Off Topic Sunday: Gadgets, Gizmos, and Music

Every once in a while I get so many little things going on that I decide to share them with you all. I call them Off-Topic Sundays and they are always fun for me.

So here we go:

2015-06-14_1023First… ever have your phone die on location? Not good, and since so many of us USE our phones for business and for making BTS photos and videos, they have become indispensable. Here is a nifty solution.


The Anker Astro E7 Ultra-High Capacity 25600mAh 3-Port 4A Compact Portable Charger External Battery Power Bank with PowerIQ Technology for iPhone, iPad, Samsung and More (Black)

Giant Capacity: Charges the iPhone 6 ten times, the iPhone 6 Plus or Galaxy S6 over six times or the iPad Air twice. Safely recharges with a 2 amp or higher output charger (please note most phone chargers only have 1 amp)

Available at Amazon (Affil)


 

iPhone Tripod Mount

I have just purchased one of these iPhone Tripod Mounts… slick as can be. Great for making videos without that iPhone/Android camera shake. You will make more movies… :-)

RetiCAM® Smartphone Tripod Mount – Metal Universal Smartphone Tripod Adapter – Standard Size, Black


Are you a wedding or consumer shooter?

Ya gotta love this… heh.


Bill Evans at his finest.

Looking for some quiet, but quite modern jazz for those long hours processing? Try this very mellow album out.


 

Like old lenses? Like alternative processes?

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Image © Geoffrey Berliner

Check out this article with some amazing images taken with old Russian lenses.

“Geoffrey Berliner is the Executive Director of the Penumbra Foundation and the Center for Alternative Photography in New York. As the head of an organization whose goals are ‘to be a comprehensive resource for photographers at any level’ and ‘to continue to publicize the impact photography has had and continues to have on culture, history and the arts,’ his exposure to photographic materials -from 19th century gems to modern equipment- is so extensive, one cannot even begin to fathom just how much knowledge and experience this man has acquired. His collection of over 2000 vintage Petzval lenses is unparalleled, and the object of envy of both traditional and contemporary photographers. Although such lenses are reputed to require a certain level of skill to be used, Berliner seems to manage them with so much ease, producing splendid results.”

I am looking into some alternative lenses as well. Possibly going to try to adapt a few old enlarging lenses for my digital cameras.

A friend of mine, Moses Wilson, sent this very cool idea of using old projector lenses and the results are pretty darn cool.

I am working on getting a lot of props together for a TinType shoot I want to do, and also building a ‘quick-setup’ darkroom for processing sheet film and prints I shoot in the Deardorff.

Shooting paper is quite interesting. A rough ISO of 6 means a long exposure or lots and lots of light. It also shoots in reverse so the print is a negative, and backwards. No problem since I then shoot or scan the print and reverse it in Photoshop.

I am looking forward to sharing some of this stuff with you later in the summer.


 

Last thing – Nikon Lens Junkies

… you are going to love this. All the major Nikkor lenses with the stories of how they came about. My favorite Nikkors were always the 35MM f2 and the 180MM f2.8. Both are stunningly beautiful to work with.

Anyway – if you have the time – this is really fun and informative article.


 

Project 52 – “NO FEAR” Edition.

Project 52 only has a few seats left for this one last season. If you are or have been interested in it, NOW is the time to take a look. I have built a lot of new and super cool stuff into it. Here is the site if you are interested.

 

 

Tucker Joenz, St, Augustine FL Commercial Photographer

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Tucker Joenz was with Project 52 for a couple of years and in that time I watched him go from hobbyist to serious photographer. He works hard and creates wonderful pictures for his clients. Tucker also shoots self assigned personal projects that have garnered some attention.

He is making the jump from part time photographer and part time designer to full time photographer and I thought you may want to hear what he has to say. St. Augustine, FL is not a great market, but Tucker is finding his footing, and bringing in clients.

Tucker Joenz Website.
Tucker on Instagram.
Tucker Joenz Blog.

Images from his portfolio.

Interview with Tucker Joenz.

 

 

Stephen Collins: Fredricksburg VA Commercial Photographer

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I first met Steve when I did a workshop in Baltimore. It was a hot, muggy day but Steve never tired. He shot and asked questions and seemed to be very interested in getting better… which was a good thing. I kid Steve about how far he has come, but it is true. His work was far from what it could have been, and he knew it.

When I offered the Project 52 as a fun experiment 5 years ago, Steve was there – every show, every assignment. And he began to grow as an artist and someone who understood the aesthetics of the commercial photography business. When he was downsized out of a job, we chatted on the phone and I told him that perhaps it was time to see what he could do as a photographer.

And he did. Slow going at first, but for the last couple of years he has gone on a growth trajectory that has him working 3-4 days a week, and handling everything from catalogs to hospitality, people to food.

Congratulations, Steve.

Stephen Collins Website
Steve on Instagram
Steve at Linkedin
Steve’s Tumblr

Images from Steve’s portfolio.

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Eric Muetterties: East Bay Commercial Photographer

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Meet Eric Muetterties, a working photographer in the East Bay area of San Francisco.

I met Eric 4 years ago at a workshop in North Carolina, and we shared a plane coming home. His attention to detail and love for the medium made me think he could actually do this crazy business. Adding that he really understood business made it all come together.

Eric started out wanting to shoot people, but has ended up as a studio still life / product photographer. Working mostly with direct customers, he has built an exceptionally strong client list and shoots 4-5 days a week in his Dublin studio.

Eric is still a relatively new shooter, but doing very well in a competitive market. I attribute that to his skills as both a photographer and a business person.

Eric feels he owes his success to an acronym he calls COPS.

cops

Consistency | Opportunity | Persistence | Stamina

You will hear him discuss it on the video. I think that is a very solid set of traits for anyone considering this business, or any self employed business that you can think of.

Links:
Eric Muetterties Photography Website
Eric on Linked In

Some of Eric’s Images:

A video Interview with Eric Muetterties.

A big thanks to Eric for spending some time with us and sharing a lot about his work. Visit his site and drop him a note if you like what he does.

Eric reminded me that he would love to recommend this book for anyone considering becoming a photographer:

If you are interested in the “No Fear” last edition of Project 52, visit this page for more information. We will fill this group very quickly.

project-52-pros-emailhedr

Finding and Keeping Commercial Photography Clients: Part Four, Staying Connected

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(NOTE)
If you are just coming into this series, I highly suggest you start at Part One, and then do Part Two and Part Three before starting Part Four. Links for all of them are inside the protected area, and you can access them easily.

A brilliant portfolio won’t get you work if no one sees it.
A full set of Channels and SubChannels means nothing if you have not implemented a plan to get the work.
Having an amazing list of possible clients is worthless if you are not contacting and showing and sharing your work with that list of clients.

This morning before I sent out this week’s In The Frame to subscribers, I received an email from Chris Brogan, someone I follow and admire. In it he asks if we are the “Sharpest Saw in the Shed?”

And we would all like to consider ourselves the sharpest around, right?

Then he pointed out the that sharpest tool in the shed is the one that is NOT working, or being used. It just sits there retaining its sharpness… and if that is the goal, then great. But the goal of a sharp saw is to cut wood, trim trees, build things.

So it is time to get dirty, so to speak. To take all that we know and have listed out and make a plan for getting in front of the clients we want.

It wont be easy – did you expect it to be?
It wont happen overnight.
It wont happen without extreme effort and deep commitment.
It may get messy.

But it is absolutely vital to your growth and health as a commercial artist with a camera.

No selling on this post. While this program is being finished up, I will be working on some marketing for it as well. I didn’t want this mini-program to be a huge selly-sell. It is designed to be real, positive, and constructive teaching on what you can do NOW to increase your viability in this great business. More will come later this summer. I expect the program to be finished around the end of July or first of August.

Subscribers to “In The Frame” have gotten this information already. Please subscribe to get access to this video, and the next two. They are full of information you can use right now to help build a strong client list. “In The Frame” comes out each Sunday, and we never spam you. We focus on the business and art of commercial photography. And please et me know if this series is helpful to you.

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Every Sunday a new relevent newsletter on the art and business of commercial photography.

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Irene Liebler and Sandy Connolly: Starting the Journey

irene-sandy

Irene Liebler was one of the Project 52 members from a few years ago. She did the course twice, I believe and rarely missed an assignment. She also rarely did an image that we were not blown away by. Irene is a consummate artist, and a painstaking perfectionist when it comes to making the image she sees in her head.

She is also a commercial photographer in a small town near Hartford, Connecticut.

Her partner, Sandy Connolly is also a photographer who also does business development and produces many of the shots they do. Together they are the “Hurricans”… you just have to think about that one… heh. And they do their work together at Super Nine Studios.

Links:
Super Nine Studios Website
Super Nine Studios Facebook Page
Twitter
G+
Blog

As you know, the world of commercial photography runs the gamut from highly creative approaches to providing the client with exactly what they want. Irene and Sandy do just that – providing a creative pallet when needed, but also capable of creating the working commercial photograph when it is appropriate.

Some examples of the work Irene and Sandy create at Super Nine Studios, Connecticut.

A video interview we did for you is here, and Irene and Sandy discuss their unique working arrangements, how they got started, what is happening now and plans for growth in the coming months/years. They also share a few of their assignments with you as well as provide a few tips for those just getting started.

 

We will be presenting more of the Project 52 members who have successfully made the jump into professional commercial photography all month.

I am doing Project 52 one more time; I call it the “No Fear” edition and enrollment is now until the end of June, or we get 100 students whichever comes first. (At this point, registration has been open to the public for 24 hours and we are over half way there.)

See this page for more information or to enroll in Project 52 Pro – “No Fear” – we start July 1.

Thanks for visiting.

Finding Commercial Photography Clients: Part Three; Getting Personal

(NOTE)
If you are just coming into this series, I highly suggest you start at Part One, and then do Part Two before starting Part Three. Links for all of them are inside the protected area, and you can access them easily.

So far we have been working on our portfolios, making them reflect both our vision, and the needs of clients that would hire us. And we have begun building out our channels lists so we know where to go looking for those clients we want to work with.

Channels are the big picture look, and now we have to look at the more granular ‘gatekeepers’ and ‘middle entities’ that give us access to the assignment photography we want to do.

In this presentation we will examine the channels list and break it down into the specific clients and companies that we need to access. In this video I will show you how the different entities work, and what you should know as you begin to pursue commercial photography assignments.

Subscribers to “In The Frame” have gotten this information already. Please subscribe to get access to this video, and the next two. They are full of information you can use right now to help build a strong client list. “In The Frame” comes out each Sunday, and we never spam you. We focus on the business and art of commercial photography. And please et me know if this series is helpful to you.

Subscribe To "In The Frame"

Every Sunday a new relevent newsletter on the art and business of commercial photography.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

“Light Conversation” Volume Four

EDIT:

In the discussion above, we look at this image by the incomparable Herb Ritts.

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We were wondering where the shadow of the black cloth went. I know that Ritts shot film, and figured there must be another answer for where the shadow went.

Then I researched this photo:

herb-rittss-quotes-7

From the same shoot, and the shadow is plainly visible. As it must be for the light to present the way it is on the image above it. It appears that Ritts indeed took out the shadows in post… whether it was digitized or multiple printers, the shadow was removed.

See this close up of the image two above:

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That is INDEED a hard shadow on her face and neck. This indicates a very bright light, and since the cloth was casting a shadow to the left, it would only stand to reason that the shadow would be cast from the model as well… but…

noshadow

Seeing the dark, sharp transition on her face and neck from the light source that is clearly leaving bright speculars on her legs, it is only logical that the shadow was removed in post in order to create a more graphically interesting image.

 

Another example: There is no way to make this shot without a shadow of the cloth… it has been – – eliminated.

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Mystery solved.

Finding Commercial Photography Clients: Part Two

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“How do I find clients?”

One of the most asked questions I get when chatting with photographers is where can they find clients.

It is one of the questions I ask when reviewing a portfolio; “OK, these are nice shots. Who do you know who will pay you for this kind of work?”

Too often I get a sort of lost expression and some mumbling. Occasionally someone will answer with a couple of ideas – but usually what I call the “Low Hanging Fruit” of possible clients; magazines.

Well, there is much more to commercial photography than working for “magazines” and we need to identify those areas who will purchase our work so we can move toward getting them to do just that.

In this video, I discuss the discovery of “Channels” – vertical markets that help you identify the types of businesses that would be able to use the kind of work that you do.

“Discovering Channels” is part two of our “Finding and Keeping Commercial Photography Clients” program. Part One is on the blog and open to all. The entire series is free and open for subscribers to “In The Frame”.

This step by step program will help you build a solid client list, and help you keep them while you build your business. Many of my Project 52 members have been successful working this program.

Subscribers to “In The Frame” have gotten this information already. Please subscribe to get access to this video, and the next three. They are full of information you can use right now to help build a strong client list. “In The Frame” comes out each Sunday, and we never spam you. We focus on the business and art of commercial photography. And please et me know if this series is helpful to you.

Subscribe To "In The Frame"

Every Sunday a new relevent newsletter on the art and business of commercial photography.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

This video is over 45 minutes long and includes a case study to help you build a strong channel list.

 

Finding Commercial Photography Clients: Pt. One – Portfolio


 

signup...Image Uses PDF

Image Audit Tool PDF

Ad Image Assessment PDF

Finding and Keeping Clients Part One PDF


Build a Solid Client List

Finding and Keeping Commercial Photography Clients

NOTE: This is a course for emerging commercial photographers. The methods we discuss may be of interest to consumer photographers as well, but are highly focused on the commercial part of our industry. Thank you.

This is part one of a five part free course on finding and keeping commercial photography clients. It is an introduction to a far more robust course that will be offered July 1. There is no ‘selling’ in this video – or the next three, but in the last one I will show you how to sign up for the more detailed and comprehensive program. These videos are high in value and even if you do not sign up for the full course, you will find them extremely helpful.

To get the remaining 4 videos, please signup for “In the Frame”, my weekly dispatch. The classes will come to you one per week. You will find the sign up on the right hand column. Thank you for being interested, now let’s talk about your portfolio.

Inspired by Skrebneski

The first set of images from the 8 Week Portrait Class came in last evening and they are really good. The class takes a close look at 8 major portrait photographers by analyzing what they do, how they accomplished their imagery and what the thought process was behind the work.

The students then create a shot that was inspired by the photographer we studied. The goal for some is to replicate the style (to see if they can capture it) and for others it is to simply be inspired by the work and then create something within their own style that pays homage to the photographer.

We call it building the toolkit. The more ways you can think of to create an image, the more your creativity will take over. Creating your own personal style is the goal, learning from those who have great personal style is a method that works.

This first image set was inspired by the work of Skrebneski.

Enjoy.

“The Sprinklers” (A Mother’s Day Essay)

sprinkler

(My daughter, Alissa, wrote this Friday for one of her final assignments. It fits in nicely for mother’s day.)

Sprinklers

My mom used to tell my sisters and me that if we ran through the sprinklers we would feel like different people. We could do anything, be anything, without worrying about the future. When we ran through the sprinklers we were transported to whole different worlds. Some with endless possibilities. All with childlike joy and imagination. “The sprinklers will always be there for you. You just have to look for them.”

My older sister and I used to run through the sprinklers every afternoon in the park near our school. We skipped to the park and stopped by the edge of the grass. We put our backpacks down and took off our shoes, then lined our toes up to where the sidewalk meets the grass – just barely touching the wetness. I would close my eyes and hear my mother’s voice echoing in my mind, telling me I could be whatever I wanted to be in those sprinklers. I looked at my sister and we held hands as we were transported to a different world. Running through sprinklers. Running through sparkling, diamond drops of water. Possibilities. Joy.

I am now a senior in high school. My baby steps are over, and it’s time to become an adult. Being an adult comes with responsibilities and worries. I walk home from school on a sunny day and I think about the future. What will I study in college? Will I graduate? Will I ever move out of my parents house? How will I pay for all the adult stuff like insurance and utilities? Will I ever get a job to help me pay for all of these things? Will I find a career that I love?

My mind was ripped away from that worrisome reality when I felt water hitting my toes. I looked up to see the sprinklers in the park near the school. I glanced around. Was anyone going to see me? Who cares?! I put my backpack down and took my sandals off, and lined my toes up to where the sidewalk meets the grass. My toes barely touched the wetness. I looked around again, and then I went for it. As I ran through the sprinklers carefree and in my own world, I could hear my mom’s voice, “You can be anything, do anything.” I was laughing as all my troubles went away. I was in a different place where I felt safe and free. There were endless possibilities. Whatever happens in life that makes me stressed and upset, I can and will always count on those sprinklers to be there for me. I believe in running through sprinklers and connecting with my inner child. I’ll never let go of her, especially when she is needed most. The sprinklers will always be there – I just have to look for them.

— Alissa Giannatti, May 2015

Portrait Class Members Discuss the Workshop

“Imitate. Assimilate. Innovate.”

Clark Terry, Jazz trumpet genius.

This portrait class (and the companion 102 class) have been huge successes. The students are fired up and some are saying they are making the best images of their lives.

We look closely at the work of 8 major portrait photographers and study their way of working, lighting, posing, gestures, style and presentation. NOT in order to copy them, but in order to find the elements that ring true with our own experiences and aesthetics. To be ‘inspired by’ is the goal, and we all want to be inspired by the best.

Skrebneski, Karsh, Moon, Lindbergh, Ritts, Winters, Sieff, and Coupon are amazing photographers. Each brings something to the art of photography that can inspire us to push harder, light better, be more deliberate with our work.

Many of the students remark that their images coming straight out of camera are better and better. When we think deliberately about what we are doing, the quality of the work cannot help but get better.

We currently are enrolling for a class that starts May 19th, 2015. Get more information here. These are limited engagement classes.

Photographers on the broadcast:
Barbara Brady-Smith
Catherine Vibert
Irene Liebler
Virginia Smith
Jay Chatzkel
Bob Earle
Ron Velasquez
Marianne Cherry
Hiram Chee

24 Frames In May

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Begins today.

It’s a non-contest, and just for fun.

Not many rules, but a few guidelines:

  1. This is for film cameras only.
  2. Black and White or Color is fine, and there are no restrictions on the type of film you shoot.
  3. Polaroid is OK.
  4. 4×5 or sheet film cameras are OK.
  5. Tintype / alternate process is OK.
  6. Images must be on a contact sheet as well as individually presented (Use Photoshop’s excellent “Contact Sheet” tool if you have had your film scanned.)
  7. Only one roll of 35mm film (or the first 24 frames of a roll of 36)
  8. Two rolls + for 6×7 120/220.
  9. No more than three exposures taken on any single day, no more than two of any single subject.
  10. Images must be presented in order of exposure.

Uploading instructions will be posted on May 31. Upload from June 1 to June 15.

If you are planning on being involved, let us all know in the comments.

Submissions will include:

  • Contact sheet
  • Camera format / brand
  • Lenses used
  • Film type and name
  • Lab used (with link please)
  • 24 individual frames ready for web at 1000 pixels on the long side.

Here is a link to last year’s submissions. I am hoping for triple the involvement this year.

Considering an option for a contest… thinking more about it and will announce before May if you can choose to be in the optional contest.

Need a film camera? Here is a list of my favorite film cameras. Let me know if you think I missed any amazing cameras. (Yeah, I gotta ad the Olympus OM-1 soon…)

I recommend this lab (FIND Labs), but you are welcome to use any lab you wish.

(photo courtesy death to the stock photo)

8WEEK-BANNER


p52-banner

New Photography Books

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From Amazon.

I love Photography Books, and have a wall of them waiting for me when I have some quiet time and simply want to stimulate my brain. From early works of Steichen and Cunningham to books by Demarchelier and Watson, the photography book is one of my great loves.

There was a moment a few years ago when I thought the era of photo books was coming to an end. But lately so many great books are coming on the market that it gives me renewed hope that they will stay with us for a long while.

Here are a few that caught my eye: