Here’s a new video tutorial from the Photography in 3 Minutes series. In this episode, I demonstrate how to setup a flash on a light stand, with an umbrella modifier.
Here’s a new video tutorial from the Photography in 3 Minutes series. In this episode, I demonstrate how to quickly create a colored background and avoid contaminating it with the main light used on your subject. Model: Danielle
“Oh, you can fix that. I know you have a tool that does that. You can tune that. You can edit this to death. You can adjust this, you can adjust that. They know, unfortunately, the tools that are available to us. And yes, we can. It’s time consuming, but yes, we can fix just about anything.” — Nick Sansano, record producer, from PressPausePlay (2011, House of Radon)
It’s a new world where everything is editable. Musicians have Auto-Tune, Protools, and any number of corrective tools available on the racks and computers at the nearest recording studio. Many expect that digitally processed on-the-fly corrections and adjustments to what they sing and play will be part of the package when they hire a sound engineer or producer. They understand how cut-and-paste track editing works. Kids are savvy with the technology because it’s available to them, to some degree, on their own computers and at little, if any cost. The way that some young bands and singers come into the studio expecting that some kind of audio Photoshop will take place might drive engineers crazy, if they weren’t getting paid for the extra hours spent tweaking things on request. Photographers can learn something from recording studio professionals.
Everyone’s a photographer now, and digital photo manipulation is not something “extra” anymore, it’s just part of the process of taking any snapshot. People think that because consumer-level photo editing–the kind they do with their Instagram or on their laptops–is how photos are made these days, that the professional photographer they hire most certainly does this, too. In fact, many might assume that since you’re a pro, you probably have the special tools and skills and workflow to easily take a group photo and rearrange people and swap faces in the shot. Requests for replacing part or all of a background, fixing hair, or making someone look thinner are all common, and in some cases, very reasonable. But photographers complain about it.
Here are a couple of suggestions for dealing with the new reality (is it really that new anymore?) of what people expect out of you when they hire you for a portrait or event: 1) Learn to shoot the images in such a way that flatters your subjects, or otherwise gives them what they want in order to cut down on “fixing” things later; 2) Learn how to do the editing, because it’s part of the job now; 3) Make sure you specify, before you take a job, what you will do, and what you won’t do, and what you charge for. If you’re working, you need to be compensated for your time. If you are spending time editing and retouching, make sure those hours are either factored into your job price, or that you can bill for them after the fact.
Oh, and number one on the list above is very important. Knowing how to take the kind of photos your customers want is key. A lot of people have cameras, and a lot of people take good photos. But if you’re a professional photographer, shouldn’t your work be of a professional level? If you find you’re doing a lot of fixing in post, maybe you need to learn how not to break it “in-camera.” Again, however you go about your professional work, at least make sure you get paid for ALL of your time working on a customer’s images/products, or you won’t be doing this for very long.
On a slightly different note, I highly recommend you watch the documentary, PressPausePlay which explores the possible consequences of the democratization of culture as it relates to art (the quote at the beginning of this post is from an interview from the film). It’s an eye opener. Get ready to roll with the changes.
It’s great to learn about lighting setups and placement, but knowing the fundamentals is important. For beginners (and some of us pros), it’s not a bad idea to make sure you understand how light behaves. FYI, the video above is a great visual reference for the section, “About Light” in my eBook, 100% Reliable Flash Photography. Again, I just want to stress that learning these fundamentals will help you understand how to get great light anywhere, anytime.