iPhone as Mobile Portfolio

I heard some one once say that if you are a photographer you need to buy a iPhone or a iTouch from Apple. This way, when you are out, or traveling, and run across someone asking what you shoot,  you can simply pop out your device and voila: instant portfolio.

Before I got an iPhone, I thought it sounded it cool, but how could a little screen be of much use? Well, that was before I saw the screen. It is great for showing off your pictures.

I just got some business cards printed up:

business card

I was walking around the office (computer programming day job) and handing them out. People were asking about the type of pictures I took, so I pulled out the iPhone. Nothing like instant ooh’s and aah’s. If someone wanted to see a certain type of picture, I had an album for that. Here is a recent shot:

iphone picture of emma

I find it really easy to get my latest images onto the iPhone. I am using Aperture, but iPhoto would work similar. I create a smart album that collects all the images of a certain type. Could be 5 stars, or tagged as portraits/seniors, etc. Then in iTunes, I select go to the photos page, and select to manually sync pictures. I then select the smart albums I created. Now whenever I update Aperture, it updates the smart albums, and every time I sync, iTunes puts the latest photos on my phone. Simple, instant, up to date, mobile portfolio.

Seattle In June

It’s official, I am going to Seattle in June. The hotel picture shows a room with a great view of the space needle and the ocean. I bet I am in an inside room.

Some of you may be wondering why I am going on a vacation in the last month of my programming contract. You would be wise to wonder, but Annie is going for work, and I am going to tag along. I love the West Coast. I couldn’t pass it up.

I am planning a drive to Vancouver for a day too because I haven’t been there in many many years. What the heck I say. So, anyone have any ideas for photo oportunities? In Vancouver or Seattle? I have some ideas, but I am open to suggestions.

Friday Links

Bleeding Hearts

Above: Random spring picture from last year. I need to take more this year!

Ever wonder how someone could be a comedian, contemplate theology, and end up a passionate photographer. David duChemin has his story.

I ran across some cool inexpensive lighting equipment today. After watching a NAPP video via Kelby’s blog, I went to photobasics.net. This is a set of inexpensive gear aimed at non professionals. There is some neat looking stuff here.

Added a new book to my wish list at Amazon. David Ziser’s book Captured by the Light: The Essential Guide to Creating Extraordinary Wedding Photography. I am not a wedding photographer, but I bet anyone that wants to create great portraits could benefit from this book.

I don’t get to Moose Peterson’s blog every day, but when I do, I usually read through a bunch of older posts. Here is one from a couple of days ago where he talks about the Nik Color Effects filter plugin. Very neat. The particular filter: tonal contrast. Unfortunately it is only available in the $299 Complete version. (see filter list here)

Busy Weekend Taking Pictures

Wow, this was a busy weekend. Friday night I got out to shoot some of Minneapolis from around the Stone Arch bridge. We also went inside the Gutherie and that new thrust walkway thing that juts into space. Very weird, but a pretty cool place to take some pictures. I am still going through them, but after a quick look, I think my favorites of the night were when I included my father with an off camera flash.

Then yesterday I was at a 15 year olds birthday party. Myself and a couple of others were there to take pictures of her and her friends. I don’t think a fashion shoot in Milan could have had more outfit changes. It was a lot of fun though, with pictures to come.

Think Tank Airport Security

I have been thinking about camera bags… How to get all of your stuff from point A to point B? I don’t travel that much by air, but I do need to get my gear around in cars, and when air travel comes up, you need something to put your stuff into.

My biggest issue right now is the 70-200mm f/2.8. I can just barely get it into my Lowepro FastPack. The only way it will fit is attached to the camera, and then the body is pushing against the door. Not the best. It is a backpack, which I like, but if I am taking everything, it is darn heavy.

I have been starting to hear a lot about Think Tank products. They look very well made, non-descript, and well thought out. A while back Matt Brandon reviwed the Think Tank Airport Security International, and then just recently Scott Kelby reviewed the Think Tank Airport Security V2, it’s slightly bigger cousin. These are very cool looking bags. If you could pick them up for cheap, I would run out now, but quality doesn’t come cheap, and we are looking over $300 for either of these. Yikes. It will take a bit more thought and saving before I bite.

Ok, on the sort of related category: I need to find a bag to hold my lighting gear. I am starting to collect lights, stands, umbrellas and other crap, and need¬† a way to store and transport it. On the weekend, I emptied out my family’s 6 person tent bag and used that. Any better ideas? And, uh, $300 isn’t a round number that will fit this need.

Are you a PCITW or a TCOOTW shooter?

I hate all the silly acronym’s that the computer industry comes up with. It feels like people try hard to be the first to make thier acronym for some new process or technique stick. I don’t try to hard to remember them. Luckily photographers don’t have so many.

On the other hand, I am trying to figure out good prounciations for PCITW and TCOOTW. What the heck is that you say? You are probably doing alread. David duChemin posts about his new photography acronym’s here. Put Crap In The Way, and Take Crap Out Of The Way. (t.coot.wa maybe?)

I find the PCITW very interresting. I don’t do really do that on purpose. I usually try to clean up my compositions, and Zack Aries has been getting on people about haveing crap in their pictures too (in some of the critiques). Mostly the issue is when the crap is in focus. That is not what David is talking about. It is about using a (usually) out of focus element to help frame and provide depth for the photo. I like this idea. I hope I can remember to try it (on purpose).

So you want a Critique by Zack Arias eh?

The eh? is my Canadian showing through. Zack Arias has been doing some critiques of people pictures and web sites since March 10. Here is the link to the first one. He has 8 of them as of this morning, I have seen 4 so far. They are really worth the time to watch.

Theses are really amazing on so many levels. First of all is how well he can do a critique in 5-7 minutes of someones work. Now granted, it looks like he spends some time before hand looking at a site before doing the video. Zack has a good eye for photographs, and a good understanding of web presence.

I have been taking notes as I watch. Some of the most useful information in the first few episodes has to do with how you present your work, more specificly how you present it on your web site. Some of the things that come up over and over are:

  • Show me who you are. Only post pictures of the type that show the type of photographer you are and the type of work you want.
  • Only post one version of a given picture (not color and B/W)
  • Only post a picture of any given model once. Pick the best one.
  • Don’t use the same building, boat, object more than once.
  • Only use your BEST work. Your best work will not pull up your weaker stuff, your weaker stuff will pull down your best work.

One of the biggest take aways so far is going to be the most difficult for me. This is the “show me who you are” part. I have a hard time with that. I really like shooting my kids – no money in that,¬† landscapes – you have to be really good at that (and travel), flowers – how do you sell that, and portraits – I have just started. So, if I want to take pictures of people, seniors, weddings, engagements, etc, I need to have a site focused on that, but I don’t have many pictures like that yet. I’ve got to put in the work. Funny about that eh? Until my pictures of people are better than my pictures of flowers, I am not going to have a great website to show people my “work”.

I have some lighting stuff coming. I need to be more agressive about getting oportunities to take peoples pictures to both get better at it, and to build my portfolio.

To switch gears, I feel bad for some of the people. The girl that shot the wedding with her camera on auto, direct on camera flash, crooked pictures and poor cropping made me cringe. I sure hope my first wedding doesn’t go like that. He also has people submitting their flickr account with ony pictures of their kids on it and asking what they need to do to make money at this. Yeesh.

I feel that my pictures are squarely in the middle of what he has seen. I don’t take as good of pictures as the ones he has praised, but I sure don’t take as bad of pictures as the ones he trashes. My web site on the other hand would be trashed. I really need to work on my web presence.

The other think that is interresting is that I don’t always agree with him on the shots that he thinks are amazing. I almost always agree with his “chuck” pile, but some of the pictures he like I find my self scratching my head. One thing that appears to be a trend is to shots that are very close to blown out. There are lots of pictures that look overexposed to me that he thinks have great lighting. I am new to the whole being critical of photography/art thing, and I suppose that we might just have different tastes.

It would be interresting to get a critique of my photo’s. He already has a billion submissions, and my I need to work on my site before I would want to have that part looked at.

I really need to look at where I am going as a photographer. Where are you going?

Tuesday Tidbits

The Hot Shoe Diaries by Joe McNally has shipped from Amazon, and it is killing me that I picked the slow shipping option.

Joe McNally is also the guest blogger on Scott Kelby’s¬†blog tomorrow.

I found my star washer for my Black Rapid strap. I am pretty sure it is from the 1st time I lost it. It was on the sidewalk in the backyard after the snow melted.

Photoshop World has started. The expo is on, the training classes start tomorrow, and I am pouting about not being there. But then again, the $599 fee to get might have been a factor…

David du Chemin has a video¬†of his backup strategy on his blog. Sigh. Makes me think about how my NAS is still not operational (equivalent-ish to his drobo) and how I haven’t made an off site backup for a long time. I like his idea of the pelican case with the smaller drives per year. Get on that Chris!

Matt Brandon is featured by Photoflex. They have a softbox for hot shoe flashes. The one that Matt used for his shoot is on sale for $79 right now. I think I may have to spring for this.

I got through the rest of my shots from last Wednessdays studio shoot. I need to weed a little bit more, and get them on CD’s for people for tomorrow’s class. I will try to post some of the images too. Last class tomorrow.

You Walk too Fast

If you haven’t stumbled upon “Guest Blog Wednesday” on Scott Kelby’s blog, you have been missing out. There have been great posts lately. It’s a fabulous way to find new people to check out, and get get insights from some of the old pros. This week Scott has Jay Maisel.¬† Yes, the Jay Maisel.

He starts by mentioning a conversation he had with an art director, who after looking at his photo’s said “You walk too fast.” This is very interresting. Less because it is so profound, and more becuase I need to keep hearing it over and over. It is so easy to get caught up in trying to get as many shots in as many places as possible. Often it is better to just experience the moment, and capture what’s there without trying to drive the situation.

Anyway, give Jay a read.

Lost my Blackrapid Star Washer Again

FastenRAgain! I lost my Blackrapid star washer again. I am starting to get tired of this, and less excited about the strap in general. This happens to me almost every time I use my tripod. See, I usually head out with the camera on it’s strap, holding the tripod on my shoulder, or by one of the legs. I don’t like the idea of swinging the whole contraption around with the camera on top.

So anyway, I take the camera off the strap, and attach it to the tripod. Then sometime later that day, I realize that I am missing part of the FastenR. Crap. Yes, it is my fault. I should tighten the washer against the angle bracket when I take it off the camera, but I keep forgetting to do it. Crap. Do I order another one?