Meet my good buddy, Joe Elario. We've been friends for a lot of years, going back to the late 80's when he first came by the Hasselblad booth at the Photo East show (now PPE). We've hung out together at various conventions; watched his son, JP, who many of you have met at WPPI, grow into a great photographer and essentially shared a lot of laughs and meals together.
Every summer for the last six years or so the marketing department at Saratoga has contacted Joe for images from the races. They're stunning and Joe's helping me make a point. Just because Joe's specialty is wedding photography doesn't mean he doesn't have other interests. He applies the same outstanding technique he's used on everything he's photographed since he started in this business. He never compromises on quality and that's become part of his reputation and brand.
Whether it's a wedding or a day at the races, you can't create images that tug at people's heartstrings if your own heart isn't in it! Obviously, Joe's heart is in every click of the shutter!
Check out Joe and JP's work by visiting their site. You won't be disappointed.
Images copyright Joe Elario. All rights reserved.
Intro by Skip Cohen
A couple of weeks ago I shared a post in Luminary Corner by Giulio Sciorio. Giulio talked about one of the ways he's using 4K video - street photography and capturing images he wouldn't have been able to get. It was a great post, and Charlie Sill of Blueberry Productions commented on Twitter.
He agreed with Giulio's point. If you know my reputation, I love the social side of social media. I went to Charlie and Federico Vasquez's website, Blueberry Productions. There was a combination of still imaging services with video, essentially a full-service imaging business. I picked up the phone and called Charlie, and asked if he wanted to do a guest post on the importance of video today, and here we are.
Here's the point - it's so important for photographers to be diverse today. Technology is constantly changing, and video is playing a role in products you can create for your clients, as well in your own video introducing potential clients to your services.
Suzette Allen has written a lot about hybrid technology, mixing still images with short video clips for client holiday cards, for example. And, in the Photodex Annex there are two new Building Your Business spotlight profiles on Sal Cincotta and William Innes, which both include samples of their Proshow Web videos.
If you're a photographer who's traditionally been shooting still images, you have a unique opportunity to bring video into your skill set. Or, if you don't want to, then develop a relationship with somebody who understands video and work to build a stronger more diverse presentation of services to your client base.
A big thanks to Charlie for coming through after just a phone call. It's a great guest post and right on point with an aspect of the business every photographer should be looking at.
by Charlie Sill
In this rapidly changing landscape of media, advertising, creativity and imagination, we are always looking to the next best thing. The next best thing sometimes involves learning a new skills set. Scary? Only if you dwell in that head space.
As artists we are naturally curious about how we can be better at our chosen craft, photography. As Hollywood went from silent films to talkies the comfort shifted and the artist adapted, some faster and more willingly than others. Your skills, as photographer, can be used to create a more engaging experience for your clients through video. Really, video can do this? Yes. Your business will also rank better in the SEO chain by using video!
It is amazing to learn that within the world of search engine optimization those web sites with video rank higher than those without. How much more? The latest numbers suggest, as indicated by Michael Hoban of Blur Group…
“ Videos are generally more engaging for users. A study by Statistic Brain found that the average viewing time of an internet video is 2.7 minutes. Considering that this study also found that 17% of all non-video pageviews last less than 4 seconds, the argument that video content is more engaging seems to have substantial foundations.”
Video can be used in many ways too. In its most simple form, the slide show is like video in that it moves, changes and there is an anticipation of what is coming next. On a more complex level, video can tell a story using sound, as we did here with a local Atlanta architecture firm.
Yes, learning video is challenging but can benefit you and your business and who does not want that? Some ideas for where to begin...we use a prosumer video program from Corel called Pinnacle Studio which has a not-so-steep learning curve. For more advanced users there are other programs like Adobe Premier which is a cloud based element. If you prefer the Mac side of life they have Final Cut. Take some time to learn this skill and you will open up to a whole new sense of the aesthetic art we call video! As we found, the more you learn...the more you want to learn. Enjoy the journey.
Intro by Skip Cohen
Every now and then I run across an image posted on Facebook that leaves me speechless. Sometimes it's the technique involved. Sometimes it's the location or degree of difficulty in capturing the image. The image below is about the true meaning of photography - it's about emotion, love and a certain sadness that's explained in Tamara Lackey's comments.
I wanted to share it for several reasons. First, it's an amazing image, captured by Tamara's daughter while in Ethiopia at an orphanage. Second, it's a great way to make you aware of a special fund-raiser Tamara and her family are doing. Last but not least, I couldn't be more proud of my friendship with Tamara. We all talk about wanting to make a difference in the world, but here's a family who's really doing it.
There's also something amazing about the image. Love is intangible, yet her daughter managed to capture all the emotion between a mother and son. Looking at the image you feel the love, the pain and even the hope.
Tamara and her family are raising money to safeguard this orphanage and while she might be over her goal, let's help her blow the doors off her original target. It's not like this is the only funding these children will need. Just click the link below.
Follow more of the story on Tamara's Facebook page. More images and information is just a click away.
by Tamara Lackey
My oldest daughter took this candid shot of me and our 5 1/2 year old son, who we have spent every day with while we've been here for the last two weeks, much time spent around meals and wash up and managing projects and outings and practicing English and play. And a whole lot of time spent just like this : )
I was taken aback when she showed me this. It exactly, perfectly, shows how I feel for him.
The fact that it has been over 13 months since we started this adoption process, the fact that we are all closer to him than ever before, and the fact that we must leave this country *without* him - at least for now - just does not add up in any way for any of us. It feels incredible unnatural, frustrating and so very sad. I know there are optimistic views about all of this that I will make an effort to move to, for the sake of all of us, soon.
But, for right now, the thought of having to leave him here just feels all kinds of wrong.
In late July I wrote a post about the value of images. We all take for granted the true power behind so many of the photographs we capture. Stephen Hoff wrote the following comment:
In 2009, I shot a small wedding and the groom's parents didn't want to pose for 'pictures'. I respectfully asked if they would allow me to take a few with their grandson. They agreed and ended up loving the images.
About a month later, the father/grandfather died in a freak accident while at work. The mother of the bride asked if I was able to provide a framed image to the family for the memorial service, and I was happy to be able to do so.
I recently shot the bride's sister's wedding and the groom, whose father died, said that they are so happy they have the images of the family together. At the time I took it, I didn't realize how important that particular image would be to them.
To this day, every time I look in the viewfinder, I realize the importance of the people and images we capture and the responsibilities we have as photographers.
Thanks Stephen, your story makes such a strong point about the value of every image. You never know how it's going to be used or its value later on.
Intro by Skip Cohen
I've written before about social media making the world a smaller space. Here's a prime example. I've never met Kristina Sherk, but caught some examples of her work as a retoucher after she posted on Twitter. I checked out the link she shared and then picked up the phone and called her. During the conversation I asked if her if she had an interest in doing a guest post and here we are.
I love her approach, because retouching certainly isn't just for beauty photographers. More to the point, so many of you spend hours on your computer cleaning up images when your true value to the business is in marketing. Jeff Jochum coined an expression years ago with "right-sourcing". It's like outsourcing, but more to the point.
So, when it comes to your images, work to get great shots right out of the can. Get to know your gear and fine-tune your skill set, so you're not having to spend hours cleaning things up. Next, when you get an image that really requires additional work, things you couldn't have resolved before hitting the shutter button, consider enlisting the help of somebody with a great skill set, a retoucher like Kristina.
Interested in seeing more of Kristina's work? Check out her website. She's based in Bethesda, MD, but with the click of a mouse she can be right next to you anywhere in the world.
by Kristina Sherk
While I do have to admit, the majority of retouching inquiries I get are about beauty retouching, I’m always excited by inquiries from photographers outside the fashion and beauty fields. Sometimes (if I’m lucky) the request is something I’ve never done before, so I get to challenge myself! I’ve heard it all; from “Can you remove this person?” to “Can you change the background?” and even… “We need to create a group photo from a bunch of individual portraits.” So, as you can see; retouching is not just for the fashion photographer anymore!
A long time mentor of mine; John Harrington once told me, “The amount of time you have with your client is reversely correlated to how much money you should be charging them.” To translate; when you’re photographing executives in the corporate realm, their time is exceptionally valuable, and the less time you take to capture a good portrait, the better a photographer you are. And thus, you should be compensated accordingly. After all, time is money, people!
So when photographers feel the need to call in a retoucher, it’s usually after a shoot didn’t go according to plan, or the client wasn’t happy. And sometimes, it’s a direct effect of how much time the photographer had with the client. Having a professional retoucher on call who can fix problems if the shoot goes awry is imperative if you choose not to devote the time to learning photoshop. But please don’t take this statement the wrong way! It’s ultimately your choice to decide how your time is best spent.
If you do decide to devote time to learning photoshop, plenty of photographers become exceptionally proficient in the program over time. I recommend photographers take one new menu item a day and research how to use it. It only takes 30 minutes or so, and over time, as your knowledge of the program grows, you’ll be able to save yourself tons of hours of work because you’ll know how to work smarter, not harder!
Here are a couple examples of corporate images I’ve retouched.
Stephen Voss called me to see if I could replace the table cloth and cutlery on the table, with a natural wood table top because “the editors thought it didn’t look organic enough.”
Isaac Oboka’s clients decided after the portrait, that while they liked the wife in the image, the husband didn’t look that great. So I recreated the shutters behind the woman and removed the husband.
Jamie Rose: In this image for a housing ad about moving into a new apartment, I got to play stylist and wardrobe staff, while I added a shirt to the boy in the shot.
Whether you decide to retouch your images yourself, or outsource the work, retouching is still an integral step in the photography process. You owe your clients the best representation of themselves in the image you provide to them. If you do it right, your clients will stick with you over the years since “they always look so good in the photos you take of them.”
Can someone say client retention? Cha-CHING!