Clane shared his own advice that worked with him in building his business and building his photography skills:
- Shoot anything for 30 minutes a day, every day.
- Find your vision and don’t pay attention to what others are doing.
- Study others, but don’t copy or steal.
- Copying skips understanding the craft of making an image.
His advice for building a reputation with clients was very simple: Don’t be a jerk! Don’t try to rip people off. He also thought one shouldn’t take money from someone if you don’t have an established record. Give the client what they want, because they are paying you.
As far as working during a wedding shoot, he gave us some insightful tips:
- Warm up.
- Get your head into the right space to do what you’re there to do.
- Listen to music before you start to work with the bride and groom.
- During the shoot, be sure to manage your time.
- Be sure to make time to get what images the couple wants.
Keep in mind that your work is a business. He likes to update his blog frequently, as it gets higher rankings on Google that way. Remember that you are providing a service for a fee, but be sure to find your inspiration from something other than money. Stay humble and work hard!
Erin Kohlenberg is a Seattle area photographer. Against the grain, she shoots with a Pentax K-5, loves it, but does wish it was a full frame camera. She shoots people and other subjects. Erin enjoys her Seattle SMUG because of the people she’s connected with and learned from in the group.
Approximately 40 Seattle SMUG photographers came together to enjoy their meeting titled: “Food, Glorious Food!” The seminar and workshop was led by local food photographer, Ryan Matthew Smith. The workshop involved several food stations and, in true SMUG fashion, at least a dozen volunteers stepped up and helped pull off this elaborate seminar by handling grocery shopping, arranging for decorations and backdrops, loaning their lighting set-ups, coordinating efforts, and more.
This event began with a slideshow from Ryan Matthew Smith, principal photographer & photo editor of the James Beard Award, IACP and Gourmand winning Modernist Cuisine. He presented a wide variety of different food shots for magazine and media work; the range he shared was impressive – from abstract macro shots, to experimental shots, to classic shots. The nice thing about his presentation was that he also spent some time demystifying the shots. He broke down the types of lights he used, how he used them, and why some photos looked impossible. (It’s because they were! Photoshop is one of the tools Ryan uses to create his vivid imagery.)
What we appreciated most about Ryan’s presentation is that he made the technical aspects of the shoot sound simple. Although, as he shared, he does a great deal of brainstorming to come with new creative shots, the set-ups ultimately end up being fairly simple. He tends to use just one or two strobe set-ups. Because bouncing light is so important for his work, he often uses the ceiling to bounce and spread light.
Ryan also shared that there isn’t much need for a stockroom full of different lenses for his work; he typically uses just one lens (24 mm, f4). Because his work is primarily using flash, he really doesn’t find a need for a lens speed lower than f2.8. He does also use a 50 mm f2.8 and a 85 mm f2.8 lens on occasion, but for the most part, the 24 mm lens does the trick.
Some other tips he shared were:
- use a simple white background and one hot light for photographing translucent liquids.
- use a sound trigger to capture action in food (like a corn popping)
- use your phone to save new ideas that crop up while on the go.
What was appreciated about the different tips he shared were how simple tools and tricks can lead to powerful and vivid imagery. It doesn’t need to take a crew and tens of thousands in top-notch gear.
After the presentation, photographers split into five groups and rotated through different food stations and light set-ups. There were veggies, fruit, desserts, a cooking station, and a classic simple Japanese setting with chopsticks. Each station had a different lighting set-up: some with Speedlights, some with hot lights, and one with plain old ambient light. This allowed folks opportunities to photograph under different conditions and experiment with their approaches. Meanwhile, Ryan floated from station to station offering feedback and encouragement.A special thank you goes out to Ryan Matthew Smith for leading this event, even though he and his partners were in the throes of launching a brand new online business, ChefSteps.com. Ryan was extremely gracious to take time away from this venture to spend his time and experience with Seattle SMUG.
Submitted by the Seattle SMUG Scribe: SuJ’n Chon
SuJ’n Chon is a Seattle-based landscape and humanitarian photographer. She also works with arts and social justice organizations on projects aimed at bringing positive systemic change through arts and culture. SuJ’n is a Canon shooter and loves the four models she owns for different reasons (including her testy old skool Canonet). She likes attending SMUG events because other people’s fine work inspires her out of photographic complacency.
About fifty members of the Seattle SMUG gathered at the Bastyr University in Kirkland, Washington to welcome Levi Sim. All in all, the array of photographers and equipment was impressive.
Our fearless Seattle SMUG Lead organizer, Earnie Glazener, got the session started. He began the session discussing three major light considerations for outdoor photography: direction, quality, and intensity.
Some of his tips for outdoor photography were:
- Be extra mindful about where the light is coming from, how harsh or soft the natural light is, and how strong it is.
- Select smart locations and positions.
- Use tools such as reflectors and diffusers
- Make thoughtful equipment adjustments (e.g. adjusting ISO and apertures according to the particular light considerations of the moment) to help mitigate the environmental factors in the shot.
After a short discussion, the photographers split up into three groups and spread out in one of the building courtyards. The groups practiced their strategies and equipment use with their models. Photographers took turns giving direction to their models and trying out different experiments with perspective, exposure length, and focal distance.
Levi arrived as the late afternoon light was just starting to fall behind the trees. Levi’s energetic spirit was not dampened by the traffic delay, and after quick introductions, he took time to greet and introduce himself to each person. He had shared that this relationship-building skill could not be overlooked as a photographer. Excellent portrait photographs begin with strong positive rapport – not only with models but with clients as well.
After a quick review of the light discussion that Earnie had started earlier, Levi led the group to different spots on campus chasing the waning light. At each stop, different techniques and ‘tricks’ were discussed. Photographers then made various adjustments or practiced the various ‘tricks’ to further hone their skills with their cameras or with their models. At one point, to illustrate a point about capturing a model’s spirit, Levi had one of the models yell “Whee!” and toss her hair. The smile in her eyes and the wide grin on her face every time she did it was precisely the expression he was hoping to elicit from her.
As the evening progressed, photographers were beginning to struggle with camera settings in the natural light. One low-light, high ISO technique Levi shared was to change camera settings to a monochrome mode with a red filter setting. Shooting in black-and-white would make the graininess inherent in high ISO images more visually acceptable, and the red filter would help mask skin imperfections and produce creamier-looking skin.
Night finally fell and folks pulled out their Speedlites to work on flash photography. Keeping with the topic on light, Levi discussed the use of umbrellas as a tool for manipulating light from flashes. The group also began to disperse as the campus mosquitoes arrived with a strong sense of purpose; I found myself among those who fled. Those who stuck it out experimented with long exposure light painting. Photos from this and other parts of the evening can be found here.
Submitted by the Seattle SMUG Scribe: SuJ’n Chon
SuJ’n Chon is a Seattle-based landscape and humanitarian photographer. She also works with arts and social justice organizations on projects aimed at bringing positive systemic change through arts and culture. SuJ’n is a Canon shooter and loves the four models she owns for different reasons (including her testy old school Canonet). She likes attending SMUG events because other people’s fine work inspires her out of photographic complacency.
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 email@example.com. 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!
The Seattle SMUG’s monthly meetings moved to new digs this month. The new 2011 location is a nice large, bright room in Discovery House, with entrance via Mosaic Coffee House. This location is much more accessible and has better parking than the old downtown location.
Members were able to come early, mix and mingle in the comfortable and inviting coffee house, and enjoy the free Wi-Fi and the “pay what’s it’s worth” beverages and pastries the coffee house offers. (Note: Mosaic Coffee House is open 9 AM to 9 PM on the day we meet.) This was a welcome respite from the typical horribly wet and cold Seattle February weather that settled on the city this Valentine’s evening.
Once the regular meeting started, MOO representative Rebeka Fluet jumped right in with the first of many giveaways for the night. Two almost identical MOO photo business cards were given to each of the almost 100 attendees. One card was on MOO’s standard stock and the other on its “green stock”. The first attendee who was able to identify six differences in the photos on the two cards won free MOO business cards. Several more giveaways were done throughout the evening.
Interspersed with the games and giveaways fun was a presentation on branding. Rebeka covered both online branding (Web site, blog, social media, etc.) and offline branding (business cards, post cards, stickers, greeting cards, and more). She also explained the importance of consistency in branding and how MOO can help photographers achieve consistency in their offline branding to mirror their efforts in online branding.
Starting in March, Seattle SMUG meetings will move to the first Monday of each month, except on months when that Monday is a holiday. This day is preferred by more than a 3:1 margin in a recent poll of Seattle SMUG members.