mars 2012

The 5 Simple Steps To Become a Pro Photographer

Want to know what it takes to become a pro.
HARD it maybe, but complicated, no. Here are 5 simple steps.

1. Declare yourself a photographer.
That’s what you ARE in life. You’re not a student, not a mobile phone seller-slash-part-time-photographer, not a part time anything. You’re a photographer. People have to know this. Spread the word and do the walk

2. Be in business. Make it real.
Get a business bank account, business license, business cards. Business. Otherwise it’s a hobby.

3. Read every book you can find at the library or online about the business of photography. Understand the rules.
If you fail at the business part, if you can’t SUSTAIN this business, you’re not a pro. You’re unemployed, or back to part-time.
And back to step 1…wanting to be a pro.
SO after you have read the books and they make sense, and they teach you how to run the books and land the work…
you can then start breaking and bending  some of the rules you read in those books.
YOU choose which are the right ones to break. You’ll be right 50% of the time, you just won’t know which 50% until after you’ve taken the leap. Action is the only thing that matters.

4. Take photographs everyday and share them, pimp them, promote them like mad.
For clients and for yourself. Get creative. Find YOUR voice through shooting more photos than you thought was possible.
Aim to be different, not better than everybody else. Be brutal in your edit.
Put forward only your best work around the the things you actually want to get paid to shoot. Break all the rules here too.
And again, you’ll be mistaken 50% of the time, but you gotta take your swings to hit anything at all. Don’t forget, the DOING is the only thing that matters here too. What you THINK is nice, but it counts for zero, ko-dalle, nada. Action wins.

5. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat..………….!!


What the Hell is SEPIA ?

Have you clicked the sepia button on Aperture, Lightroom, or your favorite photo application and thought, “What the hell is sepia?” I bet you have. It’s fascinating how many novice and pro photographers alike don’t know exactly what Sepia is.

In short, sepia is more than that burnt color tone filter readily available in most photo editing programs.

Put simply, sepia is a form of photographic print toning – a tone added to a black and white photograph in the darkroom to “warm” up the tones (But it is still a monochromatic image and is still considered black and white). Sepia began in  in the 1880s, partially to make photographs look better, but also because the chemicals involved in Sepia aided in slowing down
the aging of a photograph.

Toner ? what the hell is that stuff?

Sepia toners are chemicals that work to convert the traditional metallic silver in the print to a sulfide-based compound, which can be applied in varying degrees of intensity depending on how “warm” the desired effect of sepia is. In addition to the color shift, these sulfide compounds act as better ‘shields’ than the traditional metallic silver, and prevents environmental pollutants from damaging the print, giving the print a much longer life.

So, sepia has both form and function. Yes…now it’s just a button in your photo editor as with the above pictures..
But it is actually a 130 year-old creative toning process with roots as both an artistic ‘color’ statement and an enhancer of the archival qualities of a printed photo.
Cool no ?

More indepth info here on wikipedia.

Graphistudio – A factory of emotion

The best quality photographic albums out there!

This is a fantastic company that makes absolutely wonderful wedding albums or portfolios. For all you photographers out there this is an excellent address to have for your clients and for your own

They give you an unbleievable choice of formats & paper : photographic or the metallic paper with digital laser printing or the textured or smooth board with the digital offset printing. The cover of an album gives it a special ‘feeling’ and options such as traditional Italian leather, the spectacular look of metallic and transparent covers, to the elegant personalized soft silk covers. Either you choose to do the layout of the photos and the design yourself that you send as a PDF or you can choose a layout design configuration produced by Graphistudio.

Photographers will be happy to know that they also have special plug-ins for Aperture, among others, in which their album platform is completely integrated making the production of an album fantastically easy!

Here are a few picture of my portfolio that is hot off the press. Enjoy!

 Here’s a little history :

Graphistudio was founded in 1981 as a small graphic and photographic advertising studio. In 1987,  it expanded into the wedding photography market. The idea was to offer newly weds a photographic album using the latest creative graphic techniques. The concept was an immediate success as it was to the traditional wedding photography environment.

As the Company expanded in Italy, it concentrated on professional photographers by providing them with an innovative service to produce unique wedding albums that were at the forefront of creative and artistic content. Using a targeted marketing operation, the Company was able to persuade hundreds of photographic laboratories to also take up the idea.

Wedding magazines described it as the best wedding momento that has ever been produced. Photographic publications referred to it as a revolution in this sector which also sets a new quality standard.

For more info follow the link

How Photographers REALLY Spend Their Time…!!

I love this chart but it should really be called:

‘How People THINK Photographers Spend Their Time’

Experience tells me that non-photographers, or amateur photographers often have an idyllic view
of the life of a professional photographer. It’s all jumping around with super models in crazy locations, unbelievable studios, very expensive cameras & rock star parties on massive boats!
It’s just not true!
The are loads of great perks to this profession & yes I do pinch myself everyday !
But this chart tells a different — and much much much more accurate story.

Actually I think EVERY  profession is like this !
Many jobs have ‘the aura’ : photographer, rockstar, astronaut or firefighter but all of them have a large amount of crap stuff that has to be done, dealt with, waded through, crap that can derail the essence of what you do.
You can make choices to do more or less of the crap stuff…But you can never avoid it – you have to deal with it.
and the only real way to do that is to choose to do something you love, because if you do, the crap will feel less abundant and less stinky!!

Africa’s Sunshine Shoot

I’m Black & Pregnant !

Here are a few shots of a pregnancy in full swing. It’s such a beautiful event, but it’s not always easy to photograph.
More photos from this session are in my portfolio’s.

You know what they say, the devil is in the details. It’s often the little things that make the difference between an okay shoot and an amazing one. There are a million of these little details to think about on any shoot. Getting the temperature right in the studio, shooting at the right time of day for the mother, getting changes of clothes laid out & ready, having an assortiment of drinks & food at the ready, a changing cubicle, makeup & mirrors, relaxing area with toys for other kids and family etc etc
The more you can anticipate in advance, the smoother your shoot will go. And the more you’ll impress your clients.

I made it simple for this shoot : Nikon D3, ISO 200, RAW, 24-70 mm – 2.8, 1 x Visatec logos 800 flash with a 100 x 100 cm soft box – and a tonne of chocotoff chocolates!
There is one more difficulty….photographing afro amercian skin can often be a challenge.
Over or under exposure? incident or spot mesure? Different filters or not ?
There are many blogs and forums that will discuss this for hours on end.

The simplest thing to remember when photographing dark skin is that you are going to want to overexpose slightly.  I recommend setting your camera on manual exposure mode and try overexposing by two-thirds to maybe a full stop depending on how dark the skin of your subject is. Shoot in RAW which will give you all the possibilities in post production.




Colour Temperature?

Colour temperature is a measure of a light’s colour. Mastering it will help you keep your shots looking accurate.

Can I use a Cloudy white balance setting to correct a 7,000K colour temperature? « Err what ? » I hear you say.
Actually you could do just that, however, once you’re at a more advanced level a better understanding of colour temperature
can prove to be very useful.

What Does It Mean?

Lest talk in laymans terms otherwise I’ll get confused myself :
Different light sources produce different coloured light. For example, a candle emits a reddish light, while the midday sun’s rays have a blue tint. These different colours can be expressed using a number, and this number is known as the colour temperature. Colour temperature is measured on the Kelvin scale and we are interested in that number.

How is Colour Temperature Used in Photography?

How does all this affects you and your images. The human eye is excellent at adjusting to different colour temperatures, which means that to you and me objects appear roughly the same colour whether they’re outside in the sun or indoors under a lightbulb.

You can use colour temperature to keep the colours in your photos looking accurate and natural.

Digital cameras are terrible at adapting, and as a result they « see » objects as being different colours depending on the lighting, which leads to our photos having an overall blue or orange tint. Thankfully cameras allow you to correct for these tints by telling them the colour temperature of your scene. This is done using the white balance setting –  tell the camera what type of lighting your scene has (daylight, shade, tungsten etc), and it will use an appropriate colour temperature.

For even more accurate control, some cameras allow you to program in an exact colour temperature in kelvin. You can get a precise value by using a colour temperature meter, or by taking a photo of a white object under the same lighting and letting
the camera calculate the temperature. Alternatively you can make an educated guess using the chart below.

Colour Temperature Chart

This chart shows rough colour temperature values for a range of different conditions. The bar is coloured to show the hue
and strength of any colour tint that might appear in your shot.

Colour temperature chart

A colour temperature chart is useful for selecting the right white balance to suit conditions.

Understanding colour temperature is invaluable & helps you cope with all manner of lighting conditions to produce photos
which appear natural and well-balanced without the need for excessive post-production.

inspired by PhotographyMad

White Balance

Using the white balance can change your photos for the better.

The words « white balance » usually strikes fear into most amateur photographers. It sounds so terribly technical, which means it must be complicated, right? That was how I used to feel about white balance too but realised it was time get a grip because it’s actually a very simple concept very useful to know.

What is White Balance?

When we look at a white object our eyes will automatically adjust to the lighting conditions, so that the object appears perfectly white to us whether we are indoors under a tungsten bulb or out in the bright sunlight. Our eyes are excellent at making this adjustment, digital cameras are noy, and the same object will appear different depending on the colour of light in the scene (Colour Temperature). This can leave our photos with a blue (cool) or orange (warm) tint.

White balance is the process of giving our camera a helping hand, so that it can reproduce the whites in our photo as they should be. Once it gets the white right, all the other colours in the scene fall into place, and we’re left with an image that perfectly reproduces what our eyes saw.

Using White Balance Presets

Camera manufacturers know that their Automatic White Balance (AWB) setting doesn’t always get it right, so they also include several white balance presets for us to choose from : Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tunsten, Fluorescent, Flash etc etc –
you simply choose the appropriate setting for your shooting conditions and the camera will do the hard work of making white objects appear white.

Custom White Balance

For situations where the white balance presets won’t do, most cameras also come with a Custom White Balance setting.
In this mode you begin by taking a photo of a white object (a sheet of white paper or a professional white balance card) under the lighting conditions of your scene. Then you just tell your camera to use that image as its white balance reference, and then all photos taken under those conditions will come out correctly balanced.

Deliberately Using the Wrong White Balance

Most of the time you’ll want the colours of your scene to be rendered as accurately as possible, but sometimes you will get a more impressive image by artificially warming up or cooling down your scene. Using the wrong white balance can produce some amazing colours. Sunsets are a good example – your camera’s Auto White Balance will often « correct » the rich, warm colours of the scene, leaving you with a photo which is cold and uninspiring. To artificially warm up a sunset, you can select one of the « cooler » white balance presets, such as Cloudy or Shade. This will enhance the warm reds and oranges in the photo and subdue the cold blues and greens, leaving you with a much more pleasing image.

inspired by PhotographyMad

Le Blanc/White

Aujourd’hui je vais vous parler du blanc !

Dans les pays occidentaux le blanc symbolise la pureté, la virginité, l’innocence, la clarté, la paix, la neige, la légèreté,
par contre en Chine il est la couleur du  deuil.
Si vous portez du blanc vous boostez votre créativité, votre fidélité car vous allez mieux communiquer et c’est un remède contre les coups de blues…
Le blanc symbolise également la communication (qui se fixe), la persuasion, la détermination, être décidé et confiant.
Parce qu’il renvoie les rayons du soleil et rejette la chaleur, il est préférable de s’habiller en blanc dans les pays chauds.
Si vous désirez faire un régime, habillez-vous en blanc, c’est idéal, car cette couleur donne envie de moins manger.

Le blanc c’est aussi l’absence de couleur comme nous dit si bien l’expression « signer un papier en blanc »,
c’est-à-dire qu’il peut être synonyme de vide.
Dans la décoration, un mur blanc va laisser le regard se fixer ailleurs sur un objet de couleur qu’on voudra mettre en valeur.
Dans ce cadre uniformément blanc tous se détache avec une plus grande netteté, on attache plus d’importance aux personnes présentes et ce sont elles qui apportent les notes de couleurs.
Son éclat pur renverra efficacement l’énergie.
Le blanc cassé et le crème sont en général plus doux et plus faciles à intégrer en décoration.
Le blanc ouvre la possibilité à tout…

Picture by Vanessa Serendipity

ISO Speed – Explained

The ISO setting can be extremely handy
when shooting in low-light conditions.

Your camera’s ISO setting controls how sensitive its sensor is to the light that reaches it. It is one of the crucial factors which goes into determining a photograph’s exposure as well as the overall image quality. A higher ISO setting makes your sensor more sensitive to light, meaning that you can take photos in darker conditions without the need to use a flash or tripod.
However, a high ISO also creates more noise, reducing the image quality.

Most digital cameras can automatically adjust their ISO setting to give an acceptably sharp image when hand-holding your camera. However, you will often need more control than this, which is why it’s important to have a good understanding of camera ISO and how it affects your shots.

Where Does ISO Speed Come From?

ISO speed dates back to film cameras, remember those ?! where it is used to describe how sensitive a particular film is to light.
Of course digital cameras don’t use film, but they do use a sensor which works in a remarkably similar way. Because people were used to using ISO with their film cameras, the term was adopted in digital cameras too.

Digital cameras have a big advantage over film cameras when it comes to ISO – with film cameras, the ISO speed is a property of the film itself. This means that if you want to use a different ISO setting, you have to physically change the film.
With digital, you can adjust the ISO setting at the touch of a button because it is controlled electronically.

ISO Values Explained

A typical digital camera will have ISO values of 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1600 as a minimum. The higher the number, the more sensitive the camera is to light. These values are relative to one another, so ISO200 is twice as sensitive as ISO100, and ISO800 is four times as sensitive as ISO200, and so on.

ISO and Exposure Time

Along with aperture diameter and shutter speed, ISO speed is another factor in determining the required exposure time for any given scene. Every time you double the ISO setting, you halve the required exposure time, and vice versa.

Increasing your ISO setting can help avoid blur when photographing dark interiors without a tripod. If you’re taking a photo of a church interior and have your ISO speed set at 100. In order to expose the scene correctly you might need an exposure time of 1/15th of a second which is far too long to shoot hand-held without ending up with a blurry scene.

This is where ISO comes to the rescue. You could simply change your ISO setting from 100 to 400, making the sensor
four times as sensitive. This means that you need an exposure time which is only a quarter of the previous value, in this case 1/60th of a second. This is fast enough to give us a sharply focused scene without having to resort to using flash or a tripod.

ISO and Digital Noise

Sadly, increasing your camera’s ISO speed comes at a cost as it also increases the amount of digital noise in your photo.
Noise is the digital equivalent of film grain and it shows up as lots of tiny coloured dots, which are particularly noticeable in the darker areas of your photo.

Digital noise

What ISO Setting To Use?

You should always aim to use the lowest ISO setting possible, because this will give you the best image quality.
However, your first priority should be getting a fast enough shutter speed, because a blurry photo is a lot more distracting than one with a bit of digital noise.

Using a wider aperture or a tripod may be a better option than increasing ISO because both will help you to shoot in low-light conditions, but without deteriorating image quality. However, ISO speed is a setting that can rescue your photos in situations where neither of these is a realistic option.

inspired by PhotographyMad

Print by MOO

We love to print!

I recently came accross this printing company called MOO and « We love to print » is their motto.
They do some fantastic work.

One great option they have is Printfinity
‘Printfinity’ is MOO’s option of printing a different image on every card in the pack.
Use it to show off your portfolio, your products or your range of skills.
It’s a great conversation starter helping people to remember you, and your business.

Also mini cards & bussiness cards arrive in a FREE MOO case that are made from recycled pulp board. You just remove the coloured wraps to reveal a smart, smooth box ready to keep your cards in perfect condition whether sitting on your desk,
or hanging out in your bag.

And another great option  – Facebook Cards! So easy to do and they are FREE ! (excluding P&P)

Check them out