Saturday, February 26, 2011

It ain't cheap, but it IS worth it! Thoughts on Commercial Photography

"Hey, I ain't cheap, but I CAN be had..."

I loved Michael Douglas' performance in Romancing the Stone. 
But he had a point there.

As beautiful as Kathleen Turner was, Michael Douglas had to stop his life to help her, and got paid fairly for it.... but you can watch the movie yourself.

Commercial photography is demanding and expensive to purchase and to produce - if you want decent images, that is. Anybody can take a snapshot, but the problem is, it looks just like that, a snapshot. I am in the business of creating, not "taking", great images. They can be group photos for Cornell University, product photos for Lucienne's Gourmet Biscotti and Amazing Chocolates, advertising pieces for Wells College or catalog images for AirSoft weapons. 

Each session is different and challenging. Each requires a specific set of equipment and staff, each client has specific needs that we strive to meet and exceed. Our guaranty is simple. Our clients will be delighted - not just "satisfied". We will do whatever is necessary to keep our clients "delighted". It makes for good business relationships, which frequently turn into wonderful personal relationships.

Photography is only one piece of the final product for any commercial application. If the company is large, they may already have a design and print shop in house. Smaller companies will farm their work out to local independent graphic artists and designers to complete their projects.

I personally have several graphic artists and designers that I love to work with, whose styles meet and complement my own, and vice versa. Publications and advertising pieces we create together have a special feel BECAUSE of the relationships we share.

This whole thing about relationships and prices and contacts is not limited to commercial photography. Wedding clients in particular are hiring GWCs, or "Guys With Cameras" who think that because they have a cool camera, that they can do as well as a seasoned pro.

Well, you get what you pay for.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sunsets and Students

One of the most delightful jobs that I get to do have to do with students and water.

This month I was asked to photograph students at Wells College for a poster that highlighted their logo, "Education for an Extraordinary Life"

What I found was a group of exuberant, friendly and bright students who were willing to do whatever I asked them to. I am convinced that they would have jumped into the lake through the ice had I asked... But I really AM a nice guy...

Sunset silhouettes are almost always striking, but we had only two minutes to capture this image. The sun hit the horizon, and the light left. It was that fast.

Did I mention that the air temperature was 6 degrees?

So how can you take beautiful images like this?

First, it requires a bit of planning. This was my third trip to Wells, and I have a fairly exact idea of where I wanted to take the photo.

Second, if you want to take images that no other photographer can take, you have to DO what other photographers are unwilling to DO. In this case, be out in the bitter cold, on your knees in a snowbank directing the 15 students who complete the scene.

And last - this photo was underexposed by about 1-1/3 stops from what the Program Automatic function would have set it at. Try that this summer when the wind doesn't bite so hard.

For more "Winter at Wells" images, visit the gallery page. We use a service called "SmugMug", which we believe is the best gallery site out there.

Also, please visit our web site at for thousands of photos by central New York (and beyond) artists!

Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A New Year's Wish and Commitment.

To all of my awesome friends, the most sincere "Happy New Year" wishes ever.

2011 is going to be a breakout year. 

I have never, EVER been so positive about the coming 12 months as I am now.
The stars are aligning, the foundation has been laid, the big storm (the financial one) has begun to clear, and the sun is beginning to peek out at us all.

At the same time, I think we are all aware that we need to work together to break out. 
Working on our futures alone will get us the same results we have always had in the past.

So let's try something better and different..

I personally commit to helping at least one of you in some way, every week during this coming year. 

This could be something like pointing you in the direction of a contractor you can trust - or an accountant, or a B&B...
Or it could have something to do with photography, (who would have thought....)
Or maybe I could pick you up a gallon of milk on my way home.
Or maybe, I could keep my ears open if you need a job, or write you a testimonial or letter of recommendation.

I'll do this alone if I have to, but it will be so much more fun if I have company on this trip!

Who wants to join me?

Just commit to being open to the opportunity to help each other.
It is the GIVING that makes us feel great.
And forward this to YOUR friends too. Let's make this a BIG party!

So if you have a need, sing out! (this is the cool part) If you have a need, you are not imposing on me, you are giving me an opportunity to do something that will make me feel wonderful.

I know, it sounds almost perverse in its reverse logic, but by you asking for help, you are doing me a favor.

But again, this is not nearly as much fun if I do this alone, and nobody is going to track your good deeds. The benefit is for you and you alone.
Reply to this post if you will commit - or even if you think it's a cool idea.
If we get a great number of people interested, maybe I'll start a Facebook page of people helping each other, where people can post needs and connect with those who can help.

So again, Happy New Year. Have a magnificent 2011!
May your blessings flow and gently touch every one you meet!


Since I emailed this a few days ago, I have gotten a mountain of responses, and the blessings have begun to flow. I have found a good friend from a previous life who was laid off, and wrote him a letter of recommendation, done a testimonial for another business, and a bunch of other stuff. 

But the people who have been moved to think about others while they, themselves are in need has been stunning.

We, together, will make this a better world.

Please let me know your thoughts. Visit the site,, send me an email,, or just follow us. 

2011 is going to be a wonderful ride!