TWiT Photo viewer ratings are the highest on record since the show’s debut, but our sales team has nonetheless been challenged to secure sufficient advertising. It has, in many ways, been an unusually tough sell: TWiT sponsors tend to be heavily tech-oriented; and our show, focused on the Art of Photography, is outside of this realm. My magnanimous and gifted co-host Leo Laporte and I have persevered for the past year; but, at this juncture, have decided to move-forward in search of new horizons.
Potentially one of the saddest aspects of this transition is the thought of loosing connection with the incredible community of TWiT Photo fans, whose support and critical feedback have been instrumental in the program’s evolution and popular success. I can’t thank you all enough for your generosity and encouragement over the past year–the experience of cultivating meaningful, substantive dialogue about the art of photography has been, beyond a shadow of a doubt, one of the most transformational aspects of my career. I would like to extend especial gratitude to Leo, who has been an incredible teacher and role model, as well as the tireless and gracious TWiT CEO Lisa Kentzell. Thank you both for this wild, lovely, and rewarding ride. I am always up for a sequel.
I believe that the true measure of success isn’t how well you succeed–heck, anybody can carry themselves with grace and dignity when they’re winning the gold medal–but how you draw upon setbacks as an entry-point for inventing new opportunity. I don’t think the joy ever has to stop, but that sometimes it might take-on a new form. In this case, the dissolution of TWiT Photo has paved the road for Photography Unfiltered. Together, we have built-up a powerful community, and this is what always prevails.
This August will mark the premiere of my very-own show, Photography Unfiltered. Interviews with the world’s leading photographers will still be at the heart of the program, but we will take it a step further. Based on your input, Photography Unfiltered will focus even more on technique, solid how-tos, practical take-aways, as well as solidifying community connection through program participation.
I am also thrilled to announce that TWiT’s very own gaffer, Ryan Marsh, will be joining me as a co-host. Ryan Marsh is an accomplished Lighting Designer who has been a key member of the Lighting Department on shows such as House, America’s Next Top Model, CSI: NY, Numbers and Bones. He has also lit commercials and music videos for MTV and VH1 and talent such as Seal, Heidi Klume, Prince, and Snoop Dogg, and is a member of the Hollywood Film Lighting Union.
Ryan is an unabashed gear enthusiast who got his start in Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley before carving his own unique path that ultimately led him into film production. He loves photography and is obsessed with generators, power systems and lighting.
When I first began my career as a professional photographer, I undervalued the necessity of getting the subjects of my portraits to sign releases; I was solely focused on crafting incredible pictures to build-up my portfolio. As industry figures began to take note of my images, I quickly realized the error of my past ways: One of my first ‘big breaks’ occurred when Adobe asked to feature several of my photographs and I joyfully agreed. Finally, I thought, I will finally begin to receive the recognition for which I’ve worked so hard.
Unfortunately, no legitimate company would dare print or publish images that aren’t backed-up with a model- or property-release. It was with a heavy heart that I had to turn down Adobe’s offer–without model releases, none of the images in my portfolio were commercially valid. What a huge let-down…but also a hard-won lesson: Credible photographers take care of the details.
Top Model Release was born from this experience. The user-friendly app lets photographers quickly and easily create unlimited model and property releases on-the-go, rather than having to cart-around unwieldy stacks of paper that can get lost en route. It lets photographers electronically stamp their business’ logo on PDF versions of the release for total customization. And, in order to simplify storage and cataloguing, photographers can embed the corresponding image directly into the release. What’s more, Top Model Release is approved by one of America’s leading photography copyright lawyers, Bert Krages, and also approved by Getty Images.
Get yours today! But, before you do so, be sure your iPhone is upgraded to iOS5 here –it’s free and easy to upload. Check out Top Model Release and share your feedback here! I’d love to hear from you.
*iPhone Native / iPad Compatible available now for $8.99*
*Universal version for iPad Coming Soon – Current iTunes Store policy is complimentary upgrade for all owners of the iPhone Version*
Establishing and summarily breaking New Year’s resolutions is, at this point, such a cultural cliché that I won’t even bother cracking a joke about it. When Google+ Community Manager Brian Rose posted this witty and self-deprecating “10 New Year’s resolutions for designers” from .net magazine, it struck me that I should create a similarly fun list for photogs. Here goes nothing!
- If you spend every Friday night with a glowing monitor, you may want to get out more.
- When you’re creating, listen to that hard knot in your gut. Let this be your guide – especially when an idea first strikes you as stupid or absurd. It might just be your jackpot.
- In the grand scheme of things, you are not that important. Don’t just keep your ego in check; how about just leaving it at the door.
- Being a perfectionist can paralyze you. At some point, you have to release your work into the world and let it go.
- Do you often ask yourself why someone you believe to be worse then you is über famous? Or really, just a lot more successful than you are? Stop comparing yourself with others. And oh, get a grip.
- Instead of imposing or manufacturing a style, act intuitively. This will allow you to evolve naturally and over time.
- There’s nothing worse than derivative art. Don’t copy.
- You are absolutely, unequivocally the worst editor of your own work. Do not rely exclusively on your own eye. Consult with other people who you trust. Smart people ask for help.
- If you take risks, you might end up with terrible images….but sometimes you won’t. In fact, sometimes taking risks can result in your magnum opus. Risk-taking is the life blood of photographers evolving their craft.
- Don’t take shitty images and then think you can infuse them with inspiration by re-touching with Photoshop. Learn how to craft exceptional images in the first place. This is the true art of photography.
Engagement sessions aren’t just about great portraits of a couple. Photographers usually have a limited amount of time to interact with the couple on the wedding day because of the tight schedule. At engagement sessions, the atmosphere is much more relaxed and this allows the couple to get to know you and be comfortable in front of the lens. Come wedding day, you will enjoy a better rapport with the bride and groom – and your photographs will form a more poignant wedding narrative.
Here are my 5 tips to magnetic engagement sessions:
Seize the Golden Hour
Unlike weddings, you get to arrange the date and time to shoot an engagement session. Seize the opportunity to shoot during the famous golden hour and schedule your session 1-2 hours before sunset. As the sun will be low in the sky, it creates portraits with a soft wash of dramatic warm light (flattering!). The session usually lasts between 1 and 1.5 hours, and during that hour-long session, you can take advantage of opportunities to play with the natural light ranging from direct sunlight to the dramatic backdrop of sunset.
Who Let the Dog Out?
I love it when a couple brings awesome props to spice up the shoot. Whether it is a dog (they are always great fun) or a picnic basket, your subjects will have more fun and feel more comfortable when they are enjoying themselves. The best props are those that have a special meaning for the couple – it could be something they made together or an anniversary gift. This makes for more unique images that showcase the personalities and rapport of the couple. Before the session, you can also suggest props such as balloons, cool sunglasses, bubbles and hats – but let their imagination run wild.
No Prego Shirts, Please!
Prego shirts and white or gray clothing are an absolute no-no. Clothing and style can make a couple portrait really pop. You, as the photographer, need to advise your clients beforehand about what would look best on camera. Generally, they should stick to more form-fitting clothing. The couple’s attire should compliment one another – so always suggest bringing at least one change of clothes so that you have a variety of looks to play with. Ladies should also have their hair and makeup done prior to the shoot. They could always schedule and appointment with a professional or have their wedding day makeup trial on the date of the engagement session.
Take Me Out to the Ball Park
A favorite park, a movie theater, the ball park – pick locations that are significant to the couple. Couples might be nervous, as they are concerned about how they look or how to pose. Take them to locations that are special to them, so they feel more at ease. This also helps you to create images that are consistent to who your clients are. Search for dynamic backgrounds that complement the clothing and personalities of the couple. Don’t stick a conservative couple against a graffiti wall just to get your shot – it won’t resonate with them and you won’t get the best out of your clients.
Be Creative on the Fly
Say it rains, what do you do? Some of my best engagement sessions have been in the rain. When circumstances seem to go against you, think on your feet and you may end up with fresh and innovative shots. Maybe you can start in a glorious indoor location and end the session with some cool outdoor umbrella shots. Push yourself out of the box – maybe the sun’s in the shot, or have the couple lay on the grass. A lot of shots won’t work, but you might just get that magical one.