Reflection – Part 4

Reflections are not always  a display of  the room and what is in it. Sometimes reflections are not as much reflection as projection. A projection is a whole new world to explore and will give you a riddle for a challenge.

Remember the glass trophy I wrote of in “Reflection – Part 3” as a story on myself? That trophy was actually giving a projection not reflecting. While it really happened to me, it is a great illustration of what I am writing about.

Blocking reflections should follow the same pattern as other forms of troubleshooting. Work from the basic to the most advanced issue.

Friends of mine who work in the IT field can tell me story after story of how they worked on a problem for hours only to find out something as simple as a power outage was caused by an unplugged power cable.

I find myself often embarrassed by asking for help only for the person coming to my aid, see my difficulty to be a basic one. This is not to say that you should never ask for help. The most productive people I know choose to ask multiple times a day for help! I have found the best time to ask is after covering the basics.

Projection is one of those difficulties that we discover is not reflection after we have eliminated all possible reflections. There was something in the glass trophy I thought was a reflection but it would not go away no matter where I put a fill card! That was when I began asking the question “What is this glass trophy showing me?” instead of “Where is this reflection coming from!”

My answer came after I stopped assuming it was a reflection. Unfortunately this glass trophy was a solid piece so I could not open it and stop the projection shown in the edges of the trophy, but I did learn more about what I should watch for next photo shoot.

Asking a question that matches the right answer is very helpful! Keep asking questions!

Reflections

Have you seen something that makes your mind race with questions and anticipation to record what you see in photograph? I have and spent the last 4 years attempting to fashion in my photographs the wow factor that I see with my eyes. It is a challenge!

If you are like me, it is the challenge that gets me excited. I am motivated by my perception of reward and that reward is learning how to compose the shot. I am not satisfied with just getting the shot. If I cannot reproduce the shot in some form or another, I did not learn the composition and structure of the shot well enough.

I recently photographed reflective objects. It is by experience in photographing these objects that I learn how to better expect the reflection placement.

For an illustration, the reflective ornaments in the linked picture sat in a bowl in the display window of Neiman Marcus. After taking the image I cropped the photo and displayed it; a friend asked where I was in the reflection because there was “no way I could not be in the photo!”

Truly, I did not edit myself out of the photo. I am sure that crossed many minds who looked at the photo, but in this case I found the one place where I could blend into my background with my black jacket and black camera body. Being in the city at night shooting a reflective object can have its advantages.

It is interesting however, literally every thing else is reflected in the ornaments!

I also want to include this statement; I knew reflection of myself was “inevitable” so I did my best to compose the shot as best I could and deal with my reflection. I was blessed to have taken this placement for shooting and learned from my own “accidental genius”. *Grin*

Learning Your Equipment – Part 2

Asking questions can open a whole new set of opportunities to you and not just in learning your equipment, but also for the availability of “pre-designed studios”. Allow me to explain: Friday afternoon I was in the local IKEA store, and with my camera over my shoulder I kept seeing one stock shot after another. So I found a floor sales assistant and asked for permission to take photos in-store. After some checking up the chain of command I was given the “okay” to take photos of the store product and section design.

Now, please understand this is a casual business agreement. Because I want something to push my business ahead, IKEA or any other company you ask for this kind of  permission will also want something in return. This is a kind of business bartering and be ready to handle it with care and wisdom. IKEA obviously does not want me to obstruct the shopping experience of their other customers, and so I carefully choose which pieces of equipment I will use while taking photographic shots.

Also, IKEA appreciates name publication and rightly so! Each company in a free market thrives on word of mouth recommendations and name recognition. I as a business owner and sole operator understand this and I am willing to give them what publicity I can in exchange for my ability to profit of photographing their store design and product layout.

As a benefit to me and a method of contact for the store management, I gave the employee my business card. In case you didn’t catch it, I just got publicity and name recognition with this employee which IKEA has asked of me by handing out my business card. Now, this is not a game of “one-up-manship”, but on the contrary; this is “I help you for helping me” business. A kind of “Thank you for permission”, “And you for your consideration.” Beautiful business assistance.

Keeping It All Straight

When I started actively building the paper existence of my photography studio I was asked a lot a questions by interested friends and acquaintances. They were not trying to pry or be rude by asking questions, but I often would find myself silent or stammering in an attempted reply to their questions.

I find it necessary to have a goal, or perhaps more accurately described as a mark on the horizon toward which I am moving. This keeps me moving consistently forward in one direction. Since I am one person, owner of one business, it works out very well.

I couch this topic a little in the aspect of a corporate vision. Hobbyists and parents, don’t be discouraged; this post is still directed for your benefit. By the way, please understand I do not intend to be condescending when I say “hobbyists” or “parents”. I am still a hobbyist myself in differing activities and I am the son of parents. I love and respect you both.

Parents, in my opinion you have a blessed and unique position to raise and teach your children according to your desires and standard.

Hobbyists, you too have a unique ability to spend time at your leisure doing the thing you love without the requirements of deadlines or financial pressure bearing on your expertise in the field of your hobby. The only difference between you and me is that I have the added stress of selling my expertise and photos, whereas you are free to enjoy and share both.

So parents and hobbyists, please enjoy as you read the hard learned lessons of a “working grunt”.

Vision: (It may be best to leave this broad definition to answer last while you answer the specific things below.)

Goal: (What do you want of your photography. Style? Signature work? Memory Keep-sake?)

Success: (What does success look like when you achieve a goal?)

  • Having something in hand to show off?
  • A party with your pictures displayed in slide show?
  • Decorating your house with your photography?

Focus: (What is important for you to remember as you pick-up your camera and adjust it for each shot?)

As you define these things, not only are you setting yourself up for success, but I find it so much easier for me to articulate my aspirations and desires to friends and acquaintances in answer to their questions.

Lists of shots

This post will not be as in-depth as others but if you take it seriously, can leave you with a very large load of homework. *Grin*

It has been my experience that I have all of these great shots in my head that I can either set-up or capture in theory. (In other words all of the elements I see in my imagination have been seen together at one time, at the same time.) However, when I find myself in a place that I have imagined a shot, I can not remember the elements I previously envisioned! Perhaps you also have experienced that disappointment and  horror of not being able to provide the photos I had in mind for my customer, now feeling like I will have to sell the shots I currently have twice as hard to make up for my lost enthusiasm. (This photo was taken in October of 2011. This is one of the times when I saw the shot, remembering it was something I had imagined without requiring me to add extra elements before immortalizing the scene.)

Here is how I am changing that costly error.

I have begun making a list of shots to compose by category, location, priority or time of day. (A time-saving tip is to input all of this information into a spread-sheet and then when I am ready to print a hard copy of my list I can prioritize them in the order that I will be shooting.)

I do not know about the rest of you, but I think about the next better shot all the time. My imagination especially runs wild after a shoot and I have just taken some exceptional shots. After I come down from the high of “a job well done”, I catalog the position and settings of the equipment set-up asking “What made the difference?” and every other question “9 ways from Sunday” about how it can be made better.