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
In the dynamic landscape of commercial ventures, the ability to convey a message effectively is paramount. As businesses strive to capture the attention of their target audience, the value of creative expression in crafting captivating images cannot be overstated. Visual communication has evolved into a potent tool, with businesses harnessing the power of artistic expression to enhance their brand identity and engage consumers on a deeper level.
One of the key benefits of incorporating creative expression into commercial projects is the unique visual narrative it can offer. A well-crafted image can tell a story, evoke emotions, and create a lasting impression. In a sea of competition, businesses that invest in visually striking content gain a distinct advantage. Whether it's a vibrant product display, an imaginative advertisement, or an eye-catching social media post, the ability to stand out and leave a lasting impact is crucial in today's crowded market.
Moreover, creative expression allows businesses to communicate their values and ethos in a visually compelling manner. Through the careful selection of colours, shapes, and imagery, companies can convey messages that resonate with their target audience. This authenticity fosters a stronger connection between the brand and the consumer, leading to increased brand loyalty and customer trust.
In the digital age, where attention spans are short, the visual appeal of content plays a pivotal role. Creative expression serves as a tool to grab attention instantly and communicate messages efficiently. Whether it's a sleek website design, an attention-grabbing social media post, or an aesthetically pleasing product catalog, the visual elements of a commercial project serve as the first point of contact with the audience. Making this encounter memorable is a key factor in building a positive and lasting impression.
Furthermore, creative expression fosters innovation. By encouraging a culture of experimentation and artistic exploration, businesses can discover novel ways to present their products or services. This constant evolution not only keeps the brand fresh and relevant but also positions it as a trendsetter in the industry.
In conclusion, the incorporation of creative expression into commercial projects is not merely a trend but a strategic necessity. It adds depth, authenticity, and memorability to a brand's identity, enabling businesses to connect with their audience on a more profound level. As the visual landscape continues to evolve, those who harness the power of creative expression will undoubtedly find themselves at the forefront of success in the competitive world of commerce.
Putting together an image that I think will capture the attention of the viewer, isn't always a simple process.
Sometimes it takes a great deal of thought. Even taking a few days of thought so I can allow my ideas to enter my brain, get churned up with other unrelated ideas, and then get set aside or dismissed.
I saw this hockey goalie helmet the other day and knew that I had to photograph it.
It's got that ominous appearance that requires a moment to take in. I wanted to light it in a way to express how I felt personally about the object. I knew it had to be backlit to show the general shape while leaving the centre of the helmet darker. In this way, the object would present as scary. Like walking down a street at night, passing an alleyway that is almost black with lack of street lighting. That sort of "I wonder what is lurking down there" appearance.
Before I photographed the helmet, I did some searching for smoke photographed against a black background. Finding a few images available freely on Creative Commons at Unsplash.com, I played with the smoke images until I found a pleasing arrangement. Then, time to shoot the hero.
The key was the back lighting. This set the mood for the image. I had to base all my additional lighting on that.
After shooting, I pulled the helmet images into software and worked with the smoke and helmet together.
Sometimes, this takes just a few moments. And others, it takes hours or days. This time it took the latter. About 3 hours from start to finish. The helmet was the only element I had to photograph. The helmet is the hero of the shot and the smoke is the supporting cast. Interesting is that I envisioned this as a horizontal image, but after establishing the look with the smoke and helmet combined, I knew that a vertical would be more suitable. As a horizontal, the image was clearly about the smoke. As a vertical, the image was decidedly about the helmet.
The image came together well. I'm totally satisfied and feel that all the effort was well justified.
Photographers rarely shoot a product "as is" unless they are shooting for an ecommerce production. Most of my images are photographed in parts and assembled to give an end product to suit a need. Most of it is real. Sometimes, it takes a lot of work to make it look "real".
In the fast-paced digital era, businesses are continually seeking innovative ways to capture the attention of their target audience and promote their products or services effectively. Social media has become an indispensable tool for brand promotion, and creating engaging video content is key to standing out in the crowd. One platform that has emerged as a game-changer in the world of video creation is VEED.io. This online video editing tool is hailed as the fastest and easiest way for businesses to produce professional-quality videos, helping them save money and stay ahead in the competitive landscape.
The Need for Dynamic Video ContentIn an age where information is consumed at an unprecedented rate, businesses must adapt their marketing strategies to keep up with evolving consumer preferences. Video content has proven to be highly effective in capturing and retaining audience attention. According to recent studies, social media posts with videos receive significantly higher engagement than those without. As a result, businesses are increasingly turning to video marketing as an integral part of their promotional efforts.
VEED.io: A Revolutionary Video Editing PlatformVEED.io has emerged as a revolutionary platform, addressing the challenges businesses face in creating professional-quality videos for social media. What sets VEED.io apart is its commitment to simplicity without compromising on the sophistication required for high-quality video production.
1. User-Friendly InterfaceOne of VEED.io's standout features is its user-friendly interface. The platform is designed to be intuitive, allowing even those with limited video editing experience to create compelling content effortlessly. Users can access a wide range of tools and features without the need for extensive training, making VEED.io accessible to businesses of all sizes.
2. Speed and EfficiencyTime is of the essence in the digital landscape, and VEED.io recognizes this. The platform boasts remarkable speed, allowing users to create professional-quality videos in a fraction of the time it would take with traditional editing tools. This efficiency is particularly crucial for businesses looking to maintain a consistent and timely presence on social media platforms.
3. Cost-Effective SolutionTraditional video production can be costly, requiring specialized equipment, software, and often, professional expertise. VEED.io eliminates the need for extensive investments by providing an affordable and efficient solution. Businesses can now create engaging videos without breaking the bank, making it an ideal choice for startups and small enterprises.
Staying Ahead in the Competitive LandscapeIn a world where staying ahead of the competition is paramount, VEED.io offers businesses a competitive edge. The platform's cutting-edge technology ensures that users have access to the latest features and trends in video editing. This agility is crucial for businesses aiming to create content that resonates with their audience and reflects current market dynamics.
1. Templates and CustomizationVEED.io goes beyond basic editing capabilities by offering a plethora of templates that cater to various industries and themes. Whether it's a product showcase, a tutorial, or a promotional video, businesses can choose from a wide array of templates and customize them to suit their branding. This feature streamlines the creative process, enabling businesses to maintain a consistent and professional image across their video content.
2. Integration with Social Media PlatformsRecognizing the central role of social media in modern marketing, VEED.io seamlessly integrates with popular platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. This integration not only simplifies the sharing process but also ensures that videos are optimized for each platform's specifications. As a result, businesses can enhance their online presence and engage with their audience across multiple channels effortlessly.
3. Real-Time CollaborationCollaboration is a key aspect of many businesses, and VEED.io facilitates real-time collaboration among team members. Whether working on a marketing campaign or creating internal training videos, multiple users can collaborate seamlessly, regardless of their physical location. This collaborative feature enhances productivity and ensures that businesses can adapt to dynamic market conditions swiftly.
Success Stories: Businesses Thriving with VEED.ioNumerous businesses have already reaped the benefits of incorporating VEED.io into their marketing strategies. From startups looking to make a memorable first impression to established brands aiming to revitalize their online presence, VEED.io has proven to be a versatile and indispensable tool.
1. Increased Engagement and Brand VisibilityBusinesses utilizing VEED.io have reported a substantial increase in engagement on their social media platforms. The visually appealing and professionally crafted videos capture the audience's attention, leading to higher click-through rates and improved brand visibility. This enhanced engagement contributes to the overall success of marketing campaigns and translates into measurable business outcomes.
2. Cost Savings and EfficiencyBy choosing VEED.io, businesses have managed to significantly reduce their video production costs. The platform's affordability, coupled with its time-saving features, allows businesses to reallocate resources to other critical aspects of their operations. This financial efficiency is particularly beneficial for startups and small businesses looking to maximize the impact of their marketing budget.
Conclusion: Elevating Business Promotion with VEED.ioIn conclusion, VEED.io stands out as a transformative force in the realm of video creation for business promotion on social media. Its user-friendly interface, efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and integration with popular platforms make it a must-have tool for businesses of all sizes. As the demand for dynamic video content continues to rise, VEED.io provides a solution that not only meets but exceeds the expectations of businesses striving to leave a lasting impression on their target audience.
By leveraging VEED.io's innovative technology, businesses can navigate the competitive landscape with ease, create engaging content that resonates with their audience, and ultimately achieve success in the digital age of marketing. As the fastest and easiest way to make professional-quality videos, VEED.io empowers businesses to tell their stories, showcase their products, and connect with their audience in a way that is both impactful and cost-effective.
As a commercial photographer, staying ahead of the curve is crucial for success. With technology continuing to evolve, photographers are presented with innovative tools to enhance their craft. One such tool gaining widespread attention is AI image enhancers. These sophisticated algorithms have the potential to revolutionize the way photographers work, offering a range of benefits for professionals in the commercial market. However, as with any technological advancement, there are potential drawbacks that photographers must carefully consider to ensure the integrity of their creative process.
Benefits of AI Image Enhancers for Commercial Photographers:
AI image enhancers undoubtedly offer commercial photographers a range of benefits, from time efficiency to consistent quality and creative exploration. However, it is essential for photographers and creative studios to approach this technology with caution, recognizing the potential drawbacks and ethical considerations associated with its use. Striking a balance between harnessing the power of AI for efficiency and maintaining the authenticity of creative expression is key to ensuring that the integration of AI image enhancers contributes positively to the evolution of commercial photography. By embracing these tools mindfully, photographers can leverage the advantages while preserving the artistry that defines their work in an increasingly competitive and technologically driven industry.
In this world saturated with images, where millions of photographers vie for attention, standing out has become an art in itself. The key to carving a niche and maintaining a thriving career lies in the constant exploration and experimentation with techniques and approaches to image-making. The dynamic nature of the photography industry demands a commitment to evolution, pushing boundaries, and resisting the gravitational pull of the status quo.
In an era where anyone with a smartphone can capture a photograph, the need for photographers to differentiate themselves is more critical than ever. Embracing experimentation is not just an artistic choice; it's a survival strategy. The allure of a fresh and innovative perspective can captivate audiences and clients alike, setting a photographer apart in a sea of visual content.
One of the dangers photographers face is the risk of falling into the comfort zone of a repetitive style. While developing a signature style is important for recognition, it can quickly transform into a double-edged sword if it turns into a formulaic approach. Clients and audiences seek uniqueness and creativity; they yearn for something that stands out from the mundane. When a photographer becomes complacent, sticking to a familiar routine, the risk of producing stale, predictable work increases. This can lead to a decline in client interest and a gradual stagnation of career growth.
Experimentation in photography is a perpetual journey rather than a destination. Techniques, tools, and styles evolve, and staying ahead requires adaptability and an appetite for exploration. The photographer's toolkit is ever-expanding, with advancements in technology, new equipment, and innovative post-processing techniques constantly reshaping the landscape. Those who embrace experimentation position themselves as pioneers, pushing the boundaries of what is possible and demonstrating an unwavering commitment to growth.
Moreover, experimenting with different techniques and approaches fosters a deeper connection between the photographer and their craft. It fuels a sense of curiosity and a hunger for knowledge, driving photographers to continuously refine their skills. This process of exploration opens up new avenues for self-expression and creativity, leading to a more fulfilling and dynamic artistic journey.
In the competitive field of photography, adaptability is key. Trends come and go, and clients' preferences evolve. Photographers who resist experimentation risk becoming obsolete, left behind in a rapidly changing industry. By actively seeking out new challenges and pushing the limits of their abilities, photographers can stay relevant and adapt to the evolving needs of their clients.
Experimentation is not just about technical skills; it also extends to the conceptual and emotional aspects of photography. Exploring different themes, storytelling approaches, and emotional resonance in images adds layers of depth to a photographer's body of work. This versatility allows them to connect with a diverse audience and take on a wide range of projects.
Ultimately, photographers who view experimentation as a continuous journey rather than a sporadic detour are better equipped to thrive in the competitive landscape. The ability to evolve and innovate not only ensures professional longevity but also contributes to the richness and diversity of the photographic community as a whole. Embracing experimentation is an investment in one's artistic growth, a commitment to staying ahead of the curve, and a testament to the enduring spirit of creativity in the world of photography.
In the world of creativity, where individual expression is paramount, the journey to discover one's unique style of work is a pivotal odyssey. For any creative person aspiring to carve out a successful career, taking the time to identify and refine their distinctive artistic signature is not merely an option but an essential pursuit.
In the vast landscape of creative endeavors, whether it be writing, painting, photography, or any other artistic pursuit, authenticity stands as the cornerstone of meaningful expression. Your style is not merely a visual or thematic choice; it is the very essence that sets you apart from the myriad instruments in the artistic symphony. Just as every person has a unique fingerprint, each creative mind possesses an exclusive combination of influences, perspectives, and interpretations that, when harnessed, can manifest into a distinctive creative identity.
Navigating the Noise:
In the digital age, where content inundates our senses from every corner, standing out amidst the cacophony requires a deliberate cultivation of one's artistic persona. Finding your style is akin to crafting a beacon that guides your audience to your work amid the sea of options. It is about creating a recognizable and memorable presence that not only captivates but resonates, fostering a connection that transcends the transient nature of trends.
Fulfilling Creative Potential:
An artist's journey is an evolution, and the process of discovering one's style is an integral part of that metamorphosis. It is a dynamic exploration that involves experimentation, introspection, and a willingness to embrace vulnerability. By investing time in this self-discovery, creative individuals unlock the full spectrum of their potential. It is not just about creating aesthetically pleasing works but about tapping into the depths of one's creativity, allowing for a more profound and meaningful artistic experience.
Building a Lasting Career:
In the realm of creative professions, longevity and success are often intertwined with an artist's ability to leave an indelible mark. Consider iconic painters like Picasso, writers like Virginia Woolf, or filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock—all distinguished by their unmistakable styles. These creative luminaries not only crafted timeless works but also established enduring legacies. For a creative person aiming to build a lasting career, the quest for their unique style is the compass that guides them toward artistic immortality.
The importance of a creative person finding their specific style cannot be overstated. It is a journey of self-discovery that not only shapes the artist's work but also defines their place in the artistic tapestry. In a world where the value of authentic voices has never been higher, the pursuit of one's artistic identity is not a luxury but a necessity for those aspiring to make a lasting impact in their chosen field.
How do you photograph an object 4 feet in length in such a way that it entices people to buy, with a minimal amount of equipment and even less space to work in ?
That was my dilemma this past weekend.
I took it upon myself to take on the challenge. To make it even more difficult, I wanted to make the minimalist approach. No props, no human interaction, no models. Only the single object with one light. My mindset immediately went to a triptych solution. These hockey sticks are heavily branded by the manufacturer. It's literally covered in labels that present the makers name the brand and the features.
I had to take that as a hint.
I then focused in on those labels and used them as my guide. Each image of the triptych reveals a separate section of the stick and a unique label on each.
Bold and dramatic lighting keeps the attention where it belongs. One large strip box overhead and either a mirror or a large white card below to grab the edge of the stick and provide some shape to the expensive hockey tool.
Initially, I shoot the bottom section of the stick with only a small section of the "Vapour" model sticker. It didn't look right, so after sleeping on that decision I changed things up and re-shot the lower section to include the entire "Vapour" wording. This brought it in line with the remaining 2 panels of the triptych. With these images in the set, the viewer gets the entire idea that this manufacturer, Bauer, is trying to put forth. Job done. Almost. Then the post production took place.
I won't bore you with that, but suffice it to say... it took some work.
Hockey sticks are tough to shoot when restrictions are placed on the shooter. But, those restrictions tend to bolster a sense of challenge which lead to creative solutions. I'm pleased with the image. It's in my portfolio and my social media. One more stick to go.
The Power of Professionalism: Why High-Quality Photographs Trump Amateur Mobile Shots in Advertising
In today's visually-driven world, the impact of advertising hinges heavily on the quality of pictures used to convey a message. With the ubiquity of smartphones, many businesses may be tempted to cut costs by relying on amateur mobile phone photography for their promotional material. However, a closer examination reveals that consistently using professional photographs is not just a luxury but a strategic necessity in the competitive business marketplace.
First impressions matter. A properly captured image that is colourful, clear, and detailed speaks volumes about the brand it represents. Consider the scenario of a potential customer scrolling through a social media feed or browsing a website. An eye-catching, high-quality picture immediately grabs attention, conveying a sense of professionalism and credibility. Alternatively, an amateur cell phone photo might lack the clarity and finesse needed to make a lasting impact, killing any enthusiasm the viewer may have had upon seeing the image.
One key aspect where skillful photography triumphs over amateur attempts is in the ability to control lighting and composition. Lighting plays a pivotal role in photography, influencing the mood and tone of a picture. Experienced pros possess the expertise to manipulate light to highlight the product or service being advertised effectively. Whether it's the natural light or the precision of studio lighting, those with years of experience in the industry understand how to use light to their advantage. In contrast, amateur photographers might struggle with harsh shadows, overexposed highlights, or inadequate illumination, resulting in subpar images that fail to showcase the subject in the best possible light.
Composition is another critical element that distinguishes professional photography from amateur snapshots. Pros are trained to frame shots thoughtfully, considering factors such as visual balance, symmetry and how to keep a viewer's attention. A well-composed picture guides the viewer's eye, telling a story or emphasizing specific aspects of the subject. Amateurs, lacking the same level of expertise, deny the client this value derived by years of experience and training. This lack of composition finesse can dilute the impact of the advertising message and hinder the viewer's ability to connect with the brand.
Consistency is a hallmark of successful branding, and this principle extends to the graphic elements of advertising. Employing a competent photographer ensures a consistent and cohesive look across all marketing materials. This uniformity helps build brand recognition and reinforces the brand's identity in the minds of consumers. In contrast, relying on a variety of amateur mobile shots can result in a disjointed and unprofessional appearance, potentially diluting the brand message and confusing the target audience.
Beyond aesthetics, polished photographs also provide a level of reliability and trustworthiness that amateur shots may struggle to convey. Customers are more likely to trust a business that invests in high-quality images, perceiving it as a sign of commitment to excellence. This trust factor can be a decisive factor in a customer's decision-making process, especially in industries where credibility and reliability are paramount.
While smartphones have democratized photography, businesses should be cautious about compromising on the quality of their visual content. The benefits of consistently using professionally captured and curated photographs far outweigh the initial cost considerations. From making a powerful first impression to conveying credibility, controlling lighting and composition, ensuring consistency, and building trust, professional photography emerges as the smarter business move in the competitive landscape of advertising. In a world inundated with visual stimuli, investing in high-quality images is an investment in the success and longevity of a brand.
Photo-Artist working a personal vision.
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