Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Taking Invantory

Recently I have been moved to build a portfolio of my work and put it out online. I have always wanted to start one but only upon completion of a project with the idea that commerce is incorporated to the website. After the “Art In The Park” show as well as events in my professional life, I looked for somewhere to host a free portfolio site. I need to get my work out there and let people see it and maybe get some work out of it. I need to get out of my quagmire that is my career and move out to the real world where real money is made.

I found a host for my photography that is free and has a professional look and feel of someone who knows their craft. Now came the time to put my work out there and that is when I realized I did not have a real commercial look to my work. A lot of art photography like my iphone work but nothing of commercial work to speak of. How disappointing, I want and need to put my work out there and I have been shooting a large quantity but the variety is not there. So now what do you do?

Well first  you don’t put yourself in this situation like I have. I think it is easy for a photographer. Like myself, to be so focused on a project or subject that they lose sight of the bigger picture, which is variety. I wanted to be able to present at least three types of photography I can do. First one is portraits; not the typical run of the mill, but something with grunge to a stoic look to it. Maybe some with a stock look to it. Second was my architecture work which I now realize I have only two photos that deserve the light of day. The third is going to be food. I have nothing to show for this category yet but this year I was going to work on it. Then I was thinking of my projects like the iPhone work, City and Landscapes not to mention I have a blog element I can exploit on this site. Yea after looking over my work, I have nothing.

I point I am trying to make it that if you’re goal is to be a professional, and I mean one who drives most if not all their income from creating photographs, then you must find at least three photographic interests. For the portrait photographer this could be Weddings, Seniors and Families. For me it is Portraits, Architecture, and Food which I have not spent a lot of time doing. I have lost sight of this and instead creating photographs with my iPhone. Now I must create photographic situations that will build my portfolio and give me the presents I need to get the jobs I would like. This means a lot of horse trading and bartering for opportunities to shoot. I have to say I think I have a good hand full of ideas and people to talk to but they might not pan out completely.

Here is my plan of attack. In order to get me out of this situation I must shoot like a mad man. I know I will not achieve a complete body of work over night, in a month or even by the end of the year but I must get shooting. My goal is to spend time shooting two things at the same time. I think I will be doing portrait work first along with architecture work. I figure as long as the weather is warm I can shoot all the buildings that move me then when the cold forces me in I will start on food. As my images grow I will add and change them around to keep things fresh. By the end of August I hope to have enough to show and start pumping the site. I think that will get me going fast but it will be a lot of work. I just hope I can keep it up.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

First Shot

Last Saturday I went out and picked up a book called "Food Photography; From Snapshots to Great Shots" by Nicole S. Young. Now I did not randomly pick a food photographer to buy a book from but instead I had been following her work for sometime. I love the natural look of the light, food and what surrounds it. When I decided that I would try food photography it was an easy decision to find her book and pick it up. Right now I am half way through it but when I finish I will  blog on what I thought of the book. So far I love it. 

Today was a taco breakfast day. My wife works a third shift so her dinner is my breakfast. She had been looking forward to this for three days so I wasn't going to disappoint her. Because it was so early my mind was not in the mode of photography. But when I finished putting my two delicious tacos together I could not help but take a photograph. At this point in the book I had just passed the part on lighting so I was eager to try a quick shot. I did not want to pull the camera out so I used my iPhone. I used two windows; the main light was a north facing window and the fill was an eastern window. It was early so the sun was shining in on the east but not directly on the food. The north light back lit the food so well and the eastern light filled in perfectly and helped with creating the texture I was looking for. I took 5 or so photographs in the square format and then processed them using Filterstorm and Snapseed. This was the best of the 5. Apart from the stylizing I think it came out great for a first attempt.   


The next section I am working on is food stylizing. This section and work is one I think I may be working a lot with. The problem is that I know what looks good but not sure how to create it. It is similar to when I learned to ballroom dance. I know the steps to the waltz or tango but to freestyle it, making it look good and fun for my wife? That is a struggle. I guess I will have to try and see. Luckily I have a lot of cook books to look over and help me along the way. 

My plan for this new skill is to plan a meal once a week so I can shoot it. This way I can get the ingredient and garnishes that day and they will look fresh for the photograph. I plan to keep it simple with the food stylizing and do the best with the background stuff. You know the bowls, silverware, glasses and the rest. I don't have much of a budget and will have to slowly pick stuff up. As I do start this I will blog about it. This way I can keep a record of what worked and what didn't, where I pick up stuff, while trying to keep the one or two people entertained. 

There you have it, my first photo officially of my food photography. I am sure it will get better. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Project Next

If you have not checked out my 90 day photographic project by now please do so, but until then I am planning a new project. This project is one that will take a longer set time and will incorporate the use of my bike, specifically the mountain bike.  It is one that I had been contemplating for a while but felt that I could not accomplish it but after completing the ninety day project I think I can pull this one off. My project is to take photographs of Iowa off the back of my bike, sorta.

Right now I need to fix the bike up, to do what is an equivalent transmission change for it. Then when spring, summer and fall are in swing I will take short rides around the county scouting and shooting the landscape. I plan to use my Nikon, iPhone, and a panoramic style Vivatar 35mm film camera. I believe that 2 or 3 years will be long enough to shoot enough photographs for a show or a book or maybe both.

My goal is to capture Iowa and why I love to live in this state. I know that it doesn't have mountains or great canyons but the landscape and all that it is in it are worthy of capturing and preserving it. I plan to do it in black and white but I maybe open to either throw a few color ones in the mix or have them with a side project. As I am photographing the landscape, towns and people I plan to write about on the blog and eventually incorporate them in a show and or book.

So for now I will start off with this photograph I did this morning. Because the temps were as low as -13 degrees the steam off the river created a fog in and around Mays Island in downtown Cedar Rapids. These were taken with my iPhone and processed in Lightroom and PhotoShop.

My next step is fixing the bike which I will document in this blog. It is all part of the story so why not include it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My Food Adventure

So I have been thinking about what I could do with my photography that would replace my current job. I could do just my "Art" and try to scrape by but we all know the saying; "A Starving Artist." I like the thought of architecture but right now it is a little cold and snowy so maybe not a good time to start. So what about food, food photography? That could be good.

Earlier this year I looked at the local  restaurant's website and for the most part the food looks poor. It looks like food but it doesn't appetizing. I think I could do better but until I try I will not be sure. After six or seven websites I thought I would see if there were any food photographers in the area. Too my surprise I did not find any that specialize or dabbled in food photography.  I find that a plus.

This past week I set up a spot in the basement and began to shoot. Now my goal right now is to come up with lighting setups that look good so food stylizing is not impotent. I have shot two subjects and I feel that both came out very well. A little still life like but again I am interested in lighting and creating common looks for food. I figure as I get more comfortable with the process then I can invent more with lighting. So here are the three photos so far.

I am planing to post a lot about my food photos and my other project that incorporates my bike. My goal is to tell stories and show photos and keep the technical stuff down. It isn't that I don't want to share information, I would be happy to answer questions, but I really want to talk more to the stories.

So after a long absents from this blog I am back and looking to show off some new stuff.