Archive for January, 2010
Ever said or heard the term, “…just photoshop it!” ! I hear it daily and when doing a photo session, I hear it at least three times in an hour. It is a common term because of a misconception. I am here to tell the truth about Photoshop… everything takes thought, time and talent (and money). The world has turned to Photoshop (PS), our culture depends on it. If we didn’t have PS, how could cosmetics sell, how could print ads/beauty articles make money? PS is used to make the plain and simple look amazingly beautiful. Watch this from YouTube and you will see what I mean… (pay particular attention to the second half) Dove Evolution
So you noticed that the first part is all about hair and make-up and lighting, then came the photo session. It is after the photo session that PS was put to work… Her eyebrows were changed, her neck grew, her lips became fuller, eyes wider/larger and her hair darker and thicker. There in lies the misconception-everything can be done, created/changed in Photoshop. While that may hold true, somehow the value has been diminished. What exactly does that mean when somebody says those three words? Does our world know PS as a “fix” so we all start to use the term, “Photoshop it” meaning fix it… make me look thinner, make me look beautiful, make that not so green grass look lush and scenic, etc.? As you saw in the movie, things were fixed but were they ever broken? What was wrong with her real beauty? What is wrong with real beauty? (topic for another day, I suppose)
In PS, there are layers upon layers upon layers… actions and more actions. PS is amazing and the things that can be done are amazing. Creating is something photographers love to do-its why we are behind the camera, whether we work with PS or not. Some PS users complete their style with PS, adding textures, colors, etc. What I am talking about is the reliance on PS as a means to create/complete a photo. Nowadays, those simple words, “just Photoshop it” are said as if it is a simple change, a click on the mouse or a moment in time. The assumption is that PS will make XYZ better… PS is still a skill, a learned process with many errors and mistakes. Photoshop takes a lifetime to learn and while you are spending your lifetime learning it, things are changing behind and ahead of you. : ) PS is truly an wondrous tool and it can add so much (or take away so much if you don’t know what you are doing ) to an image. Those using PS will agree that if you are working on an image you truly care about, it takes time and more time!
So, what am I ranting and raving about? Good question! : ) I want the term “Photoshop it” to be used less often or the realization of what it means. I want the non-PS users to know that everything in PS is not easy, just open it up and you will see. I want all to value true beauty. I want others to value the time it takes to “just Photoshop it.” Here is what comes to mind when I think of “just photoshop it”-a quick fix or change. : ) This poor girl, if she only knew what I just did to her picture. ; ) Actually, in the second photo, it looks like she might know…
What a surprise… he showed up to sing her a song while we were dining at Brios for her birthday. It was hilarious and a showstopper for sure.
My only assignment that day was to get THIS. Love capturing these facial expressions!
So, you hired a professional photographer. Why? Maybe you wanted awesome photos that you are unable to do all by yourself, or you wanted to be in the photos, or everybody else is doing it, or you want some new wall art, or you want to capture memories, etc. Then, you couldn’t decide which photos you wanted because you loved several of them. Since you couldn’t decide (and maybe you weren’t sure of what to do with them) you bought the disk (because certainly you made sure prior to the appointment that the photographer would sell the disk to you-an important feature for you!). So, you have the disk now, Yabba Dabba Doo! But three months later, you still only have the disk, yippee. Then that busy time passed so now you are determined to do SOMETHING with those images but another 6 weeks pass. Now your budget has been allocated in another direction, you forgot about the disk and found it sitting on the shelf when cleaning out your work station. It has now been 6+ months since the photo session and you open the disk. You are disappointed to realize that your family has changed: youngest grew, you lost weight, you are planning on another baby soon, and you are moving. The pictures that you once loved and paid lots of money for have lost personal value and are now not as exciting. The work that goes into getting everything ordered seems overwhelming and time consuming. As a matter of fact, in order to get the next Christmas cards out, you will be scheduling a new photo session in 3 months. So, now you wonder, “What is the point?”
Ever heard of the books Choose Your Own Adventure? Want to play that way where I state different endings and you choose which one you want to follow? If the above scenario isn’t exactly your situation BUT you do have a disk of images on your shelf, than this is for you!
This is a digital world. I understand that! Everyone wants digital copies of their images, me included. But what I have yet to figure out is WHY? Why do we want them? Do we have the intention of ordering prints? Making a book? Putting them in the safe deposit box, reviewing them in years to come? I am sure that everybody’s “why” is different. So, help me think through the print reason. So, you purchase the disk (which was in excess of $300) and you are heading to a inexpensive print place and you’re going to get 5 prints (that is all you really have room for). So, now you have paid for the whole disk and the prints. You forgot about the cost of framing… I wonder if you would have saved money to just order the 5 prints, mounted or framed and ready to hang? I realize that it is difficult to walk away from or NOT purchase the disk because it has EVERYTHING! All the images, good and bad, from your experience. It provides the outtakes from the photo session! It has images that you may never print but you liked them. I am guilty for this very thing, which led me to write this. I loved several images. I couldn’t decide. I bought the disk and now my disk sits on my desk. I used two images on my Christmas card but please tell me that I didn’t pay that much for two images on a Christmas card that now sits in everyone’s trash cans. Something to think about!
This year, I am including a free Pre-Session Consultation. We will discuss important things such as clothing and location but also we will talk about what the heck you want to do with your photos so you know what you want. I don’t want a photo session to mean spending lots of money and doing nothing with the money you spent. (I actually get disheartened when I know that the photos I felt passionate about and was excited to see hanging on your walls are still on a disk on a shelf.) I want to see the walls you want to adorn. Maybe you need updated business cards, greeting cards, books and albums, etc. then we will discuss that as well. I want it to be a custom experience for you-something that you haven’t experienced in the past.
Have you ever thought through all this before? Do you call up a photographer, make an appointment without being completely certain of what you need the photos for? You just know you need them because it’s been a year or more… and maybe you need Christmas cards. Or do you call knowing that you need four 16×16 photos to hang in the new baby room and a cluster of family photos for your mantel?
So, let’s go back up to Choose Your Own Adventure… You hired a photographer -I’ll be presumptuous and say its me : )-because you wanted to be in the photos with your family and you couldn’t do them all by yourself. (this time you had a pre-session consultation). You can’t decide on which photos you love (and seemingly want them all again) but then you remember the plan… you stick to your plan and select the images that you will be hanging in your home, the image for your Christmas card, a portrait box to showcase ALL your photos from the session and order a session slideshow so you can still cherish all the memories. You place the order and sit back and let me do all the work. (that’s the nice part) Your products are in hand, pictures hung, and you play the DVD over and over again with your family and any unsuspecting visitors. The DVD is getting so much more use than a disk of images. You have accomplished the things you set out to do when you hired a photographer. The best part, you stayed within your budget and spent your money on exactly what you wanted.
OR, you can’t decide on which photos so you purchased the disk and decided to take care of all your own prints. Several weeks later, you still haven’t placed the order. : ) You think of a plan but have yet to put the plan in action. I’m just sayin’ ; )
Let’s have this discussion. By no means am I discounting the work that Costco does. They have fabulous prices, quick turn times and its local. If inexpensive, quick and location are the most important to you than I’m not sure that anything beats Costco! I do want to address some of the differences and things to consider. This is strictly informational… If you are the type that wants your images on disk for the purpose of ordering your own prints than this information will be helpful!
First, let’s discuss color/quality. Most photographer’s workspace (i.e. monitor) is calibrated and set up to produce the widest spectrum of colors, according to the professional lab they use. If we are not sending our work to Costco, we probably aren’t loaded with the proper profiles for Costco. So, here’s what happens… you get an image on a disk, upload the picture to Costco and pick them up and something looks weird! Your colors may be off and cause some funny looking clothing or other funny looking important features, like skin! Professionals want their photos to look their very best, wouldn’t you? Sometimes, you may not know the difference if you haven’t seen prints from a lab next to prints (ordered incorrectly) from Costco. “If I can’t see the difference, then who cares.” You are right to think this but let me help you understand the other side of the story with an analogy. Purses… there are name brand purses and knock off purses. If you are the maker or purchaser of the name brand purse, you certainly know the difference between them. OR, how about handmade gifts compared to the same item purchased? You can see the difference, especially if you did the work. Photographers work hours on images-HOURS- and if it doesn’t look the same in print, we notice. Prints are the photographer’s reputation! It is the final product, the masterpiece per se. If you are going to use Costco for printing services, let your photographer know so the color space and any particular profiles can be set properly. Photographers simply want the image (in its final destination) looking its best. If the colors are too harsh, too dark, or catawampus in any way, it is a disservice to the photographer. So, please make sure your photographer knows of your intentions so proper steps can be taken to get as close as possible to the way the images is supposed to look.
Second, let’s talk about products-Costco is definitely making progress in this arena, but nowhere close to a reputable print lab. But Costco’s main focus is not prints. What they DON’T OFFER is mounting services (standout, gallery wrap, and float wraps) different printed press papers (pearl, metallic, fine art velvet, fine art watercolor, art recycled, art linen, bonded canvas, etc.) and textures. Different papers and textures make a HUGE difference in your wall art! If you want large wall prints from Costco, they only do 16×20 or 20×30 AND they will be printed as a poster. It isn’t technically a photo, hmmm…
In the pictures below, you will see the first photo is a gallery wrap (Costco is now doing a version of this), the second photo shows the edges of a float wrap and a standout, the third photo is the same in a different angle, and the fourth is a better picture of a float wrap and standout. (All of these mounted products are of wonderful quality and the best part is that they come ready to hang!)
So, if you are the type that wants your images on disk and then loads the pictures to Costco, only to pick up prints and never do anything with them (or worse, never doing anything with the disk) because you forgot about framing and all the costs and time involved then something arriving ready to hang might be the best option for you. Many photographers even work with frames so you may be able to chose your print and frame and then simply wait for its arrival… then hang it!
Third, I’ll address time. Sometimes the ordering process, expense/cost research, image set-up and ordering takes time, lots of it. If you are not seasoned with these things, consider how much your time is worth! It could take in excess of three hours to research options and costs, decide where you want it printed, load and set-up the image and then make your way through their ordering system. Personally, I have worked through ordering systems and spend many a nights figuring the ins and outs. I’m just sayin’…
OH, and the assumption that a professional print lab takes FOREVER is incorrect! (Now granted, Costco’s small print service takes just a few hours but you have to go pick it up.) Personally, the lab I use has orders to me oh so quickly-I love it. The orders come right to me (or I can ship them to you). Convenience is a beautiful thing.
Fourth, but not least COST. Professional labs have quality papers and machines that are always tested and calibrated, they cater to pros and only know prints-that is all they do! I would say that color and quality is unmatched when using a reputable professional lab. BUT, excellent quality comes with a price. In order to determine if the higher cost adds more value for you, think of these things: How long will you have the photos on display? Where will they be displayed? Who will be viewing them? Who is in the photos? Who took the photos? What kind of paper do you want? What finished look/mounting do you want? How much extra time do you have?
I hope this has helped in some sort of way. I want to restate that I am not discounting what Costco provides! There are too many people wondering why they would pay the cost for print products from a professional lab, or pay a photographer’s print prices and this is a brief and personal explanation. Professional labs may not make sense for you, your needs, and/or your budget. In any case, please consider the quality and color specifications, the products, the time and the cost in your print decisions!
Next post will be about my pre-session consultation. I’m excited about this additional to my process! It will help us sort through things like what is mentioned above… Stay tuned. : )
I just finished making these last night at Scrapbooks, Etc. in Mesa. I started off the year being super excited about birthdays for my clients’ kids. BUT, since I didn’t get started before January 1st, I am simply behind. I had fun incorporating my colors and making them a bit more fun than a card-ish card. : ) So, if you have given me your kids’ birthday, shout hooray! because your little darling will be getting his/her personal note in the mail with something super special inside! I can’t tell you the secret but I hope your kids will like it! Sorry to all the January birthdays… I am sending them today!
Whenever I have time away from the computer (a necessary evil) I have a chance to evaluate, consider, think and be excited all over again. Sometimes too much thinking is well, just too much. : ) But we went away on vacation without laptop and camera, technically I had the camera but weather did not permit its use. I managed to bring it along on one day’s adventure but the rain was so bad I decided to leave it back at the hotel. Anyhow, when I am here-“in the office” I get locked on what am I supposed to be doing, how behind am I on stuff and keeping up with all of it. When away, I have to let go. I can’t be where I am not and I can’t do what I cannot. So, back at the day, still in my PJ’s I am playing catch up to nothing but my own expectations and assignments! Funny how that happens! I am glad to be back, sitting here and feeling inspired all over again.
I am still pulling pictures from last year’s stuff. I probably will since my blog was nothing short of shameful last year. I wanted to start new so I am pretending like this is the first time it is out there! I have reserved January as the month to work on the business, not in the business. I am all about proactive (try to be), not reactive. I wanted to have systems in place, stuff in order so I can continue to run the rest of my life and not let this and everything else run me. It is a work in process and something on my mind most of the time but I am excited about what I have been able to address and accomplish in January.
This… it was all Todd. We were dying to get some emotion out of him. His face was stationary in what he thought was the perfect smile for family photos. He was doing a fairly good job. : ) I was hoping to see something more and it happened when I asked him what else he wanted to do or what else he had in mind. He got his family on board, lined them up and finally something real was shown on his face (and everyone else’s). In this photo, you can just see the kids thinking he is a little funny and there is Courtney barely agreeing to his cleverness. In the end, I think this is what they wanted, not the first 30 minutes…
May the picture speak for itself! : ) My dear friend will certainly forgive me for posting this as it just has to be posted!
I have been on the hunt! I am trying to find a camera bag that can do the following:
- look awesome
- hold my camera and a few lens
- sleek and slim
- lots of pockets
I do have a few bags in my arsenal but none of them fit the role. So let me explain:
1. This is a Tamrac bag and I will tell you the good and the bad. What is better to know first? Good or bad. OK, let’s start off with the bad. It isn’t super cute. The pockets on the front of the bag, just behind the front flap don’t hold much. Maybe just a cell phone or something just as slim. Anything larger will prevent the bag from being able to close. Bummer. Another bad is the Velcro strips that hold the section dividers on the inside aren’t sewn to the very edge so when you take your lens in and out, it gets caught on those strips. Very frustrating, especially if you have the hood on. One more bad characteristic is the front flap. I understand why it’s there but if it could be a bit deeper with a quicker zip on the top it would be so much easier to get and out of (then the flap could be the final touch). The problem is, when the flap is open it is in the way and the camera loose lens are not safe since they sit slightly above the opening. Ok, the good… I love the messenger style so I can sling it across my body! It can slide on the handle of a roller suitcase. Very cool! It is thin(ner) than my chunky backpack style. I love that it stands up by itself when I set it down.
2. This is a Shootsac and here’s the good… The color! (you can buy several different colors but I love green) The stretchy fabric! it is like a wetsuit fabric. It forms to your body when you wear it slung across your chest! AND you can use one of the 6 lens pockets to hold a bottle of water, its perfect! I don’t love that it doesn’t stand up if I ever need to set it down. I hate that I can’t put my camera in it… if you take this with you on vacation, you need something separate for the camera, it only holds lens. I like to keep the hood on my lens and it doesn’t fit in the lens compartment even though it is a stretchy fabric. : )
3. This is a LowerPro backpack style. Bad: Another not super cute bag. It is VERY RARE that I need to take all my stuff with me, so this is overdoing it a bit. It has all sorts of cords and stuff handing off it (to secure a tripod or something) which get tangled and in my way. Good: it holds all my stuff. : ) it carries my laptop, and I can carry it on my back making it easy to travel.
4. Last but not least… : ) This is no camera bag. This is my bag that I take with me when I head over to Scrapbooks, Etc. to make cards. It holds scissors, glue, punches, more scissors and other doodads. I pulled this out today and thought, “hmmm, it is light weight. It stands up by itself. It keeps my lens organized (if I were to put lens in it). I could hold my camera since the dividers are removable. It is simple, slim and sleek, I love the colors… It certainly is cute.”
Then, I got real. Even though I am desperate to find a bag I love, I would say it lacks a little protection! What if I have to slam on my brakes with this sitting on the front seat? :) Lens and camera crap everywhere is what I see happening! I don’t think I am asking much, but I also realize that one bag doesn’t fit every need and occasion. So, I will stick with a simple travel bag. Just me, my camera (with a lens attached) and one extra lens. That is what I will try to accommodate. I will even leave my flash, grey card, light meter, and who knows what else at home.
I’m on a mission (and I have heard about Crumpler bags…) if you can help, please share!
Early fall 2009, this happened… the music played, the family danced and it was all fun and games and nobody even got hurt. This shot was taken in my little studio. Did I say little? I scrunched them to the middle as to not get funny stuff on the sides (but if I remember correctly, I still had to fix some of that) and let them be them. These kids were a dream-I have never met kids who love to be photographed as much as these kids. Each one of them is dancing and showing their true colors. Families being different, love it!
When you are at the beach and camera in hand, no only are you constantly worrying about something happening to the little precious (I need to name mine but haven’t come up with something yet) but there is opportunity to snap so much… Well, this little one (who happens to be my daughter) was tired of the pictures and lowered her head anticipating that I would put the camera down. But I liked what I saw. Then I realized that the picture is probably better this way than showing a sour face. Is that rude to say? Well, it’s been said. : )