Friday, September 11, 2009

Like father, like son...

I let my three year old boy (about to be four in a couple months) use my Canon 5DmkII (secured on a tripod, of course). He said he wanted to take pictures of me. I was very excited, so I jumped at the idea. Here is what he captured:

I reciprocated the offer by photographing him. He's used to being in front of the camera, so he was very playful. I think he was pretending to be in a rocket ship here:


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Watching (adobe) TV all night...

I could probably spend all night watching these Adobe tutorials. I won't, at least not tonight... But, I could definitely use a few new tips and tricks.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gordon Keith...

Regular readers of Quick probably know that I've photographed local radio and television personality Gordon Keith quite a bit. As a matter of fact, I've probably shot him more for Quick than anyone else. I can't recall an exact number, but I can count at least seven or eight different shoots I've done with him over the years.

He's a fun guy, and he's a very nice guy. Well, here is the latest cover of Quick, once again honoring Gordo's clever and creative public persona (did you like that playful pair of alliterations?). Hope you enjoy my newest pics of him...


Stock Photography or not?!?

I'm not totally against stock photography. A lot of assignment and commissioned photographers are, though. I understand why. We are trying to create a five star dining experience, and along comes stock photography with its fast food prices (and in most cases, fast food quality).

But, stock DOES have its place in the photo world, just as McDonalds has its place in the food service industry. And, there are many parallels between fast, cheap photos and fast, cheap food. You buy them both out of convenience... out of necessity... as filler.

When to buy stock images:

1. When you just don't have enough time to hire a photographer to do a shoot. You can usually find an acceptable stock image after an hour or two of searching. To hire a photographer and get an image knocked out would be really hard to do in the same amount of time. Most shoots are set up a couple days to a couple months in advance (depending on how involved/complex they are).

2. When you simply don't have the budget to hire a photographer. To commission a photographer, you'll spend a few hundred dollars to a few thousands dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the image and your licensing needs. To license a stock image, it could be as cheap as a dollar. Many images are under a couple hundred. Sure, stock images can sometimes cost thousands or more, depending on licensing needs, but the average person rarely spends that kind of cash.

3. When the project is low priority, a mock-up or a throw-away piece. Sure, every project should be a work of art, but reality doesn't allow that. Stock images come in handy for designing mock-ups for clients or roughing in a design before the "real" image is shot. Or, for projects that are hidden at the very back of a website... Some projects just aren't important enough for the extra cost and effort.

With that said, every priority should be taken to get original, unique images for your projects. Stock usually looks "stock" and feels bland and average. A custom pic can be shot to your specific needs, and made to fit your message perfectly. If the project is important enough, it deserves a unique image.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Recent Quick covers...

I know a lot of you know me from my work with Quick, so I thought I'd share my cover shots from the last two issues. Keep an eye on the next couple issues, as well. They should be exciting (I know the cover shoots were)...

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Nightlife shooting is not easy...

Think it is all just fun and parties when I go out and shoot nightlife stories? It is fun and rewarding, but it is not a party when I'm on the clock, and it is not always easy. Just like any other shoot, there are a lot of variables that can go wrong...

I'm at a new club every weekend, shooting it for a story/feature/review and I need to get good action images. Things that show what the place might look like to any of the readers, if they decided to go. However, sometimes bar owners and managers have their own agenda. They try to steer me towards certain areas of the club, even if that's not what the writer is focusing on. Sometimes they are worried about a bad review and can be uncooperative - forcing me to spend thirty extra minutes just getting permission to shoot inside. Sometimes, the bar owner is a media hog and tries to get in EVERY photo, making it hard to get the shots I need.

But that's not the only issue. Because so many factors effect the nightclubs, some have been open and running when the story was assigned, only to close down for good on the day before or day of my shoot. That happened this last weekend and the writer called me to scramble for a back-up club to visit. Then, at the back-up club, the owner was hesitant to let us in for a review and photo shoot, so it took twice as long to complete.

Of course, there is always the safety factor. I'm carrying around expensive equipment around drunk people, on dark streets, late at night. Drunks could easily bump into you or fall on you and break something expensive - like a flash or lens.

And theft... I'm lucky, but I know people who have lost all their photo gear when someone broke into their car right before or after a shoot. I know several bar managers and musicians who have been mugged late at night. Makes the job a little more scary than fun.

Then of course, there is the problem of getting correct names to go in the cutline. The cutline, the info right under the picture, usually has the person's name, like "Mr. So and So dances at X Club in Dallas, TX, on Saturday, blah, blah, blah." Well, drunk people in loud clubs are not the best people to get properly spelled, accurate identification from. Some slur their words, some try to give fake names, and some are so drunk they can't remember their name.

And let's not forget this:

There are ALWAY drunk people who grab at you, stop you and yell, "Hey! Camera guy! Take MY picture!!!" The images are often very funny and/or embarrassing, but not what I came for. They just slow me down, but what can you do?!? I can't just tell them to get lost. It causes less trouble If I just take the picture and smile.

I'm not complaining or whining. I like shooting nightlife. I'm just letting you know there are a lot of things to deal with when I go out. It's not all champagne and caviar as I randomly point my camera and pop my flash. Nope, I'm out there working... and enjoying the feeling of capturing such a vibrant part of society on film (well, virtual film).

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