The Empty Apple: A New York City Time-lapse
Photography Unfiltered Update
My mom is a typical Southern belle from North Carolina – and she always carries herself with impeccable grace and greets everyone with genuine warmth and a smile. And like every Southern lady worth her salt, she never stands for poor manners – and my siblings and I would get a serious tongue-lashing if we ever misbehaved. Her ability to maintain grace, empathize and stay above it all has greatly influenced how I run my photography business.
I love the latest gadgets – and strive to learn more about the fast-changing photography world daily. When running my business, however, I prefer not to forget old-fashioned values. The world might have changed, but people’s desire for high quality and a trustworthy service provider remains the same. Here are a few old-school values that have helped me in my life and my business:
Build long-term relationships
When you build relationships for the long term, you build a reputable brand and the client base to support it. Too many businesses worry more about profit margins than the people they serve. If you take care of your clients, they will recommend you to friends and family and support the growth of your business. I firmly believe that the real proof of a successful business is when you consistently exceed client expectations creating outspoken “evangelists” for your company. A referral truly is the greatest compliment and strongest marketing tool.
Make something that lasts forever
My mom has an exquisite jewelry box that she’s had on her dresser for as long as I can remember. I love new things and I’m not big on nostalgia. But I do miss craftsmanship, where every item was a work of art and a result of dedication and conscientious effort. A lot of photographers are influenced by current trends of retouching, which seem really cool at the time of production, but your clients end up with images that might not stand the test of time. Be conscious of the difference between innovative advancements and passing trends to create timeless art that you can be proud of – 2, 5, 30 years on.
This seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes, we allow our ego or impatience to get the best of ourselves. You might not understand the specific needs of your client so take the time to listen. Then, reflect on what they are saying so you can understand things from their perspective. The key is communication and finding a solution that works for both your business and the client.
Honesty – still the best policy
We live in an age where people are fed so much data and so many sales pitches that in many ways, they’ve become jaded and skeptical. Be honest and completely transparent in all client communication (or all communication for that matter). Communicate your style of photography and pricing to the client, and you will attract the right people. You should not compromise on your style of photography or the value of your work for the sake of gaining a new client.
All these old-fashioned values require you to treat people with respect and recognize that you have to take time to nurture client relationships. Treat your client the way you wish to be treated – and you will not only build better and long-lasting client relationships, you will also build a better public perception of your brand.
This article is originally published on GoingPro2010.com.
Fast forward 12 years through art school by learning excellent design lessons from former NYTimes.com Design Director Khoi Vinh. Named one of “The 50 Most Influential Designers in America,” Khoi discusses how learning to see through a camera is a great way to sharpen your design eye. Always wondered about compositional rules, space and geometry in a frame? Watch this episode to learn how to maximize the graphics and colors occurring in nature to create dynamic, complex imagery. Also, Khoi introduces his social collage app, Mixel. Here are Khoi’s top tips (for both photographers and designers):
1. Learning to see through a camera is a great way to sharpen your design eye.
2. The language of photography is an important part of design literacy.
3. Photography is an essential part of social media now; understanding photography as a social element is essential for any UX designer.
Have questions, suggestions or praises? Please email email@example.com.
Nancy exudes the cool magnetism of a native California girl, while her storied adventures abroad – residing in locations as diverse as Italy and China, New York and Hawaii – lend her a cosmopolitan sensibility that’s irresistible. She’s not only a knock-out, but also a key professional figure in Arcata Associates, an aerospace defense firm founded by her father; a lovely mother to her daughter, Maya; and an avid adventurer who has trekked through Nepal and Peru. Such an accomplished woman doubtless needs an equally passionate and driven partner. And Nancy found him.
Her union with the Colonel Steve, whose own life’s narrative is no less storied, is the stuff of a modern-day fairy tale, with a globe-trotting twist. Steve is a consummate gentleman, whose formative years in Texas, Missouri and Florida instilled in him a love for water sports like scuba diving and a keen desire to venture forth into the world. For 28 years, he served in the Air Force as an F-15C Fighter pilot, and his career allowed him to travel extensively and learn important lessons from other cultures.
It was an immense honor to photograph the elegant, resplendent wedding of Nancy and Steve, and to witness the bond between the bride and her daughter, as well as between the groom and his sons. Below, the always well-spoken bride puts into her own words the story of how it all came to pass:
“Although we first met at a holiday party in 2006, it wasn’t until Steve invited me to his farewell dinner before relocating to Saudi Arabia to lead the USAF military advisors to the Royal Saudi Air Force in July 2008 that we knew it wasn’t the last time we wanted to see one another. We spent that year coordinating phone calls with a time-zone difference of 13 hours, exchanging lots of emails, and even sharing four joyous reunions when Steve would visit the States to visit me and my daughter, Maya.
On February 12, 2010, just before the Year of the Tiger began, Steve proposed in Las Vegas. He executed an elaborate plan that included red roses, champagne, limousine rides, a suite at the JW Marriott, manicures and pedicures for my daughter, my mother and me, as a fantastic dinner at Smith and Wollensky. He really surprised me when he presented a ring box at the dinner table and inside was a ring with Pandora charm in it – what?! After giving me his personal copy of The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, he got down on one knee and proposed with the real ring!”
Wedding Coordinator: Jean Marks Weddings | Videographer: Weddings on Film | Floral/Event Designer: Atelier Joya | Invitation Designer: Bella Figura | Ceremony Venue: Stanford Memorial Church | Reception Venue: Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club | Wedding Gown Designer: Enzoani from Jin Wang | Bridesmaid’s Dress Designer: Amsale | Make Up/Hair Stylist: Clifford Hashimoto | Any special jewelry: Tacori Wedding band; Pearl bracelet and hair comb by Haute Bride; Chinese jewelry worn at tea ceremony are family heirlooms
I am pleased to debut my latest series, Spotlight, in which I highlight the work of emerging, noteworthy photographers worldwide who create meaningful, memorable work. It is an honor to introduce my first guest, Israeli photographer Ronen Goldman (pictured above in his own work), whose imagery – both commercial and fine-art – investigates the limits of verisimilitude and the suspension of disbelief. Below, check out our recent conversation covering topics as diverse as the “Israeli question,” painstaking post-production, and the pursuit of bringing one’s own, internal “dreamworld” to viewers’ eyes.
Follow Ronen Goldman on Facebook.
Photos by Ronen Goldman
Your conceptual approach to photography yields dynamic, at times surreal, results. Talk about the notion of the “photo dream.” From what influences did you develop such an entry point into the art of photography?
I have always been interested in dreams. It seems to me that experiences we have while sleeping are sometimes as powerful and meaningful as “real events.” The subconscious is such an intriguing and uncharted land, and always proves itself a worthy realm for exploration. This preoccupation with my own subconscious is how my Photo-Dreams series came to life; it is an attempt to recreate dreams or dream fragments through photography. Once this series started to accumulate more and more entries, it became a collection known as the “Surrealistic Pillow Project.” I’m influenced by the surrealist movement that took the subconscious-based art to amazing levels. Artists like De-Chirico, Magritte, Man Ray, Ives Tanguy and Dali are among my favorites.
Your identity as an Israeli – a contested political, social and economic territory – has surely shaped your identity as an artist. How does your sociocultural background shape the way you see the world from behind the lens of a camera?
Israel is a very “loaded” place to live – for so many reasons. Truthfully, I try not to get political with my art, since my subconscious is much more amorphous. There is no doubt, though, that living here creates some deep-rooted ebbs and flows of anxiety, paranoia and exhilaration that are evidenced in the photographs I create.
You were one of the winners of Catherine Hall Studios’ Exploration of a Muse photography contest. How did you first hear about the contest, what inspired you to enter, and how did you create your winning submission?
I follow Catherine’s TWiT Photo podcast and was excited to find the competition on Google+. The subject of “Exploration of a Muse” was too good not to enter, so I did – right away! My winning submission is called “Master Magician.” I depicts a mysterious man in the woods, who is throwing cards in the air that magically spiral towards the camera. Creating this image was painstakingly long, since I shoot all parts of my images on location. I shot every single card in that photo separately and in its unique position and then combined the layers of photos together to create the spiral.
What guiding impulses – both intrinsic and extrinsic – drive you to take pictures?
Every photo starts from a dream or fragment I remember. I then sit and start exploring what interests me about the dream and figuring out why it appeared to me in the first place. I develop the idea into an image in the real world, somehow devising a way to call it into existence, despite all the technical and photographic constraints. My drive comes from wanting to share complex, abstract ideas with other people.
Your artistic process obviously requires a lot of technological manipulation. What gear and software are indispensable to your photography?
Nowadays, I use a 5D Mark II, which I absolutely love. I also use an array of prime lenses, but some of my best images were created early-on with a Canon 350D and pretty unsophisticated lenses. Photoshop, of course, is indispensable to me.
Who are three of the most influential figures in your growth as a photographer?
I am influenced by any art I run into, whether it’s painting, music, sculpture, or literature. I appreciate anything that involves people making thought provoking objects for others to to view or experience. Choosing three is very hard, but I’d say they are:
He created worlds of poetry by juxtaposing objects in beautiful ways, and made the viewers believe that what they are looking at is impossibly real.
He created beautiful, masterful music even when nobody was listening.
His keen eye – ready to freeze whatever it is the world displayed in front of him and arrange it all, amazingly, in split seconds – is astonishing.
Did you receive formal training in photography – and, if so, where did you study? How valuable is a university education or technical degree for people who aspire to become professional photographers?
I attended Tel Aviv University, where I studied film, script writing and storytelling. There is no doubt these subjects influence my work today, although I really only got into photography after graduating, so I can’t say that I have any formal training whatsoever. That said, education is extremely important, especially in a field like photography where there is so much technical stuff that one should really know about. I got all my photography education from reading books, magazines and Internet resources. There is so much you can learn online, and learning that way was the right way for me. If you feel more comfortable studying at a university you should do it – whatever path is best for you to acquire knowledge is the journey that you should take.
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.