A few personal thoughts after the last three years of economic crisis when small businesses have suffered financially.
What have they cut back on to survive?
Staff, brutal layoffs!
And next ADVERTISING.
The result: people out of work,loss of revenue by small business because of lack of visibility in the market place.
The ultimate success of any business or endevour depends on potential buyers or clients actually seenig or being informed
of the existence of that business.
I have noticed over the last year that my own efforts to promote my photography business
have started to pay off.
The majority of my clients find me through the internet search engines.
The aim of any promotional website is to achieve a top 10 page rank for particular search keywords.
But how to achieve this position without spending thousands of dollars with an SEO Company.
My initial answer was Google AdWords.
I immediatelly started to get responses.
However, AdWords still cost over $200.00 per month.
I then started to work on my website. I began to understand how to structure the source code so search engines
would list me ,at least, on the first or top of the 2nd. page search.
When I started to get the search results that I needed I was able to drop AdWords and save that monthly fee.
In this technological age,where most small business seems driven through the internet or TV,
an ineresting thing happened to mt photography business.
Over the many years I have worked as a photographer,I had always been known as a people ,celebrity and lifestyle photographer.
I suddenly found that I was getting calls to shoot product (which had been a small part of my business).
I guess that as a fledgling photographer with Vogue Magazine I was required to learn all types of lighting,
from fashion to beauty to sets to product.
The lesson I have learned lately is that if you wnt to be seen in the market place you must promote yourself or your business.
So, bite the bullet, set aside a little money and use it to promote and advertise.
The results may surprise you!
Hi to all you photographers, or would be photographers out there
Photography as art.
I really do hate that expression. With a few exceptions Photography is art. It’s an expression of someone’s view of the world as they see it.
What does that mean?.
Well, just as a painter, writer or musician expresses him or herself though their particular medium, so does a photographer. There are many forms of photography just as there are many forms or types paintings, literature or music.(Portraits,landscapes,abstracts, fiction, non fiction, biographies, classical music, rock,country etc. All or some of these forms, may not appeal to everyone, nevertheless all are art to some}.
All of the above become art to someone if executed with forethought and a degree of knowledge about the medium being worked in.
That being said, let me get back to my medium, photography and all it’s various forms.
What do I mean by forethought and knowledge of the medium.
A photographer, wheather shooting a portrait, a landscape, a commercial photograph, must have at least a degree of knowledge about exposure and composition.
In today’s technological age of digital photography all digital cameras have a monitor screen. But my god, how that accessory is abused.
To produce a well composed photograph the photographer must be aware of the edges of the frame and , at least for me, the best way to do that is to look through the viewfinder so there are no distractions outside the frame. I always tell people to think about what they are trying to say in the photograph, even for just a few seconds.You know that old expression “look before you leap”, I say “look before you click” The secret to good composition is to use your eyes, look and look again.The best example I can give is the work of the great Ansel Adams. Adams would spend hours, even days studying his subject before taking even one picture. Now. most people dont or or cannot spend that much time to figure out the best composition.
But I will bet you that even a few seconds of forethought will improve the end result.
Use the monitor to check the photo you have taken after you have taken it. Do not use the monitor to compose. Criticize the content and composition and the exposure.Dont just say “oh that’s nice” or “oh that’s cute”. Does the image contain and emphasize what you are tryng to say about your subjet, is the exposure to your liking or by adjusting it to over or under expose parts of the image, can you make the result better.
If it’s not that good, figure out why and try again.
I would like to know from you if you consider any or all the images below as art.
Why do you want to become a photographer?
Well first let me tell you how and why I became a photographer. I actually started my career as an engineer working for a company called Sylvania Thorn LTD. in England developing photoluminescent gauges and instruments for the aviation industry.
Engineering is a great career….. for some, but it was’nt for me. I soon became really bored with the 9 to5 thing, so I quit. I had always loved art so, at the grand old age of 20, I entered The Hornsey College of Art to study graphic design.
I graduated after three years and was sent by the college to work for the summer at Vogue Magazine in London just to experiance what the job of a graphic designer was like.
To make a long story shorter Vogue asked me to stay on as an assistant graphic designer.
During the next couple of years I had to deal with not only the photographers under contract but also many of the great freelance photographers who did work for Vogue and it’s other magazines.
I was hooked!.
I bought a used Nikon F2 and started to take pictures for myself. I then realized it was’nt that simple. I knew about composition and color but made some typical mistakes which mainly had to do with lighting and exposure.
What to do?
I asked to be trnsferred to the Vogue studios as an assistant, at a huge cut in salery.That was tough, but I wanted to learn.
And learn I did from some of the greatest photographers in the world.
In fashion photography I learned that with lighting less is more, in other words keep it simple. I learned how to work with models, how to motivate them to give me the shot that I wanted. And lots of chat and flattery goes a long way towards getting that great shot. There was no digital then, so correct exposure was of the essence. Perfect exposure is not always the anser to a great picture. Over or under exposure is perfectly acceptable if that’s the result you want.
The great Helmut Newton and Richadr Avedon tought me about the use of what they called negative and positive space in a composition.
Sometimes this is called the Golden Mean or the Rule of Thirds.
I learned many other tricks from the great masters of fashion photography during that time.
Product Photography is really an art in itself, here the simple rules of lighting dont apply, though the ultimate rule I use, is LOOK, USE YOUR EYES.Continue reading