Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Boss' Christmas Present

Holt Plumbing Memories by Holt Staff | Make Your Own Book
I took on a project for some friends to surprise their boss this Christmas with a book.  I really like the ease of the BLURB Book product, but the line to get it in was pretty hefty last night.  I was up till 2:00am trying to send it and kept getting server errors on their end.  When I went to their Customer Service Site, it said they were over run with people trying to send in books on a coupon deadline, lucky me.  I can't wait to see the finished product, I hope the photographs are not too bad, I didn't take them.  They were low resolution scans, that will make some of them blurry.  The people I put this together for will not worry about that too much, they had what they had, some great photo memories at #HoltPlumbing.  #LeslieWilkesPhotography will work with what is given, and make the best of it.  I hope they enjoy,

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Merry Christmas

Leslie Wilkes - Owner/Photographer


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

My Photography One-On-One Class

I just wanted to give you an update as to how my classes are going. I had a recent one this Sunday with Jeff B, he does great photography, I just helped him make it better, and make more sence as to why he was doing what. Here is a message Jeff Sent me after class that I posted on my website (http://www.LeslieWilkesPhotography.com) and now I am posting on my blog because I wanted to share his photograph. " I thoroughly enjoyed your photography class last Sunday. While I was already pretty familiar with the components that make up exposure (ISO, aperture, and shutter speed) the refresher was welcome and the practical application was invaluable - I was pretty solid on what it was but you taught me how to use it to my advantage. In addition, the post processing was also greatly appreciated. I am attaching the shot of the Schemerhorn fountain as both the camera and LR processing as JPG. The Lightroom image is the one ending in LR - which I like much better. Again, thank you for your efforts and I am looking forward to my next class. Feel free to use these pix on your site as student images with attribution. -Jeff And as we had discussed on Sunday, I am looking forward to a follow-up class - Probably a lot more lightroom - While I remember a lot of what we covered, I am sure some of it has slipped past. I am doing some post processing on the shots we took Sunday to refresh. Since I have them handy for comparison (and I can include the .nef if you wish) I am attaching the camera jpg and my LR jpg from the Shemerhorn fountain. Because of the difference, I intend to completely stop shooting raw+basic (.nef and .jpg) and just go with raw only the next time I shoot. Feel free to use the images on your web site in conjunction with your class. I would appreciate attribution though." -Jeff The attached photograph is Jeff Boarmans of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Downtown Nashville, he did a great job with allowing the water to flow in a timed tripod photograph.

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

How Much Editing Is Too Much?

How much editing is too much?

This is one of those things that depending upon your artistic eye, could be too much or too little for some peoples taste. When I look at editing people as a family/portrait photographer, I usually try not to do too much to them. I want them to be as natural as possible, and to be recognizable to the audience that will be viewing the photograph. With this said, if the client wants a few years removed, then you remove a few years, keeping in mind that you don’t have to take them back to pre-school for them to look good. So when you are confronted with this question, I guess the answer is to do minimal work on people, unless instructed by the client. Then make sure you are smart enough, for the both of you, to know when to quit. If you are applying this to a fashion shoot, or something commercial, then you will do a lot more editing on whatever is human in the photograph because that is what the industry calls for. Again, you can be smart about your edits and make them as true to reality as possible, while maintaining a high level of service to your customer, the commercial agency. When photographing these types of events, it is not always about reality within the picture, it is about ultra-reality and fantasy. The photographer and the art department are expected to take liberties with the final product, so they can survive in a very intense commercial market.

Does that make it right or wrong? For me, I like taking photographs of families and portraits of individuals, and just touching them up enough to remove some blemishes or slight wrinkles is true to composition. I want to maintain the years they have earned, and not deny them of that in their final product. On the other hand, if the customer asks me to take more, then I will oblige them, but make sure they still look like themselves once the photo is finished.

I don’t mind working with cityscapes or anything that doesn’t have people in them, the sky is the limit, and the artistic eye can see infinite possibilities. I could then do a 180 and be just as happy with a few adjustments to the lighting and the clouds in the sky and call it a day.

How much editing is too much? I guess it depends on the project I’m working on, and always what the client asks for. Customer service and satisfaction are always my main goals when I deliver the final product.

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Leslie Wilkes Owner/Photographer

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

RAW or Jpeg??

Hello Everyone, I just want to start off by saying hello again! I am writing this morning about a subject I feel many have trouble with for one reason or another. Whether to shoot RAW of .jpg? To the professional photographer there is only one way to photograph, and that is in RAW. The reason for this choice is because of the limitless options you have after the shoot to manipulate the photograph into something more like what you envisioned when you were taking the picture. When you shoot in RAW, the options (editable options) are much more available to you than when you work with .jpg files. I am not saying don’t use .jpg, but as a professional, you won't see a lot of .jpg shooting on a daily basis by the professional photographer. Let me talk about RAW for a minute. When you hear the term, RAW, it makes you think of open, not restricted, untouched, mass, and anything that is "as is." To the photographer, professional or otherwise, the use of an open, non-compressed, file format such as RAW helps to make your photographic vision more of a reality by offering you the full range of manipulative adjustments that only a RAW file could bring. When using the non-compressed RAW file, you have light, shadow, exposure, contrast, white-point, black-point, and many more options in a much wider gamut than any other type of file. So if your picture isn't perfect, which they rarely are, you have some latitude of correction in post to make it more like what you envisioned. Let me talk about .jpg for a minute. The file type .jpg is a universally accepted file type that is easily read by most computers and applications, no matter what software you are trying to use it with. So I could take a .jpg file and run down to my favorite kiosk printer, and pop a CD/DVD or memory card in, and start printing photographs in the .jpg format without skipping a beat. (The converse of that is that you can't do that with a RAW file, most systems are not meant to read the RAW file type for mass printing, they have to be converted to .jpg files to use them in a mass market printer system.) The .jpg file is fully acceptable by most people as a working solution for their photography needs, just not mine, or most professional photographers. The .jpg file is a compressed version of what you saw when you were viewing your photograph through your camera. When I say compressed, I mean the picture that was saved to your camera has been mathematically manipulated to be restricted within a certain file size, depending on the way you set your camera up before taking the photographs. So, because of your settings, the picture saved has to fit in a certain amount of space. The amount of space determines what the camera will save and what the camera will discard as non-usable information, that is where the manipulative factor (editable information) comes in. When the camera can only keep so much information, it has to pick and choose what it will save, based on the file size and quality settings you made initially before photographing. The .jpg file is usually much smaller and has a lesser range of light, shadow, exposure, contrast, white-point, black-point, and fewer options in a much narrower gamut than RAW. They each have their uses, skill levels, and ability to be manipulated if needed. RAW or .jpg? You decide what you are going to do with the photographs, and that will usually help you decide how you are going to save your files, for me, RAW is the only way to go. If you are just starting out .jpg may be what you want to start with, and then move to RAW after you gain experience with your camera and software. Just to give you an idea of file size, when I shoot RAW (.NEF for Nikon), I can get 700 pictures on a 64 GB card. If I switch to high quality .jpg's, I can get around 3000 photographs on the same card. Those numbers, to me, show me what I would lose in the ability to edit and manipulate my photographs if I switched to .jpg all the time. I don't want to rough anybody up over the subject; it is a preferential choice as to what you want to do with your photographs, and what your end goal is with the images you shoot. Have a great week and keep photographing, Les Owner/Photographer www.LeslieWilkesPhotography.com

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Note for Parents

September 19th, 2013 - A Note for Parents
: When you have children, time passes by at a much faster rate. Day 1 you’re changing diapers, Day 2 they are borrowing they keys to the car to go on a date. This being said, I know too many parents that look back over the time that has passed and realize they did not document its passage effectively. They find huge gaps from one photograph to the next. I’m not saying every picture has to be done by a professional, like me, but the effort should be made to have a professional photograph taken yearly. This will be a humble reminder of the time that is passing and that you were together when the photograph was made. So many times we look back and tell ourselves that we have all the time in the world, just to find it is not as infinite as we thought, but truly finite. The moral of the story is to make sure you get together regularly, at least once a year, and take a photograph together to commemorate the family you have, and remember those who are not present from the previous year. In Christ Love-Les