Monthly Archives: January 2010

Full Feed, or Not Full Feed…

Half Empty or Half Full?
Creative Commons License photo credit: jaxxon

In my recent post about my photography resolutions for 2010, a couple of you suggested moving to truncated rss feeds for the blog. One suggested that it could make the site more attractive to advertisers by “forcing” readers to visit the site, and another mentioned that a truncated feed might also encourage comments and interaction here on the blog.

The common theme between both comments is that the feed consumers aren’t visiting the site very often. While making the blog more profitable is on my mind, I’m more concerned with the amount of interaction on-site. In 2009 we had around 2500 comments and pingbacks. But in 2008 we had around 4300 comments and pingbacks. My only guess is that a bunch of the old base-community has migrated over to the feed reader and assumed that the conversations would continue without them.

Then again, it could be a lot of contributing factors: feed readers are getting better, people’s lives are busier, my writing is turning to crap, etc. At any rate, I’d like to try a little feed experiment for a while and see what changes.

From here out, I’ll be syndicating partial feeds on most of the articles — but I’ll be setting the breakpoint manually on each post, so I’ll give you guys enough content to get a feel for the article. I’m not really a fan of the too-short partial feed, so I’ll try to avoid that whenever possible.

[UPDATE 1/12/2010] Looks like I’ll be keeping full feeds after all. Most people prefer them (myself included) and there doesn’t seem to be a good method for setting a breakpoint manually.

I’d also like to hear from you feed readers on this subject. Does it matter to you one way or the other? Will you wash your hands of Epic Edits once and for all? Or would you actually prefer to have condensed feeds in your reader/email?

Visit the site to leave a comment and vote on the poll

16 Examples of Extraordinary Model Portraits

My near-future adventure into the world of photographing models has my gears turning, and I’ve been looking for examples of extraordinary model portraits. A lot of stuff I found out there is somewhat generic with lighting and pose — and maybe because that’s what works for the client. But as an art photographer, I felt a little empty with that kind of stuff. So I went in search of some extraordinary model photography.

What I found was that I’m most attracted to the portraits that stand out from the rest. The really unique stuff. I also found that the unique qualities can come from either the models themselves or the photographers. And when you combine a unique and talented model with a unique and talented photographer, you get magic.

The following selection of photos come from a mix of professional and amateur photographers. The models in the shots might also be a mix of professionals, amateurs, friends, and even the photographer taking the photo. Do note: a couple of the photos below are quite informal and the subject is not a model, but I included them because they are good examples of what could be done in a formal portrait situation.

You can also see my Flickr Gallery here.

Day One Hundred Forty One
Creative Commons License photo credit: Dustin Diaz

So
Creative Commons License photo credit: Luc D

First time with a Hasselblad
Creative Commons License photo credit: Carlo Nicora

20090427_aurum_0090
Creative Commons License photo credit: checkmezov

Andreas Tilliander Makes His Move
Creative Commons License photo credit: Aeioux

Her Tangible Dream •.
Creative Commons License photo credit: Felipe Morin

Jesús Hidalgo10
Creative Commons License photo credit: Esther Marí

mallard pinup
Creative Commons License photo credit: MadMannequin

{ you're the only one !! }
Creative Commons License photo credit: graphistolage

Coleção Geometologia - Neandro Ferreira
Creative Commons License photo credit: André-Batista

PORTRAIT OF A FRIEND
Creative Commons License photo credit: Akbar Simonse


Creative Commons License photo credit: Carolina Parragué

The third eye
Creative Commons License photo credit: Tywak

Collab5 (Picture II)
Creative Commons License photo credit: TNT Photo

Oriol Lopez Sanchez 01 © studio.es
Creative Commons License photo credit: Vincent Boiteau

Let The Curtain Come Down
Creative Commons License photo credit: Gabriela Camerotti

Do you have any good examples of model portraits or other posed portraits? Feel free to drop your photos into the comments below. And if you have any favorites from fellow photographers, leave a link so we can check it out!

PhotoDump 01-10-2010

More great stuff from the Epic Edits Flickr Pool! This selection of photos is from those entered in the pool between 12/28/2009 and 01/10/2010.

Hvítserkur by pragnyanBlind world... by Sebastian.YEPESPortland - Umbrella by Charlene.JamaicaZea Novia by Rex Lisman PhotographyFocus by keithpytDay 3 by i_shoot_minoltaKallie Greene by Will Foster PhotographyMisty Morning by JonathanRobsonPhotography.comI'll never let you down again by dannyonePuerto Pollença by CdL CreativeGoin' Up to the Spirit in the Sky by shandopicsWe Are All Constantly Moving by nathanielperalesGreen Day by jk+tooAppreciating the journey by sharaffUna hora de playa #10 by Lucas Bernal by sergioconde | photographerstrong and proud i stand by ana.grboombox by .f_}x{

The Green Man Shoot is Coming Along!

Just wanted to give a quick update on my previous post where I asked you Southern California folks help out with the model shoot I was asked to do for a local San Diego company: Green Man T-Shirts. When I posted it, I was hoping to have a good response, but maybe the “no pay” thing was a turn-off.

I did get one response from a fellow by the name of Michael Walborn and he’s actually a perfect match for this event! Be sure to check out his ModelMayhem profile and his Flickr photos. Not only does he have experience in the studio and photographing models, but he has experience in the same studio that we’ll be using! This is awesome news and I’m really looking forward to learning the ropes with him.

Definitely check out Michael’s stuff — I owe him a big “thank you” for jumping in to help me out with this thing. I also owe Oscar Medina a “thank you” for referring him to my previous post. You see, Oscar is my local San Diego printer and Michael is a fellow customer/contact of his — we both also have photos listed on two of Oscar’s other websites: San Diego Artists and Artist Direct.

THOUGHTS ON WORKING FOR “FREE”

As I said, maybe I didn’t get a huge response on the call for photographers because I was asking people to basically work for free. The word “free” has become a bad word among photographers in recent years, mainly because of the various professional photographers and photography blogs preaching that you shouldn’t give anything away for free as a photographer. If you do, you’re devaluing the marketplace and doing a disservice to yourself and your fellow photographers. While most of these discussions have been aimed at licensing of existing photos (which I generally agree with), the idea of not working for free for any reason whatsoever seems to have attached itself by association. This is a bad outlook to have if you ask me.

I’m not going to preach on this topic of working for free under the right circumstances, mostly because other have made much better arguments than I ever could (see the articles from David Hobby and Chase Jarvis).

DAVID HOBBY: FOUR REASONS TO CONSIDER WORKING FOR FREE

CHASE JARVIS: WILL WORK FOR FREE?

For this Green Man T-Shirt thing, it’s a no-brainer on my part. The company is a local startup, they’re “green”, they donate 25% of their proceeds to charity, they’re enthusiastic, I’m in a position to learn a great deal from this experience, and I need to get out and shoot more often. I have everything to gain from this except for a few dollars (which I wouldn’t be able to charge anyway because of my inexperience). And the only reason I can do this is because Michael has agreed to help out.

I can’t speak for Michael, but I would guess (and this is only a guess) that he’s also interested in gaining more experience, adding to his portfolio, helping out a local company, and having a good time. Whatever his motives, I’m very grateful that he jumped in and offered his time and experience (and I’m going to repay him by providing whatever exposure I can).

So next time you have an opportunity to “work for free” as a photographer, maybe think twice about it before dismissing the idea. In the long run, you just might gain more than you sacrificed. The end of our story with Green Man T-Shirts here in San Diego has yet to play out, but I’m very enthusiastic about what could come of it. I’ll update you guys after our session this March.

What say you? Is working for “free” a bad thing? Would you ever consider doing it yourself? And under what circumstances?

Seeking San Diego Photographer With Studio Experience

I got an interesting email today from (Dave Urban) the co-owner of a company called “Green Man T-Shirts” here in San Diego. He’s renting a local studio and he wants me to photograph a bunch of models wearing their organic t-shirts. Pretty cool! Except for the fact that studios, artificial lights, and posed portraits are all forms of Kryptonite to me.

As much as I would love to do it myself, I simply can’t. But I figure that some of you might want to take the lead instead! I’ll still attend and take a few shots (and maybe learn something about studio equipment), but I can’t be the one running the session and providing the primary images. So here are the basics — if you’re interested, contact me and tell me a little bit about your studio experience.

  • WHEN: March, 2010 [updated... had put 2009 here before]. Date TBD, but it will be a Saturday from 9am to 5pm.
  • WHERE: dk3 Studios in Mira Mesa.
  • BUDGET: Pizza, beer, and loud music. This is not a paid shoot, and the models are also local volunteers.

And here’s more of the details for the shoot.

  • The studio is 1128 square feet and comes equipped with a bunch of monolights, modifiers, backdrops, a 16×16 cyc wall, and a changing room for the models. We’ll have it for 8 hours.
  • 8 models will arrive at 11am and local media (newspaper, TV, etc) will be invited to attend the event between 12pm and 2pm. By 3:30pm, we’ll be wrapping things up and get out of there by 5pm.
  • Photographer will retain copyright of all images taken, and the usage license for Green Man T-Shirts will dictate that credit must be given to the photographer.
  • Dave will also be putting together a video of the event, but I don’t know who will be shooting it. So if there are any cinematographers out there, drop me a line.

Since this is not a paid shoot, I don’t think Dave is expecting a Chase-Jarvis-type to show up and work his magic. But I do think the photographer in charge needs to have a good handle on studio lighting and working with models — you’ll have a bunch of people there relying on you to make it happen.

With the number of models and the size of the studio, I think 2 additional photographers would be a good number. Like I said, I’ll be there to take a few shots, help out with the setups, and grab some “behind the scenes” photos with my trusty rangefinder. So if you think you fit the job and you’re in the general San Diego area (LA folks are welcome too if you want to drive down) contact me and tell me a little bit about your experience.

And here’s how Dave ended his email to me: “I want the shoot to be fun, relaxed, and have a party type atmosphere to it. If things go well, and I see no reason why they shouldn’t, this will be an annual event. Each year I anticipate it would grow, and it could turn into a regular, paying gig for you. But this first year, with so many variables involved and never having done this myself, I’m keeping it on a smaller scale with volunteers and lots of enthusiasm.

Sounds like a good time and a great opportunity to gain a little more experience in the studio. So who’s up for it?

My Photography Resolutions for 2010

New Year’s Resolutions… so cliche, I know. But you can’t deny that the turn of the year is a good time to evaluate your life and make some goals for the next year. I’m in the process of defining my photography goals and resolutions for the upcoming year, in part thanks to Andrew Boyd and his list of “Photographer’s New Year’s Resolutions” (and it seems as though his goals are very much in line with my own). I find that writing them down helps me out, so here are my big ones for 2010.

TAKE MORE PHOTOS

Shooting the Argus C3

After pulling together my favorite photos from the past year, I realized that I had been very passive about taking photos. Several months were filled with family photos, but no art/commercial photos. The reason for this is because I didn’t make the effort to get out and take photos of new things. So this year, I’m planning on getting out there more often, either by myself or with friends.

I also want to get the kids taking more photos. They both shoot 35mm now, and they love to print their stuff in the darkroom. The problem is that I don’t take them out enough to have a good base of negatives to choose from.

WHAT’S THE PLAN?

At best, I can probably afford to get out once each week with the the cameras. At worst, I should be hitting twice per month. I’ll be making an effort to head out each weekend, even if just for a local walk-around to fire off a single roll of film. I’m also going to be bringing the kids with me more often so they can start building up their archive for printing. And every one or two months, I want to do a bigger outing that requires me to be out most of the day shooting.

PRINT MORE PHOTOS

The Darkroom

I’ve been investing a lot of time and money into my darkroom, so I should make better use of it. At first, I was getting in there a few times each week learning how it all works. Lately, I’ll be lucky to print something once every two months. This sucks, mostly because the chemicals go bad before I can finish them and I waste even more money. And now that I’m almost ready to print color in addition to b/w, I’ll need to be a lot better about conserving money for those expensive chemicals and papers.

WHAT’S THE PLAN?

I think at least one night per week is a reasonable goal. This will allow me to keep producing a constant flow of prints (most of which are for my personal portfolio or living room wall). I’ll probably also have to allot one of these nights per month to develop film since I’m doing my own b/w and color stuff now. The rotary processor will allow me to run more rolls at once, so a month’s worth of film in one night shouldn’t be unreasonable.

NO NEW EQUIPMENT

I Don't Have A Problem...

I have a confession to make… I have G.A.S. Yes, it’s true. I can’t help myself when I see a good deal on a great piece of equipment — I just have to buy it. I do use most of the stuff I’ve purchased, but I also have a cabinet full of cameras that rarely get used because there are so many of them. At this point, I pretty much have all the cameras I could need. The only thing I’ve been craving lately is a large format camera, but that needs to be put on hold for a while.

I’m also just about there with the darkroom and I don’t anticipate needing any big ticket items. The last outstanding item is a power supply for the dichro head. After that, I’m all set for b/w and color, film developing, and prints up to 16×20″. This is another reason I don’t want a large format camera yet — my current setup is only good up to medium format (large format will require a whole new enlarger).

WHAT’S THE PLAN?

Well, hopefully I can resist the temptation to buy new toys. I’ve been really good about it lately, and the last purchase was the rotary processor for the darkroom. I haven’t bought any cameras for a while, so I think I’m in a good position to keep it up. I’ll have to keep buying film, paper, and chemicals, but the cost of developing my own color film should go down from $4/roll (at the lab) to $1/roll (in my darkroom).

TURN MORE PROFIT

Analog Fruits

There are two ways to turn a higher profit: make more money, or spend less money. So this resolution includes a little bit of both. I’ve been doing the photography and blogging thing for a few years now, but I don’t have much to show for it. My hobby barely pays for itself at this point, but I’m also spending every bit of my free time doing it. I wouldn’t mind making a few extra bucks by the end of the year.

WHAT’S THE PLAN?

The “spend less money” part is basically the point above: no new equipment. If I can manage to follow through, my profits should be considerably higher. The “make more money” part needs to come from selling photos and selling advertising space on the blog (I actually make more with the blog than with my photos). I’ve been slacking on my ImageKind uploads and Fine Art Photoblog posts (I don’t do stock, I just can’t get the hang of it) — so I need to spend more time on those things. I also need to make this blog more profitable because I know it makes far less than what it could. I have a plan for this point, but I’ll lay it out later this month.

MAKE TIME FOR BLOGGING

Brian Auer

I spend far more time blogging about photography than I spend actually taking or working on photos. This thing is a huge time-sink, but I won’t give it up anytime soon. I’ve learned so much and met so many awesome people through blogging. My problem is having enough time to do it. I would love to spend every night with a clear agenda and a head full of ideas to write about, but that just isn’t the case.

WHAT’S THE PLAN?

First off, I need to be more productive and more organized about my time spent blogging. I usually just get around to it whenever I can, writing up the articles right before I publish them. This is not a good way to blog. I need to set aside at least 2.5 nights per week to write content, answer emails, update software, brainstorm, proofread, feed-read, etc. Eventually, I need to work my way back up to having a few finished articles in the queue at any given time.

MAKE MORE TIME OFF

Jake

I have a full time job, a family, plus all this other junk. So I thoroughly enjoy my time off when I can afford to take it. Every once in a while I’ll just drop everything and lay around for a few days watching movies or playing video games… then I spend a solid week catching up on things. This sucks. I need to give myself breaks and nights off here and there so I don’t burn out and go AWOL.

WHAT’S THE PLAN?

It ultimately boils down to the fact that I need to schedule my time better. Work time means work, lazy time means no work. I’ve scheduled my time in the past, but it never stuck because it was either too aggressive or too inflexible. Having a family to look after means that my time comes second, so I have to be flexible with it. But seriously, I love turning off the computer and wasting time with movies and video games.

THE FINAL VERDICT

It’s obvious to me that I need a schedule of some sort. Like I said, I want it to be somewhat flexible, but I also want to cover my bases each week so I don’t put off the important things for too long. What I came up with is a method of blocking off 2 or 4 hours at a time for individual tasks (and the day job eating up 8-9 hours). Some of the pieces can be moved around from day to day so I can adapt to my seemingly chaotic life. Here’s a sample of what my week might look like… keeping in mind that “day job” and “family” time blocks are universal constants and completely inflexible.

I’ll have to give it a shot for a few weeks to see if the time blocks work out for me. But the idea is that each block of time can be moved around to any day of the week to accommodate my life at that time. Oh, and this is also assuming about 16 hours of blocked time, 6 hours of sleep, and 2 hours of “who knows what” time that manages to escape me every day (probably eating food or something else stupid like that).

What about you guys? Do you have any “New Year Resolutions” for 2010? And are you so busy that you have to schedule your time with chunks of paper?

Link Roundup 01-03-2010

2009: Best Articles of the Year

Doomed to be a Photographer

I did it in 2007, in 2008, and I’m doing it again in 2009 — a roundup of the best Epic Edits articles of the year!

We’re also approaching the 3 year birthday for the blog, and I’m super excited that this thing just keeps going. I’m also thankful that so many fellow photography enthusiasts keep coming back to join the conversation and participate in the projects. You guys are awesome, and I’m glad to know so many of you on a first name basis (seriously, I always smile when I see a regular leave a comment on an article).

So how about a few stats to check our progress? In just 2009, we had about 1,500,000 pageviews, 925,000 visits, and 750,000 unique visitors. And in the lifespan of the blog, we’ve had 3,685,000 pageviews, 2,245,000 visitors, and 1,835,000 uniques. We’re also up to about 8,100 RSS subscribers, from 4,600 at the same time last year.

Here are some noteworthy articles that were published in 2009. If you’re new here, check ‘em out!

JANUARY

FEBRUARY

MARCH

APRIL

MAY

JUNE & JULY

AUGUST

SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

NOW ON WITH 2010!!!