photography, random thought, travel

Telluride // What I learned…

The biggest take-away for me from this year’s Telluride Photo Festival was… drumroll please….

….Shoot for yourself.  Not what you think editors/ agencies/ clients want… just keep shooting the way you see the world.

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Sounds pretty basic, right?  Well if you’re a full time professional photographer, trying to support your family, this basic concept can get lost.  Super lost.

It’s easy to go out and copy the style of the day… what’s running in the magazines and advertisements.  That takes technical expertise, but not talent or creativity.  And we as artists can get lost in the game of chasing trends and dollars.

That’s not to say that you aren’t going to need to adjust and grow and learn.  Don’t get me wrong.  And it also doesn’t mean that aren’t going to be assignments that require us to set aside our agendas and opinions to get the job done the way the client needs it.

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I think the point here is that we as artists are unique.  In fact, often the only thing that sets us apart from the bajilliun other “photographers” out there is our eye’s particular way of seeing and interpreting our world.  So what I’m saying is, don’t lose that.

It’s not a narcissistic rejection of everyone/ everything else.  Selfish pursuit of personal fulfillment.  No, quite the contrary.

You get hired for your distinct and unique perspective.  What really becomes difficult now is incorporating your style, your eye into what your client/ editor needs.

And this is what I tried to shift my focus to over the last five weeks on the road.

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As I mentioned in The Active Landscape post, it’s good for us to push ourselves, grow, and even adapt to the market.  But what good does it do if we lose our personal vision and style in the process.  Spoiler alert… it doesn’t.

Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.  ~ Jonathan Swift

So keep growing, learning, and challenging the way you see, but don’t lose that which makes you unique!  No one else sees the world the way you do.

~ andrew


 
Take your photography to the next level… check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014
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digital darkroom, instructional, photography, workshop

Remastering An Old Favorite // Lightroom Tutorial

I’d like to think my style has changed… become more refined over the years.  So I wanted to show how I process my images now.

And what better way than working with an old favorite that needed a little “remastering”?

I hope this Adobe Lightroom 5 tutorial is helpful… please feel free to let me know in the comments, and tell me what else you’d like to see.

~ andrew


 
Take your photography to a new level… check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014
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photography, portraits, travel

Travel Portraiture // It’s All About The Light

It’s not so easy to travel with heavy, bulky strobes.  But sometimes, it’s an absolute must.  And if that’s the case, I would recommend the battery powered Profoto D1 or 7b systems.  If you’re like me though, and have an A/C power system, strobes aren’t even an option when traveling to remote locales like my most recent job in South Sudan.

So what do I do to get those dramatic and compelling portraits that I have in mind before I ever step on the plane?  Well, in short… you work with what you’ve got.

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So what does that mean?

The first, and most obvious answer is an off camera flash, like my Canon Speedlite 580EX II on a small stand, triggered by PocketWizard Plus III.  When I want drama, that is usually my “go to” set up.  Here are a few field  examples with that system, including the shot above…

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So what are the pros and cons?  Well, the pros are that it is a very light weight, quick set-up, cost-effective solution to the problem of poor/ low lighting.  It can certainly take a little practice before hand to understand the power and ambient relationships you’ll need to achieve the look you want.  But it’s very effective.

The downsides are that you don’t get as much power as strobes, so it can be tough to overpower the ambient when outside on a sunny day.  Also, the quality of the light you get from most speedlights is not as rich as strobes.  It can be harsh and cooler looking.  But there are several ways to counteract this with light modifiers like small softboxes, grids/ honeycombs, and gels.  I recommend playing around with all of these options before your trip in various ambient scenarios to see what you like and don’t like.

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In the absence of our comforting strobes, it’s also a good time to get reacquainted with our old friend, available light.

It’s funny how we can rely sometimes on the trends and tricks of the trade, but when it comes down to it, for many of us at least, our first love is working with the light we’re given… not creating our own.  So on these trips I try to reconnect (when the situation calls for it) my eye to identifying my best available light.

Often times it’s the soft, indirect sunlight from a doorway or window.

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And other times, it’s the soft, diffused light of an overcast sky.

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But don’t get discouraged when the light just doesn’t appear any good at all.  It’s always a motivating excuse to get creative… and perhaps make a compelling silhouette portrait.  It’s amazing how much can be said with a completely shadowed subject.

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The point is to keep seeing and creating in new ways.  Push yourself beyond your comfort level, and make the most beautiful portrait you can with what you have.  This last one was the ugliest, hottest middle of the day (near the equator) kind of light you could get.  But her smile, her eyes, and the colors she wore compelled me to photograph her in this wrap-around light, and not worry about blowing out the background.  It was beautiful light to me.

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So keep shooting and exploring.  And don’t let your long-held notions about good light and bad light cause you to stumble.  Let it instead challenge your creativity to see that all light is good light… you just have to find out how to use it!

Happy shooting…

— andrew


 
Come learn light with me… check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014

 

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photography, travel

Telluride Photo Fest // Preview

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I have had the pleasure of spending much time in the incomparably beautiful Telluride, Colorado.  But never in the Fall.  So the fact that I’ll be attending the 2014 Telluride Photography Festival in October has me really excited.

With Joel Sartore, Barbara Davidson, Aaron Huey, Ian Shive, and Jennifer Wu as the lineup of speakers, a lot of photography wisdom will be at the helm, ready to be gleaned.  And I’ll be ready.  In the past, I didn’t follow many photographers… But Joel has been on my radar since I was very young in my work, because of the amazing stories he has shot for Nat Geo.

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There are workshops, seminars, panel discussions, a photo contest, portfolio reviews, and all of the other usual convention perks.  Not to mention the opportunities to network with industry professionals and other great photographers.

But perhaps what I’m still looking forward to the most, is the fall colors.  I can’t believe that in the last 18 years of frequenting the town of Telluride, I have never personally seen the amazing explosion of color that is Autumn in the southern San Juans of the Rockies.

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If you have a chance to make it this year, please drop me a line, I would love to get out there with all of you and shoot some of the spectacular vistas of the surrounding area!

~ andrew

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Take your photography to a new level… check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014
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art, photography

So, What’s In A Print?

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It occurred to me recently that many “new” photographers are greatly undervaluing their prints.

Now, it may be that the quality of materials and processes are lacking, or that they are selling open editions (no limit to quantity), but I think I know the most harmful culprit.  I believe the market is being set by people that may not fully understand what goes in to the production of a great print.

So, I had the idea to shoot an entertaining and factual video that follows a photographer (me… surprise, surprise) from start to finish, including what it takes to capture a photograph worthy of printing and selling.  Then, of course, the less-than-glamorous process of locking oneself in the isolation of the digital darkroom to fully realize the original intent of the image.  And so on.  I’m sure you get it, but I really do hope to create a visually compelling story of the birth of a great photographic print.

I aim to do this for all of us.  All of us photographers out there that sometimes struggle with how to price our work.  All of us that struggle with a largely uninformed public as to what we actually do.  “You just bought a nice digital camera and go take pretty pictures, right?”  Or my favorite… “You are just better at photoshop than most, so you can make really cool pictures.”

I have a trip to Wyoming coming up in October that I hope/ trust will be the perfect backdrop for this short film.  I hope to have it ready just in time for Christmas…

Please feel free to comment and let me know what I need to be sure to convey through this video.

~ andrew


 
Take your photography to a new level… check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014
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city, instructional, landscape, photography

The Dynamic Cityscape

Shooting cityscapes is not unlike photographing natural landscapes.

The main difference is that your city landscape has light elements not seen in nature.

This creates incredibly dynamic compositions.  But often, you must start a little earlier in the morning, or stay a bit later than you might in the wild.

While on assignment scouting shots for a client in my hometown of Dallas recently, I was reminded of this.

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Scouting is key… and don’t be afraid to show up really early, and stay later than you’d want.  Dinner may get cold, but the perfect balance in exposure of sky and city lights is a delicate matter.

Happy shooting!

~ andrew


 
Take your photography to a new level… check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014
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art, photography

Finding Art in the Everyday

To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event.
~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

There is undoubtedly an artful rhythm to life.  And at times, we as artists slow down long enough to tap into this oft elusive cadence.

It’s a practice in patience and awareness.  But the beauty of photography is that we can express ourselves through these musical moments by capturing and sharing them.  The trick is, however, to be present and a part of the symphony… and not merely a spectator or a thief.

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Henri Cartier-Bresson was a master at capturing the “decisive moment”.  And I’ve always admired his work and ability to stay connected to the artful rhythm.

Whether shooting exotic animals and pristine landscapes in far off lands, or your niece and nephews at a pool in the suburbs, this metered, musical  thread persists.   It’s our calling as photographers and artists to connect with it and create.  It’s our connection to a masterfully creative God.   And, dare I say, it’s sometimes our only significant means of contributing to the joy of others.

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Moments come and go.  We have the gift of capturing and sharing these myriad artful events.

It gives me great pleasure and peace when I remember this.  And I hope it does you too.

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How do you tap into the artful rhythm?

— andrew

 The photograph itself doesn’t interest me. I want only to capture a minute part of reality.

~ Henri Cartier-Bresson


 
If you are interested in learning more about photography, taking your art to a new level please check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014
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