10 Bands To Photograph

26 01 2010

Here is a list of my 10 favorite bands to photograph and a couple of words in summary…

10. Mickey Avalon: Unpredictable on stage (photo)
9. Crowfield: New band to me & great music (photo)
8. Black Carl: Emma’s vocals (photo)
7. Death By Stereo: Hardcore from the crowd (photo)
6. Rusted Root: Great vibe (photo)
5. Agnostic Front: NYHC Legends (photo)
4. What Laura Says: Great on stage (photo)
3. Cage The Elephant: Next generation punk rockers (photo)
2. Rev. Horton Heat: Perfect lighting (photo)
1. Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers: Always a challenge – Great stage presence (photo)

I am proud of my list’s diversity. Each show was a very different experience which is why they stand out in my mind.

Agnostic Front : Yucca Tap Room / Tempe, AZ

What bands do you like to see live? Have you ever photographed their concerts? As always, we want to hear from you. Leave a comment and if you shot photos of the show add a link to share them.

To view my complete photography portfolio please visit www.grtaylor2photo.com





Why Watermark or Brand Your Photos

18 01 2010

Casey Moore's Bike Rack : Tempe, AZ
No one likes to get ripped off and no one wants to feel cheated – I don’t care who you are.

Question: Do you host your images on popular photo sharing sites like Flickr or Facebook? If you answered yes and you do not take a moment to brand or watermark your photos you are running the risk of having your images stolen.

The topic of this post started with a question asked by my friend Devon. He asked if I could address the pros and cons of watermarking or branding self published photos. Thanks, great subject for discussion.

CONS

Aesthetics: If you are not strategic with the placement and size of the watermark or branding it may take away from the image. When placing a watermark, copyright line or logo make sure it doesn’t draw the viewer’s eye away from the subject and screw with the composition. The perception of the value of the photo to a prospective client can be lessened if you are not careful with placement.

After giving it much thought this is the only con I see when when it comes to this topic.

PROS

The list of pros far outweigh the cons. For starters, people will know who took the photo and subsequently who owns its rights. If you include  simple things like the copyright year and your website (or wherever your portfolio can be seen) it tells the viewer how old the photo is and where they can see more of your work. As photographers I believe it is our responsibility to make things as easy as possible for clients to get the information they need.

Another reason to brand your photos falls under the lines as the second point – properly branded photos will increase traffic to your websites.

Personally, I prefer a branding line over a watermark that covers up the image. Although a watermark is harder to delete and photoshop out of an image, aesthetically it’s horrid. I use a simple two line branding mark that includes my website and the copyright date. (I know that in some cases this can be cropped out and removed but after giving it some thought I’m ok with taking that risk to preserve the integrity of the photograph.)

HOW TO BRAND A PHOTO

Here is a simple overview of how I brand my photos. I process my photos in Aperture and after I make my adjustments I export the image to a work in progress folder. From here I will open the exported file in photoshop, open my .psd branding file and drag it on top of the photo. After I give placement careful thought and consideration I save the file. I will then import the altered file back into Aperture and stack the native image with the branded image (in Aperture stacking allows me to view thumbnails of the photos I use.) The last step is publishing the photograph to the platform of my choice.

My .psd branding mark is comprised of white text on a transparent background. (Download my branding mark and alter it with your own text by clicking here.)

How do you handle branding your photographs and watermarks? Leave a comment and let’s discuss…

To view my complete photography portfolio please visit www.grtaylor2photo.com

GRT2 Self Portrait July 2009





Three Reasons To Use A Tripod

15 01 2010

Are you tired of being being disappointed in your photographs?Do you want to take your photography to the next level? One simple way to step your game up is to learn when to use a tripod.

Here are three key reasons in photography that I use my tripod: Image Stabilization, Long Exposure Photography and Creative Photography.

IMAGE STABILIZATION

Stabilization : Yellowstone National Park, MT

Although most lenses have a built in image stabilization feature – sometimes it is not enough. When using my telephoto lenses I use my tripod as often as I can. This way I can reduce the shake of the camera caused by the lens being extended at length. A good rule of thumb is anytime your shutter speed is equal to or less than your focal length -get out the tripod. (ex. 300m < 1/300 or 200mm < 1/200.)

LONG EXPOSURE PHOTOGRAPHY

Lake Yellowstone : Yellowstone, MT

When an exposure over 1/15 is used I highly recommend using the tripod. Long Exposures are needed to capture vibrant colors in low light situations. Two perfect examples of this would be sunsets and fireworks. You may be able to get away with shorter exposure times for sunsets but a stop action photograph of fireworks just doesn’t work. By increasing the exposure length the trails and colors of the fireworks are more vivid and dramatic. It is nearly impossible to keep the camera still for the duration needed to utilize long exposures.

CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY

Fast Motion : South Mountain / Phoenix, AZ

In some situations you may want to extend your creativity and blur motion. This can only be done with the use of a tripod. By combining your tripod with the proper settings all static items will remain still in the photograph while objects moving will be blurred. This technique takes time and a lot of trial and error. It took me over two hours to get the above photo. (If you want to experiment with this type of photography I suggest you check the settings of this photo on my flickr page and be prepared to exercise some patience.)

The tripod is also essential if you need to bracket exposures. Bracketing exposures create images that are +1 fstop from the original setting and -1 fstop from the original setting. This technique is helpful to make sure you captured the image perfectly or if you plan on making the set of  photos into a HDR (High Dynamic Range) image.

These are by no means the only reasons to use a tripod. Unless I am photographing concerts I always have my tripod with me – you never know when it’s going to be put to use. (As demonstrated below!) How do you use your tripod? When does it get used the most? Please share your thoughts and experience below.

Lower Salt River Photo by KBL

To view my complete photography portfolio please visit www.grtaylor2photo.com





Photo365 Projects

5 01 2010

Here are links to some Photo365 projects from the photographers I spoke to about this post. Check out their work and let them know what you think.

Erin Taylor-Bell’s Project
Devon Adams’ Project
Stacy Ericson’s Project
Allan Saw’s Project

Here are links to where you can find other Photo365 projects – or create your own.

365 Project
Flickr’s 365 Days Photo Group

I want to know about your photo / art projects for 2010 – leave a comment and let us know. It’s all about collaboration! This blog places a high value on collaboration over competition!

My complete photography portfolio can be viewed at: www.grtaylor2photo.com