Thanks for stopping by!
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Cinco de Mayo wedding in Los Angeles! I am really looking forward to shooting Carrie and Patrick's wedding in LA. Carrie is the one person that I think I know that travels more than I do...she has been all over the country this year with auto shows. They are getting married in Redondo Beach, my old haunt, so I am looking forward to catching up with some old friends there.
PartnerCon Chicago! If you are going let me know...would love to hook up there. I have been to all the PartnerCon's and there is always terrific information being discussed. Looking forward to seeing Me Ra Koh, David Salomone, Davide Greene, Brody Dezember, Mike Colon and of course Mr. David Jay! I will be manning the liveBooks booth, so if you are thinking about buying a site I can show you what we have to offer.
Thanks for your insights Chris!
April 26, 2007
Alright, I'll warn ya right now.... this is the artsy side of me coming out. Proceed at your own risk. :)
As I was editing today, I was thinking to myself about the different factors that go into making a great image. First, there are images that are just plain cool to look at-maybe they're kind of original, something we haven't seen before, so they catch our eye. Then, there are images that are fun to admire because of the technical aspects that went into getting the shot- maybe some funky off camera lighting or use of slow shutter speeds. There are also images where the post processing is really well crafted in a mature way and really adds to the impact of the image.
Yet, it seemed as I thought more about it, that these are sort of all after-thoughts, and while these factors certainly add to an image, they don't seem (to me at least) to be what really makes an oustanding image.
As I was thinking of those images that I've seen in both my own work and from other photographers that really pop out to me the most, I was trying to reflect on what it was that really turned me onto them. Suddenly, a word came to mind.
It seems that the images I'm drawn to the most capture something beyond the surface-they capture some sort of deeper essence in either the person or the moment being captured.
Again, this isn't to say technical excellence or creative post processing isn't important, but rather, these things are the icing on the cake, not the cake itself.
This is definitely a tricky subject to talk about, because I don't think there's an easy, magic forumla for capturing the "essence" of people or of moments. I'm certainly not going to venture to define what constitutes capturing essence or give a "3 easy steps" list, but here are a few things that you might consider....
1. Be Prepared. It's not just for boy scouts! :) Being ready and anticipating a certain moment before it happens is vital. It's tough to capture the essence of a moment while you're changing lenses or fidgeting with your exposure.
2. Be Receptive. Particularly when shooting portraits and when the subject is aware of your presence, it's critical that there is a certain amount of trust involved. If your subject doesn't trust you and isn't totally willing to let down their gaurd, it's unlikely you'll be able to really capture the essence of who they are.
3. Don't be in the way. There's so much to be said for being able to capture a moment without affecting the moment. It's one reason I shoot with available light as much as I can (and use flash as a last resort), and also why I shoot with long lenses. Allowing a moment to unfold as it will, without trying to influence or affect it, will almost always allow the essence of the moment to shine through.
"Essence" is a tough thing to put your finger on. It's subjective, for sure. One person may totally think an image communicates the essence of a person or a moment, while another person looking at the same image might yawn. The point probably shouldn't be to convince everyone you come in contact with of the "essence" you captured in your images. Rather, maybe the point should be to strive to find the people who naturally do connect with your art and your ability and allow them to preach your art for you. It's what just about every sucessful artist and photographer does so well.
Perhaps this post is somewhat of a call for photographers to bring this to the forefront of our consciousness at our next shoot. I know for myself, I can at times get lost in trying to create something cool, or original, or technically interesting or complicated, and at times I need to remind myself to put first things first. To focus my photography on capturing the heart of what is going on, either in the people I'm shooting or the moments they're existing in.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Fun game last night!
Winner and still leader in our series:
Photoinla with 10 pts
term76 with 7 pts
Niiiice with 5 pts
Photoinla with 20 pts
term76 with 12 pts
usadrill with 7 pts
Niiiice with 5 pts
Next week same time...same place! If you didn't make it this week, we look forward to seeing you at the table next week. Don't lose all your money online before then!
Shuffle up and deal....
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
The Coming Earthquake in Photography
by Dirck Halstead
If the change from film to digital was the equivalent of a magnitude 5 earthquake, the changes to photography in the next 10 years will be equivalent of a magnitude 10.
The Digital Journalist, the monthly online magazine for visual journalism, has been predicting many of these changes for the past 10 years. In 1997 we stated that the days of the use of film were coming to an end. We also said that in the future photojournalists would no longer be shooting still pictures, but instead would be using video as their prime medium of acquisition.
All those things have already happened. Still cameras that shoot film have already been abandoned by most manufacturers. Increasingly, newspaper photographers are being asked to shoot video for Web sites.
These seismic shifts, as we are already witnessing, will literally change the way photographers take pictures and how they are displayed.
Of course, in the next 10 years there could be a third world war, in which case all bets are off, but certain evolutions are already too far along to make it unlikely they will be stopped.
First, most of the major camera manufacturers that are now associated with still photography will probably be out of business by 2016. Of the majors now selling cameras, I would put my money on only Canon to survive. That is because they have a farsighted video division, which will provide the research and development that will be a key to their survival. Already, Sony is moving to become the number one still-camera company. Their newest top-of-the line digital still cameras are based on designs from Konica, a company they absorbed.
However, it is video that will undoubtedly become the main means of acquisition in photography. Today, almost all the manufacturers of prosumer video cameras have moved to High Definition. These cameras, off the shelf, are capable of delivering a 2-megapixel still image. The Dallas Morning News is now equipping their still photographers with Sony Z1U video cameras, and they have created an algorithm that allows those frame grabs to be boosted to 16 megapixels, which only two years ago was the maximum you could get out of a professional 35mm camera. The Dallas Morning News is regularly running 4- and 5-column front-page pictures from these video grabs. Then, they put the streaming video on their Web site.
The financial imperative to newspapers is clear. Their salvation, in a time of plummeting ad revenues on their broadsheets, lies with their online versions. Online demands video. For this reason, we can comfortably say that in 10 years photojournalists will only be carrying video cameras.
Because video cameras now all feature a 16:9 "wide-screen" aspect ratio, the old 4:3 box that we used to associate with movies will be gone. This has enormous implications for how still photographs will be displayed in print. The standard 8x10 aspect ratio now commonly used will be dropped. Why waste all of that horizontal information in the pictures? Eventually, you can expect to see wide-screen pictures not only on your TV screen, but in print as well. We predict that magazines (those that still exist) in 10 years will be bound on the top or bottom, not on the sides as they now are. That will allow the magazine to be opened to display a horizontal rather than vertical layout. This will accommodate all those "wide-screen" photographs. However, it is more likely that paper printing will be long since gone, and instead newspapers, magazines and books will be delivered on "electronic" paper, in which case the visual presentation would most likely be video in the first place. Today, if you go to The New York Times online, you will notice that right on the front page is a box displaying video, not a still photograph.
Don Winslow, the editor of News Photographer magazine, has noted that vertical photographs have almost ceased to exist in the photography lexicon. It used to be a maxim of photojournalism that it was important to get as much information as possible into a small space. Verticals were the best way of doing that. However, for a generation of photographers who grew up watching television, and editors who wanted to display a photograph across a double-truck spread, the rules changed.
With video becoming the prime tool of acquisition, audio of course now enters into the picture. In fact, it becomes as important as the video. This means that a whole new set of skills must be developed by the photographer. Every photographer has already become a computer technician, spending more time on the "post" process, such as Photoshop, than on taking the picture. In the future, editing will be done in such programs as Final Cut Pro. All of this means that photographers will have to be smarter.
However, ultimately, the classic need for talent – the "eye of the photographer" – will never change.
© Dirck Halstead
Editor and Publisher of The Digital Journalist
Dirck Halstead was Time magazine's Senior White House Photographer for 29 years. He now is the Publisher and Editor of The Digital Journalist, the monthly online magazine for visual journalism, and a Senior Fellow at the Center For American History at the University of Texas in Austin. His new book, MOMENTS IN TIME, published by Harry N. Abrams, is in bookstores, and available from Amazon.com.
This topic has been gaining traction and I have had this discussion with a few people in the past few years. Should we be preparing for this? If you want to stay ahead of the curve, do you have to buy a video camera?
Monday, April 23, 2007
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Your thoughts on website music
What's your opinion of background music in websites?
When the music is right, I like it.
It's ok, but I often turn it off.
EDITED TO ADD:
Wow, what fascinating results! I'm not a big fan of music on websites, either, and I had already decided not to use music on our new site. Thanks for validating my choice, gang!
Thanks for pulling off this poll Charlotte and your new site looks great!
Friday, April 20, 2007
Little background on Jerry...after shooting for years, he accepted a position with an album and framing company working for them as a sales rep for 7 years. Leaving that company in 2004, I will let him take it from here:
Faced with rebuilding my business in the midst of the “photojournalism” and digital revolution, I built my business from 22 weddings in 2004, 36 in 2005, 55 last year, and almost the same amount this year – all at the upper end price range!
How did I do this?
Well it helped that people did know me before and I have a very good reputation. However, one of the single most important ideas that helped build my business was my now infamous Guest Book. Picking up the idea while visiting a trade show booth at WPPI. I use the Leather Craftsman 7x10 3500 series album, with design templates I have created within Photoshop. I started to include this “getting to know you session” which included the guest book for engagement sessions in both Philadelphia and the New Jersey Shore. When I delivered this to the brides, I did not expect what would happen next. You see all brides go to their reception venue the week before their wedding, so everyone in the Banquet and catering offices of the venues I was working at, had this “guest book” at their disposal for almost a whole week! So they viewed it, some showed it off to prospective couples looking at the venue for their wedding, etc. So when I appeared to photograph the reception, I was met with smiling, friendly faces at the venues – wanting to know if I had business cards with me, saying that “the guest book was the greatest thing we had seen in a long time”. So with this idea, and of course happy brides and grooms, I am now recommended by about 5 high end venues in Philadelphia and New Jersey. Just think, without providing not one table or place setting 8x10 like everyone else is doing. Now I shopw up at venues and they are “expecting to see the guestbook!”
Here is a slideshow from one of his recent weddings: Macchione Wedding
He also sent over a slideshow of one of his guestbooks: Tomko Guest Book
Thanks for the inspiration Jerry and I think you have a lot to share with new pool of photographers coming into the market. I look forward speaking with you again soon.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Great game this evening!
Winner and new leader in our series:
Photoinla with 10 pts
usadrill with 7 pts
term76 with 5 pts
Next week same time...same place! If you didn't make it this week, we look forward to seeing you at the table next week. Don't lose all your money online before then!
If you would like to get into the game...just email me for instructions at email@example.com.
Series prizes will be announced soon...meaning in the next couple months! The bigger this gets...the bigger the prizes!
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Some terrific photographers: Jules Bianchi, Mark Adams and Erin Reed of LaCour,[B]ecker, Dane, Jessica Claire, Jim Kennedy, Ryan Phillips, Joe Photo and The Boutwells contribute to the discussion.
Check out more videos and contribute to the community at Simple Photo TV.
Monday, April 16, 2007
So I found this on Joe Photo's blog Cup of Joe and thought it really struck a chord...thanks Joe.
Lady, Are You Rich?
Life is about so much more than money. May this day reveal to you how much you can truly be grateful for.
Lady, Are You Rich? by Marion Doolan
They huddled inside the storm door—two children in ragged outgrown coats.
"Any old papers, lady?”
I was busy. I wanted to say no—until I looked down at their feet. Thin little sandals, sopped with sleet.
"Come in and I'll make you a cup of hot cocoa.”
There was no conversation. Their soggy sandals left marks upon the hearthstone. I served them cocoa and toast with jam to fortify against the chill outside. Then I went back to the kitchen and started again on my household budget.
The silence in the front room struck through to me. I looked in. The girl held the empty cup in her hands, looking at it. The boy asked in a flat voice, "Lady . . . are you rich?"
“Am I rich? Mercy, no!"
I looked at my shabby slipcovers. The girl put her cup back in its saucer—carefully.
“Your cups match your saucers."
Her voice was old, with a hunger that was not of the stomach. They left then, holding their bundles of papers against the wind. They hadn't said thank you. They didn't need to. They had done more than that. Plain blue pottery cups and saucers. But they matched.
I tested the potatoes and stirred the gravy. Potatoes and brown gravy, a roof over our heads, my man with a good steady job—these things matched, too.
I moved the chairs back from the fire and tidied the living room. The muddy prints of small sandals were still wet upon my hearth. I let them be. I want them there in case I ever forget again how very rich I am.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Point will be broken down weekly like this:
1st place gets 10 pts
2nd place gets 7 pts
3rd place gets 5 pts
The buy-in is $10 each week with the weekly top three players getting paid. If you would like to play in a tourney that doesn't cost anything...let me know and we can possibly set that up as well.
The blinds will increase every 10 minutes to facilitate play.
We have 900 seats...so tell your friends!
Email me to get more info and get into the game: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shuffle up and deal!
Thursday, April 12, 2007
That is what has made Web 2.0 so interesting. Web 2.0 isnt about technology. Its about ideas implemented around simple applications that have been around for years. The maturity of the technology makes the implementation of ideas simple. That is the key to success in Web 2.0. The technology always works. It may sound crazy to some, but thats the reality. The internet as a connectivity utility and the browser are mature application platforms.
Not sure I agree with everything he is saying here, but it's always interesting to know what a self-made Billionaire is thinking. You can find the rest of the article on Mark's blog.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
The best way to upload video to your blog is to first publish the video on Simple Photo tv and then use the embed feature to grab the code. This way the whole community gets to benefit from your knowledge or experience. Dane Sanders has really lead the way in the video blogging photography world with Simple Photo Minute and TV.
Here Dane is describing how to do it himself:
I found a blog post by Chris Watson of Watson Videography on BanquetBuzz that talks about uploading directly from a file on your computer:
Get an FLV encoder: If you have the latest version of Flash, you should already have this. If not (like me), you can get a standalone encoder called the Flix On2 Encoder Standard (www.on2.com) for $39.
Encode your movie: The On2 encoder accepts just about every file format out there except for (sadly) HDV files.
Upload your .flv movie to your server
Go to www.freevideocoding.com to get your player and html code: Another videographer turned me on to this site and it's great for web dummies like myself. Just give it your file type, dimensions, embed options, etc. and it will make the html that you can copy and paste. Just make sure to uncheck "autostart" as it will automatically play once it's loaded which is not what you want.
Copy the html and paste in your blog and that's it!
Click here to check out this article on BanquetBuzz.
To edit your video or do a voice-over on a presentation I use some cheap software I found online called iShowU.
Hope this helps and gets you video blogging!
Monday, April 09, 2007
This is a segment of his article:
Five Goals of a Blog
The first thing you need to decide when you build your blog is what you want to accomplish with it, and what it can do if successful. Here are five things you can expect a good blog to build for you and your business:
• The Traffic: Every small business wants to increase traffic to its site and gain more qualified leads. Blogs build traffic through higher search-engine rankings and results.
• The List: The reason to generate traffic is to begin building a list of qualified clients or prospects. These leads are low-hanging fruit, and small businesses are much more successful when they cultivate their current client list.
• The Expert: A blog is your calling card. It showcases you as an expert and can help you achieve expert status in the eyes of your readers. In The Weblog Handbook, author Rebecca Blood writes, "Individuals whose weblogs focus on a particular topic become known as experts in their field. Providing a reliable resource for news about a certain topic is enough to gain you a dependable following among fellow professionals or aficionados."
• The Brand: The reputation-building blog is vastly more concerned with its audience than any other type. Celebrities and pro athletes, newspapers and mass media outlets are bloggers too. It's not about equipment; it's about personality.
• The Sales: Blogging builds connections—sponsorship from manufacturers, referrals from other vendors, and new clients. If you have loyal blog readers or fans, when they need your service, it will be a small step for them to choose you for the job.
Thanks for your continued inspiration Ron!
Sunday, April 08, 2007
One of my 2006 wedding at the Beverly Hills Hotel ran as a Feature in the Orange County Brides magazine. They do a section called Real OC Weddings and even though BHH is not in OC...they ran Camile and John's Wedding!
Click on Camile and John to download the PDF... or HERE.
Friday, April 06, 2007
My wedding for Gretchen and Peter from last year at Animal Acres ran in the 2007 Vegan Wedding edition of VegNews Magazine! Click here for the online article with more information on this terrific event.
July 8, 2006
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Luckily Maine is quite neighborly...our neighbor Tim brought his snow blower over to help with the driveway. Thanks Tim!
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
This post was on the After Capture blog and I thought it really hit home to the fact that our current clients can also be future clients. Do you have a marketing plan?
Continuity Marketing to Previous Clients
Posted on Mar 9, 06:37 AM by Skip Cohen
All professional photographers face the same challenge:
“What good is creating the greatest image of your life if you can’t sell it?”
Unfortunately the majority of professional photographers spend too much time focusing on their subjects and not enough time on a marketing plan. What’s even more pathetic is how simple it really is to go through the process. It’s just a matter of establishing a few goals and setting a few benchmarks to track how you’re doing.
Let’s start with a basic premise that everyone can relate to. Let’s assume you’re a wedding photographer with an interest in diversifying into children and family portraiture. Think about all the brides you photographed over the last year.
Here are some simple assumptions:
1) The majority of newlyweds start new families
2) The majority of newlyweds have their first child within 2-3 years
3) This only works if your brides have loved your work and the albums you’ve created
Now start thinking about the last time you did any serious marketing. If your clients loved your work, why not think about targeting all those new moms out there who already know you and trust you? Why wouldn’t you want to become this new family’s photographer for the rest of their lives?
Newlyweds start families – children create a need for professional portraiture – children become high school seniors – seniors become new brides and grooms – mom and dad become grandparents and the cycle starts all over again. Meanwhile, all along the way there are some ideal opportunities for portraits of soon-to-be moms, new babies, children, seniors, families and business headshots as Mom and Dad’s careers blossom. Sooner or later you’re right back to another bride in the cycle from a new generation.
Just like the family doctor, why shouldn’t you be the family’s photographer for the next few generations?
Remember, this is only a blog, but doesn’t it make sense? Next time, let’s take a shot at actually putting a marketing plan on paper.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
HOW TO GIVE A DYNAMITE PRESENTATION by Gary Fong
I have a number of friends who either are now or are on the cusp of becoming really famous photographers. Truth be known, you can't really make a huge name for yourself if you don't have the ability to project your message to a large crowd, effectively. I learned a few things giving programs around the world over the last 20 years, and I thought I'd share some with you. If you are a photographer and are thinking of giving seminars, I would highly recommend doing so. The reason is - the best way to learn is to teach. I know that sounds backwards, but when you have to explain to somebody how/why you do something, you actually improve. OK here's the tips:
1) SKIP THE THANK-YOU'S - going through a list of thank-you's is a great way to put the crowd right to sleep. They aren't here for that, they're eager to absorb. That's the operative word - they want to soak in whatever knowledge you are going to impart. If it isn't something they can use, skip it, even the thank-you's. Put that on your flyer or something, but skip the thanks.
2) WHEN WRITING THE PROGRAM, ASK YOURSELF, WHAT DO I HAVE IN COMMON WITH THE AUDIENCE? - the most important compliment you can hear is, "boy he really connected with the audience". This is the goal - to connect. You have to find out what you have in common with the person in the chair, and then connect with that BEFORE you start your dialog. In last year's "One Step Ahead Tour", I didn't really have a ton in common with the wedding photographers in the audience because I no longer did it. However, I did know how to make EVERYBODY in the room way more successful, but if I didn't connect right away, I wouldn't have a shot of them hearing my message. This is why I started with a videotape of Jessica Strickland talking about the all-too-common pressures of being a wedding photographer in today's market. I could just see the crowds all across America nodding along as she was talking about life as a wedding photographer. And then, when I walked on the podium, I asked "how many of you recognize a little bit of Jessica Strickland in you?" and the hands all went up. That made the connection, and from there, I could deliver the message.
3) DELIVER THE MESSAGE REMEMBERING THAT YOUR AUDIENCE HAS A SHORT ATTENTION SPAN - something should POP in their heads every three minutes. Or their minds will start to wander. Here's where your homework and research come in - make really simple charts and powerpoint slides to make your communication clear. And here's the biggest biggest rule of them all - NEVER EVER EVER SAY ANYTHING IN THE CONTENT THAT IS ALREADY SOMETHING THEY ALREADY KNOW! That is super important. Saying, "Making a living as a wedding photographer is tough..." that will lose them every time! But if you say, "If you give the client ANYTHING tangible before you deliver the finished album, your sales will only reach 1/3 of their common-sense potential..." something like that - OK now I'm listening!
4) DO NOT ALLOW QUESTIONS - this frustrates the audience like crazy! OK here's a little secret. If you came early in my tour, I let you ask questions. Do you know why? Because I don't know yet what is making super simple sense to the regular audience listener (things that make perfect sense to me may not instantly make sense to you) - so early in the program I'll allow questions so I can rephrase the topic so it hits the target more effectively faster. Then as the tour "ages", I'll allow fewer and fewer questions because I know that I have the topics ironed out. This is why when I videotape a tour, it's always on one of the last cities. It always gets better with age.
5) DON'T SUM UP YOUR PROGRAM AT THE END - PRESENT A DAYDREAM - don't go, "OK so that's the end of my program, so let's summarize..." that is so boring! PAUSE the program, and say, "Imagine a world where...." Help the audience member OWN your concept. Give them a call to action and present a challenge. Say something like, "you have the knowledge, now the rest is up to you. Next year this time, will your life be more incredible as a result of what you know, or will it be exactly the same as it is now... year after year... until they close the box over your dead body and bury you six feet under the cold, worm-filled earth?" Something like that.
Anyway, if you ever have a chance or an opening to teach, by all means, go for it. It's not about the recognition or the fame, it's about you becoming an expert at you.
If you want to see a fantastic seminar, buy my DVD. I am pretty sure that it is the best instructional DVD out there anywhere.... CLICK HERE
Monday, April 02, 2007
Found this video of my friend David Jay talking to a group of photographers recently in France and I understand he is back on his way over there soon. Seems DJ is expanding his circle of influence to Europe! Great work DJ!
If you can read in French then you can also check out the article: Article in French.