With the announcement this past week of that one company with a bite missing from a piece of fruit about the improvements they've made to their camera on their phone, I realized that it wouldn't help those who still take bad pictures.
So, consider this a PSA (Public Service Announcement) for cell phone / selfie pictures.
FIND THE LIGHT. Yup, light here is your friend...as long as it's in moderation. Getting some natural light into your eyes gives them life and makes them look alive, but too much natural light will leave you squinting and your eyes look beady.
FIND THE LIGHT Part Two. Often times, the sun is SO bright when we take a pic that we turn our backs to the sun so we don't squint. Good move there. Problem comes in that you're now silhouetted and we can't see that you're no longer squinting. Reflect that light back into your face by utilizing a wall, or if on a beach, lay down or kneel on the sand. The sand is a natural reflector and will bounce light right back into you and you'll be exposed properly.
FIND THE SHADE. Over cast days are great. Bright sunny days, not so much. If a bright sunny day, find a place to stand in the shade to protect your eyes from squinting. If on concrete, the sun will bounce off the concrete and illuminate your face and expose you properly.
SUNGLASSES. Does it bother anyone else when you can see the cell phone in the glasses, or is it just my own OCD? Ah, you don't care...so, when taking that selfie, especially in a car (please make sure you're not driving at that time!), you should be seeing your self in the display, spend a second and look into your eyes. If you see your phone, slowly turn your face slightly away from phone and you will disappear from your sunglasses. Piece of cake.
PHOTO-BOMBING. I "never" do THAT! No really....okay, maybe sometimes. Take a look around your surroundings when doing them and check more than your face on the screen to see what else is going on in your pic. Could save you from problems later on down the road!
So, I hope these help you and your cell phone selfies. :-)
With the announcement this past week of that one company with a bite missing from a piece of fruit about the improvements they've made to their camera on their phone, I realized that it wouldn't help those who still take bad pictures.
Over the next few postings I'll be reviewing past shoots I've done with a mini pictorial.
This shoot with Michelle was to try out a few different things, as well as a new location to me. A favorite of mine are urban settings giving a different feeling; much like a juxtaposition.
Michelle, is a stunning, tall, and has a presence during her session. She knows how her body moves and how to get herself into those positions. What a pleasure to shoot her!!!
So, enough from me, here are some photos :-)
Not feeling much like putting a blog together today, nor this week, but I'm trying to stay diligent here. I'm also feeling a sense of reflection as well.
It's been said that September 11th is our generation's Pearl Harbor. We've all heard that, but it makes you - or at least I wonder what it was like when that news broke...without four or five 24-Hour news channels. It's tough to even image what it was like without Facebook and Twitter. Anyway, I wasn't going to go into what would've been with social media sources.
Most of the people who will read this know I was a member of the NYPD that day. I remember many, many minor details from that day, and at times I think I remember more details and what I was doing than at any other time in my career. I started talking about this last weekend a bit and really haven't stopped thinking about that day. It's been that way for the last 13 years. But two people come to mind about that day. Moira Smith and Ramon "Ray" Suarez.
I worked with both of these officers and I remember when I last seen and spoke with each of them like it was yesterday. You know those friends you don't talk to for weeks, months or years and when you see them you could pick up exactly where you left off the last you saw/spoke with them. Well, with both Ray and Moira that was the case. Like no time passed by at all. It was like that with most of the people I worked with on the job, and it happened often because of the different hours, tours and locations we worked we would often only see one another at social functions.
Moira was in my academy class and the last time I saw her was March 17th at the Transit Police St. Patrick's Day party. Our party was more family oriented and she was there with her daughter and husband - who I also worked with. A few pleasantries and we each went on our way. Few people realize she was at the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 as well and did the same exact thing as on 9/11. She never ran from any danger, and was a great cop.
I worked with Ray when he came back to the Transit PD. He did a short stint down in Florida and hated every minute of it. We spent 8 hours comparing our department to what they did down south. We had 8 hours of non stop laughing and head shaking about how archaic Florida policing was.
The last time I saw Ray was about 3 weeks before the attacks when he dropped off a transfer request into a specialized unit.
Both Ray and Moira had pictures printed in the newspapers after the fact showing them helping and assisting citizens away from the pending disaster, only to go back and go help someone else. The news photographers had no idea they were capturing the last pictures of these hero's.
Ray was partnered with Mark Ellis and posted at Delancy & Essex street subway (on the Manhattan side of the Williamsburg Bridge) and when the first plane hit, they commandeered a yellow taxi and went direct to WTC. Ellis also perished that day.
From the stories I got about Moira she was stationed out the 13th Precinct on 21st street and was on assignment uptown for something. When the first plane hit, she finished up what she was tasked with and then went straight down to twin towers.
So, on this day, when I think of what happened, where I was and what I was doing, as well as what I've done the past 13 years, I also remember the ones I knew who made the ultimate sacrifice that day.
4 DAYS, 4 SHOOTS
Believe it or not, this section title IS unusual. For other photographers reading this, they're probably saying WOW, Really? The general public just doesn't realize that just because you're a full time photographer doesn't mean you get to take pictures all the time.
I know, I know...#SHOCKING!
Thursday was spent shooting a couple of AMAZING dental offices here in the Columbia/Irmo area. More on that in the coming weeks. Friday was a model shoot with Morgan (image on right) which has images getting rave reviews on my facebook page.
Saturday was another amazing High School Senior Picture session (and those images will be Sneak Peaked on Facebook over the next couple of days) with Rachel (image on left) who managed to have her own busy week. Shot with me Saturday, and then Monday went to see OneRepublic on her 18th Birthday! Who's got it better than her??
And then there was Sunday. Sunday's shoot was with my 2015 Senior Ambassador Kari and we were creating some images for her. Full blown makeup and hair and was shot inside Studio 3P. But it was a full day for her, and a late start for me. She just came directly from winning a beauty pageant, and I spent the day working on the previous 3 days of images.
So, as you can imagine giddiness and fatigue and being slap happy in between different "looks" kinda made it's way into our shoot, and was probably expected. Which reminds me, I have to find a way to get a hold of a Spotify expert to find out how to play only "radio edits" - but that's a whole 'nother story. But I digress. Any-Who, I was shooting tethered and while mom was watching the iPad with the images coming up we took this:
When Mom made a disapproving comment, we followed it up with this:
We both laughed, to the chagrin of Mom, but Kari and I were having a pretty good time with it, so all was good.
So that got me thinking - and usually that's NEVER a good thing - just ask my wife, but I came up with the idea of renaming October to October Out-Takes!
October Out-Takes will be a blog airing once each week in October and will be a pictorial blog of some out-takes from sessions I've shot in 2014. Wording will be minimal, except where I think a story will put the image in proper perspective.
So, while everyone who has shot with me is now gonna be nervous, and rightfully so. I won't show any of the images I've caught of people picking their noses, or checking their armpits, but October Out-Takes that really showcase the experience that I offer my clients. But the two images I shared above will be very close to what is shared.
So, as an example, here are two images that just about fit what October Out-Takes will be like. Maybe some of the other photographers who read my blog will follow suit and maybe make this a cult type following!
Sunday August 31st, Alicia Ziegler held a fundraiser for the relaunch of WINK Magazine for Columbia's edition of this magazine. Her event was a swimsuit runway show of sorts, and she pretty much sold the house out. It was a great turn out and I had had the opportunity to capture some pretty good images to boot.
The event was held at Studio Cellar and they couldn't have been more gracious as hosts.
Zeigler is also the Director for Columbia Fashion Week and is also the Talent Agent at FFS Model and Talent Agency. as well as some other ventures in the Columbia and Charlotte areas.
Here are several images, from the event.
All in a good way of course. :-)
As any photographer will tell you, actually getting out to shoot is not the norm. Oh, yeah, it's GREAT when I can get away from the business side of the business to actually go out and create images - in other words, SHOOTING. But probably 80% of a photographers time is whittling down of images from a shoot to keep only the acceptable. Then giving those images a basic edit, and then delivering to a client. There's also the emails back to prospective clients inquiring about services, setting up meetings with vendors and clients and working on the business side of things.
So when I alluded to a busy week coming, I'm going to enjoy this. Well, this is what's on the coming agenda:
Tomorrow, a business meeting in the early afternoon, followed by Jordan's 2nd Rep Shoot. (you can see her first images by clicking here).
Thursday, I have a couple of businesses that are near and dear to me to shoot. One session at 12:30, the next at 4.
Friday, I have a model session to shoot, and those are always fun and super creative.
Saturday, I get to shoot Rachel's senior session and that'll be fun as well.
Sunday wraps up the week with Kari's 2nd Rep Shoot, and she'll be all set up as she's coming from a pageant, so there's no doubt those images will be amazing. (you can see Kari's first set by clicking here).
WINK MAGAZINE. Over the weekend I did a runway shoot for a relaunch of WINK Magazine. Those images are ALMOST ready to be posted. Based on the above shooting schedule, fingers are crossed for getting them out this week. I'll have the appropriate link when I post the images. In the meantime you can check them out on Facebook.
SENIOR PICTURES - As I'm progressing thru round 2 with my reps, I'm also working on some uber cool concepts that I think would be awesome and that they'd have a blast doing. Just a little something to keep them guessing. Should be some incredible images and should get them a ton of exposure as well :-)
In the mean time, everyone enjoy your week, and see ya on Thursday with some images.
It's been a month, give or take, since my last update. Some think that I was on vacation since August is typically a slow month around these parts. But that was far from the truth - as a matter of fact I was laying the ground work for the next 6 months and beyond and having this "ship" pointed in the right direction.
So, this is what has transpired in the last month...
GARY ALTMAN PHOTOGRAPHY
IS ON GOOGLE'S FIRST PAGE
After some diligent work on my website, I now find myself on Google's 1st Page, second listing for HS Senior Photography!
This is quite the achievement when you consider I know very little about SEO and web page development.
But what REALLY makes this a BIG DEAL is that this happened in just 4 months time!! From May 1st (give or take) not even being noticed in search results, to debuting on the 4th or 5th page of Google and then rising up to the top of the 1st page is quite an accomplishment; in any field or professional service!
I want to give a HUGE SHOUTOUT to Justen Hong of Visual Lure, Curtiss Bryant of Curtiss Bryant Photography for their experience, tips & tricks, and suggestions that helped my ascent in Google's rankings.
SIDE NOTE: Sometime in July I was on the 1st page on both Yahoo and Bing's search engines for both HS Senior Photography and Weddings, but as the old saying goes, if a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound. It's nice being on anyone's first page, but Google is the King right now and for the foreseeable future.
Now the focus is raising my exposure with Weddings to Google's 1st Page. There will be announcements coming out over the next month or two regarding this you won't want to miss.
SHOOTS and MORE
Over the last month or so I've begun to branch out into a couple other genre's (model and pageantry photography, head shots and maternity portraiture to name a few) and you'll start seeing images from those area's as that gains some traction.
My Senior Reps are now in the process of going through their 2nd sessions and composite pictures. This is a ton of fun for them and allows them to really relax and be themselves. This isn't to say that they didn't have fun the first time around when having mini makeover going on (hair and makeup application) but this session is geared to them/for them!
IDEAS & CONCEPTS
Normally doing concept shoots are projects that I shoot that are for me, not necessarily to add to my body of work, but for personal satisfaction and growth as a photographer. These concepts aren't meant to be a way to attract new clients, per se, but to have some fun on a shoot. So, what I plan on doing is a little something extra for my reps. I have a softball styled shoot that's probably within two weeks of details being finalized and shot.
Also have a plan for my dancer and gymnast reps that I think will be an absolute BLAST which I haven't even told them about yet!!! This should be epic and give them something to really wow their friends!
PRINT COMPETITIONS & MODELS
This is something that I believe every photographer should be doing to get better at their craft and something that is most certainly on my radar in the up coming months. There are a couple of photographic organizations that have designations and such for this and we're going to make that happen within the next 6 months.
As Donald Sutherland said in the 1994 movie Disclosure, "We're living in some very interesting times", and I feel that is exactly where I am right now!!!
Until next week, Go Gamecocks!
Here's the first spot light on a Chapin High School Senior I'm doing, and it's on Jordan.Read More
Here's the first spot light on a Chapin High School Senior I'm doing, and it's on Samantha.Read More
There seems to be an issue lately surrounding shooting on train tracks. From a professional photographer's point of view, it's come up in several forums. The conversations seemed to have started when a photographer was struck and killed by a train very recently.
Photo Credit to Arne Hückelheim. Feel free to check out some of his other amazing images!Read More
Normally, I shoot weddings, high school senior portraits, engagement sessions and the like, but when I first came to the Columbia, SC area I "stumbled" on the Columbia Fashion Week site and applied to volunteer my services. About a little over a week before the 5 day event that ran from the 17th to the 21st of June was I notified of my acceptance.
For me, I met got a chance to network with some other photographers, videographers, hair and makeup artists as well as designers and models. Also I was pleasantly surprised to run into a few people I've met prior to this event, which helped make the "new kid on the block" a little more at ease.
A few pictures are included here. The rest of the images will be posted on my gallery site, as well as with the Columbia Fashion Week site for their limited use.
Now, I want to keep this light and not get too over the top with this, but a lot of work went into this event. Alicia Ziegler put a whole lot of time and effort into this event, from coordinating corporate sponsorship's, attracting young up-and-coming designers as well as corporate retail box stores to display their clothes. Alicia also had a ton of help from other volunteers who helped the models get primped and prepped with hair, makeup, and fitted.
Graduations are almost finished, tests are over, and now it's time for some sun and fun.
I've already given my Senior Reps a little something to think about for our next waves of shoots.
In addition to their studio session, and their build their own session they have been tasked to come up with a fantasy type of idea for composite work.
What's composite work you ask? Well, it's the compilation of two or more images merged into one that could be a bit on the surreal side or something fantasy based. Think juxtapose if you will.
This could be urban based. In all it will be fun and very low key. We're going to mix in each of their unique personalities and some of their hobbies and create something that is just a little Fun, Stylish and Unique - Just for them!!
Here's one of Lydia and a pose she did during our session that I ended up taking and putting in a cobblestone alley somewhere.
As those shots are taken and completed they'll become part of their portfolio and their Senior Experience!
Trying to get things completed today before heading out for the Studio 3P's Grand Opening, which includes finally writing my Bio and putting images on a jump drive for display purposes.
But I had to finally complete this project, the 2014 LHS Graduation pics of the kids walking across the stage with their diploma. Of course, most are 18 and are no longer kids, but that's irrelevant as I'm "significantly" older then they are - but let us not go there. :-)
I've shot this graduation before and knew where to stand to try and get better shots. Of course the school changed things up this year and almost sent me into a panic. But, in the end it all worked itself out.
It's now official and I can make the announcement official.
I'm now an Associated Photographer with Columbia's only photographer cooperative studio at 6030 St. Andrews Road, Suite K, in Columbia, SC, 29212.
What this really means is that I will have access to the studio for styled shoots of all types - your senior cap and gown portraits, stylized studio themed shoots as well as the prototypical head shots and portraits. There are a variety of different backdrops for various looks and effects and many different shooting bays. This will also allow me to now be able to offer dance studios, gymnastic centers, and dance schools a "brick and mortar" location to offer them their individual portrait packages.
Even more important for me is the reception area where I can meet with future and current clients, with the area also being utilized for first looks at their images for selections.
The studio, in addition to the above, also has a station for hair and makeup set aside for either self applied or via a professional stylist to set themselves up.
On Thursday, May 29th at 5p will be the Official Opening of the Studio, including ribbon cutting with the Chamber of Commerce as well as being open till at least 9p.
Come on down and visit us (me) and say hello. If you were thinking of taking advantage of my 50% off sale, this would be a great time to come and discuss your wants and needs and take a look around. As a thank you for showing up and coming, I'm offering a FREE 11x14 Print with the booking of ANY session ($60 Value) or $100 off any wedding album!!
Really, there won't be many times that I write a blog post without having any kind of pictures attached, but this will be one of them.
After attending graduation ceremonies for Lecanto HS in Citrus County, FL, and finally coordinating schedules to shoot a long over due Senior Session it's time to catch up with some of the really good friends I've made in my time spent here. Everyone I've seen (or will see) before I go will eventually read this and I while there are some things I do miss, it's those friendships that will be the things I miss the most.
But right after Memorial Day, things will really start humming along, and it'll be time to get all these sessions I've shot completed, and finalized. This part will be super easy at that point, and I'll make that announcement on Wednesday (yeah...another teaser of sorts).
By the middle of June I'm anticipating that all my senior reps will have viewed all of their images as well as a couple of my other clients as well.
Next week, in addition to what I already have on the calendar I will start planning out my first Senior Rep Group Shoot, including the "Ensemble Ball Gown Shoot" with all of them. Based on THEIR busy schedules and My schedule this should be quite entertaining when we can get all of us together in one place at one time.
The planning of their individual stylized shoot will start taking place as well. Then their studio shoots and group shoots over the summer and fall. Then, what I haven't told them is that I plan on doing another specialized, completely customized composite shoot with them as well. This will be a collaborative effort based on what specific interests they have.
Now, all of this is available to other HS Seniors in the Class of 2015 who are not one of my Ambassadors. It's all part of my Senior Experience. This is a truly a one-of-a-kind offering and unique to our area, and as far as I know, I'm the only one offering this many shoots with your senior session.
If you think you'd like to participate have your parents reach out to me and I can explain all the different perks you could be receiving.
Thanks for reading, and I look forward to hearing from you!!
This afternoon will start one very busy week...and probably put me a little further behind in everything.
However it's all good as I'll have a MAJOR announcement next week right here in this very blog. Details are still being worked out and such that should be finalized by then!
So, onto this week :-)
The Miss Amazing Pageant CD's are due in TODAY! Exactly 3 weeks at the printer to create the CD's!! Sorry everyone :-( Everything will be reevaluated next year, including deadlines, but lets stay positive, as 939 images will be delivered and some of which will be showcased here.
The Miss Amazing Pageant is a pageant system that highlights the abilities of women with disabilities. The South Carolina Pageant director is Mrs. Martie Newmyer and it was both her first pageant she's directed as well as the first Miss Amazing Pageant in South Carolina! I, me, personally have zero experience in being a contestant in a pageant - no really, I have none - this one looked like it went off flawlessly! Not a detail was overlooked or a scenario not accounted for. What a PHENOMENAL job Martie did with her entire team! You can find them here on Facebook and I am absolutely sure that planning on the 2015 Pageant is WELL underway...right Martie?
Later today we'll be heading down to Sunny F-L-A for Graduation, Graduation Parties and a teeny-weeny bit of R&R....not really the R&R part as our itinerary's are 100% locked and loaded. However Sunday finds us in Hilton Head, SC for a couple of days.
With Monday being Memorial Day, please have a thought or two about why we're able to enjoy the freedoms we have in this great country and who made the ultimate sacrifice for those freedoms. God Bless The United States of America!
Last Saturday I had the pleasure of capturing some of the events for the Special Olympics...Read More
Each of my reps has a certain something that they bring to the table when they come for their sessions.Read More
Jillian was the first of the Gary Altman Photography Reps to respond to my "Casting Call", the first that I shot here in Columbia, and the first that I'm introducing.Read More
I had the opportunity to travel up to St. Louis, MO for the inaugural event called ShutterFest.
ShutterFest is a brainchild developed and brought to fruition by one Salvatore Cincotta, and Taylor Cincotta. The genesis behind it was to give other photographers a chance to Shoot, Learn and Party - as the theme stated. But in reality what it was meant for was to have smaller class sizes, access to industry experts - in all fields - as well as to have your questions heard, answered and then expanded on. Anyone who has ever been to a specific industry convention knows that all of the above is just a pipe dream. The Cincotta's own and operate a 12,000 square foot photography studio in a historical building in O'Fallon, IL.
It was a very enlightening experience, with industry leaders going out after midnight and assisting in shoots, as well as after hours continuing class room instruction - as well as standing on tables!!
New product offerings are also in the works after seeing a lot of what vendors have to offer. All high end, high quality products that I know my clientele will absolutely adore and treasure for many years.
A very exciting time, in deed, and I'm very much looking forward to ShutterFest'15 and to see what is instore