If you were to go back to 1993, you might see me at my college computer room banging away on a candy-coloured blue or orange iMac computer. Back then, those machines were state of the art for any college in Canada, and Sheridan College/Oakville had dozens of them.
We were learning the handful of Apple applications as well as Adobe offerings as they pertained to working with images.
Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and maybe a little Corel Draw were the time wasters of the day. Back then we all had a personal Zip drive along with the required handful of zip cassettes for storing all our projects. They were modern and cool looking but not without their idiosyncrasies. Practically every time I would have a big image to complete, there would be a problem caused by a mysterious gremlin hiding in the Mac.
Almost without fail, if I pressed CMD+S to save my sub-GB file to the Zip drive, it would crash. Practically every time. It was so annoying. I'm not sure how we got through those episodes of dramatic events but we were able to get the work done and deliver to the professors on time or just after it was due.
I don't miss those annoying Zip drives or the drama-queen blue or orange Mac computers. The "kids" these days will never have to experience those foibles, trials and tribulations. Mind you, I'm sure they have their own issues to deal with when it comes to technological failures that make you want to scream into a pillow in frustrated rage.
These days we have come so far it amazes me. The technology is so advanced and practically sentient. What will our grandchildren have to deal with when THEY are in college ? Will they even have personal computers to deal with ? Will they want for anything ? Will my prediction of a personal built in computational device implanted at birth come true ? Will Artificial Intelligence meld with the human mind, making our need for monitors and keyboards a thing if museums and stories around a camp fire ?
I'll never know.
Maybe my kids will never know.
At the moment, AI is fascinating to me. I hope that it never becomes frightening to me.
You've heard from those real estate gurus, "location location location".
I'm contemplating this thought as it might pertain to photography. Would you agree or disagree ?
No I don't mean that for a general photographer who shoots anything and everything, I mean for those of us who are concentrating on shooting for businesses. Would you agree that it would be pertinent and in fact vital for success to set up shop where the majority of businesses whom might need a photographer ?
If you were selling ice cream, it probably would be more beneficial to set up shop near a tropical beach resort, rather than a ski hill. Right ? It kind of goes without saying. You've got to be where your customers expect to find you. I still believe that it is easier to solve a problem that already exists than to make something for an unknown buyer.
Taking away a pain either for a business or a person, will always prove more prosperous.
Living here in Peterborough still gives me room for thought about wether staying in such an obvious suburban community is a good choice for a small business such as mine. Sure, I'm just 90 mins from the GTA and could certainly take on jobs there. But the fact remains that I am somewhat removed from where a much larger market exists. On the other hand, I'm also somewhat removed from a significant level of competition. Here in Peterborough, there are a handful of photographers to be sure. However the majority, I would say 9 out of 10, are not concentrating their efforts on the business clients. They shoot pictures of kids, families, parties, dance recitals, weddings etc. That's not for me.
Giving it more thought.
Taking my time. No rush.
We'll see where my instinct takes me in the coming months.
Meanwhile, for those who need product, processes and people doing their thing. I'm your man 'round these parts.
In the heart of every manufacturing enterprise lies a story waiting to be told. Beyond the hum of machines and the precision of processes, there's a narrative that connects with clients, partners, and stakeholders. This narrative, often overlooked, is a powerful tool that can be harnessed through the lens of commercial photography.
The Tale of Craftsmanship
Consider this: a series of expertly captured images that showcase the intricate details of your manufacturing process. From the skilled hands shaping raw materials to the state-of-the-art machinery in action, each photograph tells the tale of craftsmanship that sets your business apart. These visuals not only elevate the perceived value of your products but also demonstrate the commitment to quality that defines your brand.
Building Bridges with Clients
Establishing and nurturing client relationships is paramount for any manufacturer that wishes to grow. Professional photography provides a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between your clients and your production facilities. Imagine the impact of sharing a visually compelling story of how their orders are meticulously handled, assuring them of the dedication and precision that goes into every product.
Cultivating a Culture of Excellence
Every manufacturing facility has a culture, a set of values that guide its operations. Photography becomes the silent storyteller of this culture, capturing moments that reflect the dedication, teamwork, and innovation within your organization. These images, when strategically incorporated into your branding, become a visual representation of the excellence embedded in the very fabric of your business.
Visual Consistency: A Branding Symphony
Consistency is the backbone of effective branding. Through professional photography, you can orchestrate a symphony of visuals that harmonize across your marketing channels. From your website to promotional materials, this consistency reinforces your brand identity. Potential clients encountering your brand will find a narrative that resonates, creating a lasting impression that goes beyond the products you manufacture.
Navigating the Digital Landscape
In today's digital era, the battle for attention is waged on screens. Investing in high-quality commercial photography equips your business with a powerful arsenal to navigate this landscape. Striking visuals capture the interest of your online audience, prompting them to delve deeper into your story. Whether on social media, your website, or marketing campaigns, these images cut through the noise and leave a lasting imprint.
The ROI Equation: Beyond Numbers
While the impact of commercial photography is undeniable, measuring its return on investment goes beyond mere numbers. It's about cultivating an image that translates into increased client trust, strengthened relationships, and enhanced brand loyalty. These intangible benefits eventually manifest as increased profits, as clients are not just buying products; they're investing in the story, the culture, and the values your brand represents.
In conclusion, the investment in commercial photography is not just a line item in the budget; it's a strategic move to weave a compelling narrative that resonates with your audience. By bringing your manufacturing story to life through visuals, you're not only boosting your brand but also laying the groundwork for sustained profitability. It's a journey that begins with a click of the shutter and ends with a visual story that echoes in the minds of your clients, creating a narrative that transcends the tangible and drives your business towards greater success.
In the fast-paced and visually driven world of business, the first impression is often the only impression. As companies strive to stand out in crowded markets, the role of professional photography in shaping a brand's identity has never been more crucial. Beyond simply showcasing products or services, commercial photography has the power to capture the essence of corporate excellence, leaving a lasting impact on clients and customers alike.
Visual Storytelling: A Gateway to Corporate Identity
Imagine your business as a story waiting to be told. Professional photographers excel in weaving visual narratives that go beyond mere snapshots. They have the ability to portray the values, culture, and unique selling points of your company through carefully crafted images. These visuals become a language that resonates with your audience, providing them with a glimpse into the heart of your corporate identity.
Building Trust and Credibility
In the corporate world, trust is the cornerstone of successful partnerships. High-quality, professionally taken photographs lend an air of authenticity to your brand. Clients and customers are more likely to trust a business that invests in visually appealing content. Whether it's showcasing your team, premises, or the behind-the-scenes processes, professional photography creates a transparent and trustworthy image that fosters stronger connections with your audience.
Setting the Tone: Consistency in Branding
Consistency is key in branding, and professional photography plays a pivotal role in maintaining that consistency across various platforms. Whether on your website, social media profiles, or marketing materials, cohesive visuals create a unified brand image. This uniformity not only reinforces brand recall but also establishes a sense of professionalism and reliability.
Standing Out in the Digital Landscape
In an era dominated by digital content, businesses are constantly vying for attention online. Professionally captured photographs have the ability to cut through the digital noise, making your brand instantly recognizable. High-resolution images that are visually striking not only grab attention but also encourage engagement. As users scroll through countless posts and advertisements, captivating visuals can be the difference between being noticed or overlooked.
Investing in Long-Term Success
While it may be tempting to cut costs, investing in professional photography is an investment in the long-term success of your business. Quality images have a timeless appeal and can be reused across various marketing campaigns, saving both time and resources in the long run.
In conclusion, the impact of professional photography on business branding is undeniable. It goes beyond aesthetics, playing a fundamental role in shaping how your company is perceived. By investing in capturing corporate excellence through photography, you're not just creating images; you're crafting a visual identity that resonates with your audience, fosters trust, and propels your brand towards lasting success.
I asked AI to write an article that compares the differences between the lenses of cameras vs mobile phones, and this is what it came up with in less than 30 seconds. It's very through, except for completely missing any mention of technical lenses for architecture, product or aerial photography.
Camera lenses and mobile phone lenses share some similarities, but there are also key differences in terms of design, construction, and functionality. Here are some technical differences between the two:
I suppose dear reader, you could take this in more than one way.
For example, since I make images almost every day, editing is paramount to strengthening my portfolio. When I pull images out of the line up, I do it because they don't blend with the overall aesthetic of what I'm presenting to the world, even though at the time I made them they may have.
I pull certain images in order to strengthen instead of dilute my message. Every now and then, I look through my website from the point of view of a newcomer and ask myself, "does my portfolio make sense?". "Is what I'm seeing a coherent message or is the message a jumble of disassociated individual images". A jumble of images makes for a weak and unmemorable experience for the viewer. This is where editing and culling poor images becomes important.
If you are talking metaphorically, one could edit their circle of influence, their relationships with people they commonly associate with. As the saying goes, you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. I may have the number skewed a tad, but you get my point. If those 5 people are low energy, lethargic and always bring you down, you would do better to edit your crowd in order to improve your chances of happiness and prosperity. Editing is a good thing and should be taken on without hesitation.
Thinking of reducing your crowd of influence should never be thought of as a negative action. On the contrary, doing an inventory and analysis of what improves and what degrades your life is an essential skill. You may even go as far as to conduct an 80/20 analysis to home in on what exactly is making your life better, and what is simply draining your resources.
As a photographer, I take editing quite seriously. One substandard image may be the only thing a portfolio is remembered for in a sea of gems. It only takes one sour candy to ruin a delicious cheesecake.
Never be afraid to edit. You'll be stronger for it in the long run.
Making a cool image out of a collection of bits and pieces is sometimes the name of the game. Even if I'm doing it solely for my own uses.
My portfolio consists of a number of personal projects that give me the opportunity to build my skills as a problem solver as well as a creative photographer. Each shot has its challenges. Technical and creative.
Recently I took on the challenge of shooting this protective hockey equipment, not knowing how I was going to achieve my goal.
Each job as I said, has its challenges.
With experience comes knowledge and confidence. Each successive project build on the knowledge of the previous and gives one the ability to work faster and with more confidence. I think that applies to more than just the photography world.
As we slip into a new year, I'm looking forward to getting my hands dirty with a new genre of product shooting. Let's see what I can achieve with even more challenges.
Near the end of 2023 I came to the realization that I don't do enough testing and experimenting in my photography. Previous to this, I spent 2 years attempting to improve my photography of wine and beer products. The idea was to show off my skills to those who make such goodness, with the goal of getting hired.
It worked. To a point. I did take on 2 clients. One more so than the other. I shot all of their products for their new website. They were quite happy and I was paid well for the service. As time went on, I was doing less and less wine and spending more time looking at different subject matter of which to test my skills and build my portfolio. Eventually, I wasn't doing any wine shoots at all. They had all they needed from me. The well had dried up.
A few different clients did come along, but nothing that I would call a steady workflow. This is where the experimenting comes in. I looked at my situation and knew that a change was in order, so I started trying to shoot at least 2 new objects each week for a month and a half. Since I had a connection with the local sporting goods store, (down the street) I started shooting some of their products. My skills have grown again, as has my portfolio and my online presence. I felt refreshed and invigorated again. This is why I do this. Shooting product feels "right" to me. Sure, I could do portraits. But it's not the same as spending hours planning a shoot for a product and going through the process of making it all come together. On my own. I've no crew or assistants or in-house technicians. It's just me. If the shoot flops, it's on me. If the retouching is shoddy and people wince at my photo, it's on me.
I experiment with shooting a variety of products because it feeds my need to shoot images and make art. I feels "right". This is why I do it. Oh, and it pays well. Another good reason to always be testing and experimenting. Enough said.
I'll be the first to admit that when it comes to planning out my life with a goal of being successful, I often drop the ball. Taking the time to look to the future, and make the necessary steps to make sure I reach some lofty goal is definitely not my strong suite.
I did however get through college just fine. In fact, I graduated with Honours grades. No mean feat considering that 100 people started and less than 30 graduated. Moreover, the last semester for me started on crutches as I broke my ankle the first day back after spring break. There were two of us cripples in the same class, both with purple casts. We hobbled around the campus, doing our best to carry our huge camera equipment. But I digress.
Planning out a strategy has never been my strong suit, unless it had something to do with cycling or photography. Back in the '80s and '90s I was heavily into long distance cycling. Usually between Toronto and Woodstock, or landmarks beyond. Everything was fine for the most part, except for that one time that I teamed up with a workmate for one adventure. He just had to utter those interminable words: "I sure hope I don't get a flat". That S.O.B ! Wouldn't you know it. That would be the one and only time that a mechanical difficulty ruined the entire adventure, and not in a good way.
Fast forward to the past 10 years or so, and I'm more a photographer than a cyclist. As such, I take great pride in my ability to envision what I need to achieve, and just know how I'm going to get there. Looking at a product from an artists perspective, or rather from a prospective buyer's perspective, gives me the ability to generate the final results in my head in no time flat. From there, I know that I need to work out the mechanics of photographing the product with a minimal of effort and time expenditure. Planning. Sometimes I put it to use and sometimes I just suck at it. There. I said it.
Oh, by the way, I started a Youtube channel where I post short vids that get to the point regarding techniques I use in photography and retouching. My goal is to make videos that are helpful to a small group of photographers who can do without all the big production videos. People who just like to get to the point. You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/@MikeTaylorPhotoArts
Photo-Artist working a personal vision.
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