Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
That I think is why many of us don't do it. A book seems like such a big task. Daunting and also final. You have to commit to the content of it. Those pictures are there to last. So all the fears well up. I'm not good enough. I don't know how to do it. I don't think I can finish it. Who am I to be putting a book together? Well, why not ? Even if you are the only person who ever sees the finished book, you'll have achieved something. The end result is a completed, finished piece of work - as polished as you can make it. It might be a file generated with a free pdf printer from any word processor, or a presentation tool, even Microsoft works or Adobe InDesign. It could be a blurb.com or lulu.com print-on-demand work. Perhaps you use it as something to approach a publisher with. It might just stay on your hard drive, never to be seen by anyone other than you. But it would still be a finished book. With your name on the cover. How cool would that be ?
But a book is a big commitment and a lot of work. That to me is the beauty of the SoFoBoMo challenge. It isn't a huge commitment. It'll all be over in a month, one way or another. You'll either have a book, or you won't. It can't stretch out into a multi-year or multi-decade albatross around your neck. You finish it, or you don't. So the scale is a whole lot smaller. The opportunity to procrastinate and prevaricate over choices or deciding when it is done just isn't there. The required number of pictures isn't too high - 35 - but enough that you'll need to engage, think about it and make an effort. Along the way you'll learn about editing your images - making those final painful choices on what to include or not. You'll probably learn a bit about book layout, design and what goes in to making a book. You'll find out how good you are at working to a deadline - or not. You'll actually finish something. That in particular is powerful stuff. It forces you to make decisions and live with them. You might find you don't like those decisions afterwards and that way, you'll have learned more than if you never started. I'm sure once you finish the first one that the next book will be that much more like what you actually want to create. If you never finish, you'll never get to start the next one and the next one and the next one.
The challenge would also be a fantastic opportunity to pick a project and shoot images on a consistent theme or subject. Return to a theme multiple times. Explore it. Go a bit deeper than those great one off images you always take. Or start a new short-term project if you normally work on projects already.
So give it a go. Sign up and commit to participating in SoFoBoMo. Make a book.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Editing is important. Really important. 99% of what you shoot is probably bad. 99% of what I shoot certainly is. But I try then to only show the good 1%. I struggle to make decisions about which images I like, or not. I don't show all the variations on a particular image. I'll spend the time to pick the version that really says what I want to say. I think that's important for several reasons. Firstly, it keeps the viewer interested. I'm showing them the best shots - in my opinion. I'm not putting out five variations of each image and expecting the viewer to pick the one they like. For one thing, that gets boring very quickly for the viewer. Secondly, it stops me from developing my own viewpoint. If I ask you to pick, you'll decide which one you like - but that one will be different for every viewer. If I make the choice - you might not like it, but it is my view. My style. My statement about what I wanted to show you. As I go along, picking the images I like, I refine my view. The next time I go and shoot I'll make some of those choices before I press the shutter. I'll have refined my own personal way of seeing and spend more time heading in an interesting direction. Hopefully I can go further on that second attempt than the first time. Editing is a big part of that process. You have the time to contemplate the images and pick what works, for you. You get to reject what doesn't work, for you. You can start to express yourself more strongly, by what you don't show people, just as much as you can with what you do show. If you find yourself unable to pick between two shots, or want to upload both versions, try anyway to pick one. If you can't, then there can't be anything different about them - so just pick either one. But if there is a difference, pick the one you personally like. Be bold. Make a decision. Edit bravely. I also have the luxury of not being paid for many of the shoots I do. People ask me to take a picture or a portrait because they like my previous images, or I ask them to let me shoot. They've asked me to take the picture and part of that is I get to decide what I show them and what I don't. Often I get asked if there are any more - but part of my process is that I get to decide what they see. I edit the images, so there aren't any more that I think were good enough. If I start showing all the images or giving them permutations and choices, the perception of the quality drops. I didn't share those other images in the first place, because I believe the best images are in the final edit, not in the discarded shots. Someone might not agree with my particular choices, but that's part of expressing your own style. This editing process helps later when you shoot, as you start to know when to stop shooting. I find more often than not, that either the first or last image in a sequence is the best one. Either everything fell in to place straight away and the first shot was great. Or, I'm sketching and striving towards an idea that I know is there - once I get it, I move on fairly soon afterwards. Editing heavily after the shoot, helps inform me when I'm shooting if I've got the shot or not. I know more about what I like and what I'm aiming to get. So I can shoot more variety. I don't keep working on the same idea once I've got the shot. I can move on and expand the options. If I shoot just one idea over and over again, that'll be the best shot I'll get all day. If I can edit and understand when I'm done with an idea, I can take more distinct images or ideas. The more I shoot the luckier I tend to get with the results. The collage above (click it to see a larger version) shows all the images I took last week. There are 6 images ringed which are my favourites, but really there is only one shot that I like from the whole day. 393 shots. One good one. Some of the sequences were shot in burst mode, in part to get her attention. But you can see the variety of locations, lighting and styles we went through. Lots of shots to get good expressions too.
Monday, January 14, 2008
These trees amazed me - such a narrow ledge, so high up.
Posted by Gordon McGregor at 8:36 AM
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Posted by Gordon McGregor at 10:42 AM
Friday, January 11, 2008
Posted by Gordon McGregor at 10:46 PM