Archive for November, 2007

Lifehacker has a great article on desktop wallpaper utilities for the mac. I find that a new desktop background can be really refreshing, and can help you out of a funk.

Need a pick-me-up? Use one of your very best shots as your background. Whenever your mind goes blank on a task, or you’re feeling discouraged, just go to your desktop and gape at your own awesomeness.

Need some inspiration? Try any of the links at right, and see if you can’t find something that doesn’t get your brain going. It can make a big difference.

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One of the things that I’ve struggled with is getting my image library cleaned up and organized. I underestimated the importance of having an organized, keyword-ed library, and I’m paying the price now with forgotten images, images that are difficult to find, and images that are keyworded wrong or poorly. It wasn’t that difficult early on, because I could quickly scan through a library of just a few thousand images to find the one I’m looking for. As your image library grows, it becomes that much slower to find the image you need quickly.

To be fair, though, as a new photographer, knowing what systems will be most useful to you later is a challenge. When you’re just beginning, and you’re shooting your friends or stringing for a local paper, it’s difficult to know what you will be doing 2, 3 or 5 years later. So, which information is relevant? Like I said, it’s tough to tell.

I have recently decided that I am going to submit a great deal of my image library to stock libraries, as a way to monetize the images I shoot for fun, or when possible with images I shoot for clients. So, I am going back through and keywording images by subject matter. For people images, I tag based on their gender, physical appearance, profession, and other criteria. So, if I need to find a picture of a female blonde lawyer, I can do it quickly, and I don’t have to waste time looking through my whole library of irrelevant architecture, live music, or wedding pictures.

I am also tagging images based on their lighting, setting and any other ‘internal’ criteria. The idea is that I can build a ‘lighting library’ where I can keep track of which shots were lit by different means. So, for upcoming shoots, I can look through other images I’ve shot and brainstorm ideas based on previous results. It’s a great way to make progress as a technical photographer, because you never forget anything you’ve done. Already, I’m finding this to be a handy resource.

Adobe Lightroom, my manangement/editing software of choice, has an extremely robust keywording system. You can read all about using it in this awesome 5 part tutorial. I found this guide to be extremely useful in learning how Lightroom handles keywords, and how you can quickly and efficiently get a big, disorganized pile of images into a clean, tightly organized library of find-able images. When I export these images, the keywords stay with and move on to my stock agencies, where photo buyers can search for them based on all the criteria I’ve specified. Cool.

These are some images from the Genarlow Wilson Supreme Court trial. I shot these images in July for the Fulton County Daily Report. I was to cover the hearing at the Georgia Supreme Court and also the press conference immediately thereafter. If you’re not familiar with the case, wikipedia has the answers you seek. A photojournalist’s job is to cover the event in a way that conveys its significance. You must condense the goings in into one, or a few images, and get across the visual information that accompanies the article. This case was a hot-button issue, and all the major news outlets were there. I was shooting next to photographers working for the AP, the New York Times, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution. These were guys at the top of the field, so I was interested to see what shots they brought back, and what shots I brought back, so I could see how I compare to top photographers. So, I decided to shoot the case and focus on the media attention. Here are some of the standout images: genarlow wilson supreme court trial-3.jpg In the Georgia Supreme Court, all of the imaging media is confined to an area on the left side of the courtroom, behind a colonnade. It’s a small, confined space, and the best spots were camped out by the big shooters. Before the trial started, I grabbed this shot of a cluster of other photographers to illustrate how much media was focussed on this case.

genarlow wilson supreme court trial-13.jpg

This image is like the ‘calm before the storm’. It is shot from the lobby, looking out on the front steps, and the group of camera men, photographers and tv personalities gathered on the front steps, waiting for the press conference to begin. Again, I tried to capture the mass of lenses and eyes focussed on the people involved. genarlow wilson supreme court trial-18.jpg I think this shot is the real winner, here. The media throng was thick and aggressive. Shooting this press conference, I was sometimes crouched down, crammed between TV camera tripods and strange butts. I shot with a wide angle lens in order to bring in the crowd surrounding Genarlow’s mom, little sister and lawyer. genarlow wilson supreme court trial-21.jpg And here are the Wilson’s being led away through, and followed by the media frenzy. By focussing on the idea of the family being scrutinized by the media, I brought viewers into their world. These images show you what it might feel like to stare down a teeming mass of lenses and microphones.

Hello.

My name is Shaun, and this is my new blog. I am a professional photographer in Atlanta, GA. Here’s my portfolio. I’m going to use this blog to post pictures and talk about my experiences as a shooter here in the Big Peach. I’m new to the business, so I am going to focus the business topics to things like getting established, gaining new clients, maximizing your income so you can survive, lighting tips, equipment tips, photoshop tips, and other related stuff.

The idea is that I think that new photographers face a huge uphill battle. Their competition has a better marketing budget, has better equipment, and pre-existing relationships with regular customers than you do. Most importantly, they have established profitable working patterns, so the progress that they do make is always forward.

It’s not so easy for a new photographer. There are difficult, primary, basic questions that need to be answered. Here are just a few:

What style (or styles) of photography are both enjoyable and profitable?

How does the market work?

Where do clients come from?

What things can I charge for?

How much should I charge for them?

What are the hazards and pitfalls of starting a photography business?

The list goes on and on, and each answer is crucial to knowing how you will conduct your business. Hopefully, I will be able to address these issues. I also want to post some examples of my own work, anecdotes, and other such things. I am going to use this blog as a way to focus my thoughts, collect relevant information for me to use later, and to maybe, hopefully, help out other new photographers or reach potential clients. Who knows?