Negotiating Advice For Working Photographers
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
For any of you who might be thinking of a career in photography, whether that's right now or someday far off in the future, this is a good read from the Jobs blog at AOL. It's all about negotiating rates with a prospective client, and it manages to sum up both the human stresses and emotions most photographers seem to feel when it comes to talking money. There are some gems in here that I think are helpful for any photographer who may need to negotiate anything from day rates to licensing terms on any type of photography assignment. My favorite, though, is the suggested response that photographers use when confronted about slashing a day rate: "People choose to work with me because they respect my skills, knowledge and achievements for them and others. They pay my day rate out of respect and because they know that I will produce the results they need. In turn, lowering my day rate for you would be unfair and disrespectful to my clients who do pay my rate." Speaking of respecting and helping photographers, the ASMP also serves as a tremendous resource for information not only on business and photographic terms that are useful when it comes to negotiating with prospective clients, but for all aspects of the photography business. The ASMP's online business resource center includes guidelines and examples for all sorts of photo-related business documents. Check it out via the second link below.
Instagram Update Adds Control
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
I'm not going to lie: I like Instagram. I know, we "real" photographers are supposed to think it's silly that the masses point their cell phones at something, apply a one-click filter, and suddenly they're photographers. But in actuality, the emphasis on visual communication—specifically photography—is a good thing. The fact that our society is getting more image savvy, and frankly just more interested in photographs of all types, is a net positive. (Sure, there's the argument about the commoditization of photography, but in the end I think more photography, and increased popularity, is better than less.) Anyway, back to the point—which is that I really think Instagram is great. The one knock I've always had on it is a lack of control. The filters are nice, and they're certainly easy to use, but if you think the blue is too blue in one, or the focus is too soft in another, you're simply out of luck. But now, with the newest update to version 6, Instagram allows basic editing of its effects, with adjustments possible to the overall filter strength, as well as the individual elements that go into them, like contrast, brightness, vignetting, saturation, highlights, shadows and warmth. I, for one, am pretty excited about having the option to exercise a little more control over my Instagrams. Anything that gets me, and the rest of us, thinking more photographically has got to be a good thing, right?
Three Simple Ways To Add Pop To Your Photos
Monday, June 9, 2014
I'm always looking for simple ways to add pop to my photographs—particularly the ones that are made outdoors. So when I found Gavin Hardcastle's tutorial for adding pop to landscapes with three simple steps in Photoshop, I was excited to share it here with you. My favorite part of Mr. Hardcastle's suggestions is the fact that he's able to make some fairly strong enhancements with some fairly straightforward and easy to use tools, even for photographers who are fairly new to the software. Though the one thing I would improve upon is that instead of just erasing parts of layers you don't want to use, you'd be better served by using layer masks—though I understand that Mr. Hardcastle wants to keep things simple precisely so even new users can understand the changes. The bottom line is, whether you're brand new to Photoshop or an experienced user, this Digital Photography School tip should be on your reading list because it's so darn simple and still effective.
Mosaic Book Publishing
Friday, June 6, 2014
I've been on a push lately to get more of my digital images off my screen and into printed form. You know, so I'll actually feel like a photographer rather than a computer programmer. And in my ongoing quest for printing and publishing options I noticed a friend recommending Mosaic, a publisher who will send you a photo book of images straight from your iPhone. Better still, the low cost of the book is just $20. It looks like a fairly high-quality deal, frankly, given that the book is hardcover and ships in its own protective case. It's a bit reminiscent of my recent experience with Pikto's Impressed app, which was wonderful and easy and looks great, but a hardbound book it ain't. Now I've got to shoot some more photos with my phone so I can make one of these nice Mosaic books.
High School Digitally Alters Student Yearbook Pictures
Thursday, June 5, 2014
A Utah high school is under fire this week for altering via Photoshop, seemingly at random, the yearbook portraits of some female students—apparently in order to make them appear more modest. Wasatch High School cited the dress code as the reason behind the image edits, which in many instances involved covering up bare shoulders and raising necklines to appear more demure. The problem, say many students, is that the retouching seems to have been done at random, and the dress code was not uniformly applied. No matter where you stand on this story, there's one thing I will say for the edits: they did actually reinforce some good rules for portrait attire. For instance, bare shoulders are rarely ideal in a head and shoulders portrait, as their brightness usually draws the eye away from the face in two opposing directions. And while a v-shaped neckline is a flattering shape, a neckline that plunges too dramatically can also draw the eye away from the face. In general, anything that distracts from the face is bad. But then again, usually heavy-handed use of Photoshop is usually frowned upon too.
Minbox For Easy Sharing Of Large Image Files
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
I've leased space on Amazon.com's servers (i.e. "the cloud") for a few years now. It's useful for archiving and file delivery—though a bit tricky to set up for a novice. For a lot of photographers, figuring out how to deliver high-resolution image files to friends and clients is a constant challenge. Now there's Minbox, which may not officially have been designed for photographers, but it sure looks useful especially for us. Upload your files to Minbox and what you deliver to your client is a link that opens a web gallery of files. If those files are jpegs, the client sees large thumbnails. It really is readymade for photographers. Better still, Minbox just announced a Google Chrome plugin for those who use Gmail. The plugin allows for one-click uploading of large files without ever leaving the Gmail interface. It's like attaching a file, but instead of truly attaching it, the files are sent to the cloud and a link is automatically generated and embedded in the email. Now that's what I call seamless file sharing. Check it out at minbox.com.
Could 4x5 Instant Black And White Film Come Back?
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Thanks to almost half a million dollars raised via crowd-funding from the web site Kickstarter, Robert Crowley hopes to bring back a long dead Polaroid black and white instant film. Actually, he hopes to improve on the old formula to make his own type of 4x5 black and white positive/negative film. Crowley's New55 is to be better in two ways, according to new55project.com: a balanced exposure across both negative and positive, and less "polatrash," the detritus that often made a portion of the Type 55 frame unusable. According to the Boston Globe article linked below, Crowley's inspiration came when he read that the Impossible Project (makers of their own Polaroid-style instant pack films) wouldn't be making large format film. When Crowley blogged about his idea, he received a flood of support—pledges of hundreds of dollars from individuals who simply want to get their hands on some variation of this long-loved black and white film. While the 400-plus-thousand dollars pledged via Kickstarter actually only nets Crowley about $365,000, fundraising continues as he approaches his goal to get this New55 film into production. Once the magic funding number is reached, Crowley expects the product to be available in just eight months. Read more in The Boston Globe via the link below, then visit new55project.com for more information.
Inexpensive Giant Black And White Prints
Monday, June 2, 2014
A few years back I was watching one of those home remodeling shows where they come up with all sorts of unique, inexpensive decorating ideas when I saw that a designer made a huge mural out of low-quality black and white industrial prints—the sort of thing an architect or an engineer might use to photocopy plans for a structure. I made a mental note to try this sort of printing since it's inherently quirky and gotta be inexpensive. Well, as it seems to go with these things, it didn't get done. Until today. I just finished clicking "submit" on my order from Photojojo of a huge 3'x4' "engineer print," so named because of the aforementioned low-fi usefulness employed by engineers. Anyway, Photojojo has, quite smartly, offered an inexpensive and easy way to make your own big bad prints. For $25 flat you get a big print and free shipping. The web site for ordering is just as easy: click to upload your photo, see that it looks like you want it to, enter your payment information and you're done. I'll keep you posted once the print arrives. Cross your fingers that it's good—just not too good!