What Makes a Photographer a Photographer?

Good day, I hope everyone is having a safe Memorial Day Weekend.  Before we get into today’s topic I would like to give a Big THANK YOU to all our Military Men and Women who have given the ultimate sacrifice of their lives for our Freedoms and our Nation.  That is truly what this weekend is about.  It is about observance and remembrance of those who have died for us.  Not the parties, festivals, picnics, sales, parks opening, and the extra day off work.  I wish to offer my condolences to all their friends and families that have been affected by the loss.

On to today’s topic, have you ever wondered what makes a Photographer a Photographer?  What makes them different from anyone else taking pictures.  I believe there are several things that make someone stand out from your normal day person taking photos.  Photographers have a passion for photography, they want to tell a story with their pictures, they want to evoke an emotion from their views, and for some, they want to sell their photography as art for others to enjoy.

Every profession out there you can tell the people that want to be doing what they are doing and the others that are only looking for a paycheck.  For example, doctors, when being a patient I know the doctors that were there to help people and better their lives from the doctors who only wanted the glory and money.  I am not saying that a doctor that is only in it for the money cannot be a good doctor just like a photographer that is only in it for the money can be a good photographer also.  What sets them apart is their attitude and love for the profession.  When I go out to take photographs of nature I don’t think man this is going to fetch me some money when I sell it.  I take the photographs because I love what I see.  I like being a photographer even though I would not quite say I am a professional.

Another area that will separate a photographer from someone who is just out to take pictures is that the photographer wants to capture an image to tell a story.  They want to evoke an emotion even if it is to make someone go where they have been.  They try to make the person viewing it feel the same way they did when they saw the photo in real life.  When they are out hiking, they are typically looking for unusual things that the everyday person who is out on the same trail doesn’t see.  Your everyday person out at parks is only taking the pictures with them in mind.  They want to remember the memory or show someone else what they did that week.  Whereas the photographer wants to make that person feel like they are there and to make them see the beauty.  I sometimes have a hard time selling my work because of my emotional attachment to the photo itself.   I see some of my photographs and the memories that they produce makes me not want to give them to anyone else.  But by doing so I may be keeping the joy away from someone else.

Selling their photographs is also another thing that separates an actual photographer from the typical person just taking photos.¬† The photographer tries to frame the image in an appealing view.¬† They want to capture what most people overlook to help bring out an emotion that the viewer can relate too.¬† To bring the longing for them to want to be there.¬† Selling photographs does not mean you do not have a passion for photography and it is okay to try to make some money from your art.¬† Of course, you would want to get something back from your time spent taking the photos.¬† However, with that said like I said above there are some people who their only thought is about making money which to me means that they do not have a passion or love for what they do.¬† But again, that is my opinion and may not be yours which is perfectly fine too.¬† I have dabbled in sales of my pictures at fairs and online I keep my prices way below what others charge.¬† I still make a little bit of profit as I need to pay for my spaces as the fairs.¬† The reason I keep my prices low is that I want everyone to be able to enjoy them.¬† I do not want someone to miss out of my work just because of the price.¬† I also offer most of my prints in several sizes which not only allows customers to have a cheaper copy but may fit better in their home at a smaller size. ¬†One of the many things I like about the shows is getting to talk to people and tell them the story about when I took a picture.¬† I feel this helps them have an emotional tie to it as well.¬† I also love talking to people about photography, giving them tips on what I do but also getting tips from them to help make my craft better.¬†¬† Not all people who by photography are in it for the emotion, they just purely like the art and want to display it in their house. ¬†For example, my 16×20 Photos that I matted in a 20×24 mat, I am looking at pricing around $35.00. ¬†When researching I saw people suggesting selling them for $150.00 – $175.00 ¬†For one thing where I live it would be hard to sell for that price, and another the people who would want the picture may not be able to afford it.

So, to me what sets a real Photographer apart from a Photographer is their passion for the art.  Without passion, you are missing the true meaning of photography.  I would like to hear from everyone on what their passion is for Photograph and what it means to them.

Photography Copyright and Light Room Watermarks

Hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend last weekend. ¬†I went home to visit my parents last Sunday. ¬†While they were still in church I got a chance to go through my mom’s gardens and take some shots of her spring flowers. ¬†Love this time of year back home. ¬†Even got some shots of their pig. ¬†They live out in the country the nearest town is 6 miles with a population of 275 people. ¬†The closest thing to a city near them with 10,000+ people is 20+ miles away where you can do your grocery shopping, and cloths shopping. ¬†Thought I would throw in some pictures from my visit before we get to today’s topic.

Copyright Law

So, on today’s topic of Photography copyrights I am going to briefly discuss the copyright law. ¬†I have found that a lot of people do not know that as soon as you take the photograph that photography is your property and automatically protected by copyright law. ¬† A copyright for photographers means that you own the property. ¬†With this ownership, you have certain rights to that property. ¬†The ownership rights include:

  • Reproducing the photograph
  • Create other works based upon the photograph
  • The right to distribute copies of the photograph for public sale or transferring the ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending the image to others for use.
  • The right to display the photograph public

The above information was found in the U.S. Copyright Act at 17 U.S.C 106.  You should still consider registering your photo for copyright as this would allow for more protection of the image.

The only exception for an image copyright is when the image falls into the “Work-made-for-hire” category. ¬†In order to meet this category, the photograph must fall within one of the two situations. ¬† Situation one the photographer is hired to take photographs for the employer such as an employee of a newspaper, magazine etc. ¬†Please note that Portrait and wedding photography do not fall into this situation. ¬†The second situation is a photographer that is hired to provide photographs for a collection of works or compilations. ¬†Typically, the photographer would sign a written agreement that states the work is considered work for hire.

The best thing to do if you have any questions at all on copyright infringement is to discuss this with a lawyer.  You do not want to go at this alone and they would have the best recommendations on how to proceed.  Be it to request the image be removed, go after damages through court, or ask for credit to be added to the image with a link back to your page.

Photograph Watermarks

Now I see a lot of questions on Facebook requesting instructions on how to add a watermark.  I use Lightroom for most of my editing as I only have to do small adjustments when I can then select for multiple photos.  I have not used Photoshop for my watermarking as I typically place the watermark in the lower right hand corner of the image for all images.   I always export the images twice.  One with the watermark to use on Facebook and this blog and the other copy without the watermark to be used for sales.

  1. You will want to import your images to Adobe Lightroom and make all adjustments you wish to make.
  2. After all the adjustments have been made click on the “Library” tab in Lightroom.¬†step2LibraryTab
  3. Press “Ctrl+A” to select all the available images. ¬†This way you can export all of them at the same time and have the watermark added.
  4. Click the “Export” button.
  5. ¬†On the pop-up scroll down to the “Watermarking” section and select the checkbox next to the “Watermark” field. ¬†Watermarkcheckbox
  6. If you have not setup a watermark click “Edit Watermarks” from the dropdown menu next to the “Watermark:” checkbox.
  7. From here you can choose the “Watermark Style” of either a “Text” or “Graphic”. ¬†If you use the graphic option you will want to use an image that has an invisible background around the text you want to display so that the image can be seen. ¬†For these instructions, we are going to continue with the option of “Text”.
  8. In the box below the image you can insert the text you want to display.  If the copyright symbol is not included you can insert the symbol in a word document and copy it and then paste it into the box.  This box gives you a little bit of free range with the layout of your copyright.  Watermarkeditor
  9. Using the options on the right-hand side of the Watermark Editor you can change the font, the style of the font, the alignment and color. ¬†You can also add a shadow, change the opacity, the size, how it is inserted and where it is anchored. ¬†Once you have the watermark the way you want it to display click “Done”.
  10. Click the “Export” button and let the system add the water mark to all the edited images. ¬†Once I am done I go back in and uncheck the watermark box and upload them to a different folder so I keep my watermarked images and my non-watermarked images separate. I sometimes do a QA on my images and open a couple of the watermarked ones to make sure they have the watermark on them. ¬†I don’t trust technology. ¬†LOL.

When adding a watermark to your images with the copyright notice on your photos it may stop someone from stealing your photographs, because it will serve as a remind that the work is protected, or because the notice interferes with the use when it is part of the photo. ¬†It also helps to add a copyright to your photos as the infringer cannot say the use was innocent and this also allows you to to be eligible for damages if your notice is removed to hide an infringement. ¬†You may use the copyright notice without registering your work with the U.S. Copyright office but by registering your work you may have more protection as it can help weaken any claim from someone else for your image. ¬†However, at around $35.00 a photo a lot of photographers starting out don’t have the money to do this.

If you need any additional help with the watermarks or if something in my instructions do not make sense.  Please reach out to me.  I would love to help as much as I can.

So, after reading this I hope you consider watermarking your images.  I would hate for you to get into a situation where this could have helped.  If anyone has any experience in registering their photos with the US Copyright I would love to discuss the pros and cons you have found in the process or if it is even worth doing when you are first starting out.  Also, I would love to hear from people who do use watermarks and where you like placing your images.  For me the placement in the bottom has a less chance of interfering with the image but also has a higher chance of getting cropped out of the image.

 

 

Lightroom “S” Curves

Well today’s post is going to be a little different than the past. ¬†I was not able to get out this past week at all for any photography. ¬†You know the typical thing that happens to all of us, life kind of gets in the way. ¬†For me I have been battling Bronchitis for the past two weeks. ¬†Only to find out last Friday night the over the counter medicine was causing an allergic reaction causing my throat to swell some and to have asthma attacks. ¬†The main reason I went to the doctors in the first place to only be told to keep taking my medicine because the swelling and tightens in my chest was from the cold. ¬†LOL. ¬†Then we have work on top of everything along with a Craft show last weekend. ¬†All this combined has left me completely drained.

So, on today’s topic¬†Lightroom¬†Curves. ¬†I stumbled upon this a few years ago when I was looking at what I could do to make my pictures look more like the real thing in life. ¬†As humans, we see in 3d but our cameras can only capture the images in 2d along with bringing out the colors as you saw them. ¬†Adjusting the Curves of an image in¬†Lightroom¬†help bring back some of that depth as they adjust the highlighting and the shadows of our images.

Step 1: Open Lightroom and Import your Images

Okay so this is¬†a very simple step that does not need a lot of explanations. ¬†You need to open Lightroom import the images you want to adjust. ¬†Once you have imported your image or images click the “Develop” link in the upper right hand portion of your monitor.

Step 2:  Adjust Exposure

If you need to make to make any adjustments to your exposure before messing with your Curves.  I have found this out the hard way.  I have adjusted the curves only to realize that I need to adjust the exposure of the image and this has thrown off the image.  I have had to reset the who image and start first with the exposure and then with the Curves.  The reasoning behind this is because you are messing with the Highlights and Shadows of an image with both the Exposure and the Curve.

Step 3: Adjust the Tone Curve tool into a slight “S” Shape

Locate your Tone Curve tool located on the Right-hand side of your monitor in Lightroom. ¬†Depending on the options you have available you may have to click the arrow on the Right of the words “Tone Curve” if it is pointing left. ¬†If it is pointing down you have the tool turned on.

Tone Curve-2

Next you will see a box with a line going diagonal through the box.  This is your curve line.  With your mouse click on the line towards the top of the box not all the way I would say maybe 3/4 of the way up.  Once you have clicked on it keeping the button depressed on the mouse drag it slightly towards the left of the screen.

Now with your mouse click about 3/4s of the way down the line and drag the line slightly to the right.

Tone Curve Adjusted-2

As you can see you have now created a slight “S” curve. ¬†Feel free to play around with how much of an adjustment you are making. ¬†Some pictures may require more than others. ¬†If you overdo it you can always click the “Reset” button to put it back to how it was.

Step 4:  Other Adjustments and Export you are done

So, you have adjusted your curve into an “S” now if you edit your photos any further make your normal adjustments. ¬†Please note that this may affect how much you may have to do your normal adjustments. ¬†It may be more or less of an adjustment depending on the photo and how much of an ‚ÄúS‚ÄĚ curve you apply. ¬†Export your photo to your destination and you are done.

There are other adjustments that you can do with the curves and I have not had the time to set down and research and practice with them yet.  So, we may see other articles on what we can do.  If you look at the before and after photo you can see how it helps make the image pop just a little bit more.  Helps bring some depth back to the photo and makes it so it does not look so washed out.

This blog is going to be a day early, I am going home tomorrow to my parents for Mother‚Äôs Day. ¬†I would like to wish all the Women who are or about to become Mother’s, Step Moms, Grandmother’s, and Aunts who fill in as moms, a wonderful and happy Mother’s Day. ¬†I especially want to wish my wonderful mother a Happy Mother’s Day. ¬†She has always been by my side supporting me in everything that I do. ¬†Helping me when things are rough, and rejoicing with me when things are going good. ¬†The feature picture in today’s blog shows all the wonderful women in my life. ¬†My aunts, my grandmother and especially my Mom. ¬†Love you all!!¬†

How do you adjust your curves?  I am always looking for new ways to do things.

First Craft Fair of 2017

Yesterday marks the first craft fair completed for this year.  I wasn’t sure how this one was going to turn out or how I was going to feel.  I ended up getting sick last weekend and diagnosed with Bronchitis.  Only to have the cold medication I was taking to cause my symptoms to become worse.  The chocking and wheezing from my asthma attacks were not fun at all and I thought they were all because of my cold, but Friday when my tongue started swelling I thought maybe there was another reason and it was.  Once I stopped taking the OTC cold meds the tightness and wheezing went away and I felt like I could breath.  Which also helped with the coughing.  Don’t get me wrong I still cough but nothing like it was.  I couldn’t take a breath without having a coughing fit and my muscles in my back and chest are now sore from all the coughing.

Saturday morning found me feeling a little bit better, I was worn out and tired but thought I can survive this.  I am glad I did, the show started out kind of slow.  The rainy cold weather did not help that any, and it didn’t help the way I had my table displayed either.  I had an L shaped layout for my table with all my framed photos on the front table and the individual matted photos on the table.  Mom suggested that I move some of my framed photos to the back of the other table and move some of my matted photos to the front table.  I was surprised at how many more people started looking at them.  You wouldn’t think that a little change like that could make a difference.  But when they see the prices on the frames they were just walking off and not looking at anything else.  It is all about presentation.  I am filing this little bit of information in the back of my head.

Some of the items I had out yesterday.

I ended up meeting a bunch a really nice people and enjoyed talking with them all, you don’t always find people like that in today’s world.  That always seems to make the shows go by  that much faster.  Even the people who did not purchase anything talked to me about how great the photos looked.  Which is a good booster for your self confidence.  I ended up selling 7 photos, 4 of which I was asked to sign.  I never thought I would have anyone ask for my signature that was a new experience for me.  I may have asked them if they were sure that they wanted me to sign them a couple of time because, I didn’t want to mess up their mats in case they didn’t like the way I signed them but in the end they did.  I also met this one kid who was enthralled with my photos of the Helicopter that I had taken.  He wanted to know how I was able to capture it with my camera and it not be blurry.  It is nice to see people that young taking an interest in photography.  He has a wonderful chance to hone his skills at an early age and be way better than I am at my age.  It is interesting when the roles have been reversed instead of me asking someone questions on how to take certain photos I have someone asking me.

In the end I enjoyed my day with my mom and meeting new people.  This is a show that I would not mind doing again.  I know if the weather had been better there would have been more people that would have turned out.  Who wants to go out on a cold rainy day, and this is nothing that anyone can control.  Those are the types of day I want to stay inside covered up with a good movie or book myself so I know why people were not out in masses.

I am going to apologize if things do not make a lot of sense today.  I am a little out of it with this cold.  But I hope everyone has a wonderful day.  See you all next week.  ūüôā