I was recently interviewed by Juan Pons for the podcasts with Rick Sammon, The Digital Photo Experience. This time I got to be on the receiving end of the Q&A and I discuss my own podcast, The Candid Frame. I talk about how taking risks and working with mirror-less camera has impacted my photography.
If you have not listened to this show, you should as it's one of the best resources for the technical side of photography as well as same wonderful interviews with photographers. Check them out at the link below.
In this tutorial, I demonstrate how I use Adobe Lightroom 4.0 to edit a gallery on my new Squarespace website. In it, I demonstrate my workflow for evaluating my website and editing the images that end up in a gallery showcasing my street photography. It provides some important tips for editing one's photography to provide the best presentation and impact for a body of work. You can visit my new website by going to www.ibarionex.net.
In our latest video tutorial, Ibarionex begins to share the thinking and the process behind building his new photographic website. Using Squarespace, he begins to walk you through his process for selecting, editing and organizing the images that eventually find a home on his site.
This is a work-in-progress and this series of videos as well as the blog postings at www.ibarionex.net will provide you a unique over-the-shoulder view of the editing process from one photographer's perspective.
You can view the video below or subscribe the the YouTube Channel to be automatically updated when a new video is released.
I will be doing a webinar this Friday on my use of Nik Software's Viveza II and Silver Efex Pro II. Spaces are limited. You check register for the event by clicking here.
Professional Photographer, host, producer and writer, Ibarionex Perello, will share how to fine-tune the look of color and black and white images by the process of selective editing to control the visual experience of a photograph. He will be demonstrating Viveza 2 and Silver Efex Pro 2 in Lightroom. Ibarionex is a photographer, writer, educator and the host of The Candid Frame photography podcast. He has over twenty years of experience in the photographic industry and his photographs and articles have appeared in Digital Photo Pro, Rangefinder, Shutterbug, Outdoor Photographer and Scott Kelby's Light It magazines. He is the author of several books and an adjunct professor at the Art Center College of Design. He also teaches online photography courses at BetterPhoto.com. (www.thecandidframe)
A lof of people consider becoming a professional photographer. So, there are are no shortage of tips and suggestions for making such a leap. However, here is a list of 5 reasons you shouldn't use as impetus for going pro. 1. You hate your job.
Being in a job that is not fulfilling and challenging is its own unique level of misery. If Dante had ever worked in a cubicle, he would have likely added another circle of Hell to his epic poem. But being in a state of misery and loathing it is not often the best state of mind for making a life change. Making a living from something you love involves making thoughtful and informed choices that will change the rest of your life. Making an impulsive choice based on such strong feelings might not result in the best decision-making, particularly when all that thinking is negative. Though your unhappiness can serve as the inspiration to make a change, it's your well-considered plan which will eventually lead you to successfully improve your professional situation.
2. You Think You'll Have More Time to Shoot
If you are struggling finding time to shoot with your current 9 to 5, you're going to find it even more difficult when you are working 24/7 to build and sustain your fledgeling photo business. With your current role, you are responsible only for one job (regardless of how frustrating or onerous you feel about it), but there are other people at the business that handle the rest of it including accounting, sales, inventory, receptionist. All those hats end up piled on your head, meaning that you have less time to do more work. If you find time with the job you currently have to go out and shoot, especially personal projects, you'll likely not only be able to continue this practice when you go pro, but it will likely make your free time that much more enjoyable and gratifying.
3. You Think You're Going to Become Rich
There are easier ways to become wealthy than becoming a professional photographer. Some of these even involve choices where you don't break any laws and don't risk sharing a jail cell with a guy named, "Meat". Though making a living from doing something you love can be vey gratifying, the work involved from procuring the job, creating the images, delivering the work and getting the client to pay you makes you feel like you earned every penny. The only way to achieve long-lasting success is to think of yourself as a business. And though it seems antithetical to a creative life, it's the kind of thinking that allows you rise above the tens of thousands of camera slingers who hang a sign outside of their home office and call themselves a "pro" but who only succeed in working twice as hard, but making half as much.
4. You Want to be Your Own Boss
There are definite advantages to this including someone not calling you on extending your 15 minute bathroom break. But the reality of being your own boss is that you are likely going to be the worst boss you have ever had. Now, you can't hide your oversights or omissions or your mistakes. You are ultimately accountable for everything that happens or doesn't happen. Though doing the laundry might make your signficiant other happy, it could simply be used as a distraction from the work that you really need to be doing to grow your business. Yes, your clothes may be clean and well ironed, but that will mean very little if you don't have any clients to get dressed for. If you need the fire underneath your butt to makes things happen, remember you are going to be responsible for gathering the kindling and lighting the match.
5. You're More in Love with the Idea of Being a Pro than Actually Being One
Sometimes, an unfulfilled fantasy is more gratifying than a fantasy made real. A dream manifested can be a wonderful thing, especially when it is the fulfillment of a lot of hard work. But it's the hard work that will take up the bulk of your waking hours and unless you can find that work satisfying and gratifying, you are going to have a hard time sustaining yourself between the time when you get to do what you love, making images. It's easy to get fooled by the glamour especially today in the era of the celebrity photographer, but photography is still a job, which will demand the best of you most days. That's both good and bad news.
Making the choice to go pro is giant leap of faith but the best things of life happen when you take a risk. The greater the risk of failure, the more satisfying the feeling when you succeed.
Just know where you are starting from. It really helps to figure out where you're going.
Here is a short video in which I demonstrate how I use Adobe Lightroom to edit down thousands of images from my recent vacation. Using rankings, collections and the Compare view, I demonstrate how to create a more manageable collection of images that best capture the story behind my travels.
This is a technique which I use not only for winnowing down images from my travels, but also large bodies of work including personal projects.
If you like these videos, please subscribe to the YouTube channel for future releases.
Color accuracy is very important to digital photography and it revolves around our ability to get the white balance right. In this video, Ibarionex demonstrates how he considers white balance and how he uses Adobe Lightroom to achieve the best color accuracy.
Undoubtedly, there is a bit of satisfaction
on investing in a new bit of kit. The arrival of the FedEx van and the delivery
of the anticipated box on the doorstep feels just like Christmas, except of
course for the decorations, the excessive amount of food and a home invasion by
a bearded fat man, who might find himself facing serious labor issues revolving
around his use of elves and reindeer.
It's a wonderful feeling though, taking out the
exacto knife, cutting the tape and releasing a flow of Styrofoam packaging that
seems to linger around the house months after their initial arrival. Are we
sure those things aren't reproducing on contact with air, like some silent,
Such moments create
the excitement over the potential of new creative opportunities. It
creates a wonderful swell of emotion, which we can experience repeatedly. At
least until, your bank account is overdrawn or the credit card has melted from
overuse. But before you get there, there might be other signs that may offer
fair warning before you end up at a freeway off-ramp with a sign reading,
"Will retouch images for food".
1. You have run out of space for all the original packaging
The justification of course is to retain the
resale value, when something newer and shinier is calling you like the Greek sirens. But now they've displaced the clothes in the closet, which lay piled
in a heap on the lounge chair. Now, the only way to discern which clothes are
clean or not is the sniff test, which your significant other keeps insisting is
not that reliable.
2. Your spine has gone out of alignment because of the weight of
the camera bag.
That exhalation of air that you release each
time you pick up the bag may be an indication of weight being an issue. The
additional thirty pounds that I carry around my waistline is at least well
distributed, but the same might not be said for the bag or backpack that
carries equipment that you never end up using. What might have looked like a
cool walk in your twenties now looks like the initial signs of hip
3. Your most passionate creative effort is measuring MTF curves
photographing brick walls.
Knowing that we got what we paid for is
important, especially when it comes to the sharpness and the resolution quality
of lenses. However, things may have been gone too far, when you are making
critical assessments such as whether the style of the brick wall is American or English Bond and if the gaps between bricks each measure 3/8 inches.
The fact you are using GPS data and Google maps to locate the
"perfect" wall is verging on the obsessive and is certainly making
your neighbors very nervous.
4. You become depressed and angry when the manufacturer releases a
It feels like a betrayal like in grade school
when little Debra Martinez gave Phillip Taylor the biggest cut of chocolate
cake and which you were sure Debra was going to give you because you let her
cheat off your test after she promised you were going to be her new best friend
and you believed her because she was so pretty and you already liked her and...
Well, it was wrong then and it's wrong now. Damn her.
5. You own camera bags that never carry camera
They are there in the closet, in the garage,
piled in a heap beneath the desk, camera bags that held the promise of
perfection: the ideal shape, support strap, compartment size. They seemed
ideal, the best and final solution, a bag to rule them all. Now, they are empty
as their promise. It doesn't work now, because...there's this new lens
You've asked me in evaluating your work to be brutally honest. Admittedly, it's something that other photographers have asked for, but I've always been reticent about honestly fulfilling such a request. I have often perceived it as the equivalent of a wife or girlfriend asking, "Do I look fat in this?" A frank, honest answer to that question is likely not going to end well.
However, you have been insistent about receiving such concise, unrestrained and to-the-point-feedback. So, I feel inspired to share with you why your pictures suck.
1. You're Lazy
Admittedly, you talk a good game. You talk much and well about your passion for photography, deftly demonstrating both your technical knowledge and proudly showing off your latest bit of kit. You know a good amount of photographic history and you are very insightful with your comments about the craft.
But Charlie, when was the last time you actually went out and made a significant body of work for yourself? I'm not talking about that job you did for pay, or the workshop you attended or that photo walk where you spotted that cute brunette with the Leica M9. No, when did you last go out and commit to producing images that truly challenged you; images that the mere thought of creating them got you excited about getting up in the morning?
I can tell it's been a long time, because you seem to have put more effort into uploading images to Instagram, Facebook and Google Plus, obsessively returning to those posts to check to see how many people provided you a virtual pat on the head. "Great capture". Really?
2. You're Preoccupied with Gear
I get it. There's obviously something primal in both us when it comes to new kit. I have shared that same rush of endorphins on taking a deep whiff of styrofoam peanuts when opening a freshly delivered FedEx package.
But honestly, how often have you used it since you got it? Yes, the unpacking video you posted on YouTube was wonderful. (My wife, by the way, likes the new haircut). But besides that first weekend burst of temporary inspiration, what you have done with it? What have you created that you truly are proud of? And no, fondling it and firing dry frames doesn't count. It seems like you've spent more hours reading blog posts, forums and watching videos about the gear than actually shooting with it. And what's this thing with you reading reviews after you already made the purchase? Aren't your images enough to discern whether you made the right choice or not?
3. You're Sloppy
It seems like you think that "good technique" is a filter in Photoshop. And if you defined a good photographer by how fast they can fill a 32GB CF card, you might be in the running to be one of the greats, but it's hard to see anything in your final result that warrants even the battery being charged.
You seem to be completely absent when you press that shutter release, taking no ownership of what you include in the frame. Yes, the bokeh is scrumptious and creamy, but this is supposed to be a photograph not bloody creme brulee.
Whatever happened to good composition? Good light? Good taste?
And no, I don't care that there is virtually no noise at ISO 128,000, the images are still devoid of anything that would even qualify it as a snapshot.
4. Photoshopping is not Photographing
Yes, Photoshop is an important and invaluable tool. We couldn't do much of what we do without it, or its equivalent. But how long do you actually have to sit at the computer, weaving that Wacom stylus like an orchestra leader, before you admit that most of that energy is being expended on putting lipstick on a pig?
Yes, those plug-ins and actions are awesome and that compositing technique you learned from Matt Koslowski is pure genius, but I'm sorry to tell you that there is no there, there. I could wash, wax and detail that AMC Hornet I drove in college as dutifully and passionately as humanly possible, but in the end, it would still be an AMC Hornet. Those are the facts.
What ever happened to your passion for making a single good, exemplary photograph in the camera? When did everything become fodder for over-saturation, over-sharpening, over-everything?
5. You Refuse to Edit Your Own Work
Though you are asking for my feedback, you must not think much of me. If you did, why else would you inundate me a batch of good, bad and near-misses? When did it become my job to figure out what you are trying to do as a photographer?
What am I supposed t make of this mish-mash of portraits, landscapes, close-ups, abstracts and those picture of your cat (which, okay I'll admit is just adorable)? I have a hard enough time trying to edit and assess my own work, much less yours. I just needed to see 10-12 images I wasn't expecting the entire photographic catalog of the International Center of Photography. If I wanted this kind of punishment, I could just put on a pair of headphones and listen to Debbie Boone singing 'You Light Up My Life" on a continuous loop for 24 hours.
If you can't sit down and decide which of your photographs captures who you are and aspire to be as a photographer, how do you expect me to? I am challenged in just finding a pair of matching socks in the morning.
I could say more, but I think I should show a little restraint.
I know you love photography as much as I do. You couldn't spend as much time and effort, subject yourself to the occasional ego-bruising, if you weren't as in love as you obviously are with making photographs. But the reality is that becoming a good photographer, hell becoming a good anything, involves commitment, diligence and the willingness to regularly fall on one's face. You obviously have some of that in you, because you are still around making images, when everyone else has taken up golf or knitting.
I hope that what I shared is helpful to you, but if it wasn't, I completely understand.
Mike Moats is an award winning, professional nature photographer from Sterling Heights, Michigan. Her started as a hobbyist in 2001 but it quickly grew into a full time business. He has published articles and images in Outdoor Photographer Magazine, PC Photo Magazine, Natures Best Magazine, Nature Photographer Magazine, Photolife and Tamron’s “Angle of View” Blog.
He has won numerous local and international awards, and in 2006 was asked to join the Fuji Pro Talent Team and in 2009 was added to the Tamron Lenses website as one of their ”Macro Masters”. In 2006 he started offering Close-Up/Macro Photography Workshops. He is also a moderator of the macro gallery at www.naturephotographers.net. He also offers personal one on one online macro workshops, and has released five e-Books. You can find out more about his photography by visiting his galleries or blog.
Mike Moats recommends the work of John Shaw and Art Wolfe.
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In this episode, the table is turned on Ibarionex as the show's editor Martin Taylor takes control of the microphone to ask the questions of the host of The Candid Frame. In this follow-up to a conversation that aired last year with Jeffery Saddoris, this episode discusses photography, podcasting and the continuing challenges of leading a creative life.
Recorded in San Francisco, the conversation provides a glimpse where Ibarionex is today, but provides him the opportunity for him to discuss how the show has changed his life and his photography.