The San Francisco SMUG meeting saw a changing of the guard. Our leader of 3 years, Joey Chandler, has stepped down and handed the reins over to Tess Pierson Kefalonitis and Regas Chefas Kefalonitis. Bonnie, the representative from Bay Photo, remarked on how much she enjoyed Joey’s meet ups and presented him with a generous gift from the company.
Hanson Fong, a San Francisco wedding and portrait photographer and a Canon Explorer of Light, spoke to our meeting. His talk, entitled “The Art of Lighting and Posing”, illustrated his portrait style which also utilized a few interesting props that he markets.
His top 2 tips seem logical, but he could not emphasize them enough:
- make the women look good
- make the person paying the bills look important.
Fong’s posing techniques involve:
- positioning people so that exaggerated differences are minimized
- people of similar stature are differentiated
- helping larger folks appear smaller
Fong offers several unusual products that most photographers do not offer. He sells tinted flash reflectors to help cool or warm a scene. His EZ-Step product was a clean way to easily add a few inches to a subject’s height, either sitting or standing, and helps create triangle- and W-style group portraits.
You can read extended notes from this meeting and others by joining the San Francisco SMUG on Facebook.
The San Francisco SMUG welcomed their speaker of the month, Emilio Banuelos, as he discussed the aspects of documentary and street photography. Street photography requires a unique level of interaction with the subject.
Banuelos relates with those he photographs by sharing their experience. Rather than snapping a picture and walking away, he speaks with them and carefully takes the time to get the right picture. He structures his work in projects with an overlying theme about the rituals of life and the pursuit of happiness. He goes into the community and returns his work to the community.
He showed us pictures from his Greyhound America project in which he traveled to the 4 corners of the country on Greyhound buses, getting to know and photographing his fellow passengers. These are not people on vacation. They are disconnected people, traveling to a new job and or escaping from an old one, starting a new life or needing to travel inexpensively for other circumstances. He spent days eating, sleeping and talking with them, learning their stories which he translates into pictures.
He offered a few tips on improving your street photos:
- When the subject looks directly at you, the photographer becomes invisible
- Always carry your camera with you. “If you have your camera, you don’t need to go out and photograph, you just need to go out.”
- Don’t hide your camera, and you become “the photographer”
- Until someone says no, it means yes
- Avoid conflict. If you defy the police, expect to be detained
- You typically do not need a model release for editorial and art photos, but you do for commercial work
- Print out your top 15 pictures and look at them every day. Your new pictures must be that good or better
You can read the extended article on his Facebook page.
The San Francisco SMUG had a great turnout for their latest meeting at the Sports Basement with special guest, Jessica Quintal. Jessica Quintal offers portrait sessions for high school seniors and families, along with weddings and engagement shoots.
She began the meeting by outlining her techniques for posing clients, as she takes many cues from fashion magazines. The model poses in the magazines are often extreme and can be toned down for your clients but can still have the same exciting effects.
- Crossing the legs can create and/or enhance shape.
- Place a hand behind the neck and under the hair.
- A step to the side can create some motion or tension.
- Move the hair behind an ear, with or without a hand.
- Tilt the client’s head down and then look up with the eyes at the camera.
- If there is a wall, touch it.
- hold the wrists, pick at the nails or twirl the hair.
- Accessories can help, like hats, which is one of Jessica’s favorites props to use.
- Ask them to bring their hands up along their body and then hug themselves.
Jessica also gave us some great advice for our businesses:
- Confidence – Be confident and positive when working with the client. It will lighten the situation and put them at ease. Show them several poses at a time.
- Communication – Be as clear and up front as you can be.
- Creativity – Do anything you want. Get your client involved in the environment, touching things and using the surroundings. Use props and accessories like umbrellas, scarves and hats (and not just on their heads).
- Use your resources – Send your clients pictures of what styles you want them to wear or at least the color tones they should stick to. Pinterest is a good resource for clothing examples.
All in all, give your clients something they were not expecting. Make them a model for the day.
Jessica’s super power is that, when meeting the client for the session, she immediately creates a friendly relationship. She is always happy, very talkative, able to quickly size up the client, and put them at ease.
Gina, Jessica’s marketing correspondent, gave a few valuable marketing tips.
- Know your client base and how to communicate to them – High school seniors respond well to text messages, while older clients answer email or phone calls.
- Keep it simple – Jessica basically offers 2 packages- shoot you the way you show up or create a full-blown stylized session.
- Facebook may be their best marketing site.
Thank you to Jessica and Gina for a spirited talk, and a unique perspective on the portrait photography business!
The SmugMug User Groups (SMUGs) are putting out a call for speakers for our 2012 monthly speakers series.
A SMUG is a place where you can learn, teach and meet up with other photographers who share your passion. It’s also how we can tell you what’s happening in our world and discover what’s happening in yours. SMUGs are a great way to connect with other photographers and add a few weapons to your creative arsenal. There are over 90 SMUGs worldwide. Rain or shine, it’s always a great idea to come to your SMUG’s monthly meetings. This way, you have a great collection of photos in every season!
We are looking for presenters that can speak about various photography related topics. Examples: Business topics, software, lighting, fusion, camera usage, portraits, photojournalism, sports, nature/landscape, commercial, boudoir, sports and weddings.
All types of photographers are welcome to present.
If you are interested in speaking, please send a short bio and course description and let us know why you would be great for our groups. We really want people with something interesting to say so let us know why this is you. These presentations are not sales-oriented so while you are more then welcome to mention products and workshops at the end, the bulk of the presentation should be on the chosen topic.
This is a great opportunity for anyone to get in front of a large, active group of photographers.
You will also receive a free SmugMug Pro account as a special thanks from SmugMug (for as long as you are a speaker).
To submit your presentation or if you have questions, please email Rocky Bowles at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once we receive your email, we will send out a manual that explains all of the details for speaking at SMUGs.
All submissions will be kept on file and we’ll contact you if we choose your presentation.
SmugMug cannot thank you enough for your participation in becoming a speaker. It is the people like you that give SMUGs such a great reputation!
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.