photographer

Social Media & My iPhone Camera

This last year I found myself on the road a lot.  I use some social media like face book to keep up with friends and interests.  Don’t share a lot of images or post my location because it leads to more targeted ads.  I also find it had to take my camera on the road with me.  I already have to take 2 laptops so to pack in a DSLR in my carry on gets to be a bit much.

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Still I want to take images on the road.  I decided to make some social media changes.  I changed my Facebook account to only my hobby interest.  I removed most of my personal information.  Deleted post that were not related to my hobbies.  Moved most of my professional contacts to Linkedin.   I decided to use Instagram for my photos.  Since the images I get are mostly from my iPhone I thought this was a good compromise

 

Now I take my photo and edit it in tIMG_1019.jpghe instagram app.  It actually does an OK job.  I use it mainly for snapshots to document where I’ve been or for goofy images.  I do try to post on a regular basis and I also use the instal reel app on my MAC.  I don’t use it for anything other than travel snaps while I am on the road for work.  If I’m working on a photo project of course I use my DSLR and Photoshop.

IMG_1304.jpgThe biggest disadvantage of my iPhone is the limitations of the lens.  The overall camera is actually decent for a phone.  To give myself a few more options I got the olloclip.  It’s a snap-on lens device that gives me 4 options.  Wide angle, fish-eye and 2 Macro lenses in one small package.  I can easily place this in my backpack and when I have time outside of work to site see I grab it and go.

IMG_1070.jpgThis little system will never take the place of my DSLR but it will give me some options when it comes to sharing my travel with my friends and family and instagram followers.  There are times I really wish I had my DSLR but when it is just not possible I have my olloclip and iPhone.  The images here are some of my instagram photos.  I haven’t had the account long but I hope to keep adding images from my travels.  Thanks for the read, follow me on instagram @PD_Images

Recycle Images to create Graphic Novel looking pictures

I had a hard drive crash on me.  I was able to recover a lot of the data I thought I lost.  I found some images I hadn’t looked at in quite some time and thought….  What can I do with these.  So I began to play around with photoshop and this is what happened.

PDI_0306.jpgI took a normal looking image like this one and turned it into something out of a graphic novel. I know may people will say yes you posterized it or used poster edges but that is not the case.  Those filters don’t get the same effect.  In fact I used about 8 layers to get the final product.  I also find that you can’t use the same process on every photo.  Each time you begin the process changes slightly to make the image look correct.

Below is the final result of this image.

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As you can see the entire photo is changed and it looks very much like a graphic novel image.  I combined different artistic, stylize and blur filters to get the effect above.  Here is a sample of the number of layers I used.  The final result has about 3 additional layers.

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Here is another before and after…

PDI_0263.jpgGasMask_Graphic Novel.jpg

And 2 more full size examples….

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I really enjoyed creating these and writing this article.  Makes me think I could do a online graphic novel using real people since I can’t draw…  Again thanks for reading this.

I’m planning to write another post soon about the lens baby system and embracing the blur….

Models

Over the years I have had the chance to work with many different models. Some turn out to fall into the diva category. Some turn out to be flakes but to spite all that most, I’d say 90% do a great job. That 90% are also the ones that realize it is a job.

When it comes to trade it seems to be simple but then as a photographer I have the impression that the model is either new or is trying something new. That is not a big deal because they have not been convinced that every shot has to look like a glamour shot. Far from that in commercial photography I want more natural looks, honest expressions and most of all I want the image to look real.

My issue lately has been finding paid models. Most likely because of the market I live in. Small market, limited choice and most are asking more than a large market rate. Because of the market size I have little choice here. My current dilemma is the need to complete a project but finding the model that fits the look. I found 10 in the area and sent requests to shoot on a specific day. From the 10 requests I sent out I got 3 responses. 2 of the 3 were to say they were currently booked. These 2 models are now on the list of models I would contact again just for the fact they took the time to respond to my request.

The 3rd model said she could do the project. Great news, looks like I may have this in the bag! We went over the rate, the looks needed, she had a location that fit the style. So far everything is good. Sent a copy of the release to complete with a photo ID required this was all good. At this point I am thinking I have this in the bag. Last thing to do is nail down the schedule. I sent her the time start time and let her know we could actually start any time after that, just let me know what works. I get back a response for a different day all together. I sent back an email to explain that the shoot was for the day listed on the casting call. Model response “I have plans that day so we need to change the date.”

I had to expand my search, look in other markets and now looks like I will have to travel about 3 hours if I want to do the project. But the good new here is the area I am traveling to has a workshop going on, so those who attend workshops… New review coming soon! I think this blog was more of me bitching that being constructive…. LOL

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Creative Photo Editing

Sometimes you just have to get a bit creative to give your image that little extra spark. Maybe add a motion blur or zoom blur. Change the color a bit or in this case I did all of the above. First I desaturated the color making it almost black and white. Next I made a second layer and masked out my model. Then on the base layer I darkened it to give it a night look. Next on my mask layer I added a zoom blur and a motion blur centered on the area where the model would have been. Next I used a plugin to add a night vision effect. I then added a film grain to the top layer before setting the opacity to 90% and flatting the image. This is the result. Have fun with photo editing, there is a lot you can do it just takes a bit of trial and error!!
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad, Thanks – Allen

The iPad is a great tool not just a fun new toy!

So I recently bought an IPad.  I thought it would be fun and I haven’t bought “new” technology when it was first released in a LONG time.  I usually wait a while until everyone else has one.  For example IPhone came out and everyone rushed out to get one what did I get… a blackberry.  For some reason this was different.  I saw the ad read the hype and just decided I think I’d use that!

As a photographer I already found it useful.  I uploaded samples of my images, my calendar, email and of course music.  I was at a workshop that I will be reviewing in a couple weeks (when I have time to finish a few more images) and a photographer took out his IPhone to show some samples.  So I took out my IPad to do the same.  The Model said and I quote “No way! You didn’t just whip out an IPad”.  It was a hit, everyone stopped to look at the thing.  I have since used it for another client to see samples.

You don’t have to have big files, smaller 600X800 72dpi files look great.  The only issue I have with the picture manager is that you can’t arrange your folders the way you want them.   I really see this as more than just an organization tool.  I can see this as being a stepping stone to a new breed of electronic portfolio.  Sleek look, lots of great apps and easy to use the IPad gets a gold star!!

VVS Workshop Review

VVS Workshop - Bobby Deal, students and model Kiti Kobain

Before I start the review let me just say workshops and training are different for each person.  You get out of them what you put into them.  That being said please use your own judgment on how the content best fits your needs. 

Vegas Vision Studio Lighting Workshops.  I first saw the promotion for this on a stock photography site in the forum.  I sent several questions to owner Bobby Deal and then check out his website http://vegasvisionstudios.com or on meetup.com.  The studio is a 6000 square foot commercial studio located in, as the name suggests Las Vegas Nevada.

They have 3 main photography studios an array of lighting and modifiers.  Photographers can shoot Hi-Key, Low-Key and also use the daylight studio as the situation calls.  There are lounges and makeup rooms for models.  Make up artists are provided for workshops or can be arranged for other projects.  Members of the meetup group can rent the studio setup with lights for $50 per hour.

I took 2 workshops over a weekend.  The first workshop was a non-instructional stock shoot out.  There were 3 models with multiple clothing changes.  Like I mentioned earlier makeup was provide by the staff MUA.  Even though it was non-instructional Bobby did assist when asked.  There was one person that bought his DSLR the day before the workshop.  Bobby spent quite a bit of time giving basic instructions and posing tips to make the experience good for a new photographer.

VVS Workshop - Jolene Hexx

The models for the day were great.  We kept them going the full day.  Each going from studio to studio always going us great shots.  I was able to get 400+ stock images and a few fashion type images.  All in all a full day of shooting.  I liked this type of shoot for stock because I was able to work with different models, try new things and could do some small group shots.

VVS - Sydney

Day 2 was a bit different.  We met at the studio but the workshop took place in Nelson Nevada.  A very interesting place to say the least.  In fact the main picture in this article is of Bobby Deal taking a shot of Kity Kobain (model) while being assisted by other workshop participants.  This workshop featured 6 models both male and female.  It was more of a fashion themed workshop again non-instructional.

Even though it was non-instructional we worked in teams and Bobby again assisted us as needed.  If you are a studio shooter this defiantly got you out in natural light.  Back to nature so to speak.  What a great location, so much to take in I think I could have spent several days there and still found new things to shoot.  Just when we thought we had seen it all Bobby loaded us up took us about a half mile down the road.  There we shot in old gold mines.   I also have some images from that shoot on my creative lighting article.
The second day shoot was just incredible for me.  I like trying new things and getting out of the studio, not having as much control was an eye opener.  The fun does not stop with the workshops.  After we finished and wrapped up the night life was great as well.  You know it is Vegas so there is a lot to do and no shortage of great dining places! 

I would highly recommend VVS Workshops.  The cost is very reasonable, the studio is setup well and the people are fantastic.  They offer a variety of workshops so check the meetup site often.  I’m not going to rate my review because I think each workshop or training is what you make of it.  Even though it works for me only you can say if it works for you.  I really don’t think you can go wrong here. 

Hope you enjoyed, thanks for reading!!

Selling Photos on-line, is it hype or true? – PD-Images archive

So we see the ads in magazines and on line about making $1000’s from taking simple picture with your digital camera.  The question to ask if it is really so easy wouldn’t everyone do it?  If everyone does it how would anyone make money?

Welcome to the world of MicroStock photography.  Let’s start by setting the record straight.  First not everyone can do this.  You can’t use any point and click camera and take pictures.  To be successful you will need at minimum a mid-range DSLR outfit.  You will need to calibrate your computer monitor so it accurately displays colors and of course proper “WHITE” settings.  Once you have this covered your images must be technically correct when it comes to exposure, white balance and of course focus.  Don’t try to “sharpen” your images or they will NOT make it through the review process.  Speaking of the review process in addition to technically correct your images need to have some commercial value.  The reviews don’t let just anything through like those ads lead you to believe.  You will need to have some skills, take a class, read books and learn before you leap…

Now if you think you have the technical skill needed to make it in Stock photography and get past those pesky reviewers lets talk about those $1000’s the ads claim you’ll make!!  I hate to burst your bubble but this won’t happen quickly and maybe not at all.  You are going to compete with millions (yes MILLIONS) of other images.  You will have to learn not just the tech stuff but now the marketing side.  What images sell and can you do better than the other guy.  Your images need to be high quality and what people want.  If you upload a guy dressed as a businessman how many similar images are there?  You may also want to do a search because if you look at most popular you will be behind all those photographers who’s photos have been there for years.  Do a search, learn what is there, try to be different.  Sometimes it just isn’t easy and you’ll give in just to get images out there.

That brings up the next point.  If you have 100 images I have 1000 images and there is another photographer lets call him ‘Yurie” [name has been change to protect the…] who has 24000 images, who is going to get the most views and more likely to get sales?  How long do you think it will take to make $1000’s with 100 images?  MicroStock pays 25 cents per subscription sale up to $30 for an extended sale.  I’m sure you can do the math but when I first started I made a whopping $34 total my first month.  That $34 was the combined total of 10 different agencies.  I still don’t have what I would call steady income from my 1000 images but I do OK. 

 So, it sounds bad at this point but I can assure you of a few things that make it sound good and that has kept me going.  I have learned a lot and gotten much better at photography and photo finishing.  The people in the forums are great and always willing to help with questions.  I’ve seen a consistant increase in my sales as long as I continue to upload new images.  I would not have been able to upgrade my equipment if I did not have the additional income MicroStock has provided.  If I continue to grow my portfolio and sales within the next year I should have enough income from MicroStock to cover renting a studio space…  I currently have an in home small studio.  So, if you don’t plan to get rich soon and want to make a little extra money this venture could be for you.  Want to sign up?!  Please support this blog by using the links on my main page.  These links allow me to get referral credit if you decide this is for you.  Thanks for reading!!