Tag Archive | creative

Cross the Line

As a creative person, we are often pushed to do what the client is wanting us to do.   I believe that we should always give them exactly what they want, plus a lot more, but at times we are limited to shooting on simple backgrounds, boring locations or just not enough time.   Once in a while, you must cross the line and do something for yourself!  It’s your job to express your feelings on an image or video, but other wise you are just a button pusher.   Sure it takes time, plus some money to make it happen, but it is always worth the cost in the end.   Just think if you never did one thing for yourself where would you be now?

All creatives should cross the line at least once everyday to make sure we are still alive.  Keep crossing the line!


Fashion Photography

Fashion Charlotte
©Kent Smith Photography

Snow Day!

Snow AngelsWe don’t get many of these days down in the south, but when they do arrive,  it makes for some interesting times.  I couldn’t think of too many things that I would want to shoot in the snow other than people, so I decided to take my  family out and play around in the white stuff with them.

So if your thinking of shooting in the snow, I would think about two things.  The number one thing is to protect your camera from all the elements.  Ice and Snow  which will turn into water are some of the most dangerous things you will ever run into.    The second most important thing is to turn off that automatic mode.  Now, I know you can shoot raw files and do it in post, but why when you don’t have too.

There are a ton of different things on the market that can protect your camera from all the weather.  The difference is that you don’t have time to order something or time to run down to the local camera store, which I highly recommend.  (You want them to stay in business, right.)  If this is not an option, then turn to your good old fashion trash bags.  I have even used them on professional shoots when we didn’t pack our Aquatech gear.  It may not be a fashion statement,  but it will protect your investment in your gear.

Now for the automatic mode on your camera, I know you do it.  Sometimes it is just easy to turn it to the automatic mode.  Easy is good in most cases, but you might want a little more control of the camera.  The problem with this is that the lovely white snow that is everyplace with throw off your meter on your camera.   That meter is what is determining your exposures on your automatic camera settings.  I saw a few people out shooting today with their cameras.  I noticed that most of them kept chipping on the back of the camera, of course we all do it, but in this case they couldn’t get the exposures they wanted.  Most of them would just give up and keep shooting, but when they got back home they will notice that they are under exposed.    I like to shoot in manual mode when possible, so that I can control the aperture and shutter so that I can do what ever I want with the camera.  When shooting on these lovely snow days, I will actually open up the exposure so that I am between  one stop and sometime two stops brighter than what the camera is telling me.  This will help off set what is happening with the extra light that is bouncing back at the camera sensor.

So get back out there and make some more images, but let’s try it on the manual mode or adjust the exposure compensation on the other modes to make sure you get the perfect picture.   Remember:  HAPPY SNAPPING!

Make sure to visit the new website:  www.kentsmithphoto.com



One adjustment makes all the difference!

It’s very often that as photographers, we forget to make adjustments since we move so fast and our time is limited when you have a professional star in front of you even if it’s a rock star, NFL star, or a movie star.  Most shoots with famous people can usually last between one minute up to on average 20 minutes since their time is so limited.  So with all the pressure of the world on your backs, you only get a few moments to make one look with usually a list of looks that your art director, boss, creative team, or magazine editor is looking at for the ad or story.

The same is the case when it comes to sports media days.  You have a full list of items to carry out, so it is really hard to come up with something creative in your short about of time.  In the case with this years, Charlotte Bobcats Media Day,  we had about 15 minutes with each player rolling through, plus a little time to make some group shots.  We had 18 different players rolling through with a shot list of images needed for all the different outlets including the head shots.  In some years, we have done extra set ups, but we had too many shots this year to try to pull it off without adding extra photographers.

To help with adding a more dramatic look and still take all the images on a white seamless, we decided to have a different setup on the same background to help with this look.  This is where the Pocket Wizards Multi Max Transceivers really came into effect.  I just programmed one side of the lights to work in one formula, and then I could make quick adjustments to the lights according to the location of the athlete, plus add some other stuff about lighting without having to move more than two feet away from the subject.  Time is your most important asset at these types of shoots, so adding this to the mix really gives you a great extra look.

Here is one of the images from the shoot.

Make sure to check out the website for the Charlotte Bobcats for more images.

Visit Kent Smith Photography for more information.

Jefferson Count Down

Al Jefferson adds some mystery to his big 6 foot 10 self.

Looking inside the Creative Mind

The Creative Monkey

A monkey will use his time wisely to be creative.
©Kent Smith Photography

Being creative is something we all have inside us. I believe we are born with that creativity, but it continues to grow within us throughout the years in our work and passion for expanding our thoughts. So, is it true some people are more creative than others? Maybe. Or it may just be some are better at tapping into that part of their brain allowing themselves to flourish. Or maybe there is a formula to all of it…
Could this formula be linked to the Golden Ratio? Is it some understanding from another time or place that has made a mark on our human thinking? I’d like to think that it’s a combination of many different things including the things we see every single day, Life itself could be one of the most influential factors. Something so simple, but yet so complex has most of us spending a lifetime trying to figure it out. Could it be the influx of images that we see everyday and our own personal translation of those images that drives the mind to think outside of the box? Creative thoughts are made from a combination of other thoughts that have then been translated to another form, such as art or words. So how do we understand the thinking that goes into to this process?
We have 86,400 seconds in a day to process thoughts. From those thoughts, the creative mind captures one or two good ones that have a chance to make a lasting impression. I liken this to being a photographer. When I have to edit down an entire photo shoot to just a few images. We should do the same with our creative thoughts. We should pick our best from all our creative blurbs and turn full attention on just a couple of the best to create a masterpiece.
Unfortunately for the creative minds time is our biggest enemy. The best ideas often come from hours and even days or years of making everything just so. For me there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish all the things I would like the world to see. But I take each day at a time and produce the best work I possibly can with the hours I am allowed.
I would love to hear your thoughts on how you get through the creative process. I think we can all learn from each other. Let’s face it, we all want to be better humans and not just another monkey hanging around.
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Photographer vs. Lawyer

It's not as easy as people think.

I ask you this question:  What is the difference between a lawyer and a photographer?  It takes both years of actually studying their craft before they can actually call themselves professional.  Both are only as good as the last case or image that they make.   They are both chosen by people who use them because of their rare talents to describe and argue a point.  Okay, so some of you will say that it takes longer to become a lawyer than to become a photographer because of the many years of college.  I would have to say that you are correct on that point, but I would have to point out that it takes just as long to develop a style and art form in the photography world.

When I started out,  I remember hearing John Biever (one of the best follow focus photographers ever) say that it takes 1,000 rolls of film (36 frames to a roll) before you can really understand this craft.  That might sound like nothing in this day of digital images, but in the days of chrome slides, this was no small feat unless you had deep pockets.  The cost of one roll of quality slide film would cost between $14-25 to shoot with processing cost attached.  So basically,  it would take about 36,000 frames before you had actually developed your eye to capture the correct moments on that one piece of film.  Now take in to account, that you would not just hold down the button and shoot five frames per second, instead you would look for the image and then think about the image before actually shooting the picture because each frame cost you money.  So, you may ask yourself, what is the difference between the two?

The main difference is in pricing.  Lawyers are willing to charge for their talents and most photographers will not.  You might think that is not on the mark at all.  I recently received an email from a friend who was wanting an image for his corporate headshot.  Now, his company sends their people to XXXXX and they pay $50 for the shots.  I am sure that it will take at least 30 minutes for the shoot to happen plus at least another 30 minutes to set up the shot.  Now you have to add the time to put the images into the computer and get a version that is ready for output.   I would say that we are talking a minimum of at least 1 hour and 30 minutes.  A lawyer on the other hand would charge by the hour for this service.  So I can tell you that my lawyer would charge at least $250 per hour for his services, so this simple shoot would run $375.  Now the client would like to have the image color corrected and then put in the correct form so that you can email it to them so they can use it on their website, business cards, and any other place that they would like because its digital.  This takes time to get this ready plus tying up your computer so that it can’t be used on something else.  How about a disk after this?  This takes even more time to burn a disk with the images on it.
So in a nutshell,  what I am trying to say is that it takes time to do what we do as photographers.  We have spent many years working on building our craft.   We are not day workers at the local apple orchard picking our favorite fruit.  Rather, we are skilled workers who bring years of experience to every shoot.  So now, I pose another question:  Are you an apple picker or a skilled craftsman working your magic?
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