Monday, November 29, 2010

From Yuk to Brilliant in Four Easy (not) Steps!

I thought I'd take this time and show you a few of the stages photos take in their life, from being taken, almost thrown away, played with, modified and eventually turned into a work of art.

Have you ever heard someone say "...but sure, look at the camera he has. I can't take photos like that with MY camera...."  I respectfully respond, "Horse Hockey".

The image I'm showing today was taken with a Canon 10D, a 6.3 mega pixel DSLR. Most people today have more firepower in their i-phones. 

So lets consider this photo taken at Disney's Port Orleans Resort.

Lousy lighting, but the emotion was exquisite

As a professional, my job is to get the perfect photo at the exact moment. I didn't have the time to kick on the flash, adjust the white balance or any of the stuff I do when I expect to be taking a photo. He swept her, and I had to get the photo right then.

Lousy fluorescent lights.

Anyway, going through the photos after the wedding, I was sorely tempted to throw it away, but something within me said that there's something special here. So I reluctantly kept it in consideration.

I tried to rescue it by playing with the white balance and hue, exposure curves and many of the tools within photoshop.

Ok, skin looks like skin now, but it's not great by any means.

Ok, they don't look like aliens any more. The expressions and action is good, but frankly, it is not technically worthy for anything.

At this point, my daughter and photographic partner Mindy Porter said very gently,


She turned it to black and white. Although it is still missing something, there is a real special image here somewhere.  Playing with the blue, red and orange channel mixers brought out the vest and tie where there had been a black blur before.

The special image is working its way to the surface now. It's close enough I can begin to taste it. So what do I do?  I say:


It looks like an old Clark Gable movie scene, so what was true about old movies?


Now, I'm starting to get excited. What we need to do is bring our subject to the front as if they're not there already. We do this by diminishing the background, both by subtly vignetting and cropping out the yukky stuff at the lower left.

What? You didn't notice it? That's ok, I did. It's my Job.

Now it's a matter of dressing the photo up a bit.

A couple strokes for framing, a black background to highlight their love, and we're all set.

This is what a professional photographer does, not just at the wedding or portrait session, but at every step along the line. These images are our babies. You may pay for them, but never forget that we invest ourselves in their creation. They MATTER to us. It's NOT just a job. It's a passion. And,

It is my life.

For awesome images, visit our site, and for information about the more personal side of photography,, which is now part of IthacaStock!~

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween and The Holiday Season for Photographers

These are the times that try our souls. The Holiday Season.

Photographers are busy getting the Halloween photos of the goblins and ghouls prepared for the proud moms and dads, deciding on their Christmas card promotions, identifying their "drop dead deadlines" for the Christmas market and trying to prepare for the January and February "Dead Zone".

Some of us are busy as well with charity work and financial planning.

So there is no time left. None. Zero.

Here is my advice. Say aloud, "Thank You".

WHAT?!? Thank you for what? To who? For what possible reason?

There is a law of the universe, called the "Law of Attraction", which works whether you know it or not.

The thing that you concentrate on the most is what you attract to yourself. It always works - but here is where "Thank You" comes in.

When you give thanks, you are concentrating on your blessings, not your troubles. Concentrating on THEM, attracts MORE blessings, more business, more money, more love and more fulfillment.

Concentrating on that darned bill, the mountain of debt you have and the cool reception you got at home last night, yep, you guessed it, brings to you MORE of exactly what you are concentrating on. Think instead, on what makes you happy, and what makes you fulfilled as a person and as a professional.

I, for one, have been thankful for being busy, and I am, truly, busier than I have ever been. 

So as we approach Thanksgiving, what are YOU thankful for? Think on it. Dwell on it. Say aloud, "Thank You" for those blessings. 

Let the law work for you!