Sunday, May 29, 2011

What is it?

Hello everyone!

For those of you that are friends with me on Facebook, we played a game a while back that I called "What Is It?" It went over so well, that I decided to make it a regular thing.

Here's the premise:

  • I post a few photos that I took with my camera phone, and ya'll guess what it is.
  • The person with the most correct answers will win a print.
  • Your answers must be pretty specific: So "Something with weird holes in it" isn't going work if "Wine Cork" is the right answer.
  • If in the event of a tie, whomever posted the correct answers sooner than the other will break the tie.
  • Answers can be here or Facebook. The time stamp will tell me when it was posted.
  • This is just for fun, nothing too serious.
It sounds simple enough, but I try not to make it too easy. I will start giving hints if it turns out to be way harder than I thought. But the biggest thing is just to have fun: If you're not having fun doing something, why are you doing?

So, here they are:






Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What is my style?

One thing that I've been struggling with is this: What is my style? Everyone has a style. Style of hair, clothes, music, art, life.... and I think I have all of those nailed down for the most part, but one thing I haven't even found yet is my style of photography. I know I have one. I didn't even realize that my style was definable until about a month ago: I was meeting with a potential client and she said,"I just need to make sure that you can take the photos I want; You're style is very particular." It felt weird that someone recognized my style of photography before I did.

Here's what I know I like in my photos: (I'd post my own, but I didn't ask my subjects for permission to do that.)
  • High Contrast - Even in Color; blacks are black and whites are white. I sometimes even go as far as to take shades close to whites and blacks and force them.
  • Grain or noise - I like 400 ISO films, but it should all look intentional, not a lighting failure.
  • Loss of detail - I love making portraits where you can't see the dark side of the face at all. I love a portrait I made for an expecting mother last year where your imagination creates the rest of the photo and forces the viewer to wonder what the rest looks like.
  • Reality/Believability - I prefer to shoot real people in real situations. Fantasy shoots are awesome, but make them believable. If it looks faked, over-posed, or propped it's because it is. (See section on "ballerinas" below), and for the love of God keep your photoshop nonsense to a minimum. It's a tool to help communicate something, it's not supposed to be distracting or get in the way.
Here's what I know I hate in other's photos: (note you may have to log in to flickr) NSFW
  • Blatant Nudes - Front shots of people are not flattering. Flickr is full of these shots. Tactful means tasteful. Better yet, make a photo of a person and not their junk.
  • Plastic skin - No one looks like Barbie. It's the differences in us that make us interesting. Bring on scars and battle wounds, even if it was a fight you lost to your dishwasher! Whomever decided that we should start airbrushing everything away started the decline of humanity.
  • Stargate Eyes - Again, another heaping pile of cow dung from "Photoshop Wizards." If it doesn't look real, it looks fake. I know that guy's eyes aren't brushed-his-teeth-in-chlorine White. Sure, hide the red eye, veins, and all that; I get that no one wants to look like they were high when they had the photo made, but for the love of Pete stop blowing their eyes out.
  • Models are not Dancers - My wife is particularly hard on photos made of "Ballerinas" for this reason. Putting a model in a dancer's tutu does not make her a dancer any more than putting her in a garage makes her a car. Dancers everywhere cringe when a photographer puts a model in tights and a leotard and tells her to point her toes. Photographers: Please stop this practice or my wife (who has been a dancer most of her life) will come and punch you in the face. If you want a shot of a dancer, HIRE A DANCER.
  • Stupid Boudoir Photos - Really, the whole point is to communicate the beauty of the subject and that's how you did that? Correction: That's how you failed to do that.
Beyond this stuff, I really don't know what my style is. Maybe even working photographers of 30 years don't know what their style is. I haven't met any in person. But I know that it takes 10 years to become a photographer and the rest of us are flailing around until something make sense and we cross the 10,000-hour/10-year-line. Until then, I'll keep using the "Favorite" function on flickr as a way to bookmark photos: Favorite to Love and Favorite to Hate.

What's your style? Do you have any idea what it is? Share it with me and we'll flail around together. :-)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Golden Nuggets from creativeLIVE

This week, I had the honor and privileged of being the guest blogger on Enticing The Light. My creativeLIVE experience left me with many impressions about my future in photography. Head on over to check it out.

Enticing The Light