Tag Archives: Photograph

Studio 5 Graphics Year in Review 2015

Bre Projector NSFW
Bre Projector NSFW

Studio 5 Graphics Year in Review 2015

 

I know I have not posted since April of 2015, but it has been interesting even if I don’t write amazing things every day about taking pictures. These year end reviews are important to me to help me bench mark where I am and what I have done over the year. One of the hallmarks of 2015 was the reduction in picture taking because of you know life and things like that. 2014 I took somewhere on the order of 28,000 pictures, 2015 saw about 18,000 pictures taken, but the pictures that are coming out are cleaner, brighter, and jacked up, I’m finding my signature now, and you can tell a S5G picture just by looking at it.

 

It is funny where my pictures end up, that will not stop I think.

 

The biggest changes that came this year was watermarking, with the sheer amount of appropriation and borrowing I decided in August to start watermarking everything and pushing up the low res images rather than the full high end images online. This caused no decrease in traffic, but a wad of name recognition that would do a porn star proud. It is just a simple watermark, easily removed by those who chose to do it, but with the amount of meta data in the images now a person has to be really dedicated to remove all the watermarks as they are embedded throughout the image and metadata now.

 

Now to the numbers, we know that was what you are reading this for; image views are how I am measuring success in getting my name out there. Sales are how I am measuring success in turning this into a full time gig.

 

Flickr, starting number 30,631,971, ending number today 53,726,372 comes out to 23,094,401 million picture views this year. Good times on that one seriously. I did not post to Flickr as much as I could have, and keeping somewhat steady with last years 20,408,331 million picture views is a small gain of an 11.64% increase in picture views with some 10,000 pictures uploaded. I also saw a sharp increase in followers, almost doubling going from 700 to 1,587 followers now. Flickr continues to be the top performing site I post at, with a great group of followers the community is strong on this one. We have won awards on Flickr this year, which was new and exciting to experience. As always we really honestly wish that we had a way to sell pictures on Flickr.

 

Smugmug, total for the year comes out to 11,092,337 million picture views, which is just a tad lower than last year’s 13,500,000 million picture views. A 17% decrease in picture views. This year we did not have the great Smugmug boudoir hack, but because of that hack, we have a small and loyal following going on for our work. We also had some sales on Smugmug this year that was nice to have. We posted almost everything into Smugmug this year and used it as a drop site warehouse as we have done almost since inception.

 

Deviant Art – meh, it’s dead, we still have it, but not really using it, we posted maybe a 100 pictures this year and got 17,520 picture views. Time to shut this sucker down. It’s not really an art site anymore, it’s a site where children post their crappily drawn My Little Pony Friendship is magic shit that would be better on their parents refrigerator. Seriously if you are 13 DA is probably awesome and edgy, but it simply is not a place for anything else at this point.

 

Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook – we really tried to use them this year and are seeing a little fame, just a few hundred followers and some likes. Most of what we do is not safe for work, so Tumblr really has been a key for us as we really do not want to spend time in limbo while having our Instagram and Facebook accounts shut down. We would dearly love to have a space that we could post our stuff without having to worry about the morality patrol. You know it is just skin folks. You are all naked under your clothes.

 

This years total, 34,204,258 picture views, with book sales going strong over the year and being a primary source of income. Not many new titles this year, it’s been one of those times where I wanted to cut back and try other things, but 2016 promises to be even more interesting as I have my ideas back and have some amazing photo shoots set up in my head. 2016 is going to be an interesting year.

 

 

Using Deviant Art for Stock Photography

Fantasy Couple Using Deviant Art for Stock Photography

 

Some photographers end up using a lot of stock photography, and sadly many of the stock photography sites out there can be pretty lame. The pictures are not what you want to use, the keyword system does not cough up what you are looking for, and in other ways they simply don’t have what you are looking for.

 

The good part is that there is an excellent alternative to stock photography sites for some of the work you want to do. One of them is Deviant Art, especially if you are looking for fantasy backgrounds for your images like the one we used for our cover picture for this article. It is a stock background from Shinobinaku from deviant art who left this beautiful arch for people to use for their stock photography needs.

 

Below is a short video on how to use deviant art for stock photography.

 

 

Some ideas though you need to be aware of.

 

Not all stock photography is free for any use, sometimes the people who make the images want final editorial approval of the image, other times they want to make sure you are not using it for any commercial purposes (this includes advertising on your web site if you use it). There are other restrictions that people put up that can kill off the creative flow.

 

While at times you want to just say screw it, it is better to ignore any stock photography that comes with any encumbrances to your creative output. If they want final creative say so, or no commercial purposes, respect that and move on even if it was the best background creative image you could imagine. In the longer run it is not worth the hassle.

 

I hope you like the video, the audio is a little weak, so you might need to turn up the volume.

 

When Shooting in Rapid Mode makes Sense or Why Spray and Pray can be an option

When Shooting in Rapid Mode makes Sense or Why Spray and Pray can be an option

Using Available Lighting in Photography

We all hear about spray and pray as a derogatory remark about when someone is simply clicking the shutter or shooting in burst mode on their camera. The implication is that the person shooting the shot is an untested noob, but the reality is when you need to shoot in burst mode, you have to shoot in burst mode.

Low light, lots of action, go burst mode, shooting wild life, go burst mode, shooting action anything, shoot burst mode, or as “photographers” will call it, spray and pray. Got a guy running towards you with a sword recreating a roman war scene, shoot burst mode, got someone dropping a bowling ball off a ladder in low light onto someone sporting a cinder block, shoot burst mode.

Sorry folks, not every shot can be carefully orchestrated so you only have to take one shot. There is always someone derping, there was movement on the hands, there were eyes closed, there was something that is going to totally invalidate that picture. Event photography like side shows, burlesque, darts, archery, maybe roller derby all means you can’t sit there and finesse the shot, you gotta shot when you gotta shoot and try not to over run your camera buffer.

Small children, animals, you name it where the event cannot be controlled and the process is unpredictable because of large groups because there is always someone derping with an eye closed or something else, shoot in burst mode, or as the “professionals” will call it, spray and pray.

We all know that spray and pray is not for every purpose, like in the studio where everything is controlled down to the lighting. Over time as you get more comfortable with your camera and the situation around you, you will know when to take the single right moment frame, or when to burst mode on your camera. That is part of the trick of knowing your gear, knowing where you are, and knowing what the situation calls for when taking a picture.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you how to take a picture, there are a lot of darn fine mechanics out there with a camera, but few artists. Not everyone is going to be Ansel Adams, we just can’t be, shoot the way you want to shoot, shoot what works best for you, you are the photographer. If you want to take 100 shots of the same thing do it, if you want to take one shot of the bowling ball landing on someone’s chest, that is your call, not some other photographer’s call to tell you how to take a picture. It’s just that simple, all the other photographer does is show he is a diva, and I think we have all had enough of prima donna photographers.

 

 

 

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Fantasy Photo Art

Fantasy Photo ArtFantasy Photo Art

There are all sorts of fantasy pictures out there, but some of the most heavily processed pictures outside of fashion photography are going to be the overt fantasy pictures. While I grew up with people like Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, and Carlos Diaz it is hard to find anyone who is recreating the look and feel of those illustrations in photography. First of all these kinds of pictures take a lot of time to put together in Photoshop, although OnOne Perfect Suite does cut down on the processing time with equal if not better results. You are still going to need Photoshop at some point to help manage the layers and smooth out those things that OnOne Perfect Suite will not smooth out.

To show how this really works I should probably make a movie and load it up on YouTube, and that is on the project list of things to do. Which is a really long list, so this is one of those eventually things as I get around to it and clear my plate of things to do today. I would highly recommend starting with a base picture of the scene you would like to create. Have the model pose as close to or as perfectly as you would like, I also recommend a non-cluttered background. Most of these were taken outdoors, and when you are trying to delete the background, plants, trees and other things you do not want in the picture take time to remove regardless of the software you use to set the mood and tone of the picture. Some photographers I know will shoot on a green screen or chromatic screen to make removing the background a lot easier. I tend to shoot these outdoors without the use of a green screen because moving a prop like a huge four ton rock into the studio just isn’t going to happen.

I recommend a 45 degree gradient for the lighting if you are going to go for a true Julie Bell or Carlos Diaz feel to the fantasy pictures you create. Then insert the background, components, and other mood lighting effects you want after you delete the background. Also you want to add texture and lines to the picture in Photoshop filters to make the lines pop like they would in an illustration. If you know your model well you can also change the mood around to suit the personality of the model, for example one of the models in this is a Goth, so making her dark and moody suited her personality and she ended up liking the pictures enough to turn them into her facebook profile image for a while. In all it depends on what you are going for with Fantasy Pictures, for some it is all about taste, for some it is all about recreating gods, goddesses, and trying to bring back some of the 1970’s old school style of fantasy art works.

Fantasy Photo Art

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Event Photography FaerieCon West 2013

Event Photography FaerieCon West 2013Event Photography FaerieCon West 2013

I think I love event photography much more than I do just about any other kind of photography. The best part about taking pictures at events is that you never know what you will find, how people will react, and you get some of the best candid pictures because people don’t notice you.

Events are amazing to take pictures of because they can be chaotic and random. FaerieCon West 2013 was the first real event photography of the year. I am still going through the Emerald City Comic Con 2013 pictures and will post a good gallery as soon as I have time to sit down and process them.

The unique aspect of an event is motion, low light, and crowd dynamics. You never know when someone is going to walk into the middle of a perfect shot. You will take many pictures of the back of people’s heads. The error rate, or throw out rate is going to be something on the order of ½ of the pictures you take due to motion blur, people walking into the shot, or other adverse events that will happen. You should be shooting with Aperture priority, a high ISO and a fast lens at least 2.8F (preferably a 1.8F 70-200 Zoom). You never know where you are going to be in the show when something interesting happens, sometimes they are at a distance, so you want to make sure you can zoom in on the action.

Otherwise, enjoy the pictures, let me know what you think.

Event Photography FaerieCon West 2013

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1940’s Pin Up Style with Kris Inspired

 

Kris Inspired - pin up model
Kris Inspired – pin up model

1940’s Pin Up Style with Kris Inspired

I had this really nice opportunity to work with Kris Inspired who is an amazingly wonderful model to work with. The pin up shoot was part of a Femme LTD photo shoot where photographers and models can get together around a bunch of classic cars and have a ton of fun taking pictures, eating food, and otherwise just enjoying the day. I love these kinds of shoots because you get to work with a wide range of models and experience types. You also get to work with a wide range of photographers and their experience levels to help balance things out. If a group shoot is done right, you can end up with a really warm happy feeling.

Of course the general rules apply, if you are shooting over someone’s shoulder you should ask if that is cool. If they say no, swap out lenses to something more long range and stay well back from where they are and try not to get in the way. It is fun watching someone who is used to taking modeling pictures and posing people, you can learn a ton though osmosis if you are paying attention. Oh and watch for that bottle of water in the back ground, and people in the back ground, and if you have to start talking about being photo bombed because it is going to happen. These are always a lot of fun and helps the photographer learn a ton, and working with models like Kris, you should give these kinds of shoots a try.

 

 

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Holiday Photography Workshop with Patrick Andraste

latex model

 

I had an amazing opportunity to attend a Holiday Photography Workshop with Patrick Andraste, and this is one of those times where I learned a ton just by listening, watching, and seeing what I could incorporate into my style with the points they were giving out. While not everything could be incorporated into a six hour photo shoot, the level of amazing pictures that came out of this photo shoot for me technically and professionally have been way beyond what I have taken in the past. That is what these shoots should be about, learning, growing, and getting a ton of amazing pictures you didn’t think you could take.

Patrick and his crew really made for an easy atmosphere at the photo shoot. With everyone really relaxed, and willing to share what they had or knew this really opened the door to just having fun. Using a minimal set, with some of the finest models I have ever worked with, the whole workshop just came together. The good part is that the photographers who were there to learn were also just in the mood to work the floor and have fun. We were all sharing our camera settings, our pictures with each other, and generally getting along and sharing smokes along the way. It is when you hit this kind of synergy in the shoot that you really start getting really good pictures, with excellent people to support you, back you up, and offer applicable advice.

If you get the chance and are in Seattle, then you should attend one of Patrick’s workshops. He is a fetish photographer, so it might not be everyone’s bag. Even I had doubts when I walked into the door as to if this was the kind of photography I wanted to take, but with a focus on taking excellent pictures, the minimization of true fetish work, and the “let’s just have fun with it” attitude you didn’t experience anything dark and dreary. Rather this was a photo shoot where everyone was bouncing ideas off each other and sharing making it more of a fun weird fashion shoot than anything else. This was one of those “once in a while” experiences that make for a fun productive shoot. Most photographers who were there shot around 1000 pictures (I of course and as always shot way over that number because of my style of taking pictures), which is a lot of stuff to go running through. There is nothing more rewarding than taking pictures you didn’t think you were technically capable of taking, and this is ending up being one of my more popular shoots on line. Most of the pictures are very safe for work, some are not, so if you go trotting out to the galleries you will want to do so with the idea that there might be naked people in the pictures.

Here is a gallery view from Smugmug – which is totally safe for work – if you want to see the cherry picked not safe for work pictures – trot on over to Deviant Art – that is where they are going up for right now. I am so rating this one as one of the best photography workshops I have attended ever, and looking forward to his next one – you can check out Patrick’s stuff on his web site right here.

 

 

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