Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Blog Hiatus and Future

This blog was established in the beginning as a project for an Online Publication class. Because of the minor success and growing interest that I have in continuing this blog. I am going to go on a short hiatus to revamp the design and all of the previous posts.

Photo Venue will return with even more photography location posts, tips, and more information about me and my other projects. You'll see:

- Requests for local models for my own shoots
- A photography portfolio focused website
- Social networking pages

More ideas are to come along with a lot more photography posts for readers. While I'm on hiatus, feel free to comment with any suggestions relating to the update or possibly photography locations that you want covered or types of locations you are looking for..

Thank you everyone for your support, and I can't wait to come back energized and ready to share new material with everyone!


Taking a break

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Funeral Photographs

People are divided on this area of photography. Is it morbid to take photographs at a funeral or is it worth it to document the last tangible moments the family has with their loved one?

Over the last two days, my family has been working diligently to support my stepbrother in the loss of his mother. A woman who loved Harley Davidson's and would take off for a ride at the drop of a hat. Because of her enthusiasm and love of motorcycles her son, with the help of the funeral director, created a Harley Davidson-themed funeral.

Items from her home (all Harley Davidson, of course) adorned a table of photographs of Carol on her motorcycle. The family purchased a black and silver casket and had the Harley Davidson logo placed on top.

Also, for her final ride, the deceased was taken to the funeral home in a motorcycle trike hearse by Black Stallion Motorcycle Hearse. This company is doing a wonderful thing for families of motorcycle enthusiasts, and I recommend them to anyone in North/South Carolina or Georgia, who wish to have them help their loved one take their last ride.

As a photographer, I naturally wanted to take photographs to document this unique day of remembrance. I had to weigh the consequences of making some people feel uncomfortable, especially the family.

If you've decided that your main concern is how the family feels rather than any additional guests at the funeral, then take a moment to ask them if it would be okay for you to document the event. If they agree, I would offer to get them digital copies of the photographs that you take. Respect the family's wishes if the answer is no because some memories are just too painful to look back on through photographs.

The next question you have to ask yourself is whether or not it would be beneficial to take photographs of the deceased if the casket is open. My experiences have been that some people from older generations will do this, but everyone is different. If you choose to do this, please know that the family may not want a copy, so do not send them one without checking first.

Most importantly, only decide to take photographs if the funeral you are attending is family or someone close to you. Under no circumstances (unless approached by the family) attend funerals of people you do not know at all and start snapping photographs. You are more than likely going to evoke some negative feelings during this time of sadness.

Cover all the bases by checking with the family on appropriateness of taking photographs and what special photographs they would like (family photographs can be taken here as well.) Make your photographs tasteful and capture the tender moments of sadness and laughter that signals remembrance.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Take Lots of Photos

It is too often that families are grief stricken by the loss of someone they love. It's always easier to look back after you've said your final farewells and wish that you would have had more memories, more photographs, and simply just more time with your loved one. I've been there quite a few times, and just tonight, a part of my family is grieving because of an unexpected loss.

Photographs are never a nuisance, but always a wonderful reminder of those around you. Unexpected deaths can leave you empty and full of regret. Have fond memories through photographs to look back on.

Snap photographs at family functions. Take this opportunity to capture your loved one in candid moments of laughter and conversation. Impromptu photos are usually the best.

Yes, also take the time to try to group people together for portraits when you've got the family together. This happens on holidays usually, which gives these photographs more importance. Rare occasions like these need to be documented.

Do not take the time you have with people for granted. Take photos -- take LOTS of photos. Good, bad, or otherwise you do not have to be a great photograph to document a moment in time. These photographs are not about great composition or balance, they are about being able to look back in a time of grief and smile.

With photographs you'll never have to fear forgetting because you'll always have something tangible to remind you of your loved one.

Because of the personal influence on the creation of this post, I would like to remind all readers to take the time to look for and see motorcycles when they are driving on the road. It only takes a one second of negligence to end a motorcyclist's life.

Motorcycles SEE THEM

Monday, April 11, 2011

Importance of Photography Training

Photography can be something that you pick up on naturally, but it is always refreshing to learn different techniques and styles of photography in a formal setting. This setting can be a photography class, workshop, or some kind of one-on-one training with a photography.

Jess Jordan is currently enrolled in the Digital Photography class at her college. I took the time to ask Jess a few questions about her experience:

M: Tell me a little about your experience in your photography class?

J: The class has been really awesome. It taught me techniques that I did not know before like the importance of exposure by adjusting film speed, aperture, and shutter speed.

M: Would you recommend that amateur photographers take a photography class?

J: Yes, because the technical aspects are not usually known by amateurs (including me) and can be hard to understand if you try to research them on your own. Plus, your photos can be better quality if you understand how to work the specs on your camera.

M: Do you think you've become a better photographer because of the class?

J: Most definitely!

M: What other advice do you have for other photographers?

J: Don't be afraid to be creative and to think outside of the box. Not everyone will love and appreciate your style of photography, but as long as it works for you that is all that matters.

M: Thank you Jess for your time today

J: Thank you!

Guest interview of Jess Jordan
Interviewer: Melanie Mishue

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How to Get Smooth Water Photos - Slow Shutter Speed

A lot of people (including myself until just recently) do not realize how photographers, like in National Geographic, are able to get those waterfalls, streams, etc. to look so smooth and beautiful. Well we are all in luck because it depends simply on an adjustment of shutter speed for your camera.

DSLR cameras have a function for shutter speed (Tv) that allows you to slow down the opening and closing of the shutter from portions of a second to minutes. Most photographers regularly shoot at 1/125 of a second; however, to get the smooth water effect you need two things: A longer shutter speed and a tripod.

The shutter speed can be anywhere from 0.5 seconds to 10s (or whatever you choose that works best for your scene.) Play around with the Tv time settings to see what will work best for you photo because too much light can overexposure and cause your image to be too white.

YOU NEED A TRIPOD (or a place to sit your camera.) No matter how steady your hands are it is best to always use a tripod because 1 second might not seem that long now, but you are risking having camera shake mess up your breathtaking photo. You can pick up a tripod for fairly cheap at most major retailers that offer electronics.

For example, the photographer (not me) who shot this stunning photo has a shutter speed of 1/3 second. That still seems pretty fast, but not in camera terms. This shutter speed can be painfully slow for some photographers, but look at how wonderful the photo turned out.

An edit will be made to this post to show you guys some photos from my own collection for a clear difference between shooting a waterfall with a fast shutter speed and a slow shutter speed.