OK. So, experimenting with "Social Media" and portals to sell my work.
Then some portals:
The first are "generic " social platforms - although I hadn't come across Cahootify before. Basically, post pictures, profiles, and try to establish contacts.
Shotproof and Zenfolio are portals that allow you to categorize work, by section, client, etc., and allow you to sell prints directly to the public or clientele. ShotProof, for instance, links directly to Loxley Colour, and marks up for your profit margin.
I'm in the early stages, but here's the links. Both are on the "basic package."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zd04SwR2eU8 The reason behind the "Barbara" sash.
The MUA's within the Performing Arts team at Knightstone Campus required a photographer to cover their assessment / wedding / zombie shoot.
With a little more notice this time, I arranged a collection of kit, ready for any weather (It was to be a mainly outdoor shoot) and collected a few props.
I took with me:
Canon 5D MkII with 24-105 lens.
Canon 5D MkII with 70-300 lens.
Elinchron battery flash lights.
Various stands, reflectors, and tripods.
Ultimately, there were three parts to this shoot:
Preparing the models.
I spent a good hour or so, informally shooting the MUA's at work with their respective models. Thankfully, everyone was way too busy to bother about me, so I (think) got some very nice "off-guard" moments.
Lighting was a bit of a nightmare, with tungsten, fluorescent, and natural light mixing it up.
I tried Auto, various metering modes, but finally settled on manual mode for most of the shots. I converted to Mono for some of the images where colour was not playing the game.
A selection of the images are below (You may have to click to see the proper proportions).
The Bridal shoot.
The Brides came out one by one for a series of set images in and around Jill's Garden. I was ably assisted by four junior MAUs, who lugged kit, held reflectors and were generally worth their weight in gold.
I tended to go with AE, but switched to on camera fill-in flash towards the end, so had to alter settings accordingly. You may have to click on the images to see the correct proportions.
Then, after a quick bite to eat, we were back up to Grove Park for the zombie shoot.
I tried a more flexible approach, and move around with minimal kit (If you consider severed hands "minimal"
Two spots in Grove Park were chosen for most of the shots, although some of the MAUs had done recce's. to check the area out. Some of the results were (Again, you may need to cick to see the full image):
So, as part of "Professional" development, here's a financial / time analysis.
Prep Time 3 hours.
Shooting time 09:30 - 16:30 (6 hours) 1007 images taken.
Editing time (Down to approx 35 contact sheets and 150 images) 6 hours.
Contact sheets were delivered within about four hours, with 150 Images ready to be delivered within 24.
So, in total, 15 hours have gone into this project, most of it in "invisible" hours (Editing, prep, etc.)
PLUS - there is the element of assistants. Without assistants at the shoot, it might not have happened. They held reflectors, lugged kit, and chatted with models and people while we waited for other models to turn up.
I'd say, from a purely financial point of view. I'd have charged £400 for this job. - £320 for me, and £80 for the assistant (In "real life" there would only be one assistant.)
I took advantage of the "Portfolio" Drop-In, to discuss my portfolio / business image.
Quite a few interesting points came up:
We discussed changing my Business card to a more generic version. At the moment, I have "DougStevensPhotography" - which has a very Somerset / Weston Based image on it. And I have "Skookian" - which has a generic "Street" style to it.
I'm going to continue with my two distinct versions, but also look into creating a simple "Photography" one, for general clients. This will have a simple logo, and will not be aimed at any one specific genre. I'll continue with the QR code on the back, as I like that.
We agreed on a simple Landing page, and I'll work on that for my next major update. I'll modify www.dougstevensphotography.co.uk as such.
We discussed a more general portfolios, but she liked the four distinct branches.
She also discussed a form of "Fusion" of DougStevensPhotography and Skookian, so ANY client has one point of contact.
I've historically worked to about 20 images per portfolio (As I've historically worked to "Panel" sets.), but she reckons I only need 3-4.
I'm kinda confused with this. As I'm such an eclectic photographer, I would think it's near impossible to condense my portfolio down to a smaller version.
More to follow.
I came across this image, completely by chance, on Facebook. Researching it, I found it's a bill Brandt, from 1937. Northumberland miner eating his evening meal.
I have had experience of "Self Employment" several times in my life, some good, some bad. Here is a brief discussion on them:
I have worked as a sole trader, on two occasions. I quite liked it. It is informal, flexible, and I suppose it is the very definition of "being your own boss". You need to keep on top of taxes and invoices, but in all, the overheads are lower than in LTD.
I was (for a very short time) in a partnership. I HATED it. My work ethic and his were incompatible. You're not really "your own boss" and I resented doing the majority of the work for only 50% of the profits.
While working as a contractor in IT, I was advised to become a Limited company. It is relatively easy to become limited - many companies will do the formation for you for around £100.
However, the overheads are much greater than
"Couple of photographer needed to do a few shots..."
The brief was vague. Akin to asking for a length of string "yeah" long.
A more precise brief would have been:
"Photographer required to do head shot / informal photographs of graduated students, who had returned to UCW to discuss their careers with current students."
Lighting was poor. While we had the hatch to provide stuff, the confines of the TV studio meant we were limited to three continuous softboxes.
An unfamiliar camera, and hand held, we persevered. See the contact sheets below.:
The Feedback I got was generally positive, and I've included it below.
"Thank you for providing me with the photographers and the speedy delivery of photos, here is some feedback –
I was extremely happy with the prompt setting up of the photo shoot and delivery of photos.
The singular portrait photos were excellent and I have a nice range to choose from.
I would have liked to have more options for the group photos, as I only have one good one (where we are taking a selfie in the photo) and a slightly soft group one.
Also it would have been better to slightly relax the contributors rather than demand who’s next. I appreciate it was all a last minute rush and that was dealt with brilliantly, but then their could have been a little bit more consideration for the contributors who were having their photo taken and were a bit uncomfortable.
Aside from the minor observation above, I am very happy with the photos provided and would definitely use those photographers again.
Thank you very much for your assistance."
My response(s) and thoughts as I shot are:
It was a bit hectic. We got the "call" at 9:30, and were onsite at 12:15. Booking unfamiliar kit, unfamiliar settings and unfamiliar people, and I think everyone (Including the team from the Hatch) did pretty well.
To me, the group images are at both extremes. I LOVE the selfie pics, and pretty much said "Nailed it" when I got those. I attempted to organise another, less formal one (With them holding Dan across their knees,) but that died a death. It was pretty clear (to me) that time was done. The last bit of chicken had been gobbled, the last coke swallowed (The last muffin thrown at the tog) and everyone just wanted to get the hell out of there.
I'd remark on a couple of points about the relaxation part. Again, everything has more than one side to it.
"..rather than demand who's next," isn't quite right. I think Dan was out the room when we had our initial chat with the group, and we described to the group what we were doing, who we were, etc. There clearly were people who were more reluctant than others, and we joked about a bit before "selecting a volunteer..."
When I got the sitter away from the rest of the group we did spend time relaxing them. I'd chat about their specialty, if they would feel happier with props, etc., or indeed, with one of the sitters - if she wanted to eat the muffin, or perhaps jokingly throw it at me.. (See the photo). We had one guy (A director, if memory serves), who simply did not like the video camera we had, (waaaay too amateurish) so we went to the Hatch, and they provided a better prop for him.
There were clearly a couple of girls who were a little uneasy, but I tried to relax them by having them play with props, etc. (Hence the muffin jokes, and the fingers caught in the clapperboard).
Now, to a bit I will defend. It's happened before, and it'll happen again. I'm Scottish (NEVER!!!!) I talk with what is called a brogue. In comparison to the rather (apologies) pansy, effeminate local accent, I sound like I growl a bit. I can only say "tough." I sincerely hope you never hear me shout. People down here wet themselves, literally.
Also. When it comes to taking images in that set of circumstances (e.g. 13-14 people in a room, and only one of them has a camera.) there has to be "a boss", plain and simple. My motto is "You either control the shoot, or the shoot controls you." If there had BEEN an art director, producer, call it what you will, I'd have happily passed that role onto them.
WHAT HAVE I LEARNED?
Let's make a list.
As an example, the brief about the potter was much more exhaustive, and I have way more ideas for that.
OVERALL. I'm glad I did it. I'm "up for it." That's why I'm here. I'm glad the client liked it. The group shots, while I nailed it, was less in number that I'd like.
HOW I'D HAVE DONE THE SHOOT, IF SOMEONE ASKED ME TO DO IT:
The major printed part of my project, "Photography for publication" will be a small postcard book of approximately 20 images.
Going back to the early days of postcards, they were a form of social commentary. Barn fires, festivals, etc., were all covered by dedicated photographers, who created small runs of social events.
My intention is to do a similar thing, in an almost "anti-tourist" way, to highlight the barren nature of Weston Super Mare after the season closes.
Almost a quarter of the images associated with this project will be presented as "Postcards" ranging from the colourful, touristy images, to those of barren or derelict parts of Weston.
Linked into this, will be the ability to purchase any image from the associated website: (westonoutofseason.co.uk) as a postcard from mypostcard.com. This will not be limited to the firs tpage (The beaches part, but rather, any image the user sees fit, and they can then add their own personalised text.
Since the first picture postcards appeared in 1869, these small cards have managed over time to become a testimony of the past, a top-notch historical document which covers a time spectrum of close to a century of our history, and a cultural object which symbolizes the development of an era that covers the major recent events and many aspects of daily life. The First World War, in its magnitude and its consequences, has been one of those historical chapters of our recent history and the graphic arts became a mechanism for the expression of the events that happened during it. It was during the war that the popularity of photographs, posters, prints and, of course, postcards became more widespread. Through the analysis of more than 10000 postcards, consulted mostly through the webpages of the most important international documentation centers, we seek to take a close look at this historical development and to focus on the role they played in the conflict as they became one of the main media used in the dissemination and propaganda of the battle.
Also, a potted history of the postcard, from the late 1800's to the present is given here.
Briefly, the periods can be broken down into:
Private Mailing Card Era, 1898 - 1901
The Golden Age, 1901 - 1907
Divided Back Era, 1907 - 1915
Early Modern Era (White Border), 1916 - 1930
Linen Card Era, 1930 - 1945
Modern Chrome Era, 1939 - Present
The evolution of the postcard continues today, perhaps at a much slower rate (Due to things like Instagram, mobile phones, etc.,) but there is still a significant business within the printing business for such item.
Historically, postcards were important social documents. When people could not visit places easily, and where the average person could not take a photograph, due to prohibitively high equipment costs, it was natural to use the postcard - not just of a way to send "tourist" images, but those of a social documentary nature. Many millions were sent during the first world war, for instance.
Today, there are multiple avenues where the Postcard exists. As discussed, there is a large element of "Tourist" cards, but there are also social documentary styles, and "Art" style - almost mini portfolios of various artists.
David Goldblatt. Documentary photographer, mainly in South Africa.
It is sad to say, perhaps because I am so jaded myself, that many of his images wash over me. I have seen much of his work, and I am now so desensitized to it, that few of his images strike me any more.
This is such an emotive image. The dialogue to the left explains it better than I had interpreted it in my own mind, but both versions are equally emotive.
Without the text to the left is an anatomical study of hate. It could be Africa, it could be Nazi Germany, it could be England. The faces are the same, the message the same.
As it turns out, it was of a more progressive person than you might think, but still, he was part (and leader) of an evil regime.
I also like the text about Goldblatt "taking it out on the film" because of his anger...
Well. Here goes. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.