How Did You Shoot That?

Among the many questions I get as a photographer is “how did you shoot that?” After novice photographers realize that it may not be the camera but their skill they immediately start asking skill based questions.  Since I have received this question at least 6 times this month I decided to start a YouTube video session called “Shoot Review.”  Shoot Review will be a video where I describe a recent shoot and how I achieved those results.  A few things before we start.

  1. I rarely edit in Photoshop but when I do I will let you know.
  2. I have trained myself (via many videos and books) to shoot well in camera.
  3. I spend more time shooting than editing.
  4. I will tell you exactly the conditions of all my shoots and how I achieved the results.

Being a better photographer is just practice and getting the results you want.  People hire me for my style of photography so I focus on improving my skill and process. I rarely worry about the results beyond the shoot because by then it is too late.

If you want some tips from a photographer that is constantly working to improve then follow our YouTube channel and Facebook page under “Modern Photography Group.”  Shoot Review 001 “My Camera Gear” is out now.

Tell me what you think and we have many more to come on a weekly basis.

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WANNA SHOOT? Tampa Bay

Pierce Brunson Photography is looking for up to three models to shoot individual practice TFP shoots.  These shoots will require a the following.

1. Be available for three (3) one hour shoots between now and December 15, 2015.
2. Locations are in Tampa Bay and are limited to the places where I shoot the most.
3. Each shoot is one outfit only.
4. You are expected to know posing and know what poses you would like captured.
5. Do your own makeup and add enhancing accessories.
6. No bikini shoots.
7. No monetary compensation will be given.
8. You must identify (tag) us in all images that  you share.
9. You must be interested in getting better as a model and accept criticisms after the shoot.
10. No jealous boyfriends, significant others, or girlfriends.  Time is valuable and no need to deal with “DRAMA.”
11.  Must be 18+ and out of high school.
12. Must be trust worthy and on social media (for research purposes).
13. Must give feedback via social media (google, thumbtack) after each shoot.
14. Must share images via social media and tag “Pierce Brunson Photography” in each photo you share.
15. Must follow us “Pierce Brunson Photography” on Instagram.
16. Must be able to have a good attitude when shooting and verbalize changes that you deem necessary.

17.  I will correspond via Instagram of “Pierce Brunson Photography” only.  Once I find the people that are really interested I may add you to my personal Facebook. For direct contact/ questions, email piercebrunsonphotography@hotmail.com.  I check this once a day. Please DO NOT send any sample pics.  Your samples on Instagram is enough.  They don’t have to be perfect.

18.  I will research everyone and pick from there.  If you aren’t searchable you are out.

19. Info on what you will receive in return is on my IG post “WANNA SHOOT.”

This is a quick list. I will probably add to this later.

You will be required to sign a waiver and deliver a written correspondence acknowledging that you understand the deal with these sessions.  Simply, they are practice sessions and you get to keep the pics.

Photography Tips: Practice to Improve

One of the things photographers must do is practice.  Photographers must see their craft as if they are a sports star.  The paid event is the time to shine and put on display talents that will wow the customer.  Paid sessions, aren’t the time to try out some super creative idea that just came to your mind, they are about results. You must show up to your paid shoots ready to get results for your customers.  When I do a practice session I am looking to improve on,

  1. Order of my photography process.
  2. Confidence in any condition.
  3. Capturing “wowing” results.

Pierce Brunson Photography Sample ImageIn order to get these things to happen on paid shoots you must practice.  As a photographer, I have had to do plenty of free shoots just to keep my skills up with the great photogs in the Tampa Bay area.   We all desire a ton of paid customers but you will get more customers if you constantly show an improving skill set.  Here are some tips that I use for practice shoots.

  1. Find a person (outside of family memebers) you can practice with for multiple sessions. Let them know this is a practice shoot for you and what your approach is going to be.  If the person can’t commit to multiple shoots then find another person.  You must work with a person that you are comfortable with and understands that you will be a bit slower and mechanical at the shoot.
  2. Schedule a practice shoot monthly.
  3. Shoot at locations where you would take paying customers.
  4. Keep shoots to one hour.
  5. Keep shoots to one wardrobe.
  6. Shoot one location, two spots.
  7. Decide on natural light or strobe.
  8. Work to deliver up to 5 great images.
  9. Work slow, check surroundings, understand wind, light, time of day and other things that will help you in the future. Look for small details.
  10. Do a pre video before the shoot logging your expectations, location and weather challenges. (add pics and upload to YouTube if you wish)
  11. Audio log your experience right after the shoot. Don’t wait to write your notes later.  While it is fresh be honest and critical.  Review audio log later.
  12. Get feedback from the model.
  13. The next day, make changes to your website or process.
  14. Throw your results up on social media.

Good luck on your continued improvement.

-Pierce

Improving Photography Skill for Time Saving and Storage.

Lightfoot Family 2014 by Pierce Brunson Photography (33)Merry Christmas and all the shopping good times.  As photographers we take a ton of images, many are throw away images that are looked at once to see if we got the shot and never looked at again. Here are a few tips for getting great shots “in camera” and delivering quick results to your client.

A few days ago I had to to a shoot retirement shoot for a local organization.  At events like these there is always the “staff” photographer that is on the payroll.  By that i mean they are hired to do the photography professionally for their events according to the standard of the organization.  When these organizations want a “less stiff” look they hire more “artsy” photographers like myself.  I take these moments as a personal challenge to showcase my skills against my opponent (the other photographer).  Nothing personal but I rarely get to shoot against other photographers.  Work is usually based on post production skills.  Being a love of in-camera results this was my time to showcase my skills.  Here are the tips that I would have shared with the “payroll photographer.”  I hope they help you.

1. Bounce flashing is about angles.  If you never move the angle of your flash you can’t be getting consistent results.  There are times when you have to shoot the flash straight up so that the light from your flash “bounces” in front of your subject and onto their face.  Keeping the same angle while moving from two feet to 10 feet away delivers inconsistent flash results at the same angle.

2. Become a photo-sniper.  Snipers shoot their gun once, maybe twice to take out a target.  The subject is your target.  There is no need to shoot three images of every person “to make sure you got the best shot.”  Take an extra second to review your images and see if anyone closed their eyes then shoot it again if they did.  taking multiple images just because annoys me.  It truly shows that you haven’t developed the skills to take better images, improve your work flow, and save you time.

3. Know how to use light.  Aside from the bounce flashing tip, there should be no need to take three pics without flash and three with.  Why would you do that?  The answers? Hoping that one comes out correct.  Decide to shoot with flash or without but taking three quick images then turning on the flash for another three, is just terrible.

Keep building your skill.  I am growing everyday as a photographer from all the great blogs and YouTube videos that are available.  Be critical on your results and keep working toward becoming a faster shooter, reducing your throwaway images, and saving yourself time at the computer processing images.

Maybe I will do a blog on workflow and processing.

-Pierce

 

 

Photo Tip Wednesday: Plan a Formal Shoot

Plan a Formal Shoot.

This is the point where you are getting a group of people together and taking images that you want them to enjoy. You need to take some time to plan the shoot. Scout out the location and pick 5 areas where you want to shoot. Then plan on having people in those locations. You want to visit the location before the shoot at the time of the shoot to understand how the light is working in that area. Plan the shoot, complete the shoot then ask your subject what they think.

Pierce Brunson is a photographer, author and entrepreneur that lives in beautiful Tampa Bay, FL. He is a former high school teacher that now works to improve the high school experience through motivational speaking, writing, and his photography venture Firefly Event Photography (www.fireflyeventphotography.com). He enjoys family, friends, taking pics for his social media accounts and pondering his existence. He also teaches photography classes for Saint Petersburg College in their Lifelong Learning Program where he helps those with a camera become skilled photographers. Find Pierce Brunson all over social media. Visit www.piercebrunson.com for more info about the rest of Pierce’s talents and passions.

Photo Tip Wednesday: Right Click

Right Click.

Many images on the web also deliver information with them. When you see an image you may be able to right click and click properties to see the settings they used to capture the image. I do this on Google+ with my photo classes as a game. We look at the image and try to guess the settings. We also tell why we think the settings are what they are based on the elements in the image. This is one way I really learned what certain lenses could do. Play this game enough and you will start to see your photography improve as you know understand how to deliver great depth of field.

Pierce Brunson is a photographer, author and entrepreneur that lives in beautiful Tampa Bay, FL. He is a former high school teacher that now works to improve the high school experience through motivational speaking, writing, and his photography venture Firefly Event Photography (www.fireflyeventphotography.com). He enjoys family, friends, taking pics for his social media accounts and pondering his existence. He also teaches photography classes for Saint Petersburg College in their Lifelong Learning Program where he helps those with a camera become skilled photographers. Find Pierce Brunson all over social media. Visit www.piercebrunson.com for more info about the rest of Pierce’s talents and passions.

Photo Tip Wednesday: Take a Class

Take a Class

There is nothing like hands on. I am a pretty techie person so YouTube videos work for me but for those that need a tad more help check out your local community college. There you should find classes that are about 5 weeks long and are relatively inexpensive. I started teaching two classes in 2013 and I have learned just as much as I have helped others learn.

Pierce Brunson is a photographer, author and entrepreneur that lives in beautiful Tampa Bay, FL. He is a former high school teacher that now works to improve the high school experience through motivational speaking, writing, and his photography venture Firefly Event Photography (www.fireflyeventphotography.com). He enjoys family, friends, taking pics for his social media accounts and pondering his existence. He also teaches photography classes for Saint Petersburg College in their Lifelong Learning Program where he helps those with a camera become skilled photographers. Find Pierce Brunson all over social media. Visit www.piercebrunson.com for more info about the rest of Pierce’s talents and passions.