Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Copyright and the difference between could and would

The subject of this post was pretty much handed to me today and I feel it is something that needs to be out in the open.

I was approached by someone who is unhappy with the price of the photo package for their son's senior photos - that and how many prints are included.  Other than complaining to me about how they did not think it should cost that much to take and print a few photos, they wanted to know if I could make any copies of the prints.

Now, I couldn't comment much on the price for the photo packages - I don't know the market or costs incurred by the photographer/studio - I do know that the physical print is not the only thing you are paying for when you hire a photographer.  Above all else, you are paying for the artistic vision and skill of the photographer - you're also helping pay their overheads, as most professionals are self-employed and they have a lot of costs to cover.

Ok, back to the question at hand...I said I'd take a look at the photos.  Hear me out here!!  I want to LOOK and see them out of professional curiosity as I like to see other photographers work.  I have no intention of making any copies of what will clearly be a copyrighted photograph - hence the title of this post.  While I "could" make a copy, there is no way that I "would" do so.

All my work is copyrighted, and has my information encoded within the EXIF Data of each and every photograph.  I also place a watermark on photos used online; they are also formatted to "1 DPI", so while they look great onscreen, they will not print in any usable format.  As a photographer (and artist) I certainly do not want any of my work pirated as I know what has gone into each and every one of them.

If anyone is interested in further reading concerning copyright, there are plenty of links available in a basic online search.  I entered the term "photography copyright" into my favourite search engine and received 291,999,448 results.  It is a very hot topic and can lead to very expensive legal action and costs for all parties concerned.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Reverse posting

In a little change of track, I'm posting here to let everyone know of a new collection of photos I just posted on my Facebook page - Ian Mildon Photography

Over a period of several years I made 4 separate trips to the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve near Pawhuska, Oklahoma.  Going through my photo archives, I selected 121 photos that I posted on Facebook.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

In a flash

As much as possible I try to not be without a camera when I leave the house - as an absolute minimum I have my cellphone with me at all times.  This weekend saw me without my Nikon while a guest at a wedding reception.  And forever the photographer, I couldn't help but check out what the event photographers were doing in covering the reception.

The biggest surprise to me and to many, a big "faux pas" was that they were shooting with the little pop-up flashes on their Canon's.  Let me clarify, they were not using the pop-up flashes to trigger off-camera flash units, they were using the pop-up flashes as their main lighting source.   

I thought it was known within the professional, semi-professional and amateur photography circles that the use of pop-up flashes were a major "no-no" other than as triggers for additional lights.  Using them for any kind of main lighting is pretty much guaranteed to  provide the following:
  1. harsh illumination of the subject
  2. hard, sharp shadows
  3. unflattering lighting
  4. high chance of flare due to the light being so close to the lens
To put it into context, the small pop-up flash on most consumer cameras can be likened to a spotlight, whereas what you want for most types of photography is more of a floodlight.  Having a wider spread of light is much more flattering on your subject as it reduces harsh shadows and doesn't "wash out" peoples complexions.

There's a reason why the main professional cameras from Nikon and Canon do not have pop-up flashes - they're unwanted.  Speedlights and small studio strobes are the things to use for portable light sources and they are kept away from the lens as much as possible.  At a minimum, when Speedlights are used on-camera, they are usually used with either a diffuser (of some description) or a bounce card to provide a softer, wider spread of light.  

Unfortunately there seems to be too many photographers with little to no experience in using flash in their work.  Working by natural, available light is all well and good when it's available but it's also unpredictable - and also usually needs some modification via diffusers and reflectors to provide even and flattering light.  Flash on the other hand is eminently controllable and can be used either as the main source of light or as a secondary source.  Many top professionals use flash in this manner and there are a plethora of books and courses out there that cover this topic.  Above all else, the one thing a photographer needs to know and understand is LIGHT.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Delving into my archives

Recently I've been spending a lot of time in my photo archives and re-editing some of my early photographs.  As these were taken on film, I was also checking the quality of the scanning I undertook to digitize them.  Unfortunately some of them have some artifacting where the film negatives have some damage.  Hopefully I can take them into Photoshop and clean them up enough to make them usable.

Doing this also took me back in time to the 1990's and my local areas of Plymouth and Dartmoor, that I used to explore a lot with my camera.  It certainly brought back a lot of good memories for me.

Now onto what you are probably waiting for, the photographs!  So, not to make you wait any longer, here is one of my favourite photos from the time:

This old tree sits on the edge of the River Plym at Shaugh Bridge, on the edge of Dartmoor National Park in Devon, England.  And yes, it is a real "living" tree and not a piece of digitial art created on a computer.  I also have a photo showing a wider view of the tree, with the river in the foreground.  If you are lucky enough to be in the area, go check it out - I'd love to know if it's still surviving. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Snapshots - August 4th 2013

It's way past time I posted something here for all my readers.  Sorry for the delay but there's only so many hours in the day and lately there just seems to be something else taking my attention away from posting.  To be honest, I haven't found much time to take many photos...although I did have another cross-over between my photography and day job recently.  I had the opportunity to design a graphic advertisement for an up coming event on campus and as part of this I needed to create a photograph where I had two separate laptop screens evenly lit, despite being at differing brightness levels.

I did a few test shots as a proof of concept and found that using a single flash was not sufficient to give even illumination on the foreground, back ground and both screens so that they could both be read.  Also that flash placement would be very important so as to not cause flare.  I ended up using two flashes positioned at about a 45 degree angle at each side from the screens and at about -2EV to provide enough to light the scene but not overpower it.

Other than this I've been organizing my photo archives into one big library, and re-editing some of my older photos.  And in doing this I am formulating a few ideas on combining my photos and writing to create a photo essay.  Stay tuned on this as it should be pretty interesting.

Finally, my main website has received some updates!!  Still not entirely happy with how it looks and I'll be carrying out some further changes to give it an overhaul.  I'm wanting to bring in more photo work and need to have a good web presence to attract possible customers, which is also why I've been expanding my online presence a bit more to include a profile on DevientART.