The Last Day

So, today is the last day of Winterim. While it’s bittersweet, I’m not sure whether or not I am excited to go back to classes, as I know that homework, tests, and projects will soon come back into my life. Well, it was fun while it lasted.

I edited Gavin’s photos last week, and the prints came here on Saturday too. They look very nice and I’m really excited to put them into my Winterim presentation.

I completed my presentation as well. It will be set up with the prints in the back, an iPad on each side to show my blog, Etsy store, and to look through the images I took throughout January manually, then my computer in the middle showing the video I made of the photos and Photoshopping I did. I’ll upload the video and you’ll see Gavin’s photos, Maria’s photos, photos from walking through Sylvania, and me Photoshopping Gavin and Maria.

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Editing of Maria’s Photos

Yesterday, I spent the entire day editing Maria’s photos. It surprised me how long this entire process took. Since I am new to editing photos, it’s much more time consuming than it is for a professional, like Kathy. Editing the photos was not difficult by any means, it was just time-consuming. So, here’s three of Maria’s editions of photos. The first is unedited, the second is semi-edited, and the third is completed.

2015-01-22_0001So, in the second photo, Maria looks more polished than the first. However, there are still shadows in the back ground and the background looked blue. There is also a part in Maria’s hair that is thinner, and there are fly-aways. In the third photo I fixed these things. I lessened the blue in the background, fixed Maria’s hair, and reduced the shadow.

For my Winterim presentation, I am planning on creating a video of me photoshopping Maria, so that it will be easier to see what I did. Like I said before, editing her photos weren’t particularly difficult, they were time consuming. So in the video I hope to show what steps I took to polish the photo.

Today, I am editing Gavin’s photos. I’ll complete them and post a before and after for his as well. See you tomorrow!

A Cold Day in the Office

Today’s Goals:
– Crochet stock
– Invoicing
– Blogging for Photography By K

Today, I came in around noon, intending on catching up on some studio things and working on Photoshopping some of the portrait sessions. When I drove here, I noticed there were utility trucks blocking my entry to the parking lot. I thought it was strange, but I managed to park somewhere else.

I got into the office and it was cold. I turned the thermostat up, it was at 56! After about thirty minutes, there was no change in temperature. That’s when I went outside to ask the men working what was going on. Turns out, over the weekend they discovered a gas leak, so everyone’s gas has been turned off until further notice. I grabbed my keys and took a scarf, blanket, and extra sweatshirt that I had stowed away into the office and am currently typing this while Kathy is shivering and very frustrated. Well, I suppose I am too.

We are leaving soon to go heat up and get lunch, then we will be back. I don’t think I will be able to achieve much today, as the temperature in the building is dropping rapidly. I may be here until three, but once I can’t feel my fingers anymore to type, Kathy and I are leaving early for the day.

Brrr!

My First Photoshoots!

Friday was an interesting day, to say the least. It began with going to photograph a house, while the owner was in it! I’d never taken photographs of a house while the owner was in it. It was a little strange at first, but once Kathy and I got into the swing of things, it wasn’t too different than normal. We went to work, and while the house doesn’t look particularly large from the outside, it was much bigger once we were inside. Kathy let me take a lot of the photos for this photoshoot, here are a few of my favorites!  4213 Graceway Dr

After photographing the house, we said goodbye to the kind owner, and went on our way to pick up Maria for her photoshoot. We got to the studio and got right to it. It lasted around an hour, then we viewed them on the computer/television. I noticed a general trend with the photos. In the beginning they looked posed, but as the photoshoot went on Maria looked more comfortable and toward the end we just took ridiculous photos. I opened one of them to show Maria how I would Photoshop the rest, and I used a Photoshop Plug-in called Portrait Professional. You pretty much select the persons main features, like their eyes, nose, mouth, etc. and you can change how they look. Maria’s unedited photo looked very nice but once I edited it, the new photo looked even nicer than the original. I’m not finished editing Maria’s photos, but once I am I will upload a few, and some of them will be used in my Winterim presentation.

Next up was Gavin’s photoshoot. Gavin is my brother, a 21-year-old college student, that is also a complete goofball. He agreed to come in for a photoshoot, and was very lively and excited at that. One thing that was difficult was that my brother has cerebral palsy. He’s a highly-functioning person, but one thing that is difficult for him is facial expressions, especially smiling naturally. When he tries to smile for photos, his smile ends up looking forced. So this photoshoot was challenging for the three of us. What I ended up doing was telling him to look at the camera as we would talk normally, then when he would laugh naturally I would snap the picture. So while there are a few that looked forced, many of them catch my brother when he is smiling or laughing naturally. Kathy told me that this kind of scenario happens frequently with children. So I suppose it was good practice.

On Tuesday I plan to work on editing these photos in Photoshop and getting a head start on them. I would say my first two photoshoots were a success. I think I learned a lot taking the photos, but I will learn even more when working toward getting them presentable.

A Walk Through Sylvania

So, the last few days haven’t been that exciting. Yesterday and most of today were office days. Yesterday, I started a Photoshop course, which I’m learning quite a bit, however it’s difficult. Sometimes, the instructor on the video would do something that I don’t understand. I’d rewatch that part of the video several times, but it sometimes that wouldn’t help. So, I’d ask Kathy for some help in understand, which she usually explained it much better than the man in the video.

We also took down our Christmas decorations yesterday, which was sad. Now I look over to where the Christmas tree should be and the room just feels empty.

Anyway, today I spent a few hours working through that course and Kathy helping me along, then we went on a walk through Sylvania to get some pictures I could play with. Here are a few of my favorites:

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There is a thing called “lens flare” in this photo. The are the light circles across the photo. Kathy told me that they are technically bad, but that artistically they can be a good thing.

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This is the same photo, but the one on the right is slightly edited. I thought that the black window frames look more defined and stick out more in this photo.

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I took some photos of icicles as well.

IMG24524

This photo was interesting to me. I focused on the lamp in this photo, but I could have focused on the weather vane. These would have resulted in completely different photos, right?  I’m learning that in photography, it’s a lot about how you want to feel when looking at the photo.

IMG24536 IMG24538

I saw several little crocheted bumble bees hanging on posts like these. I thought it was very strange, but I liked it. The second photo, I focused more on the “Do not enter” sign, than the lamp behind it. I wish I would have gotten a picture with the lamp more in focus and the sign blurred, but oh well.

I really liked walking around Sylvania taking photos today. I feel like I learned a lot more through doing than I did through someone telling me exactly what to do and how to do it.

I’m very excited for tomorrow. It will be a very busy day, but a fun one too. It’s photoshoot day! At noon, Kathy and I will meet up at the studio and go shoot a house, then, my friend, Maria and my brother, Gavin are coming to the studio! I am going to have my first real photoshoot with people! Then, next week, I will edit them and they will be used for my Winterim presentation. Let’s hope I’ll be able to show everyone what I’ve learned…

Office Day

January 13:
– Photoshop
– Post-Processing
– Camera work
– Lightroom

Today, I decided to mess around a little more in Photoshop. Kathy and I have agreed that a good way to learn the software is to mess with it and learn as you go.

Post-Processing is anything you do after you take the picture. We use a variety of software at Photography By K. For example, we use Photoshop, Blog stomp, Lightroom, Bridge, and Animoto. All these different program do different tasks. Blog stomp is for creating collages and watermarking our photos. Animoto is for creating videos with the photos. Photoshop, Bridge, and Lightroom all work together, in a way. They are for all editing, like adding artistic flare, changing formats, editing errors, etc.

Camera work is something cannot be learned in a day. We did this quite a bit yesterday while shooting the house. Camera work is combining all the different elements of photography into one photo. It’s a very difficult thing to master. I don’t know if it’s possible for me to master it in the three-week period I have available.

Lightroom is a very useful tool in the photography world. So far, I have used it to to edit photos. For example, I can brighten or darken a photo.  I have also used it when I have to convert many photos into jpeg format. Kathy has also used it to organize the photos for the client.

All in all, a lot of what we did today was office work. I spent most of the day on a computer, reading articles about photography and having Kathy explain different things to me about Photoshop, Lightroom, and Bridge. I also spent a good portion of today working on Photography By K’s social media. I pushed out a blog post and Facebook post, and have a few more lined up to go out in the next few days. Today wasn’t necessarily an adventurous day, where we photograph a cool house or do a senior portrait, but it was a very educational day. I learned about different photography software. Kathy ever showed me some very old cameras, how they work, and this made me realize how far technology has come in the photography field. Twenty years ago, had Kathy been in business, she would have needed a darkroom to develop photos. Different elements of her business would be easier or harder. For example, we wouldn’t spend hours hunched over a computer editing blemishes in Photoshop. However, we would spend lots of time developing photos in a darkroom. It’s interesting to me how our modern-day photography darkroom is a computer that can do everything you need in the same place.

Today, I got to look at how much photography has changed, even since I was born.

 

Snow Days

January 12:
– Workflow
– Exposure Triangle
– Packaging
– Calculating a return on investment
– Creating a budget

So, welcome back to my blog! Thursday and Friday Kathy and I didn’t feel like driving was safe the last two days. Today, I came into the office a bit late due to a doctor’s appointment. Once I came in, Kathy and I spent a little time talking about what I will do for my business, then around 2:00 we went out to a house in Sylvania to shoot. It was a newly built house, and very nice. Kathy taught me about the exposure triangle during this and more about lighting. For example, what lighting can do when you place it differently.

More on the business side of things, I need to create a budget. This is difficult, because there are these pesky little things called start-up costs. I need to spend the money on listing different kinds of scarves before I can actually sell them. I mean I have to make a scarf to show people, it has to say “hey, look how amazing my product is. Give me your money and it will be yours and you will live happily ever after, the end.” This is easier said than done. I will inevitably spend time and money on a scarf that just plain won’t sell well. This is sad and very frustrating, but a fact I am learning about small businesses.

Also, a workflow is necessary. I think I have decided that this will be my work flow: make a sample product, list it, along with the other varieties of that product, sell it, and make the product (if it is different than the sample). This is more efficient than buying lots of of yarn, spending hours on creating it, and it doesn’t sell. Then what? I spent a ridiculous amount of money on yarn and now no return. However, I may change this later, if things seem to progress. The beauty about owning a small business is that you can customize your workflow and day-to-day activities. 

We discussed what calculating return on an investment is, and how it applies to me. It’s mostly just subtraction. For example, I sell a scarf for $30. I  bought the yarn for $14, the shipping is $5, and I include a $1 piece of tissue paper in each package. So 30 – 14 – 5 – 1 = 10. For every scarf I make then, I receive $10. Given the amount of time I put into making each scarf, is this worth it? See my second post for more detail on this!

Also, while we are on this topic, packaging? How will I package my products? I don’t want to just throw them into a USPS box and ship it, do it? Shouldn’t I have opening a box from my shop be a fun task that really makes my product stand out? I think I will wrap the gift in tissue paper. I’m not entirely sure yet because I haven’t actually sold anything..

Now, an exposure triangle is built of three things: aperture, shutter speed, and level of sensitivity to available light (ISO). Aperture is that tiny little hole in the camera lens that decides how much light is accepted into the photo. It does this by varying the size of the hole. A larger aperture allows LESS light into the photo than a smaller one. This is confusing, I know. I had to verify that fact with Kathy precisely three times before posting this.

Shutter speed is a concept I discussed before. Click here to go to my mini photography lesson on shutter speed!

Lastly, ISO. ISO is how sensitive your camera is to the available light. So, if I have a higher ISO, the more light I can take from each situation. However, if the ISO is too high, the image can appear grainy. This is because the camera is trying to put more data into a picture, The digital camera does this by adding pixels. Once you add too many pixels, the photo appears grainy. If the ISO is too low, the photo can be dark, but also, it limits how sensitive your camera is to light. So on a bright, snowy day, we have to decrease the ISO, or everything will be white and washed out.

Together, these three elements can create either a really good photo or a really bad one. I don’t completely understand these three things yet, but Kathy and I are going to work on them much more in the upcoming days. I’m so excited to learn more!

 

Today’s Crochet

Goals:
– Rule of Thirds
– Composition
– Posing
– Creating a niche
– Marketing
– Lighting
– Photoshop real estate
– Workflow

Today, I didn’t only take photos of the studio, but also worked on some other things as well. However, some of today’s goals are hard to learn without a photo shoot to understand, and some of them, I already have an idea what they are, we just didn’t discuss them today. For example, the rule of thirds.

I understand what the rule of thirds is. It’s the rule that when looking at a photo, your eyes divide the photo into thirds, horizontally and vertically. Your eyes naturally focus on the lines and the intersections of those lines. So, a photographer aims to have the important aspects of the photo that they want the viewer to see in those intersections. However, there are plenty of times where you purposely break the rule of thirds. For example, look at this photo: Black

This photo does not follow the rule of thirds. If I would have followed the rule, the ball of yarn would be off-center. Since there is nothing else in the photo that needs focus, you break the rule of thirds and center the ball of yarn.

The goal of understanding composition was achieved today by taking photos of the studio. Composition is relatively simple right now. However, it will get more complicated when working with people, especially in multiples. Right now, I am practicing with object, or rooms. Composition is what you want your photo to be composed of. For example, if you look at the photos of the studio I took today. IMG12175

Let’s look at this photo in particular. This photo is composed of a desk and its surroundings, a window, a table, walls, a lightened ceiling, and a doorway. When I took this photo, I wanted the window in the photo and the pillar with the clock on it. Had I moved inches to the left or right, I would have excluded those things in the photo. Also, off to the right, where the camera didn’t reach is my desk, with Kathy working on it. I wanted the focus of this photo t be on the room, not on a person, so I purposely composed the photo without Kathy in it.

Posing was learned through photographing the yarn. However, this topic is much like composition: it will get more complicated when working with people. Posing is part of composition, in a way. 2015-01-07_0007

Look at these photos. On the right, you see two photos of the blue yarn, yet they are posed differently. I liked the second photo better, when I had to photoshop the three of them together, I used that instead. On the left  is the photo where I photoshopped all three of them into one photo. I decided to pose them so they all looked the same, instead of two one way and one another.

The other three goals of today, creating a niche, marketing, and workflow, are tasks that, I feel, will come with time. I have some ideas now, but which one is the best? For example, creating a workflow. Do I want to list a product, sell it, make it, then ship it? Or do I want to list it, create inventory, sell it, then ship it? These are two potentially successful workflows, but which one works for me? There are numerous pros and cons to each, and I won’t know my preference until I really get out there and do it. This goes for many other aspects as well. How do I want to advertise? How do I advertise? Who do I advertise to? What do I advertise? Which product?

When I spoke to Kathy about these problems I was facing and wondering which solution is best for me, she told me that she had a similar experience when she first began her business, and even today she is trying new things. For example, charging customers. As her skill increased, she felt that her price needed to too, but what about clients that she had always done their photos for $50? It’s hard to suddenly expect them to start pays $150, isn’t it?

Tomorrow, we are shooting a house exterior and a business headshot. I hope to expand my knowledge on these topics that I focused on today tomorrow as well.

Home Sweet Home Tour

Goals:
– Rule of Thirds
– Composition
– Posing
– Creating a niche
– Marketing
– Lighting
– Photoshop real estate
– Workflow

After photographing the house yesterday, I had lots of different questions for Kathy. Many of them were about lighting. So, we decided that the best way for me to understand isn’t through an explanation, it’s through doing! So, we got out Kathy’s camera, tripod, and a few flashes, and I went to town. I waddled around the studio, snapping shots, hands full of equipment, acting like a toddler with a new toy.

So, here’s a mini lesson in photography by me! Darktobright3

If you read my post from yesterday, this will be easier to understand. So, there are three photos here. The first is to dark, the last is to bright, but the middle is just right. I didn’t use any flashes in these photos, so how did they change so drastically? Well, shutter speed is what makes these photos different. The first photo had a quick shutter speed. This did not give the camera enough time to capture an adequate amount of light. The second one is when the shutter speed is adjusted correctly, so it captured enough light, but not too much. The last one had too long of a shutter speed, which allowed the camera to capture too much light.

Flash22Flash2

Here are two examples of how flash can change a photo. The first photo is not as noticable as the second, but one has flash in it and one doesn’t. You can see the different particularly when you look at the ceiling. The one on the left has a darker look with more shadows, but the one on the right doesn’t have as many shadows and the ceiling looks like a clean, white ceiling. The second photo is similar. The photo on the left has a dark ceiling, but the one on the right has a brightly colored one, making the room light up.

Rest

 

Here is the rest of the studio. There is a kitchen, bathroom, reading area, and a private area as well.