I've Gotten Busy Lately!!
It's a good thing. After all this time I've finally got more work than I can handle. I feel stretched and a little stressed but very, very happy.
So now that my time is more valuable I had to start thinking about how I could streamline my workflow. The solution was to start looking for some workflow packages. Sleeklens offers a variety of different packages for both Lightroom and Photoshop.
As most of you know, I work almost exclusively in Lightroom. I'm not a huge Photoshop fan. I use the program when necessary but I like the ease of use in Lightroom.
I don't like to alter my images very much. Instead, I like to focus on being as precise as I can with the original photo. I don't enjoy sitting at a computer editing my work for hours and hours. I want to be out shooting and doing what I love.
I have found the Sleeklens Workflows to be very convenient and they save me a lot of time. The presets are simple to use. I like how I can stack different presets to create unique looks. One of the reasons I've always avoided using presets is because I felt they might stifle my creativity. I was wrong. I have found that using the presets allowed me to experiment more. I would click on a certain preset and it would inspire me to edit my photograph in a way I hadn't previously considered. This was an added bonus I didn't expect.
Presets for Landscape Photography!
I used the "Through the Woods" collection for the series of images posted in this blog. This workflow is designed specifically for editing landscape images. I didn't have to worry about sifting through presets that were designed for portraits or product shots. Instead, these presets helped enhance my photos in the exact same way I would have done if I were manually adjusting every single setting. The presets allowed me to save a great deal of time.
I was able to deliver a set of 8 finished landscape shots to a local art dealer. He was thrilled with the results and the speed at which I filled his order. I wouldn't have been able to complete the order so quickly if I had not used the presets to speed up my workflow.
The benefit to these presets is the ability to stack different looks together. It allows me to create unique images from a set number of presets. Other companies offer presets but they tend to very set in stone. You choose the preset and the look is complete. You can't adjust lighting or vignette. Whereas Sleeklens offers a variety of options that work independently from other presets. The stacking feature is very useful. I think this is probably my favourite part of the workflow package.
Sleeklens also offers instructional videos that helped me to understand how to use their presets. It's pretty easy to use once you understand how the presets have been designed.
I like to create warm and inviting landscape images. I love golden hour and the type of light it creates. Sleeklens "Through the Woods" collection had many different brushes and presets that allowed me to edit my photos to create this warm feel. There are brushes that allow you to paint in a golden hazy light. The Before shot on the left was shot during golden hour but because of the foliage, the light became cooler and greener. I warmed the shot up using the preset "Heavenly Warmth". I then used a variety of brushes to bring out highlights and deepen shadows. A subtle vignette was added to keep the viewer's eye focused on the scene and to add some depth to the shot. This photo became an inviting image that will welcome viewers to the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario, Canada.
Experiment with New Tools!
The experiment was well worth it. I've learned something about streamlining my workflow and that just because someone else did the hard work of creating the preset doesn't mean that I am any less of an artist.
In the past, I've stayed up all night editing photographs and struggling to make deadlines.I don't think I'll be as stressed in the future now that I know I still have control over the final look and feel of my work.
Here are the links to their services in case you are interested
Originally written for Picsera
Retouching is an essential part of the portrait photographer’s workflow. In this day and age, you must understand that clients want to look their best in portraits. This means we need to use Photoshop to refine their look. I often hear statements like “You will work your magic and make me look a little younger right?” It’s unavoidable people want to look perfect in their portraits. As much as I try to fight against it I have to retouch photos. I want to make some sales after all.
The use of retouching isn’t all negative, however. It’s is also a way to add your own unique style to your work. By adjusting white balance, vignette, saturation and contrast you can create an identifiable brand that will help you market your skills. It took me a while but I developed my own workflow and also my own brand. Clients know that my portraits are bright and bold. The colors are rich and I shoot portraits in an informal and relaxed manner. I also shoot exclusively with natural light. My clients like this look and choose me specifically because of the style of the portrait I create.
What exactly is Retouching?
There’s an important distinction to make when editing photographs. In order to edit images effectively, you should understand the difference between retouching and color correction.
The business dictionary defines retouching as….
“Alteration of an artwork, computer graphics, or photograph for its enhancement, introduction of desired features, or reduction or elimination of the undesired ones…”
This means that photo editors use tools like the healing brush, clone stamp, and patch tool to retouch/alter photographs. They will also apply filters and sharpening techniques to alter and enhance images.
Retouching Vs. Color Correction
Color correction is defined as …
1) A rendition of colors that satisfies your aesthetic intentions.
2) An equal distribution of the primary colors in the neutral values: black, white and middle gray.
When correcting color the image itself is not altered but the highlights, low lights, colors, etc. are adjusted to enhance the photograph. Understanding the difference between these two functions is important. It will help you establish a clear and methodical method for editing and presenting images to clients. Generally, the color correction takes less time than retouching and requires a lower level of editing skills. Most photographers teach themselves how to color correct an image but will take courses on retouching and using Photoshop. Photoshop is a huge program full of all kinds of different tools. It takes quite a while to learn the full functionality of the program.
Be efficient it will increase your profitability!
Now that we have established the difference between color correction and retouching it’s time to talk about knowing when to retouch a photo and when to make color corrections. Being efficient and picking the right time to perform these tasks can help you in developing your earning potential.
Remember that smaller images generally hide flaws like acne better than larger images. If a client orders an image as a 5 x7 there may be no need to meticulously use the healing brush to smooth out every tiny blemish. Some blemishes may not be visible at such a small size. Remembering to take into account the size of the image and the profits you stand to can help guide how much actual retouching you make to an image. You need to ask yourself if taking 3 hours of your day to fully retouch an image you will sell for $20 is a worthwhile use of your time. Being a good photographer is also about being good at prioritizing your time.
Stand out from the Crowd by Establishing a Style!
Everyone talks about branding these days. All marketing research points towards the importance of branding in increasing business profits. If you are going to survive in today’s market you need to understand how branding works. Creating a distinct style is a part of the branding process and being conscientious in the ways in which you retouch your images is a part of the branding experience. Take a look at the work of some of these successful portrait photographers. It’s time to complete a little exercise.
Look at the ways they edit their photographs. Use the questions below to help guide you in identifying their brand. Can you identify key elements that are consistent throughout their work? These elements help them to gain customers and sell their work.
Anna Maria Brandt
What did you find? What’s their style? They’ve carefully crafted a look they use for marketing their photography. Retouching is an important part of their brand and ultimately their profitability.
The choices you make in retouching your images will help to define your brand.
Knowing the Market Trends should inform your Retouching Style
It’s important to be able to adapt your retouching style to match the look and feel a client wants to portray. When I first started as a portrait photographer, I would shoot just about anything and in any style a client wanted. The result was a mix and match of looks that didn’t really create a distinctive brand. When people looked at my website they weren’t sure what they were going to get. It took me a long time to understand that I was losing business as a result. It wasn’t until I established a brand and a look that my results changed. People will search you out because the photographs you take suit a style and look they like. Once you get busy and your style is established then you can hand off your editing to others like Picsera. We will work with you to edit your images to fit your branding.
We suggest you take a look at the market trends. If you are going to specialize in studio-based portrait photographer then research the trends and the styles. Don’t copy other photographers but be informed and develop your own style that is unique and yet follows market trends. This is a difficult balance to attain but we know you will find a brand that works for you.
Something else to consider is the type of portrait photography in which you wish to specialize. Each type has certain requirements and expectations. Clients looking for family portraits are going to be looking for something considerably different from a business executive needing headshots for Linked In. Study other successful photographers to help inform your editing choices
For those who might want to get into the market of Boudoir photography study the styles of masters like Crista Meola or Jen Rozenbaum. These two women have developed distinctive styles that appeal to a large number of clients. They are unique yet fit within market trends. Whatever direction you choose to go remember that the ways in which you edit your photographs can affect your profitability.
Outsourcing Retouching…Is it Right for Me?
Outsourcing photo retouching is still kind of taboo. Therefore, many photographers are still hesitant in trusting another artist with retouching their photos. We often hear doubts such as:
What’s in it for You and Your Business?
One Final Word about Retouching and Shooting!
Portrait photographers should always shoot in RAW. As a photographer, your goal is to shoot the highest quality possible image so you can craft the best possible portrait for your clients. High-end images result in a successful business and this requires top-quality shooting and editing skills. Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to your photography use RAW files!
There are very few occasions in which you should be shooting in jpeg. An example would be a high-volume event in which the photographs will be used for something quick and simple. For example, I recently shot 25 hours’ worth of hockey portraits. By the end of the two days, I shot over 7500 images. There was no way each image was going to be edited using a classic workflow. Instead, we created jpeg settings in camera and then shot each image so that they went straight to the clients as proofs. It was the most efficient use of our time. If I had tried to edit each image using my regular workflow it would have taken me a month to complete the job. Instead, this job was about getting high-quality shots as quickly as possible. My client was paying me by the hour and efficiency was the key to success. Sometimes shooting jpegs is inevitable.
If for some reason you have to shoot in jpeg. Be sure to give yourself the best possible image to work with. Use the following jpeg settings to help you have workable images. Just remember shooting jpegs should only be done in extreme cases!
etouching is important to manage a successful portraiture business. Be sure to educate yourself on all the possibilities and establish a method of retouching that enhances the profitability of your business. Use our practical tips as a starting point for fine-tuning your retouching. We are always happy to help with retouching to help you complete more jobs in time. Check out our retouching services here.
Kids are incredible! They have the ability to brighten your day no matter how grey it seems. Children are our most important legacy. Each generation brings something special to the world. They are full of ideas, enthusiasm and curiosity. Sometimes we forget that when we start taking photos of children.
I photograph a lot of family portraits and despite my best efforts to convince the adults to relax, parents worry about how their children will look. Often I hear statements like, “Sit nicely for the camera”, or “Don’t make silly faces.” My personal favourite is the statement that throws Grandma under the bus, “You’re grandmother wants a nice picture of you.” It’s hard sometimes to convince adults to let kids be kids. Sometimes they are messy little beings. It’s who they are. So here are some tips to help you capture authentic photos of children just being themselves.
My favourite clients are the ones who let me be creative with the portraits we make. Yes, we get one posed family photo before we set the kids free to play, but the most cherished photos are the ones I capture of their children playing. All too often they will forget about the posed family photo and choose something more unconventional to hang on their walls. Nothing is more satisfactory than when a client says, “That’s my son. That is exactly who he is.” Those simple words make all the effort worthwhile.
How do you make authentic photos of children?
A great way to get kids excited about having their photo taken is to ask them to suggest a location. When kids have input into something they start to feel more invested. Some kids become very enthusiastic and start planning different angles at which you can take their photos. I’ve found myself in some interesting positions when trying to do photos of children. In the end, it is all worth it.
Location – Location – Location
Once the location has been established it’s time to start shooting. Don’t pull the camera out right away. Consider playing with the child for a short time. Join in the game of cards or throw a baseball around for a few minutes. Just try to help the kids relax and become focused on playing, rather than on your camera.
When the child is comfortable it’s time to start shooting. I generally begin a session with a longer lens, something in the range of 70-200mm works very well. Watch them playing to get a feel for how they move around and then starting pressing the shutter button. The key is to catch the child facing you. Shots of their side or back are generally less appealing than a photo in which their entire face is visible.
After a little while, you can move in closer. Perhaps switch to a 50mm lens. At this point, you have to move quickly. Approach the child and ask them if they are having fun. Ask if they can help you out by standing still for a few portraits. Some kids will be very cooperative. Others you may have to negotiate with a little, but that’s okay. I often trade silly faces for more conventional posed shots. The result will be lots of laughter and isn’t that exactly what you want?
Kids are kids. They are exuberant, silly, serious, and just plain balls of energy. I say let them be who they truly are. If you want to capture the true nature of a child then take photos of children playing. The photos will be authentic and memorable. They will reflect the personalities of your kids and most importantly, they will make you smile.
Show me some fantastic shots of your kids playing. It will bring a lot of joy to your heart and mine if you show them off. Please share in the comments below some photo of children that show their true personalities.
Originally published in Dufferin Total Sports by: Erin FitzGibbon
As I sit here watching the Olympics I’m always awed by the skills of all these athletes. They are truly amazing. I loved Bill Murray’s tweet the other night. They make their sports look easy and effortless.
Make your hard work show its true colors!
It’s time move on to the second stage of the photo editing workflow. The second stage involves making global adjustments to your photographs. In this stage, you are now focused on taking your beautiful images and tweaking them to bring out their true character and flare.
Here’s an example of a file that has had global adjustments made. The white balance, black and white points, vibrancy and exposure were slightly adjusted to enhance the image:
Ghost written for Picsera. See the original post here https://www.picsera.com/3-easy-steps-to-start-your-photo-editing-workflow/'
Originally published in Windspeaker.
August will be a momentous month for members of the Algonquin communities in Ontario. For the first time, the Art Gallery of Bancroft will exhibit the work of Algonquin artists.
Robin Tinney, an Algonquin sculptor, has curated an exhibition entitled “Finding Critical Mass”, which runs Aug. 3 to Sept. 3 at the art gallery.
The exhibit, supported by a $3,000 grant from the town of Bancroft and donations from the Algonquin communities, “….is a means to spark a creative revival; a new collection of ideas, images and artwork from which to rebuild our decimated culture. The artists will primarily be new, undiscovered and/or self-taught artists from the 10 Algonquin communities in Ontario,” said Tinney.
The 10 Algonquin communities of Ontario are made up of status and non-status members from Antoine, Pikwakanagan First Nation, Bonnechere, Greater Golden Lake, Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini (Bancroft) Mattawa/North Bay, Ottawa, Shabot Obaadjiwan (Sharbot Lake), Snimikobi (Ardoch), plus Witney and area. And they have been involved in a difficult land claim process that has stressed and fractured their bonds.
The exhibit is significant in that it pushes aside the politics of the land claim and celebrates the culture of the Algonquins. Tinney wanted each Algonquin community represented at the exhibition. The goal is to reconnect communities and move forward into the 21st century as a powerful voice for Algonquin culture.
Tinney’s work as an Algonquin artist was first on exhibit in Toronto’s dusk ‘til dawn city-wide art exploration Nuit Blanche in 2013. While conducting research for his work, Tinney began to search the Internet for images of Algonquin artifacts. He wanted to incorporate these artifacts into his carvings.
Tinney was unable, however, to find anything that would lead him to clues of his past. There was simply nothing. This realization sparked a desire to begin to promote Algonquin culture.
In the summer of 2015, Tinney met with the Art Gallery of Bancroft. He asked if the gallery had ever considered holding an exhibit of Algonquin art. The idea had been discussed by the gallery, but the gallery just didn’t know who to approach with the idea.
The gallery was happy to engage in the endeavour and saw an exhibit as an opportunity to expand its perspective. Most importantly the board members were “excited to increase awareness of the culture and history in this area,” said board member Barb Allport. The gallery rescheduled their summer exhibitions in order to accommodate the event.
When Tinney first began his search for Algonquin artists he said he had no idea of what he would find. He was interested in gathering the names of everyone involved in the creation of art.
“I look forward to discovering our storytellers, our beaders, our painters, our computer artists, our musicians and our playwrights,” he said during the call out. “Traditional or modern, amateur or professional, I don’t care. I’m interested in all of what we are.”
The scope of the project entails more than just an exhibition of beautiful works of art. There is something much larger at work within this month-long exhibit. Tinney envisions an art group in which members “share stories, themes, ideas, and inspirations; help each other learn new skills and techniques,” Tinney said. He sees the group as an opportunity to explore each community by listening to their Elders, their children, and their artists.
The hope is to display the artwork within each of the 10 communities so that everyone has the opportunity to see what has been created. There is a real need to inspire the next generation of artists and to build the culture, he believes.
Tinney also has a desire to pursue opportunities for the exhibit to travel to other parts of Canada.
For many of the artists involved this will be their first time they publicly display their work as Algonquins. Michelle Mackenzie (photographer), Melinda Shank-Miles (painter/illustrator), and Trevor Tennent (painter) are just a few that have enthusiastically joined the exhibit.
For these artists and the others participating in the exhibition, it is about realizing that the culture must become public in order for it to thrive and grow, they said.
At a deeper level the exhibit touches upon the need for all members of the Algonquin community, both status and non-status, to become comfortable within their own skins and proud of their heritage.
“It is good for us as a people to celebrate being Algonquin,” said Tinney.
By: Erin FitzGibbon (www.erinfitzgibbon.com) - Originally published in Dufferin Total Sports.
Representative hockey is finally finished for another year. Tryouts are over and kids are focused on their summer sports but this doesn’t mean that coaches are taking time off and forgetting about the sport. The summer months are valuable time that coaches use to organize the upcoming year. Some parents may not realize that during the summer months coaches do a lot of planning. They work hard to get all the administrative pieces in place so they can focus on developing practice plans and focus on helping your child to improve their skills.
Most coaches will begin by planning the season. They will work with the manager to plan create the budget. Coaches and managers develop a timeline for collecting rep fees and team fees. They estimate the cost per tournament and create a target for fundraising. Then there’s the matter of sponsorship. Coaches and managers will draft letters for finding team sponsors. Of course they send out the inevitable "please help" request to team parents. Coaches need help in finding sponsors. Later in the summer a coach will send a friendly reminder that they need your. There really is a lot that goes in to running a rep hockey team. Most people don’t realize what goes on behind the scenes.
Coaches will also work with managers to find team apparel and incorporate this cost into the budget. Some teams will search for sponsors to assist with this cost. It’s up to the coach and manager to decide how to pay for these items. If a coach decides to book extra ice time the process of finding a block of time starts in the early spring. Ice time is hard to come by and the early bird gets the worm. Leaving the search for ice time until the fall season can result in a frustrating search. Most of the ice left over will be at inconvenient times like Sunday morning at 6am. No one likes those times, especially if you are coaching teenagers.
Each team activity whether it is a tournament, team get together or extra ice time requires a travel permit to be filled out. These permits are submitted to the office for approval. Travel permits ensure that the team is covered under the Ontario Minor Hockey insurance policy. Given the nature of today’s society these permits are pretty important. In fact managers carry these permits with them to every tournament. The tournament directors require a copy to keep on file. On top of these permits coaches and managers have to submit an official roster along with the signed letters of commitment. These rosters are then approved by OMHA and the coach and manager receive and official document they use when registering for tournaments. Yep there’s an awful lot of paperwork involved in running a team.
Coaches will also start to plan their season. A good coach will look at the season and choose to enter tournaments that will help to develop their players. The idea is to give players the opportunity to develop their skills and build towards a peak performance during the playoff run. All of this takes careful planning. Coaches consider which tournaments are well organized, which tournaments will offer their team the best competition and which tournaments take place at important times during the year. There’s a lot to consider.
Next, coaches will start to map out a skill continuum for the year. They will consider the strengths and weaknesses of their team and work to address these issues. The idea is to move from simple skills to more complex ones. A coach might notice that his/her players are weak backwards skaters then focus on this skating skill for the first part of the year. Good coaching that focuses on player development is a fine art. It takes careful consideration and planning.
I’ve by no means listed all the off season duties that coaches and managers perform. There are lots of them. When people find out just how much is involved they will often ask me “Why do you do this? Why coach?” The answer is simple. There are an awful lot of headaches involved in coaching but ultimately I love seeing players grow and develop. I receive satisfaction from sharing the game with my players. This satisfaction outweighs the headaches. I can’t speak for all coaches but when I see my players move up a level at tryouts I know that all that planning and paperwork was worth the effort. So next time a coach puts out a plea for volunteers to help with a fundraiser or find sponsors take a few minutes out of your busy day. Many hands do make light work.
By: Erin FitzGibbon
Also published in Dufferin Total Sports
I love sport!!! As a child I played a million different sports. I was a gymnast; I competed in show jumping; I played hockey; I played soccer; rugby was one of my favourite sports. I just loved being active. As I got older I focused on just a few sports. My favourites were hockey and rugby. I played both sports in University; it was a fantastic ride.
Now I photograph sporting events. I love to photograph children playing sports. They have this raw energy that isn’t necessarily focused on the same kind of priorities that we adults expect. They come to the game they play with this innocence that makes every day at the rink or the gym brand new and exciting.
I recently helped my husband coach his Tyke team during a practice. The kids are seven and eight years old. They jumped on the ice excited to participate in practice. My husband blew the whistle calling all of the players to join him so they could go over the first drill. One little fellow stayed in the corner and continued to shoot the puck against the boards. I went over to collect him. I started by calling his name; I was annoyed that he had chosen to ignore the whistle, wasn’t he serious about his hockey? Didn’t he tell me in the dressing room that he loved to practice? Why was this little guy ignoring his coach? Especially, after he’d told me all about his love of the game. After reaching the corner and finally getting his attention I suddenly realized that this little man was so focused on working on his shot he hadn’t heard the whistle. He hadn’t heard me calling him and he hadn’t realized practice had started. He was focused on a skill. I asked him to join his teammates so we could start practice.
Now I’m a reflective person and this experience taught me something important. I realized I was taking a child away from practicing a skill. He was focused, he was driven to succeed and here I was redirecting his energy. I had to do it; we only had so much time on the ice. I felt sad that I had to redirect him. The hockey coach in me struggled with the fact that I might be redirecting a child into an activity where he might be less focused and less productive. This is one of the faults with adults always directing the learning of children. It’s more philosophical then I really need to be right now. But this issue highlights my focus when I photograph sport.
I want to focus on the energy that incident displays. It’s this effervescent energy that I love to capture in my images. Children aren’t on the ice for the same reasons we adults sign them up to play for. Kids see the sport in a way we don’t. I try my best, as a photographer, to show those reasons. I want to dissect sport and show the love of the game. People hire me to take images of their children. They want great shots of their kids stopping the puck or making a beautiful pass. I shoot images of their children playing sport so I can show everyone how kids see sport. I want to show just how much sport is about kids just playing the game and about kids pushing themselves to learn new skills. I shoot their games because I want us to see that sport has a human side far removed from the commercialized photographs of professional athletes. Kids are there for their own reasons and they don’t always match with the ideas of adults. Maybe we as adults should be okay with that. At one point in our lives we were just like them. We wanted to focus on getting our shots just right too.
Some people may not realize that I don't just market my images as fine art prints. Many of my images have also been produced as greeting cards. In fact some of my images are shot solely for use as greeting cards. I try to create cards that will appeal to a wide range of individuals and situations. I shoot images for all kinds of occasions including weddings, birthdays, baby showers, Christmas, Mother's Day..... The list goes on and on.
So... What's the advantage to purchasing a card through my business rather then heading over to the local drugstore and picking up a card? Well there are several.
1) My cards are printed in low quantities and contain more unusual subject matter. You won't find cards like mine at the drug store. They are more unique!!
2) Most of my cards are blank inside so you can completely personalize the message you wish to send to friends, loved ones, or acquaintances!!
3) You can custom order a card from me and get the size you wish, the image you wish, a specialized quantity and if you wish you can choose to add your own personalized message.
4) My cards are reasonably priced. I charge $4.00 for individual cards and the price reduces if you purchase a bulk number of cards.
If you are interested in purchasing cards. Use the contact form below. You and I will have a quick chat and you can pick out the items you need.