Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tampa Headshots and Professional Portraits

I decided to launch a new website this week:  It's just a one page site but it's dedicated to professional headshots.

I don't do that many headshots, to be honest, and I have no interest in going after the actor/model market.  So why launch a new website just for headshots?  Because I have a theory...

I personally believe that your headshot... the image that you use to represent yourself professionally.. is one of the most important business tools you have.  I also think that people don't take it seriously enough.  Too many people still view their professional portrait as just some stuffy picture that they have done for the "company."

It's so much more.

It's your first impression.  It's who you are to hundreds of people on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, your company website, business cards, etc...  and yet so many people have old, stodgy, boring headshots.  I know, I see them everyday online.

It doesn't have to be that way.  You can have a great picture, a portrait, that represents you exactly the way you see yourself.  If you think that the initial image that people see when looking you up on facebook or Google isn't important, consider that the typical magazine spends 8-10 hours of work to get one picture for the cover.  One.  That's how important that first impression is..

I started thinking about it this week after doing a few headshot portraits.  My wife, Bobbi needed one for her website (Perfect Florida Beach Wedding) and my friend Eileen over at Diva with a Fork needed one too (it's for her new website so it's not online yet).  They were both very happy with the results and I think it's because I come from a wedding/portrait background so I tend to want to use outdoor locations and great lighting to get portraits that are relaxed but still "portraits," (if that makes sense).

To be honest, I don't know that it will attract any business at all since I have no plans to really market it.  But it makes me feel good to know that it's out there.  My own little line in the sand that says, "Don't settle for the ordinary!"  I'm funny that way.  :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Once again, I'm proved wrong...

At last month's TAPPA meeting (Tampa Area Professional Photographers Association) I decided to test a theory of mine regarding the print competition.

You see, it's my belief that I'm just not the sort of photographer who wins contests.  Not that my work isn't good, it's just that I don't feel that my style is what the typical contest is looking for.  It seems like contest winners are always perfect composition, perfect light, etc (as they should be, I guess) and I've always believed that some of the best images can be candid and unique.

So, I grabbed the image of mine that more people mention than any other image I have ever shot:

... and I entered it in the monthly competition.  My point being:  Everyone loves this picture but that doesn't mean it can win.  It's too much like a snapshot, it's not artistic enough... "fancy"...

Well, you probably guessed where this is going.  It won 1st place in the "Event" category.

Now, I don't know what to think.  I'm still not convinced that it could be a merited print.  Merited prints are picked by certified judges and those guys are tough.  I'm going to make it a point to ask some of the other photographers what they think.  I love this image and I think that it's a fine example of my work but that doesn't mean that it fits into the "mold" of a merited print.

I also entered a print in the "portrait" category and won 2nd place:

I'm a little more leery of "Portrait" than "Event" because there are always more entries in that category.  Plus, you are competing against photographers who shoot primarily portraits and often in-studio.  Portraits are what they do best so they produce some incredible work.  I was very happy to place in the category.

I guess this all goes to show that despite what I think, anything can happen.  :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Taking pictures of fireworks

In my classes, I always get a big reaction when I show a picture of fireworks.  To a new photographer, it seems like an incredible feat to take a picture that freezes the action like that but by the end of my class they know that it's really quite easy.  All you need is a tripod and a slow shutter speed.

This year I decided to take an updated version of my fireworks shot.  I didn't want to really "stage" it because I didn't want to distract my kids from enjoying the show.  I also didn't want to use much equipment because we were going to be at a friend's house and I didn't want to carry it (Nor did I want to set it all up in the middle of a party.)  So, the task became, "How do I get a cool shot with a minimal amount of equipment?"