photography

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

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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!!

Digital Camera Bodies – PD-Images archive

Before I begin let me start by saying I do not plan to get very technical.  I am just going to give the basics and keep this simple.  I just want to express the differences between cameras.  What I have found and experienced. 

 I got my first DSLR a Nikon D50 and thought it was a great camera.  The images were crisp, nice colors and overall performance was very good.  I upgraded to the D80 body and in my opinion the D50 had better color and contrast.  The range seemed better and even though the D80 had more bells and whistles it wasn’t really a better camera.  In fact I think the images from the D50 took much less time to correct and were more accurate.

 After 2 years with my D80 I felt it just wasn’t cutting it.  I wanted more, more control, better contrast, sharper images.  Then Nikon introduced the D300.  I waited and saved, and sold some things on eBay until I could get my D300.  I love the sharp images, contrast, and range and even though the white balance isn’t perfect it is much, much better.  I am glad I chose to move up to a pro model even though the return will take a LONG while.

 Those of you reading this so far might be thinking why I would get a consumer camera.  If a pro camera is that much better why not just get the higher end camera?  First we are talking two or three times as much money and that is a huge factor.  The second reason is the consumer cameras have simple pre-set programs that allow you to quickly change the setting and get the shot.  Consumer cameras are more automatic and easy to use.  They are by design made to be simple.  A consumer DSLR also has some features found on higher end camera.  You can, should you choose, set the camera in manual mode and have a set of features similar to a Pro camera yet slightly less advanced.  These cameras are best for beginners through serious enthusiast or as an entry level camera for those wanting to go pro.

 For those people who are on the fence about the extra money of a pro camera here are some key differences.  Sensors, focus zones and processors are normally much better giving you higher quality, range and contrast.  This may not be the case in the high end consumer models that may have some pro features.  Pro cameras tend to have a better make and feel solid, not like cheap plastic.  Most pro models are weather resistant although I would never want to test or suggest you trust a $2000 camera body to exposure.  Pro cameras allow you to use wireless networks, wireless flash, studio flash, GPS devices and a variety of additional accessories.  The feature set or camera settings are incredible but this also requires more time to understand and more time change these settings.  Some of the features go into great details requiring a great knowledge of photography techniques.

 This has mostly been about camera bodies.  I suggest as always reading reviews, checking forums and other resources before you buy.  I also tell people you need to pick up the camera, take a few shots, check the handling to make sure it works for you.  All cameras are different and just because it gets a great rating doesn’t mean it’s going to feel right when you use it.  The other big thing is don’t be swayed by brand!!!  You have people that only buy one brand because that is what they have always used.  If you have nothing to start with check them all.  Today most cameras have many of the same features so make sure it feels right and the controls work for you.

 Once you pick one most likely you’ll stick with that brand simply because it cost too much to replace your accessories.  Now for the big, most important thing you should do when testing.  It is very important you test each camera with the same/equivalent lens.  If you test one with a kit lens and one with a high-end lens or pro lens there will be differences.  The lens will make a HUGE difference…did I say HUGE difference?  Once you get into photography you will soon find not all lenses are equal.  Just because they are both 18-80 zoom lens there is a reason one it $500 more.  But that’s a topic we’ll save for another time.

Thanks for reading!