Forget about the Joneses

I have seen many times a business or a person gets off track by trying to keep up with the Joneses. You are your own person / business and unless there is a real reason to change don’t keep changing. If making a change has a purpose like improving your product or life then that is one thing.

If you are changing because someone else did then DON’T!!!

Who are the Joneses?

Some students come in for classes and they tell me they are interested in changing gear. Either to a different camera manufacturer, model, type, etc. When I ask why they cannot answer. They are doing so because someone else did or someone said they should. If you need the new technology then make the switch, if not then don’t!

Keeping up with the Joneses

A great lesson!

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Back to business

Over the summer I have heard from a number of people with business questions and concerns about their businesses. So this fall I will be doing some posts on getting back to building your business. Summer is over, kids are back in school so now lets get our businesses in shape.

Business

One of the first things I would like to address is time management. Specifically social media time wasters. It seems that everyone is pressed for time. In actual fact we all have the same amount of time we just need to use it better. Get off your smart phone, stay away from social media and limit your other time wasters on-line. You will get a lot more done at work and your personal life will be better for it.

Posting

As a Pastor said at a church training meeting this summer “Nobody is waiting for your next social media post. Nobody cares if you post today or tomorrow. Your church, or your personal life, is not going to change for the better or worse by not posting for a few days”. In business it is the same. Check your social media accounts once a day. Do your posts, answer inquiries, make comments. THEN get on with your life.

I have had weeks that I have posted 7 amazing posts each week. My sales for those weeks are no better, and sometimes worse, than weeks that I do not post. Many weeks when I have zero posts on social media I have done the best sales. One week this past summer when other people were up late shooting sunsets, stars, etc and posting on-line I was in bed by 9pm. Up at 6:30am. At work by 8am. My sales for that week were close to four times as much as a standard week. Not one post on social media.

Comments

Also limit the time you comment on others posts. You may think you know how to solve a problem for someone, but most people on-line are not looking for help. They are looking for sympathy or someone to do it for them. I spent hours helping someone with a issue this past summer. Myself and a couple other people used our knowledge to help them get out of a bad situation. In the end they did nothing we recommended and are now paying the price as their business struggles.

Set aside a set amount of time each day and when that time is used, STAY AWAY from any more social media. Edit images, market your business, clean up, do paperwork. You will find you will get a lot more done!

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What print size won’t crop your image

Why does that print size crop my image?

So what print size will I be able to print without loosing any of the image? The question is almost daily. “Why is it when I get a 5×7, 8×10, 11×14 or 16×20 print made of my digital file I have some of the image cut off”?

The answer

A digital camera sensor is NOT the same proportions as the print sizes mentioned above.

Why are those print sizes so popular? According to history the sizes that we have come to know as normal where used by photographers that shot 645 medium format. These sizes fit this format perfectly.  35mm Film and most sensors in digital cameras are proportioned to 4×6, 8×12, 11×16, 12×18, 16×24. Only these sizes will give you the full image file without cropping any of your image.

Cropping can be a good thing if you plan for it. It can allow you to get closer to the subject and eliminate “extra” parts of the picture.  For some pictures it is a killer.  Imagine a picture of a large family and the people are from one edge of the image to the other.  Then the client asks for a 16×20.  Well you now have to choose who in the family that you are going to cut out. Or you will have to do a lot of editing to add sky or foreground to the image.

Full print size
The full digital image
Cropped print size
When you ask for a cropped print size

So what should you do?

When shooting images imagine that you have crop lines in your viewfinder. Or do like many did in years past and draw the crop lines in – if you so dare or are crazy enough to try.  Then leave space around your images for the cropping to the common sizes. 

If you want to do something artistic like shooting a image to print to 24″x8″ make sure that you let your client know first. That way they won’t try and order a 8×10 from that image. Or maybe do one that is more artistic in posing then do some that will fit the common format sizes.

If you do mess up and crop too tight for the print size, add some space using Photoshop. Unsure of how to add space ask when ordering and I will help you with it.

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American Goldfinch – Break Time

When I am trying to do some work on the van and a Goldfinch shows up I have to take a break and take some pictures. I have seen Goldfinches in the river bottom in Lethbridge. This one must have heard about the amazing food that we have and decided to do a road trip for lunch. Of course I had to sneak into the house to take some pictures. I always have the 150 – 600 Sigma ready to go on the 70D body. So I grabbed that set-up and shot off a few pictures before I had to get back to work.

He was a very cooperative subject and I got some great images. One question that I am asked about shooting birds in your backyard is how do I do it?

Do I have windows without screens on them?

Do I open windows to shoot?

Well it is yes and no. I try and remove the screen from the window and quietly open the window. But many times if I do that I scare the birds away. If they are at the back of the yard I will try and open the window. If they are close to the window I will shoot through the window. All these pictures are shot through the closed window. I do not shoot through the screen part of the window. Fortunately for me half of the window is screen. The rest is glass. So I can shoot from any window and use the non glass part.

Goldfinch and House Finch
House Finch and GoldFinch
Why is there a Goldfinch on my branch??
Why is there a Goldfinch on my branch??
Those seeds look good
Those seeds look good

Learn how to get better images

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External Hard Drives – WARNING

I am a BIG advocate of using external hard drives to store your images and data. This is of course in addition to other back-up sources. Things such as DVD’s, extra external hard drives and additional computers.

External Hard Drives

New Drive

Recently I went out and bought another external hard drive. Picked up a Lacie to transfer all my nature pictures to. That way I would have them in one place and be able to take it with me when I am on the road without taking other files. Spent a Saturday night and part of Sunday transferring and organizing the new drive. I have several other Lacie drives as back-ups and have had no problems to date. Then I took the to the studio to download the files there.

I plugged the drive into one of the studio computers and watched as it said “New Drive Detected”, “Installing Hardware”, “New Device is now ready to use”. Then I clicked on My Computer to find that the device is not there. Tried a second computer then a third, all with the same results.

External Hard Drive
External Hard Drive

That not good

I was finally able to locate the drive through a couple of backdoor routes and found that the drive was running. But after a lot of research I found that even with the computer recognizing the drive it was not accessible. After looking into it I found out that it is the way the drive was set-up from the factory.

So a word of warning, if you have an external drive that you are using make sure that it is readable on other computers! You should do this ASAP!!! I would actually try several computers to make sure if your computer should die, or be upgraded, that the external drive is accessible.

Check your drives NOW!!!

Again as a word of warning, if you have an external drive check it on another computer ASAP to make sure that it can be read, before you need the drive to work and it doesn’t. This is one of those issues that if you find out when you have a computer problem it is too late!!!

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Image Stabilized Lenses – Gimic or Need

Image stabilized – yes or no??

I get asked a lot about the need for image stabilized lenses. Many people also want to know if a point and shoot camera should have image stabilization.  People want to know if it is needed to get good pictures or just a gimmick and if it is worth the money?

If you would have asked me years ago I would have said outright don’t waste your money. But as I get older and I push my photography limits I have to say that I do like it.

First a little background

Read moreImage Stabilized Lenses – Gimic or Need

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