Workflow

Workflow is a tool that promises to save you time, stress and money if used and delivers! Allow me to explain.

Say you just finished taking photos of your child’s birthday party and the camera is set down out-of-the-way until you can deal with downloading the pictures and do your minor edits. When do you pick it up again (to download the pictures or on your way to the next event)? Probably on your way to the next event, right? Perhaps I can give you some cheery news.

Cameras now being digital are made to be “plug and play” ready. That means that as soon as it is plugged into the computer the computer recognizes the camera and can do almost anything with the information for you by automatic protocol. This is not scary, just be aware of what goes on after key events.

Key events being the device having been plugged in to a computer (laptop or desktop); opening a program while the digital recording device is plugged in; etc.

Take a moment to read the owner’s manual for your camera or read an internet “how-to” on your software to help yourself better understand the tools given to you and ready for use at your finger tips.

Many digital camera manufacturers offer some basic programs that will download your photos automatically to a place on your computer hard drive. There are many other programs that also do this as a means of processing workflow and personal convenience. Take some time to look, read and make an inventory list of your tools to avoid working any harder than necessary.

Let automation take the work and stress out of your life by taking care of the small details for you.

If you have most of this available to you, try plugging your camera into your computer the next time you set it down after a shoot and let it work for you.

Portraits – Candid

Candid shots can be hard to pick out from a few select pictures because posing does not have to show the subjects awareness of the photographer. However for our purposes we will call those posed shots candid anyway for simplicity’s sake.

What does “Candid” really mean? :

“Truthful and straightforward; frank.
(of a photograph of a person) Taken informally, especially without the subject’s knowledge.”

So we could even say that the most important quality of a candid photo is not, the lack of knowledge on the part of the subject but how truthful the image is to practical life versus our Utopian fantasy. This is not to say, a photo should include our frustration, irritation and messes, but rather kept simple and uncomplicated.

Is that easier said than practically applicable? Perhaps, although here are some suggestions to inspire your own creativity for simplicity.

  1. Focus on your subject and what has drawn their attention.
  2. Beware of your frame corners so as not to include distractions.
  3. Intentionally use backgrounds that support your shot and not stealing your viewer’s attention.

Focusing on your subject and the object holding their attention: Using a macro lens will crop a lot of the surrounding scenery bringing your focus to rest on your subject and their object of attention.

Being aware of what your frame corners catch which may distract a viewer is easy to forget. In fact I have found that if I am not paying attention I still catch minor undesirables. It can sound like photography is an art impossible to meet or only for the totally devoted  who do nothing else but study for the next super-image. I can nearly guarantee you this is not the case in most photographer’s cases.

Intentionally using backgrounds that are not flashy or precisely perfect have helped me draw out more of my subject’s presence versus a nice scenic shot with a presence.

Inspiration – Part 2

“…Sing, you islands of the sea; echo back, you ocean caves…”

I have been told that I have a fertile imagination. No, I do not care to explain why. This phrase though communicates to me a beautiful image of crystal blue water, fine sand beaches and islands with caves all around begging for adventurers to explore their expanses! Is this not the dream picture we all have of a perfect “Island get-away” that we secretly wish would come true?

There is something more to this phrase and I will give it to you in two parts.

Part 1: We have described the islands, caves and sea but completely ignored the action to which they are called. “Sing!” “SING!” Who does not enjoy a beautiful voice that dares you to go back to your worries and anxiety? If anyone said “I do not” out-loud, I can refer you to some fine Nouthetic counselors.

Part 2: The purpose of their call to singing. Remember in “History Immortalized” I challenged us all to intentional, proper and encouraging photography. These Islands of the sea and ocean caves are singing and echoing the praises to a merciful God who gave his only son (Jesus), conceived of His seed, to pay a debt for my wrong actions, immoral thoughts and offensive words. God did this not for me alone, but for you too. This was not forced on Jesus either, in fact Jesus (the same Jesus that the hymn says “Jesus Saves”) said of his life “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.” (See: The gospel according to John chapter 10:18a)

The sea, oceans or any large body of water ought always to be treated with care and caution. Just because of the power it has by virtue of the laws of physics does not require us to stay away from it at all times, but rather calls us to exercise wisdom and good sense when enjoying the pleasure of water. I think this caps off what we desire in these grand fantasies including islands, seas and caves a well-defined boundary that can both protect us, but reminds us to mind well our strengths and look for help in our weakness.

Oh! By the way, Jesus did die, but he is the only man to come back to life never to die again. He was witnessed by over 500 people, talking with them, eating in front of them and some touched him. Get a copy of “The Gospel according to John” or find it in a Bible sometime, read it. It is true.

History Immortalized

One of my favorite periods of history is the 1800’s. From this time we gained several wonderful entrepreneurial inventions, one of them being the camera, but I enjoy most from this point in history, the active intent of men and actually believing in something for which they held to be worth dying. Those from this time, whose auto-biographies we can read today were very capable of articulating their reasons for their decisions and from this basis did not hesitate in their action to accomplish them.

What do these things have in common with cameras? I recently visited a replication of the “Arlington House” which was the residence of Gen. Robert E. Lee (Commanding Officer of the Confederate States of America Army). He with millions of others took a stand for what they believed. They knew the cost and consequence of their decision, but they were willing to pay it. General Lee would make comments of his decision to participate in war like; “It is well that war is so terrible, lest we should grow too fond of it!”

It is the vision of Foetoss Light to produce images that articulate truth to our viewers. Among these truths are Life, Joy, Peace, Liberty, Right and Moral Purity.

As we photograph our children, travels and the world around us, we are cataloging our time in history for generations to come as the auto-biographers and historians of the 1800’s did for us. Let us be honest, pure, honorable, respectable, loving, intentional, articulate, wise and true about our beliefs, the consequences of our choices and product of our time spent among the living.

Thanks for reading and God bless!

Construction Zone – Part 3

I cannot be sure that I can say enough times that safety is very important in Construction Zones. So without belaboring the point I will let you know that being always observant of your surroundings and scanning the work area will not only show you new possibilities for your next shot, but could very well save your life.

If you have been invited into a Construction Zone, the Safety Officer will give you some very important information and guidelines to follow, both for your safety and the safety of the workers with whom you will come into contact. Please pay special attention to these instructions!

Even if you are not allowed into the Construction Zone, it was well worth the asking!

Another minor point of discussion would be not to assume the Construction Zone to be road construction alone, but also housing construction, business zoning, and what about small projects around the house or artists such as sculptors? There are many items Constructed from many substances! Use your imagination and consider the possibilities!

How do these mentioned projects fit into the category of backgrounds for portraits? Is this not getting a little far afield of the original post intent? I will let you judge that, I only wish to help you cultivate a fertile imagination for your photography. Small projects around the house are great for portraits of children and perhaps an artist wants to showcase themselves as well as pieces of work.

Portraiture and Stock have an odd way of working across their lines of definition. As well they should; to keep us on our toes, showing us that life is not all cut and dried. I have just finished several photography projects. As I bring them to a close, I am learning a lot about what it means to put into practice what I have learned as well as some finer points, just so that a photography experience with my studio is natural, coordinated and inspiring.

We all have our own “Construction Zones”.

Construction Zone – Part 2

As I continued thinking about the post “Construction Zone“, I realized that some of it may not have made sense. Safety is also a rather obvious subject in regards to “photo ops” inside a Construction Zones, but a time wherein we each would be wise to heed these reminders.

It is not my desire to list shots for you. Creativity has its place in your work as it does mine. However, I want to play the salesman and in a friendly way “demonstrate” to you that such a style of photo are great for portraits. Ready?

Construction Zones provide you with a unique opportunity to see a physical transition from  a natural landscape to intentionally designed architecture which into it has had many hours of labor and planning invested. Does this sound like a graduate, or engagement, perhaps a wedding? These also are relationships which are being constructed in individual people. This is to set the subject of you photography within a pictorial statement of what is happening in their life.

To illustrate setting your subject in a pictorial setting of their life happenings, I will find in my archives of photos a picture I set-up and took while in college. My college time was a time of testing and maturing, so within this picture you see a few statements such as I suggested for Construction Zones.

Now there is more to this photo than just the setting, but let us first address the surrounding settings. Since I am the subject in the photo above, the photo setting I was in reminds me of being isolated from distraction. This isolation for me was beneficial so that I could focus on course work but also provided an aspect of quiet reflection.

This quiet reflection is part of the maturing process I mentioned earlier. I was able to consider my motivations and match them against the standard for living a quiet and peaceable life. This is the other part of this photo. My actions in each pose speak to my attitudes because of my choice motivation. As I questioned my motivations and looking to understand where attitudes came from, the very foundation of my beliefs were settled, suitable for building.

This is the same purpose that your stock images taken from Construction Zones can serve as portrait backgrounds.

I will leave the rest to your fertile imagination!