Monthly Archives: September 2010

1st Steps

So I’ve been researching and reading tons of material on photography and business. I have a lot of preparation to do before I can get the business side of things started. My 1st step, before I apply to the small business program is to get my portfolio in order. I need a lot more portraits and the easiest way to do this is get my friends and associates to sit for portraits. Or stand, or whatever. Heck, they can balance on their heads if they like, as long as they let me take their picture.

Since I’m choosing to specialise in natural light fine art portraiture, this will involve a lot of traditional portraiture as well as environmental portraiture. I’m studying up on my lighting, looking at portraits by the masters, both photographers and painters, working on getting my exposures bang on. When you are shooting film, you don’t have the luxury of fixing it in post. Then again, you really should get it right in the camera in the first place regardless of whether you are shooting digital or film. I also have to work on my presentation, making a portrait session a wonderful experience for the sitter, not just a shoot. It’s a collaborative process that ideally ends with great images and was wonderful to participate in for both of us.

And of course, I simply need to shoot, a lot, and make a lot of prints. Standard black and white prints, lith prints, bromoil prints. Whatever suits the mood of the image and highlights best the nature of the person in the portrait.

My goal is to try and get as much complete on my portfolio over the next two months. Then start on the business side of things with getting the business plan in order.

Posted in business, film, portraiture | Comments Off on 1st Steps

With ink and a brush

I just got back from a 6 day workshop on how to do bromoil prints. For those unfamiliar with this alternative process, you take a black and white image, bleach it back, then while damp use said ink and brush and carefully stipple on ink, layer after layer, and where the silver was in the image, it now takes ink proportionally, and you build back the image in ink.

It’s a wonderful process that gives you a great deal of control and creative freedom on how you create an image. Depending on softness of ink, your technique, brushes etc you can control how grainy you want the image from a coarse lithographic style to a very fine grained photograph. You control density by deciding how much ink should be deposited, and you control how much you want the highlights to stand out. Contrast is also something you control in the final image. It’s a technique that lends itself to sensitive interpretation of a subject beyond just what the camera records.

The instructor, David Lewis is one of the few remaining masters of this process and an excellent teacher. He’s also quite the character and keeps the workshop entertaining. He gives workshops primarily down in the U.S. If you are lucky, try and get in on one down in Arch Cape, Oregon.

It was gorgeous there, right down on the beach. Our host was Linda Lapp Murray, who is a wonderful lady and fantastic photographer. Arch Cape is near Cannon Beach, but a bit off the beaten path, so the weather was great, scenery gorgeous, and it was quiet and peaceful.

Here’s a few examples from the workshop as well as a couple of pictures of Arch Cape.

Posted in alternative processes, black and white photography, bromoil | 1 Comment

Getting laid off isn’t the end of the world

Out of the blue last week, I got laid off. There may be signs of economic recovery out there, but we’re not seeing much on the ground here in BC. I was the sixth person at my company since Feb. this year to get laid off. I know several other people who’ve also been downsized this year, so it’s still pretty common for this recession.

Now when I tell people I got laid off, the first thing they say is “sorry to hear that”. Well, I’m not sorry at all. I didn’t exactly love my last job and rather than looking at this as something terrible, I see an opportunity. It didn’t exactly fit my plans, but I’m nothing if not adaptable.

I’d been looking a lot at how to move my photography to the next level and segue over time into turning it into a profession. I’ve been doing a lot of research and trying to figure out how to focus down on what I really wanted to do with it. The idea was work full time for a few more years, develop my portfolio and get some paid photo jobs over time, get out of debt etc.

Instead, since I qualified for employment insurance, I’ve decided to embrace this chance to go pro now. I plan on applying to the small business entrepreneur program funded by EI and starting my own photography business. It’ll be a lot of hard work but I am relishing the challenge. I am finding myself obsessed at the moment with further research to fine down what I want for my business model and locating resources to help with that.

As I go, I’ll be posting these resources here and using my blog to collate information and give myself a visual progress record I can refer back to. The information may even be of use to other photographers since there isn’t much out there that really draws this together.

For this week’s links, here’s a few I’ve found that are very helpful and others that look like they may be.

Professional organizations
CAPIC – The Canadian Association of Photographers and Illustrators in Communications
PPA – The Professional Photographers of America

Business/Photography Consultants

Photo learning sites

And for a little inspiration or a kick in the pants as required

Posted in business, photography | Comments Off on Getting laid off isn’t the end of the world