Why Photographers Should Not Work For Free
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Whether you're just dabbling with selling your photography, or you're an experienced photographic professional, chances are good that you've probably been asked to work for free. It's always tough to know how to respond, but it's important to avoid working for free—at least according to this New York Times column by Tim Kreider. Ultimately, it comes down to this: We live in a world where creative output is easily devalued, so it's important to remember that if we don't value our own work, nobody else will either. "Money is how our culture defines value," Kreider writes, "and being told what you do is of no value to the society you live in is, frankly, demoralizing… When you live in a culture that treats your work as frivolous you can't help but internalize some of that devaluation and think of yourself as something less than a bona fide grown-up." In short, when you work for free you end up feeling worthless. It's a great read, courtesy of the Lines of Sight blog.
Monday, December 16, 2013
"It's like a Rubik's Cube in real time in my brain." That's how photographer Stephen Wilkes describes the way he shoots the 1200 to 1500 individual images he starts with to make one of his composites. Those thousands of exposures are eventually whittled down and edited into the 50 or so that appear in one of the "day to night" photographs he's known for. Wilkes creates several exposures that show a subject—often a cityscape or other public place, like Chicago's Wrigley Field pictured here—as it transitions from sunrise to sunset, including everything in between. TIME magazine recently published a great photo essay highlighting Wilkes and his work, and the story is online, along with his photographs, via the link below.
Quick Fix Fridays: Get A Move On In The Studio
Friday, December 13, 2013
In studio lighting, you can change the position of the lights, and you can change your shooting position. Both make a big difference in the end result. Here I changed position, and as you can see, it made a big difference.
In the first photograph, my favorite, I am shooting slightly toward the light.
In the second photograph, I am shooting almost straight toward the subject. It's not my favorite shot.
In the behind-the-scene image, you can see the light source. It's a softbox with a grid placed over the diffuser panel. The grid gives more control over the direction of the light than just the soft box with only the diffuser panel in place.
Inside the softbox is a studio strobe. Studio strobes offer more power than continuous light sources (so you can shoot at higher shutter speeds and smaller aperture) and recycle faster than camera strobes.
The lighting diagram is not 100 percent to scale and accurate. I included it just for reference.
To spice up the image, I use the Exposure Stretch filter in Topaz Adjust.
Have a fun and creative weekend — while getting a move on!
Got questions? Drop by my website at www.ricksammon.com.
Will DSLRs Ever Go Extinct?
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Do you believe the DSLR will be dead in five years? According to a few recent articles that have garnered considerable attention (a few are linked below), the DSLR as we know it, at least as an object of desire by a general photographic enthusiast, is on its inevitable way out. What may be surprising, though, is Andrew Reid's take at the EOS HD digital video blog, in which he explains why this could actually be a good thing. I hadn't thought about it in quite this way, but he makes some good points. Namely, that the decreased sales of DSLRs in a world of smartphones capable of both HD video and photos, means that camera makers are going to start getting pretty innovative when it comes to cramming amazing features in super-compact little cameras—or phones. I don't foresee DSLRs disappearing for professional purposes, though, and that's also a good thing for the industry as it will help once again draw more distinction between professionals and amateurs. Ultimately, it reminds me of the distinction between large format and 35mm film. Once the smaller camera debuted, even though it was clearly subpar in terms of quality, it spread like wildfire. Well, the same thing goes for DSLRs—or so the theory goes. They're likely to be the large format dinosaurs of the future.
Heisler And The “How I Shot This” Book
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Here's a great post that embodies so much of what I love about Michael Johnston's blog, The Online Photographer. First, it defines a genre of photography books Johnston calls the "How-I-Shot-This" book, and he cites a few great examples—including works from Ansel Adams, Sam Abell, Galen Rowell and Greg Heisler. This genre of books lives somewhere between straightforward (and typically fairly dry) "how-to" photo books, and the more interesting and inspirational monograph style of book. This genre is a very valuable type of book, I'd say. The post also tackles something I know I've been particularly curious about myself: whether or not a photo book could ever possibly be expected to hold up in digital form (i.e. Kindle, iPad, reader, et al). For Johnston, thankfully, it does. With just one caveat. He does a pretty good job of explaining exactly the failings he sees in work that, while acclaimed, just doesn't float his boat. In this case, that's the fact that the author isn't particularly enamored with the work of master portraitist Gregory Heisler. While I certainly don't agree with the dismissal of Heisler as just another commercial photographer, I do see where Johnston is coming from with his critique. And that's the ultimate reason why you should read his writing: because he is sure to make you consider the finer points of many facets of photography, from how it is created to how it is published and everything in between. All in all, it's another example of why Johnston's TOP blog is perpetually at the top of my reading list.
Famous Photographic Firsts
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
I love photographic firsts. I've long been a fan of the famous "first photograph," Niepce's view from a window (which has an interesting creation story all its own), and I've remained interested in virtually collecting other famous photographic firsts—like the first photograph depicting a human, the first image of a lightning strike, and the first photo of the earth from space. But this list courtesy of the Lightstalking blog contains a dozen more photographic firsts—like the first digital image, the first color landscape and the first self portrait. Some of them may be familiar, others not so much. But all of them are notable for the important new ground each of them broke.
Photographer Wins Major Copyright Battle
Monday, December 9, 2013
How can you make a million dollars in photography? One way is to follow in the footsteps of Daniel Morel, the photographer whose images of the 2010 Haiti earthquake aftermath were taken from his Twitter feed and illegally licensed by Getty Images and Agence France-Presse. A U.S. court just awarded the photographer $1.22 million, deeming the infringement deliberate theft rather than an innocent mistake. The story is an interesting read, linked below via the New York Times' Lens blog, and it's one that many photographers are saying is a story of David triumphing over Goliath. It's certainly a victory in the cause of photographers working to protect their copyright.
The Cubist Collages Of Maurizio Galimberti
Friday, December 6, 2013
I love collage artists who turn disparate elements into a unified whole—particularly when those images are made up of photographs. Maurizio Galimberti creates collages that are fun and captivating; they simply make me want to keep exploring more and more. What else could you want from a successful photograph? Visit the artist's web site to check out his gallery of Polaroid portrait collages—in which he turns a few dozen closeups of a subject into a Cubist portrait—and then take a look at the video embedded in the article at Open Culture. Even though the few words spoken in the video are Italian, the artist's process is crystal clear in any language. It's especially fitting that the very patient subject having his cubist portrait made in the video is the painter Chuck Close, whose own works share a genetic connection with Galimberti's.