Archive for the ‘On the job’ Category

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Catching up…

May 15, 2009

Well, a month between posts is not what I had in mind for this blog, but it’s been a pretty busy month.  I’ve done a few commercial jobs, shot a wedding with a friend and moved into a new house.  I’d say it has been busy!

Settling in to the new place has been exciting.  We’ve moved to Skippack, PA, a nice little artsy town with many small shops and restaurants.  Skippack also has the propensity to draw large crowds to stroll its streets during the many festivals it hosts throughout the year.  Surprisingly, there’s only one photographer in town with a shop on the main walk.  Perhaps the town could stand another… 🙂

The more weddings I shoot the more I like them.  Sure, it’s really hard work, but there’s something about the atmosphere – nervous energy and excitement.  I have another one or two this month (waiting for confirmation on the second) and I’m looking forward to them.  I’m very much a people person and if you get a fun group for the wedding, the day is a real joy.

[EDIT: Wow, did I post the wrong picture!  Not sure what happened, but the image I posted did NOT look like I expected – completely my fault!  I’m replacing with two of my favorites from that day.]

First Dance

Daddy's little girl...

I’ve done a significant amount of printing over the last month both in house and outsourced.  I’m still extremely impressed with the color and quality my Epson 3800 provides.  It’s just a dream printer for the type of printing I’m doing.  The problem came in when I needed to print multiple size prints.  I use QImage to print.  This software arranges multiple size images on paper in a way that optimally uses the print media.  The prints look great, but my paper cutter destroyed the prints.  Ughhhh.  After a little research I found that the best paper cutters are made by Rotatrim and they’re not cheap! 🙂  Now what?

With a bad paper cutter and a short delivery time on the prints, I went to a new online friend – White House Custom Color.  WHCC prints everything from proofs to books to posters all at reasonable prices and with fantastic results.  After a quick couple of test prints (they deliver second day mail!) I was able to reprint my entire order, package in a beautiful box and receive in just two days.  I was really impressed and, best of all, so was my client.  From now on, WHCC gets my printing business.  I still love my 3800, but for multiple size orders this is going to save a lot of time and money.

On a technical note, I recently converted my Mac Book Pro to dual boot with Windows 7.  “Dual booting” allows me to choose which operating system my Mac Book uses upon start up – Mac OS X or Windows 7.  For those of you that aren’t familiar, Windows 7 is the next version of the Microsoft Windows operating system after Vista.  Microsoft has provided a pre-release copy on their website for free download.  You’re able to use this “release candidate” until July 2010.  Be warned!!! After the expiration of the release candidate you need to reinstall Windows 7.  There is no upgrade from this to the released version.

Suffice it to say, I’m LOVING the dual boot option.  While I’ve totally mostly converted to OS X, there are still some tasks with which I need Windows.  While my experience with VMWare Fusion for running Windows virtually has been nothing but positive, sometimes you need all the horsepower a real machine provides.  I’m really exited that my Mac hardware supports Windows 7 extremely well.  If you find yourself a Mac user with a need to run Windows from time-to-time I really like the Boot Camp option for a true Windows environment.

Lastly, I’m working on better defining my communication.  Currently, I have one Facebook and Twitter profile.  I’m going to divide this into a person profile and a photography profile.  I’ll provide more information via Twitter and my Facebook fan page as soon as the changes are complete…

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A little music goes a long way…

April 14, 2009

Often, when creating presentations of my photos, I love to include music.  You can add another dimension to your art by including a track that compliments the style of your presentation, especially when you just want to show images without any voice-over content.  When you find the perfect musical compliment it can heighten the appeal of the presentation.

Like the images we display, music is a copyrighted work and can’t be included in a presentation without the appropriate licensing.  Using music without permission is like having someone use your photos in a presentation, ad, or other work without your permission.  I do not allow my images to be used without license or permission so I don’t use copyrighted music.

But that’s hard!  It’s so easy to go to iTunes and find an MP3 from my collection of thousands of songs to use in a presentation.  Since I can’t do that, what do I do?  There are a number of online resources that offer royalty-free music.  I sell some of my work through stock agencies and noticed that iStockPhoto is now offering royalty-free music.  Doing a Google or similar search will find a number of places offering this type of music licensing.

I recently became aware of a new site – Stock20.com.  Stock20 has broadcast-quality music of all types available with royalty-free licensing – you buy a song and you can use it over and over again in your presentations, PowerPoint, broadcasts, websites, etc.  You simply can’t resell, sub license or remix any of the songs.  The pricing is straightforward too – $20 a song.  That’s even a little inaccurate as you get multiple versions of the song in various lengths.  That makes it a lot easier to fit into your work without needing to edit down the length of the song.  In fact, most “songs” contain 10 – 15 versions of the same piece.  Their stuff is good too!

If you’re looking for something like this use this referral link and you’ll get a free song when you sign up (a $20 value!).  There’s no credit card or purchase required to get the free song and there’s no commitment.  There’s also no telling when they’re going to end this promotion!  For full disclosure, I get a free song too when you sign up.  Even without this, I’d recommend the site.

Let me know what you think!

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A relaxing day at sea…

February 19, 2009

This is the second part (of how many, I don’t know) of my posts catching you up on the last few, very busy, weeks.  I intend to continue with the posts each day until I catch up.  Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 26th

The first full day had us steaming (can I still use steaming if it’s a diesel-electric engine?) through the Caribbean Ocean, past the West coast of Cuba and down to Roatan, Honduras.  The only official duty I had that day was to shoot a small reception in the evening for all the wedding guests.  For this gathering, I selected the 17-55 f2.8.  I believe this to be too wide for this type of work, but without a 24 – 70 (a future purchase) my only other options were a 60mm and/or 95mm primes.  I’d just have to get a little closer to the subjects.  Ultimately, this worked out because there wasn’t a whole lot of working room in the little club where the reception was held.

The SB-900 is my primary strobe and it works like a champ.  The secret (okay, maybe not a secret to most, but it took me a long time to figure this one out) is to shoot in manual mode not aperture priority that I normally use.  Set the camera to an ISO allowing you to get some background exposure using ambient light and not the strobe.  In this case I was using ISO 400.  This gives some exposure to the environment, but not nearly enough to be a distraction to the subject.  Then, set your aperture and use a shutter speed that’s complimentary to the chosen ISO for background exposure.  The flash then varies it’s output to properly expose the subject and foreground while the ISO and shutter speed expose the background.  Chimp like crazy here (that means check your LCD screen) and check your histogram to make sure you have a decent image.

Also, I try to keep my shutter speed high while using  ISO changes to fine tune the exposure.  Make sure you’re working within the capabilities of your camera’s sensor (you don’t want noisy images), but ISO is an easy boost to the background exposure.  I like a higher shutter speed (the flash will have to work a little harder) to combat camera shake (hand shake, boat shake, whatever) giving you a clear image.

The images captured the mood of the evening – relaxed and ready to enjoy the upcoming week.

Sonny and Alex

Maria

Eileen