The Value of Marketing

I have touched on some of this before, but lets get a little deeper, shall we? When I started my photography business I thought it would be like “Field of Dreams”, If i built it and had great imagery, people would hire me.However, life never seems to be like the movies. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that great imagery is not important. It is. It is the cost of admission. The bare minimum that you need to start considering a business in photography.This is one of the things that really caused me problems early on. I am not a graphic designer, I am not an accountant.  I am not a marketing guru. I am a simple photographer. The only thing that really interests me is making images ( and sometimes talking gear, i am a little bit of a nerd). I stated my business with no real *business* experience to speak of. I thought marketing was having a website, and putting some ads in the phone book and newspaper. Build it and they will come. HA. I started off doing a little commercial work here and there for people that I knew. After a few years, I ended up booking my first wedding. I found out early on, that paid advertisements were worthless for me. I spent more than a thousand dollars one year to be featured on the Knot, and while I did get web traffic to my website, I could not point to one single person who booked me by finding me there. I could have spent that money on some new L glass from canon! Advertising...

Getting Better

There are many ways to improve your photography. Practice makes perfect, they say. Looking at other art work is probably one of the most under-rated ways to grow your photography. Here’s the catch, though: You have to look at art work critically to gain insight. You have to tear images apart. Look at the compositions, learn what makes it work. or maybe more important: why it dosen’t work. And, if you are talking to the photographer who took the image (online or in-person) you need to be able to offer constructive criticisms. Looking at an image and saying, “this is is no good”, or “this image is amazing” is not helpful. Why is good/not good? Here are 10 Questions to use when viewing other works of art that will help you improve your photography: 10 Questions Where is the visual weight? Are there any distracting elements? Is the exposure correct? Appropriate use of focal length? Are there elements in the Foreground, Middle and Background? Composition and Balance? Was there post production done on photograph? Is it appropriate? Appropriate use of depth of field? How original is the photograph? Is the color...

a quick story about getting started in photography

  I have a similar story to most every photographer. Took a film class in high school and fell in love with photography. Right out of the gate, I bought a Pentax K-1000 kit with a 50/1.4 for about $300.00. Shortly after that, I decided that an auto focus camera with a wide zoom range would take my photography to the next level: Minolta Maxxum HTsi + 28-200/3.4-5.6 for $1000.00. Then I needed a longer lens: 200-400/5.6 $650.00. Then, you know what, everyone is experimenting with wide-angle photography. So, I added a 17-35/4, $500.00. Now, I am started to have a pretty good kit, I have almost $2400 bucks invested (plus, probably several hundred in accessories, bags, lens cap holders, etc.). And, gee, if I want to continue to grow, I need a flash or 2. So, lest add 2 flashguns: $600.00. And remember, this is all film equipment, so I am paying for film processing, etc., etc. Now, fast-forward a bit. I am pretty happy with my kit, but as I get more serious about it, a camera body with OTF (off the film metering) and some other must have things come along, so I add a Minolta Maxxum 5 to my line up, $800.00. Now, things are starting to open up for me, I am starting to work with my cameras (actual paying work), and I am really getting excited. Digital cameras are becoming more mainstream, with 6 megapixel slrs hovering around 3k. Rumors are flying that Minolta will release a pro~semi-pro body soon to compete with the d100 (Nikon) and the d60 (canon). I have been buying pro lenses for my Maxxum 5,...

Sharpening for Print

  Print making is quickly becoming a lost art form. It is a subject that could fill volumes of  books. Sharpening is one of the most  often misunderstood tool in the photographers palette. I often hear about  and photographers who try to use unsharp mask to sharpen an image that was poorly taken and is blurred for some reason. I have come to the belief that is an effort in futility  If you miss focus, or camera shake has blurred an image, it probably can not be “fixed” by post sharpening. In fact, the best case senario for such an image is it will appear slightly less blurry, while the levels of noise in the image will become very noticeable. One use for sharpening is getting the best possible file for print. I usually apply what is called a high-pass method sharpening to my images. The reason the High Pass filter technique works so well at sharpening images is because any areas in the image which are not an edge are left untouched. The only areas that have sharpening applied to them are the edges, which is exactly what you want, and also what all of those confusing options in the “Unsharp Mask” and “Smart Sharpen” filters are trying to help you achieve. How to use High Pass Sharpen: Open your image ctrl+j to duplicate layer change the layer blending mode to overlay filer > other > high pass set the radius slider to 2.1 (i usually start at 2.1 and go from there) Flatten layers You can also try “soft light” rather than “overlay” on the blending mode. A higher radius setting will add more sharpness to...

decompressing after ImagingUSA

I have been on the road traveling a little over 1,200 miles over just a few days. I just arrived home from ImagingUSA. If you are unfamiliar with ImagingUSA check it out here: http://imagingusa.org/. We had a good time, learned alot, didn’t sleep very much. We spent a few minutes while we were in Atlanta walking around and shooting some images....