Photo Notes

September 17, 2011

Updates and Marketing

Filed under: Indianapolis,Marketing — John Siskin @ 11:59 am

I really like the long tonal range created by the windows in this shot. This is Grand Central Station in New York. I like this angle because it makes the window look monumental.

I’m going to try putting the shameless plugs at the end of this message.  I hope you’ll take time to read them.

I sent off more images for my architecture book this week. I’ll do whatever the editor wants. I’ve used some of these additional images here in the blog. I don’t know if anybody out there has much experience with blogging, but I have an issue: I get a couple of spam posts to a few of my old posts every day. These are annoying to remove. Any suggestions?

I went back to two photo clubs this week. I will be doing live presentations at both of them soon. I guess I should practice my presentation. I’m hoping to do a workshop soon, somewhere here in Indianapolis. I’m still sending out e-mail on a daily basis. I’m going to try to get to a chamber of commerce function next week. I know that soon I’m going to have to pick up the phone and actually call ad agencies and designers, but I am still putting that off. Agencies are supposed to take time to learn about creatives in their area, but that doesn’t always make them receptive. The other thing I need to do is contact the schools that teach photography around here, maybe next week. It’s always difficult to present yourself to strangers.

The room is really just a background for the lifestyle shot. You often need to light a space to create a shot that tells a specific story. In this case the shot advertises a small winery.

One of the clubs I’m attending had a print competition last night. On the whole the images were quite good. I know that this is a very important part of any group of photographers, but I wonder if photography is inherently a competitive art form. Actually I wonder if art should be competitive? Regardless I wanted to a few thoughts about competitions. First, if you can, get information about your judges. I’ve known judges who just seem to like versions of the same thing; reflections or patterns for instance. Second, most competitions have a lot of images; one way to make your image stand out is to make it big. Last night the images where presented to the club, the 8X10 images were too small to see. In a group of images a small shot is at a disadvantage.

I took a design class in college that talked about three kinds of space: positive, negative and equivocal. I have a friend who shoots wonderful images that are mostly equivocal space. They can be fascinating, but you have to spend time relating to the image. You can’t just get a quick gestalt of the image. These images, while great, aren’t going to win any prizes. If you want a prize build a strong image, with good graphic qualities. Then add detail to keep the eye entertained.

This is the entry of a new home. The low angle defines the height of the entry way very effectively. This was a very difficult angle because of the many interesting aspects of the room.

One more thing: consider entering contests that have fees. They usually publish the list of judges and they often have better judges. Keep in mind that most gallery owners and other taste makers have better things to do than look at the thousands of pictures that may be in a good contest. So they get paid. Also a fee keeps people who don’t really believe they have great images from entering. I don’t enter contests often, but when I do I pay a fee.

I also like contests that judge prints. Lot’s of things look good on my monitor, but when I print them, not so much. High quality prints have a resolution several times as high as a monitor. So you can really see more detail, for good or ill. When I want to see the work of a photographer I want to see prints, not just phosphors on a screen. I have hundreds of photo books so I can see the detail in a good reproduction. Looking at a classic photograph on a screen is very disappointing. Unfortunately there are fewer print competitions than there used to be.

I suggested an alternative to competition to the club: giving the members a chance to present a small portfolio. Perhaps two or three members would present at each meeting. That way the members would have more of a sense of what the other members do. But I do know they love their competition.

This is a really dramatic room, particularly the staircase. Because the room is shot with a very wide lens the staircase looks a little more dramatic than it does in the room. There are lights on both floors and at the back of the room, so a shot like this takes a while to set up.

First in the list of shameless plugs: it looks like I will be offering a workshop here in Indianapolis. I might have a location lined up, I’ll know next week. I hope to do this in October. It’ll be about lighting. If you’re interested please let me know what you’d like to learn. More information soon! Here are some plugs for my books and classes: you can get the books from Amazon: Understanding and Controlling Strobe Lighting: A Guide for Digital Photographers and the class is at BetterPhoto.com. Here is a sample chapter from the book. There has been nothing but good feedback on this book, so I would guess that you’ll like it. Of course I still hope that you will please consider purchasing my fine art book B Four: pictures of beach, beauty, beings and buildings. Purchases of B Four mean a lot to me, and it is also a fine gift for any occasion. I lowered the price a couple of weeks ago, and that has helped. As you know I teach for BetterPhoto.com. I really hope you’ll sign up my class: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting. Remember that the books and the class keep me updating this blog. My new book, Lighting For Architectural Photography will be out in February.
BetterPhoto.com, The better way to learn photography

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