Saturday, December 22, 2012

Breaking the rules?


Talk to an expert (fill in occupation) to explain an aspect of their work and they'll tell you how easy such-and-such is. Most jobs become so routine after you have been doing them for a while that you forget how difficult it was when you first started out.

For example, a friend of mine, who is also into four wheeling like I am, is a mechanic. He has been turning wrenches for so long I swear he teethed on them as an infant. When we talk about Jeep modifications he rambles on explaining how you can do this or you can do that while the whole time I'm nodding my head in polite agreement. My understanding of engines and suspension systems is basic at most so I can follow some of what he is saying, but if I had to do anything he describes on my own--let's just say it would be a series of very expensive experiments.

The reason I mention this is because learning photography is much like learning to modify a Jeep. You have to know the fundamentals before you can advance to the bigger stuff. That is why I shake my head whenever I read a photographer's blog or watch a YouTube tutorial and the presenter comes out with. "you can do this, or you can do that, there are no real rules here." Another one I shake my head at is, "If you want to stand out from the rest you have to break the rules."

Really? No rules? Break the rules? I can rattle off half a dozen rules they have applied to their "no rules" image they showcase. When you think about it, every time they break a rule they are actually applying another rule. But, to steal a line form Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean, "They aren't so much as rules, per se. More like guidelines."

Friday, December 21, 2012

Giant colorful sunflowers make great props



I was shopping at Michael's, a local art and craft supply store, the other day when I spotted these rather large and colorful artificial sunflowers. Because I was shopping for my day job my mind was not on photography. The first thought that came to my mind when I saw these was, "how gaudy, who would ever buy these things?"

Then it occurred to me that they would make fantastic props for children and infant portraits. I paused long enough to capture this shot with my cell phone. While I don't do portraits I'm sure there are plenty of others in the group that does. So if you are looking for some really great flower props, here they are. Michael's is on the Post road in Milford near the Post Mall.

This led me to think about my own search for props. Obviously since I do food and jewelry my needs are different but the process is the same. Being a big DIY guy I also try to look at conventional items in an unconventional way. This has almost become a habit for me.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

BTS - Cutting Board


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My New Year's resolution is to get my portfolio organized and filled out more with the kind of work I want to do. I have been procrastinating enough and it's high time I got serious with my work. My goal for 2013 is to actively pursue clients to increase my workflow.

To that end I have been setting up some product and food shots in my studio in order to create content for my portfolio. This cutting board is one I just finished shooting so I thought I would share the setup with you.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ask the Pro Q&A - John Ross on Photo Retouching


In the past I have mentioned that in order to go from a snap shooter to a good photographer you have to edit your images with some kind of photo editor. While some may argue if you work at getting it right in the camera you won't need to 'photo shop'* the image. I disagree. All images will benefit from some type of correcting whether it is to increase saturation on an otherwise dull image or boost up the black levels to make an image pop. Making these corrections elevates an image from a snapshot to a photo. (Well, not the only thing...)

If you want to go from a mediocre photographer to a good photographer you will take your editing to the next level. That means spending a little more time with the software to tweak the image to a level that regular camera users don't bother with. While it is time consuming--specially if you are not fluent with the editors--the results are worth it and if you are aspiring to go pro it is a necessity.

But, if you are looking to really stand above the rest you need to seek out professional image retouching services.