February 9 2014 - Photo Jottings

February 9 2014


Interiors anyone? 

Here’s a quick fact for you folks that are wanting to get into Real Estate Photography as a starting point to a photography career.  If you think using the process of HDR (high dynamic range) is the easiest way to get going, you’d be wrong, I know this as it’s the way I started.  A lot of people are using HDR, therefore you won’t be offering anything different. I’d guess about 50% of ‘photographers’ in Tucson AZ (where I live) are using HDR for Real Estate and even corporate work. I’d also guess about 49% of the others are using a camera mounted flash or a couple of hotlights and calling it good enough. Decent HDR takes a lot of post processing and a long time, and still produces mushy dark areas; using a camera mounted flash has some serious limitations.  To make matters worse for budding photographers, the lastest cameras have an HDR mode, and even Real Estate agents are learning how to use it; it isn’t as good as what you can get in photomatix etc, but it’s good enough for them.  When I started using multiple off-camera flashes effectively, my business exploded and I had to turn people away, even as I raised my prices.  Believe it or not, the quickest way to get great looking shots is getting it right in the camera, then you’re close to being done, except for minor highlight/shadow tweaks, and downsizing the images and sending them to the client; about three minutes per picture.  It took me about six months to effectively learn to use the off-camera flash technic, that’s a long time, but there was no information out there at the time, I had to learn it by myself.  With my ‘coming soon’ tutorial, you won’t have to go it alone!!
As promised, here’s some info on the interiors photography tutorial I plan on for later this year.  The format will be a separate area on the new website, not a CD or PDF.  I’ll build the lessons on a regular webpage, and here’s the reason: CDs will have to be sent out, and cannot be updated or changed.  PDF’s are easier to update, but like most people, I want instant gratification, so when I post the information on a webpage, I can update it quickly, with either new information or to correct errors.
Lesson plans:  The basics first, like how to set up and use radio controlled off-camera flashes, and suggestions on what to buy.  Then we’ll look at how to properly expose the scene, such as trying to get an appropriate bright exposure without blowing highlights, like indoor lighting and bright outside scenes, keeping in mind your camera’s flash sync limitations, and then filling the shadow areas with light from the flash.  From here we’ll move to compositions, with some suggestions for minor furniture and/or accessories repositioning.  Additionally, I plan to add full sized, unfinished images for people to work on to get their lightroom (or other image enhancement software) abilities up to speed.  I’ll go through a whole Real Estate job from start to finish, with photos of the lighting placement, light levels from flashes used, camera settings, use of gels, and of course full sized files of each final image!!  I’ll show the tweaks I used with the photo editing software to produce the final image for the client.  When you’ve successfully mastered Real Estate lighting, (or if you just want to skip ahead), we’ll move on to more advanced lighting technics, such as using separation lighting to add more dimension to your scene, accent lighting to bring out texture and color, lighting exteriors at twilight, which really makes the scene pop, and a more lengthy lesson on using gels correctly.
I may skip trying to teach the business part of photography, although I may dish out a few tips if it’ll help you!  I’m an anomaly in the photography world, and probably the business world as a whole.  I do business with a handshake, rarely print receipts or invoices, and never advertise!  I’ve never been ripped off or shorted by any client.  I do what I say I’m going to do, even if I have to ‘eat’ unforeseen expenses.  Portfolio–less, 100% referrals.  I had a portfolio up until a couple of years ago; unfortunately I didn’t have time to update it with my newer, higher quality work so it gotold, and I no longer wanted to show it; It only received a few visits a year, so why bother?  If I wanted to really step up my work; and travel for corporate jobs, I’d build a good portfolio site, but as I’ve stated in the post below, I have health issues from doing endless hours of post processing, and that’s coming to an end.  So now…….
I’m teaching!  Do you live within a days drive of Tucson AZ?  I’ve successfully tutored others in the basics of Interior lighting.  I’m even willing to teach someone right here in Tucson; I’m not afraid of competition, there’s plenty of room for people doing high quality work.  Honestly, I can’t even recommend anyone here in town that does quality work at reasonable prices, however, I’m sure there are people that do great work, there just aren’t very many.  I don’t know any other photographers as I’m not gregarious for one, and don’t show off any work for fun or competition, that’s kind of the nature of interior photography, not too many people like to check out interior pics, but I do love to peruse the lasted Luxe mag.
Next up; thoughts on the new Sony FE system, and how it compares to Sony’s APS-C system, and micro 4/3.
The Sony FE 35/2.8 review is under way!!
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