Monthly Archives: November 2015

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Inspiration

Inspiration

 

Inspiration can come from anywhere really. Your favorite book, life, something you watched on TV or maybe something you saw while driving somewhere. Another place to look is at the bookstore and to peruse through coffee table picture books, my favorite thing to do by the way. Last but not least is to look around and see what is everyone else doing.

Now I’ve briefly touched on this before but for me Inspiration comes from what ever is going on in my personal life and also what ever it is I see as I go about my day. Most mornings I walk with my girl friend to her job which is about ten block walk each way and there is plenty of stuff to see and plenty of time as I walk back alone to think about shoots that I have coming up and which direction they are going to go.

Currently I have my first show in five years which will be in May of 2016 and I’m exactly sure which direction my body of work is going to go. I know the subject, I have a working title, I have locations but I don’t have a direction just yet. So is this a problem? Not at all, the first shoot shall dictate where it will go and that’s coming up so I’m getting very excited. In my head it’s coming down to the juxtaposition being slightly off with just a little side of peculiar. Now I’m not sure how peculiar I’m going to go but it’ll certainly be something different.

In the past I was all up for shock value and really causing quite the upset but I’ve moved on and those days are behind me for now. You never know what will happen in the future or where your next inspiration shall be coming from.

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Being a Mentor

Being a Mentor 

 

Being a mentor certainly made me stop and think as now someone had looked at my work and had a thought of “I want this person to teach me and show me how it’s done”. This was a very different feeling for me, as this person wants my input and my opinion on how to build the foundation of their photography. Now sure they are a college student and are attending classes but they’d asked me for some extra input and guidance.

 

Sure I’ve taught classes I even have a basic intro class on Groupon as we type/speak. Although it’s a one time class and covers the basics of getting away from the auto functions of your camera it’s nothing like meeting someone every week and being on point and ready to answer questions that over time become more in depth. This was completely different and so far I love it. I’ve learned there is that fine balance of being asked a question and instead of just giving the answer rather making them earn the answer. On one occasion the student’s assignment was to show the difference between “form” in an image and “narrative”. Sure I can spit the answer out but instead I reversed the question. What if you just take a picture of that building today then return tomorrow to take a picture of it on fire or falling down, which image would be form and which would be narrative?

 

Another thing I’ve learned is that I’m growing to. No one can possibly know everything you are always going to learn something new. It reminds me of something my Dad told me about his job. That the young feel they know everything because they learned it at school/college so there can’t possibly be more to learn and that the more senior staff had an attitude of; well, we’ve done everything so there can’t possibly be anything new to learn either. So what am I learning new? Lightroom and histograms! Before I only used Photoshop and my light meter, both hand held and the one in the camera, but now I’m combining them all.

 

So, being a mentor is not only growing my students knowledge but mine to. Like I tell my students that take my class on Groupon when they ask what to bring to class. I always respond, bring your camera and an open mind.

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Fashion

shocking

That mythical creature known as The Friendly Dragon

That mythical creature known as The Friendly Dragon

 

 

So what is that mythical creature known as The Friendly Dragon? First I’ll start with the origins, which also involves knowing where I started life and my upbringing; so here goes.

 

I started life as an Englishman and grew up in middle England in a town called Nuneaton or an area commonly referred to as the Midlands. This was my mom’s side of the family as my Dad’s side hales from Essex or North East London. As is typical in England different parts of the country have different nicknames for people, actions, and objects. So “The Friendly Dragon” is a term commonly referred to describe ones mother in-law or as we say in wedding photography circles the mother of the bride i.e. MOB.

 

So why is this person important? Well they can make or break your wedding shoot. Lets not forget your customer is the Bride and Groom and by making their guests happy can affect their happiness with you. As a parent I can relate to the fact that we are always going to protect and look out for our children. So when its our child’s wedding being photographed and a couple of thousand dollars is being spent on that service, said parent can be very protective and stuck on you like glue.

 

My own experiences have been parents who are there to party and completely leave you alone and then the complete opposite and hover. My worst was a Mom who virtually stayed by my side for every major shot (group formals, ring shot, first kiss, cake cutting, first dance, introductions, etc….) and looked at the screen on the back of my camera giving either suggestions or her approval. Oh how I had wished this wedding were shot on film…..!!! What I’ve learned over the years is just to be extremely patient and understand that this type of parent is doing nothing more than looking out for their child.

 

How I handled this particular mom was to explain how each image was taken, my work flow after the shoot, why I took it that way and went as far as to show and explain histograms and white balance (don’t worry, I’ll have a blog post on this stuff to). Basically she got bored but more importantly I’d built up enough trust with her that I knew what I was doing that she left me alone for the most part. Through out the rest of the wedding I would cast a welcoming glance her way for approval and that worked wonders.

 

As a whole it pays to have the patience of a saint when shooting weddings and to also understand where the other persons intentions are coming from. That way the potentially flame spitting dragon of mythical tales can become The Friendly Dragon in the room.

 

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Wedding Photography

Wedding Photography

 

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The Thirty-Day Blog Challenge

The Thirty-day Blog Challenge

 

As a small business owner I get tons of junk snail mail, emails, phone calls and managing that lot can get to be a challenge as customers trying to get a hold of me can get lost in the hot mess sometimes. There was one email though that I allow to get through as I liked it and knew that it was something that I needed to do more of to promote my business. What is this email that I allowed through the riff raff of junk, you ask? It was an email regarding blogging from Learn to blog .com and The Thirty-day blog challenge.

 

Over the years I’ve learned that customers want to know their photographer just as I want to know them so that their personality comes through in the camera. There is no better way to do this than blogging. You could argue that my personality comes through my pictures but that’s no going to work when one bride wants a dark Halloween wedding in a cemetery and another wants light and airy at her parents white picked fenced home in suburbia. Of course I want both jobs and definitely do not want to get type casted as a photographer that only shoots one particular style of wedding or portraiture. Also befriending customers on my personal FB page is not something I’d recommend so blogging comes across as a good way to get to know me typo’s and bad grammar included.

 

So what is my plan? Well the Learn To Blog has thrown out a challenge for its customers to post a blog every day for the next thirty days. Today is day one so expect another twenty-nine from this photographer.

 

Topics? They will be photography lessons, stories I’ve had happen to me on shoots, what inspired a particular shoot (currently my drag queen shoots are a very large source of inspiration), my largest show to date is coming up in May of next year so expect some writing about that and finally I’d like you my audience to suggest a couple of topics, I’ll do the research and then write about it.

 

So today is day one and my Thirty Day Blog Challenge Begins.

 

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Wedding Photography

Wedding Photography

Wedding Photography

Wedding Photography

Wedding Photography

Wedding Photography