At home on Saturday evening. After sending emails, reading the same novel again and while watching an old film on the monitor on coffee table, I was inspired by what was going on in front of me. Light is putting on the show for me. All I had to do was to concentrate on what is going on, and capture it.
I still have not decided on the replacement street shoot camera since my beloved Panasonic and its beautiful pancake lens found a new home. But at least, my ‘bigger one’ has this lens that capture that delicate light on smooth texture.
On Sunday morning, my friend Yash came into the city to model for me in the studio. I had a pleasure of photographing him while we were still working at the same office, and I always thought he was photogenic. He has strong features, sophisticated, ‘metero’ kind of feel about him. He is a soft-spoken and kind gentleman. Girls, if you like to get to know him, maybe we can arrange something…
Enough of that! :p Let’s get right into it. We caught up over lunch last week to discuss some ideas about what we might like to do on this session. He started off from a call centre, demonstrated his leadership and commitment to move up to marketing team, where we worked together in some marketing related projects. We had coffees and chats, sometimes discussed office politics and shared our ideas. Things were not looking all so rosy when I eventually had to leave the team but he still remains standing. He speaks positively, as always, of the situation around him. I encourage him to fight on for his own goal, his way up.
He tells me he started training in a boxing gym recently. He is a fighter and he is an athlete.
I have an opportunity to use the photographic studio on a regular basis for a month or so. While I can just play with lights and take shots for the sake of it, I thought it would be more interesting to set myself a challenge. That is, make sellable images. Of course, for the last year or so, I have grown more focused on making images (photographs) for the viewers, rather than for the photographer (myself). In other words, it is not about ‘Look, I took a picture of something pretty’, but ‘Here is some image which I hope stir your imagination or inspiration’. It is easier said than done. But as with any job, not just photographer, I think the difference between the paid workers and professionals is the consideration for satisfying the customer.
So I’m doing two projects. One if to shoot objects / projects that are sellable. What I mean is, making images that can be used in website, printed materials, etc. as a photograph of an specific item, or as an image sketch that supports certain idea (that is communicated in the text that it accompanies). I’ve passed the initial screening and started posting a few photos on one of the stock photo services. I’m not expecting to make income out of this; but rather I am looking for gaining a better understanding of what sells and why.
The first stock photo service I’m selling my images is called PIXTA an it is actually one of many but possibly the most popular stock photo services in Japan. So my target audience are probably within marketing related function within Japanese companies. In the coming months I’d like to try and see if I can work with other stock photo services, especially ones with more international exposure. It is a good hurdle to set for myself in order to keep improving the quality of my images.
Please help promote my images by telling your friends who might have a use for stock photos. I also make images upon request, so if you have any specific photograph you need, please contact me. 🙂
I’m also looking for a couple of models to produce stock photos with in the studio. Possibly shooting in a few weeks’ time. If you are interested in getting your photo taken, and agree to sign a model release (allowing me to commercially distribute the photographs), please let me know. As a token of my appreciation, I will produce your profile/portfolio images and give you the best image in digital format.
It is in the middle of the winter here in Melbourne. One week it’s rather warm, another week it’s freezing. What you see on the weather forecast today is pretty much the worst it can get: it’s chilly, windy, and stormy. You get wet because the umbrella wouldn’t really work when you are walking on the open wind-blown path from station to home at night, and it gets very cold when you are wet. So, while I am waiting on confirming the schedule of my friends for ‘couple in the city’ shoot, all I can do is look at the location scout sketches and thinking how I can light the subject to the best effect. The couple I have in mind presents a unique challenge for me, which I’d noticed a bit when I shot them at their engagement party, but now that I think of them in the dark with my hand-held flash as the only lighting that I can control, I know it will be an interesting challenge.
At photography school they encourage you to use a visual diary. How you use this is really up to you, but in essence it is your own scrap book. To me, it is the whiteboard I used to insist on having near me in the office to draw up ideas as they come by (as I tend to lose the piece of notebook I’d drawn things on, but whiteboard is not easy to lose, especially if you have a mobile phone with camera to permanently save it). My tutor called the visual diary a place where you have a dialogue with yourself. You get an inspiration, an idea, a pop, a light bulb flashing above your head. You jot it down. You have a coffee break later when you can sort of just glance over your sketch or text or clipping from magazine, that was your ‘idea’, and add some meat around bones, draw some diagrams, arrows to indicate potential use of lighting direction, frame to decide composition… While I was thinking about this next project, one of the ideas I was sketching on came back to me. It was from a scene in a movie, and I’d paused the movie while sketching the rough onto my visual diary when I saw it a few months ago. I didn’t have a chance to use that idea until now because I was focusing on a project that has to do with subject that has very little human shape in it (though their presence was clearly identifiable). Now that I’m back to shooting people, especially when I wondered how I could solve this unique challenge, it came back to me. As they say, you never forget things you’d written. You read a book, you watch a podcast, and you think you got it. But nothing beats the effort you put into actually writing down what you are ‘getting it’, when it comes to actually saving that into your memory storage upstairs.
Unfortunately the day seems still long after watching a movie (for inspiration, of course!), sat up with a cup of coffee staring at blank wall and jotting down stuff, and following Le Tour bike race on TV, and my camera is just sitting in the middle of the coffee table as if it blames me for my laziness. So I start thinking about where I can go to shoot. Williamstown is not very far from me, and seeing its location on the map it is not a bad place to look for an image of the city over the sea. Maybe sunrise? No, not likely. Le Tour finishes its telecast around 2am and I’m not gonna get out of bed at 6am dragging my gear and tripod on public transport to get to the seaside for sunrise shot. What if it is just dull overcast morning after all that effort? Well, what about sunset then? I won’t be in the traffic jam as I’ll be traveling against the flow of city workers on their way home after I did the shoot. But the sun is not going to set behind the city but behind me, and will it paint the sky nicely orange, which would happen on a stormy day and if I’m very lucky and the sun is not blocked behind me… And it’s going to be windy and cold in the sea-breeze, in the middle of the winter… So I don’t go. That’s how it works out in winter. Much nicer to put on my warm clothes (I don’t use the heating) and sit on the couch with my legs under me :p
Anyhow, the camera still is there, not saying a word but I could feel its cold stare blaming me. I look around to see if there is anything interesting. Not really. It’s the same old room. I don’t have a fancy interior piece and it’s too much work to try to set up a lighting that makes ordinary objects in my room look extra-ordinary. It’s just too cold for that in here. And then, one morning, I saw this. The German simplicity meets Japanese simplicity. I love the pictogram, too. I used to propose a major usability improvement on instruction documents using lots of those when I was working in a global organisation. But hey, I just love the sense of space, anticipation… why is it all so white and blank? What is there? And maybe you see something there, maybe you won’t. Love to hear your reaction to this, ladies and gentlemen of my audience. Just press the comment link on the top of this post, and it’s all yours 🙂