Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Covering events: The Fashion Show under a tent

Figure 1—Nikon D4, 28-300mm lens, ISO 3200, ƒ/5.6, 1/160
News Coverage

When your space is limited, like in a newspaper, it is quite common to just use one photo with text. Pure Fashion's Spring Fashion Show was sponsored by Belk's located at the Forum in Norcross, GA.  A few hundred words and the photo above [Figure 1] and you are done. I have communicated the core of what happened at the fashion show.

This is the lighting diagram for the above photo taken under a white tent outside while it was raining.

In Depth Coverage

Sometimes the best images and content is behind those headlines.  You may even hear magazines talk about the story behind the story.

Figure 2—Nikon D4, 28-300mm lens, ISO 2500, ƒ/5.6, 1/160, Custom White Balance with ExpoDisc.
One of the stories behind the scenes was the models all got a chance to meet Pip from the second season of The Voice. Now this photo here [Figure 2] is typical that many people will take. they may like this better than when they finally are set in the pose, you can pick up on the excitement of not just the model but the enjoyment of Pip knowing he was having just as much fun.

Posed pictures are OK, but compare this photo of them smiling for the camera to these where you see Pip taking time with the models.  Now pay attention to the faces and the eyes. You will see more than just "nice to meet you smile."

Figure 3—I like the hand gesture, the expression of the model and most of all you can see those looking on noticing the excitement of the moment as well. Do you see it? [Nikon D4, 28-300mm lens, ISO 900, ƒ/5.6, 1/125, Custom White Balance with ExpoDisc.]
The cool thing was Pip didn't over react and embarrass the models. He just maintained eye contact and most of all he ask each person their name.

Figure 4—Notice the models shoulders and both hands. You can tell she is loving this moment.Two of the girls are just as excited and one is already posting her photo of Pip to social media. [Nikon D4, 28-300mm lens, ISO 2500, ƒ/5.6, 1/125, Custom White Balance with ExpoDisc.]
I was loving these moments, because usually teenagers are trying their best to remain calm and cool, but here we see them acting on the outside how we would feel meeting a real star.

Figure 5—Nikon D4, 28-300mm lens, ISO 2500, ƒ/5.6, 1/125, Custom White Balance with ExpoDisc.
I hope you are seeing how much body language is communicating the moment. It isn't about the composition and lighting, but that is important, the thing making these photos is the expressions and body language.

Figure 6—This is my daughter talking to Pip. Her friends keep telling her she needs to try out for The Voice too. She is telling Pip she wants to try out one day and Pip starts asking questions and encouraging her.  I can tell she is loving the moment. Now look at the lady in the middle. She is the makeup artist working on my daughter. you can tell she is listening and even tho she isn't talking to Pip she too is enjoying the moment. [Nikon D4, 28-300mm lens, ISO 1800, ƒ/5.6, 1/125, Custom White Balance with ExpoDisc.]
I think the photos behind the scenes with Pip are better than the Fashion Show itself.  For promoting Pure Fashion these are great photos. Get to model and maybe meet some stars.  How many young girls wanting to be models wouldn't love this experience.

But wait there is more.

Figure 7—This was shot with the 85mm ƒ/1.4 and while most everything other than the makeup artist is out of focus, there is just enough detail that the makeup counter and background become more abstract art. [Nikon D4, 85 mm lens, ISO 100, ƒ/1.4, 1/80, Custom White Balance with ExpoDisc.]

The models get professional makeup artists to help them look their best. Everyone loved how they looked after some of this professional attention.

Figure 8—I shot a little wide here to help show the environment. Since Belk sponsored the Fashion Show showing off their brand helps to recruit them in the future to do more shows. It promotes their products as well. [Nikon D4, 28-300mm lens, ISO 3600, ƒ/5.6, 1/160, Custom White Balance with ExpoDisc.]

Figure 9—I shot this with an 85mm ƒ/1.4 to isolate the models in this very busy environment. [Nikon D4, 85 mm lens, ISO 100, ƒ/1.4, 1/125, Custom White Balance with ExpoDisc.]

Figure 10—While you can show all the models having fun, it is important to show how serious these professional makeup artists and hair stylist are about their jobs. [Nikon D4, 85 mm lens, ISO 220, ƒ/1.4, 1/60, Custom White Balance with ExpoDisc.]

Figure 11—Can you see how precise and detailed the makeup artist is with applying the makeup? [Nikon D4, 28-300mm lens, ISO 2500, ƒ/5.6, 1/160, Custom White Balance with ExpoDisc.]
Figure 12—Nikon D4, 28-300mm lens, ISO 3200, ƒ/5.6, 1/160
While I could have just snapped and had a photo of the ladies on the runway, I was looking for those moments where they looked great. Pure Fashion is about instilling confidence into young girls helping them.  I think they look like young confident women in this photo [Figure 12].

Figure 13—Nikon D4, 28-300mm lens, ISO 3200, ƒ/5.6, 1/160
My daughter really had fun with this program and did a great job showing her outfit off.

Figure 14—Nikon D4, 28-300mm lens, ISO 3200, ƒ/5.6, 1/160

I think this photo captures the emotion of how Pip performed for everyone.

My spin on the coverage

I hope you are seeing that it is the details beyond color correct images, good exposure, composition and variety of images that I deliver. I am focusing on the details of emotions which show through body language and microexpressions.

Do you think the photo will make young high school girls and their families want to get involved from these photos?

Here are some more photos from the event. Here is a link to learn more about Pure Fashion.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Tips for Parents shooting sports

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 with Sigma 1.4 converter, ISO 900, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000
I am so thankful I was covering this lacrosse game between The Citadel and Emory University this past Friday rather than when the game was first played. Originally they had between 100 to 1,000 players on a much larger the field and played for two to three days.

Wikipedia reports "Lacrosse played a significant role in the community and religious life of tribes across the continent for many years. Early lacrosse was characterized by deep spiritual involvement, befitting the spirit of combat in which it was undertaken. Those who took part did so in the role of warriors, with the goal of bringing glory and honor to themselves and their tribes."

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 with Sigma 1.4 converter, ISO 800, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000
Today we celebrate our sporting victories with parties. In many ways the money we spend on sports appears to look like our religious events. Sports writers even talk about the house of worship when referring to some venues. We have the call to worship with the national anthem and we even participate by standing and cheering.

All this is to say we love our sports.

The players in the game I covered are not on scholarships, but rather play for the pure enjoyment of the game.

As I walked onto the field I decided to shoot most of the match back-lit. I knew from years of shooting with the sun in their faces that often the helmets would cast wicked dark shadows over their eyes. I wanted to see the eyes.

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 with Sigma 1.4 converter, ISO 800, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000
The dynamic range of a highlight to a shadow is going from the bright spot on their face to the darkest area, which almost is always the eyes.  By shooting on the shadow side I just open up a little.  The other benefit was the stands in the background were in the shade.  this helped to pop the athletes out from the background.

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 with Sigma 1.4 converter, ISO 720, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000

So you bought a really nice DSLR and even bought a really nice lens that the camera store recommended to cover your child in sports. There are just a few tips that you need to remember to make all your photos a lot better.

Get closer—Most parents could have saved a lot of money had they done what most pros do. Get out of the stands and get on the sidelines of the field. You may need permission, but this will improve your photos.

Shoot tight—While occassionally a looser shot can work, if it does you still need to enlarge it to really enjoy it as compared to the tight shots. While you can crop later, the photos that were shot with a longer lens and not cropped tend to technically look better than the cropped image. One of the reasons is the uncropped image is full resolution.

Know the game—You need to understand the rules and what is the point of the game is all about.  This knowledge will help you locate the best place to capture those peak game moments.

Subscribe to the sports magazines—Most every sport has magazines with good examples of great images. Be familiar with what the standard shots are for the sport.

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 with Sigma 1.4 converter, ISO 640, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000. Note that even tho this is an interesting moment, it really does not compare to all the other photos here, because it is loose.

Fast shutter-speed—Your photos will be sharper and more in focus if you keep the shutter speed fast. I personally recommend 1/2000. This will minimize your camera movement and help freeze the athletes. If you read about shutter-speed many recommend 1/500. Hey if you got the light shoot as high as possible.

Shallow Depth-of-Field—Photos shot at ƒ/2.8 or ƒ/4 will help clean up the background, by throwing it out of focus. Yes ƒ/16 will mean more photos are usable because everything is in focus. Refer to your Sports Illustrated Magazine photos to see what I mean.

Watch your backgrounds—Too often busy and distracting backgrounds can ruin what is actually a great image.  Sometimes you just can't do anything about it, but be sure you have tried.

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 with Sigma 1.4 converter, ISO 900, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000.
Show the competition—If you just need a good action photo of your kid, then take them to the field when there is no game and have them pose or play like they are playing and get really close. If you are shooting the game, take advantage of the the other team. This is why they play, to compete.  Take away the competition and you loose the point of sports.

Friday, April 26, 2013

When you “hit the wall” in your business

In endurance sports “hitting the wall” is when you have depleted nutrients and sudden fatigue and loss of energy sets in. In milder instances brief rest and ingestion of food and drinks containing carbohydrates can remedy it.

When the phone stops ringing and your inbox is empty for business requests you have “hit the wall” in your business.

Endurance athletes have a plan in place to avoid “hitting the wall” on race day. Usually most of these athletes have experience “hitting the wall” before they had a plan in place. Maybe this is your situation as well. You didn’t have a business plan in place and now you need one.

What should your plan include?

The endurance athlete, like a marathon runner, knows where their finish line is for them. If their finish line is 26 miles when they start out they are not running 26 miles. They break down their plan into bite sizes.

What is your goal? Do you want recurring income that sets you free to use your time as you please? Do you want to build retirement? Many start their business to have freedom. However, many of these same people feel they are enslaved by it rather than being free.

Define Your Customer

Are they male or female? Do they have a budget for one time, occasional or recurring services? Do they spend a lot or little time on the Internet? Where on the Internet do they spend their time? Where do they go to find your product or services?

What am I selling?

Most make the initial mistake of thinking they are selling a service or product. I challenge you to think of what benefit you are offering to the customer. When you can connect on the emotional level you will increase your business.  Just look at all the automobile ads that connect on fear. They help the customer know they can feel safe in their product. What are they selling most of the time? Safety. Sometimes they show almost running over a child or sometimes they show how the performance of their engine will help you pull away from oncoming trucks or pass crazy drivers.

Connect the dots

Now that you know your customer and what you are selling you need to connect these dots to one another.

The most common mistake made today is an emphasis on quality and not quantity of connections. 

Suspension brides, boats and even rock climbers rely on many strands and not just one to support them. By using more strands of a weaker tinsel strength fiber you can create a stronger support than with one strand of a stronger tinsel strength fiber.

Marketing the rules of Seven and Three

Most all research has shown that you need seven different connections to turn a prospect into a customer. Many businesses fail to have a marketing plan that has at least seven different connections to their targeted audience.

While you may have planned seven different ways to reach your targeted audience you want to try each of the methods three times.

The first time you do something you spend a great deal of effort to make it happen. The learning curve alone is very steep. Your audience is just being introduced to whatever you are doing.

The second time you implement your idea you are able to make some necessary changes. You don’t have that steep learning curve and you are now building on some experience. The audience is now somewhat aware of what you are doing and therefore you have more buy in from them.

Third time you know you have worked out most all the kinks and your implementation is at it’s peak. At this point your audience may be a raving fan of what you are doing.

By the third time you are able to make a very good evaluation on the Return-On-Investment. If you did this on the first time you have too many things working against you from your mistakes implementing it and customer understanding what you are trying to do.

Marketing ideas

Make yourself newsworthy. You can enter contests and when you win you can send a press release out promoting yourself. You can get involved in a community event as a sponsor. By being there and involved you have a good chance of the local paper writing about your involvement.

Create a seminar. Create a program that will help your target audience. One small public relations agency that I work with in Roswell, GA created a free seminar titled, “Social Media Marketing Made Simple” to drum up business in the local market.

Create a brochure.
If you meet your targeted audience one-on-one or they come to a seminar you put on having something they can leave with is another strand.
Website. While this is static you can point people to this and sometimes they may stumble upon it if you use the right keywords for listing your website.

Blog. By writing a blog you are establishing yourself as an expert in the field.

Social Media. Get involved in groups on the web where you can listen for topics that you can help with. You can find these groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter for example.

With social media it is important you are not pushing yourself on everyone, but pulling him or her to you.

This is true with all of your marketing.

Dale Carnegie said it best; “You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.”

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Your photos look dull? Maybe it is the setting

Location, location, location

While real estate agents tell you this makes all the difference in price, it also makes a different in photography.

We can take the same subject and put them in different settings and what a difference it can make.

Get your subject on the edge of the shade of trees or overhangs outside and not deep inside where the light falls off.  Use the open sky to light the subject.

Darker backgrounds verses lighter backgrounds makes a huge difference. Out of focus highlights go from just a small dot to a huge out of focus round ball.

Color choices also make a huge difference in a photo. Complementary colors or the same colors work great. They give you a totally different look and feel.

While you will hear often to watch your backgrounds, it is just as important to watch those foregrounds as well.

My preference is to have darker backgrounds and even as possible.

Remove the color

When you convert the photos to black and white you can see how the light values affect the photo much easier.  This is where keeping a light or dark background really becomes more apparent. My preference here is the darker background. You have the subject leap off the screen in comparison.

With the lighter background now the background pulls your eye away from the subject way too much. This also means your subject's face will be most likely in the shadows.

All those green leaves and pink flowers now are just a muted grey.


Choose your location wisely. If you are shooting portfolio shots and you have models pick a great spot. Shooting photos of a bride as a simple church setting gives a totally different feel than the same bride at a cathedral.

Walk around the subject. Once you have the subject in a location, take the time to walk around the subject exploring the backgrounds and foregrounds.

Bring the subject to the edge of the shade.  By keeping the subject just on the edge you can use the open sky to help light their faces and keep the backgrounds darker. Also, since they are not in the direct sunlight they will not be squinting.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Helping hurts when communication is overlooked

I believe photographers’ need a good PR agency and since no one is volunteering to do it for us, we must step up and take on this responsibility.

One such area I want to address is a photographer who wants to help use their talent to help humanitarian organizations or faith based organizations.

Please bear with me as I walk through understanding the elements and then trying to put together an action plan for photographers.

Stanley working in Africa.
The Humanitarian Photographer

If you were to Google the definition of what is a humanitarian photographer, you will not find a definition is the normal places like Webster dictionary, Wikipedia or Google.  It is a new term used to describe not so much a style as the humanitarian organization for which photography is done.

When you Google “humanitarian photographer,” I have a few friends that will pop up to the very top of the lists: Gary S. Chapman and Esther Havens both do humanitarian photography.

You will see every style of photography being done for humanitarian organizations that primarily distribute aid.

Three ways that humanitarian organizations distribute aid
  1. Relief
  2. Rehabilitation
  3. Development
In the book When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself, they say “A helpful first step in thinking about working with the poor in any context is to discern whether the situation calls for relief, rehabilitation, or development. In fact, the failure to distinguish among these situations is one of the most common reasons that poverty-alleviation efforts often do harm.”

They go on and say, “One of the major premises of this book is that until we embrace our mutual brokenness, our work with low-income people is likely to do far more harm than good.”

Relief is the easiest of the three things humanitarian organization do. It is easier to raise money and distribute materials things in the time of a disaster than to do the more in depth rehabilitation or development. However all three can hurt those trying to help and those receiving the service.

Do you know where I am going with all this? Will I be addressing how entitlement programs are the problem? Maybe I am going to talk about how we need income distribution to solve the problem?

What is Poverty?

Wikipedia definition—Poverty is the state of one who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution refers to the deprivation of basic human needs, which commonly includes food, water, sanitation, clothing, shelter, health care and education. Relative poverty is defined contextually as economic inequality in the location or society in which people live.

In the book When Helping Hurts, “Development expert Robert Chambers argues that the materially poor are trapped by multiple, interconnected factors—insufficient assets, vulnerability, powerlessness, isolation, and physical weakness—that ensnare them like bugs caught in a spider’s web.”

The book goes on to say, “Poverty is the result of relationships that do not work, that are not just, that are not for life, that are not harmonious or enjoyable. Poverty is the absence of shalom in all its meanings.”

Based on this definition everyone suffers from poverty in some way.

Where the photographer can help

If broken relationships are what is the core issue in poverty, then to rebuild these relationships communication is key. With the broken relationship between two people they must come together and listen to one another.

Often counselors can help with the facilitation of restoration. When it comes to groups this is where I believe the professional communicator refines the role of the counselor and helps each group to better communicate and therefore move groups closer together.

Leaders of humanitarian organizations and their donors are often to blame for the failure organizations goals.

Donor and CEO Problem

A philanthropist decides to give a huge amount to an organization with strings attached. “I want all this gift to go to something and none of it to go to operating costs of the organization” is one such type of gift.

The organization often will take the gift and totally reorganize just so they can use the gift. This is where the organization fails to educate the donor. A good CEO will educate the donor.

I see way too many humanitarian organizations focus on the relief. We can give food or we can teach them to fish. Teaching to fish is a larger investment in time, but not necessarily money.

Photographers need to understand relief, rehabilitation and development and how this applies to the organization. They need to have the strategic vision if they are to help an organization achieve their strategic vision.

Way too many photographers just want to go and travel to take photos. They are in it for themselves and are hurting and not helping.

Photographers need to know as much as they can about the area a humanitarian organization is addressing. What other groups are working in this area? Are they duplicating efforts? Is their approach helping the long-term goal of no longer being needed?

It is common that once you start becoming strategic and not just a button pusher of the camera you will help in ways beyond your camera. You may help leaders of different organizations know about each other. You may help them network due to your work for different groups.

PR for the photographer


One of the ways I am watching photographers with PR for themselves is to tell stories through their blogs and being sure they are letting humanitarian organizations leaders know they are blogging.

If you have a blog you may want to ask some of those organization leaders to do a guest blog for you. 


You can create a printed or online newsletter that you send out to your distribution list. This method is different than the blog; it is pushing your message. A blog pulls people to the content.


You can put your coverage up in a gallery and invite humanitarian organization leaders to come to the show. You can also encourage the humanitarian organizations to also have a gallery where you could be there as the artist at the opening to help bring in donors.

Social Media

Get involved in groups. Many humanitarian organizations have active group discussions where a photographer could easily be part of the discussion. Give some tips of your own or maybe you offer links that you have discovered as a good resource. Be a part of the discussion.
Hold organizations accountable

I would encourage all of your discussions to always be trying to be sure the organization is helping the problem and not hurting. Sometimes it is just asking a question with an attitude of innocence. Sometimes you may need to call attention a little more forthright. Remember your purpose is to be part of the solution and not hurting. Ticking everyone off is not the best solution since you will quickly discover yourself no longer a part of the discussion.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Photographers: How to Avoid Obsolescence

We need an overview of the industry and beyond it to be able to make decisions on how to proceed in building a successful business model that is sustainable.

Three elements in visual communication:
  1. Message
  2. Messenger
  3. Audience

Message: There are many ways this can exist. This could be everything thing from an individual person, a group of people, a topic, an industry to many descriptors.

Messenger: For this blog we are talking about he Photographer or Visual Communicator

Audience: This is the group for which the images are being created to communicate the message.

My advice is to explore each of these three for all the possibilities. 

Become an expert on the subject—This can be everything from a formal education on the subject to immersion into the subject. The more you know about the subject the better you will be at finding those tiny bits of information that is important to an audience.

Become an expert on the audience—The more you know about your audience you understand what they need and want. It will be much easier for you to plug your subject into the audience when you know how it impacts them in their daily lives.

Become an expert messenger—You master not just photography but all the possible communication tools to help you reach the audience with the message and vice versa.

Common Mistakes

In response to my earlier blog “Photographers are becoming obsolete, unless ...” many of the comments were way to linear and short sighted.

Here is one comment that was typical of others:
“… the only thing saving us professionals is a better ability to understand/use composition and lighting.”
The key thing I want to point out is how too many people are focusing on one thing, which is in my opinion what is a sure way to obsolescence.

Just taking this comment I can see the person has no clue as to understanding anything about the subjects they are taking photos of or the audience. Making an incredible photo of a subject that the audience has no interest is not sustainable.

I believe there are a few things that will happen over the career of the extremely successful visual communicator. As they grow in understanding of subjects, visual communication tools and their audience they will make changes.

Changes you may need to make

Message—I want you to think of this as your subject of the photograph. Over time you may discover that the subject has a shrinking market. In other words you will discover from your expertise on your audiences that few people have an interest in your subject. This is when you need to find another subject or subjects to sustain your career.

Audience—Some great examples of how this is changing is just looking at how the web has impacted communication outlets. You may have only been able to shoot for a local newspaper in the past and today you may have a very successful worldwide audience due to online blogs, forums or social media outlets. Some of the publications [audiences] have gone out of business and therefore you must change.

Messenger/Medium—You as a professional visual communicator need to make changes due to the mediums we have available are changing. You made changes from film to digital and now are making changes from older digital devices to newer ones.

Mediums and Audience are blurring 

Just a few years ago a professional visual communicator would consider a publication as an audience. This is because they didn’t have control over it. Today blogs are a great example of how the medium is now closer to you and thus bringing audiences ever closer to you. You are able to interact in a dialogue with your audience.

Today the connectivity we have between all of this is opening up new avenues for communication. It is no longer one way as in the past. Your audience will tell you what they want and comment on what you are giving them in real time. You don’t have to do focus groups to find out what the readership thinks—they are commenting in the social media and if you allow it on your packages online.

If you are focusing on mastering photography and how to light things and compositionally capture something alone, then you are on your way to obsolescence.

Those who are growing their business are expanding their horizons and learning more about the world in which they live. They are becoming experts on subjects and learning more about what people are interested.

As you grow in your knowledge of the message, the messenger and the audience you will have eureka moments like Steve Jobs, who brought us devices we didn’t even know we needed.

Bicycle Wheel as a Metaphor
I like to think in visuals and so my visual for going forward is a bicycle wheel. My focus is on the spokes that when are equal and have the appropriate tension help keep the wheel true and wobble free.

I see each of the spokes as another way you can strengthen your business. 

How many spokes?

The number of spokes in a bicycle affects its performance. Fewer spokes tend to have aerodynamic advantages. More spokes usually means more strength and durability.

I see those new faces in the industry that are getting a lot of visibility as having fewer strokes. I am seeing those who have long sustaining careers as those with more spokes.

My advice

Master a subject. Master a medium. Master an audience.

After you have done this then add another subject, medium and audience.

If life is pretty wobbly right now your spokes may need some adjustment.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Photographers are becoming obsolete, unless ...

How we are becoming obsolete

Professional photographers are becoming more and more obsolete because their work is becoming a commodity. In addition, technology advances have made it easier for one to make a photograph. Already Facebook’s photo collection has a staggering 140 billion photos, that’s over 10,000 times larger than the Library of Congress.

Let’s just look at some of the advances in photography:
  • Auto focus
  • Auto Exposure
  • Auto Image Stabilizer
  • Auto ISO
  • Auto red eye reduction
Increasingly we are seeing photography becoming driven by algorithms. These advances in camera technology are without question giving photographers more images that are pretty acceptable.

When I teach photography many students are really asking me, just tell me which button to push. Now we are hearing more about which app to use on their phone to make it all happen for them.

No longer is photography intimidating for the masses, but actually quite easy to produce an image. Kodak’s founder George Eastman created the slogan "You press the button, we do the rest."

When he said this it was quite difficult to produce a print that you can hold and cherish forever. However, today the consumer can now press the button and see it immediately.

CPI that ran the photo studios in Sears, Walmart and Babies “R” Us closed April 5, 2013 after 60 years in business. You could get a portrait done for $9.99 plus prints, so thee prices didn't put them out of business.

In the LA Times I thought these statements were telling:
“The whole digital world has changed everything so much,” said Chris Gampat, editor in chief of photography blog the Phoblogapher. “People are very happy taking pictures of themselves with their iPhones and putting them on Instagram and sharing them instantly on Facebook and Twitter.”

Gampat, 26, also said that more consumers are buying the digital single-lens reflex, or DSLR, cameras once used nearly exclusively by professional photographers for top-quality images.

Consumer Demand has changed

Photographers need to understand the market place as much as they understand photography to survive.

Consumers of professional photography in years past have not stopped enjoying pictures they just are no longer paying photographers to produce them when they can do it themselves.

How photography looked years ago for the professional.
How many think photography is today

The example assumes that while there are many people now taking photos the number of those making a good living is about the same. 

I no longer believe that is the case. I think the number of professionals making a living is actually shrinking as well.

Tips on how to avoid becoming obsolete

Today, people are letting technology handle so much of the process that we have diminished our abilities of observations, creativity and interpretation.

Pictures without context and compassion are dull.

Photographers must work even harder than in the past to survive. They must be always observing, working on their creativity and interpreting situations so that they are out performing the logarithms of today's modern cameras.

You cannot make a full-time living today as a photographer because you know how to use camera gear to produce an image. You must be offering something more.
  1. Produce images that auto everything camera cannot 
  2. Become a hybrid photographer. This is where you combine with other skills to create a package. This might be writing, video, audio, web design or something that moves you from just pictures to a package.
  3. Consider working with other professionals to create packages. Maybe you need to delegate some of the pieces of projects to other professionals. Maybe work with a writer, video editor or someone else and together offer something you cannot do alone.
  4. Become an expert on something other than camera gear. If you are an expert on a subject then you can use your photography to help you carve a career in that subject matter using photography. A great example of this is Jacques-Yves Cousteau, who was able to do a great deal of photography and film due to his knowledge of marine biology.
  5. Be a lifelong learner. An unquenchable thirst for knowledge will drive you to seek-out new ways to communicate using visuals. This will possibly lead you to be not a follower, but an innovator.  
  6. Workshops and seminars. You need to continue to go to venues where you can be exposed to what is going on in the field of photography and outside of photography in your niche.
  7. Create your own projects. To get that first paying gig you had to have a portfolio. To continue to propel your career you must always being creating a new portfolio.  You will seldom have the opportunity to create a new approach for a client. They tend to hire you based on what you have produced.
You may think of more things to keep your career moving forward. When you stop growing is the day you start dying.  
Psalm 19:1

The heavens declare the glory of God;
   the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
God reveals Himself to the world by His work. Through natural revelation, God’s existence is made known to every person on earth. Thus, work reveals something about the one doing the work. It exposes underlying character, motivations, skills, abilities, and personality traits.
Ephesians 4:28

… let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
Work is done not just to profit the worker, but others according to the Bible. We need to do work that is not just for us but for those we serve through our photography.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fashion Show

Fashion Show

These are some of my photos from this past Saturday of a fashion show my daughter participated in. I was there just as a proud parent and took some photos.

I found a seat that I liked the angle from and just stayed put to enjoy the show.

I used my Nikon 28-300mm lens on my Nikon D4 primarily. It gave me the most flexibility to get closeup shots and overall shots of the runway for the models.

I also have my 14-24mm on another Nikon D4 camera, which I just used a few times.

Hope you enjoy the show as much as I did.

By the way this is my daughter Chelle. I think she looked great. She looks so much like her mother.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Shooting a photo package on a person

Take a moment and see some of the photos I turned into the editor in the slide show above.

Shooting a package

This is the bread and butter assignment for the editorial/photojournalist. You get a call from an editor and they have have a story on a person and want some photos to go along with the story.

While it would be great to just hangout with a person for a week and then pick the best images, the budget is just not there for those type of coverages. What is typical is to talk with a subject about all that they are doing and to stay focused on what the story is all about.

A health clubs national office contacted me and wanted me to show how their health club was helping people in the community live healthier lives since becoming involved with the club.

The environmental portrait

I photographed this engineering professor at Georgia Tech. We wanted to show that their clients have great leadership positions in the community. I knew I needed something that read Georgia Tech quickly. Having the sign behind the professor seemed to be just the thing to work.

I also photographed him at one of the icons for the campus, a steam engine, located in the center of campus.

I wanted to also show you that I shot some available light like this vertical shot here. I also wanted you to see why it is so important to use off camera flash as I did in the first two photos. The off camera flash really separates my work from so many GWCs [Guy With Camera].

At Work

I made several photos of the subject at work. Here he is in a team meeting with some colleagues. If you look at the slide show you can see some others as well.

At the Gym

I photographed the subject working out. I turned in photos from each thing he does at the gym. Now mind you I shot literally hundreds of photos and then had to go through those and eliminate all the ones where face expressions were just not good, or something may have blocked a good view of his face.

By the way to be sure these images were the best color I used strobes in the gym to help with color, but also freeze him and get the sharpest images I could of him working out. Notice the detail in the clothing of the instructor wearing all black. That is the clue this was not available light.

Click on this to see larger

I turned into the client 391 images in two folders: 1) Edits & 2) All the photos. They will probably only use three images; 1) portrait, 2) At work shot, and 3) workout photo.  By shooting as many photos and narrowing down to capture the best expressions and best moments I am able to give the art director choices and they feel like they can then have some variety to show in the end to their audience.

In the contact sheet above you just see a very small number of photos that I turned in. I wanted you to see this is after I have already eliminated all the blinks and funny expressions. Hopefully this will let you know how important it is to shoot enough photos to be able to have a selection that shows off the subject in the best way possible.