Turn the screen off & treat it like film Challenge

A little Challenge:Turn the screen off & treat it like film

I went out in the city of Milwaukee last night to scout a few locations for an upcoming session and I noticed a few other photographers out and about doing their thing and having a good time.

The one thing I noticed though is almost everyone out there was looking at the back of their cameras on the LCD screens to see if the photograph was the way they wanted it every time they clicked the shutter button. It got me thinking I started with film and moved too digital and now I do the same thing, kinda interesting how the times have changed. Also it’s a little sad because there was a time we could not see what our images looked like until we developed the film and then went into the dark room and created out prints or had that dreaded Walmart develop our prints for us. I do miss the darkroom some days.

So what if we found a way to turn that little screen off or temporally black tape over it so we cannot instantly see the result to know if we have to shoot it again or not? Think of it as getting it right in the camera without the instant gratification like we used to have back in the film days.

I’m not saying to do this right off the bat on a payed gig but on a test/fun session just to see how things turn out. I’m willing to bet the first time or two we might need to go back and possibly try again or modify it in Photoshop or your current editing software more than you needed to over just looking at it on the screen. I think in the long run it would give us a more intimate understanding of our cameras and accessory gear.

Give it a try so for one or two fun sessions I encourage you and I will try this myself to only look through the viewfinder and not at the LCD screen on the back, wait till you get home to see if you got it right like in the days of film.

I would love to see what you come up with right out of the camera leave a photo in the comment section below.

Tim Gumz

Learning from our mistakes: Stay true to what make you, you.

Learning from our mistakes: Stay true to what make you, you.

As the summer roles on and heat and humidity set in, frustration, compromise and the need to please clients tends to hit higher levels as well.  At some point in time one has to reevaluate, if what one is doing is leading you away from who you are.

There is a lesson to be learned here and it is one I learned not all that long ago. This being, it is impossible to please/accommodate everyone all the time and that sometimes no matter what one does to try accommodate a client or perspective client,  we may have to send them to another photographer who specializes in that area of photography.

I learned that it is important to stick to your discipline/style and there is a time and place to expand outside of our comfort zone and try a different photography discipline. I am a good portrait photographer but even thought I know a fair amount of product photography it is not my strong suit and having to tell a client “no” it is not something as a business provider I currently don’t accommodate does happen.

It stinks, it truly does, to have to turn away work/potential customers or returning customers but if what you are going to give a potential customer something that is not your best quality work it will not only hurt the customers currently because they do not have the best quality photo of their product but it will hurt you and your business in the long run because you let it be known you are willing to do sub-par work just to make a dollar.

As photographers we have our areas of expertise. Some of us are good portrait photographer where others are great at architectural photography and so on and so forth. While it is great to expand our horizons, to learn and become better in other disciplines of photography, it is important to remember what areas of photography we are good at when we do contract work for others. We should not be so quick to jump to another discipline of photography because a client begs us to or just to make earn extra money until we can prove that this new area of photography is up to the standards we have in our primary discipline.

Learn, practice and promote is the way expanding into a new discipline of photography should be handled. In the long run it will be more beneficial for you than just saying hey I can do “that” and then in the end give the client sub-par work. Also know it is okay to say “no” to a perspective client because sometime we are not the best fir for their needs.

Family Photo Sessions Walk Though

We were recently asked by a client if we could do a brief run of how our family portrait sessions work and evolve from consultation to product delivery, so let’s dive in.

When we first meet with our client preferably at their homes, we like to decide on a location that has special meaning your family. It can be any place that from your home, family farm, a park, or a vacation spot. No place is out of the realm of possibilities when it comes to creating your lasting memory that will hang on the walls of your home.

From deciding on a location we then like to move onto clothing options. Normally we like to try to get families to wear the same color options. We like to do this so we don’t have a rainbow mash up of colors and distracting patterns pulling away form the overall image. This can be done a couple of different ways. First we can divide it out by parents and children, so the parents would be in one color style and the children would be in another. Another way we can do this is by separating out the genders so that mother and daughter are in one style and father and son are in another. Also the one thing we really like to emphasize is that we like to have each induvial family members keep their own clothing styles. So as long as it is looks presentable that is great. This way someone is not stuck in a clothing option they hate and are uncomfortable during our session.

Also we while we are meeting to set up your family photo session we would like to know if you are going to be bringing your family pet along. In any family Sparky is just as big of a part of the family as the children or your partner is. We also love animals so we would be really happy if you did decide to include them on this day..

On the day of the photo session at the location of your choosing we will arrive early and make sure the site is clean so when you and your family arrive we are not having to waste time. If the session is being conducted at your home, we will still arrive early and assist you with making sure everything is the way you want your back ground to look and maybe help with a few suggestions. In addition to shooting the main family photo we will also be doing pairs and individual photos so we can give you and your family options to choose from.

From the time we have our visitation/planning session to the day of the proof viewing we would like you to start thinking of where your family portrait is going to hang.We will ask you where would you like to or think you might want to present the finished photo in your home?  We do this because it gives an idea of how to compose the final portrait to better utilize your space. Also in the long run it means more to be able to see your family photos on a wall or in an album rather than on a screen. We say this because in the long run the print will last longer than the digital media that is always changing very rapidly.

Once as a family you have made your decision on what photos you want and what sizes and mediums you would like them produced on we will begin production on your photos. This can take up to three to four weeks depending on order size and prior client orders in front of yours.

We also get asked if we offer digital files with our photos, we do have a policy of the photos you purchase for print we will give our clients those photos in digital format for use on social media or other personal projects. We also offer a variety of ways for you to obtain those photo though, data drive, CD/DVD, could server or email.

Come delivery day we will deliver to you so you and your family can see the finished product all at once and to make sure everything is to you and your families liking.

We look forward to hearing from you and help you create your next beautiful family portrait.

Backups to your Backup!

So it has been a little while from my last blog post. In that time, I have learned to always make sure to have backups and if possible backups to your backup.

This applies to everything, have backups to your camera gear, editing and transportation. For example, my main camera is a Nikon D-800 and its backup is a Nikon D-300 and that cameras backup is an old film camera from the mid 90’s. For my files I backup them on external hard drives and on a cloud network and I don’t remove them from the memory cards until they are loaded on both. That way in case something happens to my files I am not out of the work I have just done for a client or for myself. As for transportation I have an 09 Dodge and that’s backup is a old tired 68 Pontiac Firebird its there if its need but thankfully I have never had that need.

The lesson here is even though you may not be using your backup device never let it out of your reach because everything is going fine until, it’s not.  I ran into “IT’S NOT”, not too long ago.

I came home from an corporate event in Milwaukee, WI in the middle of June one night to find the black screen of DOOOMMM on my computer with a deadline looming quick. In the end we found out the video card had fried itself and took part of the motherboard with it but had left the hard drive intact with no loss of photos or business files.
It was at that point in time I realized the backup laptop was nowhere to be found. I had lent out to a friend whose computer shorted out and was waiting on a new one and need to keep their business going. So I had just broken my own rule number 1, “never let your back up out of reach because everything is okay until it isn’t.” Thanks to a local photographer friend Jeff Boomer Ernst who lent me his backup, I was back up and running the next day an able to make my deadline.
A day after deadline my backup was back and I was up and running and a few more days after that a new laptop arrived and business is back to normal.

In the youth of my business I had just committed a major forepaw and that was, I didn’t have my backup. Now I realize that for other photographers who companies are in their infancy, you may not have backups to your backup or backups in general, it can be expensive. Though it is something as you take on more and more clients, you do have to look into because if you screw up and miss a deadline or lose the work its can cost you in the long run. That client talks to other possible clients and it spiderwebs out and can cause more problem down the line. Even if you don’t really use your backups you need to have them. I got lucky and had the help of a friend and I was able to make deadline.

So I cannot express enough to beginning photographers, first to have a backup camera and second have a backup computer. If you cannot currently afford to do so make sure you have a backup plan in case the unthinkable does happen to you and that way you and your clients are not left out in the cold.