Photo Notes A place to talk about making images.

May 3, 2012

Social Media and More

Filed under: Architectural Lighting,Marketing — John Siskin @ 2:19 pm

The images this week are from my book: Photographing Architecture. I hope you’ll check it out. I have included a couple of diagrams so you can see some of the details. Of course my other book: Understanding and Controlling Strobe Lighting: A Guide for Digital Photographers is still available.  I hope you’ll get a copy if you haven’t already.  Of course you know that one reason for this blog is to sell the book and get you to consider a class at
An Introduction to Photographic Lighting

Portrait Lighting on Location and in the Studio
Getting Started in Commercial Photography

If you’re in the Indianapolis area there are other opportunities as well. I’ll have classes and private lessons at Indy Photo Coach any day. Also I’ll be giving a lighting presentation at the Indy MU Photo Club on June 14. Finally, for now any way, I’ll be teaching a class in commercial photography next spring at Ivy Tech.

I wanted to say a few things about my current marketing projects. I written quite a few times about marketing, but I really haven’t said much about social media. There are several reasons for that, one of the best is I don’t know much about it. My assumption has been that facebook and many of the other sites are very useful for a photographer who shoots families and weddings. I thought that facebook would be of little use to me since my clients are mostly businesses. That may be true, but my business has changed somewhat since I came to Indianapolis. I am still very interested in commercial accounts, but I’m also interested in teaching and book sales. Also since many businesses do market using social media I think it’s important for me to be familiar with this sort of site. So, while I have long had a page on facebook, I now have a page for John Siskin Photographer: It isn’t much yet, but I have high hopes. Also I have taken up tweeting. My handle is @JohnSiskin. I have a coach for social media. He wants me to post a fantastic amount of stuff. I really hope you’ll visit me at these sites: it’s not really social if you aren’t there. I really want your feedback about all these new offerings.

I also wanted to add a few things I said to a student about photographing kitchens. Shooting a kitchen is an assignment in my An Introduction to Photographic Lighting class. Probably the most difficult assignment. I think that people should shoot kitchens as exercise, the way musician do scales. I can’t say it often enough: photographers should practice. The images are mine, I don’t have permission to post student work.

These are good kitchen shots. I’m sure you put considerable effort into these. Kitchens are difficult for several reasons: there are a lot of reflective surfaces, there are windows and there is a wide tonal range. You’ll often see a kitchen with both white and black furnishings, as well as stainless steel and glass. Very often there is no perfect shot, just a best approximation. You have light coming from the umbrella as well as bounce light from the wall behind the umbrella, because you used a shoot through umbrella. One of the few places I use a shoot through umbrella is when shooting a bathroom. When I shoot a bath using this tool the light passes through the umbrella and bounces off the wall behind the umbrella. Since baths are so often painted white this is a good way to get a large light source into a small space.

You have mixed colors of light in both shots from the daylight sources: strobe and window light and the warm sources: the overhead light and the under cabinet lights. In a kitchen shot this isn’t a big problem, people expect a variety of light sources in a kitchen. I think you used a mono-light with the umbrella, but it’s hard to tell in the set-up shots, this would be a daylight balanced light. Often I’ll use a Rosco 1/2 CTO filter over my lights on an interior shot to make them a little warmer than daylight, but not as warm as a light bulb.

The dedicated strobe gave you some problems: the reflection in the windows and the shadows from the overhead fanlight. I think that a bounce light off the ceiling can be very effective in lighting a space, but you need to be concerned about the spread of the light. If you were shooting just a person you could crop out the ceiling, which I’ve done on some occasions. However, most of the time, I need to use a set of barn doors or a snoot over the light to control where the light is on the ceiling. These tools allow me to avoid having my bounce light spread into the shot. You have the shadow of the fan, and the light directly from the strobe, on the tops of the cabinets in one of your shots.
I hope you’ll check out my classes at BetterPhoto. I have been told that prices are going up this year at BetterPhoto, so you might want to sign up soon.

Thanks, John


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