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!