Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Animoto Slide Shows

In the past I have never been a huge fan of slide shows. I think this harkens back to the days of real slides in a projector and boring teachers. Seriously, who wants to set around and watch a simple slide show? Strangely enough, I do now.

Recently I saw a couple of slide shows that were amazing. They have movement, videos embedded in them, and catchy music. I inquired a bit about the service that was used to create the slide shows and then, while attending Imaging USA I got a hands on look. That helped me to make up my mind and give it a try. The service is called Animoto and it is simple to use.   It also gives me something else I can offer to my clients that I think they will cherish.

Check out this slide show of a recent wedding. Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How I Sharpen

Here is a short tutorial on how I sharpen my images.  The important thing to remember is that you must have a good in focus shot before doing this.  If you have an out of focus image and you sharpen it you still have an out of focus image.  A good sharp shot starts in camera.

Comments welcome and appreciated.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Preparing for a Workshop

I recently went on a one day workshop in Delray Beach, FL (see a full review and photos here).  The instructor was world renown travel photographer Rick Sammon...  You can find out more about him on his blog http://www.ricksammon.info/.  If you have been keeping up with me then you know he provided me a portfolio review a few weeks ago.

1.  Make sure you have everything you need.

  • My general rule of thumb is to take more than I need because as the song goes it is better to have and don't need than need and don't have.  Since this is a workshop that is based in a hotel there is no real issue in taking some extra gear.  If I were going on a hike it would be a different story.

2.  Don't be shy.

  • You paid money for this just like everyone else in the group.  Be kind but make sure you get your questions answered.

3.  Use the time to socialize/network.

  • You are in a group of like minded people (well, mostly anyway).  Take your business cards and pass them out.  Get business cards from the others as well.  These are folks that you can help later down the line or that can help you.
  • Don't eat lunch alone.  Make sure you hang out and get to know your fellow workshop attendees.
  • Follow up after the workshop with everyone that you met

4.  Have fun!!!!!!!!!

  • Don't let anything get in the way of you having fun.  Most of us learn more when we are fully engaged and having a blast.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Great Local Place (Gold Coast Railroad Museum)

I decided to check out a new local place.  Each time the family and I took a trip to the Miami Metro Zoo I had seen a sign for the Gold Coast Railroad Museum.  I didn't pay much attention to the place because I figured it was just a small walkthrough museum.  There is this really cool iPad app (FREE) out there called Stuck on Earth.  You really need to check it out if you haven't.  It lets you check out local places and see photos from that place.  That is when I really got interested in the Railroad Museum.

So, this past Saturday we (the family) journeyed to the museum.  To say the least I was impressed.  There is so much history stored away for you to see and interact with.  Besides, being a guy it was AWESOME to set foot on the massive pieces of mobile metal!!!!!

The clouds were out in full force which gave me the idea to do some HDR shots.  The first photograph is my favorite of the bunch with the dramatic clouds in the background and the old rusted hunk of metal in front.  The second shot was of a very old steam engine which had to be done in black and white of course.  Lastly, I just couldn't pass up the leading lines down the side of passenger cars.  All and all it was a great trip and I was not even there that long.  The next time I will plan for some addition time!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

2012 Imaging USA after Conference Report

Not long ago I returned from PPA’s Imaging USA which was held in New Orleans, LA. It was my first photography conference because until now I could not convince myself that it was worth the effort. My wife and I made a snap decision to attend just a few days before Imaging USA was to begin. She and our son went for the food and the city (hosted in New Orleans) and of course I went for everything photo related. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I knew there would be some vendors there and that there were a few classes offered.

I was amazed at just how many vendors were present and how many classes were offered. Almost any type of vendor you could think of was there ready to talk about their products (past, present, and future). There were 70+ classes offered with subjects ranging from lighting to business methods. There was certainly a lot to be learned at these classes and a lot for me to consider going forward.

In addition to what was being offered some of the most prominent photographers in the industry were there giving lectures or just meeting and greeting. I had the chance to rub elbows with individuals I have followed through books and the internet for years. I got to shake hands with Bill Fortney (http://billfortney.com/) and spend a bit of time talking to him! If you don’t know who he is then you are missing something.

Perhaps one of the coolest things that happened was meeting Gavin Seim (www.seimstudios.com). I have followed his work and his podcast (ProPhotoShow) for a couple of years now. He and I met at the conference and even managed to get out one night for a group photo walk. All around the conference was a great educational experience and a great networking opportunity.

The bottom line is this: Try to make it a point to attend at least one photography conference every year. It will help you keep the pulse of the industry and will allow you to meet folks you might not otherwise have had the chance to meet.