Tag Archives: Seattle

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

New eBook Demons with Poetry by Mikhail Lermntov

New eBook Demons with Poetry by Mikhail LermntovNew eBook Demons with Poetry by Mikhail Lermntov

 

We make picture books, usually for the kindle, although some of them we will print up from time to time. This year we are kicking off some changes in how we do eBooks based on the feedback we got from customers over on Amazon. There is nothing better than a good review, and even a marginal review can offer some good insight into the book.

 

You can purchase the book Demons here.

 

The biggest issue (3+ reviews) was that we didn’t include any text in our picture books. Rather we just focused in on the art, but that was not quite what people were looking for we started going through some of the older books, finding amazing stuff written around the turn of the century, the 1800’s to be precise and we found this amazing author Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov, a Russian poet and play writer. He is a lot like Edgar Allen Poe, and you know if you are into horror Goth hopelessness then Poe is your guy.

 

We had been working on a number of demon pictures, and decided to marry the two together.

 

The book of poetry that was used for this book was written in 1918 with the original poetry written before 1840. The document we used scanned by the Internet Archive. The book in its entirety reads like a play, and in some ways was probably meant to be a production piece. The Publisher of the original book was Douglas and Foulis of Edinburg after being translated by Robert Burness.

 

Mikhail Yurievich Lermontov was a fascinating person to read about. Essentially a rebel he was exiled on multiple occasions by Czar Nicholas for being irreverent. He seems like the kind of person that would do well in this day and age.

 

By no means did we use the entire book, we picked and chose what we thought would work best as an accompaniment to the pictures we had produced. There is something elegant about Victorian Poetry that sums up that age of steam, science, and the holding onto fairy tales, demons, faeries, and other assorted phantasmagoria that ran rampant through the common person as the age of science began to take root and take hold of mans thinking. As the Witch Craft delusion began to fade, so did the mystery of the countryside. Along with the loss of demons, we also lost the fae and the magical countryside.

 

You can read the book in its entirety from the Internet Archive at https://archive.org/details/demonthe00lermrich and it is worth working through the archaic language to understand that this was written 170 some odd years ago, and printed 100 years ago. It is worth reviving older books long past copyright so that the art, the words, the emotions and the feelings can be translated into more modern language while retaining the wonder, fear and hope of a long forgotten age.

Projektor – New art book

Projektor a Justine Nude in Texturenew art book

 

For those of us who have a deep love of what was happening in the 1920’s post      World War I as the world exploded in relief from the end of the first industrial        mechanized war, Projektor is for you.

 

There are main characters in the Bauhaus photography using sharp contrasting shadows, projected images, collage and other ways of putting together an image that would be of interest to the public. Add to that the graphics, graphic design, font design, and the influences through furniture, fashion, industrial design and you pretty much have a movement that influenced a generation between the two World Wars.

 

Projektor is a book that is focused on rediscovering some of the enthusiasm for the era, and the art that was produced by using models as a living canvas with projected images on them.

 

The same projector can be used if you followed any of Liquid Light processes that we had set up and talked about earlier in the year. You want a clean white wall, and you want to shoot only under the light that the projector gives out to the model. This requires a tripod, and exposures of 30 seconds to 60 seconds. Everyone has to stand really still, and the model needs to be nude to get the full effect of the image.

 

It seems like it is going to be a fun project to do that will end up as a book. We are thinking about doing this as a kickstarter, but probably won’t go in that direction, too many hurdles and too many unknowns for a project I can self fund if I have to, and see through its completion.

 

We will be talking about Projektor throughout the year and hope to have it done by midyear as a paperback and hardcover print on demand book. We are also planning on doing photography by project this year, specific projects that we will set aside time and resources as long as the project seems viable to do.

 

Welcome to 2015, as we try to expand where we are going to give it specific products that we can then turn around and sell, it is going to be one amazing year for us I think. Feel free to chime in, we have a lot of ideas, some of them are going to extend well into 2016 and beyond because the projects are so complex to pull off. We will give out all the details of the pictures as we take them so you know how to do the same thing.

 

 

So your naughty pictures on Smugmug got hacked

So your naughty pictures on Smugmug got hackedSo your naughty pictures on Smugmug got hacked

It seems that on February 7th, and ongoing through the end of last night people were trolling Smugmug and Zenfolio for all those naughty boudoir pictures that people have been taking and putting behind a password. The good part is that the link was taken down at the site collecting them, and the admin of the site was being pretty cool about it even if it is a voyeur web site. It was pretty easy to find with all the traffic going on about how this was happening.

Really your stuff wasn’t hacked, it was more using an automated scraper to find anything with the word nude in the title, then a quick automated check to see if you were using any one of the 100 most commonly used passwords for the gallery.

example of geolocation of IP Address

So if you used a name or the password password you can pretty much so figure out that someone saw the pictures who is not the client you were taking pictures of at the time. So nope, not really hacking, more like some pretty effective social engineering and those are two things in my mind. My adventure with this started last night when one of the most impressive smugmug support heroes gave me a quick shout that someone was trying to guess the password to a gallery I posted a year ago, I am kind of flattered that they would try this, and I am guilty of using password hints up through this morning when I reset all the passwords on my protected galleries. I am also thankful that really nothing got to where it should not have gone because I use at least some sort of password security, and now the hint shows the old password when the password has changed just because I want to be a jerk about all this.

From there it was a quick dive through my Smugmug Organizer and resetting about 2 dozen passwords, then going on a hunt, while I am a photographer by hobby, I am a computer security person by trade, so this was a great way to exercise just a few of my skills this morning. But you might want to keep an eye out on your traffic levels, looking for anything unusual, and if you have a pop on a password protected gallery, change the password on it. This one will come around again, now that people know to do this, hey there it is.

Geolocate the IP Addresses, Smugmug will do that for you, check your referrers too if you allowed embedding along the way. Smugmug recommends setting the password before uploading, that way it does not get slurped into the RSS feed of smugmug while you are uploading, don’t use the same password, and for the love of all that you believe in don’t use an easily guessed password. Don’t use password hints, turn off Right Click Save As, and one site recommended not to post them online at all, meet up with the client and hand them a CD of their pictures. Of course that won’t matter if your computer gets hacked, but that is also a risk we face in this day and age.

SLRLounge also has some good advice to follow along the way as well.

So check your stuff out today, don’t wait, while the main thread is down at the creeper site (voyeur site), it does not mean that this won’t happen again, you might as well take good steps now to secure your stuff. And keep your clients from showing up in places they didn’t think they would show up in. There is nothing quite so much as to ruin your day as having a client ask you why their pictures are all over a porn site.

 

 

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Using Available Lighting in Photography

Using Available Lighting in PhotographyUsing Available Lighting in Photography

One of the things I think a lot of photographers try to do is bend light to do interesting things with photography. I got lucky enough to work with an amazing model, a dark hallway that was back lit, a couple of candles and a flashlight. It helped that I had a trusty camera assistant to help me out along the way with holding the flashlight, and the model was awesome for putting up with me while we futzed around trying to get everything just right to make this picture work.

Basically this is a standard silhouette shot with a LED flashlight to help offset the back lighting from a set of fluorescent lamps in the background. Ratchet down the F Stops to 3.5, and shot around 1600 ASA to pull this off. It was a truly dark tunnel in the Seattle Underground, the funny part is that they had an IR camera in the hallway to spot ghosts.

This next picture is all natural lighting, there was a single spot out of frame that I had her stand below next to the coffin so that we could try to get some kind of ghost light or god light on the subject, while barely lighting the rest of the room. Same settings on the camera as the spot was a low wattage light like you see in restaurants now. The coffin and other parts of the Victorian set design was provided by teh location, if you want to have an eerie creepy location, then Spooky Seattle is the place to do a photo shoot, there are a lot of places to do interesting things with light in their space.

Using Available Lighting in Photography

Bending light to be interesting is a huge challenge for me, and I like it when I can get something to work just the way I want it to work. If you want to see the rest of the gallery from this model and this shoot you can go here to check it out or check at the bottom of the page for the partial gallery. The shoot was Haunted New Years at Spooky Seattle offices down on Cherry and 1rst Ave, Pioneer Square. Fun place to shoot, but it is available for renting if you want to use the location and some of the underground Seattle areas as well. Seattle has an interesting history with a lot of pockets like this to take pictures in.

 

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SEO for Photographers

SEO for PhotographersSEO for Photographers

Well the book is out and I hope that you really enjoy it. It is just a couple of days old so through Friday we are offering the book for free so that people get a chance to read it and let me know what they think. I hope that people write reviews for it on Amazon, the book is right here, and if you downloaded it for free this week, please feel free to write a review. I am really interested in hearing back what you think of it.

I know when we think about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) we have a hard time picking out keywords, and trying to describe the picture in 400 characters or less in some cases. This book really pulls out everything I know about getting picture views and following people through a web site to see what they do, where they go, and how long they stay there. What images or movies are the most popular, and how to attempt to sell them to people who are looking at the pictures you are taking.

I generally do not take pictures that people can like in public, and as I work my way through the vintage nude series, something like SEO for Photographers has been important in getting attention. I have already crossed over two million picture views for the year, and if you know anything about e-commerce, it is all about views. The more views, the more chance that someone will actually purchase something, and that is why this book is important, it really dives deep into the things I do to get those amazing picture views. In all this has been a fun book to write, and put together.

There are a ton of pictures, a ton of good ideas, a bunch of different ways of using site keyword clouds to pick out the ones that people are always looking for. The book goes into how to balance Flickr and SmugMug and Tumblr and everyplace else you might post pictures to. We also look at how to balance 500PX, it is a fun site, but has some interesting tweaks that people might not be all that aware of in how 500PX pulse actually works.

The bottom line to all this is to keep on posting, keep on taking pictures, keep on doing the media things you do and have some fun with it. Picture views are not everything, selling pictures is awesomely fun and sometimes happens when you are wondering if anyone is noticing. But the key is using the right keywords to attract the right internal audience. In all, I really hope you like this book, and through January 25th, it is free on Kindle right here.

 

 

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