In February I go to Hawaii to teach in a photography school. We’ll cover Lighting, the heart of photography, and Business Practices in Photography, the lifeblood of the business. Below are some of the points we’ll cover that might work for you in your industry.
Software programs such as Microsoft Office that has Outlook, Word, Powerpoint and Excel are helpful in organizing your material. Also, these programs are integrated with Microsoft Word and facilitate merging your contacts into a snail mail or emailing.
You write one letter and the software will merge your contact information into each letter personalizing it. You can write one email and personalize it to a long list of contacts.
It is quite common for me to think of a great tip that might help me get some jobs that I send out to a few hundred or thousands of contacts. Instead of the email coming to them with “To whom it may concern,” it is personalized with their name, like “Dear Steve.”
I specialize in photographing people, but setting up a category for companies who hire photographers that photograph people is too broad. By assigning a contact to a category such as “Education” I can send a promotional piece to only those contacts in the education field. Assigning multiple categories to individual contacts further refines target marketing.
|photo by Dennis Fahringer|
- Give an Overview of the Country
- Show the town
- Show the market place (show faces, how the people dress, their jobs)
- Highlight the work of the NGO
- Show a family
- Group photograph (dinner table)
- Show the NEEDS
- Why do they need the services of the NGO?
- What is being provided that meets a need: water, food and shelter?
- Show how the audience can support the NGO
- How they can volunteer
- A Project
- Ongoing support of a person or family
- Specific Guidelines:
- Hold a visual on the screen for no more than ten seconds.
- Two to three seconds a shot is long enough for today’s TV and Internet savvy audience.
- A two to three minute presentation is ideal for the web. When presenting to a group give short presentations mixing these with a personal story or two. Allow time for questions.
- Write for the ear. Use short sentences.
- Record an interview and use sections of it in the presentation. People telling their story adds authenticity.
- Use too many pictures
- Show photos with exposure problems, with heads cut off or that need explaining. A picture should tell it’s own story.
- EDIT, EDIT, EDIT. Show the only the best.
- Use recorded script.
- KEEP IT SIMPLE!!!!!
- Visual presentations are easy to update.
- Presentations should be tailored to fit the audience.
- Visual presentations can be used to get support for an NGO; also the NGO can use the presentation itself.
- Leave people wanting more.
Want to know how to get the most for your money out of a photographer? Bring him in early in your planning.
|Little girl chases down parachuting cows at the Chick-fil-A Bowl|
Use photographers before they shoot
Clients benefit in several ways when they include the photographer as part of their creative team. Not only will the shoot go smother and faster, but more importantly, the photos will be just as you want them to be and your budget will go further.
After the concept and approach are determined in a planning session the client and I usually scout the locations together, if possible. While on location we determine the best time of day for the shoot based on the lighting. Scouting with the client makes it is easier for us to maximize the time at each location during the shoot.
Here is an example of stretching a photo budget. When working with universities and schools it is more expedient, since most general classrooms look alike, to set-up in only one classroom. The faculty and students rotate through the classroom where all the lights have been placed and the exposure and white balance determined. There is no need to move from building to building. This saves time and money.
|Tennessee cornerback Janzen Jackson (15)and teammate cornerback Eric Berry (14) celebrate defensive play against Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on December 31, 2009 in Atlanta, Ga.|
As you consider your photo needs consider adding me to you creative team, that decision will save time and money and ensure a more productive and creative photo shoot.
Ebenezer Scrooge would have loved digital photography.
Before his ever-faithful nephew gave him a digital camera Old Ebenezer would say, “Bah! Humbug! Every time I press that button it cost me money. And for what, fuzzy photos for future memories, assuming I want to remember any past Christmas.” (I know, I know, there weren’t any cameras in Victorian England… I’m just making a point here.)
Scrooge was right; back in the jolly of days of photographing Christmas with film it did cost us money every time we pushed that button. This had a great influence on how we made photos.
My family’s roots have a good amount of Scotch-Irish Penny-pinching heritage. Maybe your family used the camera like we did. We could squeeze a whole year of events on one roll.
In order to get as much for our film money as we could we wouldn’t waist a shot. We’d dress everyone in their Sunday best, make sure the sun was shining on their faces, backup to include as much as possible, have everyone look at the camera and say cheese. Then the one taking the picture says, “Ready, one, two, three …” then snap the shutter… once.
At Christmas we all gathered at our grandparent’s house. For the annual Family Christmas Photo we’d pull the sofa out from the wall, fill the sofa with the grandparents and grandkids and arrange everyone else – by height – behind the sofa. Next we put the camera on a tripod and set the self-timer. This was an important event so we’d take two shots to be sure we had it.
Ebenezer, before he got his digital, would have been pleased, well, at least he would have appreciated the economy of it all.
Now I don’t want to imply that digital photography is cheaper. You’ve got to buy a digital camera. While the simpler ones can be inexpensive, if you get serious about it, the cost of a whoop-t-do SLR digital camera can make you whish we were back in the days of film.
Next you need a computer, but most of us have one already. Then you need some software, but unless you’re serious about your photography you can get by with the software that comes with the camera.
However, the cost to shoot one photo is the same as making hundreds of photos when it comes to digital. Now we can take lots and lots of photos, pick the best ones and delete the rest.
This Christmas instead of having everyone stop what he or she is doing and look at the camera (or line-up behind the sofa) just photograph them as they are. Take photos of people interacting with each other this holiday season. Isn’t this why we look forward to this time of year—rekindling of relationships?
This season look at the edges of that LCD (screen) on the back of the camera just before you shoot. Do you need the back of Uncle Henry’s baldhead in the corner of the picture? Is that Aunt Mary’s foot sticking in the side? Do I need it in this picture? If my subject is my grandmother on the other side of the crowded room do I need all those folks facing all directions between my camera and her? Maybe I should zoom in or move closer or both.
But what if you do want the Christmas tree in the photo with the family? Move around and find an angle where the main subject is obvious and the complimentary subjects don’t take over the photo. Try being sure the main subject is closer to the camera and the other things are further away is one way.
Remember when people are talking—someone is listening. Be sure to take many photos so you can capture not just the enthusiasm of the talker, but also the interest (or not) of the listener. Wait for the conversation to switch and the roles reverse and make more photos.
Make pictures of people cooking, relaxing, in conversation with each other. Take photos of the outings to the ice rink, skiing, or whatever your traditions may be this season rather than just the posed shots.
Over time and through the years you will see some patterns. I had an uncle who took photos of my Dad each Christmas with his car. For several years my uncle made pictures of my Dad with his head under the hood of whatever car he had that year. It made a funny series when my uncle put them together in a slide show for the family one year. Here is David working on his Ford, here he is working on his Chevy, here his is with a new car…
So why is digital photography a real stimulus package? Because even Scrooge would take many more photos with his digital camera since it no longer cost more each time the button is pushed.
This digital stimulus package will improve your family photos and with no additional cost to take lots of pictures so you can edit down and just keep the good ones.
Keep your camera battery charged and remember to get those photos off the camera and into the computer so you can make even more memorable moments this holiday season.
Google these names and check them out yourself. If you know of others whose work you appreciate please send me an email and let me know who they are. I am always looking to improve and grow.
Let’s look at these potential problems and see how to avoid them.
Color calibrate the computer used when working with the photographs.
Here is a list of just a packages that will do the job:
* Pantone huey – $89
* Spyder3Express Color Calibration System – $89
* X-Rite Eye-One Display LT Color Management Solution – $139
space. There are a few different color spaces that are standards. The figure to the left gives a few. All devices have tolerances. Calibrating is basically adjusting the monitor to the closest known factor. The software places a color target on the monitor and uses the hardware sensor to read the color and make the adjustments automatically.
A CRT monitor (similar to older TVs) must be calibrated more often than a LCD flat screen. For a good illustration as to why monitors should be calibrated step into a store showing the same signal on several TVs and look at the variety of colors.
Cameras with interchangeable lenses (SLRs) need to have the sensor cleaned of dust. Many local camera stores offer this service for about $50.
myself. It comes with a magnifier that lets you see the dust on the
sensor once the mirror is locked up for cleaning. (See the illustration
on right) Here is a link to their website http://delkin.com/c-130866-clean.html
Clean sensors saves a lot of time spent in PhotoShop just repairing the
damage caused by dust. Often, with dirty sensors, a dust spot will be
almost impossible to remove with the software.
Even with the close tolerances adhered to by the better manufacturers; it is rare that perfection is achieved. If the camera body is “off” by a fraction and so is the lens the combination produces an image that is
soft. To be sure this is not the case the lens must be calibrated.
One tool for this is the LensAlign that sells for $179. http://www.lensalign.com
Here is a video for you to see how this works:
If all this takes more time and effort than is practical perhaps the communications professional should just hire me and let me worry about (and take care of) all this for them.
This shows the tripod head with the camera, special head and camera with 16mm lens. Here is the shot from this:
Here are a few more for you to see:
Malcolm Gladwell tells us The Ten-Thousand Rule is a key component to how successful we are. In his book Outliers Gladwell points to a 1990s study of violinists done by psychologist K. Anders Ericsson.
Ericsson and his colleagues divided the violinists at Berlin’s elite Academy of Music into three groups: great players,good players and those unlikely to play professionally and intended to be school teachers. The different groupings of musicians were asked. “How many hours have you practiced since you first started playing?”
Most of the fiddlers began when they were about five. By the age of twenty the great players had put in ten thousand practice hours; the good students about eight thousand and the future music teachers had fiddled around for four thousand hours.
In his book Gladwell relates how the Beatles, Bill Gates, Bill Joy and other extraordinarily successful people have not only put in the ten thousand hours perfecting their craft, but they have done so in a astonishingly short time.
Gladwell makes it clear that there is a threshold one must meet to complete in almost any field. He uses basketball players and IQ scores as examples.
Nearly all basketball players are over six feet tall. But the taller players are not necessarily the better players. However, to compete it will be difficult if you are not at least six feet tall.
There is a correlation between the six-foot threshold and an IQ of one hundred twenty. A one hundred twenty IQ is about the threshold for graduate school or other advanced learning. Just as being tall doesn’t bring success to basketball players having an IQ of two hundred or higher does not automatically insure success. However, there is a definite cut-off point for success in any business.
This holds true in the field of photography as well. David Lyman, the founder of The Maine Workshop, began each class with a discussion on creativity. Lyman says it is essential to “marry the intellect and the heart with the hands.”
He talks about how important persistence is to success and states that it takes about ten years to refine the craft of photography.
How do you get to be invited to play at Carnegie Hall? — by practice, practice, practice.
Bobby Fisher became a chess grandmaster in less than ten years, but it was close. It took him nine years.
Great artists are indeed talented, but talent can be wasted. The masters of their crafts combined their talent with the thousands of hours of work at the canvas, the instrument, the camera or the free-throw line. The Masters put in the ten thousand hours or more essential to master their chosen playing field.
This is good news for any aspiring professional photographer, rock star or whatever. Want to be one of the greatest in your field? – then put in the time. Ten thousand hours is a lot of time, but over the ten years it takes to perfect a task it breaks-down to fewer than three hours a day even if you’re Bobby Fisher.
1. Persistence It takes about 10 years or 10,000 hours to refine a craft. Woody Allen says just showing up is 90%. The successful show up prepared. Watch out for the Draculas out there. They drain your time and you. Get rid of them.
2. Be Nice
3. Your Resources
Four people you need to get to know.
4. Be Skilled in Your Craft
5. Talent — Aptitude for the Profession
Earl Nightingale says that we can become an expert in our field in as little as five years. Malcolm Gladwell tells us the Great Players put in ten years. The trip of ten thousand hours can begin now.