He was studying Social Sciences at the University of the Philippines in Baguio, but needed to quit in his third year due to financial reasons, which somewhat added to his overall listlessness.
In 2008, from his scrimping and saving, he was able to buy his first DSLR and instantly fell in love with the craft. With a newfound sense of determination, Sam enrolled in the self-paced study program with The New York Institute of Photography to study the fundamentals of photography. Then after just a year, with growing success in his field, he quit his day job to accommodate a growing number of clients. Sam is no longer rudderless in life. As he puts it now:
Photography for me, is my life. I am nothing without it.
Still photography brings a moving dimension to our Video Pick this week. Jeremy Cowart's "They Will See God," is a moving tribute to individuals who have survived difficult life struggles and natural disasters. Born of the Nashville photographer's experience taking pictures of natural disasters in Haiti and Franklin, TN, Cowart's photographs capture the tragedy of devastation and the exhilaration of the human spirit.
This socially conscious photographer is not alone, by the way. Check out Help-Portrait - they're a worldwide groundswell of photographers who give of their time, gear, and talent to give back to people in need.
I was fascinated by the lecture on light tables in the NYI Pro Course and then had the idea to use the iPad 2 as a mini light table. My camera set up was the Canon 50d with a 24-70mm 1:2.8 L lens. Because of the rather long exposure times (between 1/3 and 10 seconds), I needed a tripod and a 2 second shutter delay to avoid shaking the camera when pressing the release button. All pictures are large JPEG and the ISO is set to 100. I started with a couple of pictures taken in P mode and then used these values as the basis for manual changes to aperture and time.
I came across a number of problems. My first setup was on the dining table. I found too many reflections from various windows to be a little disturbing. I could close the shades on one side, but not on the other. I have played around with a reflector and two household flashlights. One of them was directed at the backdrop, which created a nice separation but did not really help with the reflections. Then, I relocated the set to the hobby room in the basement. Because of some reconstruction, we store a lot of stuff there and it is absolutely cluttered and full. But only one window which could be covered with a dark cloth. Now I had full control of the lighting. The iPad light from below, two flashlights and a standard floor lamp did the job.
Finally, the depth of field was an issue. To make the background nice and soft I first used a wide aperture of 2.8. The depth of field often was too shallow, which was nice in some pictures but not in others. The other extreme at f22 created a sharp and crisp image, but also showed every little piece of dust, dirt or roughness of the backdrop. I finally ended up with f 6.3 as a middle ground that felt and looked right to me. I really like the "sparkle" at the side of the sherry glass, which I have created by pointing a flashlight from behind the set at the glass and using a small aperture.
Are you a photographer, or are you a marketer? If you’re familiar with my Photo Marketing 101 blog series, you’ll know that I want you to tell me that you’re both. In today’s world, everyone is a marketer. It’s up to you to market yourself, and the internet makes that easier to do than ever before.
In Part 3 of this series, we discussed different ways to ensure that your website gets the attention that it deserves. One tool that is perfect for driving traffic to your website, and reaching a wider audience online, is social media.
Social media has created a whole new side of the internet that marketers all over are struggling to understand. Here is what we know:
It’s time you get involved. If you already have active social media accounts, congratulations. But your job is not done, so stick with me.
First, it’s important that you have a strategy. How are you going to use social media to drive visitors to your website, interest in your services, and new business?
Linking is vital. Use lots of them. Link to things you find interesting, link to other people in your area, and link to your own website as often as possible. These links will bring new visitors to your site, and will tell search engines that there is interest in your website.
Don’t dominate the conversation, join it. Share things that you think people will enjoy. Answer questions, and create a dialogue with people you follow and people who follow you. The more active you are, and not just posting links to your site, the more respected you will be in the online community.
Facebook and Twitter are two places to start. They are the most popular social networks, and will open your brand up to the largest populations. But for photographers, there are other social media sites worth checking out. Flickr is the most popular photo sharing service outside of Facebook, and YouTube is a great place to hang out if you produce video slideshows of your work. Take some time to check out multiple networks, but don’t spread yourself too thin. Pick 3 or 4 of them, and visit them often so as not to look stale.
It’s important to keep your message consistent across all platforms. As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, you should think of yourself as a brand. Whatever that brand is should be clear in each one of your social media profiles.
And of course, just as you should link to your website from your social media accounts, you should include links on your website to your social media accounts. If a new visitor to your site likes what they see but don’t purchase right away, an easy option to follow you on twitter might lead to new business further down the line.
Next time we’re together, I will take a deeper dive into social media, and offer ideas on specific promotions you can try to create interest in your photography.
Homework: This week’s assignment is simple. If you’ve got a Twitter account, share your username below. If not, create one at http://www.twitter.com/ and share your username in the comments below.