Monthly Archives: June 2010

Join the Epic Edits Facebook Fan Club

[tweetmeme]Alright… I FINALLY got this thing going after a long period of procrastination. Epic Edits is officially on Facebook.

I’ve been on Facebook for quite a while with my personal profile, but I’m just not getting around to making a page for Epic Edits. I’m still figuring out how to set it up and what to put there, so what you see now is only a starting point.

I have to admit that I don’t really “get” the Facebook pages, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out soon enough. I suppose it’s useful for the folks that spend a good deal of time on Facebook keeping up with their friends and favorite websites. I can also see the Facebook page being another good place to have conversations on the topic of photography.

As of now, I have the following things set up on the Facebook page:

  • Full Posts: Hopefully this will work the way I expect it to… I’m pulling the full posts from the RSS feed and posting them as “notes”. So you can basically read the entire articles right there on Facebook, “comment” on the articles (in the Facebook realm), and “like”/”share” articles with your own network of friends.
  • Discussions: We don’t have a general forum here on the blog, so maybe the Facebook page can serve as a basic discussion forum if you have any questions or thoughts to share with other readers or myself.
  • Flickr Photos: Just as I do on the blog, I’ll be showing off the most recent Flickr photos (small square thumbnails only) on the Facebook page so other readers can click through and check out the pool.

I’m kind of new to this Facebook page stuff, and I don’t really know what else needs to be present. So…

I COULD USE SOME SUGGESTIONS…

For those of you that use Facebook to follow along with your favorite blogs, what other features/items would you like to see on our page? Could you drop a link to other well-done pages?

For those of you that have Facebook pages of your own, what applications should I check out? It seems like there are so many of them, it’s hard to tell what works best.

And for the blog design, I’m thinking of making some minor changes to integrate the Twitter and Facebook buttons more naturally. I’m considering taking out the “related posts” and “share this” items directly below the post and replacing that space with some small buttons for sharing via Twitter, Facebook, and one or two others. I’ve got the WordPress plugin for Tweetmeme, but there seems to be a ton of options out there for Facebook — which one works the best for Facebook “like” and/or “share” buttons? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

AND AGAIN, VISIT THE EPIC EDITS PAGE ON FACEBOOK!

Must-Bring Cameras for Wedding Photography

[tweetmeme]Guest post from Nick Smith, author of Digital Wedding Secrets – a guide solely focused on the wedding photography and its business. If wedding photography is your passion too then Sign Up to its RSS or the FREE Digital wedding newsletter to receive wedding photography tips in your email.

For many, Wedding Photography is the “pays the bills” aspect of photography, and therefore it might get short shrift on the respect meter because of the seemingly lack of “excitement”, but as my friend in the movie business says, “if you take the job, you do the job” and that means no griping. And honestly, there is a compelling aspect to wedding photography, let’s take a look, shall we?

The truly interesting thing about Wedding Photography is that it has an editorial aspect to it as well as a photo-journalistic aspect to it (or at least you should position yourself as a photographer who offers a blend of both). This dual nature enables you to provide a premium product… with a premium price.

While it goes without saying bringing two cameras to a wedding is the minimum ideal way to go. However, the true question is what two cameras to bring? I’m going to suggest a dSLR and a Rangefinder.

dSLR

A wedding
Creative Commons License photo credit: yaili

Canon and Nikon make some extraordinary dSLRs and the higher end Prosumer models can easily handle nearly every situation conceivable for wedding photography. Obviously Pentax and Olympus make quality product, too, but Canon and Nikon are the two heavy weights. dSLRs provide you with so much versatility in lens choice and other accessories. But there are few specifications that you might want to consider (either when renting a second or third camera, or buying a second camera, and possibly trading in one of the cameras that you do have) to ensure that you don’t miss a shot. The camera’s recycle time and burst fps are important factors to weigh, as well as what type of flash units the camera can accommodate (i.e., a High Sync Flash unit). It’s important to use a full-frame dSLR, this is pure an aesthetic bias on my part, but you want to be able to use as many lenses as are available in your camera manufacturer of choice’s line. Sure you could miss out of the fully computer-controlled lenses, but you might have a favorite lens that was for a film camera.

Most people will do well with two dSLRs, one fitted with a wide angle zoom (perhaps a 17mm-35mm), and the other with a telephoto zoom (probably a 85mm-200mm). This combination will enable you to quickly jump back-n-forth for group shots and tighter more intimate shots… without having to swap lenses, and perhaps miss a crucial shot.

A Rangefinder

Leica addict
Creative Commons License photo credit: c-reel.com

Why a rangefinder?, you ask. Simple, these most innocuous of cameras allow you to get extraordinarily candid and intimate shots that you might not otherwise be able to get with a dSLR. The level of intrusion that an dSLR causes can ruin the spontaneity of precious moments; not to mention that some people act a fool when they see a camera in active position.

Now I wouldn’t say that these cameras really fallen out of favor, more like they have become the ultimate niche photographic item. And the granddaddy of them is the Leica M7 or its digital cousin the M9 (Leica’s newest, most state-of-the-art digital camera). The unparalleled image quality that these cameras provide are worth taking the time to learn the unorthodox focusing method.

Leica’s new M9 is an AWESOME digital camera with a full-frame (24mm x 36mm) image sensor and captures images in a high-density RAW format. And because of the full-frame image sensor,you can effectively use any of the Leica lenses from the past 30 years… and those are perhaps the lenses on the planet. Known for their sharpness, incredibly speed, and lack of chromatic aberration, you’ll be awe-struck at the quality of the photos.

Bride
Creative Commons License photo credit: zamario

I had mentioned earlier the photo-journalistic aspect of Wedding Photography, well with a Leica (or any rangefinder for that matter) you can take on the role of photo-essayist. Rangefinders, and the Leica in particular, have supremely quiet shutter releases, so hardly anyone will know that you’ve actually taken the photo. Plus you can focus and fire from the hip so easily that you’ll have an unprecedented ability to grab photos with practically no one noticing. This gives you a lot of creative power as a photography, because you can concentrate on getting the Wedding Party and the guests to behave as naturally as possible.

You might think the Leica is overkill (due to its price), but the images will be well-worth it (and if you rent it, the actual expense is minimal).

So the camera configuration of two dSLRs and a rangefinder can yield you a wider variety of more compelling photographs with different feelings and emotions captured. That’s what the clients ultimately want, images that define the moment, that will spark memories in the future and will stand-out from the standard wedding photography fare (not that you won’t offer those as well, but it’s always about offering more than the standard these days).

About The Author: Nick Smith is author of Digital Wedding Secrets – a guide solely focused on the wedding photography and its business. If wedding photography is your passion too then Sign Up to its RSS or the FREE Digital wedding newsletter to receive wedding photography tips in your email.

17 Inspirational Analog Photos

[tweetmeme]We’re off to a good start with these Flickr Challenges… the first one was “Street” and the winner chose a new theme of “Analog”. I’m a sucker for film photos, so this one was particularly difficult for me to select the photos below (I wanted to pick a bunch more, but I’m trying to keep these things under 20 or 30 photos).

The favorite selection this week is from Rob LaRosa with his shot titled “Everything you need”. And as the winner, he gets to pick the theme for challenge #3.

Everything you need
Everything you need by Roaming Vegas

Rob has chosen the topic of “Vanishing Points” — so experiment with converging lines and leading the viewer’s eye to a distant point in the background. Here’s a video to help put things in perspective.

CHALLENGE #3: “VANISHING POINTS”

FLICKR TAG: “EE-VANISH”

And don’t forget that your photos must also be in the Epic Edits Flickr Pool. Winner of the next round picks the next topic. I’ll post my selections in about a week or two.

Here are the remaining selections from Challenge #2:

The Reprimand
The Reprimand by cliff2n

Untitled #30
Untitled #30 by Peepin Pixel Piker Pepper

Misty tree
Misty tree by Sascha Schröder

Relocate, please
Relocate, please by Bryan Villarin

Princeton Sheep
Princeton Sheep by cliff2n

1 minute past high noon
1 minute past high noon by topfloor

365.130
365.130 by i_shoot_minolta

Talk of the town
Talk of the town by Roaming Vegas

Blue Houses
Blue Houses by Bryan Davidson

Packed (229/366)
Packed (229/366) by Bryan Villarin

Pig
Pig by Amberture


Untitled by jasesim

The vapors
The vapors by pau.la

Pinhole Fábrica
Pinhole Fábrica by Ana Pratas

Five Dollar Hustler
Five Dollar Hustler by Eric Parks

Loch Raven
Loch Raven by cliff2n

eBook Review: 100% Reliable Flash Photography

[tweetmeme]Here’s another great eBook from author/photographer Edward Verosky (also the author of 10 Ways to Improve Your Boudoir Photography Now). This time around, it’s all about the black magic of flash photography… something that a few of us could use some help with (certainly myself included).

This eBook covers the topic of flash photography and artificial lighting from both a technical and practical standpoint — simple setups with outstanding and reliable results. It dives into all the technical aspects of flash photography, but then pulls back to reality with examples of easy to understand setups for almost any situation. This book is a great resource and tool for anybody wanting to learn more about artificial lighting.

“100% Reliable Flash Photography” can be purchased through Edward Verosky’s website for $9.95. (affiliate links)

ABOUT THE BOOK

100% Reliable Flash Photography is a 75 page downloadable PDF eBook available for instant download. The book contains a large amount of content coupled with sample photos and lighting diagrams.

After a short introduction, we start with a good deal of terminology and definition (this lighting stuff has a language of its own). Then we go through some of the theory of working with light — how it behaves and how we can control its effect on a subject. A lesson in camera control follows, with a focus on technical skills needed when working with artificial light.

The following chapter gets into the main concept of this book: standardization. This applies to your gear, settings, and the way you work. The goal here is to give you a method for dealing with the technical side of things so you can focus on the artistic side. Another big chapter covers working with manual settings, both in-camera and on-flash. It’s really not so scary, and it turns out that manual settings are easier to use than auto or semi-auto settings when working with flash photography.

The entire last chunk of the book looks at specific settings and setups for both indoor and outdoor shooting. We’re talking bounce, ambient, single/multiple light sources, and more. The very end is a little bonus section that talks about some of the photos and models used in the book (of course, with more awesome sample shots).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Edward Verosky is a creative boudoir, portrait, and editorial photographer working out of Austin, Texas. His distinctive photography is emotionally engaging, and often stylistically cinematic. Ed has many years of experience making women look beautiful in pictures.

Ed comes off as being extremely professional and knowledgeable based on the writing in the eBook and on his blog.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS

This book is highly recommended for anybody wanting to learn flash photography. It does require a basic understanding of photography and camera control, but I would assume that most people getting serious about flash are covered in this area. There’s quite a bit of technical stuff in this book, but that’s the nature of artificial lighting. Though it may be overwhelming at first, a little study and practice can clear up any anxieties.

For the people who already know external/artificial lighting, I’m sure there are a few points in there worth checking out. In addition to covering the basics, the book gets into simplifying the process and becoming more productive with limited time and equipment. In general, it’s a great resource to have on-hand if you’re into the lighting stuff.

“100% Reliable Flash Photography” can be purchased through Edward Verosky’s website for $9.95.

How Often Do You Shoot?

Totally 80's Techno-Geek

[tweetmeme]I was asked this same question in my interview from PetaPixel a few days ago. I answered that I’m a “weekend warrior” and I’m not ashamed of it. It’s true, I just don’t have the time or energy to get out and shoot every single day, so I reserve my shooting for the weekend. And most of the time I might shoot a single roll of film (or less), so it’s not like I’m going on 2 day photo adventures every weekend.

So now I’m curious what your shooting habits are. Do you shoot every day like some others I know? Or are you more like me and you’re lucky to get out and shoot 3 or 4 times a month? And is there anything wrong with shooting infrequently? Or does it actually make for a better experience? How do you spend your free time when you’re not shooting… working on photos, blogging, family activities, video games?

Also be sure to check out the discussion on our last reader poll — lots of great comments worth reading.

Elliott Erwitt Answers My Questions

We recently started a discussion around the question “Why is Street Photography Dominated by Black and White?” and we had some great comments from the readers. Shortly thereafter, I got an email from the folks at TeNeues with regard to the “Elliot Erwitt Photo Caption Contest” I had talked about. They said that they would be interviewing Elliott the next day and wanted to know if I had any questions for him.

Well… I thought that it would be cool to have a master of street photography weigh in on the conversation. So I sent the “Why is street photography dominated by black and white?” question along with “Do you ever get anxious taking pictures of people in public?” Both questions were answered in their short interview — very cool! Here’s a link to the video that they posted on FaceBook.

Hop over there and check it out — they have a pretty good set of questions, and Elliott answers them in his usual humorous manner.

Social Networking for Shooters: How to Stay Engaged With the Pro and Hobbyist Photo Communities

[tweetmeme]About the author: Stephanie Weber directs communications, among other responsibilities, at DigiLabs Pro and regularly engages with colleagues and customers on its blog, Facebook and Twitter feeds.

It seems social networking is on the lips of the young and old, professional and student, casual observers and fast-track hipsters. By all accounts, social networks help all of us stay connected with current events and topics of conversation while also helping businesses market their wares.

Yet a surprising number of professional photographers still ask us at DigiLabs Pro “Is social networking really worth it?” Our answer is a resounding, “ABSOLUTELY.”

WHY DO IT

Here are some of the reasons why photographers should engage in social networking:

  • It’s social: You’re missing the party if you don’t interact with customers or peers online. Facebook in February 2010 announced its number of users had ballooned to 400 million, making it the second only to Google as the most visited site on the Web. A few months later, Twitter shared that it has more than 105 million registered users. It hasn’t reached its peak yet as both of those figures are growing daily.
  • It’s live: Business marketing consultant John Jantsch likens the ROI of social networking to that of attending live professional networking events. “You don’t measure participation based on direct sales, you measure success based on identifying one potential strategic partner, acquiring one actionable bit of advice, or striking up a conversation or two that may eventually lead to developing a new customer,” he says. Many marketers also consider it a form of word-of-mouth advertisement, with real customers referring or introducing friends and family to various businesses.
  • It’s a network: Social networking enables you to easily stay in touch with a broad friend or customer base at regular intervals. Staying involved in your contacts’ lives will not only increase the potential for future interactions or business dealings but can also become a great source for valuable referrals.
  • It’s cheap: Engaging in social networks, by virtue of being online, are some of the most cost-effective marketing programs you can do for your photo business. It only costs you your time. And, anyone, photo novice or veteran, can jump into the social media conversation within minutes.
  • It boosts your rankings in web searches: For organic searches (search engine optimization, or SEO), linking and relevancy is king. The more people talking about you in social networks, the more relevant you are to the search engines.

HOW TO DO IT

Convinced of social media’s value, but aren’t sure where to start looking for other visually-minded folks like yourself? Here are some ideas to bring social networking into focus:

  • Know that Facebook and Twitter are not the only games in town. Check out these alternatives or search for a NING site by topic of interest. You’re likely familiar with Flickr for photo sharing and You Tube for video sharing, but you can also use these sites to share comments with others to start new conversations.
  • Comment or post on your friends’, acquaintances’ and clients’ Facebook pages or tweets. Don’t spam them; that is a sure way to turn them off as potential connections. Instead, make relevant comments or complement them on the activities going on in their lives. Make sure the content is relevant and timely.
  • Stay active in online community forums such as at Photo.net, DigitalWeddingForum.com or PopPhoto.com. This will increase your exposure and keep you up-to-date with what is going on in the industry while also gaining access to unfiltered feedback of everyday photographers.
  • It is a careful balance of personal and professional, but above all, be yourself. Creating a personal relationship is vital for a photographer whose interest and job is to capture someone’s most personal and intimate moments.
  • Keep your updates fresh and interesting by posting and updating them often. This will help with gaining loyal followers, friends and fans.
  • Check out social media guru Chris Brogan’s “Best Advice About Social Networking.” Among his pearls of wisdom are: be friendly and inclusive, seek to be helpful always and say thank you often. (Great advice for life in general, isn’t it?)

BEST BLOGGING PRACTICES

Blogging Research Wordle
Creative Commons License photo credit: Kristina B

Perhaps interacting on established social networks is not your thing. You can easily share your own thoughts on photography and images via your own blog. The Internet is filled with guides for getting started blogging, including helpful tips from Microsoft and Google. When you blog, think about how you can improve your organic search rankings by infusing your writings with relevant keywords you want your readers to associate with you (i.e., “photojournalism,” “nature photography,” etc.) and link those keywords back to your site.

Another element of interaction can arise if you comment on other shooters’ blogs. Most blogs have a form for you to share your own thoughts on their posts. Keep in mind, it won’t help with your organic search listings as many blogging systems have “no follow” tags, but your relevant comments could help drive word of mouth.

You can link to particularly thought-provoking pieces by sharing them on your Twitter, Facebook or other feeds. Some of our favorite photographer-bloggers, including Ben Chrisman, Erin Henssion and Jasmine Star among many others, really infuse their posts with their unique personalities while discussing the special subjects or conditions in which they’ve been taking pictures recently.

Connect The Dots
Creative Commons License photo credit: queefette

CONNECT THE SOCIAL DOTS

No matter which avenue you chose, make sure your networking activities are connected. When you post a new blog, make sure to tweet about it and post it on your Facebook. If you are a hobbyist, you’ll find you’ll naturally make more connections if folks have more avenues to connect with you. If you are a business, add your Facebook, Twitter and blog links, to your email marketing activities and to your website to help boost incremental sales and new referrals.

As a photographer, you can only benefit from the ideas and referrals sure to come your way from engaging with your peers and potential clients.

About the author: Stephanie Weber directs communications, among other responsibilities, at DigiLabs Pro and regularly engages with colleagues and customers on its blog, Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Check Out My Interview on PetaPixel

If you want to know a little more about me, head over to PetaPixel and read through my recent interview with them. The questions presented were quite compelling and I had a good time doing the interview.

We chatted about everything from my background, to the origins of this blog, to post-processing, to my darkroom, to my blogging insights, and so much more. Some of the content and topics are brand new and never before seen. At any rate, some of it is probably worth reading. So go check it out!

INTERVIEW WITH BRIAN AUER OF EPIC EDITS