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.

Architecture

An architect looks to a photographer to match the environmental mood to the structure of the building he/she designed.

Architectural photography takes time and more than one trip to the designated site. Time of day will make or break the success of your photograph. There are 2 key times to take a photograph of a structure; sunrise and sunset. If you want to photograph the outside of a building, you must be very dedicated. First, you must watch where the light falls on the structure. When is the main entrance illuminated? Maybe there is a statue that highlights a dominant area. What is most significant? Maybe you can’t get the key places illuminated in only one session. Visit the building and document where the light falls and how quickly it changes. Proper planning will save you much stress and decrease the unknown when the day of the shoot happens.

Weather and time of year are also major factors. If you live in Texas, like me, expect the unexpected. More than once, cloud cover has caused me to revisit a site 3 to 4 times. The weather channel will become your best friend. Even then, meteorologists are never 100% correct all the time. Don’t get discouraged. It happens to the best.  You may think that you can sleep in and just head out a day late, but you can’t afford to take chances. Depending on a deadline or if it is for your own portfolio, consider the vegetation surrounding the structure. Maybe green grass or fully bloomed trees will emphasize the beauty or geometry of the building. Maybe without it, the area looks cold and desolate. What is the site used for and what feeling are you trying to portray? Maybe you want to capture a few people walking in the area to show usage of the establishment.

Be ready for all sorts of conditions and prepared to wake up at the crack of dawn. It may be tough work and the planning may become extensive, but you will see a major improvement of your images quality. If you want to “wow” your audience then play with sunlight and let it work to your advantage.

Happy shooting!!!

Portraits – Property

Little things that might otherwise never be considered in portraits are good to keep accessible. These little things should target a purpose for the photo.

  • Is this a yearly portrait session?
  • Is this special birthday session?
  • Is this a business portrait session?

These three examples are a start on the purposes for portraits but what kind of session do you most often shoot? Which session properties will be the most valuable to your business or in-formal shots?

Property or “props” are added elements which suggest motion, share information and set the mood within the photo. Listed below are some “props” which may help you get your “prop” inventory started.

  • Numbers – Numbers apply to birthday and yearly portrait sessions by signifying the age of the subject or the year the portrait was taken. This is the basic use of numbers in a shot, but what other ways can you bring the number into a portrait?
  • Letters – Most commonly a letter is used to state the first letter of the subject’s last name.
  • Umbrellas – Making a statement to Weather or femininity, umbrellas are incredibly versatile! Umbrellas range in design from large to small, dainty to rugged and sporty to fashion.
  • Bean-bag chairs – Styrofoam pellet stuffed chairs give the ultimately conformable property for the wiggling young child or relaxed appearance for older children and young adults.
  • Large stacking blocks – Boxes made of wood or other solid materials can create fun variations on a set. Making impromptu stairs for your subjects to ascend or a small pattern to partially separate activity in your photo frame.
  • Picture frames – Picture frames can be a visual reminder to the viewer of the portrait’s focus in an artistic way or even offer a pictorial time-line with a photo inside of a previous event. (For instance; during the bridal portrait session the bride could hold her favorite picture of her engagement portrait session.)

These are all suggestions which I hope inspire you to use things I have never thought about. I look forward to hearing your success stories and the “props” you use!

Thank You!

The end of August and this beginning of September is a mile-stone for Foetoss Light | Photography blog; we are celebrating our first year and all of its successes!

Thank you for your wonderful support! Your “like”s and comments have given me encouragement and inspiration for the service we have provided this last year and we want to improve our service! Your support is appreciated, seen and used!

We are working on expanding our services through the blog in this next year, which will provide you with precise information on specific consumer and professional cameras, settings and functions; brand comparisons and service connections.

Another mile-stone we achieved is our 80th post! Last Friday, September 8, was our 80th post and we look forward to many more.

I will say this; when creating two posts a week, it can be nerve wracking when trying to make certain this is not a “duplicate post”. I have learned that duplication has higher probability of occurring when I stop learning. I understand that I write from what I know and use, but without the continual learning and applying that education I will begin repeating myself. Thank you for your continuing interest! Because of your interest I am encouraged to continue learning and sharing it all with you!

In the last quarter we have been read in 33 countries and close to 2,000 post views. I see this as a huge spring board to use in propelling us to a whole new level. Are you ready? Stay tuned and I will give you the “heads-up” as we take each step in this next year.

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.

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

Location, Location, Location! Part 2

Do you ever get surprised by something unintended in a photo but brings it up a step from good to superb? This post is something along those lines.

I have been working on textures for sometime, and while on a shoot I captured some textures that made the photo complete. I did not even notice what I had done until I was editing the photos!

This illustration is a half step behind by the fact that the added texture was unintentional, but for what it lacks, it fills in by demonstrating how texture can fit so well into a photo.

As I took the photo, I wanted to be sure to capture the free-standing display board and materials on the table. The tiled entry way and support column provide an unassuming background that brings an inviting warmth to the photo. The texture of the tile, is not over powering or out-of-place, but just enough that it almost makes the viewer feel secure and sure-footed.

I say that this was unintentional, when the whole truth is; I wanted this idea which we have discussed, communicated in the photo but did not fully see the environment which was to be captured.

My focus is texture. Using this post and its previous counter-part as an example you can use the very same principles to bring other elements into your photos! Have fun with it and the learning process. Remember: mistakes are a sign of improvement! Learning to walk means a possibility of falling, but getting up again to carry on is the vital attitude for success!