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Friends, Photos and Central Park

A good friend, and fellow photographer, Letif Belcher (of letif.b.photo on Instagram) was in my studio recently doing some headshots for a young female actress client of his. The topic of New York came up and he mentioned wanting to take the trip in for some street photography. I love getting into the city with my camera and mentioned to him that it's been a while since I've been there. A couple days later and we had a trip planned to hit Central Park.

Letif and I took the train into Grand Central last Friday and, cameras in hand, headed uptown to the park. As he'd never been there I planned out a few 'must see' spots to hit. Our first stop would be the famous LOVE art installation on the corner of 6th and 55th. Much to my dismay, the sculpture was "out for repair". Off to a bad start.
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Observations on composition - Pieter Bruegel

In this article I am reprinting a critique I published on photoMENTORIS.com regarding the painting entitled 'Census at Bethlehem' by famed painter Pieter Bruegel, who was born in what is now the Netherlands in the 1520s.


The first point I would like to say is that you first need to consider both the medium and the time frame of this painting. Being a painting, the artist has a certain advantage of being able to carefully direct the large amount of content presented to the viewer, unlike, say, a photo of opportunity of the street photographer (I strongly believe Pieter would have been the 'street photographer' of his time). Even a studio photographer, with the luxury of space and time, would have a hard time justifying creating such a complex composition. Where you would see this type of visual composition today would be in modern cinema. In particular, period pieces that rely on background elements to "sell the era".

 Secondly, the era in which this was creat…

Who Cares About Your Business

October marks the beginning of the holiday season with Halloween at the end of the month. Seasonal items are being shuffled around and soon Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah will be upon us.

Personally, I have been busy preparing for the cold weather and analyzing how to move forward into the new year. This got me thinking about many things; rescaling my marketing, updating my prices, expanding my services… you know, all the regular business stuff.

It also got me thinking about my customers... actually, the customers I don’t have. What can I do to help them find me? Then it hit me, if they did find me, why would they care? This month’s newsletter is about ways of connecting to customers in today’s age of information.

Is your website content designed to convert?

I have recently been doing some marketing research online and I have noticed a disturbing trend among small businesses -- Old, outdated and ineffective websites. If you have not done anything with your business website in the past year or two perhaps you are likely losing business because of it.

Here are my findings and some solutions.

Your website's content should have one goal, to convert a visitor into a customer. Recently I was shocked to see first hand how spectacularly a website can fail.

Here's the story...

5 qualities images need for online shopping

As online shopping grows, competition for new business gets harder. Customer loyalty is a thing of the past. People will shop for value and convenience above all else. Part of that convenience is good photography.

One of the problems with online retail is the loss of tactile interaction with the products you're looking to purchase. There is no picking up, weighing, testing and trying on a product to get a sense of quality, of fit or just to get that emotional feedback.

Online shoppers have to rely on the images retailers supply on their web sites to help them make their buying decisions. Frustratingly, many of these images fail to provide the needed information so customers can make an informed buying decision. The results is a loss of revenue to the seller, and what's worse is the seller may not even realize their images may be a major reason for the loss.
Sean Barger, CEO of Equilibrium, says there’s been a number of studies showing that people are more likely to buy a produ…

DIY Softbox Storage Hanger

If you own a softbox, or two, you understand how bulky and unwieldy they can be. Imagine owning several in different sizes. Storage becomes an issue. One solution is to break them down and store them flat, but that becomes a pain after the first few times struggling to put one of these things together. It is more convenient to just grab one "off the shelf" and go to work.

Allocating shelf space seems like such a waste of valuable storage space. In my case I have two square softboxes, three striplights and soon two more rectangular ones. That's a lot of real estate. Time to come up with a storage solution that doesn't require floor space or shelf space.

The solution I came up with is a compromise of an idea I originally had of hanging them from the ceiling on pulleys so they would be out of the way until needed. I still like that idea, but for now I will be suspending them from a wire rack shelf system in my studio. Here is what the system looks like.


Large DIY Diffusion Scrim

One of the most commonly used tools in my photographic arsenal is the all purpose diffusion screen. I use it to soften light, create gradients and light fields or as a background. One of my current favorites is a metal framed 4' x 4' foot scrim with thick white artificial silk made by Matthews. I didn't think I would use it so much, being so large, but having borrowed it from a friend I really came to love it. The downside for me is the price. At just over $100 I couldn't really justify the cost, considering I want at least two of them. Time for a DIY alternative.