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Personal Favorites

What do Leather and Motorcycles Have to do with The Best $100 I Ever Spent!?

By | Charity, Personal Favorites, PWP-ism | No Comments

Gary Adams and his wonderful wife, Kathy, are great friends of ours and of the studio. Gary was our studio manager many moons ago, and we have remained great friends since. In addition to being friends of ours, he is also a military veteran, a photo buff, and a strong supporter of the Patriot Guard Riders.

Patriot Guard RidersPatriot Guard Riders

I noticed a very interesting story on Gary’s Facebook page not so long ago — it was an inspiring story about Cpl. Todd Love, a triple amputee and recent recipient of a “smart home”. You can find out more about the Smart home here. These homes are provided to veterans whom have been catastrophically injured while serving their country! It is an amazing program set up for amazing people whom have paid a hefty price to defend our freedom.

Cpl. Love was not happy to just receive one of the homes and disappear into happily ever after — he made it his mission to raise money so other brave service members could benefit. Of course, Gary participated in this effort on Cpl. Love’s team and posted a general solicitation for support on Facebook.

That is where I come into the story!  I had heard that my “old” friend had signed up for a 5K to support the cause, and I made an offer to Gary that he couldn’t refuse – read more about it on the Warning Order he sent to the Patriot Guard Riders requesting assistance.

 

WARNING ORDER!

1. Situation.

a.  Enemy Forces: None
b.  Friendly Forces:  Patriot Guard Riders / American Legion Riders and anyone and everyone who is committed to honoring the Men & Women of this Great Nation who has stood in the gap to protect our families and friends from those who would wish us harm!
c.  Attachments and Detachments.  There are no Attachments or Detachments.  As far as I’m concerned, anyone who continues to stand when Old Glory passes by, salutes or places their hand over their heart when they  hear the Star Spangled Banner, I consider them Family!  For those that pray for the safety of our Armed Forces as they serve in the far corners of this world, I consider them Family!  For those who respects and honors the officers dressed in Blue as they protect us here on American soil, I consider them family.  For those who admire & support the firefighters as they put their lives on the line to protect us and our belongings from disaster, I consider Family!  And finally, the Emergency Medical Technicians who fight valiantly to preserve our lives when we or our loved ones encounter a medical emergency, I consider them Family!

2.  Mission.

b.  My mission is to raise funds to help those who suffered catastrophic casualties while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan to someday be able to live in a “smart home.”  I am a member of Corporal Todd Love’s Team.  As a result of an IED explosion while serving in Afghanistan, CPL Love is a triple amputee.  He is or will be a recipient of a smart home.  CPL Love is not content to “receive” a smart home, he is on a mission to raise funds so that others can also lead a more normal life. Please watch:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3K2amZ7_aE
c.  I have a good friend by the name of Patrick Williams.  Patrick is a world class photographer and he is the owner of Atlanta’s premiere “event photography” business, PWP Studio.   I had the pleasure of working with him for close to a year.  Patrick pledged $10 for this worthy cause which I am extremely grateful.  HOWEVER, Patrick told me that if I WOULD RUN IN FRONT OF HIS HOUSE IN FULL LEATHER GEAR WITH A MOTORCYCLE ESCORT…. he will increase the $10 to $100.00.  So…. I need HELP!

3.  Execution.

a.  Date of my mighty run:  Saturday, July 13, 2013.

b.  Staging area: QUICK TRIP located at I-85 & Pleasantdale Road

4086 PLEASANTDALE RD.
DORAVILLE, GA 30340
c.  Staging Time:  0930 hrs. (9:30 am)
d.  Kick Stand UP (KSU): 0955 hrs (9:55 am),  Quick Trip is approximately 2 miles from Patrick’s home.

 4.  Service Support.

a.  I will provide water / soda’s at Patrick’s home upon successful completion of my run the length of his property line.
b.  If anyone could bring some flags, sure would be nice to prep his yard with a bunch of American Flags!!!
c.  Dolores Thrash can bring your ambulance if it’s available.  I might need oxygen, air conditioning, fluids etc. to bring me back to life.
d.  A motorcycle with a loud sound system playing “gung ho” music might help me make it the length of his property…. Just sayin…..
e.  Large flags would be GREAT!!

 5.  Command and Signal.

a.  The Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer will be said prior to the start of the mission.  Should I complete the run I will be saying a private prayer of “thanks” at the conclusion of the run.

b.  For those who plan on going to the HOTH mission at the VA Center at Clairmont on Saturday, this would be a great opportunity to do two great missions in a short period of time.  Following this escapade, it’s a short ride to to the VA Center!!!
c.  Seriously, anybody that can come by and help me out on this mission, I will be eternally grateful.  In fact, if you participate I will give you a 30 day grace period in which I won’t post any embarrassing photo’s of you!!!
d.   Donations can be made at the following link: https://www.t2trun.org/campaign/display/profile.do?campaignId=16682

 

This past Saturday – guess who went running by my house in full leathers with a full motorcycle escort, sirens screaming, engines roaring, and neighbors wondering,

“What the hell is all that noise, and why is that old biker dude running down the street with a flag?!”

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I had promised him a $100 donation if he ran down the street in full leathers with a motorcycle escort, but little did I know, one of the folks in the Patriot Guard Riders told him they would donate another $200 if he turned around and ran right back up the hill!

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It was an incredible day and incredible gesture! I met some really colorful characters with huge hearts wrapped in black leather – and all of us would love to raise $1000 for Gary, Cpl. Todd Love, and all of the service members who have given so much to protect us!

**Will you click the link and make a donation??**

—> https://www.t2trun.org/campaign/display/profile.do?campaignId=16682 <—

 I can’t promise a ‘drive by’ in full leathers, but I promise you will feel amazingly good about spending that $100!

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Thank you,
Patrick

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.

 

 

11 Years and Counting!

By | Personal Favorites | No Comments

A very happy anniversary to the head honcho and his beautiful wife Angel!

To find out how their celebrity friends help keep their marriage rockin’ and rollin’ check out this post from last year.

Speaking of rock…how do a couple of celebs like Mr. & Mrs. Williams celebrate their anniversary? Here’s a hint:

They’re headed down the Atlanta highway…lookin’ for a love getaway…

That’s right, they saw Georgia natives the B-52s at the fabulous Fox Theatre on Saturday!

Happy Anniversary Patrick and Angel!! What about you, dear reader? Tell us how you rocked this weekend in the comments!

Words We Live By

By | Event Industry, Personal Favorites, PWP-ism | No Comments

I like poems. Not the classical and sometimes theatrical type of poems literature students love to ponder and analyze, but the fun and shallow type that  start with phrases like “Roses are red…” or “I slit a sheet…”. You know, the good stuff!!

I know this is not really a poem, but in the vein of all things fun I typed this little rhyming ditty up after I received a couple of phone calls from surprising sources. It seems the world has been embracing our transition over to corporate events (just over two years ago we ‘specialized’) – our specialty is finally resonating with our industry!!

“Consistent communication of an inclination toward perfection – without erosion of constitution – WILL result in an affirmation of your solution, reduction in your frustration, and in most cases an inflammation in your exclamation!”

-Patrick Williams

Atlanta Botanical Gardens – Get Your Creative Juices Flowing!!

By | Personal Favorites, PWP-ism | No Comments

Every once in a ‘blue moon’ (or red and green Christmas tree in this case), I get truly inspired on a shoot. Such was the case Thursday night at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens!! They have a new Garden Light – Holiday Nights visual spectacular! Here are a couple of my favorites – more to come the full blog post later! And for anyone who is wondering – these images are “straight from the camera”. There is no post production, processing (other than to resize for the web), lightening, darkening, or ANY graphic effects.

 

 

Camera Buying Guides for ALL the Santas Out There!

By | Personal Favorites, PWP-ism, Techie Talk | No Comments

Frequently throughout the year – and especially here around the Holidays – friends, business partners, family, and even complete strangers ask us over here at the studio what kind of cameras we recommend. Where I can discuss and debate the subtle nuances between the $5000 Nikon D3 and the $3000 Nikon D700 all day long – because we use those models every day – I really don’t have a clue what is going on with consumer-targeted [entry level] cameras!

The conversation usually goes something like this…

“I love the D700; it is the most portable of the cameras I use, has an amazing sensor for low-light shooting, fast autofocus, and uses FX lenses.”

“How much is it?”

“The body is $2500 and you can usually get it is a bundled kit for around $3000.”

*Gasp* + silence is generally what I hear the other end of the line… (don’t worry, it’s me not you 😉

After the silence breaks, there is a moment of sharing to follow, “My budget runs between $500 and $1000 for the camera, the memory card, and accessories.”

I reciprocate the sharing, “I am happy to help and certain there are some wonderful cameras in that category, but I don’t even know what the model numbers are…”

Once the sharing is complete and everybody knows my ignorance about their need, the conversation almost always shifts to the topic of whether I would recommend they purchase an entry-level DSLR (digital SLR camera with removable lenses) or a point-and-shoot (uh, point it and shoot).

The bad news: I travel with 150 pounds worth of gear at almost all times, so OF COURSE I am going to recommend top-of-the-line point-and-shoot!
The good news: it is totally a personal decision you have to make, and if you like the way it feels in your hand and you can see yourself toting it on vacation, you probably won’t regret your decision one way or the other.
The REALLY good news: most of the major manufacturers have just recently come out with a MILC; a hybrid type of ultrasmall point and shoot camera with an interchangeable lens system!

Technology… isn’t she beautiful?

In the spirit of being helpful on a subject I know nothing about, I thought I would share a couple of links that came my way just today. I am on the e-mail list for Adorama – camera and technology shop out of New York. They are a very reputable retailer online, and really do a good job of evaluating equipment when it comes out. They provided a great “buying guide” list in their recent e-mail blast, and I’m posting a few of those links here. Reading through all of their information you should gain a great understanding of the differences between the point-and-shoot, DSLR, and the new MILC (Mirrorless Interchangeable-Len Compact) cameras and models. Using the DP Review link below, you can probably find more reviews than you could ever want!

Adorama’s Buying Guide Home Page – look about halfway down the page in the left margin for the buying guide links:
http://goo.gl/d1TjZ

DP Review – a great resource for camera reviews from other users just like you:
www.dpreview.com

Are you the kind of person who likes to buy your equipment in person from a brick and mortar store with real people? I am, and Showcase (in Atlanta) is a local photo store where I buy all of my gear:
www.ShowcaseInc.com

I hope this helps the Santa in you!!

TPS Report on PWP Employee Performance, Evaluations, and Promotions

By | Charlie, Murphy, Personal Favorites, PWP-ism | No Comments

So, we have a couple of employees that have been promoted recently. We would like to take this opportunity to recognize them publicly…

First, we will start with Charlie Williams.

Charlie started with the company just a few short months ago, and thanks to an unwavering enthusiasm for current management, he has already moved up through the ranks to the official roll of GM, or Glee Midget.



Secondly, I would like to give a formal nod to Murphy Williams.

Murphy has been with us for four years now, but it isn’t until the past year when he has truly shown us his talents in completely derailing all office efficiency. He is a master of partially resolving issues, reorganizing workspaces, loud outbursts, and flying trains or planes into walls. For these – and many other – learned and intangible skills, he has recently been promoted to DOD, or Director of Distraction.

If you see these employees wandering through the halls, stop them, pat them on the back, change their diaper, wipe their noses, and commend them for doing an excellent job.

Sincerely-
Management