Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Save your seconds

In my Digital Workflow workshops I discuss many of the problems digital photographers deal with, including storage space. This seems to be a major issue with many less experienced photographers and includes what to do with all those extra photos. The duplicates, the not so good ones or the ones that may never get used or see the light of day. These are what are generally referred to as seconds.

Seconds is short for secondary image choice or secondary image selections. In culling through images the photographer selects images that represent the best for a given shoot. During this process some images are deleted (because they're unusable due to blur, misfires, camera setting errors, etc.) and the remaining are the seconds.

Let's suppose, for the sake of this example, that the photographer selects 10 of the 50 images to process. Of the 40 remaining, 10 of them are tests, errors or so blurry that they get deleted. That leaves 30 images as seconds from this photo shoot and they get segregated and saved. It doesn't stop here;

The photographer then turns over his primaries (the initial 10 he edited) to the client. Of those ten images the client will select only one for print. The remaining nine then become the client's secondaries. So now you know what secondaries are. Yeah, I know... long explanation.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Color as a social statement - Carrie Mae Weems

Continuing on with the discussion on "Color and emotion", I can't think of a better example of how color, subject and message integrate seamlessly than with the works of Carrie Mae Weems.

Carrie Mae Weems is an contemporary American artist who works in a variety of mediums but is best known for her photography work. Her work centers around the socio-political world of African-Americans and how society perceives them, though lately it has evolved to encompass more of the human condition than race.

One particular set of works that caught my attention were a series of portraits collectively called Colored People (1989-1990). In this series of portraits Mrs. Weems plays on the labels associated with a class of people in a straightforward, unabashed and reflective manner.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Color and emotion

Prism at work
Color is determined by the light reflecting off an object. It is a physical process with a constant set of values resulting in a predictable conclusion. It is basic physics.

Sir Isaac Newton established many of the basic principles of light through his experimentations with prisms. Simple as it seems today, this toy was instrumental in laying the foundation for particle based physics.

Scientifically that's all well and good but, as an artist, I could care less about particle physics. What I am most interested in is the psychology of color. Psychologically, color has more properties attached to them than mere luminance values, RGB values or even their common names. Sure, you might understand what the numbers 255,0,0 represent or that the term red is the common name for those numbers. Let's face it, we don't go around looking to photograph 255,0,0 or 87,53,64 or 15,8,164 or any other assortment of digital combinations between 0,0,0 and 255,255,255.

The interest in color on a psychological level, rather than an artistic level, is that I want to appeal to viewers on an emotional level. Sure, I can put orange and purple together in an image because they compliment each other. I would much rather place those colors together because they create a sense of tension and drama.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

5 simple tripod tips for better photos

A tripod is an essential tool for any photographer. It's purpose is to steady your camera in order to avoid movement that occurs when hand holding. That's it, that's all they do.

Tripods allow you to position a camera in a set place for longer exposures or multiple exposures. It allows you to position the camera in awkward positions that would otherwise be uncomfortable for a photographer. It also allows you to step away from the camera for remote shooting.

While in principle it all sounds relatively simple, there are a few tricks to keep in mind when working with a tripod. Here are five of the more important ones;

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Focal length and field of view

As a photographer creating an image for your viewers there are many ways to present that image. Lighting and color, composition, perspective, these are all choices you have to make. One of the inescapable tools used for manipulating your scene is your camera's lens.

With any lens there are considerations to keep in mind; focal length, angle of view and perspective are three that immediately come to mind and I'll cover some aspects that need to be understood in order to make an informed lens choice for a given scene. One suggested exercise is to take all your lenses, find a suitable subject and make a series of images with all the lenses in your collection. If you have a zoom lens, take several images at varying focal lengths so you have something for comparison.