Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Terrible Trend

This should be a sticky post...

I've noticed in the last few years a disturbingly frequent shift in the attitudes of Art Buyers and businesses seeking to find images for advertising and promotion. It's the trend off FREE! Yes, I said FREE. The desire to procure images and use them for monetary gain ( their own advertising ) without the photographer receiving compensation for his / her work. For the offenders, catalog and calendar publishers, real estate firms, public relations weasels and pro bono whores, it's a win win game. Just think about it. You ( Art Director ) get great scenics and stock images that the photographer spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours producing and you get to benefit for nothing more than the promise of a 6pt photo credit in the ass crack of a double truck! And we all know how much that ad space is worth to our businesses... absofuckinglutely nothing!

It seems that the worst offenders are the clients with the most money and resources, the bigger the name, the more likely that the client wants it for free. Recently, I received a call from the second largest real estate firm in the southeast ( owned by a 9 Billion dollar company ) for some travel scenic images that they loved, images that were quite unique and well suited for their purposes. They weren't sure they could actually pay anything to use the images?

"Would you consider giving us permission to use some photos if we provide your name and website address for credit? "

Hell fucking no! ( not my actual answer... but it should have been )

"Please let us know if you would be interested in discussing this with us."

I let them know....immediately. No images without compensation, zip, zero, nada. Maybe they could come and sell my house ( If I had one ) for free and then I could tell all my friends...so they could call and get some free shit to!

This trend toward the Flicker /PhotoBucket everything's free mentality has got to be stopped. I'm doing my part, but I think it's a losing battle. There are just too many young, foolish and talented idiots that don't recognise the value of their work. The hard fact that one day these young photographers will be too tired and old to produce and may have to rely on the 'well' of their life's work to draw upon ( financially ) has passed this generation by.

Oh well, I guess we will all be lining up for our 'free' OBAMA BUCKS from Big Brother to buy our ration of toilet paper and day old bread. Life will be grand.

Thanks for reading


Sunday, May 25, 2008

DP Review Finalizes Canon Xsi Review

Follow this link to DP Review and read the final and comprehensive review of the Canon Rebel XSi. For Raw shooters, it seems to be a step up in quality from any of the previous Rebel models. The larger LCD screen and extended highlight range make it a winner in my book.

Check it out: DP Review of the Digital Rebel XSi

Monday, April 28, 2008

DIY Soft Box

Photo Courtesy Nick Wheeler

Down and dirty

I've seen a few Do-It-Yourself projects before, this one is for the hard-core only!

Head on over to DIYPhotography.net to check out this super soft box contraption by Flickr contributor, Nick Wheeler. Lots of great pics to help you build your own.

If you have to build one on location and you gotta get it done quick, try this Cardboard box beauty I found on the Photography On The Net forums. This one's a little more my style.

It just goes to show that you can make some great light with a little creativity and some effort...and maybe a little duct tape.

High ISO Changing The Way We Work

Less is more.

For the small group of photo luddites who still cling to film cameras, praying for a revival of old school technology, it's time to give up and join the future...before it's too late! Not only has digital changed the nature of photography and related businesses, but it has also changed the way we work and the type of equipment we use to get the job done.

What good photographer wouldn't want a couple of 4800 watt second Speedo packs, or half a dozen 102 heads, or 15 heavy duty light stands that can reach to the sky? The answer to that question has abruptly changed and the affects on the bottom line, budgets, travel, hiring assistants etc... have changed with it. For the old-school photographer, still trying to market himself or herself with the tired film-is-better mantra, budgets will soon push these stragglers into the 21st century.

No less than 2 years ago, I was contemplating re-building my equipment / lighting arsenal to its former glory. A few years of a slowing economy and shrinking business prospects had eaten away at my gear and patience. With the digital revolution and web technology changing the way I deal with clients, it seemed like time to re-invest in myself and get the ball moving forward again. To facilitate this new outlook and motivation, I decided to piece together some new equipment and a new attitude. Thank goodness my lack of funds restrained me from re-purchasing almost all of the bulky, expensive, workhorse gear that once lined the walls of my studio.

The newer DSLR's have made it possible and even reasonable to shoot the average assignment at much higher ISO's than would be prudent with film cameras. Large format shooters are losing ground to studios using 12, 16 and 21 mega pixel digital cameras, that can match the output of most med-format gear and give 4X5 transparency film a run for its money. All of this at higher ISO's than ever thought possible! This is effectively changing the game plan for location and studio shoots, where bulky, powerful strobes were once king. Some of this outdated, traditional gear, gathering dust in the corner, while newer, lighter and less powerful lighting units are taking over. The shrinking value of this older lighting equipment evident by its falling re-sale value at your local camera store.

If you haven't read the best-selling book, "Who Moved My Cheese", by Spencer Johnson, now would be a good time. Do it before you make your next gear purchase and thank me later.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

High Dynamic Range...A Few Links


I have my own down and dirty method. Let's take a look at a few sites with How-To Tutorials on producing HDR image files in the field.

www.stuckincustoms.com has a nicely detailed recipe for producing HDR images with Photomatix, Photoshop and Lightroom. He also has a discount coupon for readers purchasing the Photomatix software. Please visit his site to find the coupon if you want to see some great HDR images and get a deal on software.

www.cambridgeincolour has another more technical tutorial for the super photo geeks who want the why and how of HDR.

Even if your not planning to produce images with the HDR look, the technical exercise of exposure bracketing and shooting from a tripod will guarantee you the best possible files for photos of static scenes. With a little extra work and Photoshop trickery, you can also use the same techniques to shoot people.

Give it a try!

Friday, April 25, 2008

DP Review's Hands On With Rebel XSI

Still waiting...

Phil Askey has just posted a hands on preview for the 12 megapixel Canon Rebel XSI. It's not the full package we've been waiting for, but contains plenty of info on the new features, controls, buttons and knobs. Still a good read if you're planning on familiarizing yourself with the camera before purchase.

Follow this link to DP Review to read the article and check out the sample photos.