Monthly Archives: December 2009

Portfolio Madness, Part One: The Collecting

Seven Days of Portfolio Madness makes One Weak. But I’ve got it done, and I think it’s an improvement over my former collection. I’ll be interested to hear some feedback.
This was the most comprehensive make-over I’ve ever done to my portfolios, in part because I’ve never updated all of them at once before. And I might never again, actually. Too much stress!
One the one hand, I try not to succumb to what Mr. Jarvis refers to as “the drama of the portfolio”…..but on the other hand, it’s really, really hard not to obsess over it, and after all, it’s important, dammit! This is the first and potentially only impression I’m going to make on prospective clients for the upcoming several months, and of course I want to look as good as possible. So I obsessed, all week, and still I’m wondering about a few of my decisions.
On the other hand, c’mon….if my overall body of work is good enough, then I’ll be fine. And one tiny tweak in the order of the presentation, or the inclusion of this kitchen shot instead of that one is not likely to make or break me as a photographer…..right?

Sigh. Lemme look at that again…. see more rejects after the jump

Portfolio Madness: Introduction

I haven’t looked at my own website in months. Other than posting pickup files and proof galleries in the Client Area, I have little or no reason to go there. And in truth, I’m sick of many of the photos on there.

And seriously: the whole thing is a friggin’ mess. Some photos reside in no less than three different galleries – what’s up with that? And having recorded a slew of portfolio reviews in which I almost always criticize the number of photos in a collection, it’s ironic that my own site contains 35 interiors. And that’s counting the diptychs as just one image!

So I’ve known for some time that I needed to do some serious work on my own glass house. But the annual December slowdown was so late in coming for me this year that I’m just now able put some time into it. And believe me, organizing a portfolio is a very time-consuming project.  Thus….this series is born!

I’m going to be launching the new portfolio(s) on New Year’s Day. In the meantime, I’ll walk you through every step of the process, in a 4-part series of articles. read more after the jump

iPhone Photo of the Day

Headshots! Laugh all you want….I actually enjoy doing these!

Scott Hargis Photo
www.scotthargisphoto.com

Brisbane Workshop Sold Out – Màlaga Going Fast

All three sessions of the Brisbane, AU workshop are filled up — if you’re one of the 24 people attending, stay tuned for an email from me in the next two days with details and homework.

Based on emails I’m getting, it looks as if Màlaga will be down to just a couple of spots by Christmas. If you’re thinking of attending, you should probably move quickly. And check this out — below is the menu for lunch:

Sandwich quarters
Southern fried chicken goujons
Sausage rolls
Crisps
Onion bhajis
Cocktail sausages
Pork pies
Rocky road squares
Carrot cake

I’m thinking I may need to revise the agenda to include a post-lunch nap.

iPhone Photo of the Day

Architectural Abstraction:

iPhone Photo of the Day

Ok, Ok…..this one got some PhotoGene action. I had to boost the exposure in the foreground.

Just back from 5 days in Death Valley – with no camera! This was the only photo I made the whole time, and it’s taken on the morning I was driving out of the park (location is Hwy. 190, about 4 miles north of Cow Creek).

Sometimes, a vacation with no camera is just necessary. Watching the Orionids on a moonless night (5-6 meteors per minute; 3 fireballs per hour), hiking canyons looking for tarantulas (final count: 8), pulling old military hardware out of the backcountry (19 shell casings, 3 missile tubes – yes, I said missile tubes…WTF? — assorted other metallic crap) and getting 10 hours of sleep a night (I love winter camping!) meant that I missed my 5D….. NOT. AT. ALL.

But now I’m back home, did a nice shoot today for a builder I hadn’t heard from for years, and I’m feeling totally recharged! Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be finalizing my plans for 2010; both in terms of my photography, and this blog.

Portfolio Review – Chapter 5 (“Untitled”)

Unbelievable.

I never, ever thought I’d be doing Chapter 5 of this series. I was very sure that I’d get to Chapter Two – after all, it’s my blog, and I can do two stupid things if I want to. But I was pretty sure that no one but me was really going to watch them, and/or that I’d get a lot of emails saying, in effect, “this suck, your stupid. so what if it not verticle, it probably just old, or maybe a small owl.” (you’d be amazed at some of the gems that arrive in my inbox)

But it turns out that there are a fair number of people watching these, and the feedback has been pretty good…..and so here we are at Chapter Five, which in my current sleep-deprived state will have to be called, like any good work of art, “Untitled”.

Today we’re going to do two new things: First, we’re going to visit the site of a portraiture photographer from Canada. I love shooting portraiture, and I do a pretty good headshot, but seriously…I’m not a portraiture guy, day to day. I have no idea how I came to be doing this, but I said Yes, and so I did my best. And secondly, I recruited some help for this one, in the form of my good friend Russell Byrne. Russell is an editorial/magazine shooter based in New Zealand the Bay Area Seattle (he gets around), and he’s got a great eye for this sort of thing. Russell won the Pixsylated “Exciting Light” photo contest last year with a fantastic (and technical masterpiece) image of a medical researcher. He’s been published in too many magazines to list here, and is one of my favorite people to have a beer (or two, or three) with.

Next, I took a look at a real estate photographer in Great Britain, who has some really top-shelf work mixed in with a few that ought to be dropped. Way, way too many photos on that site to hit them all, but hopefully I was able to hit a good representative cross-section.

A few points to remember:

First – I am not the end-all and be-all of what makes a good portfolio. In the following video, I speak my mind as the images come up, but mine is not the ultimate authoritative voice. Yours is. So if this is useful as a sounding board, good: but be sure to get other opinions as well. More importantly than that – make sure you are listening carefully to your own voice, more than anyone else’s. Shoot the style (and present the portfolio) that speaks to the message YOU want to send. That’s the road to success in photography.

Second – In order to protect the guilty, I am not linking to sites, and I’m not naming these photographers in print. Please do the same. Thanks. We don’t want Google Juice spilling onto these reviews.

Third – I hope I’ve addressed the video quality in this chapter. Let me know how it looks!

And so, without further ceremony, grab your popcorn and sit back with……Chapter Five: “Untitled”.

Stop The Noise!

With my workload finally slacking off, I’m pulling a few projects out of the “when I have time” bin and getting them done.

First out is a test of a couple of noise reduction plugins; Noise Ninja, and Nik Dfine. I’ve owned both for a while, but I’ve never done a side-by-side comparison before. I have to say the results surprised me!

I’ve been using Noise Ninja as my go-to solution, mostly because I bought it first, and actually went through the entire user’s manual one time (during a long flight). So I know more or less how to use it, although I’m certainly not expert. Nik Dfine is functionally very similar, and even the interface is very similar, so it’s easy to transfer skills from one to the other. But, as you’ll see below, you may not need many skills at all. software test and results after the jump

iPhone Photo of the Day

Scott Hargis Photo
www.scotthargisphoto.com

iPhone Photo of the Day

Scott Hargis Photo
www.scotthargisphoto.com

Workshop Updates

Quick heads up —

First, the Wednesday session of the Màlaga workshop is SOLD OUT. But don’t despair! I’ve opened a second day: Thursday, January 14th. Same workshop, new day.

Second, there are only 4 spaces left for Brisbane, on Thursday, February 4th. Tuesday and Wednesday are sold out. I won’t be adding a 4th day  – duty calls in the States and I have to be back to answer (which is a flowery way of saying I have to actually earn a living at some point).

Get details and register HERE.

Portfolio Review – Chapter Four

Here it is — Chapter Four of the Portfolio Review Series, and we’re back stateside and in the Eastern states of Pennysylvania and Massachusettes Massachussetes Masachussettes Greater Boston Area.

For those just joining us, here’s how it works:

  • These are volunteers. If you’d like to see your website featured here, send me an email with a link and some background on yourself. Current backlog is about 6 weeks, I think.
  • I look over your website, trying to see it as a client might, but also with “photographer eyes”. I call it as I see it, and sometimes I get it wrong. See Point #4, below.
  • I record my thoughts and senseless ramblings, and post them here for the world to see. Cost to you: 2 draft beers.
  • If you don’t like what I say – get your own blog. No, seriously, these are strictly MY opinions, as they stand at the moment I record the video. Who knows? Maybe today I had a bad experience with a yellow kitchen, and that’s why I shredded your perfectly good Yellow Kitchen shot. Plenty of room here for dissenting opinions. Yours is the opinion that matters most.
  • I’m not linking to websites, or putting the owners’ names in print, to avoid the attention of our Benevolent Overlords at Google. If you’re cross-posting these, please respect this!

And so, here it is – the latest installment! We’re looking first at an experienced studio photographer who’s breaking into the RE market, and then at the site of a real up-and-coming photog whose multi-flash work I’ve been following for some time. Both sites need some tighter editing, in my opinion, and in the video I give my suggestions on what to keep, and what to drop.

I’ve been getting a lot of good feedback on these, and there are several more chapters lined up for the coming weeks. I’m going to start “Theming” them, which may mean doing the reviews slightly out of order (so far I’ve been reviewing in the order that people send me their website urls). One thing that’s really been on my mind since I’ve begun this series is how important the order of the photos is within the portfolio — so watch for Chapter Five to address that issue specifically.

Hope you all had a great holiday – I did and now I’m itching to get back to work!