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March 2008 Archives

March 1, 2008

The Boutique Photographer: Paperwork

By Sara Frances, M.Photog.Cr.

Once you’ve acquired the skills and artistic voice to launch a boutique photography business, it should be easy to price jobs and write detailed, binding contracts for a limited number of clients. I’d like to be able to report that high-rolling clients are always agreeable, easy to please and flexible, but my experience proves that a gentlewoman’s oral agreement is no more valuable than the paper it’s written on.

A raft of specific paperwork should accompany big-money events and portrait commissions. No client likes surprises, so prepare for situations that are otherwise guaranteed to cause aggravation, escalate costs and lower satisfaction, such as location weather conditions or inevitable change-order fees before, during and after the job. The photographer without safeguards could become the victim of his own job, scrambling to meet each new client demand and to maintain his trust.

For weddings, you have to find out who’s the boss, the one who makes the hiring decision, controls the event in progress, writes the checks for it all. Is it the mother of the bride, an event planner, the bridal couple together? With the potential for interacting with multiple players, be prepared to peel away layers of relationships to reveal the info and gain the cooperation you need.

Quoting a price before knowing the scope and pertinent details of the event is usually disastrous. The first must-have paperwork is the complete job information, beginning with the date, time, place and number of people. Save minute details like clothing options and the color of the tablecloths for later information gathering. At the point of sale, what you really need to know is the significant participants’ tastes and relationships to one another, the purpose of the photographs and how they’ll be displayed or made into gifts.

Doing business is all about the client. Get people to divulge their feelings and expectations so you’ll know how to meet their needs and become a trusted problem solver who fulfills their dreams. Think in ranges of cost; build your suggestion for the right package in logical steps and in terms of finished products and enhancement services. Avoid shocking the client by quoting a high price up front if you haven’t established your value in the mind of the client (as through your reputation and personal referrals).


Before your wedding clients sign here, make sure your contract is as trustworthy and valuable as they hope their marriage will be. Image ©Sara Frances Photography

Continue reading "The Boutique Photographer: Paperwork" »

Sony Alpha DSLR-A700

Sony Alpha DSLR-A700

Sony Moves Up the Performance Ladder

By Ron Eggers

The The Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 is a solid piece of equipment that combines strong performance with affordability. I reviewed the Sony’s original DSLR, the A100, and liked it, and the A700 is a step up. It has a higher-resolution sensor, is more responsive and feels better built. The rugged magnesium alloy body is quite heavy for its size, yet its ergonomic grip and well-balanced proportions are comfortable for shooting.

Though it’s not marketed as a pro camera, the A700 is more of a professional model than a consumer DSLR. Take its responsiveness, for example. There's no focusing hesitation or shutter lag. It responds on demand. And the camera pretty much lives up to its 5-frames-per-second (fps) capture rating. Using a high-speed Extreme IV 2 GB CompactFlash card, shooting in the Hi continuous advance mode, and without repositioning or refocusing the camera during the burst, it was possible to capture 17 to 18 frames per 4-second burst. That's good performance.

The A700 is designed around a new APS-C size CMOS Exmor Sensor with effective resolution of 12.2 megapixels, and maximum capture resolution of 4,272x2,848 pixels. Captures are processed through the advanced Bionz image processor with hardware-based, large-scale integrated circuitry, which Sony has refined to increase performance, speed processing, optimize image quality, and significantly reduce electronic noise.

Continue reading "Sony Alpha DSLR-A700" »

How To: Saving Images for Web Viewing

By Josh Kill

As a serious modern photographer I am obsessed with controlling every aspect of color management, from camera to monitor to print. With careful attention to the details I can recreate the exact colors that I saw through the viewfinder or accurately print specially brewed color and contrast tweaks. Ahh … perfection!

It would be nice if portraying your images on the web could be that precise. But, alas, it is not so. As with most objects for mass consumption, the final quality is out of your hands. So … What do you do for all of those millions of people (real or imaginary) who will want to view your beautiful creations online? Online portfolios are essential, and you will be judged on the way they look, despite the known issues of onscreen viewing.

Is there any hope for our poor images as they go out to be viewed on monitors with stock calibration, laptops in direct sunlight, fluorescent-lit cubicles, Wii’s, PS3’s and cell phones?

Maybe. We can hope.

As I see it, there are two approaches that can help:

Approach #1: Denial.

This approach is simple and effective.

Step 1. Post images to your Web site (or Flickr, Smugmug, etc.)

Step 2. Walk away.
DO NOT view your images with a web browser (not even your own). Doing so will utterly ruin this approach and immediately force you into approach #2!

Approach #2. Process your images for the web.

A few extra steps will give your images the best shot at accurate web rendering. There are a few common issues that I come across when rendering my images on the web. I will now describe my personal methods for preparing images for the web.

Step 1. Initial edits.
Prepare your image from RAW (basic contrast, color correction, and input sharpening). Open in Photoshop as an 8-bit image with sRGB as your color workspace.

Step 2. Resize.
Since I am working on a copy of the image (you always work on copies, too, right?) I resize my images right away to enhance editing speed and give me a clear view of the image details at the target size. Typically, I stick to the standard resize method in Photoshop: Image > Image Size - set resolution to 72 pixels/inch, set the target width or height in pixels, and choose Bicubic Sharper in the Resample Image drop-down menu. The resized image will usually need a bit of sharpening at this point to bring out the little details that are lost in the resize. Something like Unsharp Mask (Amount: 30%, Radius: 0.5 pixels, Threshold: 0, will get you close)



Step 3. Preview your image without color management.
Selecting View > Proof Setup > Monitor RGB. You should immediately see some changes to your image on screen. Generally the image contrast and color saturation increase (which is pretty much the opposite of what happens when you are printing an image!)


Continue reading "How To: Saving Images for Web Viewing" »

Tutorial: Lighting for Impact

By Don Chick, M.Photog.Cr., CPP

Let’s face it, photography is about lighting. Yes, composition is important and emotion is important, but without lighting, you have nothing. Light is everything … almost.

As a piece of music has rhythm, harmony, and melody, so there are elements to lighting that must be included for the image to have impact. Light has the ability to invoke emotion on the part of the viewer. We relate emotionally to different types of lighting and even our moods are affected by light. Light is necessary to our very survival and existence.

Light is a force to be harnessed for our photographs as well. One difference between a professional and an amateur photographer is that the professional is in control of the light. On location, the professional photographer has to position the subject within the environment as it exists. They have no control over where trees have grown or where buildings have been built. They must utilize the existing surroundings and lighting conditions, and the client expects beautiful images. Most photographers make the environment the primary factor and then position the subject within that environment. They make lighting secondary to the location.

The correct approach makes lighting the determining factor for the location and then positions the subject within that environment. Often in the first scenario the lighting is flat and diminishes the features of a beautiful environment. By looking for the “sweet” light first and then carefully placing your subjects in the best possible light, you create a better portrait that has both elements working for it: pretty lighting and a beautiful environment.

Continue reading "Tutorial: Lighting for Impact" »

March 4, 2008

Enter the Professional Photographer Cover Contest

Professional Photographer’s cover photo contest kicks off March 1.

Have you always wanted to see your work on the cover of a magazine? Well, here’s your chance! Beginning March 1, 2008, you’re invited to submit photographs for a chance to have your image featured on our cover. Just one talented photographer will see his or her image published on the cover of a 2008 issue of Professional Photographer (mailing to almost 50,000 readers monthly).

Images will be judged on technical, artistic and compositional merit. You may submit as many images as you wish, provided they are representative of the work you sell to your clients. What we’re seeking are real-world examples of portrait, wedding, commercial and event photography.

All work submitted must be previously unpublished and original, with written releases on file from any subjects pictured in the image.  

Helping Professional Photographer magazine editors choose the best entries will be guest judge Helen K. Yancy, M.Photog.M.Artist.MEI.Cr.Hon.M.Photog., CPP, F-ASP, Hon. F-ASP, currently serving as the chairman of PPA’s Print Exhibition Committee.

In addition to landing the cover of a 2008 edition of Professional Photographer, the winner will receive generous prizes from our contest sponsors, Bogen, Canon, Kodak, Microsoft and Miller’s Lab.

Prizes will be awarded to 2nd-, 3rd-, 4th- and 5th-place winners, and as many as 25 entrants will receive prizes for honorable mention.

How to Enter
Go to www.ppmag.com to enter. Only digital files uploaded at www.ppmag.com will be accepted. Mailed print images and e-mailed electronic images will NOT be accepted.

Format/Specifications: Submit low-resolution images only, in standard digital formats (.jpg, .pdf). Images should be 525x700 pixels; file size should not be more than 250k. A high-resolution, print-quality version (300ppi at 9x12 inches) must be available for each image. The submission deadline is Saturday, May 31, 2008.

Don’t miss your chance to show the world your talent! Head over to www.ppmag.com to learn more.


March 11, 2008

LiveBooks Brings Custom Developed Promotional Video to Photographers' Online Image

Press release—LiveBooks, Inc., provider of customized portfolio websites and marketing software for professional photographers, has launched Luminance, a new online solution that combines a personalized website created by liveBooks with a custom promotional video that is professionally-produced by Cinematic Studios, Inc. (See example video featuring Gene Higa.) This unique combination creates a rich online experience that enables photographers to build an emotional connection with potential clients while differentiating themselves from their competition.
“LiveBooks is continually looking for new, innovative ways to help professional photographers connect effectively with potential clients. We understand the personal nature of the photographer-client relationship and see video within a well branded site as a great way to enable photographers to engage their audience,” says Tricia Gellman Holmes, Vice President of Marketing at liveBooks.

Luminance offers professional photographers a cost-effective way to create a branded, multimedia presence online that can integrate into a photographer’s existing web presence, or as a standalone site. The Luminance package brings together two primary components:
1) A custom liveBooks Flash website with:
    • design time from the liveBooks in-house design team
    • one portfolio of up to 64 images
    • one uploadable contact page designed by the photographer
    • one promotional Video page created by liveBooks
      - includes the promo video and links to outtakes
      - optional downloads of video in QuickTime and iPod formats
2) Custom Promotional Video(s)* produced and edited by Cinematic Studios
    • one 3 to 4 minute video
    • one or more out-take videos
* All videos are formatted to play on the photographer’s site in a Flash version, with QuickTime and iPod-compatible versions available as downloads from the site.

Continue reading "LiveBooks Brings Custom Developed Promotional Video to Photographers' Online Image" »

March 31, 2008

Sara Frances Teaches Creative Album Design, May 18-20

Press Release—At the Colorado Imaging Workshops, Sara Frances’ Creative Album Design Mini Session, May 18-20, will teach you to be a Photo Hero. The evolution of computerized design and album manufacturing have catapulted our job as documentarians into chroniclers of relationships and emotions that touch every age group. Suddenly we are novelists, telling stories with the poetry of light and feelings. Just like learning to see the light, Sara will lead you to previsualize how any collection of photographs can become an impactful photo story, with rhythm, grace, chapters and details. Differentiate yourself from typical dependence on graphics and preset devices with unique image flow that reads with meaning from start to finish. Everyone will applaud you as the hero, preserving memories that would otherwise remain hidden on the hard drive. Whether you prefer templating or free-form design in Photoshop, this class will bring out your inner artist on the happy way to higher earnings and recognition.

Cost: $495 for PPC, PPA or WPPI members. $595 for non-members. (Balance due 30 days prior to event.)

Call 303-921-4454 or visit Colorado Imaging Workshops

About March 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Professional Photographer Magazine Web Exclusives in March 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

February 2008 is the previous archive.

April 2008 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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