Flickr’s Camera Roll Beta rocks

Flickr Camera Roll BetaFlickr’s Camera Roll Beta rocks

 

It is not every day that a photo dumpsite comes up with something interesting, let alone helpful for the photographers. But the new camera roll beta from Flickr actually helps solve some of the problems that photographers might have with understanding how their pictures are consumed or viewed.

 

Before camera roll, finding out how people were consuming pictures was to say the least painful. Camera Roll solves this problem for me in an elegant and beautiful way to determine what pictures are popular, how many times they have been viewed (because I am much more interested in specific picture views than full gallery views for weeding purposes) and which ones are the most popular in a given set.

 

This is a great way of seeing how many picture views each individual picture gets. The tabular format is pretty sweet for seeing how many people like a specific picture that you have and then working backwards from there to work out which pictures are the most popular in a gallery. With the one terabyte limit, this makes weeding out pictures so much easier, you simply drop the ones that have the fewest picture views.

 

The ones with the most picture views stay, the ones with the least get deleted off the system in favor of the better ones, or the ones with the most picture views.

 

I am also finding out that with camera roll some of my experiments of “less is more” or “more is more” in terms of driving picture views, this makes the data pulls much more intuitive than digging through the pictures bit by bit, piece by piece.

 

I am really digging on the new camera roll, and I really hope that the Flickr product management group keeps this feature as part of Flickr.

 

The only other feature that I would really love to see come out of Flickr is a shopping cart so that people can purchase pictures from me directly and I get to use their site to make money. It would totally turn Flickr from a dump site into a portfolio site if they were to do that.

 

If you have not had a chance to take a look at the Camera Roll Beta, and start incorporating it into your statistical view of how your pictures are consumed. Now all that remains is a shopping cart, I really want to see people have the ability to purchase pictures from me there. My stuff is not the kind of stuff that is going to show up in a Getty image search, but it is the kind of stuff that someone might purchase.

 

Latex Model Justine

Justine Latex ModelLatex Model Justine

 

I had a great opportunity to work with Justine one last time before she headed off to the big city to boost her career. There is always something wonderful about shiny latex, and taking latex pictures can be a challenge.

 

Latex is great under flash photography, under continuous lighting the shiny sometimes does not work out the way that it needs to work out with the light reflecting off the model so you get the super shiny highlights.

 

One of the interesting challenges of lighting this is to ensure the backdrop stays white, and that the colors pop all the way through the outfit. In the end I used two barn door spots on the background, and then two 30-inch soft boxes for the model to make sure I got something shiny. I do tend to use a four light setup, one set of lights for the background and one set of lights for the model.

 

To make sure I got the shiny on the latex I used a latex polisher and silicone based lubricating gel. The latex polisher was an excellent touch to make sure I got the shiny look and feel while the lubricating gel was all about getting into and out of the latex while giving it that wonderful wet look that is essential to taking good latex pictures. The stark white background was used for the shoot so that I could get the colors to pop off the outfit and give additional texture and vibrancy to the colors.

 

I am still learning how to do amazing latex pictures, but what I find the most interesting about shooting latex is the phenomenal costs associated with purchasing the outfits. Latex models are also a breed apart when it comes to working with the materials. Some of the best suggestions I got on the care and feeding of latex was from the models I work with. In all this is a fun project to work on, and while I wish I could show you much more, I am still plagued by people trolling through Smugmug looking for naughty pictures, so much of what I do has been locked off and is no longer publicly accessible.

 

 

 

Projektor Ebook Available

Projektor Ebook Available

 

I have been able to finish up a lot of the interior space for Projektor, the new studio art book using humans as a canvas for projected art. Personally I think this is one of the best art books I have done to date and I am really excited about seeing the finished PDF’s on the interior design.

 

The sample blurb for the book is:

 

“Welcome to Projektor, an art book using projected images upon human canvases. The idea of projected images goes back to the early days of photography, but saw a lot of use in the early 1900’s. Bauhaus images used projections, polarization, montage, collage, and other techniques to develop unique works of photographic art. Since then the use of this has gone somewhat out of favor, but is still an important aspect of early photographic techniques. This book recreates some of the techniques but using modern digital equipment as part of the process. “ Projektor Self Blurb

 

Personally I am very excited about this book, it has been long in development, and long in hiring the right people to do help with the project. As I tend to go more for project style art work, very organized photo shoots with a limited number of participants it is always fun when you hit the nail on the head right out of the gate. The link to the ebpub at 4.99 is right here. 

 

I hope you love this book as much as I loved doing it, and enclosed are some sample not safe for work pictures by the way so if you decide to go any further in the entry be aware that someone somewhere is going to get offended, and while we can’t stop that, this isn’t Facebook either. You can hit up my ISP, but my ISP and me have already talked about hosting this kind of content on the site.

 

I would really love to get your feedback on the book, and while the cost of production on this one was more expensive than I thought, you can order the hard cover book here (and sorry hard cover self publishing prices as well) for 24.95. Click on the Lulu link below to capture it and purchase it for your own fine art nude collection of books.

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

We are thinking about putting the print editions up on ebay as well, see what we can do with this, we do so few print editions of anything anymore preferring to do kindle editions that it might just be worth taking the more popular kindle editions and doing a physical book of them as well. We will have to see.

 

Lillias Right – Projektor

 

Projektor Lillias Right
Projektor Lillias Right

 

Lady Aera – Projektor

 

Projektor - Lady Aera
Projektor – Lady Aera

 

Justine – Projektor

 

Projektor - Justine
Projektor – Justine

 

I hope you enjoyed the preview images, if you go get the book remember to do a review for us, that is super important to get your feedback either on Amazon or on Lulu, or in the comments below. We will listen and use it to improve our products over time. If you look at our first books and what we are producing now, there is a huge difference, and that is due to user feedback.

 

 

Bring Something Sexy the Movie

Bring Something Sexy the MovieBring Something Sexy the Movie

 

So in case you didn’t know we are part of a Freelance Modeling movie by Rebel and Dark Angel Productions. You can see the teaser trailer right here down below if you are interested in seeing the life of a freelance model.

 

Kristy/Rebel has been one of those folks who inspired me to be a better photographer and take on some of the move interesting art projects like Liquid Light, Projektor and the upcoming idea of “Dark Beauty” although I desperately need to change the name to suit more of what I am going for with the 1920’s 1930’s jazz age photography styles.

 

The teaser trailer is right here:

 

The uncut footage from the liquid light shoot I did with Kristy is right here:

 

In all I am super excited about being in a movie for and about freelance modeling, because this is an important aspect of the industry. I hire only freelance models; I don’t want to work with agency models because all the money does not go to the model. I would much rather the model gets all the cash and calls it good.

 

I also work with freelance models because I enjoy them; they are often freer in emotion and expression than what is coming out of the agency. Plus I get to work with new models, models that I continually seem to rehire depending on the project, and models that are taking an active interest in what I am doing as an art project. I tend to do more art projects than simple fashion or event photography. I have found many agency models to be a bit stiff in how they work, and that seems to be part of the agency system. I need art models, not fashion models and this drives the process.

 

Go check out the movie, check out the web site bring something sexy, and I hope you watch the movie when it comes out, it is going to be a great flick. It was a lot of fun to participate in, and hey it’s our first movie where we are not taking it. That is worth the blog entry and then some.

 

Projektor with Lady Aera

Projektor Lady AeraProjektor with Lady Aera

 

This weekend I was able to shoot the first set in the art book concept we are working on “Projektor”.

 

Working with the only lighting being a 1500 lumen projector is an interesting prospect. We shot raw, 2.5F and around 3 seconds on the shoot. We also shot in bursts of 3, high, low, medium so we could merge the pictures in Lightroom and Photoshop along the way to make sure we were getting a decent exposure. Lots of chimping because of the low light process on this photo shoot because if the model moved during the burst shoot (high, low, regular) the image would come out blurry in the final product.

 

If you want to shoot like this, I highly recommend any 1500 Lumen or better projector, a tripod because no one can hold the camera still enough, and work with the model so that they know low light means a lot of smears. My defect rate on this shoot was somewhere around 40% (where I am deleting about 40% of the pictures I take) because they are blurry or otherwise show model movement. It is hard holding still for three or so seconds.

 

You also want to make sure that the studio is warm, that is one of the things about the studio I work out of, it might have heaters, but they don’t work. Most of the rooms in the studio are cold and if you have a model, posing nude, cold will not work out all that well.

 

Make sure you do use an MUA for this, even if the backgrounds are heavy and it is hard to make out the makeup, you still want to have a period makeup job for this depending on what period of makeup you want. For this we chose to use a 1920’s style makeup routine, heavy eyeliner, skin lightener, deep red lipstick to work with some of the images that were lighter than the darker backgrounds.

 

In all, shooting in low light is a lot of fun, but practice first with a friend before you pay for a model to do the work. Camera sensors differ and it can be difficult to work in low light. It can be amazingly rewarding though, and a skill worth developing for your portfolio. Sadly, most of these pictures need to remain behind passwords for the time being because I don’t want to deal with the voyeur web sites.

 

Advice on taking pictures in a riot

Occupy SeattleAdvice on taking pictures in a riot

 

This is probably one of the most dangerous things that you can do as a photographer. When the press gets shot at, and photographers get arrested for taking pictures of Ferguson, you know that you are entering a dangerous environment. While Photography is not a crime, there is a wide held belief in law enforcement that taking pictures of the police in action is illegal.

 

Plan on not resisting what ever the police tell you to do.

 

First things first, make sure your camera is connected to the Internet so that as you take pictures they are uploaded to a secure cloud service like Flickr, Smugmug, Zenfolio or other service that can take the storage of pictures as you go. I also highly recommend taking advantage of the Comcast XFinity public WIFI and carrying your own cell hot spot for your camera. You can expect jamming or at least the use of Stingray equipment so do not contact anyone on your phone just use it to upload your images to the net. Police will have a copy of everything you send when they use Stingray, and it might not transmit to the Internet depending on how Law Enforcement has the system set up.

 

You might want to transfer data laterally using Blue Tooth to a number of connected devices (more below).

 

In some ways it would be better to use an IPhone or something else that connects automatically to the internet, however you can set up your camera to use a WIFI enabled card on your camera like EyeFI and/or Transcender cards that way you have your local copy and one that is already on the internet. It is possible to jam the signals from your camera, which was seen in Hong Kong during the recent protests, but you can always use Blue Tooth to share the pictures laterally amongst a number of cell phones or connected devices.

 

If you transfer data laterally via Blue Tooth, carry a spare cell phone on you to store data, or travel with a friend that can also try to upload the pictures for you onto the Internet. The thing to remember is that you can have 7 devices connected, and that there is one master node with six slave nodes, however, the slave nodes can be masters in another mesh. This does work, but requires set up before you get to the event, and understand that you will want to have an in-depth mesh for this process to work. However it worked in Hong Kong to successfully get data out of the local Law Enforcement jamming of cell phones and networks.

 

Use twitter as a sending channel as well on the spot understanding that the signals can and probably are being intercepted. What you share with the Internet Law Enforcement will also be keeping an eye on.

 

If you are independent, hang out with a local news crew; some of the pictures I have taken have been from right behind a local news crew. We hung out, we talked, I told them I was an independent stringer, and I sold pictures to the local TV station while I was at it. This is one safeguard, as Law Enforcement will see you with a local news crew and make the assumption you are news and leave you alone along with the news crew. Don’t be an idiot about it, move around the crowd to get the pictures you want, but when it gets hairy, be close to a news crew.

 

Use professional equipment; using your IPhone to take pictures immediately says you are not a pro. Take professional DSLR gear with you; use your IPhone in your pocket to get the images onto the Internet. Your DSLR gear can take video as well as stills, you goal is to make sure you have access to the images and video you took off your devices in case you are arrested and have your gear confiscated.

 

Always cooperate with Law Enforcement requests, if they want you on the sidewalk get on the sidewalk.

 

Don’t argue, don’t complain, just do it.

 

A number of times Law Enforcement has after the protest asked me for copies of the pictures, that one is up to you. Your goal is to sell the pictures; you can sell them to Law Enforcement as much as you can sell them to the press. That one is up to your own ideas, but as long as they are in a public gallery Law Enforcement can also download them unless you have set up to sell the pictures first.

 

Cooperate with Law Enforcement, if they tell you to move on, move on. Find another vantage point to take the pictures from.

 

Stay out of the way, your goal is to document, not get arrested. Have a camera for close in, but if you are moved out of the way along with other media, find a roof top vantage point, and a super fast F1.8 200MM or 400MM lens to work with.

Try not to look like a sniper, police will have an issue with that, I highly recommend an orange reflective vest and a sign that says “PRESS” so that the police do not thing that you are a sniper.

At least you will get some good long distance shots. Shoot RAW to get as much data as possible, but if not shoot JPG Fine. The problem is going to be the upload and distance from the picture. Make sure you have plenty of remaining room on your cell phone or hot spot plan to cover the event. If you think you are going to shoot a full 32 Gig card, plan accordingly with your data plan so you don’t get over runs and the higher cost associated with that.

 

Be careful about flying drones around the area if you are using one. The FAA might have declared it a no flight zone. Make sure you are streaming the video to a storage system in case the drone gets shot down or gets interfered with or jammed. Use a cheap drone with a cheap camera because it will be likely that you will lose it. Fry’s electronics has a good collection of sub $100.00 dollar drones that have enough lift for a small video camera. You can hack a small video camera like the $20.00 Bang Good HD video camera and connect it to the drone and transmitter. You need to transmit it and connect it to power, but that won’t be hard to do either. Have a separate power source for the camera so you don’t interfere with the battery life of the drone you are using. In all you can cobble a good video drone for under $100.00 if you are of the type. You will need to be aware that they run on the same frequency as Cell Phones WIFI 2.4GHZ, and also subject to jamming. Some transmitters have multiple channels and work in the 5.4 GHZ range, so test your drone before you fly to make sure audio and video is coming through and not being jammed.

 

However, cheap disposable drones are an exciting advance in photography for covering important events. That cannot be understated, it keeps the photographer safe and somewhat untraceable, while capturing amazing photography and video of an event.

 

While the goal here is not to antagonize Law Enforcement, being an independent stringer for covering riots and other actions carries its own risks. If you are detained expect your devices to be gone through, and in some cases the video will be copied or erased from your devices. It is easy to recover the data using commercial off the shelf forensics tools, but you might need help with using them, or pay for the data recovery.

 

Be prepared, be realistic, and above all be safe when doing this. There is something sweet about close in photography, but the inherent danger might require that you move out of the way and go remote.

 

Kickstarter for your photography project

kickstarterPhotoKickstarter for your photography project

 

With the news today that Kickstarter was moving from Amazon payments to Stripe Kickstarter is back in the news. In the photography category there are some 1259 photography projects that have been successful, while there are 759 that have not been successful.

 

The good part about moving over to stripe is that the payments experience suddenly got a whole lot easier, and you don’t have to leave the Kickstarter web site. Stripe looks like a fairly solid company, and if my own experience with trying to use Amazon payments it might be time to review my application to run my own Kickstarter for Projektor. I got hung up in Amazon Payments, I am a company, I have my own EIN, but Amazon payments would not accept it, and not let me have access to it to make sure I typed it in correctly. There is nothing more fun than a logic loop in a program that says something is wrong, and then does not let you fix it. Since then my own Kickstarter has not been deployed because of that.

 

On the idea of running my own Kickstarter for Projektor I went and did some homework, you can pull up funded and non-funded projects on Kickstarter and review the ones that were successful or non-successful. From the initial data pull it looks like books, unique projects that have a value, and some gallery shows were successfully funded

 

What does not look like it was successfully funded were requests to purchase new gear, start a photographic company but there were also some really interesting projects in their like photography for breast cancer, 3D objects, and other items that would have been interesting.

 

I think that in a lot of ways what matters is how well you interact with people on projects. I know that in my history of backing Kickstarter projects the folks doing this are all doing the same thing.

 

Weekly updates.

Marshaling their friends to raise the noise level

Last week push (most projects get a lot of funds in the last 24 hours)

Develop a flash community of backers; get them to share on their social media

Show production work in your kickstarter

Offer exclusive content to your kickstarter backers only

Answer questions from the crowd

Keep the project alive by not being too annoying but every couple of days, checking it and seeing what is happening with it

 

Stripe payments are a good thing as it might open the door for more people who get suck in Amazon Payments like we did. But having a successful Kickstarter project is even better. If you want the list of successful projects click this link, if you want the list of unsuccessful projects click this link. Let us know if you are doing a kickstarter, we might just help you plug it.

 

 

 

 

Art, Dreams, Design, Reality