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Posts Tagged ‘photographers’

Jeff Kida of Arizona Highways presents at the 2012 IRMA conference in Scottsdale.

A few weeks ago I attended the 2012 International Regional Magazine Association (IRMA) conference in Scottsdale. While my primary duties as editor of Nevada Magazine revolve around the words, I do take quite a few photos for the publication and am always open to learning more about the craft of photography. That’s why I was especially intrigued to hear the presentation by Jeff Kida, photo editor at Arizona Highways magazine.

Kida says to shoot in RAW format whenever possible, which gives the photographer and editor access to a more dynamic range of image data. And always save your digital files in more than one place.

There are three main rules of photography to be concerned with: Aperture, ISO, and Shutter Speed. Kida says to never set your ISO on “Auto”; always set it manually. Of course the situation will dictate the correct setting, but he said for most conditions an ISO of 200 (he uses a Nikon) is optimal. Also, for landscape photos, when you can, use a tripod in combination with a slow shutter speed to ensure that the image will be sharp and entirely in focus.

Great food photography typically has very little depth of field; in other words, the background is blurred, with the food or drink very much the center of focus.

Light is always the law, Kida says. Front light is commonly used, but don’t forget about side light (brings out textures) and back light, which can be very dramatic. Time of day matters, which is why you see so many spectacular sunrise and sunset photos ā€” when the light is gentler. He also said that if the outside light is harsh, explore the interior (if applicable to your assignment). Mainly, be curious. Use soft light if you’re taking portraits, or as Kida puts it, “Be kind to people.”

Some more of his general advice that stuck with me:

  • Allow for moments. “Just let it happen, especially with kids,” he says. “Become a watcher.”
  • Learn to anticipate. Be aware of situations on the fly, as something will inevitably change. “Be with the place for a bit, and you’ll start thinking differently.”
  • Think about camera angle.
  • Finally, don’t settle: “If you think you’ve got it, keep going. Keep workin’ it.” Arizona Highways hosts a number of Photo Workshops throughout the year, and not just in Arizona. The magazine also has a TON of Photo Tips on its website.

I have become a much improved photographer over the years, and I always tell people ā€” like Jeff stresses ā€” that it’s all about lighting. If the light is not in your favor, you’re probably not going to walk away with the ideal image. However, especially in my experience, you don’t always have the luxury of scouting and revisiting the location, so you have to make the best of the situation you’re confronted with. That’s when I try creative angles, or zoom in drastically on objects; I really observe the scene to make sure I’m not missing something that I don’t see at first glance.

What are your photography tips? How do ensure that the lighting works in your favor? What is your favorite type of photography (food, landscape, people)? If you’re an editor or art director, how do you work with photographers to ensure they get the images you need to tell the story? I’m interested to hear your thoughts.

This photo taken in Nevada’s Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in October 2009 is one of my personal favorites. The afternoon light in combination with the marshy autumn landscape worked to my advantage. Photo by Matthew B. Brown

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Among other things, Kentucky Monthly pins its favorite cover images.

Earlier this week, a fellow editor in the International Regional Magazine Association (IRMA) Facebook group posted this Social Times article about Pinterest, specifically how it protects (or some argue doesn’t protect) photographers’ copyrights.

This got me thinking about a couple things: 1. The interest in Pinterest is exploding. 2. It sure would be tough to be a professional photographer in the 21st century, if you’re a stickler about copyrights.

I will soon start a Pinterest for Nevada Magazine, where I have been the editor since 2007. I know if I was to pin a freelancer’s photo, I would credit the photographer and provide their website (or another site that showcases their work), as is customary on our other social sites. But there’s no guarantee that the person who saves a photo off our website or one of our social sites will do the photographer the same favor. And even if a site doesn’t offer a “Save As” option with its images, the savvy Internet user can just do a screen capture to get around that.

It’s almost as if a photographer is a victim of how much he/she puts out on the web ā€” if you post it, they will share it. “The real trick is seeing your image being used illegally in the first place,” says Rachid Dahnoun, who owns Rachid Dahnoun Photography based in South Lake Tahoe. “There is so much content out there that it might as well be a needle in a haystack. It is really tough battle these days.” But Dahnoun also points to a lucrative contract he recently landed via one of his Twitter followers. “If I didn’t have my images up on the web or in social media, that never would have happened,” he says.

I personally have a ton of photos that I’ve taken all over the web, mostly on Flickr (which has recently added a Pinterest opt-out code), but could care less if they’re shared. But then photography is not my profession. If I discovered that one of my stories was used (or plagiarized) on a site without my permission, I can say for a fact that I would be upset. So it’s easy for me to understand how a photographer could be outraged if they stumbled upon one of their photos on the world wide web that wasn’t accompanied by a credit.

So what are the solutions? For the sharer, especially journalism outlets, we should ALWAYS credit photographers. In fact, I rarely post freelancers’ photos on one of our social sites, period, unless it’s a cover image or a “PR” (unpaid) photo. The photographer should protect him or herself with some sort of branding, or watermark, if they’re concerned about people sharing their images. I would also suggest setting up “Google alerts” that would notify the artist if their name and/or business shows up on the web.

One thing’s for sure, Pinterest has found its niche in the social sphere. And just when I thought Nevada Magazine might be able to avoiding joining it, this just in from Kentucky Monthly:

…in less than a month Pinterest has become the fourth-largest driver of traffic to our website, only behind Google, direct traffic, and Facebook.

Are you using Pinterest or another image-dominant site to promote your magazine, newspaper, or other business? If so, how to do you protect photographers and other artists? Conversely, if you’re a photographer, how are you safeguarding your work online these days?

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