What is the value of a photograph?

What is the value of a photograph?

val·ue ˈvalyo͞o/ noun 1. the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something. synonyms: worth, usefulness, advantage, benefit, gain, profit, good, help, merit, helpfulness, avail It is a tough thing to consider, placing a value on something. Often times in our life, value is assigned based on how rare it is and how desirable it is. Rarity and desirability are both variable components, and can change in a moments notice. A few years ago, Andrea wanted a family portrait. One of the images on the list that she wanted was a 4 generation shot. We started planning the portrait session. Andrea wanted to get shots of her entire family, and like any time you involve 12 people could not come to a consensus on time, place to shoot, what to wear, etc. Long story short, we got together, with a few less people than we really wanted, but we were able to get the shot that was most important for Andrea. We also got some really nice images of Andrea’s Grandmother just by herself, and a few with Andrea and her parents. Over the next few years, I got know Dorothy a little better. Caitlyn and Andrea did as well. Dorothy moved here from Texas, so while Caitlyn had met her before, it wasn’t until she moved her that they really got to know each other. It seems that Dorothy was always willing to tell stories, and share her time with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. I know that Andrea and Caitlyn’s life were enriched by growing a closer relationship with Dorothy, and...

Everyday Carry

The best camera is the one you have with you. I am sure that you have heard that statement before. Usually that argument is made to justify the use of a small point and shoot or camera phone. I tried really, really hard to like my camera phone. I even had a phone with Zeiss optics and an 8 megapixel sensor…. I just never could get behind the (much) reduced image quality and the lack of depth of field. I mean, I really tried hard to like the camera phone. Tried android, iOS, and even windows phone, Instagram or not…. Did’t really matter, the horrible colors, heavy noise and artifacts and other undesirable elements just made it intolerable for me. The real reason for me comes down to prints. I know, I know. I must be a little old fashioned, but the is something special about a big print. Camera-phones just don’t make good prints. IMHO. Here is a little background: I was primarily a wedding/portrait photographer. I try to use available light where I can. I started of shooting a 35mm film camera, i had a 28/2.8, a 50/1.4, and a 100/2. i spent 3 years learning on that set up and it was good. i found i really could shoot most anything i wanted. Then, I discovered auto-focus zooms. At one point a 24-300 was one of my go-to lenses (looking back, what the hell was I thinking). Fast-forward a few years, I am still using zooms, I am shooting professionally now, so the 24-300 went away. I am shooting 24-70/2.8 and 70-200/2.8 at this point. A...

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...

Windows to the Soul?

    I have heard many people argue about what makes a great portrait.  I have always been in the camp, that the eyes are the most important part of a successful portrait. There is an old saying often attributed to Shakespeare  “Eyes are the windows to the soul”  I believe that saying holds true in portrait photography.  Here is a quick method to “pop” the contrast in the eyes. I am starting this Tutorial after finishing all the standard portrait editing ( that is a topic for another day).  Create a duplicated layer (cmd+j), so you are working in a non-destructive manner. Here is where we start. Looks pretty good. There is a little fill light from the flowers, which I really like, nice soft light.  The first step is choose the dodge tool (mdtones set to 41%) and paint the colored part of the eye, paying close attention not to hit the whites of the eyes. This will bring the mid-tone values up a bit (brighter) Then Grab the burn tool (shadows set to 10%) and paint over the same areas, it may take 2 passes with the brush (salt and pepper to taste, dont over do it tho….) Next we are going to brighten up the whites of the eyes with the dodge tool, I used the same settings as before. Notice that I just painted the area just beside the pupils, I do not want glowing alien eyes, just a little more contrast. It is looking pretty good, but when i zoom back, it looks a little strong, so, since I am working on a duplicate layer, I can just turn the opacity down a bit, and bring...