Tuesday, May 19, 2009

As much as I love reading books to get my information I would be cheating myself by not diving into the world on the net and the plethora of sites on photography. Problem is there are so many great sites it begins a daily ritual of setting some time aside to read up on it. The light at the end of the photographic tunnel is as I learn more I can specialize my learning. At first, being wet behind the ears, I read and looked up everything. I still glance at all the sites, but I am able to be more selective. Not only sites but with Itunes and their podcasts, either with or without video I have learned a ton to supplement my book reading or on its own.

Where did I go to for such insight? A whole lot. I will list them here breaking up between sites and podcasts and why I check them out and continue to do so. Not every post of mine is going to include lists, but since this particular one and the one before it warrant the use I am going to do it.

A little side note. I had the luck or destiney to reallly commit myself to photography near Christmas. Most sites usually have a top 10, 20, 100 lists, and a few had a top photography sites list. That's how I got started roaming around.


www.cameradojo.com Run by Kerry Garrison, great wealth of info of all aspects of photography, they do tend to focus on wedding photography since that is his business.

www.digitalprotalk.blogspot.com Run by David Ziser a giant in the field of wedding Photography and photography in general. The guy is also a prolific blogger, he blogs mon thru fri on different topics on top of his demanding schedule.

www.strobist.blogspot.com a site for those looking to get a real grip on lighting especially off camera lighting.

www.digitalweddingforum.com a GREAT site for the those looking to be in a wedding photography community. It costs to join but if miniscule.

www.kelbytraining.com Another fantastic site not only dedicated to photoshop and the such but photography, lighting. Cost about 20/month or 200/yr unless you are a member of NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) then there is a discount.

www.twipphoto.com A site with info on topical areas of photograpy.


Photoshopuser TV a weekly podcast on photoshop

Cameradojo The podcast for the above site

TWIP again the podcast of the above site.

There are others, but I will more in likely speak of them as I write my Journey. Plus it will let my readers search on their own for sources of information.

Well now I have books, sites, podcasts, time to get the equipment I will need together to make the most of this art form, and in the next read I will look into what I am after. Until then keep your dreams alive and keep squinting....

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Books books books!!!!

Okay so I have the desire, a plan, and vision, but how the hell do you make this thing work?!
I decided to get a list of books I thought would benefit me. I divided them into three areas: General photography, post production, and specifically wedding photography. The way I see it the books would cover a strong foundation of what I needed to learn. From the vary basics of how to operate the camera, to the use of light, to the gear I would need, to how to tweak all of this in the computer. Not only that but I needed to dive into the world of wedding photography and all that it entails.
Glancing towards Amazon I typed in digital photography as I said and with some tweaking got a list. The first couple books that came to my interest were The Digital Photography Book, by Scott Kelby, Vol I and II. It was what I needed to dive in. Let me preface this in that obviously being a nobody to no one (for now) I am not getting any kickbacks for mentioning the books, I got.
The Kelby Books were affordable so I got them. I loved the layout of the books Pretty much divided on a single topic per page with a picture to accompany it. I was starting to get an understanding now of what my camera could do, and could not do. I couldn't wait to get the other books I wanted. The Kelby books are great, you ask what time it is and he tells you 3:00 p.m. Doesn't go too much into the how, just what does what. His technique is to describe to you as he would a friend out and about on a shoot. You want a shallow depth of field, get a telephoto lens set it to a high aperture and shoot, not the technical side of why F2.8 works with the ambient light, etc. It was great. I am, however, a person who when asks what time is it I want you to open the watch up and tell me what spring does what and why. The other books would do that, and Kelby acknowledges this in his books, you want springs, I'll give you some leads, but its 3:00 p.m.
There is a certain mischievous person living in potato land. I had told him my goals, dreams, and he was and is very supportive. I explained, as I found out through the books, that my lil rebel and pop up flash wasn't going to cut it (I actually figured that out before, but was confirmed). That I needed to get a list of equipment together, but that in the meantime I wanted to get a set of books that I could read to get a strong basis in. Then anything new or current I could learn from the websites, podcasts, and forums I go to everyday. He wanted to know the list so I gave it to him, and it was this,
Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson
Light: Science and Magic by Fil Hunter, Steven Biver, and Paul Fuqua
Master Lighting Guide by Christopher Grey
Post Production:
Lightroom 2 Book for Digital Photographers by Scott Kelby
The Adobe Photoshop CS4 book for Digital photographer's by Scott Kelby
The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book by Martin Evening
Adobe Photoshop CS4 for Photographers by Martin Evening
Wedding Photography:
Step by Step Wedding Photography by Damon Tucci
The Best of Wedding Photojournalism by Bill Hurter
The Complete Guide to Professional Wedding Photography by Damien Lovegrove
Digital Wedding Photography by Glen Johnson
Fast Track Photograher by Dane Sanders.

Which is the list of books I still have and are still reading, some twice now. How is this possible? Well Mr. Potato Head wasn't just showing good interest in my chosen craft, he wanted to help out and has to the tenth degree, and one day I got a delivery. I love all the books I have been given, to me they are treasures, they show a little different aspect to what I want to learn, and learning I am.
The only problem with getting all the books at once is I became a clinical case of ADD. I was jumping from book to book, too excited to read one for too long.
So now that I have the books, what's next? Learn from them, and share. Next update will be the other side of my learning ways the websites, podcasts, and forums I visit to get info, inspiration, and direction. After that will be the equipment list I had gotten together. I must excuse myself now, a couple of the above mentioned are calling to me. Until next time, keep squinting!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Have to start somewhere

Hey Gang,

I just got back from a long day in El Segundo, which hopefully will be productive.

Okay I have to back track to catch up. There is a lot to share so I will do that in chunks instead of all in one marathon blog (any ideas for a different word then blog, sounds so aggressive, or callous?)

Well, to become a professional photographer, or photographer in general I needed to crawl before I sprinted and needed to know how to do so. I put out there that I am searching for some ideas. I went on Facebook, and Myspace, asking if anyone had any ideas of how and where to learn; possibly good books to read.

I was told about podcasts that are done for photography. I had a couple podcasts knew what they were but thought it was only for the entertainment kids, the Kevin Smiths, and such. To top it off some of these podcasts are in video as well as audio. It was a great idea I hadn't thought of. So off I trotted to my local hardware Itune store and looked up digital photography. I put digital because I thought photography would be too open of a search and be composed mainly of pictures. I needed how tos and what's thats and when dos. I found a couple and listened to them. It happened to be near Christmas which is great. That time of year the folks doing the PCs are putting on year in review shows, best of tech, gadgets, the new Canon OhMYGOD 3000 Mark XXII.

Boy did that ever wet my appetite. I would put on the 'phones and listen to them a few times over and over catching things I missed previously. There was a catch. JARGON. They were speaking in a beautiful eloquent foreign language. I was trying to understand their alphabet and I was getting photography Shakespeare in Mandarin Chinese.

So the next step... Finding websites mentioned and checking them out. The podcasts usually had, if not a roundtable discussion, a guest host. Near the end they always give out how to find them, via, Twitter, FB, Myspace, and their own sites. So I would go and some would be specific, but I found a few that were great. More on those in a very soon upcoming post.

Going through the site I dived in the deep end. Learning what I could, keeping track but still having confusion issues with what they were throwing out. What the hell is a strobe? Glass? Are they talking about lenses, eyeglasses, what? Sync speeds, HUH???!!!!

Then it was time to strap on the machete, safari netting, pith helmet and go to one of the favorite rainforests. Deep in the dark mists lies treasures and new found knowledge. A rainforest you can get lost in, but if you search it will show you the way. Of course I am talking of the most mysterious one of all.....the Amazon.com.

There I found interesting books on the subject. As I looked around different offshoots of photography and saw the those who bought this also bought....I put together a collection of what I thought would make a good basis and well rounded self education. Some strictly in the art of photography and operation of the camera, some in the wedding photography arena, and some in post production.

This is where we'll stop for now. Next time will be Books, Gadgets, and Gizmos oh my:-) What I found and the adage the more you read the less you know.

Until next time, keep squinting!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

And the Journey begins...by squinting

If you don't write it down you won't do it.

I was told this about reaching my goals. To make them real, to actually go after them you have to write it down. You see, I am a dreamer, always have been. I go from wild idea to wild idea, thinking how cool, but never following through. So why am I doing this and what is the purpose of my blog (kind of an ugly word, need to come up with something else to call this).

I want to help humanity. I wanted to do this in several ways, and sometimes I did it without listening to myself. I also wanted to leave my mark on the world; something I was good at doing. I have gone from accountant, to psychologist, to lawyer, to marriage counselor to MIT electronic engineer/computer scientist (the last one is a pipe dream, but as foreign as it seems to be it still fascinates, hopefully my son will be going there to change the world as well:-), and never finishing the education training. I was, after being a lost boy for many years, well on my way to finally getting my psychology degree. All As in the last full semester, and As to begin my last. I had gotten my GE done (up to that point the only psych class I had was 101, I wanted to focus on it after the blah blah courses had gone) at a community college, Cypress, transferred with enough credits to get my AA (I didn't because I thought without any doubt I would get my BA) and made it to a four year university. I mapped it out to get the degree while having balance with the wife and child; it was tight and tough but we were getting it done.....then the proverbial rug was pulled under me and I fell flat on my face.

The economic crunch had hit the place I worked for. I was let go in Feb due to closing down stores. This snowballed into a total collapse of goals. To get unemployment insurance I had to be fully available. This meant that if I stayed at school I would not receive compensation. I have a wife to look after as well as a baby boy. Schooling and psychology, as painful as it was, had to stop. I felt horrible. I was going to a four year school, in my early to mid thirties, which is hard to do considering I am about 10 to 14 years older then most of the student body. No problem, it'll be only temporary, I'll get a job lined up right away and get back in the school game hopefully by summer.

Right away turned into one month, then two then six..living in a world where online applications are the norm and trying to make any type of impression is Herculean at best. During this time I got upset at the thought of being at someone's raised or lowered thumb. Will I get to stay or will Caesar throw me to the lions. Funny thing though, during this time I started taking pictures, lots of pictures.

I had gotten a Canon Rebel, back in 2004 with a single lens that came with it. In actuality it was a glorified point and shoot. I shot every now and then, capturing work outings and the such, but not much more. Then with my wife and son around I had a reason to break it out. Taking pictures was a great release, it felt like a duty a job, I loved squinting, looking through the viewfinder to find on the other side memories, art, long lasting images that when looked upon 1o, 20, 50 years from now will bring a smile as well as some tears. Then it hit me.

I love weddings, always have. I am a romantic when it comes to this. I love the pageantry, the tenderness, the bringing together two people in a ceremonial bond that will fuse them into one. I love the venues, church, outside, beach. I loved all the fun zany things, the bouquet and garter toss, money dance, cutting of the cake. The touching moments, dad walking his little girl down the aisle, his first dance with her, and it hitting him, his little girl will now be a Mrs. And then BAM, the light went off.

Wedding Photographer. To help humanity by capturing these moments in an artistic, long lasting, expressive manner. To be there when the joys are at their peak. To capture raw human love and devotion just by squinting and looking thru the glass.

Wedding photography is a business. All the things I had thought about doing lend themselves to it, accounting and law for the contract, daily business side, psychology and marriage counselor for the bride groom and family. Even my interest in technology to keep up with the ever changing world of photography and post production. It rolled up into one glorious taco salad. I get to be artistic beef, geeky cheese, creative tomatoes, and helpful lettuce all in the shell of a wedding photographer...

But wait there's more. My experience shooting had at that point been relegated to the cute little pictures on my dial, the one of the ladies head, the running man, the flower. I had to brave the world of clicking that dial over to the forbiden and scary zones of Av, Tv, and the monstrous M!!!

Not only this but what the hell does it take to be a professional wedding photographer? What is involved, what do I need to know? How will I get there? How will I compete with established people, will I need a Fine Art degree.

Well this is my journey. My goal is to be a full fledged wedding photographer in four to five years. I am going to share with those who want to take a moment out of there time and tell you. What books I read, strategies I learned, techniques, business aspects. The challenges I have to overcome, the breakthroughs I experience. You will read the chapters from the beginning to My first booking, and so on. I am going to be a detective racing to catch up, hopping in the cab and yelling Follow That Photo. Find him and pin him down until all the secrets are revealed. I hope it is interesting and transcedental. It will be an amazing journey, all from looking into a little glass piece and squinting.