Welcome to the Jacob Howe Photography blog!
I want to get into evaluating photographs in this second part of my blog series. Image aesthetics is very subjective. What one person likes, someone else may dislike. So how do you tell the difference between an ok picture and a good photograph? It helps to start with understanding basic techniques of photography. Exposure and focus are the first two ESSENTIAL elements. If the photo is too dark or light, it's no good. Likewise, if it's not in focus, it's no good. (Of course there are exceptions to this, but they are very rare for portrait/family photos.) If a photographer can't expose correctly or focus accurately, are they even really a "photographer"? Here are a few examples of over/under exposure and lack of focus:
It's obvious that these examples are unacceptable in terms of technique. The underexposed image is not extreme and with careful post processing, can be salvaged. The overexposed image, however, is so "blown out" that there is no detail in those parts whatsoever, and can not be salvaged. The focus image is a little bit more subtle and requires close examination to see. The focus is a little off (toward the back of the head, as you can tell by the hair). It's not that noticeable for web size and can sometimes be salvaged with careful post processing for print enlargements.
Obviously, most photographers won't have images like these on their web sites, because that wouldn't bring in much business. A lot of the time, you don't find out you picked an inexperienced photographer until you get the photos, so it wouldn't hurt to get some higher resolution samples from your prospective photographers. I know I would be happy to give a prospective client samples to help them feel more at ease with the quality of my images.
I could go on for pages about technical aspects of a quality photograph, but will just stick to the basics, listed above. Many of the other aspects can be debated as "creative vision". The photographer's vision is what you will get, and if you've been browsing their web sites, you know that one photographer's vision can vary greatly from the next. I don't know any portrait photographer that would show you an under or overexposed and out of focus photograph and say that is their creative vision.
These principles should not be ignored by any photographer. I know that these are simply explained and should go unsaid, but you would be surprised at what some "photographers" try to get away with. I hope I have helped you in your quest to find a great photographer.
Happy Holidays!!! It's the time of year for fun, families, and celebration! What better way to remember these times than to capture them photographically?! In this Holiday blog two-part series, I will give you tips on finding a photographer and evaluating the difference between an OK picture and a great photograph.
Finding a good photographer can be a difficult task. Not because we're hard to find, but because there are sooooo many to choose from! First off, you need to understand that a photographer is not just a person who aims a camera and presses a button. Aside from knowing their equipment, photographers need to understand light, be able to draw emotion from the clients, and be efficient (just to name a few). There is much more effort that goes into a professional photograph than you may think.
I would recommend starting by asking around...friends, family members, coworkers..to see if they recommend anyone. Chances are that someone you know has had some photos taken recently and can offer great insight into the experience they had with that particular photographer. Ask them about the photographer's personality. Ask to see the photos. Ask about their overall experience during the whole process. Ask for the photographer's website. All of this info will help in making a good decision on a qualified professional.
If you can't get any recommendations from friends or family, you will probably check the internet next. Most likely, you will find hundreds and hundreds of photographers in your area. Without the input from a trusted friend or recent client, how will you decide? Obviously, you will want to check out their photographs to see if you like their particular style, but don't forget to pay attention to other aspects of their site. Read the "about" page, testimonials, rates, and check out the contact page to make sure they can be contacted easily and by more than one way. These details will help you check the organizational skills, as well as, personality, and price range of the photographer. Then you can begin narrowing them down.
You may be thinking, "Hey Jake, there are so many good photographers, I still can't decide!" Well, now the most dreaded task in our text/chat culture comes to the forefront: the phone call! You may not want to. You may think an email will suffice. You may think their great website was good enough to just go ahead and schedule without putting much thought into the phone call. If you're used to a department store photo studio, that could be the reason you may think photographers just push a button. And if you think about the stressful and/or drab experience, you will realize that personality is a big part of getting great images and, of course, having fun while creating them! So, make the phone call! Get a feel for the photographer's personality. A good personality will make your photo experience memorable and so much fun!
I now have the behind the scenes video up on my You Tube channel!! Here is the link- http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-szPtTshpKiO1HDxTso_Yw Feel free to comment and let me know what you think of it. Here is the link to the two final images I produced for the model. Enjoy! :)
So, the shoot last week went very well and the behind the scenes footage was great! We shot at the Percy Priest Lake in Nashville, TN. I'm finishing up a couple things with the video and I will post it on my YouTube channel tomorrow night! I will take you through the location scouting, set-up, shoot, and post processing work for a model portfolio shoot. If you've ever wondered what I do, this video of the photo shoot will show you! I will also post the final photos, or at least a link to the final photos at the same time as the video. This will be a first for Jacob Howe Photography and I hope you like it! Hopefully soon, I will have a "behind the scenes" commercial photography shoot! My portfolio is out for review as we speak! Stay tuned tomorrow!
Back to the ole blogstone. So, if you haven't noticed yet, I am having a Fall Special for modeling portfolios during September and October. This is a great offer for new models just starting out, all the way to highly creative or experienced models. I'll even throw in people just wanting a high quality, expertly lit environmental portraits, like musicians, etc. The "Patio Wall" has been the setting for many of my creative model sessions including the published photos of Raven Lee and Playboy model Gwendolyn Sweet. It's a shorter than average session, but it accommodates the guarantee of one fully retouched image and compliments the low price.
Recently, I've had plenty of ideas and creative concepts culminating in my head. I know I need to hit the commercial market harder, but I'm having a lack of gusto at the moment. I started a YouTube page for behind the scenes videos of my photo shoots. Nothing is there yet, but I have one model shoot next Wednesday with my friend Brett of Brett Smith Photography shooting some video, so I should have something up in a few weeks or so. As for the commercial realm, I'm going to be hitting it hard towards the end of this year and into next year, hopefully building enough momentum to be on the cusp for a good while. Jacob Howe Photography will be THE "go to" photographer in Nashville soon!