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Archive for March, 2011

Proof in the Pudding

March 23, 2011

In light of my recent blog carnival post “It’s REALLY REALLY Not Just the Camera” I would like to share a case-in-point. Photographer Jeremy Cowart has a section on his blog dedicated to his iPhone photography. During a volunteer trip with Hope International, Jeremy did some personal documentation using nothing but his iPhone camera, and the results are nothing short of amazing. It’s not the camera. It’s the artist. Please visit Jeremy’s blog and you will understant what I mean:  Jeremy Cowart’s iPhone images

The Blog Carnival!

March 20, 2011

So, this is exciting… I have teamed up with a bunch of my very favorite portrait photographers – seriously, some of the very  best in the biz – from all over the map, to bring you a revolving series of articles on all aspects of custom portrait photography. From what to wear, to how to prepare, to things you might never think of – you’ll see it all covered in our “blog carnival”! So here’s how it works. First, check out my blog post “It’s Not the Camera!” At the end of my post, you will see a link to another great article, by another great photographer – Carrie Steffe, New Jersey child photographer extraordinaire.
The fun continues through a string of highly informative posts from some of the biggest names in the child portrait industry – one blog linking to the next. You don’t want to miss this!!!

It’s Really, Really NOT the Camera

My dear dear clients and friends. I love you. But OK. I am going to let you in on a little secret. Professional photographers (and by professional, I mean those who know the technical aspects of photography, and who know how to shoot in manual and expose a photograph properly -  not just anyone who hangs out a shingle and says “I’m a Photographer”) hate it when friends, family, and acquaintances look at our finished images and say “I wish I had your camera so my pictures looked like yours”. It’s not that we don’t appreciate having good equipment, because we do. But we have worked HARD to learn the technical aspects of photography, and the camera can’t do it on it’s own.

It IS nice to have a good camera. And I have three “good” cameras and some darn good lenses, too. But having a good camera DOESN’T make you a “photographer”. I would venture to say that if you hand an amateur a fancy SLR and tell them that they have to shoot it in manual, you have probably just made them a WORSE photographer than they were with their trusty point and shoot. Because in order to use a fancy SLR – really USE it – you have to know the technical aspects of lighting, composition, and camera settings. You have to know that you need to raise your ISO in low light, and that you need to open up your aperture to get that creamy, blurry background that everyone loves so much. You have to know that you can’t have both a very fast shutter speed and a very high F-stop in low light situations. You have to know how to position your subject for the most flattering angle, how to turn your subject into the light so that there are no hot-spots or harsh shadows, how to avoid color casts and how to adjust your white balance, and how to meter for every tricky lighting situation. Among about a thousand other things that you have to figure out on the fly. Every. Single. Time. You. Shoot. And it takes time. And patience. And lots and lots of trial and error.

I have images that were taken with a cell phone that are quality images. I have images taken with an old point and shoot Olympus that are some of the best in my portfolio. On the other hand, the internet is rife with new “photographer” (or “fauxtographer”) websites chock full of images taken with the latest and greatest equipment which are poorly exposed and/or out of focus.

Think of it in terms of swimming… you can buy the $1200 speed suit, but if you never learned to swim you are still going to dive in and struggle not to drown! Whereas there are people in 5 year old Walmart bathing suits swimming beautifully. They may not have the ultimate advantage of the suit that gives that little extra burst – but they are still beautiful swimmers who know their strokes. And you can tell, regardless of their equipment.

So just know – we love you. We love to show you our photos. We love to talk about cameras, and most of us would even be happy to show you how to meter in manual… but we don’t love explaining, over and over and over again that “it’s really not the camera!!”

Until next time, Happy Photographing!!

NOW! To continue the fun, visit Carrie Steffe’s blog, and her fabulous post about the importance of keeping safety your foremost priority when posing and photographing newborns and small children.
CLICK HERE:  Carrie Steffe – EMA Photography – New Jersey Child Photographer – The EMA Photography Blog

Onward and Upward!

March 15, 2011

What a great session with a beautiful grad student from Howard University. This was the nicest day of the year so far – the crowds were out in Georgetown, the birds were singing, the lines for cupcakes and froyo were a mile long… :-) Just a great DC spring day.

Enjoy your preview, Miss Marita! We loved working with you!

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