Some of the photographs in this blog post could be TRIGGERS or considered of graphic nature (none are newer than 2001.)
Photojournalists often go hunting for doom and gloom because that's news, and nobody wants to report boring news (well almost nobody.) Some of the world's most famous photojournalists have taken horrific photographs.
Shouldn't photojournalists help their subjects instead of selfishly dramatizing the suffering for the sake of a paycheck?
Let's check the record books...
"Napalm Girl" by Nick Ut, Associated Press
This Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of a girl (Phan Thi Kim Phuc), was taken in Vietnam on June 8, 1972. She was running away from her village after the South Vietnamese forces dropped a napalm bomb on it.
After taking the photograph, Ut took Kim Phuc and the other injured children to Barsky Hospital in Saigon, where doctors said her burns were so severe that she probably would not survive. After a 14-month hospital visit and 17 surgical procedures, Phuc beat the odds and returned home. Ut continued to visit her until he was evacuated during the fall of Saigon.
Today Phuc is a Canadian citizen. Ut still works for the Associated Press and is currently based out of Los Angeles.
Vulture and Kid - by Kevin Carter, Johannesburg Star & NYTimes
Carter photographed this Sudanese boy trying to reach a feeding center when the vulture landed behind the child. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1994.
This photograph was the source of a lot of controversy about Kevin Carter because he was rumored to have stopped to take the photo and then leave without helping the starving child.
The St. Petersburg Times in Florida said this about Carter: "The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of him suffering, might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene."
The photo was sold to the New York Times in 1993, and the Times was contacted numerous times about the fate of the boy, to which they truthfully said that they did not know if the child reached the feeding center.
On July 27, 1994, Carter took his own life. His suicide note said: "I am depressed ... without phone ... money for rent ... money for child support ... money for debts ... money!!! ... I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain ... of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners ... I have gone to join Ken (recently deceased colleague Ken Oosterbroek) if I am that lucky."
An alternative account of the scene of this photo was provided by João Silva, a Portuguese photojournalist based out of South Africa, who accompanied Carter to Sudan.
According to Silva, Carter and Silva traveled to Sudan with the United Nations aboard Operation Lifeline Sudan, landing in southern Sudan on March 11, 1993 with only 30 minutes to take photos. Silva went looking for guerrilla fighters, while Carter strayed no more than a few dozen feet from the plane.
After some time, Silva also started to take photos of children on the ground as if crying, which were not published. The parents of the children were busy taking food from the plane, so they had left their children only briefly while they collected the food. This was the situation for the boy in the photo taken by Carter when a vulture landed behind the boy. Carter took a few photos before chasing the bird away.
Is it biased to publish a photo that only shows a portion of the global story?
The short answer is, maybe. But the thing is, even though a photojournalist's goal is to capture the story in one frame, it's not always possible. In the case of Carter's photo, he could have zoomed out to get the adults in the frame as well. Doing so would have probably saved him some controversy, which may or may not have saved his life.
People who argue this were not there when the photo was taken. The fact that the bird flew and landed behind the boy was the story behind the photo. The starving child was lying in a position that even had the bird wondering if the child was deceased. When the adults approached with more food, the bird would have likely flown away.
With all the prestige associated with winning a Pulitzer, how do we know the photos are not staged?
Photojournalists are not allowed to pose an image, add anything to an image, or take anything out of an image after it was taken. That is treated the same as when a reporter knowingly publishes information that is made up.
Even before today, there was always a curiosity about award-winning photos, and whether or not they followed the rules. In fact, this was something that Ut experienced with his photo of Phuc (Napalm Girl). Audio tapes from 1972 reveal that then President Richard Nixon said, "I'm wondering if that was fixed" after seeing the photo.
After discovering that, Ut commented, "Even though it has become one of the most memorable images of the twentieth century, President Nixon once doubted the authenticity of my photograph when he saw it in the papers on 12 June 1972. The picture for me and unquestionably for many others could not have been more real. The photo was as authentic as the Vietnam War itself. The horror of the Vietnam War recorded by me did not have to be fixed. That terrified little girl is alive today and has become an eloquent testimony to the authenticity of that photo. That moment thirty years ago will be one Kim Phuc and I will never forget. It has ultimately changed both our lives."
Raising the American Flag on Iwo Jima by Joe Rosenthal, Associated Press
Rosenthal was standing on Suribachi, a Japanese observation post on Iwo Jima island in World War II when he made this photo and the two that followed it. This image is the most reproduced image in history and won a Pulitzer Prize.
The third photo in the series, depicting 18 Marines smiling and waving under the flag, is what caused accusations that this photograph was staged.
The confusion about Rosenthal's photo stems from a report from Guam, where the reporter asked Rosenthal if his photo was posed. Rosenthal allegedly thought the reporter was referring to the third photo of the 18 men under the flag, which was posed.
Why do photojournalists take images depicting death (taking advantage of victims), in the interest of getting rich and famous?
One of the "Boston Photographs" by Stanley Forman, the Boston Herald American
Stanley Forman documented a young woman and two year old girl falling from this building that was collapsing because of a fire. He won the Pulitzer Prize for it in 1976.
The two-year-old baby survived this fall, but the young woman, the mother, died.
A lot of people say it is unfair to the victims to publish a photo like this, showing the death of the young woman in slow motion. However, it is what actually happened. One argument was that the two-year-old, when older, would be traumatized by this photo, seeing the death of her mother.
Is it necessary to dramatize the death so publicly? It's not for shock value, and Forman didn't take the image in order to become famous. In fact, he happened to be at the scene documenting the fire. He was not expecting, and surely not hoping that such a tragedy as this would happen.
Showing images like this, what actually happened, is important. Without the truth of what happened in an image, how is the average American supposed to take anyone's word for it? The old phrase "pics or it didn't happen" holds true more than ever, especially since we have the tools to show the images.
Conspiracy theories happen if people don't get to see what happened with their own eyes, as is evident by the death of Osama bin Laden, where some Americans now say they don't believe he is dead because they didn't see a photo of him deceased before he was buried at sea.
Showing images of death is not new and not old. In fact, it's been happening the entire time that photojournalism has been a profession.
Twin Towers Jumper 9/11 - by Richard Drew, Associated Press
Richard Drew photographed this man as he fell head first toward the ground. The man jumped out of one of the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001.
The Suicide of Evelyn McHale by Robert Wiles, Life Magazine, NY Times
She jumped off the observation deck of the Empire State Building in New York City, falling to her death in 1947. This was taken a few minutes after her death.
Monk Sets Himself on Fire - by Malcolm Browne in Saigon, Vietnam 1963
This Buddhist monk lit himself on fire to protest the poor reforms of the South Vietnam government. Browne photographed the monk as he was dying.
Footage of the tornado in Joplin, Missouri in 2011 seems to have cemented the
guidelines of documenting death. That is the first time I can remember as a journalist or consumer of the media's product, when I ever remember it happening. When one of the reporters from The Weather Channel walked over a hill he took a look, and turned to the cameraman. With a tear in his eye he said, "CUT IT NOW!"
It's worth clarifying why he did that. Journalists don't like to announce to a person's family that their loved one has died. Journalists like to wait for the police or other proper authorities to do that first. Nobody wants their first notification to be from national television or from the newspaper; it's just not right. Journalists are human beings and follow guidelines that would be expected of other human beings.
I, along with other photographers, was recently on Billy Wilson's online photography show, featuring horror photographers. Please watch it to learn more about the genre and my inspiration.
This post is an addition to a previous blog entry that goes into better detail about steps you need in order to act on issues presented in the following paragraphs. You can find the previous blog entry here.
Law in the United States is about as straightforward as warp drive technology. Copyright law is a constant issue for artists because it’s hard to understand. I have literally called the U.S. Copyright Office to ask a question on two separate occasions and received different answers.
However, recent events have caused me to be forced to clear up my own understanding of copyright laws in the United States.
Most of my experience has been with published work and copyrights, as I have been published a few times.* If you grant them LICENSE to your work for the sole purpose in the contract. I could license something for use / reproduction, derivative work production, distribution, etc. If I license a work to someone for use purposes, that does not give them the right to use it outside of those terms, and I could sue them if they do because they are violating my copyright. Before I license work, I have a lawyer look at their licensing agreement as a way to help me decide if I want them to use it for that purpose, and whether or not they have motives to do other things with my work. I’d highly recommend doing the same.
I register all my work, licensed, published, or unpublished, with the U.S. Copyright Office, and it is really important to do that. Unless work is registered prior to its theft, the artist cannot collect punitive damages if his or her work is stolen. If it is unregistered, it is still copyrighted; however, the artist can only collect actual damages. This means that the artist can only collect moneys they lost from the theft of the image, and it is the thief’s responsibility to prove they made profits of their own accord and not because of the stolen image.
The first thing I learned recently is that I really need to make a will. My work is worth more once I’m dead that it will ever be worth while I am alive. I imagine, without even getting my work appraised, that I could exceed the $1 million limit set by the IRS defining the point at which beneficiary has to pay estate tax. People who I name in my will would likely have no idea what to do with my work once I’m gone, and I need to outline it for them in the will. IE I need to say who I want to get all my printed work, paintings, digital copies, how much they are worth, and then even give directions for filing the paperwork.
I learned that you really do need to WATERMARK your work. The image I had stolen was one submitted under the stipulations that it not be watermarked, and it was a mistake to agree to that. Watermarking an image shows the users that it belongs to someone. Though you’re not required by law to put a copyright notice on your work anymore, a thief can claim it was accidental and he or she thought it was public domain unless there is a notice on the work, and that significantly reduces the amount of money you collect from the lawsuit.
If you can’t afford a lawyer, you can get cheap or free advice because of the Visual Artists Rights Act. If you Google it (or Bing it), there are resources available to residents of most states.
Lastly, I learned that copyrights solely belong to the “author” of the work unless it is written into a contract, and even then it might still belong solely to the “author.” A photographer maintains all rights to his or her own work unless it is “work for hire,” which means you are doing it for an employer. If you got a W2 because of the photography work you made, that is work for hire. Doing work for another person based on a contract is not work for hire. My work as a journalist is work for hire. My work as a freelance photographer is not work for hire. Another reason why someone else could own rights to the copyrighted material is if they contributed part of it, and it has to be a portion that can be copyrighted. A designer cannot own part of the copyright, nor can the model. However, the designer and photographer can have a say in how the image is used because it is their clothing or image being displayed.
A book I highly recommend purchasing: Art Law Conversations: A Surprisingly Readable Guide for Visual Artists
by Elizabeth T. Russell
*The Albuquerque Journal, Arab San Diego, The Aztec, Department of Defense Reporting, Egypt Daily News, Gothic Beauty Magazine, The Guardian, Inked Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Maadi Messenger Magazine, Moderate Camel Chronicle, The OB Rag, The Oklahoman, Pinup Magazine, San Diego City Times, San Diego Union Tribune
<<This blog post will be continually updated as more information becomes available.>>
Last week I decided it was time to delete my Google Plus profile. I'd been an active user of the social network for several years, so there was a lot of information to delete.
When my Facebook friends who also knew me on Google Plus found out they asked me a few things: 1) Why did you do that? Don't you know it's going to kill your search engine optimization (SEO)? 2) Do you know what affect that has on the rest of your web presence, since Google owns so much of the internet now?
Thus, I decided to write about the affects of that decision around the internet.
Disabling Google Plus versus Deleting Google Account
The option to delete your Google Plus page is located under "account" when you click on your profile photo in the upper right photo. Once there, click the "Google+" tab. Scroll all the way to the bottom to where it says "Disable Google+."
From there, it gives you two options. You can either disable Google Plus or you can delete your Google account. Disabling your Google Plus page means you will be deleting your Google Plus profile as well as any information attached to it including comments you made and posts you made, the +1 tab, and any profile information that was not made public.
It does not include your reviews on Local, or your pages. If you were the moderator of a community, you will still be the moderator of that community, as long as you're not the only person in the community. Photos don't get deleted when you delete your profile. They will still exist in Picasa (go to Picasaweb to delete them.) Connections to third parties and merged accounts will not be affected, and the contacts you had will not be completely deleted. The people who have you circled will still have you circled until they delete you, even if your Plus page does not exist anymore. That way, they can communicate with you through Gmail. The people whom you had circled will remain in a "contacts" folder.
Deleting a Google Account means disabling Google Plus and all associated pages. It also includes the deletion of Gmail, Google Voice, Google Drive, YouTube, Reader, Blogger, Picasa, Play, and other Google products you can use. If you want to get off Google Plus but keep these items in tact, you don't want to delete your Google account.
Search Engine Optimization
If people who used Google Plus searched for my name, a lot of Google Plus results would come up. Posts would come up that had links to my website. When I deleted Google Plus, all of that went away.
I didn't remember that I had links to Google Plus embedded all over the internet, to include Facebook. I stopped posting to Facebook directly because I have issues with their terms of service. That meant that my SEO on Facebook consisted of a link back to Google Plus, which meant that once Google Plus was gone, so was all the SEO on Facebook.
Links on this website to Google Plus became 404 messages, which some search engines penalize websites for.
Deletion of the +1 feature meant that all the times when I plus-one'd my photo somewhere else in order to gain the SEO from Google Plus, that SEO was gone. The plus ones to my own sites were also gone.
After realizing what I had happened to my business once I deleted Google Plus, I was faced with the task of trying to regain all the optimization I had lost with the deletion. It's a daunting task, as it takes time for search engines to crawl the web and index your content. I lost a lot of posts that were very high in ranking in search results, and others will fall in the rankings because their placement was based at least partially on something done on Google Plus.
Broken YouTube Links
After I deleted my Google Plus account, I went to YouTube and nearly lost my lunch. My account was blank. It appeared as if none of my videos were there. And I was horrified because I didn't want to have lost the views on those videos, as that was another piece of my SEO plan.
Google didn't warn people about that when it gave information about the disabling of Google Plus. Had I not gone there looking for a video to post onto Facebook, I would have had 404 warnings and broken links everywhere until someone either told me, or until I finally figured it out on my own.
Luckily, I didn't lose all my videos. However, they were broken links everywhere because the deletion of my Plus page made them all visible only to me. This applies to all the videos I uploaded as well as every playlist I had saved of other peoples' uploads.
I was able to go into each playlist and each video and make them visible to the public again.
Because this happened with YouTube, I wonder if there are other Google products out there to which this has occurred. I have been combing my Google account looking for any other inconsistencies that could cause a 404 on my website or on someone else's website.
Speaking of other peoples' websites.... I now have lost some business contacts because their links to my Google Plus page went 404. They didn't want to bother with writing to me about it, and just dropped me. Some have called me already wanting a new link. Others didn't have my contact information to begin with.
I'd like to issue a formal thanks to everyone who pre-ordered my book about lighting basics for portrait photographers. It is in the finishing stages and getting edited. I asked my editor in chief to look over my wording, just to make sure it is perfect. Often times when people author something, they overlook their own errors to grammar, word omissions, etc. and don't catch it because they know what they meant to say. I want to make sure my book is perfect so you get your money worth of reading. (Want the book??? ORDER IT NOW!
Up next after that book release will be (hopefully) my photographic essay about Egypt.
And brewing in the back-burners at this stage is something that a lot of people will be interested in: my documentary about the zombie apocalypse as it happened in America. The premise of the book is to illustrate with my naked zombies (Don't know what a naked zombie is? Watch this video
to find out!) while providing historical information about the places where the zombies attacked. I want to create an adult history book :)
Here are two shots of Eva that I intend to include in the naked zombies book. The rest...... you'll have to buy the book to see =DContent matter below the tear line is potentially not safe for work environments because of what could be deemed graphic violence and definite displays of nudity. By clicking read more and by scrolling down, you acknowledge that you are at least 18 years of age. It's advisable to make sure your boss is out of the room when viewing the content.
Six months ago I shot with model Kaitlyn Roberts in the Linda Vista Hospital in East LA as part of a Google+ Photowalk. I shot a roll of color film with my Canon AE-1 after I shot off the last two frames of black and white that were in there. My AE-1 has never been stellar with color film, but I figured I might as well play with it alongside my digital cameras.
I expected the roll of color to be no good after the shots were taken. The shutter kept sticking, so I expected all of them to be over exposed. Then I had problems rewinding them back into the casing.
Because of that factor, I decided to take the negatives to the darkroom at the university and play around with them with some other film enthusiasts.
When I was developing the negatives, it quickly became evident that something was weird about them. Almost everything came out cloudy even though all the chemicals were as they were supposed to be for the film I was using. According to the dates on the film, it wasn't yet expired.
My first instinct was that the fix was incorrectly mixed, but upon looking at it separately, it was mixed correctly. I started seeing the white cloudiness showing streaks across the film, and it looked like some of them had been accidental double-exposures. So I determined that the film was not winding correctly in the camera, hence why I had trouble getting it to rewind back into the canister. So there were some kinks, and there were some times when the film just didn't rewind correctly.
I finally got the images to be workable to the point where I'm willing to share them publicly.
The images are of artistic nude content matter and may be considered not safe for work or viewing by children. Please view the images at your own risk.
I advocate new photographers learning about and producing photography, which is in its most basic form, adjustments of aperture, shutter speed, white balance, and ISO speed. Being called a "Sooc Snob" for that is something I don't quite understand.
I get comments on my work (by the way, I appreciate getting comments, whether or not I agree with them) "this would look so much better in HDR" or "I'd like this, but you should have HDR'd it" or some of my other favorites, "You should have cloned out _____" or "You should have changed the sky." Why am I considered a snob for posting what was made in the camera (often journalism in this case), but they're not snobs for saying that's not good enough?
By the way, I USE SOFTWARE SOMETIMES. I use Photoshop CS4 and Camera RAW. I don't over-use them. I don't have to use them for every photograph, but for some photographs, I do need them.
Software (usually) is to digital photography what dark room tricks are to film. I can dodge and burn in Photoshop. I can change exposure time digitally like I can do with developer times in a darkroom. I can change color balance or contrast like I can do with filters on my camera or on an enlarger. The difference is with HDR and other tricks where multiple photos are combined to make one photo, composites, and cloning out objects in images. Those are not exercises in photography, but rather in graphic design. That's fine too, but it's snobby to try to get me to change my art medium from a production of photos to creating graphic design. Likewise, I don't care if people want to make digital art. To each his own.
Software is often pitched as the godsend to photography (sometimes it's camera gear). You know what the godsend to photography really is? The photographer.
The camera is the tool the artist uses to make art. Computer software has now become an additional tool, just like enlargers and chemicals were before. It's not about the camera, or the software, the chemicals, or even the drugs. It's about the ARTIST, his or her vision, and the interaction between the artist and the audience. Whether it's photography or graphic design, it has to be a good composition, an appropriate exposure, and it has to have a message of some sort. Those all come from the photographer.
Let me therefore be a snob and discuss photography now.
The aperture is how wide you open your lens while the photo is being taken. A big number means a tiny hole in your lens to let light through. A small number means a big hole in your lens to let light through. A bigger opening creates a shorter depth of field, or a smaller area that is in focus. A smaller opening creates a longer depth of field, and with very small openings it is often possible for the whole photo to be in focus.
The shutter speed is how long it takes your shutter to open and close, exposing your sensor (or film) to the light from the photograph. A short shutter speed (short exposure) is a little number, and a big shutter speed (long exposure) is a larger number.
ISO speed is referring to how sensitive the shutter (or film) is to the light hitting it. A small number is not very sensitive at all, and larger numbers are very sensitive. In other words, small ISO values are best used when there is a lot of light, and bigger ISO values are best used when there is not very much light. Higher values can create something called noise (or grain, in film). Digital noise from a high ISO value is from inaccuracies with the light recorded by sensor at this super-sensitive setting.
White balance is a setting in the camera that will tell the sensor what true white (or gray or black or any color) is. This can be changed on most cameras, to either reflect the true feeling of the photo, or a surreal, unrealistic feeling. More about this will be published in my upcoming book about lighting for digital portrait photographers.
"Chat Pile" - Picher, Oklahoma
Straight out of camera (as in, the .jpg file produced by my camera with no alterations in Photoshop except EXIF entries, re-sizing for web use, and watermarking). This is a photo of the chat (a mixture of lead and zinc) mine tailing outside where the town of Picher, Oklah. used to be. The cloudy day was a gift when it came to shooting SOOC out here with a DSLR. Composition-wise, this photo was about the erosion lines in the chat pile.
Canon EOS Rebel xTi (400 D)
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 L
Aperture: f/16 (to make sure the entire chat pile was in focus, and to add a bit of definition to the cool clouds)
Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec.
Exposure bias: 0 step
Focal length: 23mm
Metering: Average (because of the texture, this created the best composition.)
Lighting: Ambient, 2:00 pm winter sun behind me, covered by clouds
Straight out of camera (as in, the .jpg file produced by my camera with no alterations in Photoshop except EXIF entries, re-sizing for web use, and watermarking) featuring model Jacob Campbell.
Canon 5D Mark 2
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L
Aperture: f/1.2 (because I wanted the backdrop out of the depth of field from the small aperture.)
Shutter Speed: 1/1250 sec.
Exposure bias: 0 step
Focal length: 50mm
Metering: Spot (because I wanted the camera to meter off Jacob.)
Lighting: Flash, compulsory and 2 strobes, one on left in front of model, and one on right in front of model
"Purple Skies" - Joshua Tree National Park
The actual scene did not look like this, as the model, fellow San Diego photographer Justin Papreck could confirm. Still, I produced an image that made it look better on the computer than it did in real life (in my opinion).... without using software to alter it. In this case, the photo's alterations came from white balance settings.
Straight out of camera (as in, the .jpg file produced by my camera with no alterations in Photoshop except EXIF entries, re-sizing for web use, and watermarking).
Canon 5D Mk. 2
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 L
Aperture: f/4 (chosen to blur the background compared to the subject, which was Justin.)
Shutter Speed: 1/5000 sec. (a fast shutter speed ensured he didn't move while I was taking the candid photo.)
Exposure bias: 0 step
Focal length: 40mm
Metering: Spot (in this case, I wanted the camera to meter off Justin.)
Lighting: Ambient, just after a very gray sunset created by extensive cloud cover
WB: K2500 (to give the photo a blue hue)
Magenta / Green brkt: A9 M9 (to give the photo a red hue)
The added blue hue with the added red hue in this photo created a purple hue.
THIS POST HAS BEEN CHANGED / UPDATED AS OF MARCH 5, 2013. Portions have now been redacted.
The original has been archived as the same HTML code it came with. Given recent borderline activities, I cannot promote what this post was originally promoting anymore.
Those who know me might be surprised to discover that I did a Christmas album this year. Needless to say, Christmas..... is not my niche. At. All. In fact, my artistic style and taste often clash with both social media, and Christmas.
It is for that reason precisely that I chose to do it.
Art is about expression of an emotion. Happiness is hard for me to uncover with film, so I mostly choose to convey the less-common (on social media anyway) portrayals anger, sadness, depression, deep anguish, and others of the like. For some, art is an expression of the emotion at the moment of the creation of the piece. That's not true for me. I decided I would try to put a bit of a lighter heart into this shoot.
Another reason for my album is because I don't often get to play with computer software for my photography. Most of my work is for the media, which has strict rules about software usage.
As a photographer, how your portfolio is constructed and displayed can sometimes be the difference between booking a shoot or not. It could be the difference between booking a gallery showing or not.
What should I put in my portfolio
First of all, what is a portfolio? Most people think a portfolio is a display of your best work. That is a major, detrimental misconception. A photography portfolio is NOT a display of the artist's best work.
A photography portfolio is a compilation of shots the photographer would like to shoot again.
If you have more than one good shot from one particular shoot, one in your portfolio is sufficient. Including multiple shots that look like they come from the same exact shoot can make you look like you lack experience.
On what platform should the portfolio be displayed
My portfolio is displayed the old-fashioned way. If a potential client asks to see it, I pull out a black book from my brief case. It's a normal 8 1/2 x 11" dimension with page protectors and full-size 8x10 prints in it. The cover is a plain black.
For some photographers, a portfolio on a tablet or iPad is sufficient. Some clients who are older might not like that display medium, but some clients might find that to be satisfactory. My paper and hard-bound book portfolio shows fore-thought about the images I displayed in it. It shows that my images print well (which is very important if you are booking a magazine or art gallery.) Moreover, most people still find it satisfying to thumb through a book.
Some photographers might prefer to carry their portfolio in a tablet or phone. It can get heavy to carry around a book. There is a limited number of pages to display my work on, but in reality a client isn't going to look through all of the ones I have there anyway. There's no need to show them a hundred thousand pictures.
It can get expensive to make that many 8x10 prints, but it's not that much in comparison. It cost me about as much as two months worth of a data plan to print them for the book. I find the expense worth it to show that I'm a real working professional and serious about my work.
If you are marketing to a company that would want digital copies of your work, you might prefer the digital portfolio so they can see how the image looks on an HD screen.
How should a portfolio be arranged
Images next to one another in a portfolio should complement one another. This has multiple meanings, and I mean this in every way it can be taken.
Photographs oriented to be printed on the landscape setting should be next to another oriented the same way. Photos taken to be printed portrait style should be next to another image oriented the same direction.
Colors of the images next to one another should not clash. Subject matter should not clash either. What does it mean to have clashing subject matter? Well, putting an image of a cat in HDR with a beautiful landscape behind it would clash with a photo of a bunch of fake blood and gore.
Place photos of the same genre with one another. Portraits should be with other portraits. Gore with other gore. Landscapes with landscapes, etc.
Landscape photographers might want to put photos from the same state or region together, in case the viewer is interested in one area more than others.
Portraits are trickier. Portrait photographers should take notice of the way the model is looking. Top high-fashion models and designers arrange their own portfolios so that the model is looking toward the center fold. Therefore, as a photographer, you want to match that so you portfolio does not make them feel awkward when they look at it. Of course, some shots will be straight-on to a model. In this case, it's best to put the most space toward the center flap.
Watermarks in the portfolio
Some of the people who are reading are now cringing. It's okay guys, settle down and just read.
I don't watermark the images in my physical, printed portfolio. What's the point of that? Watermarking serves several purposes in my mind: a) to identify yourself as the artist and get contact info out there, b) to try to discourage theft of the image, c) to generate web traffic from the contact information on the watermark.
None of those seems like it has a place in a portfolio, so I don't watermark the portfolio images.
Every once in a while, I come across a designer, gallery director, or person who decides they like the image in my portfolio so much they want to keep it. Or maybe they want to bring it to their publisher, boss, etc. and get back to me. In this case, I just use an art pen to write my information on it. It's much more personal that way.
How do I present my portfolio
Portfolios are best presented in person. With words. And face-to-face social interaction. This scares some artists and drives others. However, if you are passionate about selling your art, you need to do it this way instead of just emailing a link or trying to say it over the telephone.
You don't have to wear a three-piece suit, but it's best to look like you care about yourself. Looking crazy like an artist is okay in this profession, but I wouldn't wear something covered in paint. Crazy hair dye is fine, but it's best to stick with business casual, or at least a polo shirt with some jeans. If you're showing your portfolio to a fashion designer or model agency, it's best to look like you know something about fashion.
Some people like to speak to you while they flip through your images. Talk about yourself. Tell them what inspired the creation of the work, and ask them what they feel from it. Ask them about their job and take an interest in their life. Most people like to have that warmth in a personality. Arrogance does not sell art, unless you are selling art on social media.
Remember to say thank you when they say they like something you made.
(Above) "Tiny Dancer in my Head" studio shot starring Perris Knox. This image could do well on either side of the center fold, because of the gaze of her head compared to the position of her feet. It should be placed next to another portrait shot, but would go well with a shot in color or black and white.
(Above) "Zombie Coming" - Studio shot starring Tegan Loving. This shot should be placed on the right side of the center fold with another edgy shot on the left.
(Above) "Coca Cola Reminiscing" studio shot starring Angela Newsome. This photo should be with another photo that is printed in the landscape direction. If they are side-by-side, it should be on the right side of the center fold.
These ten images have become the most popular of mine on social media platforms. Some have caused controversy.
BY CLICKING PLAY AND THEREFORE VIEWING THE ALBUM, YOU ARE AGREEING THAT YOU ARE OF APPROPRIATE AGE (AGE 18 OR OLDER) TO SEE THE IMAGES. SOME OF THE IMAGES IN THE ALBUM SHOULD NOT BE VIEWED BY SENSITIVE PEOPLE, YOUNG PEOPLE, OLD PEOPLE, OR ANY PEOPLE, ACTUALLY.
Seriously. Some of my work is disturbing.
SOME OF THE IMAGES CONTAINED IN THIS ALBUM MIGHT BE TRIGGERING IF YOU HAVE POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER.
[CLICK NSFW WARNING (ABOVE) TO ACCEPT TERMS AND VIEW SLIDESHOW]