Workflow – Part 2

Workflow is a process that details the first step to the last. Setting up a workflow will become an instinct to you, but until then let us catalog and learn the process of priorities. By priorities I mean, by completing the previous step you now have what is required to complete this step and have made available to yourself the tools for the next step.

Taking a small project using the same principles as photo processing will help us explain the process in as few words as possible.

To build a storage shed there must be some decisions made of the size and design. From these decisions an architectural blue print can be made. Now with the blue prints we can make a materials list and go shopping. Do you see the progression? Here is another way of looking at the process:

  1. Design and size
  2. Architectural drawings
  3. Materials list
  4. Materials shopping
  5. Ground breaking and construction

Each step when completed is setting up the success of the following step.

Starting with a new project, what are the signs of the first step?

  1. What is the first puzzle piece? First, set up your end product. How will it look? What are you providing; service or tangible product?
  2. What will you give with this service/product? What else should hold your attention in the phase of “material gathering”?
  3. How many practical steps can be made or planned to affect a clear understanding for everyone involved?

Something I have found invaluable in this process is having a scratch pad and new paper to record both ideas for consideration and decisions leading to the conclusion.

Take deep breath and relax. Things will start to fall into place on their own with these foundational questions answered. A challenge is not worth gray hair, unless you like the distinguished look. *Grin*

Enjoy.

Appeal

Since I know that asking questions about a photo will help me get answers to how the photographer was able to get the look I see, I can ask some similar questions of my photo set-up to get the appeal I want.

What are these questions? Well, they do not change as much as my photo changes. Starting with the basics;
“What is my object in focus?”
“What have I used to draw the viewer’s attention to it?”
“What style am I using (leading line, lighting, suggestion)?”

Lighting – Part 3

Lights are not easy to work, however not impossible. Directly lighting an object without first being reflected or diffused should be carefully handled. We will get into the reason for this point in a moment but let us first remember what transpired bringing us to this point.

In the time this blog has been in operation, we have discussed contrast, highlights, shadows, elements, focus, scene design and light source positioning in preparation for this new level of photography design. Direct lighting will be harsh and bright; so what else around the object should be lit to make sense of the scene?

What elements are important to the message of your photo? Remembering to keep it simple and thus unifying the message, light the desired elements enough for the purpose. If this photo involves a model, be sensitive to their comfort. Natural poses may be comfortable for a short period but if continued may become an irritation.

Irritation can be something the model will have to fight through for proper facial expression, motion stability to prevent blurring with moderate to slow shutter speeds. None of these issues are worth battling when they are avoidable.

Take a look at some advertisement photos and notice how little they add to the photo. At the same time, notice how they add, what they add, why they add and where they add those extra elements. This is not to learn the style or technique of another photographer, but to learn a principle, “Too much spice can ruin the soup” and not enough means it is a good start though undesirable.

Light can change the focal point of shot by misdirection, improper power setting and poor timing with the camera shutter. Be sure to know your equipment. Acquaintanceship means nothing when you are entertaining a customer and simultaneously troubleshooting your lighting system. You are the expert of your equipment. Learn it well.

Reflection – Part 3

– Troubleshooting the reflections –

Reflections can be very difficult to “diagnose”, though remembering that the reflections in the photograph can only be fixed if they are fixed from the viewing perspective of the camera.

Reflections may be fixed from your perspective separate from the camera and I am sorry to say ‘it may not fix what the camera sees.’ The best way to be sure the reflection is fixed or blocked is to view the scene through the camera with software or directly through the camera.

Most professional line of cameras carry with them access to software for seeing the current camera view. If that is not an option, tripods or other mounting options will guarantee the least amount of movement possible. This will enable you to check the camera view and leave to fix the unwanted reflections.

Reflections will come in different ways. I will not have time or space in this post to help you troubleshoot them, but I will list those I have more recently met.

Round shiny objects, like Christmas ornaments, drinking glasses.

Flat reflective surfaces, mirrors, glass doors, heavily polished wood.

Liquids.

It takes a good head/eye for details to catch it early and a time or two of being caught with reflections in a photo to bring the point home, or paranoia. Okay, that  crack about paranoia was a joke.

I would caution that if you are taking portraits and your subject is wearing shiny jewelry or sunglasses which can give your reflection, be ready with alternate shooting angles and poses.

I wish I could give you draw illustrations of how reflections are made, but you are intelligent and very capable of learning this process or searching for other resources that will teach you in the way you learn best!

A quick story on myself before closing: “I was shooting a glass trophy that has an etched design in the center and an arched top. I was stumped how half of the arched trophy top was not block-able no matter what I put around it. Then I took the time to look closely at what detail I could see of the reflection and I realized, ‘I am seeing the etched inside!'”

No matter how you avoid some reflections, some will just have to be featured. Enjoy!

Portraits – Setting

As fall approaches the possibilities for outdoor portrait settings are wide open. The weather cools down to temperatures pleasant enough that a smile automatically graces your face without thinking about it.

Personal Note: I walked outside last week with a cup of coffee in my hand; as the door opened I felt the wind rush and I was surprised that it felt cool for what I was expecting. Walking out front with the cool temperature sensation continuing on my arms and face, I began to smile. Taking in a breath of fresh, cool air it only seemed natural to smile and laughter began to bubble up from a heart full of joy and inspiration.

With cooler temperatures and fall rains, fall bearing trees begin to produce their fruit and leaves change color making this the perfect time for many portrait occasions. This opportunity is too good to pass up, so with school starting up it is a good time to pick out a park or garden that provides the situations you want. Let us discuss some possibilities.

    1. Park bench
  • There are at-least three angles or perspectives on one place, so do not be too hasty on abandoning one place for another.
  • A Change of sitting positions offer more variety without changing locations.
  • Simple elements such as a book, flower or jacket can take a picture from good to favorite as quick as your shutter can move.
    2. Tree row
  • Peeking from around tree trunks are a nice touch for mystery and surprise, however caution is to be used to prevent too much of your subject from being hidden.
  • Taking shots of a pair of children can be fun especially when the camera is using a vantage point to see both children.

These are just some thoughts for you to use as you design your personal portraits.

Foetoss Means – Part 3

So why “Foetoss”? “I get the whole photography and light connection, but what is with the whole light source and verb tense stuff?”

This is my theory in strategy for photography: a vision must be large, almost extravagant, inexhaustible and full of practical, achievable steps to each plateau of success.

Now with my theory published, I will disclose the connection between the studio name and  theory.

My vision is centered on God. From my viewpoint everything I am; everything I have and everything that exists around me has far too much order to happened by random “chance”. I believe that everything about us and around us points to Creative Intelligent Design. Therefore I put “chance” aside as a source of creative power and find no other possibility for  a source of creative power than an intelligent being whom must be far more intelligent than me.

There have been massive amounts of time, money and energy expended to find some or any sign of life within our universe besides our own with no substantial proof in return. This is not intended to be a criticism of anyone who is or has invested their time, money and/or energy into this search. I have many friends who are or have been involved in these searches and I will not offend or slander them in any way.

With an intelligent design by a being more intelligent than I am, responsible for creating the universe can only describe one; God. The center of my photography vision. Now the Greek word “Foe-toss” meaning “of light” means that “Foe-toss” is only possible because of “light”. Direct application to photography, without light there would be no way that we could photograph anything.

How does this tie back to God other than my belief that He created everything and light by which to see it all, He actually is spoken of as light Himself.

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”

I John 1:1-5