To Cold for the Heater

To Cold for the Heater

It is too cold for the heater.  My little 1500W heater normally keeps my office quite warm.  However, today, it just can’t put out enough heat to combat the 7 to 12 degree cold outside.

I have a portrait session at 2pm so I started the big heater in the studio early.  It too was struggling to get things warmed up.  This is a bad cold snap and I’ll be happy when temperatures get back to normal.

I don’t mind working in the cold as long as my toes and fingers are warm.  However, I don’t want my clients to feel uncomfortable.  It makes for a bad experience if you’re shivering or have goosebumps.  It doesn’t make for a good portrait.

The Session

The session was fun.  Matt and Becca put a lot in to their wardrobe and planning.  Becca’s hair style was PERFECT, and Matt looked like a General Authority from the 1950s.  I hope they had as much fun as I did.

copyright 2017 db walton
Matt and Becca Baker

Matt also bought a fedora to wear.  Boy, when he put that on I thought I was looking at Harold B. Lee (without the glasses).

I looked at a lot of 1940-1950 pictures of movie stars (like Bogart and Bacall) to get ideas for the poses and lighting.  This next one is one of my favorites…

copyright 2017 db walton
Matt and Becca Baker

Seneca Falls Shoot

Seneca Falls Shoot

I went to a Seneca Falls shoot today with Finger Lakes Professional Photographers. We met down by the river to photograph a couple of young ladies.  The theme – outdoor portraiture.

It was a time for me to experiment with my speedlights.  Only after the fact did I remember I brought the foldable wagon with me.  Had I remember, I would have done more with my lights.

copyright 2017 db walton - Seneca Falls Shoot
Model: Emily

Mind on Route 66

My mind has been on Route 66.  It appears sponsors are starting to come forward.  I got emails from several today.

The short list is this:  Bay Photo (exclusive photo lab category), Nataliacha, Fine Art by DB, On1 Software, Anthropics Software and Alien Skin Software.

We’re going to implement a Sponsor a Meal category.  This way, small businesses can do a sponsorship for only $25, get a link and a mention.

Inconsistency

I’ve now ordered the same salad about 4 times from a restaurant.  Every time I’ve had it it has been different.  Different ingredients, different preparation, and different plating.

Does this restaurant not realize that inconsistency drives away repeat customers?

That’s one of the things McDonald’s gets right.  You order a Big Mac and you’re going to get a Big Mac.  Their people are trained on how it should look, what should go on it, and one ordered in Macedon should be the same as one ordered in San Francisco, California.

The sad part is, the first time I ever ordered the salad was the best.  It simply hasn’t been the same since then.

SEO and Websites

SEO and Websites

You really don’t know how much you know until you take a class on a certain subject.  I discovered tonight I know more about SEO and Websites than I initially thought.  At our photography meeting we had someone come and talk about SEO and websites.

The thing I hate about SEO is they are always changing the rules.  Since Google is the most popular search engine, they pretty much set the rules.  And, by changing the rules it helps them make more money.  Whether I like it or not, I’ve got to work to stay ahead of the curve.

Maynard Ferguson

When I got to my meeting I saw my colleague had a portrait of Maynard Ferguson on his wall.  I commented about it, and he was a bit surprised I knew who Maynard Ferguson was.  I had to explain I was a trumpet player and Maynard Ferguson was my idol back in the day.

Portrait Critique

Instead of having a print competition, we had a print critique.  Had it been a print competition, there would have been scores from 70 up to 85.  It was a good exercise for everyone.  When you look at a photo and can identify what is good and what is not good, it is as useful as being able to take a good photograph.

 

Grab and Go

Grab and Go

They asked me to show my Grab and Go kit at the FLPP meeting today.  As I unpacked it, someone commented, “Let’s see if he can get it all back inside the bag when he’s done.”  No problem.  I showed them.

What a Grab and Go kit is a kit I made so if someone wants on-location portraits I can grab it, throw it in the backseat of my car, and go.  I don’t have to fuss with taking apart lighting stands in the studio.  The kit is all self-contained.  The only thing it doesn’t have is my camera (which is too expensive to store one of those in there too.)

Elizabethe is getting ready for the Canal Connection Business After Hours which will be a tour of the house tomorrow night.  She’s making sure everything is presentable and  ready for the tour.

On my way to the FLPP meeting she asked me to stop and pick up some farm-fresh eggs.  She plans to water-glass them for storage.  She says stored in water-glass the eggs will keep 6 to 12 months.  The big problem has been finding sodium silicate.  I would have thought you could get it at a local masonry store. However, they don’t seem to exist like they used to.

She found some on-line, but it was already a solution and a bit expensive. They wanted $12 for a pint.  That’s a bit for a chemical that’s basically sand and sodium.  She’s going to continue to call around to see if she can find it in powder form.

Workshop 2013 Day 2

I finished my cat portrait. (Can you call a painting of a cat a portrait?) We then did an oil painting of the instructor’s granddaughter. I finished that too, and we’re now working on a watercolor portrait of a young girl.

Last year’s class with Jim Cunningham was good, but it wasn’t as detailed as this class. Helen is making us paint (instead of copy/clone). I left class with my head swimming in circles. My brain is shot. I’ll post some of them when I get a chance.

This is not easy stuff. You’ve got to keep up with the instructor and other students, and although she gives us time to work on them, she expects us to stay on schedule. This isn’t a complaint. I like it this way. It’s just physically and mentally taxing.

Largest Group Shot of My Career

This morning I got ready to do the largest group shot of my career. This is the type of thing you can’t fully plan for. You play it out in your mind, and pray that you will get it right.

You also pray that your equipment will be sufficient for the task. (Although, since taking the shot, I now have a bunch of ideas as to what equipment will make it better the next time. The question comes up, will I do this kind of shot often enough to justify the costs?)

I arrived at “The Hill” (Hill Cumorah) about 45 minutes early. Already there were missionaries arriving in droves. I saw many I recognized, but I was surprised how many missionaries I had never even seen before. This was a HUGE group.

I first looked at the study pavilion. The roof was too low and there was not enough room to fit the estimated 200 missionaries in a photo. Fortunately, it wasn’t raining, and the sky was lightly overcast.

Scouting around, a found a steep terraced area just outside the pavilion that would work. And, the nearby lamp posts had 110 VAC plugs I could use for my lights. (Otherwise, I’d have to use my very slow battery powered flash units.)

Leah, a college student that is interning with me, helped set up the lights as I taught her about the mechanics involved. We no sooner got them set up when they said they were ready. I started out by trying to line them up in order of height. That wasn’t working, so I just started posing them. After several agonizing (for me) minutes, I had them all in place.

Looking at the view on the camera, I realized I was too close. I started backing up and realized, my camera was too low. With the camera a good 9 feet in the air, I could see I was getting the entire group.

Getting a group this size to laugh was the easy part. The hard part was watching for people adjusting their hair or glasses, scratching their head, looking to see what the person next to them was doing and so on. I took several shots, and then when I got back to the office, had to select faces from 4 different shots in order to get the best view of everyone. Even then, there were 3 or 4 people who just seemed to be slightly hidden in every single shot, in spite of my best efforts to avoid that.

The New York Rochester Mission
The New York Rochester Mission

I didn’t have much time after that before heading to the temple for my evening shift.  My shift at the temple went well, and there was quite a few guests, including some of the missionaries in the photo.  One of them said to me, “You did a great job getting us all to smile and laugh.”  Well, it shows in their faces, but I can’t take credit for all of that.  What shows in their faces is that they love their Savior, Jesus Christ, and they follow his commandments.

They also have a great mission president.  I will greatly miss President and Sister Christianson.    I love his claim that nobody loves the Book of Mormon greater than he does.  President and Sister Christianson also love their missionaries, and it shows in how these missionaries carry themselves and how they treat others.

One final note, as I was leaving the hill, I heard them singing, Hark All Ye Nations.  What a marvelous sound coming from such a marvelous group of missionaries.

D. Brent Walton is a Photographic Craftsman and Certified Professional Photographer residing in Palmyra, New York.  His work is found namely on two web sites:  www.FineArtbyDB.com and www.dbwalton.com.   The first being art for your home, business and office, the second being his wedding and portrait work.  Most recently, his work has been featured in The Friend Magazine (January 2013 through May 2013), as well as Professional Photographer Magazine.

Pageant is Closing In

Hill Cumorah Pageant is closing in, and we had a cancellation. What does that mean? It means we now have a few days open. So, for those who are having a hard time finding lodging during pageant, we might be able to help. A credit card payment is require at the time of your booking.

I worked a little more on the LED TV in the studio. This is going to be cool. As soon as we shoot a head-shot, I’ll be able to move the card from the camera to the the TV and let people select the image to be retouched.

What does that mean to clients?

It means I can get you in and out of the studio quickly if all you want is a headshot, or single image.

Getting Ready for Valentine’s Day

It might seem funny that I’m getting ready for Valentine’s Day, but when you own a retail business, you have to plan well in advance.  Today I did a shoot for a promotion I’m doing jointly with Oopsie Daisies at West Wayne Plaza.  I don’t know the exact details yet because they need to tell me what their end is going to be and cost.  From my end, it is going to be a framed 5×7 in a basket they are creating.  We’ll be posting photos on Facebook when the final touches are put on this.

That said, it’s a great gift.  And, you’re going to save about $100 on my services and the product.

I was a wreck today – physically.  I had an asthma attack early in the morning and I had to hit the rescue inhaler.  That stuff makes me jittery.  I guess it is like how people get when they drink way too much coffee.  As a result, I knocked stuff over all day and ended up breaking a light in my studio.  I really hate the effect that stuff has on the nerves.

TGIF Doesn’t Apply

Being in business for yourself means Friday isn’t necessarily the end of your work week.  In fact, I’ve chosen to work Tuesday-Saturday, but even then I find myself working on some Mondays.

I had a wonderful session today with a couple of full-time Latter-day Saint missionaries who are serving in the Palmyra Temple.  Elder and Sister Cusolito are wonderful.  They are always joking around and are fun to be around, so taking their portrait was an honor and fun.

It isn’t often I show before and after shots.  In this case, I will.  Because Sister Cusolito’s glasses presented a problem with glare, I had to do some post-production work in Photoshop.  And, as luck would have it, I had to turn Elder Cusolito’s head.  (Ah, yes, a well guarded Photoshop secret.)  There are some other changes too.  (I feel like this is one of those pictures in the Friend Magazine where you need to find all the differences.)

Before and After
Before and After

Of course, my work isn’t done after a photo session.  There’s copying the files to the computer.  There’s copying the files to a backup drive.  There’s storing the backup drive off site in case of fire or other damage to the studio.  There’s selecting the images to print (done with the client or by the client).  There is color balancing the image.  There is retouching the image.  And, finally, there is sending the image to the printer for printing.  Oh, but when they come back there’s packaging the image and delivering the image as well as processing the client’s payment.  I guess I should just say, there’s a lot of behind the scene work.  Being a photographer is about 5% clicking the shutter, 45% post production and 50% administration.

I love what I do, and I hope it shows in my work.

—–

After work, Elizabethe and I got dinner at Happiness Garden (212 E Main Street, Palmyra, NY, 14522).  They really make some tasty Chinese food.  We brought the food home and had our date night watching Person of Interest and eating Chinese take-out.  Yum.

D. Brent Walton is a professional photographer who specializes in portraits and weddings.  His tag line, Capturing Beauty, describes his work and his passion for making people look their best.  You can see his work at http://www.dbwalton.com.  His studio is by appointment only with appointments available Tuesdays-Saturdays, and Mondays by special arrangement.  There is never a session/sitting fee.

Horsing Around

I did my first horse and owner portrait session today.  It was a little brisk outside, but the overcast made for some nice lighting.

I’ve decided photographing horses is a lot like photographing little children.  In fact, I mentioned this to the horse’s owner and she commented that horses are perpetually 4 years old.  Yup.  This horse acted like a 4 year old.

That’s really not a bad thing, you just have to be prepared for the unexpected, and you have to wait for the just-right moment when the horse is looking.  And, if the horse isn’t standing where you want, you just have to wait until it moves to where you want.  At that point, you have to be ready with the shutter release to capture it.

Horsing Around
Horse Portrait with Owner

Tomorrow’s a busy day.  I have a lot to get ready for.  I have a shoot in the morning, and a speaking engagement in the afternoon.

D. Brent Walton is a Certified Professional Photographer and member of the Professional Photographers of America.  His business tag line, Capturing Beauty, describes what he does with his work.  You can see Brent’s work at http://www.dbwalton.com and at http://www.FineArtbyDB.com.