Archive for June, 2011
I’m not one who’s prone to exaggeration, but Charlotte and Peter are one of the nicest, most appreciative couple I’ve ever met. I had the privilege of photographing the cute couple a few months before their wine country wedding – and it was a breeze for me to document their exploration of the sights of San Francisco. They are totally in love and very comfortable with each other – and they thanked me profusely throughout the engagement session. They are the sort of people who are so nice you want to make their lives better. Here’s to a wonderful life together, Charlotte and Peter :)
Photographers are known for being control freaks – and I’m probably the guiltiest of us all. I guess this has to do with my perfectionist streak and wanting my business and work to be among the best of the industry. I am glad to say, however, that I have been slowly relinquishing my control – and a big part of my growth is because of my awesome Studio Manager, who holds down the fort and keeps everything in place. And yes, she’s also a perfectionist!
In the mean time, news from my studio:
TWiT Photo Episode 14 with Art Wolfe
You may have seen Art Wolfe on his TV show, Travels to the Edge, where he traverses the world and teaches you photography through his lenses. I was so excited to get better acquainted with this genuinely funny and socially conscious photography legend. Art was a joy to talk to as our guest on TWiT Photo and his work blew both Leo and I away. Watch Ep. 14 to learn his photography insights and tips here or on iTunes.
Have questions, suggestions or praises? Please email email@example.com.
Destination Weddings & Honeymoons Feature
My photography of Angela and Jeremy Webster’s gorgeous beach wedding at Lake Tahoe is featured in the June/Summer issue of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons. The wedding, held at the beautiful Fairwinds Estate, on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, was attended by 11o guests from Taiwan, Japan, Canada and all over the U.S. Stephanie Anderson of One Fine Day was the creative genius planner and Sara Spurlock of Bellissima Floral crafted exquisite floral designs of fresh bursts of yellow, white and green.
Recommended: Monique Lhuillier
Every woman has heard of Monique Lhuillier – even if you were not a bride, you would gush over how gorgeous her exquisite, finely crafted gowns are. A fashion forward couture designer, Monique is a celebrity favorite for her wedding and red carpet gowns. I’m so glad I’ve had the opportunity to photograph many brides in Monique’s exclusive designs – and Monique was an absolute inspiration as a speaker at the engage!11 luxury wedding conference.
It’s been some time since Viet Duc, but the murky vignettes of broken needles on a dirty floor and doctors conducting open surgery without gloves still haunt me to this day through my photographs. When I was a beginning photographer, I volunteered for American Veteran Dr. Dan Berliner and documented the Viet Duc ICU in Hanoi, Vietnam – and the experience was, well, humbling and shocking for someone from a developed country. In this photograph, a father scales a wall to have a glimpse of his toddler son who is confined to the muggy hospital bed by a brace wrapped around his injured private area. Visitors were not allowed.
As an aspiring photographer, one of the most important things you can do is to get your work out there. And there’s no better way to gain exposure than to join photography contests. It can be really difficult to keep track of the hundreds of contests running simultaneously at any time. I was searching for photography contest directories to promote my Lowepro-CHS Self Portrait Photo Contest – and I thought it would be a great idea to share this list with you. Check it out and mark your favorite contests on the calendar.
Oh, and voting is open for my Photo Contest on Facebook – don’t forget to submit your self-portrait if you haven’t already ☺
Photo Contest Information
This website is my go-to photo directory because of its comprehensive listings of photography contests out there. It has a section showing contests that are ending soon and another listing photo contest results. If you are looking to submit your contest, Photo Contest Information also has an amazingly quick response time to requests.
Current Photo Contests
Another of my favorites, Current Photo Contests lists vital information about contests both Stateside and worldwide. The cool tabs on the top right hand corner show you the number of active contests as well as contests with approaching deadlines. To enter your own contest, simply submit details via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Kudos for its quick response time :)
The Photo Contest
This website has an extremely easy to navigate and well-organized interface. Contests are organized into yearly, monthly and quarterly categories, which makes it easy for you to prepare submissions according to deadlines and frequency of the contests. Have a contest? Submit for consideration via email@example.com.
Photography Competitions Network
Photography Competitions Network is probably the most professionally managed of all the listed photo contest directories. It has a team of researchers to look for competitions and contests and routinely work with big-name organizers. It has a user-friendly interface and contests span worldwide and are organized in terms of regions. The only downside? It is slow to respond to contest submissions and features paid advertisers most prominently.
Strictly saying, Photolinks is not a photo contest directory, but a congregation of photography-related directories. It has a section listing photo contests and photo contest websites – and contest listing is free if you are an amateur.
Proof Positive lists both major and minor contests on its site. Spanning worldwide listings, the photo contest directory has comprehensive listings for both amateur and professional photographers. If you are submitting your contest, your contest has to have a deadline that takes place within 6 months of submission.
For someone who jumped headfirst into the world of Facebook and Twitter, I struggled with social media ROI. Does my investment of time yield any real return for my photography business? To that, I say yes – social media allows me to connect with people I wouldn’t have otherwise known and enabled me to stay in touch with people I do know. Case in point: I got acquainted with Mr. Nice Guy and opera singer turned pro photog Dustin Meyer through Twitter. Dustin is an award-winning photographer based in Austin who inspires photographers with marketing and shooting tips on his blog MpactPhoto, the Austin Collages.net CLASS group and at WPPI. Here, he talks about the importance of presenting a quality image of yourself on social media. Be the nice guy, not the guy people want to avoid :)
Follow Dustin on Twitter.
Post By Dustin Meyer
So some people call me a Twitter addict. I’ve also heard “Facebook fanatic”. Facebook even called me and did a case study on how I was using them to promote my studio. Right after that interview, they launched Facebook Pages. True, I do spend a lot of time on social media. Maybe because it’s a natural fit for my big mouth, or perhaps it caters to my more talkative nature. Either way, I use social media every day.
Queue the sighs of exasperation. I know. Every photographer out there is on Twitter. And what makes it worse is the constant barrage of self-promoting tweets I encounter every five minutes. Plus, there’s those spam bots that ask if you want to win a free iPad 2. No thanks, I already have one. So, how do we make sense of this “social mess”?
Disperse the brain fog, and take a deep breath. The one thing we always have in this world is our self. So, let’s start with that. Just like with dating, client meetings, or job interviews, you have to be yourself. If you are always out there putting up a front, people will start to back off fairly quickly.
Here’s an idea. Put something out there that’s genuine, without expecting any immediate gratification. Rather than running out into the street and shouting for everyone to pay attention to you, perhaps you could just say good day to the first person you walk past. Or even better, if you know about something that helped you, share it with others. Again, without any expectations of any return whatsoever. You will find that more people will appreciate your sincere generosity more than your ability to yell.
Why does this work? Junk is junk, whether it comes to your mailbox, your inbox, or your ear box. People become desensitized to the fuzz all the time. Why do you think advertisers are so worried about DVR? Everyone is skipping commercials these days. As photographers, you must remember that you’re out there to sell you, not your products or services. So represent yourself with a quality image of yourself, don’t just paint yourself with ads and bumper stickers.
Think of it like this when it comes to social media: we are all stars. But some of us are black holes, and others are supernovas. One kind always sucks inward, taking in everything and giving back nothing. The other is a bright undeniable source of energy that illuminates the entire universe. My favorite people on Twitter are those that find other people’s blog posts or other helpful information and share them with their followers. I almost always ignore those that are just out there to push themselves.
In conclusion, by presenting yourself as someone with an interest in others, you generate an image of yourself that people truly appreciate. Yes, it’s ok to share your excitement about your latest achievement. But keep it to a modest expression of glee.
So in this universe of social media, what will you choose to be? A black hole? Or a supernova…