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One Amazing Photograph A Week – Weeks 2 & 3

Got a little busy the last 3 weeks, had 3 shoots in 2 nights (2 weekends ago) and a VERY important charity function shoot the following Friday, I was at that one for 7 hours! Worth it but, had me pretty occupied! Then I had a baby shoot  this past Thursday and immediately after wrapping that up, had to get ready to go see Wicked! So, I have been really busy, trying to catch up!

Wicked was AWESOME by the way!!! If you haven’t seen it, GO! Tickets are high priced but it is a show like no other! I only wish I could have photographed it and filmed it! Talk about a brilliant display of color and imagery!!! And, I so want the costumes! LOL

Now on to the photos! This is week 2 AND week 3’s photos since I missed posting them before now!

Week 2:

I got lucky with this one! This is one of the shots I took at the charity event I mentioned before… It was the Annual ALA’a Oxygen Ball, Dancing With The Stars… I was honored to be asked to photograph an event for the American Lung Association and excited at the possibilities! I haven’t had much experience over the years with photographing ballroom dancing but, somehow, I managed to find that ‘sweet spot’ for shooting and happen to get all my settings adjusted just right to capture this photo and so many more beautiful shots/poses! This one is just one of my favorites! I look at it and I see the beauty and brilliance behind the dancers moves, the pose is poetic and the expression on her face is priceless, she is so ‘in the moment’! I just LOVE this photo!

Week 3:

This is from the baby photo shoot I did on Thursday before going to see Wicked! This is Alora, a good friend of mine’s baby girl! I am including this one for 2 reasons: First, because I love it! And second, because if you have ever done a photo shoot with a 6 week old baby, you will know the list of things that can and will go wrong during the shoot! Alora was not in the mood to be photographed! She wanted to be held! Once she was asleep though, we managed to be able to pose her in some really great poses with some really great props! I love this shot because it has a ‘Mother Earth’ feel to it with the wreath and the colors…

So, there you have it! One Amazing Photograph A Week, weeks 2 & 3… Have you been taking yours?

So, You Wanna Be A Photographer? Part 4

Lately, I have had several people ask me questions about how to ‘improve’ their photographs… Such as, how did you get the lighting like that? What did you do to get that color to pop out so much? How did you get that angle? Was that posed or was it candid? And the list goes on and on… So, in this blog, I am going to point out some tips and tricks you should know and use…

Tip/Trick #1: Post shoot editing! Don’t ever forget that even with the perfect lighting, the best camera & gear, with everything ‘perfect’, that something can always go wrong with your shot! You can’t control everything! I would estimate that approximately 95% of all shots can always be improved with editing software! Some, can NEVER be improved to the point you want but, you can always improve something! I am not saying to rely on this fact, I am saying to always try to get the best shot you can but, if and when it doesn’t work out, don’t give up on the image! You may be able to save all or at least part of it! This leads to my next tip…

Tip/Trick #2: Not all photos are trash, if it didn’t come out the way you wanted! A lot of times, I keep images that (in my mind) are horrible… Why? Simple, because sometimes a part of that image can be used for something! I have taken hundreds of thousands of pics, photos, and snapshots over the years but have only ‘highlighted’ maybe 1 out of every 1000 of them as a great photo by itself (Given, I am a perfectionist, everything has to be just the way I want it to be considered ‘great’ by me)! Back to the editing idea for a moment, with technology the way it is now, sometimes piecing together portions of several photos can create an AMAZING image! Look at any photography magazine on the stands or search any photography website, and you will find ‘surrealistic’ images… These images are created by photo manipulation, sometimes including several elements from several images… If this is not an area of photography you are interested in, you can still benefit from it. A lot of websites and companies are willing to pay for ‘stock’ images (photos that are available to the public to use as foundations for work or as images in fliers, documents, advertisements, etc.)… I have a folder of hundreds of my own personal ‘stock’ images… I have known several photographers who, on the spot, review their shots and instantly trash any they don’t like… I do trash photos but only after a close look at each one! So, in short, even ‘bad’ photos can become or be used to make a ‘great’ photo!

Tip/Trick #3: Don’t be afraid to change your view/angle! I have climbed on top of rocks, stood on benches, climbed up trees, leaned over high ledges, stretched out completely flat on the ground/floor, bent over and turned around, twisted my body into odd angles, and much more just to get a different perspective! WARNING: You could be putting yourself  into serious danger by doing some of these things! I have been injured by trying to get a great shot, more than once! So, be careful but, be creative! Sometimes, simply changing your view/angle can create a completely different feeling, emotion, or setting to your shot…

Tip/Trick #4: Props are always a great thing to have handy and can be used in a variety of ways! Sometimes, it is the ‘un-seen’ prop that really makes the shot great! Confusing? I’ll explain: I have done shoots before where I couldn’t get the angle or the positioning ‘just right’ and have found that creative use of props can sometimes fix this… Especially when working with models or when shooting still life, positioning is important! Most models are accustomed to having to ‘contort’ their bodies to get a shot the way the photographer wants it but, a lot of times, an object used to support that body part that is shaking or the back that is now aching, can improve the shot and ease your models pain! Still life shoots are always challenging to get the shot to look just the way you want it, but a well placed prop can change that… And, if needed, can be edited out later to create the ‘illusion’ of the placement you wanted… I, personally, carry a bag of ‘props’ with me to every shoot I do… I consider them a part of my necessary gear! Depending on what the shoot is, will decide what props I bring along but, here is a list of some of the various items I utilize:

– Several pieces of cloth of various shapes, sizes, colors, and materials.

– Pillows of several sizes and firmness (usually small, less than 12″ x 12″)

– Foam blocks, circles, etc.

– Some odd items, to most, such as 12″ x 12″ wire grids, dowel rods, pieces of wood, crates (as small as 6″ x 6″ x 6″ up to as large as 18″ x 18″ x 18″), magazines, printed ‘stock’ photos, scarves, etc.

If you have these type of items handy and keep them in mind, while shooting, you will be surprised at the ideas you can come up with!

Tip/Trick #5: Always have your finger on the trigger! You never know when you will turn around and just happen to see a great shot, if you aren’t ready, you could miss it! Sometimes, just taking a random shot ends with a great photo! What your eyes see and what your camera catches are different but, always being ready to take a photo will give you more images to work with and help you catch those ‘candid’ shots that usually become some of your favorites!

Tip/Trick #6: Keep your equipment prepared also! Make sure your batteries are charged and you have back-up batteries for your flash, meters, etc. Keeping extension cords handy can help also with lighting placement and such… It is also a very good idea to have extra memory sticks/cards handy! One of the worst feelings as a photographer is to be at a shoot and have your batteries die because you forgot to charge them or to have to start deleting photos because you don’t have enough memory!

Now for the fun part! A few examples of my tips/tricks in use:

#1 –   This photo came out a bit too dark, as it was shot from the hip in an instant to catch the face-plant, still not a ‘perfect’ shot but, after lightening it up some, you can see the detail a bit better and tell what it is actually a photo of! (This also serves as an example for tip/trick #5)

#2 –   At first glance, this photo seemed to be kind of a waste, too many objects/people in the way but, with some editing, it becomes a great shot of my son skim boarding! Just had to crop, and ‘remove’ some elements!

#3 –   No risk to my life/health for this shot… The cake was beautiful in the first shot but, after changing my angle and taking the second shot, it just screams to me! Plus, everyone who sees these 2 photos love them both but always make a bigger deal about the second one!

#4 –  This photo is comprised of nothing but props! Pink satin material, printed ‘stock’ photos, and some decorative lights… One of my favorite photos and it was all by accident (almost)! The idea came to me when I accidentally dropped the stack of prints in this photo… Took a look around and still had the material out from the Valentine’s shoot as well as the lights, put them all together and got this shot!

#5 –  This shot was taken only moments after the #1 example… But, had I not been ‘ready’, I would have totally missed it and I happen to LOVE this shot! Her expression says it all!!!

I don’t feel the need to show an example for #6, if you have ever been there, you will NEVER forget #6!

So, to sum it all up, when asked how I get the shots that I get, I can’t answer with anything simpler than this: I get lucky sometimes and other times, I make them happen! The above tips/tricks can help you to improve yours as well! So, there you go! Hope it helps!!! Good shooting!

New Project!

So the new project is this:
ONE amazing photo a week! That’s it…

Happy Easter/Passover!!!

Ok, spent the day at the beach with the fam and am editing some photos for my next full blog… Should be posted later tonight or some time tomorrow! Check back!!!

WEBSITE!!!

So, I have spent most of the day today updating and redesigning my website! After hours AND hours of work, take a look at it and tell me what you think! Thanks!!!

That Photography Dame’s Website

So, You Wanna Be A Photographer? Part 3

WOW! These past couple weeks have been hectic! Between editing, shooting, urgent care trips, and my allergies putting me on my butt… I haven’t been able to keep up with much of anything! BUT… I again, let this blog suffer and I am sorry for that! So, with my apology out of the way, here we go!

Here is one of the questions you have to answer, at some point, preferably earlier rather than later: What kind of photographer do you wanna be?

I never could answer this question because I wanted to shoot EVERYTHING! I do not recommend this path for most people! It is a hard path with so many different road blocks, forks, twists and turns that, at times, you will get so down on yourself and your abilities (usually from spreading yourself too thin), that you will want to give up!

If you choose a specialty, i.e. weddings, portraits, nature, animals, print, fashion, etc… you will be more focused and know what you need to keep striving for. When you vary your abilities, you have to learn EVERYTHING you can about EVERYTHING there is in the photography world! It can be exhausting!

Figuring out your ‘specialty’ is easier than you may think! All you have to do is stop and think about what you enjoy shooting the most… Do you love working with children? Do you live for that perfect shot of a newly wed couple? Does your heart race when you see a beautiful nature scene? When you grab your gear, what do you WANT to shoot?

When you find your desired path, run for it! Learn everything you can about angles, lighting, aperture, ISO, everything that you can find focused on your desired path!

Need more help figuring it out? Message me! I can help you figure it out…

I know this was a short blog and for that, I’ll share some of the shoots I have been working on so much lately… Enjoy!!! And be sure to visit my website: www.thatphotographydame.com to see more of my work and to keep up with what is keeping me so busy! You can also find me on fb: That Photography Dame and Diverse Perceptions Photography! Now, on to the photos:

From the GymRats shoot, Sports/Fitness photography:

Image

Passport72’s Merchandise Shoot, Print/Media Photography:

Detyen’s Shipyard, Industrial Photography:

Hope this helps to explain and apologize for why I have been absent from my regular posting! Remember: Find what you are good at and never stop trying to perfect your abilities!!!

Chaos!!!

Just a quick note to let you all know that I am sorry about Friday’s blog and that I will be posting a few over the next few days to make up for it!!! All good stuff too! Lots of great tips!!! Here is a photo from a shoot I did on March 15th…

The Joys of an In-Studio Photo Shoot!

Now you know the topic of the next blog…

Unfortunately, you will have to wait an extra day to read it! Sorry guys, I am going to be modeling and shooting tonight so, I wanted to wait till after the shoot to write this weeks blog…

I can, however, promise some very good content!!!

Check back tomorrow for the newest dose of That Dame’s Thoughts…

Until then, I will leave you with a piece of surrealistic work I did yesterday, just for fun… ENJOY!!!

Image

So, life gets hectic and something suffers… It should not have been my blog though! I am sorry for that! I will be posting a new one on Thursday this week, instead of Friday… And, yes, it will be the one that should have been posted last week! Sorry again!

So, You Wanna Be A Photographer? Part 2

I’ve been searching my brain looking for what exactly I should put in this post and, to be honest, I’ve been at a loss! I started thinking back to when I first started in photography and thinking about all the stuff I wish I had known back then that I know now…

That was painful! I knew so little back then and have learned so much! It is a list about 50 miles long! So, I decided on this:

How To Find YOU In Your Photography!

This may sound odd to some but, it is very important to find you, to find your signature, your eye, your mark, that thing that makes your work… Yours!

I can look back on a photo I took 10 years ago and know instantly that it is mine, even though I have taken probably 100’s of thousands of photos… Because I can always see what it was I originally saw when I took the shot!

As a photographer, you have an unique ‘eye’ a vision that only you see… Here is an example:

Take a look at this snapshot (I’ll explain the difference between pics, photos and snapshots at the end of this post), what do you see? Some would see an old building that should have been torn down a long time ago. Some will see a specific era of architecture that is now destroyed. Others will see just a building. And you will see something completely different from what I see…

I will briefly explain what I see here… I see a beautiful expression of mother nature taking back a building that has long been empty… A building that has stories to tell, memories wrapped up in it’s walls and events that have probably been forgotten… I see a place that someone once loved and that someone once cared about, a place that someone tells stories about… And I would love to hear those stories!

Here is a ‘visual’ representation (photograph) of what I see:

Get it? I hope so!

You have to figure out what it is that separates you from every other photographer out there… I can always see the element that made me point my camera…

Find your ‘eye’ and have fun!!!

Definitions: These are MY definitions on how I differentiate between these items…

Pic: a quickly taken picture with a phone, point and shoot, or any image capture device that is usually low quality and not print worthy.

Photo: a picture taken with intended further use, editing, reference, etc. Usually not print worthy but has potential.

Snapshot: any picture taken with any intended use other than instant printing.

Photograph: a finished picture, either through editing or great skill in initial capture that is print worthy and considered ‘finished’.

So, You Wanna Be A Photographer?

Here, I will give you the basics to getting started. Keep in mind, these are the basics, there is so much more to know. I will be posting more on this subject weekly! Hope you keep checking back to learn as much as you can!

Basics:

1. Desire – You need to want to be a photographer. Don’t just do it for money or fame, you may never make much of either. This is not a way to get rich and famous. Itcanhappen but, is not very likely.

I Wanted To Be Subject & Photographer

2. Equipment – You will need a camera, obviously. Don’t worry if you can not afford a high end camera. The art of photography can be found in your vision (your eye), in editing and even in just raw simple shots. Of course, you can do more with a higher priced camera but, more is not always better!

Taken With A $4 Disposable Camera!

3. Subjects – Still life or living? Your first shots should just be to get the feel of shooting period. Take pictures of anything you want: grass, trees, books, your or your friends kids at play, the moon, a sunset, anything you want.

I Chose To Do Something Different

4. Keeping record – You took a photo of a flower in a road side field. On later inspection, you realize that there were so many other shots and so many other elements to this scene that you would love to return and explore. But, where on earth was that field? This is a common mistake made by even the best of photographers at times. ALWAYS, keep a record of where, what day & what time of day, and what equipment you used for every shot! You will be so grateful you did, trust me!

Found This In A Field Outside Mount Pleasant, NC

5. Be prepared – You never know when a perfect moment will pass by that could have made an amazing photo! Even if it is just a simple point and shoot, keep a camera with you at all times. There is no feeling like the regret of “I wish I had my camera for that shot!”

Walked Outside To Find This On My Car Hood One Morning

These are the 5 first steps to starting out! I must also say that practice does not make perfect (there is no such thing) BUT, practice is the best way to learn the art of photography and to master your abilities. We as photographers are always learning new tricks for lighting, movement, posing, timing, everything! So, go out and have fun shooting EVERYTHING you can!

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