Saturday, June 23, 2012

June 23, 2012

Negative Images vs Positive Images

I do think positive images sell better than negative images.  Who wants to be beaten over the head time and time again with all the crap that goes on in this world.  News now is a police blotter.  But there is a place for images that tell the other side of life's march forward.  I tend to want to shoot negatively.  It fits my personality better.  I see the world through life's hardships and want to express that through concepts that explore our consumer/money oriented society. We are seeing a change in ads and in movies that explore the anxiety and advertising manipulations of our desires. As Pink Floyd lyric states, "Money is the Root of all Evil today".

But you can get caught up in this negative image trip and lose sight of the humor and the wonder in this world.  So I do try and balance my shooting with beauty and also with the real issues facing us.

Animals and kids are always a favorite for advertisers.  And especially humor.  These images can be used in multiple ways that connect with the consumers own experiences.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

June 17, 2012

Editing what a hassle

Editing your images is one of those necessary duties that if done consistently can improve your work flow and lead to stronger sales because your images will get to the clients sooner rather than later.  I am always editing.  I normally don't let my memory cards stack up on my work desk but last weekend I finished up a series of images I am doing on the Medical Industrial Complex that has made our society a pill popping freak show.  I will discuss the concept and images in a later blog.  But it took a good 4 hours of uploading to complete my mission.  The problem was the variety of subjects on some of the cards.

In the past when we were shooting transparencies and negative film, once the shoot was over, you had a little down time to relax as you dropped your film off at the Photo Lab for processing.  Having worked at Photo Labs in the Seattle area (ProLab and Jet Color Lab) there was always a tense anticipation waiting for your film to be developed.  You would go over in your mind the details of the shoot and make notes on exposure and what you thought were your strongest images and what possible you should have done better.

There is no down time with digital.  Once your done shooting you must get in the habit of uploading your digital files (doesn't that sound so clinical, not like the old days where you opened the Kodak box with Christmas anticipation) and begin the editing process.

One of the first things I do before I even think about keywording and captioning my images is to attach to those digital files my Copyright, contact information and other restrictions I want for those images.

I always do a quick image look through and delete the obvious mistakes.  I tend to shoot alot of images depending on the subject.  And this can get frustration to see alot of similars but I have to man-up and go through them and check focus and composition and delete the ones that don't work.  Time is the one thing that can get eaten up in this new digital age and you just have to accept that and run through the editing process or should I say crawl through the editing process.  Once the images are flagged as the best I will then crop, color correct, add alittle sharpness and finally caption and keyword the digital images.

I back up everything by using two external hard-drives, the Lacie 500GB d2 quadra's.

The payoff when shooting analog was that moment when you put the first slide up to the light and saw your work revealed.  The same can be true with digital only the payoff now is when you see your images selling to clients and are displayed in print or on their websites.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

June 9, 2012

Infinite Choices

When I start thinking about my next concept shoot I write down alot of ideas, and script as much of the shoot before I even bring out the cameras.  Some of my ideas cost to much and that is a problem I have stated before, that a photographer's imagination is sometimes too expensive for his/her own good.  I usually start gearing up for the shoot a week in advance and have the props I want in place and kind of have a general pre-planned idea of what I will shoot.  But rarely do I end up following it exactly.  It morphs and changes as I explore the subject and begin to see better angles, light, composition, details etc... that say more than just what is there but what isn't. Yes, these new images are related to the original script but seem more appropriate now that I am fully engaged with the subject and open to serendipity and begin to let loose the reins of my ego that wants to control my actions in a safe, foreseeable image outcome.

I had an idea years ago of shooting an out of control office at tax time. The business wasn't organized and had become overwhelmed by documenting their business expenses.

But as I began shooting the original concept I started thinking and adjusting my original idea and slowly started experimenting with the details of an office.

 This lead to images of a business or person overspending using a credit card.

Which lead to a cutting back of their use of credit cards                                                 

To a business where their client information has been stolen 

I could go on but I think you get the idea.  Be open to all the twists and turns that happen when your choosing from those infinite choices.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Niche or not to Niche

June 03, 2012

It seems that having a photo niche is the way to go in this fast paced billion image upload days on the worldwide web.  By having an in depth coverage of a specific subject means your images will be unique and have selling potential from those clients that need that particular subject matter.  But is any subject nowadays buffered from competition.  I think not. Any subject you have will be challenged by photographers from all over the world that will have similar interests and photo skills.

Having a niche also depends on what are your ultimate goal in photography is.  Do you want to be a commercial, editorial, portrait, fine art, nature photographer etc... I am not saying finding a niche is a bad thing what I am saying is that jumping in to early and focusing on a narrow subject matter can bore you out of photography all together.  Each photographers personality is different with unique gifts and energy levels that focus their attention.  Shooting a narrow subject range increases your chance of burn out and loss of inspiration to create better photos.

I think as you start out in photography you need to shoot imagery that obviously interest you and fits your personality.  And as you grow as a photographer you will try new techniques and lighting which will stimulate your confidence to shoot more daring subjects and concepts.  Gaining valuable experience through trial and error gives you a grounded work ethic that keeps you looking more and more for those unique moments when your subject is revealed and you capture that special moment.  No matter what area of photography you choose to stake your future in, you will have an infinite amount of choices to make concerning subject matter.  So in one way, even if you choose a narrow niche to focus on, you will always be discovering new ways to shoot old subjects and this will keep your interests alive.

A career in photography can take many twists and turns and if you focus to early on just one field of photography you could burn out before your career even begins.  Besides, shooting many subjects early is fun and inspiring and in exploring new subjects you just might find that one that interest you above all others and gives you the motivation to make it your life's work.

Eventually you will find your purpose but their is nothing wrong with being a generalist and shooting alot of interesting subjects in the beginning.  If you are bored with your images they will not inspire your clients.  You will be in a rut and your images will suffer.  To keep your enthusiasm level up you have to shoot subjects that keep your creative juices flowing.