Categories
Featured Gadgets Photography

Digital Camera Infrared Conversion

Since the 1930’s, photographers have enjoyed the use of infrared films for both scientific and pictorial use. The infrared spectrum is beyond the ability of the human eye to see, and objects viewed in light from the infrared spectrum often look quite different from visible light. Most living foliage will appear light or white in a final print shot with infrared film, and human skin can be almost translucent, with veins showing through the skin like magic. But with the advent of digital capture, most infrared emulsions have been discontinued. I know of only one infrared emulsion easily available now.

An initially unintended consequence of the digital photography revolution was that many digital sensors were very sensitive to infrared, to the point manufacturers put a filter over the sensor to block infrared light. With that filter removed and an infrared-passing filter put in its place, a new world was opened to digital photographers.

One of the main problems with doing infrared film photography was that there was no way to meter the level of infrared in a given scene. Exposure was a series of trials and errors (mostly errors for me). Many photographers bracketed exposures heavily, over and under exposing frames around what they thought was the proper exposure. There were a lot of other problems with infrared film that just made it difficult to work with. Handling was only in total darkness, the film was very heat sensitive, and it was very easy to fog the film.

I first became aware of digital infrared around the year 2000, at a workshop on Photoshop. The lecturer displayed a few images in their presentation that had been shot with a Minolta DiMage 7 camera. I was intrigued. I immediately bought a DiMage 7 and a deep infrared filter, and started on the road to digital infrared. One thing that immediately struck me was that I could see the infrared image – no more guessing if I got the exposure right. No more shooting six stop brackets to insure a good exposure. No more wondering how the scene will look – if the model’s clothing will render the way the eye sees it or not. Wow!

Fast forward 10 years. I’ve been shooting a converted Nikon D100 for over 5 years now. I had a showing in 2008 of my infrared work at Angelina College. The infrared world has been very good… but now, I wanted more. More megapixels, and with the now greater selection of infrared filters available for camera conversions, greater variance on infrared vs. visible light captured, and more color.

Yep, color. The only way previous to digital to do color, or “false color” infrared, was to shoot one of Kodak’s emulsions like Kodak EIR Ektachrome Infrared. Green plants turn shades of red, and Caucasian skin tones turn shades of yellow. Images with this film were stunning… but you still had the problems of difficulty in handling and exposure. With the current crop of sensors and filters, some rendering of color is found in the images captured.

I recently had a second camera converted to infrared by Isaac Szabo, a Fayetteville, Arkansas photographer (http://www.isaacszabophotography.com/). Isaac shoots a wide variety of photographic subjects, and does all of them well. His infrared work is great. I found him while doing an eBay search for “infrared conversion” – I was pleasantly surprised to see his price for a conversion. So after thinking about it for a few moments, I clicked “buy it now” and shipped Isaac my Nikon D200 body.

Not only did the camera get converted, but Isaac set the focus for the lens I supplied with the body. Infrared light focuses at a slightly different distance from the lens than visible light, so this can make some real difference.

My D200 came back converted in about 10 days. I opened the package and immediately shot an image through the window of my office. I was pleasantly surprised to find that at ISO 100, I was able to get a hand-holdable shutter speed. Surprised because my converted D100 would have had to be on ISO 400 or ISO 800 to get the same image. I took the camera to lunch that day (it didn’t eat much…) and shot a palm tree in front of a restaurant… and was again pleasantly surprised. There were shades of color in the obviously infrared image. Back at the studio, I opened the image in Photoshop, and ran Isaac’s action (I forgot to mention that Isaac provides this action and instructions to customers who purchase a conversion) to switch the red and blue channels. The result was stunning… blue sky in an infrared image.

If this sounds like it is for you, check out eBay… do a search for “infrared conversion” and look for the infrared photo of the lone tree  – the auction will be titled “Infrared IR Conversion Service for Digital Cameras” and is currently priced at $200.  (or click on the image of the ebay listing)

And, look for a follow-up article in a few weeks – I plan on shooting my newly converted D200 heavily on an upcoming trip to Mexico.

Categories
Books Featured Photography Reviews

Build A Better Photograph: A Disciplined Approach To Creativity by Michael E. Stern

Build A Better Photograph: A Disciplined Approach To Creativity - Rocky NookRocky Nook Press recently sent me a review copy of Michael E. Stern’s new book Build A Better Photograph: A Disciplined Approach To Creativity, and since I am always interested in the creative process (especially when it involves disciplined thought), I was happy to sit down with it for some quality time.

I gravitate towards that word “disciplined” because I am an analytical and systematic individual. My trusty Mac computer dictionary provided the following:

With that in mind, I have to add I also like insights into the actual step-by-step thoughts in the designing process for a photographer, and I look for good illustrations and well-written tutorials done by an enthusiastic photographer. All of these are well covered in Build A Better Photograph: A Disciplined Approach to Creativity. Add a DVD with additional images, 360 degree panoramas of studio shots in progress, some short videos of photographic sessions, references, and tutorials and you have a concise and worthwhile package.

Mr. Stern writes in an easy-going style that makes the reader feel that they are in the presence of an out-going teacher who enjoys sharing his techniques and learning experiences‚ both the good and the bad‚ and he is not ashamed to admit to mistakes made in that they provide part of the lessons learned that he would share with the student. It is no wonder that he has had a wide and varied teaching career in addition to his studio work. Among the places that he has taught are Los Angeles Trade Technical College, Art Center College of Design, Glendale Community College, Burbank Unified School District, Julia Dean Photographic Workshops, Studio Arts, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, and Brooks Institute.

Mr. Stern’s professional career involves some seventeen years working for the Disney Studios, extensive architectural, product, and portrait photography. He cites a deeply committed relationship to Adobe Photoshop and its importance to the digital studio of today.

Build A Better Photograph: A Disciplined Approach To Creativity (ISBN: 978-1-933952-18-5, US $34.95 CAN $41.95) covers four major areas.

The first is environmental portraiture, and in it he delves deeply into the process of designing the portrait and how to load the image’s environment with telling clues that give insight to the depth of the personality of the subject. Along with that he gives serious tips about controlling and predicting color output. Workflows on the computer with an emphasis on organization (remember that word “Disciplined” in the book title?) are considered in depth as well.

The second major area that Mr. Stern discusses is involved in compositing techniques using the computer and Adobe Photoshop. How to light and shoot a myriad of different images and to bring them together in a final composite is painsakingly described with a variety of tutorial screen shots showing the multiple layers and layer masks necessary to produce the final image result.

The third area that is discussed gives lessons on using the scanner in place of the camera and takes a trip into personal style and creativity. It attempts to open up the student to looking at shape and form in the small world in order to sharpen the student’s design skills and to realize that not all images have to come via the camera lens.

The final section of the book looks at product photography and how to light a product in such a way that it is easy to vary background and key colors and to composite separate product images into final images.

Throughout the entire book several ideas continue to travel side by side with the craft and techniques of both photography and Adobe Photoshop as skills. One of those ideas is that the photographer must sell himself or herself continually to the client. This is necessary because there are many photographers who are skillful as photographers but who do not maintain a pleasant working relationship with the client. The job of the photographer is to satisfy the client with both the product and a pleasant personal working relationship. A photographer walks a thin line as he or she trys to promote their own ideas and creativity, and at the same time to deal with the preconceived ideas that the client may bring to the conference table. Satisfying the client in part means that the client must feel that they have contributed to the design concept greatly even if the photographer has promoted his or her own creative design successfully. Each photographer must know when to listen and when to speak (and how to do it tactfully) as the photographer and client come to terms with the final design.

Dealt with indirectly, but explained well, is the difficulty in dealing with the chain of command in large organizations. The filtering process between the ultimate client in the chain and the photographer is a delicate one because each individual in the chain of command feels the necessity of placing their own mark on the final product‚ else they cannot justify their own position in the hierachy. Putting it bluntly, this is hell on the creative process and can lead to difficulties.

I found Build A Better Photograph: A Disciplined Approach To Creativity a good read; it will provide a great deal of insight to the creative process and the day-to-day managerial skills and personality  necessary. Definitely a must read for the aspiring photographer who feels that mastering photographic and computer skills are all there is to the photography business.

His book has been published by Rocky Nook Press. Their books are printed on acid-free paper and the color in their books will survive long after the technical skills described in each volume will be replaced by the advances in our technology. Sometimes we get so caught up in the latest information that we forget how we receive that information. The “how” in this case is also important and should be acknowledged.

Build A Better Photograph: A Disciplined Approach To Creativity
by Michael E. Stern
ISBN: 978-1-933952-18-5
US $34.95 CAN $41.95

Michael Stern around the web:
His website CyberStern.com
His blog is  DigitalBeast.Wordpress.com
Find some excellent tutorials are at  SlideShare.net/Mr_Pixel
Michael Stern at The Brooks Insititute

Categories
Digital Lifestyles Featured Photography

Robbie Lacomb at The Alpha & Omega Fine Art Photography Gallery

The work of artist-photographer Robbie Lacomb is currently on display at Alpha & Omega Fine Art Photography Gallery in Austin TX.  The exhibition will remain on show through the end of January 2010.

Photographer, digital artist and printmaker Robbie Lacomb resides and works in East Texas and teaches art and art history at Angelina College in Lufkin. She exhibits her prints and photographs in the U.S. and abroad, including Morocco, Ireland, Russia and Paris, France. In the year 2000 she served as Artist in Residence to the Tangier American Legation Museum in Morocco. In 2006 she lectured at Oxford University, England, in a Science and Art round-table. At Angelina College, she received the 2007-08 nomination for Piper Foundation Award for teaching and academic achievement. Lacomb’s artwork is most influenced by nature and mankind’s place in the natural world. Her work reflects this relationship, which is sometimes adversarial, sometimes symbiotic. Revealing the miracles of nature, which are often perceived by humans to be ugly or dirty, is a goal of the artist in her work.

Robbie Lacomb's work is on display  at the Alpha & Omega Fine Art Photography Gallery in Austin, Tx. through the end of January 2010.
For more information, visit the gallery's meet-up page.
 

Categories
Hardware Photography

Monitor Calibration : Xrite i1Display 2

The road from getting the color you see on the computer monitor to that you see on an inkjet print is a long and torturous path. What-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) is not what is going to happen with a printer right out of the box, your monitor, and bargin inkjet paper from the office supply store.

Without taking time in this article to give you a background in additive color(projective color—ie: your monitor—color built with Red, Green, and Blue) and subtractive color(printed color—ie: your printer—color built with Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and black) suffice to say that because they come from different color spaces and one is made with light and the other with pigment that they will never exactly match, but they can come close. That's where color calibration of your monitor comes in because we can adjust our monitor's color with only minimal difficulty where adjusting the printing ink color is a major undertaking.

Making adjustments for the type of paper we are printing on is another adjustment we'll save for later. Right now we are trying to get what you see on the monitor to match a known standard so that we can make adjustments from a standard. The problem is that with a multitude of different manufacturers of monitors, the color that you see on those monitors matches whatever the manufacturer decides for the default. They may be adjusted to a standard of that manufactuer or may be allowed to simply occur—that is, they come off the production line without adjustment.

So, the first thing you need to do is get your monitor to match some standard that is acceptable to the paper and ink manufactuers for comparison in making decisions. To do that we need two things: (1) a sensor that can be placed on the screen of the monitor to read specific colors as they are generated by (2) the software provided by the manufacturer of the device. Once the system has been run, the colors on the monitor are as close to a standard as that particular monitor can be adjusted. Laptop monitors do not have as much potential adjustment as does a stand-alone monitor. Some photographers will tell you that they can get very close as they produce a profile for their laptops, but a separate monitor should produce even better results.

I use equipment and software from XRite with the specific device being called Eye1Display2. Why am I really doing this and why an Eye1Display2?

WHAT I WANT TO HAPPEN

My studio has four MacBook Pro laptops and one MacPro. I want them to match as closely as possible so that an image seen on one machine looks the same there as on any other machine in the studio. When my wife prepares her art for printing on our older Epson wide format 7600 printer I want the images on my 30" Apple monitor to match what she was working on when she designed them. Done that way it keeps a lot of piece in the family and saves a lot of ink, paper, and time. What I print will be what she wants. The only additional change I will have to make will be that which occurs when I soft proof an image.

I want before and after results in order to see what the profile adjustments do to an image. I want as nearly as possible neutral grays when I print black and white prints. I want it to be consistent, relatively quick, and easy. All of those goals are satisfied for me with the Eye1Display2.

WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN

When the software for a particular color calibrating system is activated, it will ask that you place the color sensor (sometimes called the "puck") on the center of your monitor screen. A cord connects the sensor to a USB port on the computer, and a small counterweight is attached somewhere on the cord in order to offset the weight of the puck and to keep it hanging and resting on the computer screen without accidentally or easily moving.

First, the software will ask you what kind of device you want to calibrate. In this case you will select MONITOR.

The software will ask you what kind of monitor you are working with, that is whether it is a laptop screen or a LCD or CRT screen.

As you can see above we are choosing LAPTOP from the choices of monitor type.

Then the software will ask you to make decisions about the WHITE POINT, GAMMA, and LUMINANCE you want in your screen profile.

Once you have made those decisions the software will ask you to position the puck on the display of your monitor.

Once the procedure has begun, a series of white rectangles will appear on an otherwise black screen. These rectangles will appear at what appear to be randon positons until they have pinpointed the exact location of the puck—the sensor. In this illustration the gray is really black; it is lightened here so that the puck does not disappear against the black screen.

Once the puck location has been determined a series of color and value rectangles will appear and the sensor will read the colors to determine what is seen vs. what is intended to be seen. The colors will appear to repeat themselves as the sensor narrows down the differences and adjusts the monitor to match the standard.

The progress of the procedure is visible in the progress bar visible on the top right of the monitor.

Once the procedure is finished you should notice a difference in the screen colors from what you had when you began the program. The software will save the profile that it has developed for your screen and will use it as a basis to show all your art or photographs from now on.

However, and there's always a "however", computer monitors age and change color almost on a day to day basis. Therefore, the software asks you to set up reminders on when to run the profile again whether it is daily, weekly, or monthly. This is not something that is done once and then forgotten. What has happened up to this point is that the monitor and the printer standard have established rules by which they can talk to one another. What should have happened at this point is that what you see on the computer monitor and what you get as a print should be closer together though they may not be perfect—the effects of specific papers are not yet in the equation.

Why is it not perfect? Because each manufacturer's paper by the nature of its production has the potential for a color bias in it. The paper itself may have a blue, cyan or other cast to it that cannot be seen by the naked eye but will be visible when it reacts with ink. That bias is also called a profile—though in this case it is a paper profile and not a monitor profile. The paper profile is taken into account when "soft proofing" from inside of Photoshop or whatever printing software you are using.

But our concern at this point is producing the monitor profile that is our beginning point. That's the XRite i1Display2. It's available from XRite for $259.00 and from a number of color service providers and retail stores for a slightly discounted price. I estimate I paid for it in ink and paper I saved in the first show I prepared for. It has made waiting on a final print a lot less breath holding. After applying the soft proof, now what I print is what I have on the monitor screen.

Categories
Books Photography Reviews

Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity, and Personal Style by Alain Briot

For those of you who follow The Luminous Landscape web site, Alain Briot's name will be a familiar one from his informative and insightful writings for the photographer. If you are new to his writings you will be in for a treat in his second book published by Rocky Nook (his first was Mastering Landscape Photography).

Rocky Nook produces beautiful volumes printed on acid-free paper that reproduce the dynamic tonalities of the fine-art prints that they showcase, and the long-term viability of their volumes mean that they will be as visually dynamic a number of years from now as they are today. This is particularly valuable when examining Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity, and Personal Style because the beauty of this book almost makes it a coffee-table volume as well as a thought-provoking intellectual examination of the mind of the creative photographer. This is a blending of art and technique in that the artistic concepts more often used in the discussion of paintings are combined with the technology and craft of the camera, lens, and printing processes.

Briot says it best:

"…you can control the colors in your photographs as if you were a painter in contol of your color palette rather than a photographer at the mercy of the camera."

It is the point where the photographer has added his style, viewpoint, and emotion to a photograph that the photograph moves from merely factual to artistic. An artistic photograph is actually more about the photographer and their viewpoint than it is about the actual subject of the photograph.

An examination of the way Briot has arranged the book will give you insight into his thought process and his philosophy of art.

He begins with the differences between what we see and what the camera sees. In order to understand how he produces art with his camera you first have to learn that the camera has limitations as a tool and it is the control of those limitations that separates forensic or scientific photography from Art photography. What the camera sees is a version of reality, not necessarily the exact reality. That reality is certainly not the emotional state that comes from the photographer who shapes reality into Art though the use of the camera as only one of their tools. The other tools are composition in both color and in shape; in other words the selective and designing eye that first "sees" and selects and then manipulates color and value to load the composition with emotion, and not simply to accept what the camera saw as a machine subject to the limitations of the sensor and lens.

Briot discusses the differences between composing with light, composing with color, and composing in black and white. He considers the elements of a strong composition and the creative process, and he gives us insight into finding inspiration. By examining a series of images he leads us through exercises in creativity and developing a unique vision for each individual photographer. That vision becomes a personal style.

A well-developed personal style is a saleable commodity if the photographer analyzes their audience and matches their style and the audience. How to deal with the practical aspects of print numbering, presenting images, and the art show circuit are considered.

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Finally, Briot gives us a technical and creative checklist that will help develop a skill level that defines the difference between a good photographer and an Artist. This comes about when technical competence has reached a level that allows the photographer to devote most of their energy to design and creativy and the technical is merely a palette that the Artist draws upon to produce an emotional translation of what they saw when they first approached the subject of their photograph. The technical takes place in the field and should result in shooting to the photographer's hearts' content. Then, in the studio at the computer, comes the analytical time where images are selected, comtemplated and modified. Early on, Briot suggested that the photographer keep a written notebook with both technical, compositional, and emotional descriptions of the scenes being photographed. In the studio the photographer can then attempt to modify the image that the camera made within the limitations of lens and sensor to bring to life what the photographer "saw" at the moment the photograph was made.

I, personally, sometimes wonder when looking at files what it was that I saw when I shot an image? Written notes would alleviate that sense of negative wonderment that comes in the studio days or weeks after a particular exposure was made. Briot has explained some pithy things about color, camera sensors, the printing device, the human eye, and the creative process that have given me some serious thoughts on the creative process as it applies to myself. While the goal of every photographer is to get out and shoot images, simply shooting without thinking seriously about the technology limitations and the goal of the images is a waste of time. I consider the time spent reading Alain Briot's Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativy, and Personal Style as being time very well spent to improve a photographer's understanding of both themselves and their technology. It is this understanding that allows the development of the full potential of any image, and that full potential is the difference between mere representation and Art.

 

Alain Briot
Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity, and Personal Style
Rocky Nook
ISBN: 978-1-933952-22-2
352 pages, paperback
US $44.95, CAN $ 53.95.
This volume was provided for review by Rocky Nook, Inc.
Read (PDF) Excerpts:
TOC
Sample Chapter
Preface

 

Categories
Media Photography

Rollip.com: Polaroid Nostalgia

Nostalgic for the Polaroid look? Wishing for the ability to make snapshots look like Polaroids? There's a fast, easy-to use solution. All it involves is an upload, a brief wait, and a download.

Check out http://www.rollip.com/ which takes you to a site by Rollip. Click the website to start; this takes you to a page of original images and Polaroid "look" variations that take you back to the days of slight color mismatch, over and under development; atmospheric effects and the day-to-day variations of the Polaroid process. Do you remember the excitement of the image developing before your very eyes?

Choose one of the illustrated effects and double click on it. The next window you will see gives you a "click here to upload photo" button. Go ahead, click it! This opens a window to your computer that allows you to browse until you find an image that you want to process. Click and select an image and wait a brief time for your image to upload. The size of the image and your upload speed determines the upload time. But generally, it's brief. Out of curiosity I sent a four megabye .jpg and the upload time was about three minutes in which the upload bar worked its way from red, to orange, to yellow to green. Another thirty to sixty seconds had the image processed and the processed version came up in the display window ready for me to download or send it somewhere.

That's it! Talk about instant nostalgia!

Links are available to send your newly created image directly from Rollip to e-mail, Facebook, Myspace, and other choices you may select.

If you enjoy the use of the site, the folks at Rollip have a Donate link where you can send them what you think the process is worth to you and it's obvious that they have put in some pretty intense work because as a long time user of Polaroid cameras I have to say that they got the "look" down pat, so if you use them and enjoy the effect, then consider a donation.

Along with the twelve basic effects available one of the interesting ones is to choose SMALL POLAROID and several border effects become available with the ability to add a slight amount of text below the image. The text styles range from typewriter to printed handwriting; and all these frames have the slight dark vingette associated with a lens hood on the camera lens or an image square selected slightly larger than the circular image that the camera lens produces.

For the disclaimer, the folks at Rollip don't have any connection to the original Polaroid cameras or film people company which owns the trademark to the Polaroid name. Rollip has simply given you the opportinuty to make a modern photograph look like a process that has sadly, slipped from the current technology scene. Have fun!

 

 

 

What do you say? It's all in the look http://www.rollip.com/

Categories
Featured Gadgets Hardware Photography Tutorials

Lighting On A Budget – Pt. 2

My 6-light CFL fixture worked well in the studio, but I wanted more light and the option to add a light modifier.  I decided to move up to 3” PVC and install eight lamp sockets around the outside of the pipe.

We’re going to call this fixture a SPIDER, you’ll see why in just a moment.

Here is my original collection of parts.

A 3” clean-out plug serves as a hub for the sockets.  My original idea was to attach the clean out plug to a 3” bushing that would be attached to the front of the 2” tee fitting.  The power cord would run out the back of the tee and the light stand would attach to the base of the tee.

I measured and marked the clean-out plug and drilled it with a 5/16” bit.  I made a simple jig from scrap wood to hold the fitting in place.

Using a 2” lamp nipple and a pair of channel locks, I carefully cut the threads for the shorter nipples.  This is where the working characteristics of PVC came into play.  You can cut threads into PVC with a bolt and a little patience, instead of using a tap and die.  I chased the threads all the way through the side of the fitting.

Here is the clean-out plug with all of the lamp nipples fitted.  I chose a clean-out plug as opposed to a regular cap so that I could access the wires more easily.

Each socket was wired and the wires passed through the hole of the mounting bracket.  The design of the bracket and the lamp nipples allowed me to keep all of the wires hidden.

Above is the front of the SPIDER WITH the wiring in place.

Above is the back of the SPIDER with the wiring in place. The sockets were wired in pairs, then the pairs were wired together.  I used wire connectors instead of soldering so that a socket could easily be replaced if it failed.

LOOK; it works! 

At this point I realized that my original design was way too front-heavy.  I needed to move the center of gravity farther back.  So, I’m off to Home Depot yet again.

I found a 3”-3”-2” tee fitting that solved my problem of balance nicely.  I added a 3” to 2” reducer to the back of the tee fitting and a 2” to1.25” threaded reducer to that.  A 4” circle of plywood and a 1.25” male fitting is attached to the reducer and this holds the speedring to my Paul C Buff OCTOBOX™ firmly in place.  A 2” to .75” threaded reducer is mounted at the bottom of the tee for the light stand fitting.

Here’s the light inside the OCTOBOX™.  It throws a very even lighting pattern, even without the diffusion panel.  It’s well balanced and easy to handle in the studio.  I’m working on an improved version for my still photography.  Stay tuned…

Kirk Draut
Director of Design
Aarthun Performance Group, Ltd.
281.580.5705

 

Categories
ArtWorks Featured

Marketing Monday: 6 must know things for pricing

 

marketing monday good stuff weekly

Know what your costs are

This is very simple and yet a lot of folks disregard it because they think it entails a lot of left brain machinations. I’m here to tell ya if that was the case I’d never ever address it…because while I grew up as the tail end of the slide rule generation I’m lucky to add 2+2 and get four if I have to do it in my head. Thankfully, I don’t have to any more due to the advent of those funky things we called Goesintas ( as two goes into four or calculators).

While it may seem obvious that your prices must at the very least cover your costs and if you intend to support yourself with your work the price must also include something extra to help you move out of your van. This process is called knowing your “Cost of Doing Business”. In its smallest form it amounts to adding up all the things you need to spend money on that

  • Cover the costs of the stuff you need to have to make your stuff… in other words supplies, expenses like costs associated with firing a kiln load of pots.
  • Let you move out of your van, like PROFIT.

    To do it the short way, just add up your studio related expenses to get a base number that will show you the least amount you need to make to keep your credit card bill down and your studio working. That’s your Cost of Doing Business.

    If you then subtract that from the income you receive you will have the minimum you need to at least break even.

    However, I would suggest an easier way that would give a good idea as to what you need to make to cover all your costs while factoring in a desired profit (for moving out of the van). There are a couple of tools available that I have used in my photography business.

    • NPPA (National Press Photographers Association) Cost of doing business calculator which is an online tool.
    • ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers) Cost of doing business calculator which does the same thing as the NPPA one only in more detail and as an Excel file. It is also designed to let you determine your annual income
      You can download it here: cdb_calc_06
    • Art Worth Calculator

    Know what you need to keep you in your studio

    Ok…now you know how much it costs to make your stuff and to at least keep you from either living in your studio or out of your van. It is probably safe to say that you’d really like to have living arrangements that at least gave you a kitchen and your own bathroom, so now you have to figure out what you need to make to get those tow important things. It is called profit and amounts to income that isn’t eaten up by other costs.

    This part is more art than science and subject more to your own preferences than anything else. I generally, list out the things I need… like paying myself, upgrading computer etc. And then prioritize them by their order of importance and NOT by their cost because cost can lead me down a rabbit hole. Once I’ve done that, I add what I call contingency which can be anywhere from 50 percent to 100 percent to get the profit I need to make. The details of pricing individual products will be covered later.

    retro_buyersKnow your market and its buying habits

    Before you attempt to set pricing strategies you gotta know they have a chance of working with your market. So spend some time now reviewing your perfect buyer profile and both your market demographic and psychographic descriptions. What causes them to buy? What type of stuff do they buy? How do you really fit into their buying habits?

    Know what you are really selling

    Instead of describing what we make in a way that would put even the most ADD among us to sleep in seconds, we are going to look at how to REALLY describe what we make and when to use that description. For now just starting thinking of your stuff the way a chef might describe a sensuously luxurious meal.

    Know which three types of buyers you attract

    There are generally three types of buyers and it is important to know where yours fall. Knowing where your buyers fall will be key to your ability to price and sell without discounting. The three types are:

    • Those who willingly pay full price for your stuff because they know and trust and they know the value of your work.
    • Those who shop for cheap stuff because they really can’t afford much let alone your premium prices but they do recognize your value.
    • Those who are hunters, always pursuing the lost price possible as a trophy without regard to quality. These folks proudly brag about how they “saved” five cents on a whatzit despite using up $10.00 of gas hunting and bagging the prey.

      Knowing this information can help you with your pricing strategies by helping you understand what triggers their desire for your stuff.

      Know your market position

      Go back again and check your business model as well as your USP and make sure you are clear on how you are positioned in the market. Does pricing play a major role in your market position. So if you are positioning yourself as a true artiste aiming at the luxury market low pricing may hurt you. Your pricing must be consistent with your position.

      Related posts:

      1. Marketing Monday: Human Behavior & Pricing Traditional or /classic economic theory has held for centuries that…
      2. Don’t miss the real costs Research done by folks working in the field of behavioral…
      3. Marketing Monday: The Artsyfatsy biz model What exactly is a business model and why is it…

       


       

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      Categories
      ArtWorks

      Jane Campbell on roots and influences

       

      JC_featured_artist

      il_430xN_1First, tell me about your work?

      My work is full of color, fun, it’s folky but with a modern/contemporary edge. 90% of the time I sit down to a blank canvas, nothing drawn out or preconcieved, and I paint until I’m happy. My angels come to life on their own. Their eyes usually follow you, have a different expression on each side of their face, & uneven whimsical features which I feel gives them a special character & it makes me love painting them. They are my favorite. My folk art crabs, mermaids, & florals are inspired by my Carolina roots.
      I love painting on an imperfect canvas. Especially wood that is destined for the dumps or canvas that has been covered in fine sand. It’s the organic quality & rough texture that draws me to it and the feeling it gives me to turn waste into something wonderful.

      What mediums have you worked in and which is your favorite?

      I work with oils & acrylics. Working with oils is truly my favorite, however, most of my work is done with acrylics for the easeil_430xN of drying time.
      I also enjoy photography, altering photographs, clay work, sewing, knitting, crochet, & hand embroidery.

      How did you get started?

      I started painting when I was 13. Let’s just say that was a long time ago and leave it at that. I have always painted for myself, family, friends or just because my spirit needed me to. I dreamed of being able to paint for a living nearly all my life. It was when I found myself unemployed November 2007 that I decided to go for it. When my paintings started selling online I was amazed, flattered & compelled to keep painting. I am now living my dream. I have never worked as long and hard but never have been this happy either.

      il_430xN_2Who has influenced/inspired your art work?

      Walt Sorenson, a retired Art Director at Disney was a huge influence. His portrait classes instilled my love and appreciation of the human face. I no longer follow all of his rules as I once did. I like the freedom of being quirky instead of realistic.
      It would be impossible for me to chose a favorite artist but these are some of my favorites, not necessarily in order: Edward Hopper, Jack Vettriano, Winslow Homer, Maxfield Parrish, Michael Parks, Alphonse Mucha, Claude Monet, Henry Matisse, Diego Rivera, Raphael and of course Piccasso.

      jane campbell on influences

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      Analog to Digital Part 2: Interview with Craig Strong, Inventor of the Lensbaby

      In the beginning, there was light, and we captured it with film. Next came digital cameras, and then came the Lensbaby. Created by professional photographer Craig Strong, the Lensbaby has had an impact on photographers, and their ideas and images. Craig is a photographer turned inventor… his love for photography started at an early age, and after college he went pro, working as a photojournalist. He also had a steady business shooting weddings and portraits. I recently had a chance to interview Craig for our Digitalapplejuice readers. This is the second part of the interview, read Part 1 of this Interview here….

      Britt: Speaking of going down the road and what you’re doing now, what kind of a personal project are you working on currently?

      Craig: Well, I’m working on a project that I started in 1995. There’s a couple of wonderful, salt of the earth people that I know, Bert and Colleen Elliot who live down in Trujillo, Peru. They have been there for sixty years serving the people of Peru. I spent about eight or nine days with them in ’95. Right out of college Bert and Coleen got married, got on a boat and went down to Peru, and they’ve been there ever since, doing humanitarian aid, doing Christian work. They’ve started a couple schools, they’ve helped about a hundred or more communities to develop thriving, healthy places for people to live, and communities for people to plug into. Peru has been a war-torn nation for many many years and they’ve been through a lot of that, giving a lot of strength to those people. They are in their late eighties now and I look forward to continuing that project. I hope to going back down and spending some time with them. I’ve got a lot of chromes that I’ve shot of them that I look forward to going back through when I feel like I’ve got what I need and combining it with the digital stuff that I’m shooting now to document their lives. They’re really beautiful people.

      Britt: That’s great. On your website there is a phrase that I really like, you talk about “feeding your soul” – is that how you feed your soul?

      Craig: Yeah, it is, and it doesn’t happen enough. Being the president of Lensbaby I spend a good portion of my time working on solving problems, and that’s great and to some extent can feed my soul. But certainly it’s close to my heart to be out and documenting the lives of people who I really believe in who they are and what they’re doing. I look forward to more of that.

      Britt: I’m just curious, when you’re wandering around the world, what triggers your mind and gives you an idea for a photo? Is there a special place in your brain where you go to get ideas for creative photos or do you have a creative process, or is it all gut instinct?

      Craig: I would say that the creative process I have is really clearing my mind. I find that I am most effective, whether it’s at a wedding or doing street photography or on an assignment, when I’m able to be fully introverted, fully in a zen-like state where I am able to observe the world around me and really take it through the filter of who I am and what matters to me. It’s really important to know, critical to answer the question what do I care about, what matters to me? What changes is the the answer to the question how do I see the things that matter to me. If its a connection between a father and son I tend to gravitate to those moments.

      There’s so many moments in life to choose from, especially at events and weddings. You walk into a reception and there’s a hundred potential moments that you could be drawn to in that scene and that situation, and so choosing and deciding ‘OK, what part of this am I going to own, what part of this am I going to document, what am I qualified to document?” If I go on a list and try to meet somebody else’s expectations of me I’m going to go in and some of the things are going to resonate with me, but the vast majority aren’t. My process is fairly quiet, where I want to be introverted, I want to be quiet, I want to be still and see what it is that hits me so that then I can really move into that space and document what matters to me.

      Photographically, one of the most poignant times for me was in college. I was driving across the country having just left my father at my grandparents house in Colorado. It was an extremely cold winter and I was driving along a canyon and I thought ‘I think there is a reservoir up here, I’ll bet there’s going to be ice fishing, it’s going to be right around sunset and I want to capture the emotion between a father and son that I remember from being with my dad fishing.’ we didn’t go ice fishing but I wanted to recapture the feeling of being in the outdoors and that special time I had with my father as a child. About two hours later I’m driving along the reservoir and, sure enough, there’s people spread out all over the ice with fishing poles. I stopped my 1968 Volkswagen camper, pulled out a tripod, a Canon T-90 and a Tamron 180mm f/2.5 lens – I had to make a quick decision as the light was disappearing so I just grabbed that combo.

      The T-90 was loaded with Kodachrome 25, and standing out on the ice toward the edge of those braving the sub-zero temperatures waiting for fish to bite, I zeroed in on a father and son. The mountains and the sunset were behind them, and I was able to document this very tender moment of the boy leaning back against his father as they stood beside their fishing pole in the beautiful evening light. What that really showed me, probably for the first time, was that I am filtering reality. I’m seeing the world around me through my own lens, and taking that realization and using it to my advantage has ensured that, as I go through life, I’m ready when those moments that are most important to me show themselves. Surprisingly with Kodachrome 25 and a 180mm lens at sunset I was able to get the beautifully detailed image with a one-second-long exposure of this tender moment between father and son. The process is a very quiet one for me.

      Britt: I love that answer. Thank you so much for your time, I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me and our DigitalAppleJuice readers. Do you have anything you’d like to add?

      Craig: I would just like to reiterate that I look for new ideas in my frustration. When I’m faced with problems, that’s where I find the best ideas come to me. As unpleasant as it is to experience, for me I’ve found that frustration is essential. As the father of three young children I see them lose their wallets and they’ll just get really upset, or they’ll drop their camera and it’s not working anymore… I just want to take them and say ‘Yeah, but this means you won’t lose your wallet when it’s really got a lot of money in it, in ten, fifteen, twenty or thirty years. And this means you’re learning from this experience.’ I think there’s so many times in life when we just focus on that frustration. I know I have. Really learning for me is to say ‘Oh, I’m frustrated here, what can I learn from this?’ And how can I solve a problem being on the inventing side has really come out of that frustration. Cherishing, acknowledging and nurturing frustration has been key to discovering who I am and what it is that I want to do, to be and how I can best contribute to the world I live in.

      Britt: Sounds like you have some very lucky kids. So at the end of the day, do you work on a Mac or a PC?

      Craig: I work on a Mac. I don’t care to be that frustrated.

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      Robin Pedrero on vision and growth

      How has your art evolved over time?

      homagehomelessherow-copyDesire and necessity are the catalysts in the evolution of my art. I often tell the story of how my two year old painted white oil paint on a portrait I was working on which spurred my investment in the medium of pastel.  I tackled the medium through book instruction, and one class with Herman Marguiles to fall in love with the immediacy and vibrancy of pastels to then become a juried Signature Member of the Pastel Society of America. I have been a portrait artist for over 20 years .  I incorporate faces and figures into my work as well.  Nature has always been my refuge. I believe when we savor nature it creates a space in time to experience the presence of God.  Works from 2001 – 2008 depict landscapes with a focus on the sky. My style has gone from impressionistic to realistic to more contemporary and abstract. Necessity steps in again as I am shipping more and I sought a medium that would not require glass. My health concerns keep me from working in oil regularly; hence acrylic has become my most recent medium. I am discovering that I really enjoy how I can use translucency so effectively in acrylics. So stay tuned to see my newest works and how my work is evolving. and in progress

      What is your vision for your art?

      My art inspires and brings joy. I believe it makes a difference in people’s lives. I see my work in Museums, galleries, corporations, institutions and collected worldwide.

      What do you see your work doing for those who buy it?

      People use my artwork differently, most are attracted to it because it speaks to their core. They experience something sacred and personal between themselves and the work. It’s ok if it also matches your decor, let’s be honest here, our homes and offices reflect who we are and if it works in harmony whether matching or eclectic it still works! I teach people to see things in different ways yet communicate on a spiritual level using color, line, form and subject matter. A common response to my work is that people feel a sense of peace, contentment, powerful emotion or joy and I like that!

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