I was out walking the dog yesterday and could not believe how hot the sun was. A good sign that spring is coming and with spring the birds. I love the spring birds as they are in good health and their colors are starting to enhance so what better time for a bird course.
This year I have added a full day with (6 hours) of shooting.
Many of my clients know about the new company vehicle that I am working on, but in case you didn’t I will put some updates and information here (also it is too hard to keep sending out information to people that ask about the progress so I can link it here under the category VAN ).
Was a cold, windy and snowy day but still great to get down to Waterton. A lot of snow still around causing some issues with pulling off the road. No animals around other than the deer, I think the snow pack may have played a part in this, hard to move when the snow is so deep.
When I got down the clouds were moving in and within about 20 minutes the snow really started to come down.
Okay I am not one to buy something just because it may work, but I have been thinking of this for a while. Then when I was watching a video today I saw that the presenter was using one I thought that I would make my own colour checker and see if it works. This is the first version, I already can see a number of changes that I would do, but first I will play with it for a while then make the changes.
The dates below are for the winter / spring calendar of my 2015 courses.
More information to follow as things are confirmed.
15th – Looking after your digital files
17th – A day in the park
24th – Adobe Photoshop / Elements
29th – Ladies Night
February 5th – Painting with light
February 25th – Photo Printing (Part 1)
February 28th – Studio Photography
March 4th – Photo Printing (Part 2)
March 11th – The Works (Part 1)
March 12th – Photography Business
March 18th – The Works (Part 2)
March 20th – Astro Photography
March 26th – Photo Restorations
March 28th – The Works (Part 3)
April 1st – The Works (Part 4)
April 16th – DSLR 1
April 18th – The Works (Part 1)
April 24, 25, 26 – Waterton 3 day
April 30th – Ladies Night
May 1st – Full Moon Photography
May 2nd – The Works (Part 2)
May 9th – The Works (Part 3)
May 14th – DSLR 2
May 23rd – The works (Part 4)
I often get asked how I do my lightning pictures so I thought that I would take the time to show my current set-up. I have it tweaked so that it works really well. With this set-up I can shoot a storm and follow it across southern Alberta without a problem.
I run two cameras at a time usually set on different areas of the sky – sometimes even with different ISO, Shutter speed and aperture to get different effects
Camera settings (ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture) will vary with the lightning
I like this set-up over using the tripod as it is safer and I am able to move to follow the storm easily with minimal packing
I also have a second vehicle for shooting from, if I am doing lightning from this unit I find a good spot and shoot the storm as it passed, it is designed to get to an area and shoot not to follow. It is a 4×4 truck and it has a camper on the back, with this I can go in the back and shoot with all the comforts of home, and more!
Forgot to add – Shut the vehicle off when shooting, pictures will be sharper!
This is the inside of the second vehicle. On the left past the closet door is a large window (out of this shot) that I shoot from. I have done a number of animal pictures this way as after a few minutes the animals don’t even notice you. With photographing lightning or storms it is GREAT as I can be inside and have everything I need and more!
Well now that you have gotten through part 1 of the business of photography and my less than encouraging comments lets move on to something a little more encouraging, Marketing.
This is a overlooked area when starting a business. People think that if they take some okay pictures that word will quickly spread and clients will come beating down the door. Well in some industries that is what would happen if you have a good product, but in photography it does not happen. Why? Just look on advertising web sites at the number of people that are doing the same thing as you are. So what should you do?
1 – Display Prints: First you need to set yourself apart from the crowd. If you want people to call get some amazing prints and start showing them around. Put them on web sites, find display space, show them to every potential customer. Now when I say AMAZING prints I am talking about the best of your best. Don’t show okay prints. Don’t have any amazing prints? Get some. Start shooting pictures that take time to set up, use great lighting and great subjects. For the nature people that means get out first thing in the morning or late at night to get the exceptional light. Everybody else is showing prints shot at 1 in the afternoon with flat light, go for the amazing!
For the wedding and portrait photographer find poses that will blow the clients away, work on lighting and shoot, shoot, shoot. As for the size of your display prints? A good saying to go by is “You only sell the sizes that you show”. I have proven it time and again to people that if you only show 8×10 prints that is the maximum that you will sell, show bigger sell bigger. People do not want to buy a large print if they do not know you can print that size.
2 – Get a web site and a real E-mail: I am not talking about a Facebook page, but a real web site that you can design and modify as you like. Facebook is not a real web site and limits a lot of what you should be doing. Nothing wrong with having a Facebook page and your web site but you need to show clients that you are serious and not just a fly by night operation that did not even bother to spend on a real web site. (Whoops sorry about the honesty again 🙂 ) In addition to a web site get a real E-mail address, not email@example.com but one that advertises your web site and shows people that once again you are a real business, one like firstname.lastname@example.org shows people that you have a web site and you have taken some time to set up a business. Whenever I get an E-mail from a company trying to sell me something the first thing I look for is do they have a real E-mail address, if it is Yahoo, Gmail or Hotmail (now Outlook) I am VERY cautious about the company.
Question – Should you spend money at this point to market you web site? I have to say at this point no. There is a lot more to do before you should be spending money on SEO and other marketing for your web site. I would make sure that ANY thing you send out about your business has your web site address on it and you are letting people know about the web site but wait on the marketing of it.
I was out for a drive this past weekend with my teenage son and we got talking about bucket lists, that got me to thinking about what photos I would have on my bucket list. So I sat down and did up a list, and it wasn’t easy. As you will see below all the pictures that made my list are of either animals or places. I also found that there are some things that I would like to get at least one picture of (or some that I have pictures of but would like a digital image as the ones that I have are on negatives or slides and they either are not good enough quality or the negative or slide is damaged) , I guess that is my true bucket list as even one would be nice, things like a cougar or a wolf, or a barn owl. Then there are a number of things that I would like to get more pictures of – or better pictures. I guess this would not be a true bucket list as I already have pictures of these, I would just like more or different ones and that would include things like the Northern Lights, bears or elk. So I divided the list into the top and the secondary – funny thing is that I have removed a couple from the top list even this year as I got pictures that I always wanted. Then there are MANY pictures that I want to get more of but it really is a day to day thing that I will never have enough or know that I wanted it until I see it, so for these things I have left off the list (things like sunsets, and storms)
So what pictures would you have on your bucket list?
Here is what I have come up with so far (will update as I think of more)
Top (My true bucket list)
Owls – there are many species that I still have not got a picture of
Secondary (pictures that I would like more of or different/ better ones of)