Friday, October 30, 2009

Blog Blog


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!

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's Speaking Calendar

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.

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

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.

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.

How to Photograph a Ghost — A Spooky Photographic Trick

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.