Our speaker for the Oklahoma City SMUG was Scott Jarvie, who is in the top 20 sales with SmugMug and is starting a web site for acknowledging all of the photographers at www.allthephotographers.com. He started out talking about how SmugMug is a very customer friendly company and how they build their products on the feedback of the customers.
He drew us into his speech by showing us how to use SmugMug in our normal work flow. He also showed us how Adobe Lightroom could work in tandem with our SmugMug accounts; therefore, it saves us a lot of time in editing and downloading.
He finished the night with some great information about SmugMug’s Events feature and how it can help Pros share photos with their clients. This new feature of setting up events for the different photo shoots was awesome. Not only could we set up these Events, but the Smart Galleries help organize by our key wording. This turned out to be the highlight of the night, as he explained the importance for the key words and descriptions for each picture.
This was a great meeting and we encourage anyone interested in photography to come join us at our future meetings! One thing is for sure: you will take something helpful away from the meeting. And you will get to meet some really great photographers.
Check out Sherri’s blog.
Our speaker this month, Scott Robert Lim, is a photographer based out of Los Angeles. His 90 minute presentation, “Amazing Light, Anytime, Anywhere” focused on the techniques of using off-camera flash.
Knowledgeable, enthusiastic and well spoken (I’m sure everyone in the back was able to hear), he explained that his approach is to be better than 95% of photographers. Anything less, and you will only make acceptable money for your adequate work. He says to treat photography as a real profession, to take it seriously, respect the industry, and invest time into learning everything you can.
Lim began as a wedding photographer and has since expanded to portraits, products, journalism, and training budding, new photographers.
Here are some of the topics he addressed:
Why bother with flash? The simple answer is control.
- You can create drama when the ambient light is flat (no shadows). “It’s like having a sunset in your pocket, golden hour all the time.”
- Create images video can’t easily produce. Frames taken from HD video can produce 2 MP pictures, but they may not be able to both freeze action and pull in the ambient light.
- If you control the light, you control the quality of the picture.
TTL or Manual? Manual, of course, is Scott’s answer. Manual allows control which produces consistency. It can also control cost.
There are 4 ways to control your flash lighting when in manual and only one when using TTL (“Through the Lens” is an automatic function on many cameras that evaluates flash lighting requirements and adjusts the power to the flash in concert with other camera settings).
On the other hand, taking over the power settings in your flash and using the manual controls of your camera allows you 4 methods of adjusting the lighting composition of your shot. You can control the flash output, the distance from the subject, the aperture and the ISO. These changes all have individual influence shooting in manual, but none using TTL as the camera and flash will compensate for your changes.
Lim showed a picture of a model in the surf, and he told us how the flash kept the model in focus and the breaking wave sharp. You can check out this extraordinary photo here!
In addition, lights from buildings in the distance were present due to a slow shutter speed. On the other hand, a faster shutter speed can hide the background. Set it fast enough and it will turn day into night or at least eliminate an unwanted background.
Running out of time, Lim talked about and demonstrated a few tools that he also had for sale: flashes, a shoot-through umbrella on a monopod, colored gels, a Velcro snoot, and a bright LED video light. The snoot can be handy to focus your key light, while not bleeding into background mood lighting. His products reflect his philosophy of taking manual control and not paying for technology that you will not be using.
All in all, it was an informative lesson for those new to flash and an excellent refresher for those that rarely take the flash out of their bag. Thank you very much Scott Robert Lim.
Check out his work and training opportunities at scottrobertgallery.com.
The Knoxville SMUG took some time last week to discuss how best to manage the group going forward. In addition to SMUG planning, attendees discussed topics about the business of photography: business licenses, insurance, taxes, LLC, and Corporation vs. Sole Proprietorship registration. Food was provided, which was a nice perk as well. Having the round table at the meeting was an easy way to talk about the plans for the future so that everyone was able to talk freely. Make sure to make it out to the next SMUG so they can put their ideas for the future to work!
Nicole Wolff, owner of Sota Dzine, visited the Washington DC SMUG for some words of wisdom. She spoke primarily about self fulfillment and following your dreams to help others. Nicole broke her presentation to the SmugMug group down into three parts: 1) how she started and her business, 2) how to reinvigorate your passion, and 3) about self fulfillment and giving back.
Nicole started her business in 2001 and quickly learned to be true to herself. Forging a smoldering path within the wedding photography business based on her desires and vision, she realized that she loved to push the envelope in terms of artistic creativity.
Although difficult at first, Nicole stressed the need to be true to yourself and ensure that there is always an end goal to push towards. Merging her vision with ideal clients took some time to accomplish, but it was what separated her from other photographers in her space. Her unique style and attitude towards photography distinguished her in the Washington DC market.
In the weeks where she didn’t have weddings or commercial shoots booked, she would fly back home to be with her family. Through her trips back home, and her love for commercial fishing, Nicole began to document people and the hardships and challenges they experienced in their daily lives
Through her various trips, she accumulated a story that few have ever seen. This project took many years and many trips to compile; yet the creative process, and her love for the sea, allowed this creative outlet to compliment her current work.
The final part of her presentation discussed finding a deeper meaning through our work. Nicole, like many photographers, has been blessed with a gift to tell a visual story. She also wanted to use her gift to tell a real story.
She was given the opportunity to volunteer in Haiti to capture images of travesty and desperation. In her time there, she was able to connect with the people of Haiti, understand their struggles, and accurately tell their story.
But more so than simply document, she can make a difference. Nicole has started the Up From Under foundation (www.upfromunder.com). It is dedicated to building houses for those who have lost everything in the earthquake.
Her organization has built two houses and is on the brink of building another four houses. Her message: As artists, we have a unique gift and a unique opportunity to help those around us, a gift that should not be squandered but cultivated.
Submitted by the Washington DC Scribe: Sunny Mathur
Check out Sunny’s Facebook!
Last night’s San Diego SMUG, in conjunction with APA, presented an amazing hour long presentation from Phillipp Scholz Ritterman with the photos he took of China’s Grand Canal over the course of about a year (2009-2010).
Phillipp described this self-project as his way of retreating from standard assignments and getting back to his love of image creation. And, beyond how beautiful and stunning his images were, we were allowed a brief glimpse into how he approaches and thinks about the photos he creates.
There was even a raffle that offered an array of prizes. It’s always nice to include a giveaway at a meeting, so people excited to attend!
His session really revolved around what he was setting out to document: how China’s rapidly evolving economy ushers out the old traditional way and gives rise to something new.
No one to deny a gracious host; my mind was blown when I turned around to run smack dab into a bowl of Goobers on the table! Seriously, does it get any better than sipping cold beer and eating chocolate covered peanuts while listening to a master talk about his craft? Maybe, I’m just not sure how.
It was a great turnout for the SMUG, like always. I’m so glad I attended this meeting, because the mix of fun and learning was perfect. Plus, the snacks really made it even better!
“That passion inside is a big part of what’s going to keep us all going forward as we pursue our love of taking pictures.”
Rick Libby, or “Moose Man,” spoke with us at the Hooksett, NH SMUG as our first guest speaker! He discussed both his journey as a photographer and some of his photographic journeys. The underlying message Rick “Moose Man” Libby conveyed was what it takes to get the shot.
Rick Libby doesn’t take photo walks; he escapes into nature for many days at a time, because that is the dedication it takes to take moose photos. “Being out in the wilderness,” he explains, “everything slows down for reasons of safety and preparation.” Armed with patience, and having a deep understanding of his subject, Rick Libby is able to be the Moose.
For example, he explains how he first surveys the area from a kayak. He listens for key sounds, such as dripping water or splashing. This is a sign that a moose could be nearby feeding in the water! He also keeps his paddle perched across his kayak, instead of leaving it suspended in the water, to reduce the risk of unnatural noise.
The “Moose Man” also explained the importance of keeping a journal. He uses it to identify moose and learn about his subjects. Through detailed notes, he is able to point out specific moose he has photographed over the period of years and tell their stories.
This was a great meeting to attend, because it opened the eyes of those who do not usually photograph wildlife. It’s always nice to learn about new types of photography, which is why I love attending my SMUG!
Submitted by the Hooksett, NH Scribe: Evan Wilson
The Virginia native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers stood tall and beautiful as we snapped away. We met together on this stunning day, with our camera equipment and brought some models. The shots turned out great, as you can tell from the photos.
It was a great way to learn from one another and build our skills. Each SMUG is always informative, and every time I leave, I feel like I come away with a new piece of information to make my pictures better. We did some shots without flash, using natural light as well.
Once the sun set, we set up a couple flash units with umbrellas and shot some in the field. These pictures also turned out fantastic, because we used the nature to our creative advantage. Make sure to attend the next meeting if you missed this one, or you have yet to attend. If you think this one sounded fun, then you’ll really be sorry if you miss next month’s meeting!
Submitted by the Shenandoah SMUG Scribe: Sonja Rio