Headshots

As we are quickly approaching the middle of August, and stores are starting to display and advertise “Back to School” (a term usually music to parents’ ears, but maybe more-so this year), it’s a grim reminder that vacation season is also quickly coming to an end.

The corporate world is different than school, obviously; but there’s a certain freshness as most are back from their children’s dictated leave for a break from the hustle and bustle. A time when all employees are back in the office together for the first time in months, gives it that back to school feel to it.

Just like the yearly school photos, now is a great time to update your own business headshot for your company’s website or your LinkedIn profile.

I like to do on-site sessions, giving it an environmental feel to the frame. It is up to you, as I also have a studio on site where you are able to come as well, if you’re looking to get out of the office.

Click on the floating “Book Now” tab on the right side of the screen to book a free consultation.

Take it Inside

As many, if not everyone, has heard by now, a highly contagious virus is making its way around the globe seemingly faster than light itself. Here in South Korea, the number of cases continue to balloon not only daily, but hourly.

One thing that this temporary (hopefully) lifestyle change has brought with it, is the reduction in the amount of time that I would normally spend outside exploring. Luckily, at the time of this post, there have been no confirmed cases in my city, although they did track one person through a nearby subway station. (Yes, track. There is a website that posts the known travel paths of some confirmed patients before they knew they had the virus.) So, as a nature/travel photographer the question became what could I do with my time if I’m not going to be outside.

When you sit down and plan it out, there are a number of things that will easily fill a day.

Planning

One thing that is quite important as a photographer is being able to recognize your weaknesses. Having no traditional formal training in photography, I have a few.

YouTube videos, these days, play a huge role in my learning. I have learned to be careful when I use the term “self taught”. Many people tend to use the term to say that they didn’t go to a college or university photography programme, like myself. However, as I was growing up, I read books and magazines (the Internet was still very, very young at the time) to learn techniques, what f-stops were, lens distortions and how to work with them, etc. All of these books and articles were written by people, many of whom did go through formal training. It is these authors that taught me. There may have been more experimentation on my part as I physically tried to understand what they had written. But make no mistake I didn’t pick up a camera and figure out everything without any help. They were my teachers.

One thing I think that traditional formal training would have helped me immensely is lighting. Being able to handle and physically set up strobes and soft boxes in a controlled environment with supervision is something I wish I had experienced. Throughout my entire life with a camera in my hands, I’ve relied on natural lighting. I didn’t even start using reflectors or diffusers until fairly recently (relatively speaking). One of my first purchases after my first digital camera was a big powerful speed light. One that I’ve never really learned how to use.

Task #1

Learning how to use my speed light and how to light still life or products in a mini studio.

I started by using the soft box that my wife had given me years ago as a gift along with my one speed light. I started experimenting with where to position the light and how to light whatever object I could find around the house.

This also lead to watching a lot more videos on how to use artificial lighting.

Task #2

Studio Design

After editing some of the shots, I started to see some more possibilities. It also got me thinking about the studios that these lighting videos were being shot in, and their lighting set ups and the similarities. This lead to me redesigning my office. I built a track that runs from one side of the room to the other and attached my speed light to it. I also attached a diffuser to the rail so it could slide into the position and angle that I wanted.

Task #3

Re-editing

It is also a great time to go back through the archives. There are 4 things I like to so when I go back through the archives.

  1. Look back at some of the iffy files that I had thought I would go back and edit at a later date.
  2. Delete files that I thought I might fix, but have come to the realization that they will never get edited.
  3. Edit the iffy files that made the second cut.
  4. Re-edit files that had already made the cut, but using new techniques or since it’s a new day a new artistic outlook on that file. *

*There was one photo in particular that when I edited I wasn’t sure which I had liked better, the warm white balance or the cool white balance. Your vision can change from day to day.

By watching editing videos, (as “photoshopping” is still pretty new to myself as well) I learn different ways of doing things. I watched a video earlier today that even showed a whole new (to me) artistic angle to take with the photos.

Task #4

Website Updates

This is also a great time to keep up with website and blog updates. Keeping a (regular) blog in the past was something that was extremely difficult for me. My brain tends to run at 1000 km/h most of the time (hence the importance of my @koreantemples Instagram account to help me slow down). The one thing that I’ve learned while writing articles for Wikitree.us a few years ago, and last year while I was writing the textbook, is that I like writing. It’s something that I know I have time to do regardless of how busy my schedule is.

Task #5

Looking for Work

With my newly found love of writing along with my photography, this inside time has also allowed me to focus on networking and writing proposals to magazines and publishers. My full time elementary teaching contract has just finished and I was going to take this time to build my photography business. There are a whole lot of steps to take and hard work before it gets off the ground. I’m going to try my best to make it work.

So there we have it. 5 tasks that easily fill up a 10-12 hour day. Many times, each one of these days will only be filled with 2 or 3 of these 5 tasks.

Another New Beginning

I’d like to introduce Foresting.

The short version is that Foresting is a new social media platform. The longer version is that it is blockchain based. In my mind, and from my understanding of the platform and their ideas, it stands to be a promising premise for artists and photographers. One of the main selling points is the ability to make money on your own posts as opposed to making other people money on your posts. It is also my understanding that through this technology it will be much more difficult for intellectual property theft. Again, that is my understanding (I could be dead wrong.) If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years as a photographer who posts online, if someone really wants to steal your photo, they will.

Not only is this a beginning for Foresting and their team. It’s a new beginning for me.

Why is my second blog post about a new social media network that is still in the beta testing phase and probably one that you may not have heard of? Last year, I signed on to be one of the original contributors.

I didn’t know a lot about blockchain technology or crypto currencies before, and it still has me scratching my head at times.

I have been an active participant in the beta testing, and even though I can’t and won’t give any details on what is going on behind the scenes, I can tell you the app itself has been a wonderful experience. It’s clean, fun, and easy to use. The team over at Foresting HQ have been overly supportive and quick to respond to everything. I really can’t wait to see what it’s going to look like at the end of the tunnel, it’s been an awesome ride so far and we haven’t even really started yet.

Hopes and Expectations

With the blockchain tech and with people using crypto currency to “like” your content, my biggest hope and expectation is that it should drive up the quality of the posts and content that you see. I’m hoping that this will encourage people to stop posting their breakfasts and dinners and unflattering selfies. I think that there will be a lot of people who do migrate from other sites (you know who) that may start to wonder I got 3000+ likes over at I….m why am I not making any money here? The short answer is that although your friends and family may think that your selfie in the bathroom is funny or cute enough to pass on a like, as a way to show you that they saw it, it really isn’t worth a nickel or dime in the real world.

I’m also hoping that it will promote originality. Over at that “you know who” social media place, where a whole lot of people want to be an “influencer”, all go to the same place and shoot the same scene at the same angle. So much that one account has been made to show how much people copy others. I think it has started already, in that people are getting fatigued. If you scroll through your feed and the same-ish image keeps flying by, it gets lost and really are people going to give out a penny over and over to different people for the same thing? Maybe for hamburgers or hot dogs, but for art… If you buy a poster of the Mona Lisa, you want a poster of the original, not a poster of a copy that may even not use the same colours. To stand out, especially in today’s age, originality is going to swing back very soon on the pendulum.