ATGNIphotoworks: Blog http://atgniphotoworks.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) ATGNIphotoworks (ATGNIphotoworks) Wed, 19 Oct 2016 20:26:00 GMT Wed, 19 Oct 2016 20:26:00 GMT http://atgniphotoworks.zenfolio.com/img/s7/v154/u55121838-o34087175-50.jpg ATGNIphotoworks: Blog http://atgniphotoworks.zenfolio.com/blog 120 80 Been Awhile http://atgniphotoworks.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/been-awhile Greetings! As fall of 2016 leans towards winter I realized I hadn't entered anything on my blog in quite awhile. There have been a few really good things happen, some related to photography, some not. Mostly, life goes on.

Back in November 2015, we contracted with 4H and three of us shot the 4H State Regional Equine Event in Queen Creek, Arizona. 3 days of horses, wonderful parents and great kids. We took and processed over 7000 images and came away having done a lot of hard photography work but had a magnificent time. I bring this up for two reasons. First the photography angle...lots of action shooting and difficult lighting challenges and, second, we now own a horse! Her name is Springer (originally Spring), a Tennessee Walker. She came to us free from a woman who's husband had passed away and she no longer wanted the burdens. Now, I have to tell you that I was NOT much of a horse person, this was all Sinthia's idea. She's the rider but that's changed...at least a little. If anyone had told me that I would own, be learning to ride and care for a horse a year ago, I would have laughed out loud. Now we're looking for a 2nd so that Sinthia and I can trail ride together. We have some plans, daydreams mostly, about riding into wonderful spots on horseback.

Took a first place and a third place ribbon this year in Black & White, Portrait Photography. That was nice! Took 2 other ribbons but Portrait is where I want to be with landscape second. In addition, Sinthia took home several ribbons for her images and my student, Paige, took 3 first place ribbons out of 3 entries. Good job, guys!

Took a wonderful vacation late September/early October. The trigger event was a 7 mile stair climb event in Hot Springs, South Dakota. We had done the Bisbee 1000 5 times and felt like we needed a change of scenery. Went spent 17 days doing all the tourist spots like Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, Little Big Horn, Rifle Falls, Deadwood, the Tetons, etc. Got a ton of images, a few really good ones you can find posted in my gallery section. BTW, Sinthia placed 2nd in her age group while I copped 3rd in mine. Sorry...had to brag a little.

An interesting subject has started to really develop as of our trip. I had been flirting with something a little different, "Portraits for Dummies" where the models would be mannequins, dolls, etc. I now have "The Mannequin Project" with 20 or so models also posted in my gallery section. Some very unique models ranging from very, very lifelike to downright scary. I'll be doing more as new models are discovered.

Not much else to pass on in the way of photography. Love doing black & white and experimenting with directional flash. Always looking for someone needing portfolio shots and recently did some work for Kaye TFP. Perfecting HDR techniques doing real estate stuff. Boring but it pays well and I meet wonderful people.

Have a safe Halloween. Please wander through my galleries and post a comment in my Guestbook. Facebook at ATGNIphotoworks. Thanks!

D.

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(ATGNIphotoworks) ATGNIphotoworks Arizona Flagstaff The Mannequin Project black & white event glamour model photography portrait http://atgniphotoworks.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/been-awhile Wed, 19 Oct 2016 20:25:39 GMT
...an interesting conversation http://atgniphotoworks.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/-an-interesting-conversation ATGNIphotoworks, Flagstaff, Arizona, "Fossil Creek", waterfall, scenic, creek, flower, photographer, landscapeFossil CreekFossil Creek, Arizona Just a few days ago my good friend Marcia Myles (SnowAngel Photography), Sinthia (Proprietress of Sinthia's Chicken Palace) and I went on a great hike to Fossil Creek. For those of you that don't know the location, it is a natural spring fed, extremely scenic creek near Camp Verde, Arizona. There are falls, cliffs, greenery, wild flowers and, unfortunately (point of view), lots and lots of people. It is a social gathering place for the college crowd that, all to often, leave their trash behind.

At any rate, an acquaintance recently took an image very similar to the subject one. Two years prior, Marcia had taken a nearly identical image at the same location. Not to be left behind, I took the one posted. Mine, in my own judgement, while not to bad, is the worst of the three. When I posted it on Facebook I even commented about the blown highlights. Enter CK.

CK is my brother and lives in southern California near Ventura. He's a bit of creative genius in his own right. The conversation, via FB postings, ensued between us. It's a bit of an insight into digital imaging that is more fun than informational. I'm hoping it might give you, Dear Reader, food for thought or cause to contact me for more.

Click On!

The first two lines are commentary about the blown highlights. MM is my friend Marcia, CL is Sinthia.

 

MM graduated polarizer.....

 

ATGNIphotoworks Graduated ND filter. Polarizer might have helped, tho.

 

...then a reference to the drought conditions in California.

 

CL eat your heart out california!

 

CK You wouldn't say that if you saw the horrible carnage... entire lawns laid to waste. Dirty cars driving around... horrible I tell you. 

 

CK Go hug a cactus you brute...

 

...the conversation.

 

CK Nice. Would like to see more time smaller hole for the cotton look and field depth breezes permitting....

 

ATGNIphotoworks This was a compromise given the harsh ambient light shooting out of a shadowed area and equipment at hand. The highlights were either blown out completely or the cotton effect was lost. Needed the graduated filter on top of a standard ND filter to slow things way down and yet get some depth of field. Your observations are dead on. 

 

CK You got great balance in spite. Didn't fall in either.

 

CK Now for the jerk question... how big of a bracket did it take? 3, no, 4 cards?

 

ATGNIphotoworks Cards?

 

CK sd or other type of memory cards

 

ATGNIphotoworks My camera uses sd cards and I have a few ranging from 16 to 64 gigs. Normally I shoot with a 32 in place. This gives me over 1000 images in RAW format per card. A typical outing like yesterday netted 150 +- images some of which are "duplicates" and I still had room for over 1000 images.

 

CK See, that's what I was playing with. Thousand shot brackets and all... "Somewhere in here is a winner, dammit! They can't ALL be like this!"

 

ATGNIphotoworks Ahhhhhh...got it. Exposure bracketing or High Dynamic Resolution is a process where you anchor your camera to a 500 lb block o' concrete so it don't move and take several identical shots starting under exposed to exposed to over exposed and then stacking the images together in software. When I do it I usually use 5 images 1 full f-stop apart. My friend in Calgary has done as many as 12 images but that's really overkill. The whole idea is pretty basic but the image has to be still or you get ghosting. While ghosting can be removed in a lot of cases, it wouldn't work well here since the water is moving damn fast. I could have taken 10 or so images at varied exposures but each change affects some aspect - motion of the water, depth of field, highlights, shadows, etc. The real solution would have been the two filters...probably. Some of the first shots I took were typically at 1/5th to 1/8th second at f14 or so giving good silk effect on the water, not bad DOF and kept the highlights under control. I was using a .9 ND filter.

 

CK You have a friend in Calgary?

 

ATGNIphotoworks More a Facebook acquaintance. She's a portrait/kid photographer. We've never met.

           

CK I was being cute, my takehome from your entire story about technique and process being that you have a friend in Calgary. I need to come visit you to reurbane (yes, that's a verb) your sense of humor before it considers the Smothers Brothers the height of intellectual mirth... Or possibly knock mine back where it belongs, because I really like the Smothers Brothers...

          

CK Back when I used to shoot for our magazine I would run into cases where I had only one opportunity to shoot a subject and more often than not it would be in way less than ideal conditions. However, thoroughly impressed by my Nikon digital's (damn they make a lens, don't they?) ability to manufacture light 200 feet inside an unlit coal mine, I'd just set up the pod, lock the arm and hammer away running the full range of exposure variables in the smallest increments available, ending up in a 'bracket' of 30 to 50 shots, one of which would be acceptable. Of some detail of a car on a lift in a dark shop or warehouse, shooting up at the underside.

          

ATGNIphotoworks Exposure bracketing, aka HDR, is a little different than screwing with all the variables for 50 shots hoping to get 1 right. Invariably you did. HDR takes 3 or more shots with the only variable being exposure. There is also a technique called focus stacking that utilizes aperture variation to tweak the living crap out of depth of field. In theory, if you combine the 2 processes, you'd end up with a perfectly exposed image with near infinity depth of field. Frankly, Id rather take 50 shots and say "I took that image" than submit some hybrid, software generated graphic art albeit one that might prove to be spectacular. As for Nikon lenses, can't comment. No experience. Canon's L series is their flagship glass. Im sure Nikon has good, comparable stuff. My favorite low light prime lens is an 85mm 1.8f. Its primarily a portrait lens and will take candle lit portraits hand held. Im thinking you should maybe get back into this stuff. BTW, tell Kim to Get Well Soon.

 

CK That is SO cool! Never heard of that before. You have gone light years ahead in this stuff and it seriously shows in your work. Really is pro level. Anywho, I've always felt that Nikon makes excellent glass (took embedded plastic numbers less than 0.030" high inside an Audi trans harness connector and made them look like billboard art) and Kodak had a really good grasp of what WHITE is. Funny story about a Casio I tried for about 90 minutes one day after my Coolpix broke before wrapping the Casio right back up and sending it back... Tried a few shots, all of which were horrible. White came across as an almost pea soup green. Had to get some shots that night for an article due early AM. Ended up taking a picture of my white board under my CRI 99 lights. Printed it out on the color Epson and did a manual white balance adjustment on the result. Shots still sucked, but at least then I could correct in software.

 

ATGNIphotoworks White balance is probably the only function in my camera that I leave on auto. I've done the custom thing, taken shots like you did of "white" objects, did the 18% grey card thing, used the different light source settings and found that the camera does this just fine without me. Besides, its one less thing to remember. And there is always temp settings to mess with in software. Lighting is a whole 'nother ball game. I have 2 daylight fluorescents, 2 daylight incandescents, and, when the big guns are needed, 2 halogens. All 3 are slightly different temps, i.e., white balance. The fluorescents are umbrella'ed so they get really soft and the halogens are on the other end. We just shot a session with 3 models, at night using lights and a sweet Honda generator. I've taken shots using just a mini-maglite. It's a lot of fun and can be hard work. It can also be very frustrating to spend hours on a session and walk away with little. The term we use is "worthy" as in "worthy to submit for judging". Spent all day at Fossil Creek, 155 shots and I don't think I got anything "worthy". Took 10 minutes, 6 images of the clouds and I think the 1 is worthy. Go figure. Again, maybe you should get back into this. If you haven't shot anything since CoolPix days, you're in for a real treat as to what's available. Give it some thought.

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(ATGNIphotoworks) ATGNIphotoworks Arizona Flagstaff Fossil Creek event glamour landscape model photography http://atgniphotoworks.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/-an-interesting-conversation Wed, 10 Jun 2015 22:48:00 GMT
A General Look at Modeling http://atgniphotoworks.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/1/a-general-look-at-modeling        Hey There! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope you got some good information from my last blog posting. Hiring a decent photographer isn’t rocket science if you use your head. But let’s talk a little about you...the model. 

       First...a word about scams. I want you to ask yourself a question and answer it honestly. Do you really think that a company is going to pay you $1000-$1500 “same day” for a shoot? It is about 99.9999% certain that it won’t happen. Please! Avoid being scammed. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

       OK... TFP or “Time for Prints”. You might see or hear this referred to as “Time for CD”, or “Trade for Prints”. In essence, you and the photographer trade services. Your photographer, Freddy Fotog, takes shots to further his business and portfolio. You receive “prints” of the shoot for the same reason. In the days of film, actual prints would be provided to the model. These days, a CD/DVD would be given to the model. These images should be print ready, finished in post production (at least minimally), at least 9”x6” print size and at least 300 ppi. If you want or need something else, be sure to specify. Generally, TFP is good for both partners. You both end up (hopefully) with good shots for your respective portfolios. If the project Freddy is working on does not exactly fill your immediate need, speak up and ask for what you want. This is a mutual trade but don’t wait until the shoot is over and tell Freddy you really want some head shots when he’s been shooting you full length for 2 hours. And, no, they can’t (or shouldn’t) be cropped. Better yet, let ol’ Fred know BEFORE you start what you’d like. Now, don’t expect the world here. Come away from the shoot with experience and 10 good shots that YOU can use. In a perfect world, you each provide references for the other.

       I’ve had my share of good and bad models. Experience in front of the camera has not made a big difference. My favorite model has some experience but also has an inherent ability to just look good. She also listens and contributes. She has also been on the viewfinder end enough to understand the process. She is an absolute dream to work with.

       OK...so what makes a “bad” model? Well, to start, it isn’t about looks. I don’t care who you are, I will make you look as good as possible. I know the moves, the poses, the looks. No...it’s really about expectations, courtesy, communication and mutual respect. Here’s a list of things I think are important:

 

        1. Be on time! It’s common courtesy and the thing to do.

        2. If you can’t be on time, call!

        3. Be prepared. You should have everything you need to make the shoot a success. Bring minimal makeup, a hair brush and any props  

           you said you would provide. Obviously, you’ll want to provide the essential wardrobe. 

       4. Contribute. If you see something you like...or dislike...speak up. If you want things to go a different direction, let the photographer or  

           shoot director know. No one on my crew can read minds. This doesn’t mean you can change the direction of the entire shoot.  

           Remember, Freddy has a stake in this also.   

       5. Be spontaneous. Unless you’re doing a formal portrait or a passport photo, move! Right, I know this isn’t a video but standing like a  

           robot waiting for someone to pose you just sucks. You might have heard the old expression “...make love to the camera”. Well, I really  

           want you to leave your clothes on but I want you to get intimately involved with the shoot. I recall shooting a model that was so stiff

           and shy when I met her that there was no way she’d be anything but a lot of work...until the music started! Ok...my ears still ring but    

           what a transformation! If that’s what it takes for you, go for it!

       6. Follow directions. "Work with me, here!". Your photographer has spent a lot of time doing what they do. Some have spent a lot of time

           and money taking classes in order to be the best they can be. If you’ve hired the shooting director, listen and follow their suggestions.

           They see the shoot through a slightly different perspective and can be absolutely invaluable. Your light tech has that same “different”

           perspective. My guy is great and always comes up with a unique look.

       7. Be professional and, most of all, have fun. Hopefully you’ve hired a pro and brought your best friend to chaperone. It’s always a lot of

           fun to have a friend along. Just make sure they’re not intrusive. Don’t demand things that aren’t reasonable but ask for what you

           want. 

 

       So...how much do you charge as a model? Conversely, how much should you pay for a professional photography shoot? When do I know the difference?

       If you have a few years experience, have the “look” the photographer wants and he has come to you, then consider $40-$60 per hour. You need to have the portfolio to back it up. I’ll leave the pros alone here. If you have zero experience, consider TFP and try to get lunch :). 

       Hiring a photographer is really about your agenda. Head shots and casual long shots taken within an hour can be fairly inexpensive. Do not sacrifice quality tho. Full blown studio boudoir or green screen can get really expensive but the end result can be fantastic. If you’ve read this far and are still with me, give me a call or an email and I’ll quote you a rate on what you’re considering. Shameless plug...I know.

       Questions? Comments? Found a major mistake in what you’ve read? Email me and we can have a discussion, include your comment or get a correction up ASAP. In the meantime, stay safe!

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(ATGNIphotoworks) ATGNIphotoworks Arizona Flagstaff event glamour model photography portrait http://atgniphotoworks.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/1/a-general-look-at-modeling Sun, 25 Jan 2015 17:35:09 GMT
Picking a Photographer - A Few Basics http://atgniphotoworks.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/12/picking-a-photographer---a-few-basics WOW! When I looked this morning, there were almost a dozen ads for photographers or photography services listed on CL. This doesn't even count the studios and independents you'll find if you search the subject. How are you supposed to pick the “right” one? Well, price is important but it shouldn’t be the only criteria. Remember, you get what you pay for. Anyone wanting to do Time for Prints is probably a novice trying to build a portfolio. Hey...not that that’s a bad thing...we were all beginners at one point. And they all need a chance to get started, learn and make good. Sometimes a new model or a unique idea warrants TFP just to see if it all works.  But the novice will take a zillion shots and then pick a few that came out right. The professional will get it right, in the camera, the first time. Ask your potential photographer what their percentage of “keepers” is. Anything below 30% is taking up a lot of time for both you and the photographer.

 

Equipment is important. I see people walking around events and studios crammed with thousands of dollars of the latest, greatest equipment. Does all that make them good? No...it might increase their chances of taking a good shot but then I’ve seen some very good, dynamic images taken with an iPhone. The camera is just a tool. The photographer is the eye...and the heart...behind the view finder making you look fantastic! If Freddy Fotog has to change lens or camera body every time he moves 10’, then I submit that they do not know their equipment or their profession. Now, I’m not talking about back-up equipment here. Any pro will have extra this and that with them. If they don’t, then they are either very lucky or they don’t know or care enough to insure success. So...ask about their equipment...and have them explain why and what in terms you can understand. Just telling you “...it’s the best camera there is and has 40 zillion megapixels...” isn’t going to get it.

 

Computer enhancement - I love it when I hear Freddy say “Don’t worry, I’ll clean it up in the computer.” Uhmmmmmmmm...did you hire a photographer or a graphic artist? Here’s a clue...almost all pros will shoot in RAW format. Ask them if they are shooting RAW or jpeg. RAW REQUIRES some post production work at the computer.  But blown out highlights, poor depth of field, out of focus, etc. can’t be fixed easily if at all. That’s why Freddy takes literally hundreds of shots. He’s bound to get a few right. Then there’s the portrait that looks like a plastic dummy. OK...I get it...you don’t want that blemish to show and maybe a wrinkle or two could get softened but do you really want to look like a wax museum mannequin? 

 

Does your potential hire provide a contract and a model release? Neither are a “requirement”. Both are good business. Did you get a blanket per hour quote or, worse, a flat fee or did Freddy ask for detail? Photo shoots take time! Post production takes time! Are you looking for location or studio shots? Travel? Dangerous or difficult location? Most important, is Freddy LISTENING to you? Is he professional, clean, discrete and communicating with you? What about “in the box” shots or is he at least a bit creative without being ridiculous? Do you get a sense, a feeling, that they really know what they’re doing and talking about? Look, modeling can be a bit of hard work but it should be fun, not a “hurry in, hurry out” production grind. 

 

Is Freddy insured? Belong to any professional associations? Again, neither makes a professional but it does show interest and commitment. Can you look at a portfolio? How about a few references? A guarantee of satisfaction? What about a makeup artist, lighting person, backup photographer? Sure, all these things will not be necessary and will add to your cost but do you want that once-in-a-lifetime event blown because a memory chip failed? 

 

Well...good luck. Flagstaff is loaded with some very good people. You're going to have to do bit of homework. I hope you'll consider my services for your portrait or event. I’ll probably catch a ton of flack over posting this but I can live with it. Eyes Wide Open and Caveat Emptor!

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(ATGNIphotoworks) ATGNIphotoworks Arizona Event Flagstaff Glamour Landscape Photographer Portrait http://atgniphotoworks.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/12/picking-a-photographer---a-few-basics Mon, 22 Dec 2014 16:58:35 GMT