Premiere Bay Area Wedding Photography Blog by Trifon Anguelov Photography

1090 Clark Avenue, Mountain View, CA 94040 | (650) 930-0743 | http://www.trifonanguelov.com


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To specialize or Not to specialize in Photography


IMG_20140122_185942Recently saw a post from a fellow photographer who was introducing himself, inquiring for paid photography jobs and posting a link to his portfolio. After looking through his portfolio it became apparent that he has been shooting many different types of photography: wildlife, sports, landscapes, portraits, architecture.  Many examples of different types of photography but none of it strong enough to captivate ones attention and get hired.

So that get me thinking on what is the purpose of a photographer’s portfolio? Here is what I have observed so far. Portfolio is an abbreviated selection from photographers best work up to date. It’s the best of the best collection of images which a photographer is presenting to others for consideration and review with different purposes:

– hiring the photographer for a particular job

– learning about photographer’s  style and vision

– get a baseline of the photographer’s experience and level as of the review date

So rather than having a portfolio which proves a photographer is “jack of all trades” and can shoot all photography styles and images, I think is much more useful to tailor a portfolio to the area a photographer is focusing on or trying to be hired for. Tailored portfolio makes it easier to review and understand the strong sides and talent of the photographer.

But what about a photographer being well versed into all types of photography and ready to take on any assessment, my fellow photographer asked? He felt that he just so good that can do any job: weddings, commercial jobs, headshots, events photography, landscapes, architecture for everyone who was willing to hire. For me this is a wishful thinking.

I think of the professional photography as like a restaurants business: potential clients always look for the best photographers in a particular niche and hire the best of the best. very rarely they are going to consider someone who is average or starting with weddings to do a wedding, or starter landscape photographer over proven and established landscape photographer to do the job for them. Why take the risk and get a generalist when they can hire a professional and specialist? The same as clients don’t go to a sushi bar to get a steak and don’t go to a taqueria to eat pizza.

Being generalist can also hurt the photographer hiring prospect in a long term: not having a strong body of work and solid track record in certain type of photography is a weakness. For potential clients it appears one doesn’t find a specific type of photography interesting enough or it has not yet became a passion to specialize in, therefore the lack of skill level and dedication are major deterrent to hire this photographer.

This doesn’t mean one has to pick a photography area and don’t do anything else. On the contrary, one should have personal projects and explore beyond the “bread and butter”, but still bring new ideas from these projects into his main body of work: lighting, location, mood. Photography is a journey without a destination or time frame. One can spend his entire life mastering his favorite photography type and develop unique body of work granted that he discover what this photography type is and dedicates time and efforts to master it.

After all one can only get better if he focuses and improves over time.

Think differently, agree or disagree? Drop me a line or comment below.

 

By Trifon Anguelov

Portrait and Wedding Photographer, Mountain View, CA 94040

website: http://www.trifonanguelov.com

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The Attention Is The New Currency or How Every Photographer Can Get Attention Nowadays


Clock Photography by Trifon AnguelovNot in the distant feature it used to be that one had to be employed into a large media company to create content, publish it and reach millions of viewers around the world. Images were created by photographers employed by large media companies and their craft was so exclusive and hard to get into that it was a privilege to be an assistant in a dark room and learn from a professional photographer. Apprentices had to be patient and very persistent if they wanted to learn the insights of making photographs.

But no longer this is the case. With the advancements in digital imaging and affordability of digital cameras, nowadays more than ever everyone can be a creator and publisher of digital images. As well everyone can get attention with a digital camera and the world of social media. No longer one has to be an apprentice to learn the craft of photography or post processing. Online video courses, e-books, blogs, forums are offering instant knowledge for the hungry and creative minds around the Globe. Instagram, Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and many other social networks offer instant sharing of digital images.

Everyone can be a creator and publisher with a push of a button. Everyone can express his ideas and creative vision at any time of the day as long as he learns how to use smartphone or point & shoot camera and has internet access.

Communicating with images also offers lots of freedom. Some ideas are hard to explain and communicate. Visual is the king today. Grab a digital camera and capture the world around you, post it and let people see you. Care for dogs dressed in pink outfits? Well there are just enough people online looking for such pictures and they can give you the attention and appreciation for your eye and images almost instantaneous.

In the World of instant gratification, communicating with images offers instant feedback and appreciation. No matter if you had a bad day at work or receive bad news. Simply snap an amazing picture, upload and get likes which will make you feel better and appreciated. The feeling that someone in the digital world, values your efforts and finds your images interesting enough to comment or like them, is like instant happiness happening every second in some any lives.

So if you feel down or had a bad day, grab a smartphone or P&S camera, find an interesting subject, snap a picture and share it online. The chances that someone would find it interesting and would appreciate your effort is very high. Everyone can be a creator, receive an attention and feel appreciated nowadays.

Think differently, agree or disagree? Drop me a line or comment below.

 

Trifon Anguelov

Portrait and Wedding Photographer in Mountain View, CA, 94040

http://www.trifonanguelov.com


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Analyze Your Lightroom Catalog With Lightroom Analytics


Lightroom AnalyticsAdobe Lightroom is commonly used nowadays from many photographers to edit and post process digital images. It’s a very useful and powerful application on a more affordable price than Adobe Photoshop which undoubtedly is Adobe’s crown jewel for digital image editing. Lightroom also provides digital image files management along with the editing, as well printing and publishing capabilities which makes it very popular choice among both hobbyists and professional photographers.

Lightroom stores metadata about all digital files imported into its catalogs but so far doesn’t offer any analytics of the metadata. Questions like, what is the most frequent used focal length by a photographers in a certain catalog or time period? Or how many images have been processed with a certain noise or sharpness settings? Also no visualization of these metrics is currently provided by Lightroom.

I found a software application which can easily answer these and many more questions: Lightroom Analytics

Once Lightroom catalog is exported and imported into Lightroom Analytics application, different metrics and pie charts are created to reveal the details from the metadata. Why this is important one might ask?

Related: New DSLR and Lenses Are Not Enough

For example: If you bought an expensive 400mm L telephoto lens after seeing beautiful images of birds in flight but your Lightroom metadata shows you only have 5 or 10 images taken with this lens last year, isn’t time to put this lens for sale and pick another lens which would better serve the current needs? Or if one finds most frequently to use f/4 and higher, does he still needs the expensive f/1.2 or f/1.4 lenses in his back?

Of course, this application doesn’t provide all answers or can be a definitive guidance on which lens or camera settings one should keep or use but offers good insights into the camera settings, post-processing settings and lenses used in the past.

Conclusion:

Analyzing your Lightroom catalogs can reveal useful information about the usage pattern of the lenses, focal lengths and apertures you have been using. As a wedding or portrait photographer, this is a valuable information to understand which lenses you most frequently use, as what focal length and aperture. You can make a decisions based on this information by utilizing the information from the Lightroom Analytics. If you are looking to learn about what mistakes to avoid as a photographer, consider reading my other guide: Top 10 Mistakes Every Professional Photographer Should Avoid

Think differently, agree or disagree? Drop me a line or comment below.

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a Premiere Bay Area Wedding Photographer in Mountain View, CA. Many clients in the entire San Francisco Bay Area have entrusted us with capturing their wedding days. To learn more about the wedding photography services we offer and book a wedding or portrait appointment, visit our Wedding and Portrait Photography Site


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How To Photograph Corporate Headshots and Business Portraits


Corporate HeadshotPhotographing business people and business executives for their corporate headshots is always demanding. Not because of any specific digital imaging equipment or specialized lighting but because of the fast paced nature of today’s businesses. Executives are extremely busy people and the time window to arrange and take a business portrait is limited. The maximum time one can get from an executive for their portrait is usually 10 – 15 minutes max. Which means a photographer has to be able to set the shot, prepare the lighting and test the setup before the executive can appear and pose for the shot.

One technique which I am using with a good success is to have my assistant pose for me during the lights setup and adjustment process. This saves lots of time and makes it easy to roll someone into the set and work with him to get the best facial expression and body pose.

Another challenge when taking corporate headshots is the deadlines to deliver the final product is the same day if not within 2 hours. I even had clients who wanted to have their final images on the location where we were shooting within 30 minutes. And there are cases when clients call after working hours to schedule a shoot and have the images the very same day. As they say, business never sleeps and the one who does goes out of business.

And let’s not forget the preparation for the headshot session. Coordinating with the client the areas where the headshots would be taken (outdoor, indoor), logistics to bring the equipment into the area, type of lighting, etc are some of the important details a photographer has to gather. The other is to get the clients prepared with clothing, hair styling and make up.

Related: How To Prepare For Corporate Headshot Session

Conclusion:

A corporate headshot photography requires good preparation to conduct it efficiently. Corporate clients value their time and require all the necessary preparation to be completed beforehand. I hope these tips are helpful for any photographer who is looking to venture into the corporate headshot photography.

It is an exciting but demanding area. You will be working with the leaders who shape our economy and your portraits would be features online and in magazines. Good luck and be prepared.

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a Premiere Bay Area Wedding and Events Photography business based in Mountain View, CA. We offer corporate headshot photography services to clients in the entire San Francisco Bay Area and many Fortune 500 companies have entrusted us with their needs. Companies as: Google. Yahoo, eBay, Intel, Samsung just to mention few. . For updated portfolio, to learn more about us and book a wedding or portrait appointment, visit our Wedding and Portrait Photography Site


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The Single Worst Mistake a Photographer Can Make


IMG_20140211_180958510_1Have you ever asked yourself the question: What is the worst thing you can do to yourself and your photographic journey? Do you know the answer?

I will offer one for you to consider: Comparing yourself to other photographers. It’s simple and you should remember never to do that to yourself.

Why you might ask. And with a good reason. After all isn’t every photographer taking images so that he can share with clients, friends or fellow photographers? Isn’t photography a visual art which is mean to be shared, reviewed and critiqued? Wouldn’t sharing and comparing to other photographers make one grow and improve its skills? Well, if you think the answer is yes, consider these arguments:

  • Although all humans are 99% genetically similar, when it comes to untangle qualities as: talent, motivation, skills, determination, willingness to spend time to improve not everyone is the same. How one can compare to other photographer who started its career much earlier and had the advantage of making and learning from much more mistakes? Why one would expect to be on the same level with someone who decided to spend 10 times more time on improving itself and has much more determination?
  • Not everyone has the same goals as a photographer. One might be happy to get certain image quality and look while other is targeting be best in the field and considers his journey as not complete until he achieve complete. If the goals and motivation are different how the results could be compared?
  • Some photographers make living from their craft and photography is their full time job while others are part-time photographers or “weekend warriors” and take images for fun. It’s impossible that the results from both would be the same considering the competition level of being a paid photographer compared to being a non-paid photographer.
  • Not everyone learns how to improve in photography at the same pace. One takes longer to grasp a concept and learns best by trying different compositions and camera settings while other might learn better by reading and internalizing before even trying to take a image. If one compares to a person who grasps the concepts faster and is more artistic person by nature, he would be always following that or similar fast paced photographers and would never be satisfied with itself. Putting itself down and constantly feeling as running from behind, can do incurable damage to ones photography passion and inspiration.
  • Plus there are so many great photographers in much more advanced phase of their photography journey that is close to impossible to catch up with all of them in the same time. Chasing someone without a clear goal and target is bound to failure. Plus is ruins one’s self esteem by constantly reminding itself that he is still behind the masters in the field and getting discouraged daily from its results.

So, stop comparing and trying to compare yourself to other photographers. Stop obsessing on trying to post every day your images and trying to prove you are better than the others. Please, do compete in print competitions or themed challenges but do it for the sake of learning and improving your own skills, not for proving you are better that so and so photographer.

There is nothing more damaging to a photographer than to constantly looking over its shoulder and trying to be someone else. Trying to copy many different styles and looks, would results to being nobody and not having any personality in the photographic work. Instead, a photographer should enjoy the journey and find its own interests, type of photography and style that satisfy the own vision. I am not saying that this vision would be crystal clean from day one neither that one should not ever look at other  photographer’s work. This would be stupid. Looking and absorbing the style, trying to draw ideas and implementing them in its own way is creative. Trying to copy someone’s else work and constantly obsessing with not being as good is just a loss of valuable time.

Instead one should invest time to find its own interests, internal drivers and create its own style. Then take the photographic journey as its own pace. And after all, have fun and enjoy. It it ends up causing you more stress and anxiety, then stop, take a break and come back to it when ready. It’s your journey and you should be in command. Don’t let others distract you or slow you down in your growth as a photographer.

Think differently, agree or disagree? Drop me a line or comment below.

 

By Trifon Anguelov, Photographer, Mountain View, CA 94040

website: http://www.trifonanguelov.com


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Your DLSR Camera Is a Passport To New Places and Souls


IMG_20140121_224853Having DLSR is like having a passport. It allows you to go to places you might never go otherwise.

Image what you can do with a tool which can capture moments of time and record human emotions, amazing landscapes and unique wild creatures. Architecture and otherwise impossible to put together in a flat surface compositions, are now possible. DLSR camera grants you an access to meet new people and explore new places. You will be surprised how much human emotions you can experience and how many human souls you will encounter.

People are natural artists and they like to the center of attention. They like others to admire and compliment them. And expressing themselves in front spectators could be an instinct of proving one’s vitality and reaffirming itself. No matter if you are shy meeting other people. Point a camera at them, smile and they will engage with you. You will also have an excuse to leave your house, get off the couch on the weekend and search for a landscape, wake up early and chase birds outdoors.

I think DLSR is just another social networking tool. You can start meeting and get to know lots of photographers with the same interest or with the same eagerness to explore places and connect with other people. And more experiences means richer foundation to stay informed and make better decisions in life. Why not learn from fellow photographers, observe the things around you and learn to see them in a way you have never seen before. Through a lens and with a camera one can frame a portion of the world around him and capture a slice of time, he chooses and decided to.

So if you have been thinking or delaying getting your first digital camera, don’t delay anymore. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive or top of the line with the latest feature. Get one. Point and shoot! Mirrorless! One smartphone with a 8Mpx camera. Start exploring the World around you. Anything is better than nothing. You will be amazed how much new things and people you will find out there…

Think differently, agree or disagree? Drop me a line or comment below.

 

By Trifon Anguelov, Photographer, Mountain View, CA 94040

website: http://www.trifonanguelov.com


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So You Bought a Brand New DSLR camera And Lenses … And Now What?


IMG_20140124_162544It happens to many new photographers around the world. After months and months of looking at amazing pictures posted by their friends, on social networks or simply online, many decide that missing on the opportunity to buy an expensive DSLR and start impressing their friends, the friends of their friends, relatives and family members cannot be postponed anymore.

After all, who doesn’t want to get whaos and “love it” , “stunning”, ” amazing” accolades for himself. Everyone of us deep inside has the self promoting and self loving drive, which is most likely the self-preservation instinct we all carry in our DNA. This instinct helped us every day to stay alert and survive during the years of human evolution.

But the inevitable happens: A brand new camera and lens (or lenses) arrive and then the struggle begins. Settings, camera controls, downloading and cataloging images, post editing the images, uploading and sharing. Suddenly there is so much to learn and despite all the money, time and energy spend, the final images still doesn’t look near to what we see online.

So most new photographers, do what is the easiest to do in this situation: Decide that others must have better gear and they are still lacking the latest and greatest lenses which will make their images better. So they go, do more research, spend endless hours reading forums and asking questions on which is the best camera body and lens. It must be the gear they are so convinced, that the obsession soon transforms into what is known as: GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome).

And there they “march” to the nearest online web store, buying and buying new gear until no lens they want is out of reach anymore. But as many soon get to realize, no gear in the word can make great images alone. It is the same as buying a new stove and expecting to become a better chef overnight by simply cooking the same way and the same recipe. The gear itself is never the solution.

So the doubts start to emerge:

  • What to do next after buying brand new DSLR or mirror-less camera?
  • Why after spending lots of money one still cannot make amazing images?
  • What is the holy grail of amazing photography?

Well, there is a no single answer to these questions, but in essence new digital camera is just a tool which by itself is not enough to make stunning images. One needs to have creative ideas on how to create images which capture the attention. It also needs to know how to create interesting composition which include elements arranged in an interesting way. It’s a just too big of a discussion, so I will focus on just one point to consider when deciding what digital camera to buy as your first camera.

There are two camps:

  • Get the best you can afford and plan to use it for a long time.
  • Get the cheapest you can get and learn how to use it before you are ready to commit more time and money.

I am in the second camp. If you wonder why, here are few reasons to consider.

A single, used 50 mm lens and used mid or low range camera is a much better choice to make all the errors and do all the learning on “the cheap”. One can free its mind from worrying too much about damaging brand new expensive camera and focus on the creative part of photography instead of on the technical side first. This would allow one to find its area of interest and type of photography which best fits one’s personality and likes.

I see so many photographers in the field missing wildlife shots by simply keeping the lens cap all the time on their new $4K shiny lenses because of fear not to get their lenses dusty. Or taking and putting their new looking $3K camera in their backpacks when outside, so it doesn’t get dirty. They worry more about protecting their gear that freeing their minds and letting the creativity flows.

So why not get cheap used lens for learning and making all the mistakes you need? Why not use cheap and used camera to make all the shutter clicks you need to learn and master the photography techniques? Doing the opposite (buying and learning on a more expensive camera) would be like taking driving lessons on a brand new Ferrari. The fear of failure and damaging the expensive tools is crippling the progress of so many freshly minted photographers.

Conclusion:

New photographers can learn much faster the foundations of photography and master the craft, if they focus on learning composition, learning to see light and expect moments, rather than wasting their energy and money on acquiring the latest and greatest camera bodies and lenses. GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) is the biggest threat to new photographers and in my opinion should be avoided at any cost.

Or using the cooking analogy, I used before: A better stove (camera body and lenses) will not make one a better chef (photographer). Understanding the ingredients (light, composition, time, posing), learning different recipes (natural light, artificial light, AV, TV or manual modes, etc) and countless hours of practice is what can make a difference.

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a premiere wedding and events photography business  based in Mountain View, CA 94040 and serving clients in San Francisco Bay Area, CA. You can read more about the author and review his portfolio on his website. For complete list of services and to book your wedding, visit his Wedding Packages page.