Friday, February 26, 2010

Marketing images at Carrollwood Day School

Last week I had an assignment at Carrollwood Day School in Tampa to shoot pictures for their promotional material.

I spent seven hours at the school and I think I might have shot in every single room!  I got some great stuff and a lot of the credit goes to the students who were wonderful to work with and very polite.  It was a great experience.

When shooting promotional material, it's important to remember that faces are only half the shot.  A picture needs to be more than just smiling happy students, it needs to convey learning.  The best way to do this is to put something in the foreground that is unmistakably "school-like."  If you are shooting in a biology classroom, put the beakers and burners in between you and your subject.  This picture conveys "Chemistry" or "Biology" the minute you see it and it will still convey that message if it is reduced to a thumbnail on a website.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Canon 10-22mm lens has arrived!

Well, I finally got my new lens today and not a moment too soon. I have an engagement shoot tomorrow and I was really hoping I would have my new lens in time for the shoot because I'm really eager to try it out. Anytime you get a new lens you can, of course, start using it right away but for me, there's just something different about actually working with the lens. I know that may seem odd but it's just the way I am.

The new lens in question is a 10 to 22 mm Canon lens. Until the arrival of this lens the widest I could shoot was 18 mm. An extra 8 mm of width may not seem like a lot but believe me it makes a huge difference in your pictures. I probably shoot 90% of my pictures with an 18 to 55 mm f 2.8 lens. Now, this lens is not an f 2.8 lens. The only way you can get a 10 mm at 2.8 lens is to buy a prime lens. This particular lens is at 3.5 to 4.5. I used to shoot quite often with a 28 mm to 75 mm f 2.8 lens. I'm curious to see how the addition of this new lens is going to affect my overall lens selection.

Booray Perry is a wedding and portrait photographer in Tampa Bay

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wedding Wire Winner!

I just received and email from the folks at Wedding Wire to let me know that some of my wedding images have been chosen for their website.  They put out a call for images a few weeks ago that they could use.

They put together "Inspiration Boards" on one of their blog sites and they need pictures of things like cakes and flowers to fill out the collage.  They ask for submissions from photographers who use the website.

On the one hand, it's nice to be chosen but of course you don't know... maybe they "choose' everyone who sent stuff in.  It's not like it's a contest, really.  They need pictures for their site and soliciting the photographers means they don't have to pay for them.

Still, it's always nice to see your work on someone else's website.  I'll post a link when they show up online.

Booray Perry Photography is a wedding photographer in Tampa bay, FL.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tru-Green Chemlawn won't stop harassing me.

About two weeks ago I got a letter from the company that sprays my lawn and keeps it bug free. The letter said that they had sold their company to Tru-Green Chemlawn.

Now, I've had some experience with Tru-Green Chemlawn in the past. In our old house I used them to spray my front yard and they didn't do good job at all. My father is a licensed horticulturist and for many years owned his own lawn spraying business. Every time my parents came over to visit my father would walk through my front yard and point out all of the problems with the grass that should be taking care of by Tru-Green Chemlawn.

So, when we moved into this house a couple of years ago I went with a small local guy who was recommended to me by the guy who was cutting my grass. I've never had a problem with the service and I've never had a problem with my grass.

The day after I got that letter, the guy who cuts my grass knocked on the front door and told me that he knew about the change. He also said that he had a new guy, small, local, that he was working with. He felt that this guy could do a very good job for me just like the last guy had. Then he said, "if you do decide to cancel with Tru-Green Chemlawn, be careful. I've had other clients tell me that they had canceled, and then the next day, Tru-Green Chemlawn shows up and sprays their yard expecting to get paid."

If you are reading this, please leave a comment!

I get a lot of hits on this blog but I have no idea if anyone is actually reading it!

The problem is that I post in three different places: - This site gets tons of traffic and I get comments on what I write there.  However, it's not very personal since there are multiple contributors.

Facebook - My fan page has followers so I know I have readers but Facebook is designed to be more "hit and run" with quick entries, etc.  Plus, what happens if Facebook becomes un-popular?  Remember MySpace?

This Blog - This is my favorite place to write because I can write anything I want here.  I can write a long post about photography technique and then follow it with something funny that happened to me that day.  It's more free-form and that's what I think a blog should be.  Plus, this is mine so I control it completely. Unfortunatly, I don't have any way of knowing if anyone reads this thing!

I kept a blog for years before I started this one and my wife still gives me a hard time about it because she misses it.  I wrote about funny events in our lives and re-reading it is a great trip for us.  I'd like to do more of that here, on this blog because there are so many photographers who have "technical" blogs ("here's my pictures from my last shoot" or "here's my techniques").  I want a blog that has all that plus it's personal, funny and interesting to read even if you aren't necessarily a photographer.  I miss writing like that.

So, please do me a favor.  If you are reading this post, leave a comment.  Tell me who you are and how you found this site and anything else you want to say.  I suspect I'll get about 3 comments total.


Valentines Photo Contest

I'm always on the lookout for contests to enter.

Contest submission is tricky.  I always find myself torn between submitting what I believe is the best image and submitting what I believe has the best chance to win.  Trying to guess what the judges will be looking for is incredibly hard.  Photography is art and no two people look at it the exact same way.  Many times I have failed to place in a contest only to see the winning entry be very similar to a picture of mine that I rejected for consideration.

Yesterday I entered a contest sponsored by a company that makes photography backdrops.  These types of contests are really just promotional tools for the company that sponsors them but hey, I'll take a free backdrop any day! 

The theme of the contest is "Valentines."  Right away, I'm at a disadvantage because I can only assume that the winner will probably be a picture that was taken using a background.  I mean, they make backgrounds, they want to sell backgrounds.  Are they really going to pick a winner that doesn't use their product?

Oh well, I decided to submit a picture that I think is unique and fun.  I don't think I'll win but I do think it's a great picture!  I call it, "No U-Turn."

This picture was shot during an engagement session last year, on Kennedy Blvd in Tampa.  I used a neutral density filter to cut down the sunlight enough so that I could shoot at a slow shutter speed.  Without the filter I would not have been able to get the cars to blur.  There was a little retouching done, mainly to the grass on the island (I cloned the grass to cover some concrete).

See more engagement pictures on my website.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A new personal record at the Father/Daughter Dance!

Wow, what a night!  The McKitrick Elementary Father/Daughter Dance was a whopping success and I set a new personal record for portraits!

I got to the dance very early because it had been raining all day and I was worried about my equipment getting wet when I tried to bring it in to the cafeteria. Luckily, fate was on my side because it stopped raining just long enough for me to unload my truck.

I set up a white, 10 x 20 backdrop, 2 AB800's with soft boxes, and 1 AB800 to light the background. Normally I would set up my main light and fill light at about 45° from the camera but Friday night I knew I was going to be taking a lot of pictures very quickly and I couldn't be as demanding about creativity and shadow as I would normally be. So, I moved my main light a little bit closer to the camera to about 15°. This meant I wasn't going to get much shadow but it also meant that I could work fast and be sure that everyone was lit.

After I got set up I had some time to kill, so I walked around and took pictures of the decorations. I do want to take a moment to point out, as is usually the case with these events, the entire room was full of women. Keep in mind that the dance was sponsored by the Tomcats, the father organization at the school, of which I am a member.

Monday, February 8, 2010

McKitrick Elementary Dance Pictures

This friday is the 1st Annual Tomcat's Father/Daughter Dance at McKitrick Elementary School. The Tomcats is a group of Dad's at the school who work with the PTA to try and hold fund-raising events and generally be more involved with the school. I'm proud to be a part of the group.
One thing I have realized is that I am terrible at predicting what will be successful. The first event we had was a bowling night for Dads and the kids. I never thought it would work, it was a big success. Then they planned this dance on Friday. Not gonna work I said.... sold out. So, from now on I'll just go with the group on anything they say.

As I tend to do with most groups of this nature, I've basically just been the photographer. I take pictures for the yearbook or if it's possible, try to do something else that will benefit the group. So, this Friday I will be setting up my location portrait studio to take pictures at the dance.

When it comes to this kind of portrait work (proms, dance, etc) I'm a minimalist. I've never been a fan of painted backdrops that are supposed to look like a balcony in the moonlight but instead just look like a sheet that's been painted to look like a balcony in the moonlight. With the dance on Friday I've decided that I want to focus more on faces and skip full-length shots (it's not a prom, after-all). So, I'm going to shoot against pure white. Another advantage of white is that you can take pictures from multiple years and combine them into a collage or wall display at some point without having all the different backgrounds clash. For example, if I take the pictures at your dance school, you can get a collage with five years of pictures and it will look really nice because they all match. More after the jump..

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Metering mode and wedding photography

Trying to decide which metering mode to use when photographing a wedding is a bit of a pain. It doesn’t help that there are four different modes to choose from, each with an icon that you need a Rosetta Stone to decipher. Last night I took some photographs that will hopefully shed a little light on the modes I use most: Evaluative (Matrix) and Center Weighted Average.

Evaluative meter mode is the most sophisticated meter mode in the camera. The meter reads the entire scene and then, get this, tries to figure out what you’re taking a picture of. The software has thousands of sample readings from different scenarios in its memory. It compares the readings from your image against the database. So, if the software “sees” all dark on the bottom and all light on the top it thinks, “Must be a landscape!” and alters the exposure a little. Dark in the middle and light all around the outside “Portrait!” Adjust, adjust, adjust …

Here’s another cool thing about Evaluative metering: It’s the only mode that takes into account what the camera is actually focusing on. The meter reads the entire scene but pays special attention to the focus points when determining exposure. This is way cool. If you are taking a portrait and you put the focusing point on the subjects face, the camera will give added consideration to the face when determining exposure. Perfect!
More after the jump

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Booray's Better Pictures, take 2!

Booray's Better Pictures Class is set to start it's second session on Feb. 28th. I've been very pleased with my students in the first session and I think they are happy too because the second session is starting to fill up with their friends! It's very rewarding to teach something that you have a passion for. I just have to be carefull that I don't get so excited that I overload them!