Simple photography goals for the new year

Artists in their own rights—Marvin and Maria were among my students who took part in a class show at the local coffeehouse Back to the Grind in downtown Riverside. Every 1st Thursday of the month, galleries downtown feature local artists’s work. See my other students who participated after the jump.

You’ve spent lots of money on equipment and probably invested lot more in time with your camera. Now, you have a body of work that is respectable.

If you don’t share it or somehow show it to the world, you’re not going to be motivated to do better.

Let’s face it, we all love to hear that our work is wonderful.

How about  ringing in the new year with 3 simple goals for your photography?

Thanks to computers and the internet, many of these suggestions are not that difficult anymore. Used to be you had to be a bit of a computer whiz but software has made things a lot easier.

Create a calendar

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Available light photography–The images in this calendar were shot with available light. The photographers are able to capture such images because of the rapport they have with their subjects. They also appear to have their cameras with them all the time, ready to capture the very candid expressions of their subjects.

I received a beautiful calendar from Jo Chopra McGowan, executive director of the Latika Roy Foundation, which oversees the Karuna Vihar School in India just in time for the new year.

I am very impressed with her selections. And even more with her choice of quotes that go with each picture. It’s too bad I didn’t have time to make better scans of the images along with the entire quotes.

All the images showed exactly how this school’s special students benefit from their hard work. This is a tribute to many of the faceless folks who pour their heart and soul into something they believe in. Consider buying one of the Karuna Vihar school’s calendar or even making a charitable donation.

iPhoto or Mac users know of the ease of creating one without leaving the iPhoto application. The trouble with the ones iPhoto generates is that they’re kind of pricey but they’re okay for if you’re just creating a few for the family & friends.

I’m sure you’ve seen the other online photofinishers offering similar possibilities for making your calendars.

Before you get busy, spend some time thinking about what images you want to use.

If this is a personal calendar, the kind you want to send to your friends and family, then anything goes.

If what you have in mind is one to showcase your photography, spend some time looking over the images in your library.

It’s best to find some sort of common theme in the 12 images (if it’s one image a month)

If you’re thinking of a calendar that you’re thinking of selling commercially, you should consider your subject matter carefully.

Images of people can be problematic especially if you hope to generate profit. In that instance you will surely want to get a model release for all the people in your calendar.

Create a simple webpage to showcase your photos

It used to be difficult and costly. These days there are so many places that will host your pictures and if you want to sell your images, they’ll even do the fulfillment. You don’t need to do anything other than upload your images and set the prices. I use zenfolio.com but there are many others out there which offer similar e-commerce solutions for artists and photographers.

If you do like zenfolio, use this code E8N-2QA-7WV when you sign up and we’ll both get a credit/discount. On top of that, once you’re on board, you’ll get your own code and you then get a similar discount when others sign on using your own code. It’s not going to make you rich but it’s a break for the cost of them hosting your pictures for the year.

Mac users can try this tutorial using Image Capture a free application bundled with every Mac. Though the webpage created is very basic, it should be a fun exercise.

You don’t need to learn any HTML unless you want to customize the webpage. My tutorial shows you how to sign up for a free account with Tripod.com and how to use a the free FTP (File Transfer Protocol) application called Cyberduck to upload your webpage and make it “live.” Did I say it’s free?

Again, Mac users who also have a MobileMe account and iWeb have it so much easier. Here’s a for instance. My sister-in-law who bought an iMac has been ecstatic with her transition to digital photography. That’s a tribute to how user-friendly Apple has made it for its users.

Don’t forget to watermark your images with your name. Never upload full resolution files especially to the “free” hosting sites like Google’s Picasa unless you’re willing to let them use your images for free.

Hang your work on a wall

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  1. Look around the city where you live especially places like coffeehouses and popular restaurants. Look to see what their walls display.
  2. Look for sales on picture frames. Keep your frames the same size.
  3. Shoot for the same aspect ratio as your mattes. Digital images are 8″ x 12″. Anytime you don’t have to get a custom matte cut, you’re saving yourself money. When you shoot, compose in your viewfinder as much as possible for a full frame image, that way if you ever want to reuse the mattes, you won’t have to settle for a weird crop.

The frames you use need not be expensive and fancy. In fact, the more ornate ones might detract from your photos.

Having your pictures behind a matte is a good idea.

It is not just for aesthetic reasons, but also to prevent your picture from sticking permanently with the glass. When that happens, you may have to resort to copying your image especially if you don’t have the original digital file.


4 thoughts on “Simple photography goals for the new year”

  1. Jo,
    One of the more common misconceptions about digital photography is that you’re going to get a print that looks exactly like what you see on the monitor.

    That fact never hits home until you try and print or output. So really a good test of a wonderful photograph is still how well it looks once printed. That’s why I advocate hanging the art on the wall.

    I’m saying a prayer for your camera Jo!

  2. Maria,
    Happy New Year! Glad to see you’re web-savvy and you’re paying attention to where your web traffic is coming from.

    I guess I can’t ignore all those users on Facebook and Twitter and their reach especially if you want to get more eyes on your work. So I’ve jumped on the bandwagon as well, if nothing else, just out of curiosity.

    I love your website Clamzee by the way.

  3. Some good looking students you have 🙂 Just kidding 🙂 Interesting article, I totally agree that making your own website/blog makes a big difference. And I would also add social networking to the list, like twitter and facebook.

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