Monday, March 30, 2009

A warm welcome into this world.

One of my recent photo shoots was of Ariana, the newest tennant in my building. She is so cute, and she just happened to be in the mood for photographing.

I shot away using my Nikon speed lights (3 in total) and a white seamless paper backdrop. I was cramped for space, so I placed a warm blanket on a prop table, and set two of my speed lights low to the floor, aimed at the paper. Next, I placed one speed light in a softbox, high and to the right of Ariana.
Learning is always the fun part, and here is what I learned. First of all, posing time was very limited. As a newborn she was fussing about, and temperamental. That was a given. Secondly, I knew that I would not have time with her to set and then check my camera settings, and focus for the shots, so a Teddy bear was used. “Use what is available” is what I have always been told.

Once again, welcome Ariana to the world, and Congratulations Ed and Renee!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pet portraiture.

On this past Friday I decided to play in the studio, and get to work on my long overdue pet portfolio. For the longest time I have wanted to enter the world of pet portraiture. I have some great ideas, but only own a (scared of her own shadow) cat. Well, after reading some books about posing pets, staging props, ect., I ventured out into a brave new world.

This is Bella the Chihuahua. She belongs to an old friend of mine. She has been in my pet portraiture thoughts since she was born, and the time had finally come. With permission granted, and a quick bath, we were in my studio. I wanted to show the two completely different sides of Bella. The first side of Bella is that she is a complete doll. She is extremely patient, and she will put up with any pose that I ask her to.

Secondly, she runs the household in which she lives. There is no doubt exactly who is in charge, and rules from the throne. Master Bella does.

Thanks for checking out “All things about Photography”. I don’t claim to know everything, but rather all topics about photography are open for discussion here!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Stock Images

With all that has been going on in my life recently (school, vacation, and a wonderful get-away way up north), I have just now found some much needed time to submit some of my stock images.

I have been working with some images “on the side” and thought that I’d share some of them with you. I’d like to take a moment and discuss some of the things that the stock sites look for, and the problems that I run into with some of my images getting rejected. Then I’d like to give some ideas and examples on how to fix up your images, and get them accepted as good stock images!

But first, a relative and mentor of mine has recently fallen into a “full on stock image mode”. I have tried in the past to get him more involved with shooting and selling stock photography, with little success. After a lot of heated conversations and a ton of stock photography cramming sessions later, he has recently (and seriously) looked into the world of stock photography. I am happy to report that he is looking to further involve himself in stock photography as a way to get some extra income. Great!

But what do I know about this topic that I could offer as advice (to him as well as all of you)? Well, let me add that he has been doing his homework. A flurry of links has come to me (via my email), and all of them are from him. He wants me to excel in stock image sales, right along side of him, and that is why I consider him both a relative and a mentor. He includes me in his good wishes, and that is some kind of wonderful.

A problem of mine is that I have told myself (in the past) that I will start getting serious about stock photography as an income and not just a side hobby. Well, I start out doing some shoots, but then get caught up in other ideas. I have worked some long evenings in the studio setting up and shooting some fun stock image themes, but then it’s always on to something else. So, I hope that he listens to what I have to say, and that he does not do what I do.

First of all, here are a few great links from some great stock photographers. These folks are happy to share their experiences, their mistakes, and their successes with us all. These are great blogs to add to “your favorites” as they are informative, inspiring, and honest. What else could we ask for? I love the fact that some of these blogs shed a lot of light on the topic of the submission, rejection, and re-submitting process of your stock images. There are also some links to blogs that deal with the actual setting up and the shooting of stock images. Great stuff through and through!

Here are the problems that I most often encounter when submitting my images as stock, and what you can do to get them re-submitted if they are rejected.

*Faces …. Get releases for any and all people that are recognizable in your images. This can be easy if you explain up front to the people that you photograph. Cary model/property releases in your gear bag so you can have some handy.

*Trademarks… What stock companies look for are any things that may be trademarked. This can be anything from brand names to book titles and art. I like to use a healing brush type action to edit out any and all rejection causing items.

On the "before image" up and to the left, I had to zoom in and remove all of the names and logos on the sail of the windsurfer. I later did a color corection and addad some blue color to the sky.

*Noise, grain, and chromatic abbreviation….. Blow your images up to 100 percent and look at the noise, grain, and. If you see any, you must remove it. Try using a tiny bit of gausien blur to remove a little bit of noise. Another trick that I use to remove artifacting is a open an image up in Photoshop and create a new layer. Use "overlay as a blend mode on the new layer. Next, add a high pass filter, and then press "cntrl (+) I" to inverse it. Than adjust the new layers opacity to taste.

More great information is coming soon in an up and coming blog entry....

Good luck in your stock career!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Arizona trip

Hello all, and thanks for standing by as I was absent!

I decided that enough time had elapsed in my life, and I should get serious about meeting my Father. So, I flew out to Arizona and met him and his wonderful wife, and my newly found Step Brother.

What a beautiful state it is, and we had so much to do that it was all just a whirlwind. I quickly figured out that I could drop my camera anywhere I wanted and still take a stunning image.

Everywhere I looked I saw cactus and beauty that I could only try to capture. I only had 24 hours a day in which to shoot, so most of the scenery is still there, waiting for my return, to capture at a later time.

I played in the desert each day, and we all took some fun night photography as the sun went behind the mountains. I learned that “light painting” images can be a fun way of hanging out with family members, and get to know them even better.

I also learned that the gridded snoot that I had made just for this trip worked flawlessly! It fit over my Mag-light flashlight perfectly, and I got some cool stuff without any unwanted light spillage, or “light contamination”.

The bad news is that I flew out with the empty flash trigger, and could not locate the correct battery for it. Next time I will slow down and check things over a little more closely. It was nice that I took all of my flash gear on vacation, even if it didn’t get out that much. The family portraits will have to happen next time I travel out.

When all is said and done, I now feel more centered in this life, and I feel more as a family member than I have ever felt before. Having all of my questions answered, and hearing all about my relatives was the best possible event that I have ever experienced. Plus I got some fun photographs!