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Monthly Archives

September 2012

You Are Not A Photographer.

By | Personal Favorites, Techie Talk, Uncategorized | No Comments

One of the great things about technology (other than it helping us run our studio more effectively) is how accessible photography is to the general public: any average person can pick up a digital camera at their local electronics shop, snap a few photos and upload them online to share with the world.  However, this has created a culture wherein everybody thinks they are a professional photographer! Now, we LOVE sharing our knowledge and talking shop with other folks in the photography industry, whether they’re complete newbies or seasoned pros. And we’ve been known to hire and help total beginners– that’s how you learn! But we’d be lying if we said we never snicker and cackle at the expense of  certain wannabes. Hear us out!

We recently stumbled across a hilarious website called You Are Not A Photographer. They troll the internet (especially Facebook) for photos posted by folks who are charging money for their photography services, but lack some of the very basic skills (or basic gear…you know, like an SLR camera?) of the art!! These photos are re-posted (anonymously) for your amusement. So are we sharing this website just so that we can all point and laugh at the Fauxtographers? Not exactly. There is some truly legitimate advice, and lots of lessons to be learned from these photos. Pursuing your lifelong (or maybe week-long?) dream of making money from taking pictures is not a decision that should be taken lightly. It certainly shouldn’t be as easy as registering for an Official Fauxtographer’s Facebook Page. In fact, you should take all of the same considerations that you would take with any independent business. What product are you selling? What is it’s worth? Does your pricing accurately reflect your offering? Do you have any professional experience in this field? Is your business a worthy competitor for others in the same category? When starting up a business, it is a good idea to take a long, hard, critical look at yourself…because Chances Are You Suck.

(This is Patrick’s setup for his son’s first day of school. Kid you not. Pun intended.)

Photojournalist Kenneth Jarecke who indeed, does not suck, wrote this very insightful article about social media and the culture of praise that creates Fauxtographers. Although these budding businesspeople may have a lot of strengths, it is their inability to examine (and improve!) their weaknesses that will stop them from becoming Real Photographers. Jarecke makes an excellent point: “If nothing is bad, can anything be good?”

Now, after checking out You Are Not a Photographer, and hearing that Chances Are You Suck…you’re probably a little paranoid. Am I (or someone I know) a Fauxtographer!? Here’s a link to a few questions to ask yourself, and some advice on How Not to be a Fauxtog. Some other things to add on to that list:

  • Educate yourself! Whether you take classes, read books, watch tutorials online, or ask good photographers great questions, you always have the opportunity to learn more about the craft of photography. And with technology improving and changing everyday, even the old school (shooting with film, developing in a darkroom) can learn from the new (culling techniques, digital post-production).
  • Work! You are not above volunteering, assisting, or second-shooting. This puts you in a prime position to learn from folks who have been doing this for years. In fact, our own Patrick was recently a second for a shoot in London. It’s fun, it’s low stress, and a great way to get even better at what you do.
  • Be Prepared! Know where you’re going, what you’re doing, what you’ll have available to you when you get there. Although you won’t always have a perfect photoshoot condition (in fact, it’s likely you won’t) you need to be able to handle yourself. You may have seen the recent scandal over some poorly posed and lit Olympics pictures. Now, the photographer claims that it wasn’t an ideal situation– but as a professional, you need to be prepared for that.
  • Listen! Though praise and admiration will make you feel great, some good ole fashioned critiquing can make you BE great. There are undoubtedly people in your life willing to tell you the cold, hard truth about your work and what you can do to improve it. In fact, the PWP crew is known to be brutally honest with each other…we can be brutally honest with you, too!
  • Practice! You need to be consistent. If someone hires you based on a portfolio of images you’ve shown them, you need to be absolutely sure that’s what you can deliver. If you are poor at posing people, get a friend and help them get comfortable in front of the camera. If you aren’t so great at extreme lighting situations, visit a dark museum or a bright garden and mess around with your settings. And if you’ve never taken pictures at a live event before, well…get out there and do it! Don’t wait until you have a check in hand before you realize you’re in over your head.

(This is what Patrick brings as carry-on on the plane when flying to an on-location shoot. We won’t talk about the 2-3 other suitcases he checks.)

 

If you, or someone you know, might be in danger of being a Fauxtographer, please share this blog post on Facebook, Twitter, or your social network of choice.

In all seriousness, everyone with the interest and the passion has the ability to become a good photographer. It’s a lifelong learning process, and we’re grateful to those that shared their knowledge with us, and proud to pass it on.

 

Need more advice? Check out our article on How to Choose a Wedding Photographer. Want more snarky photography industry humor? Why We Don’t Do Weddings.

 

 

“Today I’m doin’ business like it’s 19-9-9.” Err, not.

By | Event Industry, Green Things, PWP-ism, Techie Talk | No Comments

Yesterday morning, it hit me like a brick wall just how much of a tangible impact being a cloud-based work environment has had on my studio, and I wanted to share. I started typing this in Facebook and 30 minutes later…I guess I had more to share than I thought – it evolved into much more than just a blurb!

Here at PWP Studio, providing fantastic images is the baseline we build on – not the sum total of our goal. Internally, we talk a lot about doing better business via green practices, the global workplace, and technology; leveraging those pieces to increase our line of products and level of service. We fly in the cloud. We recycle. We directly hire wonderful people stateside AND overseas – our 10 employees are equally split here and there. We are constantly evaluating new technology in and outside the scope of photography!

With all of those areas of exploration, nothing seems to be more relevant in our current super-competitive small business environment than cloud-based technology. I have been sitting here [in pajamas] at my desk in Atlanta transcribing interview notes for a production manager candidate I interviewed via Skype – a candidate whom will be managing gigabytes of data on a daily basis and likely not have to ‘come to work’ more than once a month. These interview notes can be viewed by my studio manager *as I type them* – did I mention she’s in UK for a friend’s wedding? Meanwhile, at this same moment there is a PWP employee in Manila creating a contract in our booking system that a prospective client in Cali will have access to view and sign on her mobile phone 30 seconds after it is ready. Finally, RIGHT NOW there is a PWP photographer shooting an event in Seattle with a shot list on his phone I can modify while he captures the keynote.

This is all possible because of cloud-based apps like Google Apps, Quickbooks Online, ShootQ, GQueues, Dropbox, Skype, and Evernote – and those apps have allowed us to grow, thrive, and overcome some pretty significant obstacles (we will call those obstacles “2009-2011”!)

Although much bigger than you probably thought, my business is still just a small business. We embrace technology like a big business. We embrace a global workforce like a big business. We do this to serve our clients better than is expected from a small business – because every single one of our clients is important to our survival!

Are YOU taking advantage of what technology can do for your business?? If not, what is it costing you in lost revenue, unnecessary workplace overhead, training, faxing, etc.? Never mind lost revenue – how much of your LIFE is being wasted on inefficiency? Get onboard, leave the 90’s and join me here in 2012!!

If you are a fan of the “how it looks”, but are curious (or even a bit scared) about the “how to get there” in all of this, call me. I can be available to directly help you accomplish your goals, or even speak to your colleagues or group.

Is YOUR car bigger than a golfcart?

By | Cars, Corporate Events, Family Fun Day | No Comments

One of our big name clients held their Family Fun Day recently, and chose one of the coolest venues in the Atlanta region. Sometimes you have to go OTP (that’s “outside the perimeter” of the 285 interstate loop) to have a little fun. We headed south to Douglasville to play at Foxhall Resort and Sporting Club. What do they have that you might not be able to find in the big city? Let us show you…

Hay rides from a John Deere tractor…

…Archery…

…Golfing…


…Paddling a canoe…

…and Horseshoes! As if that weren’t enough, they hosted a bunch of family friendly activities and entertainment from outside vendors.

You could get tattooed…

…Or check out a magic show…

…or get your groove on the dance floor (maybe it’s “Dance Lawn”?) with our DJ buddy Joel Rabe from Lethal Rhythms !

Granted all that activity is going to make you hungry and tired…thankfully, Foxhall has a beautiful patio area for you to sit and enjoy some delicious food, provided by Bold American. (You KNOW they’re one of our faves!)

 

Now you’re probably wondering, “I’ve had a sporting good time with a ton of different recreational activities here at Foxhall, and stuffed myself to the gills with delicious food, but what do I get to take home from all this family fun?” Well, check out the door prize…

 

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…Just kidding! Had you goin’ for a second there, huh? Here’s a true story: Patrick’s (Boss-man) first car was a Porsche! In fact he still owns the exact car he used when he learned how to drive. However, when he’s on location for business he prefers to drive around in the Lunchbox. Wanna see?

Oh yes, that golf cart IS bigger than the official PWP Studio wheels! Serious business!

If you’re looking to host your next corporate fun day at a unique location with fantastic activities, then you should definitely head on down to Foxhall.

We had a blast hanging out with our client’s friends and family, and with all our favorite vendors. Bonus, we got to take amazing pictures of some really beautiful scenery– and we’re not just talking about that sweet ride! Just another great day at PWP Studio!