Vegas twice in one week…

After attending WPPI at the first of the week I had to come back for a full day “Serious Technical Training” on Capture One Pro 8 software. Josh Booth of Capture Integration did a thorough job! It was intensive!!!! It is an amazing program to integrate into my workflowI loved it and learned a ton. During the breaks there were lots of fun medium format toys (Mamiya, Phase One) and Profoto lights to play with! A photographers play day!

Dickens Festival at the Dixie Center!

I spent a long four days at the Dickens Festival running a booth last week for my niece’s company soapcreek I’m just recovering!
It was a labor of love…. We make some awesome soaps 🙂

Pardon my iPhone pics…. It was the camera I had, so I used it. Shows how dark it was ….
Anyway if you decide to go next year…. I highly suggest going the first day it was much less busy.

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Tips for hiring a PROFESSIONAL photographer

I recently went to a local business to have my son’s hair cut. It is a classy, high end, men’s barber-shop. (Not your typical “chop-shop” chainstore salon.)   While sitting in the lobby I looked at their brochure. I was less than impressed with their photos. Under exposed, bad composition, etc. I knew the owner from a local networking group so I approached him about the photos. What shocked me is he told me he had hired a professional photographer….or he THOUGHT he had! It’s so frustrating that there is not a standard that defines a professional photographer! How was he to know…anyone can say they are a pro. I feel bad that he invested money in his advertising photos and was given photos that were far from professional.

The ASMP has a list of 10 things to look for in a pro photographer ” Ten reasons why to hire a pro “.

Here’s a simple list of tips:

1.   Check out their portfolio! Don’t hire someone just because a friend or neighbor says they are great.  Make sure their work is consistent in quality and that their style fits what you need.  Anyone can get a lucky shot if they shoot enough. You don’t want to rely on luck when you are investing in photos.  A professional has consistent quality and can handle many different lighting and location situations.  Look for diversity in lighting, indoors, outdoors, natural light, flash, points of view, etc.   Also make sure they specialize in what you need.  A portrait photographer may not have the skills or background to produce advertising photos, etc.

2.    Does your “photographer” have a business license and INSURANCE? Having liability insurance protects you as a client. Bad things happen and having insurance is an indication that your photographer is prepared for all types of situations. Very few hobbyists have liability insurance. Most professionals carry a minimum of 1 million dollars in liability insurance. Having a biz license and insurance also can be an indicator that your photographer is serious about his business and will most likely be around for awhile.

3.    Where is your photographer’s studio located?  Is it in his or her home or garage? Many very talented photographers do work out of their homes, but having a separate location can indicate a level of seriousness.  A photographer with a commercial location for a studio is not doing photography as a hobby or side job.

4.   Don’t be impressed by photography organization memberships. PPA , WPPI and several other organizations will let anyone who pays their fees be a member! Although these organizations are great resources, they are not an indicator that your photographer is truly a professional.

ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers) and NPS (Nikon Pro Services) both have standards to be professional member and include a qualifying process to separate pros from non-pros so you can take their memberships more seriously.

5.   REFERRALS! Don’t be embarrassed to ask for referrals! Ask your photographer for referrals for the type of photography you desire.  If you are hiring him or her for a wedding ask for WEDDING client referrals.  If its for commercial/advertising photography ask for COMMERCIAL/ADVERTISING referrals….and CALL them!  Talk to the referrals. Ask about their experience. Were  their photos what they expected? Did they receive them in a timely manner? Was the photographer easy to work with?       Most people are apprehensive about asking for referrals but it is one of the best things you can do in choosing a photographer, so DO IT!  You are investing money in your photos and you deserve to get what you are paying for.

 

Giving is growing

I have been teaching photography & lightroom classes and workshops in my community for over two years now. I feel like I have grown so much as a photographer by sharing with others. I have had people ask me why I “give away my knowledge and undermine my business”.  I feel like the more the community knows and appreciates photography, the more it is valued. I have a lot of business referred to me by my students. Many thought photography was easy before taking my classes, but it was because their expectations were basically – snapshots. I feel like I have helped raise the bar on what they consider a great photograph. As a result many of my students have learned that sometimes the job is out of the range of their experience and send the work my way instead of naively thinking “I have a nice camera, I can do it myself.”

I also find it very exciting to see the growth of my students! I have helped some sell their images and I have several that I refer clients to when they need portraits. I know they are capable of handling the work because I taught them. 🙂

Joe's Tree

Coral Pink Sand Dunes – Photo Safari

My son and I got up early and went to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park today. It’s supposed to get up in to the mid 90’s today, but you wouldn’t have thought that this morning. It was surprisingly cold! We both wished we had taken jackets with us. It was worth it though, the dunes and wild flowers were BEAUTIFUL! We spent a couple of hours just wandering and taking pictures. I am so proud of my son. He has quite an eye for a 9 year old! Here’s a photo he took today :

copyright Craig Jeffs 2013
copyright Craig Jeffs 2013