~How often do you use a reflector? ~Do you calibrate your monitor? If so, what do you use? ~How often do you use a lens hood? ~Recommend any books for those of us interested in learning the basics?
The first question is the easiest--never. I never use a reflector. Now, I do use sidewalks as reflectors, or I might favor a white sheet in the parents' bedroom over a dark one so that light will bounce back on the baby's face, but the "real" type of reflector that you or an assistant carts around? No. I'm not morally opposed to them (lol), it's just that my shooting style is more casual and off-the-cuff than that and I do not wish to work with an assistant. Most of my clients have small children as well, and I can't imagine using a reflector with them. It's just not my style for the most part. Now if I were more into shooting, say, high school seniors, then that's another story entirely!
I do calibrate my monitor (I proof on an iMac G5) but, curiously enough, I've found that the calibration that I can do myself (look under Displays) is the best for me. I also have a Spyder 2 Express that didn't improve my calibration at all . . . anyone looking for a slightly used Spyder? : ) Calibration with a device like the Spyder or Eye-One is generally best, but somehow my own calibration is perfectly in sync with my lab's print output. Now my laptop is another story!
I use a lens hood all of the time. I really only "need" it outside and especially with backlighting or sun flare, but I use it indoors as well (where of course I could have backlighting when the subject is in front of a window). I leave the hoods on because I do not use a filter. That's right, folks. I don't use a filter, not even on my favorite lens . Some say that they do lessen the sharpness of the lens or mess with the color, while others feel much better with "insurance" for their babies. The lens hood gives me a bit of insurance without the filter.
Thanks for the questions, Heather. Since I don't want to post without photos, here are just a few. Can you tell I have been experimenting with my processing again? Or should I say still? I love learning new methods in Photoshop!
. . . for my wonderful clients, the M. family. I was so excited to walk in the door and see this display on the stairwell. Remember these tiny twins and their adorable big sister? (You know I had to take a snap of the wall, right?)
Now those newborns are 6 months old. Here's sweet Miss A. What a doll--look at those blue eyes!
And brother O., who had a nice little snooze while I was there. We caught him awake too, but look how content he is with daddy here.
Miss P. first played me "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" in her room . . .
. . . and then had us giggling for this fun family image.
Finally, a shot of just mom and dad. It was terrific to see you all again, and to meet the proud grandfather too!
So, I told myself that it was really not all that exciting that my work was going to be published in a magazine. That it really was no big deal. A Japanese magazine that no one over here could buy, after all. Well . . .
I was wrong. It is totally thrilling! LOL. Let me revel in my dorky excitement for a moment, please. Apologies in advance.
Here's the magazine, which translates as "Girl's Camera." It's targeted to younger Japanese women who love photography. Let us remember before continuing that I am decidedly NOT a product photographer!
And my work is in the "girls with camera [yes, camera singular] in the world" feature. What fun!! Now I just wish I could read it! : )
and finally, my "these pretzels are making me thirsty" photo at the bottom of the page. I promise our much-more-modest regular programming tomorrow on the blog. Until then . . .
I'll bet you thought that I would forget about the second half of Kristine's question from the beginning of January, didn't you? :) After all, 10 days at Disney did kind of wipe the slate clean. I came home thinking, "Huh? What? This is where I live? It's winter? What now?" But no, I didn't forget. I have one of those steel-trap memories (well, it used to be better pre-motherhood, as much as I loathe giving credence to the mommy brain cliche). But yes, my memory is good. So good that I have to act like I don't remember the things I do, lest I scare people into thinking I keep a dossier on them. LOL! But, as usual, I digress.
Q: Finally it might be fun to hear about a day in the life of Joyce
Smith... i.e. work you do to prepare for a client, the time you take to
interact with your subjects before you shoot, the work flow process
that you follow, and the final packaging of products for your clients.
Tons of questions I know....
A: First I have to say that when I initially posted this question on the blog, one of my good friends called up to rib me. I picked up the phone and she said, "What's a day in the life of Joyce Smith like?" ha ha! That might give you an idea of how easy-going and not-a-rock-star I am. It still surprises me that people would even send me questions! To answer the question, my day-to-day life is pretty typical. I watch my daughter and play tea party, edit some images, play dollhouse, research new products and ideas for clients and, a little more often than I'd like, fire up Little Einsteins on the TiVo. Business has definitely grown more quickly than I anticipated and this is an incredible blessing, but not without its challenges. Friends have told me to get a nanny, cleaner, or both, but I haven't been able to bring myself to do that yet. ha ha! The house cleaner is sounding like a good idea, however, as my Martha-esque neat-nik tendencies have fallen by the wayside since business began. It's been a long fall from grace--from the only girl in the dorm to bring an ironing board to college to the mom who tries to turn a blind eye to the free-range dust-bunnies taking over. : )
I cover most of the things I want clients to know before their session on my website. As a consumer, I've always loved sites that are detailed and that are changed up often, so I've tried to remember that as a business owner. At the session itself, I always take my cues from the children and give them time to warm up to me if need be. I don't pose, per se, but I will find the light that I like in the home and place smaller children there or try to engage older children in that general area. It's pretty relaxed!
For workflow in a nutshell, I shoot in RAW. I load up the images and burn a DVD backup straight away. I do not delete my images from the card until they are on my harddrive, my external harddrive, and the DVD. I make some tweaks in Adobe Camera Raw and then final adjustments in Photoshop. I keep a folder of original unedited RAW files, edited PSDs, 5x7 cropped edited PSDs, and then I batch web images for the gallery.
For packaging I have the eternal struggle between nice, high-end packaging and being green. : ) I am environmentally aware, but I also know that if I went to Tiffany and they tried to get me to wear the ring out of the store in lieu of a pretty blue box, I might be a little dismayed! Prints 11x14 and under are individually wrapped (clear bags) and placed in a white box with a single sheet of tissue paper. A pink and green grosgrain polka-dotted ribbon goes around the box. All larger prints are opened, inspected, and then repackaged in the lab packaging. I know that recycling is best, although it did initially bother me that clients would see a box that had "been through the mail" once before. Then I realized that I was being hyper-critical as usual. As a mea culpa for my white boxes and pretty ribbon, I drive a Prius. LOL!
A few more q & as are coming up in a bit. Thanks for reading!
Apparently missing my time at Disney's Animal Kingdom, I went on a safari yesterday in search of a most elusive creature.
Then, quite surprisingly, the giraffe commanded me to take a picture and gave me a winning smile.
See how much fun you can have on a too-cold-to-go-out winter day with just a camera and some Babystyle clearance costumes? We had a few more "costume changes" after this, all at The Talent's request. Stay warm, everyone!
Right after this shot HRH roundly declared, "No, I don't like pink hats!" Such is a diva's prerogative.
I really haven't! I also have a few questions from the Q&As to get to still. It's coming! I'm still in a bit of post-vacation haze. A 10-day vacation is quite a whopper and, oh, the laundry! I'm also working on countless new goodies and exciting things for clients this year. I quite adore the less hectic shooting schedule of January and enjoy refining my work, marketing materials, albums, and all that good stuff. Watch the blog for some pretty new things in weeks to come.
For now, just a few photos. The first few are from a workshop I attended while on vacation. You know I had to do something work-related, right? I am happy to report that this was the first vacation in two years that did not have paid photo shoots associated with it, however.
And behind-the-scenes shots of two of the most inspirational photographers I know . . . don't kill me, C. and A.!!
And one more little moment. Aww! I don't normally think of myself as a contrary person, but I ended up enjoying the shots no one else was taking at the workshop. I snuck this one in while no one was watching.
Now for some personal vacation photos. Be forewarned: I was 100% mom while at Disney World, replete with point-and-shoot-camera-with-flash-and-massive-shutter-delay. More accurately, I had a *worse* camera than most of the moms I saw there. They were all lugging their dSLRs through the park. ha ha! While it is frustrating not having my "real camera" in some ways, it was mostly just plain freeing and I designated the week before the workshop "anti-photographer mode." Sometimes I forget that plain old snapshots are valuable as well.
With that said, I was able to capture lots of priceless, if fuzzy and flashy, vacation memories. :)
This was the day before we left on the trip. Do you think the princess was ready to go? LOL!
Presumably saying, "Yes! I just met JoJo and Goliath!"
Hanging in Paris. Paris, Epcot, of course. Just after a lunch of--you guessed it--French fries at Chefs de France.
and dancing to the street music
a dream fulfilled! Look at that hug around the neck! She is usually trepidatious around strangers, but this was Cinderella!! ; )
and super-duper-shy when Prince Charming showed up. She still bows
her head when she sees the picture. Oh, to believe in the magic this
We scooped it all up, and here is the photographic evidence. : ) 10 days of Disney--good heavens! I also had a fabulous time learning from several inspirational photographers this weekend. What a treat FL has been!
To those clients awaiting e-mail and voicemail responses, I will begin working on those when I return on Wednesday!