Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Top 10 Favorite Pieces of Equipment

I recently wrote myself up a wish list of all the cool gadgets and equipment I would like to own.

The reality is thought, those are things I WANT. I have already managed to acquire the things I need.

1. First and most important is my Nikon D700.  I had a D200 and a fellow photographer suggested that I would grow in leaps and bounds if I invested in the D700.  She was right. It is just such a great camera, with easy to use controls and it's always dependable and reliable.

2. The Nikkor 24-70 lens. Tack sharp and offers a nice range.  Good for landscapes and events. Mine has even taken a couple of falls and still manages to produce sharp, stunning images for me.

3. Lightroom 3. I'm still learning things about this powerful program, but it does allow me to see all my images quickly, make global changes to them, export them in a variety of sizes for different purposes and make several different versions.

4. Photoshop CS4. While CS5 is high on my wish list, I still enjoy all that CS4 can do.

5. My SB800 speedlights. I have 2 and they allow me to shoot events by bouncing off walls, and shoot portraits by shooting through umbrellas. I would love to own all kinds of great studio equipment, but the speedlights give me great versatility until I hit the lotto.

6. My Nikkor 105 mm lens. Great for macro photography and pretty sweet for portraits as well.

7. My old Nikon ED film lens 70-300. It is frustrating because it has a variable aperture of 1:4 - 5.6 so I don't always get enough light, but it is still sharp and does a great job on portraits.

8. My light green, National Geographic camera bag. I bought 2 others before I found "the perfect one." It holds 1 body, 2 extra lenses, 2 speedlights and extra filters, batteries and accessories with no problem.

9. I recently purchased some plug-ins like Topaz and Nik filters which I am totally loving. They definitely help make a nice photo POP!

10. I guess my tripod. I definitely want a better one, titanium, with a pistol grip and better snaps for tightening the legs, but I am grateful to have a sturdy, lightweight tripod with a quick release that has been by my side for some fun shoots.

Perhaps next week I'll share my wish list with you.  I was going to talk about images that told a story, so I'll leave you with this one.  I hope Santa is simply commenting on the end of a very cold and snowy winter. Uh Oh!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Getting back to what I love best...Photography

This is the image on my business card. You would think people would realize that I TOOK the photo (why would a photographer use someone else's image?) but it seems to be a source of conversation with folks when I meet them and share my card that I tell them that it IS a photo I took. Sometimes it springs a conversation about "where and when" but on the whole, I do need to remind people what it is that a photographer does. 

I've been creating several promotional materials lately and it is mind boggling letting people know about all of the different kinds of photography I do.  I know it would be better to "specialize" - I've read all kinds of things recommending that you market to ONE audience letting them know that YOU are the professional in one particular kind of photography. I do love landscapes - but I also like to make money and selling landscapes is really a huge challenge. I do love capturing people.

Below is Annie, the lead singer of Approaching Storm.

This takes a lot of marketing to get the word out...and I am working on that. I've done lots of advertising photography because I worked for the Poughkeepsie Journal and they sent me out to shoot all kinds of restaurants, jewelry, clothing stores, doctors offices, etc. Another tough market to connect with.  

I can handle EVENTS - Retirement parties, Sweet 16's, Special Birthday parties, nonprofit events, WEDDINGS - you name it! 
I'm ecclectic. What can I say? Now to try and get an audience to recognize this and pass my name along. If you or someone you know are looking for a photographer, remember me! See more at my website: www.chriscina.net

Thanks for spending time reading this.  Happy shooting yourselves!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Social Media 101

"The wonderful thing about modern technology is the amount of communication and information-sharing it facilitates. And the awful thing about modern technology is the amount of communication and information-sharing it facilitates."
                - Mark McGuinness, author of Time Management for Creative People                                    
recommended by Robert Rodriguez, Jr. 

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by today's technology and keeping up with it vs. getting out there (in the cold!) and making new images. I understand that I have to develop an audience and let folks know what I do, but the variety of ways to do that today seems all consuming (leaving little room for my artistic creativity).

I attended a seminar today, provided by my local Chamber of Commerce (DCRCOC), SCORE and Verizon on Twittering (Tweeting?). Debbie Gioquindo was the lovely host who was an absolute fountain of information - so much so that I feel more like a neophyte than ever before. She provided pages of links to ancillary sites that do things like make your url smaller (who knew?)

I've had an account but really haven't known why or what to do with it. Here are her dot points for why to Twitter:
instant feedback
instant q & a
instant recommendation
instant referrals
turns you into a resource for others
instant marketing
find conversations
find like minded people
see what others are saying about your company
easy to partner with other businesses and see what your company are doing and selling

OK. So I like the turning me into a resource for others. So let me ask my followers (do I have any?), what exactly can I share with you that will make you want to continue following me? I can babble on about Social Media, or tell you about the newborn photo shoot I did the other day...or perhaps you'd like to hear about "How to Make a Good Photo Composition."  Now that I can tweet, I can be a resource for all kinds of things. Want to know how to use InDesign?  How to plan a vacation? Or would you just like to see some recent photos and hear a little about their background? I'd really like to make this blog more useful and get more followers, so please help me out.

Otherwise, I'm just going to have to spend more time shooting and less blogging and tweeting.

Happy shooting!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"I get by with a little help from my friends" - John Lennon and Paul McCartney

"The miracle is this: the more we share, the more we have."
                                                                                     -Leonard Nimoy

Just wanted to talk about the importance of forming a good, supportive network. I am so blessed to have several "bff's" - at least that's how Sandy O'Shea Viola puts it. I believe she means "best photography friends" as opposed to the best friends forever acronym that the kids like to use. At any rate, I am so glad she considers me one of her bff's because she is a truly talented photographer who has been an amazing friend and resource and who is willing to share trade secrets, techniques and frustrations. She's also an inspiration as she posts a daily photo on Facebook - her 365 Day Photo Challenge. And each one seems to be better than the day before.

Another fantastic photographer who has become a very valued friend and who has made herself available to help me with a some complicated shoots is Patti Hale.  Not only does she offer advice and suggestions, she's shared her very expensive equipment with me and been there by my side to help me with new situations and challenges.

Sharon Lieberman is another woman I am blessed to have in my network.  I met all of these women at DRPP and always recommend that you get involved with a local photography group.  Sharon is one of my biggest fans, always there to cheer me on, comment on my best images and make suggestions about how to make other images better (and she's a bookkeeper who makes sense of my disorganized paperwork).

I've had the opportunity to have lunch with all of these dynamite women this past week and realize how lucky I am to have them in my life and how important it is to have people you can speak the same language with, share camera and software frustrations with, and simply watch grow as artists.

So, here's to friends who challenge you, help you, hang out with you, value you.

Happy shooting this week, my friends!