Sunday, July 29, 2012

Crystal and Andres

Good evening Mr. Phelps.  Your mission, should you decide to accept it...  Photograph a wedding... in a dimly lit Catholic church... where the only lights beam down on people like little spotlights causing funky shadows around the eyes and nose, and here's the best part... You CAN NOT use a FLASH.

That was my assignment.  I chose to accept it.  I went to the wedding rehearsal on Friday, and met with Crystal again.  Crystal is a super sweet girl who works hard and has some incredibly cute kids.  When I walked around the church, I'm always in awe... but this time especially.  The light was dim to say the least.  I met the "Church Lady"... she was the church representative who gave me the rules.  No flash photography during the ceremony.  Cool.  I can do this.  I have a good camera and several lenses that are good in low light.
I got my camera out of my case to take a few test shots.  Oh my God.  I looked up at the huge statue of Jesus on the cross and asked him for help.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Cropping Explained

When you go shopping for a picture frame, what's the most "common" size you'll find?  8" x 10".  It's been like that for... well, longer than I've been around.  I remember when I first got into photography, (the film years) and took my film to the drugstore to get processed.  I had 4"x6" prints made, and one of them looked GREAT!  I thought.."hmm... I'm going to blow this up and put it on my wall" so I ordered an 8x10.  When I got the print back from the lab, part of the person's head was cut off!!  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

JD and Doris Hahn

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of shooting one of the nicest, down to earth couples ever. JD and Doris Hahn. I had a great time doing their engagement session at Hemisfair park, and this was no different. We were at the Embassy Suites Hotel on I-10. (Note to self: San Antonio traffic will always be bad, even on Saturday!) Yes, it was crazy getting there since I-35 had turned into a parking lot.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Photography Advice for Brides

Things your Photographer wished you would do...   no really... seriously.  I can dream, right?

Over the years, I've worked with more than a few brides.  Some were easy to work with, and some didn't want to make the photography aspect any easier.  I can't and shouldn't complain... it's not their job to make my job any easier or better.  But there are things they can do to help me out that will make their wedding pictures better.  A happy photographer is a good photographer!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Baby Photography Made Easy By Al Borrelli

Reprinted with Permission - Original blog article by Al Borrelli
This awesome post (more like gathering of suggestions!) is going to help all you parents (often stay at home ones) be better photographers with the limited kit and time at your disposal. This is NOT about achieving professional results, but of making the most out of simple techniques and basic kit.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sandra and Jason

I knew it was going to be a fun wedding.  Sandy told me that she liked my ideas, and wanted to do some "fun" pictures.  You see... this is the second wedding they've had.  The first wedding wasn't quite the dream wedding they had planned.  Sandy was involved in a horrible accident just days before the wedding.  She spent months without being able to walk.  She said that Jason carried her... everywhere.  She had horrific injuries, and she is still dealing with the pain, and the surgeries.  She has another surgery scheduled in the next few months.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Watermarks - By Jason Lanier

Reprinted from famous California photographer Jason Lanier:

Photographer Q&A about Watermarks:

QUESTION- Can I ask - has anyone ever said anything regarding the way you watermark your images? I for one believe it's beyond smart to watermark, but when I watermark people complain it takes away from the photos - and I use a 5% opacity... in the back of my mind I feel people that whine about watermarks either don't understand WHY we do it, or wanted to "steal" the image in the first place... thoughts?

ANSWER- People seem to ask me about my watermarks several times a week recently. On mine, the opacity is at 25% with a drop shadow, spread three times across the image. I built a watermark that made the image still palatable for viewing in my opinion, yet protected my image from unauthorized use. I built it thinking of what would be hard for me to Photoshop out if I was trying to get rid of it. So far, I'm very happy with my watermark.

I agree with your assessment that the majority of people who "whine" about it as you say either have desires to steal it or just don't get it. People like to insult the the photographer by saying, "Really, who wants to steal YOUR images?" That's just complete baloney.

Le's stop being naive about what we do. These days the vast majority of clients don't even print much at all anymore. Virtually all packages are based on getting digital files in some way/shape/form. Clients want to be able to use their images on their iPhone, iPad, Facebook etc. They want to show them digitally. I can't tell you how many times I see my images used for people's profile pics, banner pics, etc. As long as my watermark is on that image it doesn't bother me as much because I know that I am getting the proper photo credit for that shot. Once someone yanks out my watermark...then it's on. I work too hard at my craft to have someone just steal my shot and I get zero credit. IT'S NOT JUST A PICTURE, IT'S A PIECE OF ART. Stop trying to downgrade our work to "just snapshots", because if that was all they were, you wouldn't want them so badly.

One more note....many "Big Name" photographers or truly Professional Full Time Photographers don't post their images on Facebook because they don't want the drama and don't want their images being used without authorization. They only use images on their websites, no where else. So I figure that sharing my images with a 25% opacity watermark is a lot better than not sharing them at all. As you know I post all my settings and explain my shots which 99% of the others don't as well, so I feel very comfortable doing it the way I'm doing it.

Last Note...Please keep in mind that I shoot and share images from my weddings, children shoots, pin ups, landscapes, and wildlife. I'm certainly not going to do different watermarks for each different genre of picture that I post. While one person may look at a wedding shot of mine and say, "Who's gonna steal that?" what they don't realize is that I might post a landscape shot of Africa the next day and plenty of people will steal that. Also, wedding photographers steal other people's shots all the time to learn posing...I've seen it in person at my workshops where people are showing me a posing book they've compiled and forgot that about 5 shots of mine were in there. When I immediately recognized the shots and told them, they were mortified...this is before I had a strong watermark....Worst case scenario someone photoshops your watermark out and claims it as their work. It's a reality folks. If you're good, people will steal your work. Get educated.

So, from this point forward when I get questions about watermarks I will post this article. There's no right or wrong way to do or do not do watermarks...there's just the way that works for you. Based on the response of Facebook to the shots that I post, people can still see the beauty of my shot while I'm able to have some peace of mind that my hard work isn't being used without my permission or at least me getting credit for what I did....
If you've read all of this and are still whining, you either want to steal my shot or just don't get it...hope this helps!!!