WHAT IS CONFIDENCE?

04/22/2012

 

WHAT IS CONFIDENCE?

 

Since I switched careers, it has been a whirlwind of confusion.  It is so hard sometimes to convey things without being overconfident.  You have to be confident in a job, no matter what it is.  If you aren’t confident, then your clients and customers can’t believe in you.  It seems these days that positivity and confidence has become so intertwined that so many things can be misinterpreted.  Whatever happened to the days when “I can and I will” was seen as positivity?  Just a simple good outlook on life?

 

Why you ask?  I guess because sometimes things in the past can leave a bad taste in your mouth.  I am so afraid these days to say a thing about anything I do because to others, it may be boastful.  To some I guess it could be annoying.  Possibly could even make people mad.

 

I giggle and think back to the days when a friend of mine would say, “Mindy, we have been friends for how long now? “  In discussing how long it had been, she would reply, “You don’t have to explain to me you aren’t being conceited.”  I guess it has become so hard to express yourself.

 

Funny thought on this that I have asked myself all my life, “if you are not happy with yourself, how can anyone else be happy with you?”  No matter what size you are, what race you are, what religion you believe, NONE of that matters.  Not even what is in that noggin of ours.  Why?  Because confidence is not about what you believe,  it’s about who you believe.  And you believe in yourself.  If you don’t, you should.

 

For a period of time, I was afraid to talk about the good things in my life for fear of how they would be interpreted and how it may seem boastful.  Hey, we all know about those people who like to make others think their life is a fairytale.  Well, mine’s no fairytale but if I am happy about it, I don’t hide it anymore.

 

I have come to realize that there are times in life where it doesn’t matter what other people think.  The people who are meant to be in your life will always be and those who don’t belong will work their way out, one way or the other.

RIGHT TIME, RIGHT PLACE

04/20/2012

 

RIGHT TIME, RIGHT PLACE

 

It is true that good things come to those who wait.  As cliché as it is, I am still going to talk about it.  I was just now sitting down and going through my calendar and what I have scheduled and getting everything written down in more than one place.  I learned my lesson a matter of a month ago with a fried Blackberry.  I used my Blackberry calendar faithfully.  Did I mention “FAITHFULLY”?

 

Not long ago, after the Blackberry stopped working completely and wasn’t able to be restored, 150 or so lost phone numbers later, I decided to organize my appointments so I have everything backed up.  It is a pretty detrimental situation to have to deal with and meander through losing phone numbers that are clients, friends, family or just numbers I needed.  Why would I have saved them if I didn’t need them, right?

 

So how was I at the right place at the right time?  I had gotten a call earlier yesterday that I missed.  I didn’t have a message nor a text message so I thought my client had called me in error.  I was later talking with his fiancé about the session we just finished up and she said that her fiancé had called me.  I asked her if she wanted me to call him back and explained I had no text message and no voicemail.  She then informed me that he had left a message.  So then the alarm went off.  I then realized I missed his voicemail, in addition to about 10 others.  Now talk about a beautiful disaster!

 

As I listened to the messages, I had received a message from a wedding planner that I had discussed doing a wedding for one of her clients.  Long story short, after I thought that it was definitely not going to be a job for me, she had left a message a couple weeks ago asking me again if I could do the wedding.  I was in the process of changing my pricing around to upgrade to the new 2012 pricing and wasn’t sure how much longer I could lock in old pricing.  The wedding planner seemed at such a loss because the bride had other plans.  I hate to have to turn business down but weddings, well, you can’t do but one of those a day.  I guess you “could” but not something I want to do because they are hard work and I am literally exhausted when I finish photographing a wedding.  I had  missed her message so in the meantime, I met with another bride and her fiancé who chose me for their photographer for their wedding day.

 

The lesson learned was no matter what the circumstances, everything happens for a reason.  I was devastated because I had lost a potential wedding.  Maybe that was why my phone fried and maybe that is why I lost all my phone numbers.

THE EYE OF THE CAMERA

04/19/2012

 

THE EYE OF THE CAMERA

 

 

I try to avoid “too” many photography blog posts in which I haven’t been doing so great thus far…  Why?  Because not everyone likes photography but reading about life is something we all can learn from and enjoy.  Buuuuut…here’s one for me to squeeeeeze in…

 

I once was shocked at a comment that someone made to me.  There is a long story behind it but it stuck out in my mind.  Here is what was said:

 

 

“Probably because there is no way the lens of a camera can capture what the human eye sees.”

 

 

As I ponder on that, there should never be a reason that the two are compared.  I understand the point of comparing the two but I think Your eye literally sees WAY less than what a camera lens does.  What the eye focuses on is only a fraction of what a camera lens can do.  I have used 2.8 lenses and the comparison may be close but the eye has a larger advantage being able to focus in on objects 1/16mm in size clearly.  This would obviously be someone with perfect eyesight and at a normal reading distance with ideal conditions.  So for instance, if you drew two dots on a piece of paper 1/16mm in size and visualized with your eye, they would appear as two dots.  Take a picture with a camera, well, you end up with one joined dot.

 

As I am sure there is equipment that can handle what the eye can, I have not even looked to be honest because I know it is way out of my price range.  Your eyes are priceless and I know that no matter what lens may be out there, it will never compare to what your eye can see.

LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES?

04/11/2012

 

LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES?

 

This day and time, yes, you never know what you are going to get.  I have been quote an emotional little ball since Sunday and I will tell you why.

 

Have you ever had that moment where you had the opportunity to get pictures but DIDN’T?  It happens.  I am guilty of it myself.  I am on a totally different path now and am glad that something so heart-touching has occurred in my life.

 

What would life be like if a photo was the only thing you had to remember someone by?  More often than not, I hear “I really wish we had some pictures” and “we don’t even have any pictures of them”.  While this is especially disheartening to photographers especially, imagine if you were the person saying that?  Have you ever lost someone in your life without have a single picture of them?

 

We all have cell phones in these modern technology days and are able to capture moments that we would have never dreamed of before.  But life is like a box of chocolates and yes, you never know what you are going to get.  This past Sunday was my “box of chocolates”.  I am still sitting in disbelief of what has become of a session I had on Sunday.

 

On Easter, after I finished with my family having lunch, I had a spring session for an amazing family.  But it’s not about the “photography”.  It is about the memories and what they will have to cherish.  It was a family gathering for the family and we had several families there that we were basically just getting some snapshots of.  They were running around having fun and hunting Easter eggs and well, just being kids.  There was a problem, though.  There was this one little fella who just didn’t seem to quite be himself.  Despite the fact I had never met him before, I knew there was something wrong.  We finished up our session and I went on home and didn’t think anything else about it.

 

I get a text message (there’s those darn cell phones again!) from the go-to saying that the little boy had been diagnosed with a tumor on his kidney that ended up being cancerous.  It had caused some internal bleeding.  She said that he was scheduled for surgery for the tumor to be removed and I was completely devastated.  What had happened for me to be so stricken with sadness over this?  Well, I can tell you this…photographers (at least THIS photographer) develop lots of feelings when it comes to capturing memories that someone can see for years, sometimes hundreds.   I make sure that the prints I provide are archival, meaning they will last for years, something the local supercenters, etc. can’t do.  We never know what life is going to bring us.  Things can change for us in an instant, no matter what age we are.  So for any of you out there thinking about printing your own prints, think about if you were stuck in this situation.  We know not what each day will bring but be prepared for the worst and if everything is all right, you are a step ahead of the game!  You have those memories to cherish for a long, long time.

COFFEE IS A MUST!

04/10/2012

 

COFFEE IS A MUST!

 

So we all know photographers have some wacky schedules.  We literally do things at all times of the day.  Well, I do, anyway.  For the most part, most of my photografriends do, too.  Now I know there are quite a few other jobs with comparable schedules and working hours.  So needless to say, there has come a point in my life for a need for COFFEE!!

 

Oh coffee, how I love thee!!  You see, I found out an interesting fact not long ago while I was down in the studio editing.  I was listening to a radio station late, late one night, MINUS the coffee.  Now there may not be any truth in it but I think that someone could be onto something.

 

They said that studies have been done on people with depression and their use of coffee.  How much or how often wasn’t really talked about but they said that people who are depressed don’t drink coffee.  Depression is such a frustrating thing for a lot of people out there, including myself a time or two.  We all go through spells and imagine how cool it would be to drink some coffee every now and then and never have to worry about it?  Surely, it isn’t a “cure-all” but it beats the heck out of the medicines that people have to take on a daily basis, the expense, side effects, etc.

 

Going through a big transition over to photography full-time has been very rewarding but yet there are plenty, yes plenty, of mountains to climb.  I never thought it would be as tough as it has been to take on full-time photography.  Going on my fifth year of my business, despite the fact that there is “experience” there and lots of it, it isn’t ever quite like full-time.  So, in these trials and tribulations, I started drinking coffee more regularly.  I enjoy my K-cups quite often, as a matter of fact!  Do I feel better?  Oddly, yes I do.  So when the world has you at your wits end, well, sit down and drink a cup of java.  You will be surprised.  Cheers!

PEACE, LOVE AND PHOTOSHOP

January 02, 2012

 

As I sit here editing Angelina Johnston’s pictures, I think back to the days  of when I was a child and took a picture of everything.  I mean, EVERYTHING.

 

My very first camera was a Kodak disk camera and remember I could only take 15 pictures, or was it 30?  Regardless, I look back at some of the pictures I used to take and think “how did I get where I am now”…

 

Photography is a talent that, in my eyes, would be something I could never be good at.  All I knew was that I could take pictures.  Well, I guess in all common honesty, I knew I could take them and I loved taking them.

 

So after , oh, 30 years of taking pictures, here I am.  I know that there has to be talent in photography, just as it is with any art.  I still, to this day, have a hard time seeing my own talent.  Had I not listened to my peers (applause), I wouldn’t be where I am today.  I am thankful that someone saw something in me that I couldn’t and most of the time, still don’t.

 

So you ask…what makes a good picture?  Anyone can take snapshots.  I guess technically anyone could take good pictures but if it is something you don’t enjoy, it could take decades.  There is a lot of dedication in the world of photography.  Does the first shot come out just like you want it?  Man, wouldn’t that be a dream.  There was a time when I thought that but had I not (one day) stepped back and realized that editing was going to be my best friend, I would still be making the same stupid mistakes.  Stupid?  Yes, stupid.  My dedication pulled me through this fine thing called photography.  There is still tons of pulling through to do but for any photographer out there, it is the same playing field.

 

I do however feel that art is stemmed from genetics.  My mother happened to be a very talented home designer and was in the business for probably 30 years.  There I learned how to use color, balance, accents and tons more.  My mother can color with crayons very good (in the lines!) but will tell you she can’t even draw a stick man.  My dad, well, I can’t really think of an artistic bone in his body unless it has to do with home improvement or mechanics.  He drove a truck for years and there isn’t much art to “keeping it between the lines”.  My brother developed a very big strength in drawing.  He could draw but ended up going into technical drawing which balanced out to him working for a packaging company.  My aunt also did home design for years, did some postal work, then ended up in the culinary/fine cuisine.  I guess you could say cooking is an art.  An art that I am not quite as talented in but am thankful I don’t burn water.

 

With that being said, I began my childhood artistic development (that was really detectable) by about the fourth or fifth grade.  I later went into an accelerated art program when I reached the sixth grade and continued on throughout high school.  I was able to work with pastels, oils, acrylics,  and watercolor.  I also developed further my drawing/sketching skills.  I guess those were other areas of talent that I never knew I had either, because I threw all of those away, with the exception of maybe one.  Despite the fact it disheartens me to not be able to go back and look at my growth over the years, we all change over time and what was done in the past isn’t the present and the past won’t get me to my future!

 

So that is what brings up my daily thought…Photoshop.  So much time is spent with trying to get the “right shot” and there seems that there is always something that pops up that you SO did not see coming.  I recently did some Christmas portraits as part of my “Merry Memories” that I do every year and I will be darn!  I looked at one of the ornaments in the tree and it looks like it is sitting on top of one of my client’s head!  How dare it!!  The good news is, while I was saddened that it was one of the “best shots” of the bunch, I think I have managed with the twists and turns of Photoshop to be able to take that away and make it a memory they will cherish for years.  Until tomorrow, Peace, Love and PHOTOSHOP!!

ENTICING REPETITION

January 15, 2012

 

Enticing Repetition

 

I always wondered in school when you would get in trouble why they would make you write your name on the board repeatedly?  I recently read, while expanding my photography knowledge, that repetition makes a photograph appealing to the eye.  Do I feel that repeatedly writing your name is pleasing?  Not quite but I guess that is why I continued to look into my photographs further as to gain an answer to this.  I knew there had to be some correlation.

 

Things like sunflowers, for example, can be pleasing to the eye.  The pattern of the petals going in circles draws you into the photo.  A forest full of trees  with their trunks lined up is also very pleasing.  I recently took a shot of a vineyard  and the angle I shot from resulted in a very pleasing shot.  Without digging further into the reasoning of why repetition can be stimulating, pleasing, etc., I got sidetracked on how repetition in a photograph makes me feel.

 

While repetition is not necessarily something I always find in my shots, I did manage to go back through some things and I guess , by nature, the shots I had that were more pleasing to the eye did have some repetition.  I did take a look at a sunflower that I had taken a shot of, specifically.  It was mentioned that a sunflower was a prime example, so I thought I would put mine to the test.

 

The repetition allowed me to fall into the picture.  It drew me completely to the center of the focal point.  There are various ways to draw attention to the subject .  This was very soothing to me, as I could find myself going nowhere else in the photograph.  I study each and every photograph that I take any more for what seems like hours but never seemed to find myself “caught up” in repetition.

 

I also ventured down my wine bottle shot that I recently took at a local winery.  Savoy-Lee Winery invited me to share my photography and adorned their walls with my work.  I have a meet and greet that I will be doing with the public where I can talk about my experience and knowledge of photography, which I must say I am thoroughly excited about.

 

The wine bottle that I focused in on was the one that clearly stated the name of the winery, type of wine, etc.  The other bottles lined up symmetrically but were not in focus.  Shockingly, again the repetition became a stimulating feature of the photo.  When I first took the shot, I noticed there was some dried wine going down the front of the labels on both the sequential bottles.  I disliked this at first but then found that the one that was in focus drew my attention the most.  There was nowhere else for me to go in the photo because the one in front was in main focus.

 

The vineyard shot, while very dismal due to overcast weather, gave me a sense of uniformity.  Everything appeared “in it’s place” and all in order.  I am a very organized person and like to have everything in order and in it’s place and I suppose that may have been reason for my feeling pleasure from this shot.  Also, the fact that everything looks neatly placed, as if someone measured each and every inch between each vine was amazing to me.  For all I know, they probably DO measure between each one!

 

It is very hard sometimes to convey to others what you are trying to accomplish with a photo.  I did find that using repetition that there really is no way to fall astray from what you are trying to accomplish with a photo because it leads the viewer precisely to where you wanted them to arrive.

TO SMILE OR NOT TO SMILE?

January 14, 2012

 

To Smile Or Not To Smile

 

I recently asked a question on my Facebook page what one of the most frustrating things about photography is.  While I got various and a sundry answers, there was one answer that completely had me dwelling on it.

 

The answer actually came from a recent client’s mother.  My client came to the studio with her mother to pick out which prints they wanted from their most recent session.  We sat and looked through each picture and they picked out ones they liked.  They also picked out ones they “would” like, were they tweaked just a little.  We all know that every picture is not going to come out as planned, so I am okay completely with sharing that.  As a matter of fact, you may take 100 pictures and 25 turn out like you want.  While a mirror rests in the interior of a camera, what the eye sees and what the camera sees are sometimes two completely different things.

 

So while we were looking through the photos, there was this one shot that came up with her daughter and grandchildren.  She said she really liked the picture but her daughter disagreed.  She said that it was good with the exception of her being in the picture.  So, I diligently “worked her out” of the photo.  This was a little tedious but worth it in the end.

 

So many people don’t see the “edit” part of photos.  There was a day when I used to think all this editing was crazy and that I liked what I had.  I learned the hard way with that but thankful that I had mentors who, though maliciously, showed me the way.  I now spend hours and hours editing and studying my shots before those prints come hot off the press.

 

In the midst of all this editing to “remove” the parts they didn’t want, she watched me as I would clone this or paste that or use the blemish tool to fix that.  She watched in amazement.  To me, well, it’s just another “hey, that’s gotta go” moment.  I run into things like that and didn’t think anything of it.  Then we started talking about how you can thinnify things, brighten eyes, whiten teeth and use all sorts of beauty-related tools right at your fingertips.

 

I had done a graduation shoot for her about a year prior.  I was invited to the little center where she received her nursing graduation party put on by friends and family.  I took tons of pictures and did a lot of candid shots.  I took pictures of the food, pictures of the decorations, pictures of the band.  Little did I know the entire time I was shooting, there was a major setback, of something I was completely unaware.

 

A year or so later, I found out that she didn’t like smiling.  This was what response she gave to my question.  I would have never guessed!  She said she hated being told to smile.  She was smiling a lot for the huge accomplishment and milestone in her life and the family surrounding her, not because she wanted to smile for pictures.

 

The smallest things in life, realizing and grasping them, can totally make a difference in how your clients respond to you and at what level of comfort they are.  While photography is a very general term, the outside world isn’t and everyone has their preferences.  Being versatile to these preferences is something I will continue to strive to do.

POST HUSTLE AND BUSTLE

January 01, 2012

 

After the hustle and bustle of the holidays and after almost a week of being sick, I am ready to roll in 2012.  Working through some pricing, revamping some things and making “You Got  Framed”  stand out.  Look there…I am doing it already!

 

Some would say I have “quite the life”.  In all honesty, some probably wouldn’t trade spots with me for the world.  My day is comprised of a lot more than one would even imagine.  I will share my days as part of this blog and at a later point, we will see if you would like to trade spots.  Not sure I will agree because of my love for photography but I will at least give it a thought.

 

There was a time when I looked at things “normally”.  Yeah, that’s right, just like any other human being would.  I didn’t try and see it from different angles.  I didn’t try to picture it in a frame.  I never noticed color.  I never  noticed colors imbalanced, improper lighting, blurring, tons of the basics of photography.   There was a time when I thought everything was done by the camera and I could shoot on auto for the rest of my life.  I never knew I could do this thing called photography.

 

With having gotten down a lot of the basics and some experience under my belt and more confidence, I figured it was time to go ahead and start a blog.  For those who are interested, the story of my life will unfold.  You can follow me as often as you like, if you dare.  Hard to tell what will unfold on these pages.  The steps along the way have been sometimes mind-blowing and extremely harsh but I have learned and that is key.  I will always want to learn and better myself and be well-knowledged.  Without the desire to learn, we stay at one level and never see ourselves grow.

 

Right now, my schedule is comprised of marketing and advertisement.  I am new to this world and have a long way to go before my clientele is where I would essentially like.  Besides the normal ebb and flow of photography with editing, printing, shooting, etc., I find a lot of my time is dedicated to not only getting the return clients but developing new relationships and expanding.  We can never have too much business.  I have lots of room for growth and that is exactly what I plan to do.  GROW!

 

I am trying to be “that” photographer.  I know that may sound strange but what I mean by that is a lot.  “That” photographer is fun.  “That” photographer is knowledged.  “That” photographer has great ideas.  “That” photographer I want to go back to.  I would love to have the essentials of what everyone looks for in a photographer.  Not so much quality or quantity but personality, too.  Who wants a boring photographer?  You expect people to smile when you’re boring?  Anything is possible but chances are, it’s not going to happen.  Now we all know you can’t please everyone but I am not asking to conquer the world, either.  Thank goodness.  That would be too big of a feat in itself.  I’m simply committing to making a difference.  If I accomplish difference, I am successful.  If people are satisfied, you will make a difference to them.

 

What else do I strive for?  Fun.  Yes, that simple, that easy.  Fun.  How many times do you have your pictures taken and it’s fun?  Better yet, you remember past that day it was fun?  Are you going to smile if you aren’t having fun?  Exactly.  By no means does it have to be a three-ring circus but close is nice and heck, if it’s a three-ring, we can just have a three-ring!  I want not only for your pictures to last a lifetime (and they WILL with archival materials) but I want you to be able to reflect on that day and remember something in particular about it.  Milestones that are captured in our lives are definitely worth re-living.  Remembering is re-living.

 

I want to touch on something for a minute…smiling.  Who out there doesn’t like to smile?  I know that response may be “well, EVERYONE likes to smile.”  I asked a question recently that was related to just that.  Smiling.  She said she doesn’t like to smile.  This came from a client’s mom who ended up being with us when ordering the prints.  There is natural beauty and beauty that lies within the candid photography.  Are there times that are good for smiling?  Of course.  Are there times where the more subtle look will be the perfect shot?  You bet.  Regardless, versatility in a photographer can be a big plus, no matter who you are and whether you like smiling or not.  Why?  Because they can accommodate any given situation.  So the next time someone tells you to smile, remember you have choices.  I have learned now that I like that someone shares they don’t like to be told to smile.

 

I believe that time is of the essence in certain things in life is a plus.  I feel that photography is an art and some of the best moments are caught over time.  I enjoy spending time with my clientele and catching the expressions that aren’t caught in your average day-to-day photography sessions.  Life is short but when you are capturing memories, they need not be rushed.  You can miss a lot of things if you don’t stop and smell the coffee…I mean flowers.  In my days of working, I do consume large amounts of coffee, which I know I need not do.

 

In the next few upcoming months, I plan on building a photography business that can be well-liked by just about anyone.  I will incorporate new ideas and themes and will fall at the mercy of my clients when it comes to what makes a client happy.  Any suggestions are always welcome and throughout the timeline of 2012, I will do my best in making my photography one of the most enduring, versatile and competitive out there.  To you and yours a prosperous and happy 2012!!