Why not undercut the competition? Who gets to determine what you charge for a photograph or session? Do you care that you are hurting others with your pricing? Because I don’t.
Ok, you have to be asking where in the world is this coming from?
I read a post recently on Guy Tal’s blog that talked about one photographer’s idea of spending hours at a national park to get the “right” shot and then, while resting, watching a car pull up to a scenic view, roll down the window, and take the picture with an iPad before driving away. Guy explained how the iPad photographer never experienced the place. That made me think.
Didn’t both photographers experience the scene? Yes, but in their own different way. Guy sitting on the back of his car enjoying the smells, sounds, and feel of the place and the iPad shooter who came, saw, shot, and went. One is not better than the other; just different.
About the same time I had read several posts from different authors stating that the Uncle Bob photographers who were shooting senior session, weddings, and such for thousands less than “professional” photographers were hurting the business with their cut rate pricing. I have been to many workshops and conferences where the speakers* claimed that by charging rock bottom/cut rate prices, the Uncle Bob shooters were hurting the industry. That made me think.
Why not shoot for the lowest price? At least they are working and getting paid. The two individuals viewing a landscape, one by taking his time and experiencing the sights and sound of the setting and the other with a drive-by feeling, are both getting what they want out of the situation. Does the drive-by photographer hurt the experience of the individual who takes their time to enjoy the details of the area? No. Why not do that with pricing?
Mr. Professional photographer charges 10-20 thousand dollars for a wedding and/or 1-2 thousand for a senior or family shoot. Uncle Bob will shoot a wedding for two hundred dollars and a senior session for $75. Both are making money from their photography, but in many people’s minds Uncle Bob’ low pricing is “hurting” the profession by devaluing photography.
How is he devaluing photography? He his making what he wants to make for what he does. If that works for him, great. Once I realized that I wasn’t going to make a fortune in photography and I just wanted to shoot to make myself happy, I stopped caring about what others thought. I shoot for me.
If I can make a couple of bucks, great. If not, that’s ok too. I took the above image at my school’s production of Les Misérables. I got $200 for shooting the dress rehearsal. I gave away the images to who ever wanted them. Why? I had fun. Making a few bucks didn’t hurt.
Like news organizations and mass media, the photography business is changing. How many newspapers are shrinking in size (if they even still exist)? Why? Because we get our information from the internet, Twitter, and smartphone apps. Look at the TV networks; they are competing against HBO, STARZ, Cinemax, etc. and now Netflix is putting forward a whole new model of watching series with Lilyhammer and House of Cards. Newspapers and the major networks will either adapt or they will disappear because there are plenty of alternatives to what they offer.
It’s the same with photography. Uncle Bob can get the same equipment as Mr. Professional. Uncle Bob can learn how to use it through the internet and practice. And Uncle Bob, if he want’s to, can offer most of the same products as Mr. Professional. As long as Uncle Bob is comfortable with what he is charging, you have no right to complain. It’s his business. Mr. Professional, adapt or disappear because Uncle Bob is offering an alternative.
Like a lot of things in life, the business of photography is changing. Get used to it.
*I always found it interesting that the people telling us to stop undercutting the “professionals” were the ones who were making the most money.
Posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago at 8:28 am. 2 comments
Until recently, I have been trying to focus on being a “nature” photographer. I thought I was pretty good, but I felt limited. I like lots of things and I should shoot them. This is what photography should be like. Shooting what interests you. Shooting something different.
I am tired of trying to shoehorn myself into a category. I like photography. I’ll shoot and share the images I like. Here and on NatureLightPhotograpy.com. I like nature and have several trips planned in the near future to shoot it, but I also like other things. Sometimes some pretty weird stuff. For some reason, dead animals hold a fascination for me; road kill especially. Don’t ask why, I have no idea.
I realized that photos, like art, should please the artist. If they make others happy, that’s good, but the important thing is to challenge myself with what I love. Or sometimes things I want to know more about. I have some ideas that I’d like to pursue in the near future. One of which has to do with shaving cream. That should be interesting if not entertaining.
Recently, I have started to ride dirt bikes and have taken an interest in racing. Both watching it and participating. It probably is some kind of death wish, but I’ll write more on that later.
Last year I went to Anaheim Stadium to watch Supercross, which is like motocross, but in a stadium. I loved it!! You could sit very close to the track and watch the riders work their machines around the track, making them dance and fly in ways that I could only dream.
Because there is two races three to four weeks apart at Anaheim, I went twice. The first time was to experience the spectacle. Not knowing what to expect, I didn’t take my camera. But the second time I was prepared! While my seats for the actual race were up high so I could see the whole track, during practice you can get down next to the track, but still in the stands, and photograph the riders.
That’s how I got this shot. I like it. I like the composition, the lighting, and the lack of distractions in the background.
Posted 1 month, 4 weeks ago at 8:59 am. Add a comment
Social media has been around for a quiet a few years now and widely accepted for, maybe, four? In that time I have seen individuals, organizations, and companies use it for their own personal advancement. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I always had the thought in the back of my mind that I was reading a long string of ads for whatever the individual wanted to push at that time.
Then I read an unusual tweet about helping someone after hurricane Sandy hit the east coast. I didn’t think anything about it until I read about three more from the same account that had the same theme; letting people know where help was needed in the storm zone.
The account was @AboutInsects run by Debbie Hadley and she kept tweeting about shelters that needed blankets, clothing, or other supplies. She tweets about where people who need help can find it in different areas. And in that time, I have never seen a tweet about something she was doing, she wanted you to look at, or she wanted you to purchase.
It was social networking for the people. It was refreshing and I think it shows the possible power of social media. It’s a way to get information out to people who are in a position to help others. Her tweets let the world know that help was needed and where.
I am impressed by her complete unselfishness and her passion for getting out information that helps others. I am trying to find a way to do the same sort of thing in some way. I have some ideas, but I need to do some more research on them. Until then, I will continued to be inspired by Debbie.
You can read Debbie’s About Insects site here: Insects About.com
Posted 6 months, 2 weeks ago at 1:06 pm. 1 comment
First, if you are reading this because you continued to subscribe to my blog during the past year, thank you for staying with me. If you are reading this blog for the first time, welcome.
Almost two years ago, I stopped shooting. Lots of changes in my life. Lack of interest. Lack of desire. A received lack of talent. I just had no motivation to pick up a camera, find a subject, and shoot. Sure, I would shoot something close to home. Fireworks over Disneyland on the fourth of July. An interesting bird in the backyard. Something I was doing around the house. But there was no extra effort to pack up some gear and travel to find a subject.
Over the past year I have found new interests. I bought a rooftop tent for my FJ Cruiser so I can camp in more remote locations as the travel whimsy strikes me. I became very interested in overlanding. My bother got me riding dirt bikes in the desert and that has transitioned over to the track. I am pioneering the use of the iPad in the classroom at our school. In other words, I had other interests and focus.
I kept following a few photography blogs. I followed Scott Bourne’s Photofocus blog because he almost always writes about being inspired and thinking creatively. I followed my favorite photographer, G. Dan Mitchell. He is has the ability to shoot ordinary subjects in an extraordinary way. I don’t always like his work, but it always makes me ask if I like it, what I’d do different, and why. And I continued to follow Chuqui because he is an ordinary guy like me who just keeps plugging along doing what he loves to do; blogging, birding, shooting, following hockey and technology, and staying in the public eye. I admire that.
All of them keep the fire kindled, but at a pilot light level. I needed a shift in the wind to get the fire restarted.
A few weeks ago, I visited Rodney Lough’s gallery in San Francisco. I was inspired. The work I saw there was surreal. I knew it was photography, but it was like none other I have ever seen. I moved from image to image, reading the EXIF data and determining the affect of each aspect the data had on the image , looking at the image up close to look at the detail, and finally stepping back and really examine the composition. I did that for over an hour. I listened to tourists talk about what they saw or how they thought an image was done. They asked me questions; some answers I knew, some I didn’t.
I got to talk to the gallery manager about the images, how they were printed and displayed, and Mr. Lough’s passion for photography, nature, and producing the perfect image. I learned how he works, some of the techniques he uses, and some of his thoughts. I felt privileged to spend ten minutes talking with her about a common interest. I got excited about photography again.
Finally, I had the desire to pick up my camera and shoot. I shot dirt bike races. I shot my trip to San Francisco. I have plans to travel to one of the national parks over the thanksgiving and/or winter breaks. I am shooting what interests me. I am shooting for me. I am shooting for fun.
Photography is fun again. I am hoping this is a new beginning.
Posted 7 months ago at 8:38 am. 1 comment
I have listened to a lot of podcasts recently that discuss variations on photography. They talk about time lapse, macro photography, maps, aerial photography, or panoramas. All are different forms of photography in one way or another.
And yet they are the exact same thing as “basic” photography. Photography, if done well, allows the viewer to observe a moment in time in a way that they can’t ever do in real life. They can look at the image for as long as they want and examine the minute details that make up that moment.
For instance, if you look at a shot of a bird flying, you can look at the body position, the way the feathers bend, the range of colors in the feathers, and other things that you can’t see with the naked eye. Why? Because it is a bird in flight frozen in time. You can’t do that while standing and watching a bird fly by.
Photography catches one moment and freezes it to look at later. Time lapse, macro, panoramas, etc. all do the same thing. They take an object or a scene and present it in a way that we can’t see with our naked eye.
A crowd entering a stadium. If you just stood there and watched, it would probably be boring. But make a time lapse of that scene and you could watch the ebb and flow of the crowd and observe the patterns of movement. Just as slow motion allows the viewer to observe the finite motion of something at a speed in which their brain can process it.
A map or aerial photography seems to fascinate people because it shows spacial relationships people can’t see from the ground.
You have probably seen a sand dollar before, but in the macro shot above, you can see the details that aren’t really visible to the viewer with out the help of the lens. The size, shape, and patterns of the holes become more apparent.
The reason that all of these are popular and people take a moment to look at them is because they get to see the world in a new way. It is seeing differently and people are fascinated when they get to view the world from a different point of view.
I try to keep that in mind when taking a photograph. How can I shoot this that lets the viewer see the scene differently?
Posted 1 year, 5 months ago at 8:45 am. Add a comment
Here are the photography blog posts and sites that I found this week that I think you as a photographer should read. Not all of them are always related to photography, but they are worth looking at and will probably make you think.
I realize that all five of these posts are from the same site and about the same subject, but they are brilliant in what they accomplish. This is not the same as exporting to Smugmug, it is publishing to Smugmug. I have read all of them and, while I understand them, I have not put them into place as of yet. I have to really evaluate my photography and determine if it is right for me. But if you are looking for this information, you need to read these posts.
Publising to Smugmug, A Geek’s View Pt. 1
Publising to Smugmug, A Geek’s View Pt. 2
Publising to Smugmug, A Geek’s View Pt. 3
Publising to Smugmug, A Geek’s View Pt. 4
Publising to Smugmug, A Geek’s View Pt. 5
DIY Photography – A great site for those on a limited budget and lots of “can do” attitude.
ShutterBug – It’s a great magazine and a great site. Lots of information.
Amateur Photographer – It’s a UK site so some of the spellings are weird, but it has lots of information.
Photography.com – Someone had to take the name. It has lots of articles and information that helps it live up to the URL.
Social Media DIY Workshop – A great source of social media know how.
Posted 1 year, 6 months ago at 9:04 am. Add a comment
The last few months have been interesting to say the least. Without going into details, I have had some life changing events take place that included the loss of three family members, a slightly serious health issue, and some sever monetary issues. Needless to say, I have been forced to take a serious look at my life and what I want from it and, important to this blog, my photography. Everything is getting much better at this point in my life, but I still haven’t accomplished what I set out to do with my photography.
I started to reevaluate my photography about two and a half months ago and posted my thoughts on my Moving Forward – Finding Inspiration post. Due to the health issues I haven’t gotten much past the state or thought process that I was in at that time, but having become much more healthy and able to get out and shoot, travel, and maintain a more “normal” lifestyle.
As a result, I have made some more concrete decisions about what I want to do with my photography. I have two websites that I will be using; this one and www.naturelightphotography.com. Again, I am truly inspired by G Dan Mitchell in his work and in his social distribution of his photography.
As a result, I will be using this website for my thoughts on photography, cycling, traveling/overlanding with my FJ Cruiser, and just life thoughts in general. Most of the posts will be photography related, but there will probably be a few that aren’t strictly for photographers. The posts won’t be daily, but they should be fairly regular.
My other site, Nature Light Photography, will be strictly my images. I’ll be honest and admit that it is patterned after Mitchell’s site, but I am hoping that it is different enough that people don’t see it as a copy or knockoff. I’m not sure why I think that would be bad, but it is something I want to avoid. My goal is to post a new image daily. I think I can do that because I can easily discuss my images since I was there when I took them and I know what the situation was and what I was thinking to produce the image.
This site will maintain it’s looks because I like the feel of the site, but there might be some subtle changes in the future. www.naturelightphotography.com will be undergoing a comprehensive renovation to facilitate a more photo friendly site to view.
I will be posting some of my ideas and thoughts about my reasons for change and where I’m headed in the future, but until then the bottom line is that I’m restarting the engine and heading down a different road, but I hope the results will be the better this time.
Posted 1 year, 6 months ago at 3:06 pm. Add a comment
Mission San Antonio de Padua
Mission San Antonio de Padua is located north of Paso Robles in the central coast region of California. It is largely restored to it’s original condition. This is the inside of the chapel from the back.
I had just seen an HDR of Trey Radcliff’s and was inspired to try to recreate it inside the chapel. Using five images each taken with a one stop difference, I put them together in Photomatix. I tried to get the look to be more real and not the surreal, painted affect that you see in most HDR images.
The image was taken with a Nikon D300 and a Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6 lens at 16mm. The exposure varied in duration, but the aperture was at f8 and the ISO was at 800.
Posted 1 year, 9 months ago at 2:02 pm. Add a comment
I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus recently. I haven’t posted as much as I’d like and I haven’t been out shooting much either. I sat down a few nights ago and asked myself why. The answers that came back were the same as most of us have when we find ourselves not working up to our expectations; personal issues, family problems, lack of funds, lack of inspiration and motivation, and no organized plan.
I decided that personal issues and family problems will always exist and everyone has them. They make a weak excuse for not doing what I like to do. I find it hard to believe that every photographer except me has a perfect life. As a matter of fact, if you really pay attention to Twitter, you will find that everyone has these issues. Nope, that I can’t fix, so I’ll just have to get over it. I can do that.
I’ve always known that lack of funds is an invalid reason for not shooting or posting. Yes, I could say that I can’t afford to travel to the places I want to shoot and, as a matter of fact, a four week trip that looped the western United States was cancelled/postponed this summer due to the funding issue. But there are still great shots and opportunities to shoot without leaving my home town. This week’s photo of the week is one of those. I walked out my back door and into the shot.
That brings us to the lack of inspiration. I thought that by staying home, I would find some way to be inspired. Nope, that didn’t happen. I had to go look for the inspiration. I found it in two places. Google+ and 500px. Both are great sites to find some awesome images from amazing photographers. I recommend that you visit 500px just for the images alone.
After looking at the images on G+ and 500px, I have found a lot of new things I want to try photographically. Macro, lighting, different points of view, etc. and I’ve started pursuing those challenges.
I’ve also started going back and looking at my images from the past and reevaluate images that I didn’t think were good enough. I’m trying to use the photographic eye that I’ve learned from looking at G. Dan Mitchell’s work, things I’ve learned in LightRoom, and Photoshop to find images that are good. Not just good enough, but good.
As for the organized plan I am reevaluating my websites, their purpose and what I want to do with my photography. I have already started formulating some of the changes that I want to make in both my photography and on my sites.
When I was coaching, someone once told me that there are only two directions in life. You are either moving forward or you are moving backward. Nobody ever stands still.
There are changes in the future.
Posted 1 year, 9 months ago at 4:44 pm. 2 comments
Spider with Web
I walked out of my back door and almost into this spider web. I grabbed my camera, set up the flash, and started playing with the light. Finally, I came up with this image.
It took some time to get the lighting right so that the spider was illuminated and the web was visible, but not prominent.
The image was taken with a Nikon D300 and a Nikkor 105 f2.8 micro lens. The exposure was for 1/60 of a second at f8 and an ISO of 1000.
Posted 1 year, 9 months ago at 1:43 pm. 2 comments