While on vacation in Maui, Crystal decided to do a photo shoot at sunset so she could take home some island beauty. We took all of her pictures at Waipuilani Beach Park in Kihei - starting beneath the Kiawe trees (so many prickly little thorns to watch out for), moving on to some really cool palms and finishing (of course) in the sand as the most GIANT SUN I've EVER seen was slipping beneath the horizon. Crystal is from Vancouver, BC so I'm sure it was a nice change for her to be able to lie on the beach in a bikini and feel warm! Crystal does some acting and it was fun to hear about the different movies she's been in. When I hear someone has been in a movie, I'm always so tempted to become a total stalker and find them in the background haha. Crystal was really patient with me as I experimented with this bright Hawaiian light that I'm still getting used to. My main focus these days is figuring out how to shoot specifically for black and white images, as opposed to just turning some images B&W as an after thought when I'm back at my computer. Basically, I'm learning to shoot black and white images ON PURPOSE! haha It's a different ball game. I love it. :)
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
You're so close to the photo editing finish line! You've culled your images & retouched but now you're dying a slow and painful death trying to decide on the final flourishes, the fancy effects, the filters and presets. You can't pick one style for your photo because you love them all. You want to turn the image black and white, make it vintage AND make it bright and colorful. You gotta choose my friend and it's painful! We are totally spoiled for choice because whatever program you're editing in offers hundreds or even thousands of presets. Your workflow is slowed and you know you're wasting time. Just pick one! Oh, how well I know this artist's headache! I think it's at its worst when you're not sure what your style is yet - when you're still figuring out who you want to be and what you want to offer in this industry. Over the past couple years I have struggled to be a decisive effective editor. I'm getting better and these are the tips that are helping me move past this creative block.
1) Be Ruthless
Basically, if you had a gun to your head...you could make that editing decision really fast. That's kind of how I work these days. I look at the image, experiment with 3-4 different presets. I narrow it down to 2 and FORCE myself to decide. It can hurt and I feel the urge to keep playing with it. I remind myself that the preset will look GOOD ENOUGH. If I hate it, it's not the end of the world. It's digital and I can always go back and change it if it's really that bad. I've stopped allowing myself to take forever. I've become the bad-cop and I force myself to pick one!
2) Set the Timer
Nothing quite like the ticking clock the force decisions. It reminds me that my time is precious and just being aware of time passing prevents me from dragging my feet. It keeps me focused. Racing the clock actually makes this challenge more fun. Being decisive feels good!
3) Apply Presets in Bulk.
If I edit each individual picture in a series, I will probably change my mind along the way and the editing style will change and then I'll doubt myself and spend more time going back and changing previous pictures. Nowadays, I take a series of images and choose a preset for the 1st image. I apply it to all of the series automatically and never look back. Of course, I quality check each image but I only let myself make little tweaks here and there.
4) Use One Preset for a Full Month
When I find a preset I like, I try using it for all my shoots for a month or so. For every shoot then all I have to do is click the preset, double check that it doesn't look terrible and I move on. I keep using this preset until I a) get sick of it or b) find one I like better. This will also teach you which pictures this type of preset looks best/worst on.
5) Decide on the Final Style Before Editing
**This is THE BEST TIP for editing effectively & efficiently.**
Close your eyes and imagine the image you want to create. This pre-editing vision will guide you as you edit. Try not to stray from it. If you imagined you wanted to edit it to look vintage, you won't find yourself lost in the archives of flashy modern filters. Catch my drift? Create a destination for yourself and you won't get lost. This is like grocery shopping — bring a shopping list and stick to it so you don't aimlessly wander the aisles for hours with a grumbling tummy.
*If all else fails, apply all the filters and create a pretty collage. haha
*If all else fails, apply all the filters and create a pretty collage. haha
How do you edit efficiently and decide on presets?
Shoutout to Joana B. for inspiring this blog post ;)
Monday, December 2, 2013
Q: I'm thinking of rebranding but I'm afraid of the consequences (losing potential clients, affecting my reputation, confusing people etc...). How should I do it?
On the eighth day, God made branding (really difficult). :P lol So, your photography business has been chugging along for a few years (or months) and you're feeling squirmy for a change. I totally get it. Either you no longer like your name or your logo or your website OR so much has changed over the years and you feel it’s time to bring your branding up to speed with where your artwork has taken you.
You’re ready to spice up your life BUT you’re worried that it’s going to be a big hassle. Just the idea of going through all that legal paperwork again to legally change your business name, adjust bank account details, spend hours online designing branding etc… is intimidating and exhausting. AND we’re all worried that we’ll be sacrificing the good reputation that we’ve worked so hard to build because no one is going to recognize us after our business makeovers.
I rebranded my business after my first 6 months. When I started my business I was convinced that I wouldn’t get any clients because nobody would be able to say or remember by mammothly long & unusual name. So I chose a cutesy business name. LOVEDUCKS PHOTOGRAPHY. (Yep, I really did that.) But one morning I woke up and realized that if anyone was ever going to take me seriously I had to operate under my own name and if I did anything worthwhile, people would jolly well learn how to pronounce it.
Changing your branding is not something you want to do on a whim because you’re right, 1) it’s a lot of work, 2) it can be confusing for clients, and 3) focusing on your brand too much will distract you from developing your artwork. But after careful deliberation and a few solid months of deliberation to make sure it’s really what you want to do, I would definitely recommend rebranding if you think it will take your business in the direction you want it to go. Think of the logistics like an early morning workout — it’s tough to get started, you’ve got to grit your teeth to survive it but you’re going to feel so good when it’s done!
As for your (potential) clients, they won't be confused so long as you keep them informed. Blog about your ideas for rebranding (before you rebrand). Blog about your dreams for your brand and have your Facebook fans vote on their favorite logo design. Make it a big exciting thing that all your followers can look forward to do. Don't surprise anybody overnight and you'll be just fine ;)
Sunday, December 1, 2013
Aloha Sunday mi amigos!!!! This week has been full of celebration and gratefulness. My 25th birthday was on Wednesday Nov 27 and the day after was Thanksgiving. It was Miggy's first Thanksgiving in America (rather than on the floor of a dorm room in Scotland haha) and we went to our friend Brooke's house for our mid-day feast. We had a Thanksgiving lunch since all of our husbands work in restaurants in the evenings. For my birthday, we spread out the party for multiple days. At night time we went stargazing and ate honey roasted macadamia nuts and brownies :D I had so many wonderful surprises including 5 phone calls in the early morning from people I love to sing me happy birthday to you! :D Thank you everyone for making my birthday week so special.
This week I am grateful for our George Foreman grill's ability to prepare a perfect omelet,
my new makeup bags that are stepping it up a notch (goodbye plastic bags!!),
an afternoon at the beach with Miggy and Brooke (w/ family),
pretty trees with pink flowers,
(another beach date) playing in the water with Miggy and pretending to be surfboards,
making the most of our little kitchen with some fairylights,
a midnight treat shopping trip on my birthday,
blue and green, trees & sky, my favorite combination in nature,
the surprise lunch the ladies threw me at the office!! AND Google customized my search engine with birthday cakes!,
eating gelato and watching a gorgeous sunset on my birthday (while talking with my mom on the phone),
my creative improvisation on Thanksgiving to create a nutloaf without a stove or oven,
birthday cards from friends around the world :D
Thanksgiving Skype date with my family (and my brother's giant face haha),
late night watercolor sessions while listening to Jane Austen audiobooks,
sunglasses shopping on Black Friday,
Miggy surprised me with a diamond ring for my birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wanted to get myself a ring for my 25th. I was so sick of being at the mall after shopping for sunglasses and iPhones but he 'dragged' me to one more shop....the jewelry shop! I knew 'the ring' as soon as I saw it. It was the first one I went to in the very first shop. We spent 2.5 hours roaming around other stores but I couldn't forget about this first ring. I went back to the store 3 times. Finally, I took the plunge and said I would take it. As I reached into my purse for my wallet, Miggy beat me to the draw. He handed over his debit card and said, "I couldn't let you buy yourself a ring. I want it to be a present for you." :) He tricked me. All day long he was saying things like, "Well, it's your money..." but he knew all along that he was going to buy it for me. Such a sweetie! Everywhere I go I'm staring down at my hand. I can't stop staring hehe Thank you so much my love!! Apparently, diamonds really are a girl's best friend.
and finally, I'm grateful that I had the guts to dig into the CENTER of the pie! :D
Happy Thanksgiving week! What are you grateful for today?