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Will Smart Phones Dethrone GoPro Cameras In a Flash?

Image from fstoppers.com

 

It’s the revolutionary camera that has taken the world by storm. Portable, convenient, and versatile; GoPro cameras are the latest buzz. But with technology constantly progressing, how long will they be around before joining the likes of Sir Typewriter and Madam Floppy Disk?

Fstoppers’ Lee Morris gives his take on GroPro’s destined failure here.

Key To Success – Organization

From photographers to CEOs, organization goes a long way; especially at work. It’s hard enough trying to keep track of deadlines and meetings, let alone creative ideas. Throw in your personal life and suddenly the window ledge on the top floor looks like a sanctuary. Thankfully, there is a safer and better solution.

Alykhan Jetha, CEO of Marketcirle, created an application with productivity in mind. His Daylite app allows users to quickly organize schedules, contacts, projects, emails, and even opportunities. The user-friendly interface makes organization ridiculously easy, something very much appreciated here at Silber Studios.

Click here to learn more about Marketcircle.

How to Sell Your Fine Art, Part II.

Welcome to our part deux of our “How to Sell Your Fine Art” series. In this segment, we will be talking a little more in depth about target demographics, ways to advertise your work, and your greatest assets that are right at your fingertips.

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Arthaus Gallery space, San Francisco, CA

There are different audiences for different galleries. Different demographics are attracted to a certain photograph’s (and sometimes a certain gallery’s) aesthetic. For example, when speaking with the curator of Ansel Adams’ Gallery, Bill noted that they absolutely have a true demographic and that tends to be doctors, architects, professionals, etc. between the ages of 30 and 70, majority male. They lean towards the more classic black and white Ansel photograph, mostly to outfit their office. Classics always sell. So, they cater to that. At Arthaus, they mostly sell to women and men, professionals, between the ages of 30 and 60 looking for personal use in their home. They have a lot of foot traffic in and out of their gallery with students from the local art college as well. They cater to what’s around them. “It’s all about your surroundings,” Jason, one of the curators at Arthaus shared with us.

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James Bacchi from Arthaus in San Francisco gives us some insight to what’s going on in their world as well. “While black and white photographs and drawings will always be popular and most welcome in the mix of an eclectic collection, ‘color’ is most often sought after – especially in regard to paintings.  Next to color, ‘texture’ runs a close second.” We’ve gained quite an interesting array of facts and figures throughout this experiment. “With the giant wave of residential, commercial hospitality and health care development taking over the Bay Area, introducing ArtHaus to the developers, architects, landscape and interior designers for these projects is target central. It’s all about thinking larger.”

Online advertising: Although it may seem strange, Pinterest has proven to do great things for the Ansel Adams Gallery. Use Facebook to its best ability. That’s what it was made for. NETWORKING! The curator of Ansel Adams’ Gallery shared that his e-mail contact list is his greatest asset. He gets many sales just from his e-mail list alone. “You don’t need to write long e-mails to anyone, you simply need visually stunning photographs. That speaks for itself.” Hello! That’s why we’re all here isn’t it? To create visually stunning photographs? Yes. Concrete e-mail list, stunning photographs to boot, done.

Think about doing some specials as well. We’ve been given some ideas like, offering your customers new prints at 25% off for a week, then putting it back to regular price without ever discounting it again. Give them something to fight for.

 

Youtube Playbook: A Summary of Its Effectiveness

When John Green started the Youtube Channel “Crash Course”, he never expected to generate over 1.5 billion views, much less over 2 million followers. People around the globe upload videos and build online communities every day. Those who are successful in creating popular channels, become a model for other online communities to emulate in terms of strategy. Youtube offers a valuable “Playbook” that gives you great tips on practices and tactics to build a viewership for your channel. Some points that we found especially useful, and would like to share are:

1. Tent-pole-programming

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Tent-pole programming means creating videos that correlate with popular events. From Food Creation to Fashion & Beauty, audiences are looking for holiday/event themed projects all the time. Creating content around specific events is essential to building a solid and faithful audience. For example, a channel for knitting could present great project ideas for Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Surf Channels can teach techniques that a celebrity surfer used to win the recent World Cup Series. The possibilities are numerous and with the help of tent-pole programming, you can connect with your audience further by tying your content to the events that matter to them.

2. Metadata and Thumbnail Optimization:

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 3.48.26 PMEver walked into a bookstore and been intrigued by a book just at the sight of the title? Creating catchy titles and descriptions are the first step to attracting a viewer. Using the keyword suggestion tool on Youtube, try to find a title that is both appealing and likely to get hits, so as to create a show-stopping title. As for thumbnails, an eye-catching image is the way to go. A great visual aid makes your viewer click and watch your video. So, make it attractive to get those viewership numbers up!

3. Channel Page Optimization:

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What also attracts a viewer to a page, is a sense of professionalism. The experience you create for a viewer is what stays and keeps them coming back for more. Channel page optimization is about making your channel a good experience for your audience, making it the go-to destination for both current and potential subscribers.

4. Cross Promotion & Collaboration:

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When SNL features a celebrity once a week, two things are happening simultaneously. The show reaches out to fans of the guest celebrity (giving the show the opportunity to gain new followers), while the celebrity has a platform to promote their latest work. It’s a win-win situation, making it a great marketing strategy. Cross promotion & collaboration means working with other creators to cross promote content between channels. The reason why this works is because collaborating with and promoting other creators in the community, is a fantastic way to reach new audiences. Other YouTube creators are a critical part of your community on YouTube. So, create a strategy to cross-promote your content to relevant audiences. Find and reach out to channels with similar audiences for collaborations.

To read the Youtube Playbook in full detail, click here.

 

 

 

This week in Advancing Your Photography, we sat down with Deanne Fitzmaurice, a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer who is based in San Francisco, California. She specializes in journalism stills and motion. Her work has appeared in National Geographic, Time Magazine, ESPN the Magazine, Sports Illustrated , Men’s Journal, Newsweek, The Economist, Stern, GEO and numerous other publications. Over the years, she has partnered with many non-profits such as NPR, UCSF, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the James Irvine Foundation. She has also created multimedia pieces for NBC, Wharton, ACLU and her corporate clients include Netflix, Target, Avon, and Adobe, to name a few.

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 6.54.58 PMDeanne sat down with Marc Silber and talked about her approach to photography. She says, “When I pick up a camera, I try to make a human connection with my subject, and try to humanize an issue.” A while back she had the opportunity to photograph a soldier from Iraq, who, like so many others, had suffered from numerous injuries. As a result, his life was altered and he and his family were deeply affected. Deanne, being the sensitive photographer that she is, went deep into understanding who this soldier was inside and out. “We had to find a soldier who would let us into his life.” It was at Walter Reid Medical Center where she met Brent Bretz who had lost both legs and medically had much to overcome, while also trying to get his life back together. “By gaining his trust, he felt comfortable letting us in his life.”, she says. “After all, he had to put up with us being there,  we wanted to capture the moments. We wanted to connect and care about the issue. “

When asked if it is better to plan shoots before going on location, Deane says that although it’s important to have a general plan, she notes that one needs to be willing to let things change. “Things don’t go as you expected, and it should be that way. Unexpected things happen and sometimes it’s a blessing while other times it’s a curse.”, she smiles.

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 6.56.52 PMWith respect to going Pro, she says anyone can be a pro as long as they are driven. She agrees that it is difficult but if you’ve got the passion then it will happen! “It has to be a part of you. Get up in the morning and think about what you want to photograph for the day. If you just dabble every now and then, you won’t make it. But if you wake up, go read about photography, try new things, subscribe to news on photos, seminars, and constantly educate yourself, little by little you will get there!”, she says. Aside from hard work, she also stresses the importance of networking. Showing your work to various people, attending workshops, and knowing all the important people in the business are ways to make great connections. But above all, Deanne says be passionate!

 

Powerful Women in Photography

This week in Advancing Your Photography, we focused on two powerful women in photography: Bambi Cantrell and Anna Kuperberg. Research performed by Kodak a few years ago revealed that 90% of the world’s photographs are purchased by women. To Bambi Cantrell, this is not only an astronomical number but it also provides insight into why women buy photos to begin with. “Women are the keepers of history. They document their lives and the lives of their families through photographs”, she says.

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About 25 years ago, Cantrell began her photography career and she remembers how there were virtually no women in this line. “It was completely a male dominated field because it was deemed “technical” and “scientific.” “These days, women are dominating the field because we are genuinely interested in people, we are very social,” she remarks.

Cantrell, who got her first camera when she was 14, always knew she wanted to be a photographer. In fact, if her parents wanted her to stay out of trouble, all they needed to do was put a photo album in front of her and she could engage herself for hours on end. When Cantrell got married, she had her friend take pictures of her wedding because she had a “nice camera.” Looking back, she now sees the inanity of that statement. “It doesn’t matter what camera you have! Cameras don’t take pictures, people do” she reveals.

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Anna Kuperberg is another fine example of a female photographer who truly understands the essence of the art form. “The job of the photographer is to create a framework that the person is allowed to be”, she says. Although she believes that the photographer’s personality is always present in a photograph, it is the aspect of their personality that resonates. She feels that the expression in their photograph must resonate with the photographer. The way to do this is by being interested, curious and totally tuned in to the moment. “I think of the process in the way a dog looks at a tennis ball. There is this complete focus with regards to where the ball is, and not where they think its going to be.”

To check out this week’s video in Advancing Your Photography, click here. Also, stay tuned for more educational videos in the coming weeks!

 

 

Perseverance: Advice for the Aspiring Photographer


Vine Snake (Oxybelis fulgidus)

This week, Advancing Your Photography featured the SF based photographer, Jim Goldstein. As a professional photographer he specializes in outdoor and nature photography. He is in particular, passionate about the environment and is well known for infusing elements of the natural world in his commercial and editorial work.

Interestingly, Jim’s past consists of genetic research and being a web-strategist for San Francisco based tech companies. However, his passion from childhood had remained intact and in the light of the birth of social media sites, Jim caught on and started to share his work with the world. Today he is a well established photographer who produces some of the highest quality photography for both commercial clients and fine art photography collectors.

Guggenheim Museum

Did he become a fantastic photographer over night? When asked what his biggest hurdle was as an up and coming photographer, Jim smiles and says, “To be quite honest, myself!”. He recalled the days when he took his mother’s camera and went to Yosemite to take pictures and then coming home only to find that none of the photos turned out as he had hoped. Did that stop him? Well, almost but it was only through the course of time that the photographer realized that while all the times he thought he had “failed,” he was actually developing other skills in the process.

chinatown-sfSo what about his views on mentally preparing for a shoot? Goldstein says that the number one problem that photographers face is that they don’t change gears quickly, which is totally normal. You can’t always instantly find inspiration at the venue where you are setting up. Yet the key according to Goldstein is that you must free your mind and focus on the task at hand. In fact it’s a good idea to even reacquaint yourself with your equipment, know what you have to work with, and make sure you don’t make basic mistakes during the process. A photographer must know that your image ISN’T just a click away. You must experiment, study subjects, study surroundings, and be completely familiar with the atmosphere that surrounds you.

As for advice for getting better photos, it’s a simple straightforward answer: Enjoy what you do and keep at it! To check out some of his work, Check out Jim Goldstein’s page here. Recently, Jim also published a book on photography and it’s available on InspiredExposure.

How to Take Landscape Photographs Like a Pro

Want your pictures to come out as good as the ones you see in the National Geographic magazine? Going to a scenic venue sometime soon and wish to capture the beauty that surrounds you? Whatever the case may be, here are some tips from award winning photographer, Florian Schulz on how you can capture gorgeous landscapes and make the most of the scenic wonder that surrounds you:

1. Familiarize yourself with when the sun rises and sun sets in your location.

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Certain times of the day can really cramp your style when photographing on location. If you are looking to shoot on location with just the right amount of light, then you would do well to figure out when the sun rises and sets and the intensity of light during the course of the day in your designated location. Whether you get yourself a topographic map or use your gps system to do so, acquainting yourself with the exact time frame between sunrise and sunset is extremely helpful in your goal of capturing a fantastic landscape image.

2. Find something unique in your setting that grasps your attention.

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This seems fairly straightforward and yet this is a technique often missed. When on location for a shoot, it isn’t quite enough to just take a pretty picture of what is in front of you. Making your image stand out requires a sense of individuality in the photograph. This could be anything from a reflection of the mountain in the back to an ancient rock covered in moss. So go ahead and take the time to find something unique that catches your eye, which will then lead you into the overall image.

3. Take the time to ACTUALLY study what it is you are trying to capture.

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As wise men/women have so often said, observe your surroundings thoroughly! This could range from observing the way animals congregate, eat, and rest. Watch how the wind blows in the trees direction and take note of that direction. Watch the sunlight hit that lake and notice the color it creates in doing so. Take time to know and understand your surroundings. Schulz suggests taking days or even weeks to do this, if you have the time.

4. Think about the story connecting with the image you wish to capture.

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There is a reason why images like the “Afghan Girl” from National Geographic Magazine stays etched in the minds of those that come across that photograph. There is a story behind those big green eyes and it is THAT very gaze captured by Steve McCurry, that describes the essence of this tip. Investing time to produce an image that tells a story is what ultimately resonates with people. So next time you take a photograph, ask yourself why you are taking a particular photograph and what you are trying to convey through your image.

To understand in fuller detail each of these points covered, click here to check out Marc Silber’s interview of Florian Schulz. Also check out Florian’s books with more of his outstanding photography.

 

 

Should Your Guests Take Pictures at Your Wedding Ceremony?

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The topic of wedding guests taking photos at the ceremony, has started to gain more and more interest in the last couple of years.  I was just getting started in the industry and was second shooting for another photographer  the first time I saw a wedding where the guests were NOT allowed to take photos at the ceremony. The minister announced that the bride requested that all cell phones and cameras be turned off. In this particular case, I was a bit turned off myself by the idea. I thought maybe because the delivery was a bit harsh and abrupt. I was thinking about how if I was at the wedding, I would want to be taking photos on my phone or with my camera.

As I shot more and more weddings I started to see the benefit of this, but for a little different reason than some photographers. Many photographers protest the idea of guests taking photos because they get in their way. This certainly can be quite challenging to say the least. As photographers, it is our responsibility to get the shot either way and I tend to chalk this sort of thing up as normal wedding craziness. Although, it hit me at one wedding as I was standing back watching things from the side. I was sitting there watching one guest frantically start playing with the settings on her camera while off in the distance was Grandpa trying to get his iPhone to focus.  It hit me just how much of the special moment they were missing. They were not there in the moment. They were stuck in camera settings, trying to get the shot!

Now, THAT is the problem I see with guests taking photos during a ceremony. The bride and groom have hired a pro to worry about all of the camera business while you sit and enjoy the moment with the couple. I think there is a way that you can communicate that to your guests so they understand that viewpoint a bit better and won’t be put off by it. I myself, have been working on some creative ideas to better inform guests of how to get copies of the wedding photos so they know they won’t miss any moments. I’m sure as time goes on we will see more and more crafty and fun ideas on this all over the web.

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In this technology age, it is easy to get lost in our cell phones. We are always, texting, tweeting, checking email, networking etc. So just realize that for some people it is a little startling to issue a “cell phone shutdown” during a big event. But, with some gentle reminding of the true reason they are all there, you can have a beautiful ceremony with the true presence of ALL of your guests.

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Photos courtesy of lookweddingphotography.com

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