Archive for May, 2012

Reading is often one of those things that easily falls into the back of the line on the to-do list.  We’re busy doing everything, and reading is just a matter of when we can get around to it.  At the same time, it’s critical to our growth and development as professionals in any profession to prioritize a certain amount of reading.  My reading is often varied between business, sales, photography, family, and religion.  Each person will be different.

Recently, I received a copy of a book called Worth Every Penny by Sarah Petty and Erin Verbeck.  For those not familiar with Sarah Petty, aside from being an industry leading photographer, she also has her educational business as well specifically for photographers called the Joy of Marketing (which I HIGHLY recommend to photographers), but comes from an amazing background prior to photographer that makes her an extremely knowledgeable resource for any small business owner.  Then team her up with Erin, and it’s a resource that can’t be ignored.  They have been an amazing resource and a tremendous help to me and my business.

When they sent me a copy of Worth Every Penny, I was anxious to dig in and see what cool little golden nuggets of information they tucked away in there.  I was expecting it to be solely focused on photographers, which is the overall target, but non-photography examples were used.  Plus most of the topics were shown how they can relate to other business other than photography.  So if you own a small business in any field this is a great must have book.  It keeps things simple instead of going into intense levels of business knowledge, so it’s really great for refreshing old ideas or finding new ones to implement in your business.

The biggest thing about this book is that it aims to help small business be more of what we now call boutique, and to move away from being a commodity.  It gives examples of what to do and not do and why or why not each idea is beneficial.  It’s about building your business through relationships and taking care of specific types of clients with your own specialty.  Yes, some of the information may seem obvious, or may be something that you’re already doing, but most of it will either be a reminder, a re-enforcer, or enlightening.  For the price of this book, it really is worth every penny.

May 16, 2012
posted in Open Thought with 0 Comments

 

Every year I take a week off to attend workshops and classes to further educate myself.  In fact, doing this is very critical to my growth and development as an artist.  Trends and technology change constantly, and there is always something you can learn from someone else.  And since it’s so easy for anyone to buy a digital camera, it’s even more important for the professionally to truly set themselves apart.  But whether or not a person is a profession, or a new beginner, continual education is essential.

This past week I enjoyed my time in Cape May, New Jersey at the Mid Atlantic Regional School (MARS), which is a Professional Photographers of America (PPA) affiliate school.  PPA has many affiliate schools, so most people should be able to find one in their region.  You look at the list of instructors teaching for the week, and the topic they are teaching on, and then sign-up.

I saw Scott Robert Lim on the list teaching about creative lighting techniques that are able to be used in any situation.  I’m sure my description isn’t exactly how it was worded, but it was essentially that.  I remember reading an article of his in Professional Photographer magazine some time back about using your camera flashes in manual mode instead of TTL.  I was obviously influenced, but spending a week with the guy was a whole-nother story compared to reading a short article.

We went out into the blazing mid-day sun and pulled of beautiful images.  The two on this post are from that shoot.  We went into a building with tons of windows on a rainy day and combined available light with video LED lights.  Then on the last day we went to an aviation museum and photographed models in a few challenging scenarios, which came out amazing.

 

The first image is closer to how it was captured, which was about 1 or 2 pm.  The second image is after I finished having fun with it.  For the effects, I just used onOne software.

 

Of course we learned a bit more on posing in addition to the lighting, but it was an amazing week long class.  I soaked up almost every opportunity I could to assist Scott, which better helped me grasp what he was teaching, as well as gave me better insight on how to help an assistant that may work with me (usually that’s Amanda).  Any photographer that has not had a chance to learn from Scott is missing out on a career changing experience.  (Click HERE to see photos from the class).

The other nice thing about attending a PPA affiliate school such as MARS, or any other, is the vendor support that comes to these schools.  Often times you can get some great deals on equipment and software.  Something was really cool this time was that the Cannon and Tamron guys where they loaning out equipment for students to play with for a day.  In fact, Cannon had a couple of prototype cameras they were loaning out.  And the last night there, our class assistant won a free Canon 1D IV with a lens.

Any young professional photographer not taking advantage of this kind of education is robbing themselves and doing their business an injustice.  It is expensive, but it more than pays for itself as the information as applied.  Every client I have from this day on will benefit from the education I sought and learned.  Next year, I plan on spending my week back at the Imaging USA convention again since it’s been a few years since I was there last.  So don’t look for me in late January of 2013 because I’ll be in Atlanta.

 

The first image is closer to how it was captured, which was about 1 or 2 pm.  The second image is after I finished having fun with it.  For the effects, I just used onOne software.

Sunrise Engagement Picture in Old Town Alexandria

 

This is one of our very special couples. We first met Amanda while working with the Baltimore Blast Cheerleaders. She was always very passionate and enthusiastic about what she did, but that is the kind of person Amanda is. So when she contacted me about her wedding, Amanda (my wife) and I were crazy excited. Of course we also were curious as to what the guy is like that won her over. In my mind, I imagined he was going to be a large muscular football player. Though Justin isn’t a football player, he aparently is a former pro rugby player. So note to self: don’t make him mad. Joking of course.

 

Engagement photo of couple walking away

 

Justin and Amanda are big about Old Town Alexandria, so that’s where they had in mind to shoot. In planning for it, I suggested we go extra early in the morning so as to get a sunrise photo. The added benefit is that we made up over ninety percent of the popular in the immediate area since everyone else was still sleeping. That or they were participating in the run that took over one of the streets out there.

 

Couple posed in front of brick wall

 

We really did enjoy Old Town that time of the morning. The street lights, shop lights, tree lights, and traffic lights lit up the streets. Since we were aiming for the sunrise, we were not able to get any of these amazing street views. So that’ll have to be a future session. It really was our first time shooting a couple in Old Town, but you can beat I’ll be taking more pictures out there in the coming months.

 

Couple doing hand stand during engagement session

 

Working with Justin and Amanda was tons of fun. They really care about having quality creative photos, and they’re more than willing to do whatever necessary to have them. It really is a pleasure and an honor to be in a position to go into the lives of people in order to reveal their passion for each other, and their playful characters that make them mesh so well together. I think one of my favorite revealing moments during our shoot was when Amanda playfully stuck her tongue out at Justin while he was looking away. As a photographer, you don’t get these kinds of moments until you’ve made some kind of connection with your subject, making them feel at ease, as if they’re no longer being photographed, but instead having their relationship captured.

 

Engagement photos at loading dock
So we get all kinds of amazing pictures, we’ve all be up since way too early on a Saturday morning, and what better way to wrap everything up than with a good breakfast. Thankfully they new of a great little place to go. And, in Malone fashion, it was a family affair so we had little Zachariah with us. We left him in his car seat, but had him up high with us. Apparently he was having a great experience since he was laughing excessively for a while before he finally passed out. At least we know everyone had a great time. I can’t wait for the actual wedding day. It’s going to be amazing.