Photographers: Protect Yourselves

There is a lot of information floating around about how to be successful [in business] as a photographer. Whether you are just starting photography as a hobby or shooting every day for clients, you need to adopt some basic practices to secure yourself and your work against catastrophe. Here is some info about protecting your most valuable assets:

1. Equipment Insurance
You’ve absolutely gotta have your gear covered. Ask your insurance agent or check out Hill & Usher.

2. File Backups
After every work session, synchronize two or three hard drives so you have mirror copies of all your files. If you don’t use RAID (I don’t), there are software utilities that make this easy; On Mac I use ChronoSync; on Windows I use RoboCopy. read more…

What Not to Do With Your New Camera

Don’t drop your camera in water. Ever.

As you may know, I recently took a month-long trip to New Zealand, specifically to photograph all over both islands. As some of you also know, on just the fifth day I had a horrendous accident while shooting Matai Falls.

I’m OK, my camera is not. Let me give a little background… read more…

All heart…

OK, so maybe it’s a bit trite at this point. But I’m watching Jerry MacGuire and I think there are still some good bits of wisdom there.

In a phone conversation with my buddy Monte Trumbull , we were talking about how to reveal one’s own "voice" in a photograph. How to make a personal statement; how to produce photographs that speak for you.

I believe that making truly expressive photographs requires conscious thought combined with a personal, innate reaction to the subject. In other words, finding a way to respond to what’s happening, and distill the essence of that reaction within a rectangle. This is not easy but is essential to produce an expressive photograph – no matter what the subject.

Try this: when looking through the viewfinder, identify your instinctual, emotional connection with the subject. Be clear about what you like and what you don’t like, and be clear about why. The more you can identify with your photographs, the better they will become.

From Jerry MacGuire: "If this [points to heart] is empty, this [points to head] doesn’t matter".

Respond to your subject with your heart and let the rest flow.

Update from New Zealand

Here’s a quick update from New Zealand. We’re having a great time!

FIrstly, we rented a campervan and it’s worked out well. Along the way, so far, we’ve also had two nights in hotels (Queenstown and Blenheim). We picked up the van in Christchurch and will return it in Auckland (for no extra charge). I highly recommend Wilderness Motorhomes for campervan rental.

We’ve been in the south island for 19 days and have covered a lot of ground, seen the “most important” places and done LOTS of shooting. Every day we’ve shot sunrise thru sunset, souting when not shooting, etc. and getting some nice images. Lots of work, and lots of driving. But very rewarding. read more…

Photography on Ovation TV

For the past several months I’ve really been enjoying several series of shows about contemporary and historical photography on the Ovation channel.

Right now I’m watching a show called Close Up: Photographers at work, about several emerging fine art photographers. Coming up next is a show called Genius of Photography; this one features Jay Maisel.

I haven’t seen shows quite like this anywhere else… but there are other examples of photography featured on TV. For example, Art Wolfe has a show called Travels to the Edge (mainly seen on public television) that is shot in HD and has been running for around a year. My friend Brad Lewis (aka Volcanoman) is slated to do one like Art’s next. It seems clear that photography is more popular than ever; my belief is that digital capture is what has opened this up and I love to see shows about it… it’s very refreshing to see so much documentary television about the art and craft of photography.

Ovation runs these shows about photography very often; most weekends they run photography shows all day long. (Ovation is on DirecTV channel 274; not sure about other systems.)

Check it out!

Wednesday update

Moab Photo Workshop last weekend
I’m home and fully recovered from my 4-day trip to Utah to teach a workshop with Bret Edge. It was a big success and we worked very long, productive days. We had six students (a perfect group size for two instructors) and everyone had a great time and learned a lot. We shot sunrise and sunset in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and during the day held digital darkroom classes and critiques. Bret did a great job putting this together and we’re already planning more. Stay tuned…

Back to Writing my Lightroom book
With no plans for travel in the coming weeks, I’m back to writing full time. I will be sending final files to the publisher end of November then it’s off to the printer. The book, which covers the complete Lightroom workflow with lots of shortcuts and timesaving tips, (as of yet untitled) is scheduled to hit stores February 2009.

Canon 5D Mark II
I’ve preordered Canon’s new DSLR, the long-awaited successor to the popular 5D. It’s supposed to ship mid to late November. I ordered the kit with the 24-105 L lens; I’m really looking forward to getting it!

More info from Canon here

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