographers’ portfolios in search of new talent for upcoming projects. I started my search online; then, once I had a short list of photographers whose work I liked, I arranged individual meetings to discuss their work in more detail and review their print portfolios...

DANE SANDERS
Dane's Speaking Calendar

KEN ROCKWELL
Wyman goes iPhone!I'm too cheap to pay for iPhone service, and my iPod Touch has no camera. If it did, I'd probably give up on big cameras. For instance, Dave Wyman is also now posting his photos made with his iPhone. For examples of great photos made with the iPhone, see Chase Jarvis' book The Best Camera.

MIKE LARSON
Pictage Partner Con!
Next week! I'll be speaking & leading a shooting workshop at the Pictage Partner Conference in New Orleans! For those of you who are going who did not make it into the class, I'll be doing a another workshop in San Luis Obispo, CA from 12/1 - 12/3/2009. I'm super stoked for this workshop, its been almost 3 months since I've spoken, its been a busy shooting season!

Photo of the Day

PHOTOFOCUS
Five Tips For Overcoming a Creative Block
Do you ever find yourself in a creative rut? I know I do! It’s not always easy to get out of, so I thought I would share some of the methods I use to find my way back to photographic happiness.

1. Use a different camera. If you use an SLR most of the time, try heading out with a point-and-shoot with the intention of getting great photos. You will be limited if you are used to having several different lenses to work with, but that limitation will force you to find new ways to use what you have.


2. Shoot film! If you have a neglected film-camera collecting dust somewhere then dig it up and put to use. Having a limited amount of frames to work with on one roll of film really makes you be very decisive on each shot and puts those creative brain cells to good use.

3. Learn something new. There are so many great photography books and video tutorials out there, and sometimes learning a new way to photograph or edit an image can spark new ideas in your mind. I try to exercise my brain by watching and reading as much as possible, especially when I feel “stuck”.

4. Go on a photowalk. If you find that you are always photographing the same thing, or can’t think of anything to photograph, then try going on a photowalk. You are likely to see new subjects or find new locations that can help you out. If you are out with a group of people you may even find inspiration from just spending time with your fellow photographers.

5. Look at LOTS of other photos. Find photos online, in books, magazines, etc., and study them. Look at the light, the angles, try to see the images from the perspective of the photographer, and do this over and over and over. I really enjoy looking at the “Explore” page on Flickr – there are so many unique photos from around the world that are featured there, plus they change every day so you never know what you are going to find.


PHOTOJOJO
How to Make Picture-Perfect Pads of Paper

STYLE ME PRETTY
Inspiration Board for Brides

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blog Blog

KEN POSNEY: DAILY POST

Summary on "10 QUICK and EASY Ways to Improve Your Photography Business". The rest of this information is posted on our Training Site.

1. Read Dane Sanders book, "Fast Track Photographer". It's $25 and can literally save your photography career from going down the wrong path.

2. Promote and Network! Tag, you're it. It's up to you to promote your photography. Shout it from the top of the world and let everyone else decide if they like your work. Share Facebook pages and "Suggest to Friends". Comment on blogs. Post your images. Tell your friends and family.

...come back tomorrow for more!

POSE IDEAS (Fred Marcus)















BLACK STAR RISING
Four Steps to Determine Your Rate as a Contract Photographer
As media organizations continue to trim staff positions, they are hiring contractors to do more of their photography work. For laid-off staff photographers, this presents an opportunity — if you know how much to charge for your services.

DANE SANDERS
Dane's Speaking Calendar

KEN ROCKWELL
Update: I added a rollover example to How to Use Grad Filters. Of course I shot it on a rangefinder camera, which work great with grads and polarizers.

Canon S90
I got to play with a production Canon S90 a bit while in Yosemite last week. Goodness, it's high ISO noise seems the same as the full-frame LEICA M9
!
 
Rumor
Is the Nikon D800 the coming 24MP D700x that's due any day now?

Yosemite and the Eastern Sierra
Whoo hoo! I just got back from over a week of shooting.

MIKE LARSON
Pictage Partner Con!
Next week! I'll be speaking & leading a shooting workshop at the Pictage Partner Conference in New Orleans! For those of you who are going who did not make it into the class, I'll be doing a another workshop in San Luis Obispo, CA from 12/1 - 12/3/2009. I'm super stoked for this workshop, its been almost 3 months since I've spoken, its been a busy shooting season!

Photo of the Day

PHOTOFOCUS
ReFrame Conference Wrap Up
I attended the ReFrame conference in San Francisco last week. I had some medical stuff that kept me from making the trip to New York for Photo East, so that freed up a few days to go to the Bay Area to learn more about convergence. It seems that I could have also done that in New York. Based on reports I got from friends at the show, this year’s Photo East was all abuzz over hybrid video/DSLR cameras. ReFrame was focused on the wedding video business.

Five Tips For Creating Long Lasting Relationships With Photo Buyers
If you’re selling your photography to brides, families, schools, editors or collectors, etc., you have to think about building relationships. Often, the photographer who gets the sale DOES NOT have the best picture, they have the best relationship with the photo buyer. Here are some tips for improving your relationships with clients. A great deal of this is common sense.

1. Listen. Your clients will give you a wealth of information, if you listen that is. Too many marketers approach selling situations with a script. They have a prepared pitch that overtakes the client’s needs. Sometimes the simplest product pitch is “What are you looking for?” Let the clients tell you what they need instead of trying to sell them what they might not want.

2. Be open, transparent, genuine, authentic, gracious and helpful. People will want to buy your photos over and over if you can do that.

3. Put the client first. That’s it. Just really, really try to put their needs above your own. This may cost you a short term sale, but will almost always lead to long-term business. This may mean saying something like, “I’m not the right photographer for that job, but let me put you in touch with the person who is.” It takes guts to do this and it pays off in spades when you can muster the courage to do it.

4. Do things that positively impact the people in the community where your buyers interact. Be seen as someone who is a helpful resource for people in that community. Be the person that your community turns to in time of need. The visibility this offers makes people want to trust you.

5. Follow through on every promise you make to your clients, no matter how small. This is critical to building relationships. If you say you’ll call them back with a price tomorrow before 4:00 PM, do it. Nothing is more important. In fact, follow through in a way that leaves no doubt you’re committed to the relationship. Under-promise and over-deliver. This leads to long-term business for any photographer.


PHOTOJOJO
How to Make Picture-Perfect Pads of Paper

STYLE ME PRETTY
Inspiration Board for Brides

Monday, October 26, 2009

Margaret and Jim Daily

We drove out to Maha'ulepu with Jim and Margaret for their wedding. Maha'ulepu is a raw, untouched beach on the south shore of Kaua'i...one of the last undeveloped locations on the south shore. Maha'ulepu is always windy, the waves are dramatic and can change from bright sun to approaching storm in a matter of a couple hours. Shooting at Maha'ulepu is challenging with the wind and sea spray, but makes for some unique, dramatic images. Margaret and Jim were adventurous, with Margaret changing into her dress in some nearby bushes, as a light rain fell and a rainbow appeared at the cliffs before Kipu Kai. A day after the wedding, Haunani and I picked them up at the cruise ship, their last day on Kaua'i, to take them to a snorkeling spot, PK's (Prince Kuhio), then they took us to lunch at Brennecke Broiler, at Po'ipu. What a great time getting to know this couple. We'll seem them again with their whole family in December.








Blog Blog


Black Star Rising
Seven Strategies to Ensure Your Blog Is Worth the Effort
1. Write posts to encourage discussion.
2. Network on other photography blogs.
3. Integrate your blog with social networks.
4. Tie your online and offline marketing efforts.
5. Don’t shy away from posting video.
6. Apply your creativity to the medium.
7. Promote yourself (just not shamelessly).

Dane Sanders
Dane's Speaking Calendar

Ken Rockwell
Nikon 28mm f/1.4 AF-D
The world's finest, fastest 28mm SLR lens was Nikon's 28mm f/1.4 AF-D made from 1994 - 2008. Nikon has never made anything similar before or after; this lens' performance is beyond anything else from Nikon, and allows me to shoot hand-held in moonlight on a D3. Adorama has one in stock, used, at what looks like a good deal less than they sell for over eBay, where they used to run at around $4,000 last I looked into it.

Mike Larson
Catalina photo trip

Photo of the Day

PhotoFocus
Pre-Visualization Exercises
I’ve talked here before about pre-visualization. But for some of you, my discussion has been too ethereal. You want some concrete steps you can take to improve your pre-visualization skills. In order to effectively pre-visualize, there are some things you can do to prepare.

a. Go somewhere quiet.
b. Relax and get comfortable
c. Turn off the phone, TV, radio, iPod and your computer
d. Bring a pen and paper – yes – pen and paper – it works better than a laptop
e. Close your eyes and concentrate on creating a blank page

Now you are ready to start painting a picture in your mind’s eye. Here’s your first exercise…(more)

Photo Book Review – Nikon DSLR: The Ultimate Photographer’s Guide
Nikon DSLR: The Ultimate Photographer’s Guide presents a general overview of the current line of Nikon DSLRs. Chapters include basic information on exposure, digital feature selection, descriptions of the usual controls on a Nikon DSLR, descriptions of a few of the current models of camera bodies and lenses, discussion of flash photography, and an overview of Nikon’s proprietary image processing software, Nikon Capture NX 2. Profiles of some successful Nikon camera users are also included.

Photojojo Newsletter
How to Make Picture-Perfect Pads of Paper

Style Me Pretty
Inspiration Board for Brides

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Blog Blog


Black Star Rising
Seven Tips for Taking Photos in Public Places

Dane Sanders
Dane's Speaking Calendar

Ken Rockwell
Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park
I shot this earlier this week while I was in Yosemite National Park with a LEICA M9
, LEICA 21mm f/2.8
ELMARIT-M ASPH
, ISO 160, f/8 at 1/180 second, Kelvin WB.

Mike Larson
Catalina photo trip

Photo of the Day

PhotoFocus
Poll – What Should I Giveaway Next? D3s or 1D MK IV?
Creating a “Paper Border” Using Photoshop
Using Texture in Your Photography
Photography is a two-dimensional art, yet as photographers we are often-times trying to add depth and texture to our images. Texture is something you can integrate into a photo as you are shooting, or later in pos-processing. Lately I have been trying to photograph as many textures as possible, not with any specific use in mind, but to collect them so I can create different looks in my photography down the road...

Photojojo Newsletter
A Whole New Do, a Whole New You. Here’s how.

Style Me Pretty
Inspiration Board for Brides

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blog Blog


Black Star Rising
Seven Tips for Taking Photos in Public Places
No one should expect privacy if they are out and about in a public place. That means that everyone is fair game to be photographed on a public street and in open areas like a public park. But defining “public” can sometimes be tricky. And even if you technically have the right to take someone’s photo, this doesn’t necessarily protect you from, say, a punch in the nose...

Dane Sanders
Dane's Speaking Calendar

Ken Rockwell
Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park
I shot this earlier this week while I was in Yosemite National Park with a LEICA M9, LEICA 21mm f/2.8 ELMARIT-M ASPH, ISO 160, f/8 at 1/180 second, Kelvin WB.

Mike Larson
Catalina photo trip

Photo of the Day

PhotoFocus
Zacuto Z-Finder Review
I got my hands on a V2 Zacuto Z-Finder this week. This is the revised, second version of the Z-Finder. The Z-Finder is Zacuto’s Optical Viewfinder
(made by Schneider) that offers digital camera owners 3x focusable magnification, a 40mm diameter lens, an eyecup preventing extraneous light leakage, and a field of view perfectly matched to LCD screens.


Photojojo Newsletter
A Whole New Do, a Whole New You. Here’s how.

Style Me Pretty
Inspiration Board for Brides

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Blog Blog


Black Star Rising
Please, No More Pictures of Dying Africans
I do not want to see another photo essay, multimedia presentation, or visual of any kind on the subject of dying Africans. Never, ever again. Enough. I understand that these images can be compelling. I understand that the photographers seem to care. But at this point, the harm done by such photos outweighs the good...

Dane Sanders
Dane's Speaking Calendar

Ken Rockwell
Image of the Milky Way
Wow, this stuff is easy with an M9
: ISO 2,500, 24 seconds at f/1.4. It did the same thing in Auto ISO and Auto: I simply pointed and shot on a tripod.

Mike Larson
Cabo San Lucas, Mexio (Album shoot)
A few weeks ago I took my team down to Cabo and we shot Westley, who is one heck of a guitarist. His music immediately captured my attention and when they asked me to shoot their album art for his upcoming debut CD, I was honored. The disk is called "Wavedance". I'll blog it as soon as the mp3's become available online. Its not even in print yet! So we shot at sunrise and sunset for 2 days and got some amazing shots. In between the shoots, I was able to get some fishing, exploring, fish tacos and siestas! I think its been over a year since I've had a siesta. Needless to say, we had an amazing time and came away with a body of work I'm proud of. I want to thank the family for taking such good care of us and putting us up in their sweet pacific ocean view home.

New York Times - Behind the Lens
Behind the Scenes: Rewriting the Rules
After a flurry of e-mail messages and blog posts in recent days, the military command in the eastern region of Afghanistan backed down on Thursday from a new rule that would have prevented photographers from taking pictures of soldiers or marines killed in action.

PhotoFocus
Does Your Attitude Impact Your Photography?
I’ve been doing a great deal of self-reflection lately. I’ve tried to analyze every aspect of my photography. While gear, technique and craft are all things I’m trying to improve, I also realize that my attitude is important.
Here are some steps I am taking to improve my attitude.

a. I am trying not to let my opinion of my circumstances guide my actions. If it’s raining outside, I can either decide the weather is crap or I can decide the weather offers great storm cloud photography options.

b. I am trying to look at my past mistakes to see how I can improve and learn from them rather than lamenting them.

c. I am trying to focus on what’s really important rather than what’s supposed to be urgent.

d. I am trying to challenge my own assumptions about my work and asking if there’s anything I should revisit or revise based on new information, tools or skills.

e. I am trying to ignore any and all echo chambers in the field of photography.

f. I am trying to open my mind and my heart to new ideas.

g. I am trying not to let my emotions get the better of me.
I make no claim at all that I am successful in this endeavor – I only claim that I am trying. Perhaps this sort of self-reflection will help you. I firmly believe that by considering all these things, I’m finding ways to improve my work and to remain excited about all things photographic.

Editing Tips for Microstock Photographers
1. Look at your image up close. It’s very important that you take a really close look at your photos during the editing process. Zoom in to 100%, and sometimes even 200% and scroll around the image to look for things like artifacting, chromatic aberration, noise, sensor spots, etc. Image inspectors will do this as they check your images, so it’s important to make sure that you clean up the photo as much as possible before uploading.

2. Check your focus. Proper focus is really important with commercial stock photography. If you are photographing people or animals then you want to be sure that the focus is on the eyes. You also want to make sure that you have a clear focus point in your image, regardless of the subject. If your focus is slightly off but is not extremely blurry, sometimes it’s acceptable to down-size the photo before submitting to the microstock site.

3. Don’t over-sharpen. If you need to do any sharpening, do it selectively to areas of the image that really matter. Adding too much sharpening to your image is a surefire way to get a rejection, since over-sharpening can cause unwanted artifacts and haloing in your image.

4. Watch out for chromatic aberration (CA). Chromatic aberration, also known as “purple fringing”, is usually going to show up in areas of the photo where there is a lot of contrast. You will want to scan the edges of items in your photos and look for discolorations. It’s not always going to be purple-colored; sometimes it is cyan, or even red. If you have a small amount in your image it is usually pretty easy to eliminate (here’s a link to a video tutorial to show you how).

5. Don’t over-process. It’s okay, and expected, that you will need to do some processing (like levels, curves, HSL) to your images, but don’t push the processing too much. There is no solid rule on how much to do (or not to do) you really just need to pay attention to the image as you are making changes to be sure that you aren’t taking away too much detail. With tonal adjustments you need to be sure you aren’t clipping your whites and blacks, and with color changes (especially with the saturation slider) watch the color to see if it starts getting “neon” looking or blocky; if it is then you need to tone it down a bit.

6. Cropping is okay … but don’t over-do it. It’s important to remember that a lot of the customers of microstock sites are designers, and oftentimes they like to have some copy-space surrounding the subject of an image. If you crop too tight then it can limit the image’s use, but it doesn’t hurt to crop a little bit. Ultimately you need to find the balance between cropping so that the image looks good, and leaving enough room for a prospective designer to use in many different ways.

7. Keep it simple. Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture, along with many other software applications have a lot of great plug-ins and filters that really do amazing things to images. The thing is, when you are selling microstock you want to provide a nice, neat, clean image to your customers. There are some exceptions to this, but in general you don’t want to play around with wild filters and plugins for the images that you upload to be used as microstock.

8. Noise reduction. It’s okay to use noise-reduction software on your images, but, once again, don’t push it too far. Over-using noise reduction can make the image look “mushy”. It’s best if your images are already shot at a low ISO to begin with (like ISO 100 or 200), but if not and the image is worth saving then apply the noise reduction on a separate (duplicate) layer and reduce the opacity.

9. Clone out logos. Logos and trademarked shapes are a big “no-no” with microstock photography. It’s important that if they are in the image that they are removed. It’s best to try to limit and control the appearance of them as you are taking the photo, but sometimes it’s impossible to keep them out, or you don’t notice they are there in the first place. Just be sure to check over your image and clone out as much as possible.

10. Save your JPEGs at the highest quality setting. When you are editing your images, make sure that you try to only save the JPEG one time, and always save it at the highest quality possible (level “12″ in Photoshop). Re-opening and saving a JPEG over and over will compress the image and degrade the quality by introducing artifacts to the image, so do your best to only edit it one time and be done with it.

Photojojo Newsletter
The Dashing DIY Hand Strap

Style Me Pretty
Inspiration Board for Brides

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Brewster and Nancy Cotton

August 27, 2009
Brewster and Nancy were one of the nicest couples I've met. Very easy to work with and adventurous enough to venture down to Lumahai Beach, the cliffs and crashing waves. We had their intimate ceremony at Lumahai Beach, but I noticed a nice rugged cliff with crashing waves that would make a nice image, if they agreed to join me...they did! Mahalo Charity Vazquez for the perfect reflector work that was required to make these images.








Blog of Blogs


Black Star Rising
Eye on Image-Making: Creating a Marketing Strategy and Resume
Your marketing strategy answers the following question, in the words of Seattle-based travel photographer Cliff Hollenbeck: how are you going to get your images, your ideas, and yourself in front of the people who buy the kind of work you do? Your resume provides concise documentation of your professional career to date.

Dane Sanders
Dane's Speaking Calendar

Ken Rockwell
Review: Canon 7D


Mike Larson
Cabo San Lucas, Mexio (Album shoot)
A few weeks ago I took my team down to Cabo and we shot Westley, who is one heck of a guitarist. His music immediately captured my attention and when they asked me to shoot their album art for his upcoming debut CD, I was honored. The disk is called "Wavedance". I'll blog it as soon as the mp3's become available online. Its not even in print yet! So we shot at sunrise and sunset for 2 days and got some amazing shots. In between the shoots, I was able to get some fishing, exploring, fish tacos and siestas! I think its been over a year since I've had a siesta. Needless to say, we had an amazing time and came away with a body of work I'm proud of. I want to thank the family for taking such good care of us and putting us up in their sweet pacific ocean view home.

New York Times - Behind the Lens
Behind the Scenes: Rewriting the Rules
After a flurry of e-mail messages and blog posts in recent days, the military command in the eastern region of Afghanistan backed down on Thursday from a new rule that would have prevented photographers from taking pictures of soldiers or marines killed in action.

PhotoFocus
Scott Bourne/Photofocus Giveaway Update – October Edition

Photojojo Newsletter
The Dashing DIY Hand Strap

Style Me Pretty
Inspiration Board for Brides

Monday, October 19, 2009

Blog of Blogs


Black Star Rising
Understanding Five Types of Photo Contests
A contest is a contest is a contest, right? Well, yes and no. Yes, they are all about judging photographs based on creativity, technical merit, and relevance to the contest themes. But different types of contests have different technical standards and different submission methods. It’s important that you match your images to the type of contest you’re entering...click link for more.

Dane Sanders
Dane's Speaking Calendar

Ken Rockwell
NEW: Canon 7D


Mike Larson
Del Mar wedding weekend. I'm Shooting here at L'Auberge in Del Mar. This is going to be a warm beautiful weekend!

New York Times - Behind the Lens
Lens is the photojournalism blog of The New York Times, presenting the finest and most interesting visual and multimedia reporting — photographs, videos and slide shows. A showcase for Times photographers, it also seeks to highlight the best work of other newspapers, magazines and news and picture agencies; in print, in books, in galleries, in museums and on the Web.

PhotoFocus
Learn 5D Mark II Canon
Cinematography with Philip Bloom – Mini Review

Five More Ways to Improve Your Photography Without Buying Gear

Photojojo Newsletter
The Dashing DIY Hand Strap

Style Me Pretty
Inspiration Board for Brides

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Blog of Blogs


Dane Sanders
Dane's Speaking Calendar

Mike Larson
Del Mar wedding weekend. I'm Shooting here at L'Auberge in Del Mar. This is going to be a warm beautiful weekend!

Ken Rockwell
NEW: Canon 7D


PhotoFocus
Photo Book Review – Christopher Grey’s Studio Lighting Techniques for Photography. Quick Camera Update – Canon 7D
, G11
and Olympus E-P1
Round Up. Fix My Photo #2 – Clone Tool


Photojojo Newsletter
What Was Your Toughest Photo?

Black Star Rising
In the New Media World, Photographers Who Embrace Change Will Succeed

Style Me Pretty
Inspiration Board for Brides

New York Times - Behind the Lens
Lens is the photojournalism blog of The New York Times, presenting the finest and most interesting visual and multimedia reporting — photographs, videos and slide shows. A showcase for Times photographers, it also seeks to highlight the best work of other newspapers, magazines and news and picture agencies; in print, in books, in galleries, in museums and on the Web.


Friday, October 16, 2009

DeGrottole Wedding (Kaua'i)

Michael and Yuzuko have become fast friends forever. They ended up joining us on a trip to the north shore, in the back of my pickup truck no less. We all went swimming in a wet cave at Ha'ena, hung out at Tahiti Nui, snorkeling at Hanalei Bay, did a waterfall shoot and dinner at Plantation Gardens.

I think it's important to try to become friends with your clients. It seems like such a waste to spend such intimate time with them and not become friends after one of the most important days of their life. It's nice to have the feeling, "I wish they could married again, that was FUN".




Blog of Blogs


Dane Sanders
This episode of Make Your Day YOU! features wedding venue, Rancho Las Lomas in Silverado, California

Mike Larson
Nick and Heather photos

Ken Rockwell
DEAL: The Nikon DX 35mm f/1.8 is in-stock at B&H and in-stock at Ritz. They don't last. You know how much I love that lens; I was shooting photos of Katie with it just hours ago. NEW: Adobe Photoshop CS4
Review. Hardly a review of everything that Photoshop does; this is an analysis of why the upgrade to CS4 made sense for me several months ago. Observed: Ladies' Handmade Camera Straps. Nikon 85mm f/3.5. NEW: Nikon 85mm f/3.5 VR DX
. Nikon 18-200mm VR II. NEW: Nikon 18-200mm VR II
Review. No news is news: I tested this new version, and it really is identical except for the zoom lock. Even the coatings are the same.


PhotoFocus
10 Things I Wish I Could Tell Every New Lightroom
User


Photojojo Newsletter
What Was Your Toughest Photo?

Black Star Rising
In the New Media World, Photographers Who Embrace Change Will Succeed

Style Me Pretty
Inspiration Board for Brides

New York Times - Behind the Lens
Lens is the photojournalism blog of The New York Times, presenting the finest and most interesting visual and multimedia reporting — photographs, videos and slide shows. A showcase for Times photographers, it also seeks to highlight the best work of other newspapers, magazines and news and picture agencies; in print, in books, in galleries, in museums and on the Web.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog of Blogs


Dane Sanders
This episode of Make Your Day YOU! features wedding venue, Rancho Las Lomas in Silverado, California

Mike Larson
Nick and Heather photos

Ken Rockwell
DEAL: Adorama gave me a special coupon code to give you folks to get 50% off of any size of their photo books. I've seen these Adorama photo books: they are very nice because they are real photos on Fuji Crystal Archive laser-exposed, dark-chemically-processed photo paper. They use a...

PhotoFocus
Emerging Photographer of the Year Finalist: Joseph Linaschke

Photojojo Newsletter
What Was Your Toughest Photo?

Black Star Rising
Internet Models and Me: One Photographer’s Misadventures