Monday, June 21, 2010

Moving Day

This blog has moved to

All new posts will be placed there. No more updates will be applied here.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rainy Day - Dream Away

Amazing couple last weekend. Looked like rain all day long but the weather held up. So much fun with this couple. Here are a few images from the day.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

the age of the laptop

It is something that I fight all the time. How in the world can my laptop truly be the center of my image editing and production business? All that is in me wants (notice the word choice) a desktop. I find a desktop aligns with my inner Tim the Tool-Man Taylor and my desire for MORE POWER! I even find myself thinking about how backup would be so much easier with a desktop. Two drives configured in a RAID array, external storage that I can take off site. Let me compare it to this:
You want a new car. Not just a car in general but a specific car. The new 2010 Camero. You love that car. You go online and configure your custom built dream machine. You start having debate sessions with your inner soul in the shower every morning ... possibly on the drive to work. Before you know it, the car has become something you need. You did an amazing job pitching it to yourself. But guess what? You already own a car. A really nice one. And no matter how cool the new Camero is... it is not a transformer... never will be.
I have been doing the same thing with desktops. Not because I need one, quite the opposite. I conveniently forget the fact that a year ago I sold my amazing desktop for the current laptop system I am using now.

This is sort of a follow up to yesterday's post. I love my laptop. In the past two weeks I have been plotting and scheming about building a premium desktop system. Just a quick thought - what lens could I buy instead of the desktop? What advertising could I invest in rather than create redundancy in my computer hardware? We all have a limited amount of financial resources - it is important to be strategic and focused around where we place those resources. There is a standard that each individual MUST determine. Where do you want to go? What do you want to accomplish? Now lets get there!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

why spend the money?

As a photographer one is bombarded with the ever-evolving digital market of hard drives, RAID systems, wireless flash systems with TTL, the latest calibrated LED flat panel, i7 Quad Core Processors ... the list goes on and on. How much time do we spend obsessing about the gear that we used? When you talk to fellow photographers where does the conversation linger? So let's talk about gear for a moment. I shoot with a Canon 20D. Yeah, I know what you are thinking. A 20D? That camera is pushing 7 years old! Indeed it is. Guess what... it still makes AMAZING images. The screen is sorta small and the ISO performance isn't as great as some of the newer Canon cameras. So ask me - when are you replacing the thing? When it breaks or fails to consistently deliver the results I demand. Last year I attended an amazing masters class that completely revolutionized my photography style and perspective. I could have spend the money on a camera - but I would argue that I got more out of the class than I would have gotten out of a new camera. If you are looking at a new camera or new flash system - stop and ask yourself if that is the best place to spend your money as it relates to your craft. Don't get me wrong. I am all for spending money. I am focusing on investing in glass because the lenses I have at my disposal directly affect the quality and style of my images. Changing camera bodies won't really accomplish that. I would encourage you to pick up a photography book. Everyone knows that I am a HUGE fan of Scot Kelby's digital photography book series (it is a 3 volume set now).

We should all take a deep look into our camera bag and figure out what tools we just lust after and what tools would actually make our craft better. Your camera bag is made up of MUCH MUCH MORE than just what is physically in your camera bag. All your knowledge, software, tools, lenses, flashes, cameras, etc make up your camera bag. So why are you spending money? Are you chasing the next cool thing or are you out there to enhance your craft?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New Site Design

Greetings. It is time once again to revamp the Rick Mead Photography home page. Our branding as a whole is going through a change from Rick Mead Photography To Rick Mead Distinctly Different Weddings. I have wanted to change from our old branding for a while. I have been geeking around with alternate versions of the site and logo for a few months now. I finally got it set up to my liking.

I feel like this new branding is going to be huge. Take a look at the site over the next week and let me know what you think of the changes. Most of the changes aren't live yet. I will be swapping pages one at a time as I get them complete so keep checking back for updates.

Modern Bride

What is today's bride truly looking for? The easy answer is a great photographer. Lets take a few minutes to get a little more detailed than that. What makes a "great photographer" may change from person to person. Perhaps she is looking for a stronger formal aspect to her photos or on the flip-side she might want more spontaneous journalistic run-and-gun style images. A bride's taste is distinct. How well one caters to that taste is the line that separates the men from the boys.

I hear photographers say "Well I am a photo-journalistic style photographer. I don't do poses and formal photos." Most of the time that is because he or she doesn't know how to capture a formal image while maintaining a trendy look and feel. On the other side of the tracks are the photographers who rock portraits (you know who you are). Their creative approach is all in the pose. They are highly technical and very experienced. This style photographer is getting harder and harder to find for a few reasons. Popularity of the photo-journalistic style has driven new photographers away from the technical side of posing mixed with people with little to no training shooting weddings.

Is there middle ground? Under most situations I would say no. Formal, well posed images are becoming more and more rare because of the rigidity the photographer generally brings to the table. A very wise photographer once told me that people will recognize quality in any form. Produce quality and people will hire you. The question comes to applying your style while maintaining said quality.

I started thinking about this post because of all the simply ok images I have seen online here and there over the past weeks. What are brides looking for? They want no, they deserve quality. Are your images consistently visually evolving into technically superior images? A photo-journalistic approach is a great place to start but what are you adding? Anyone can buy a digital SLR and a zoom lens and run-and-gun a wedding... and they do. What will you do to separate yourself from the rest of the pack.

When was the last time you attended a seminar or invested something into your training and talent? When was the last time you scoured the web for other photographers who are doing new and different things? Maybe someone overseas or in a different area of the country. Shoot, you could even take in the technique of someone who is in a different photographic field. Every time I am in a book store I dive into the wedding magazines. Probably the only straight guy who read's modern bride and the knot ... no comments.

As photographers we have to be educating ourselves about proper techniques and that assist us with expressing our vision. Which side of the face should be lit with an off camera flash? What does the soft vs. harsh quality of light bring to your images? Are you counting on Photoshop to saved your poorly conceived and poorly captured image? As David duChemin says - "There is no un-suck filter in Photoshop."

Don't fool yourself. Don't slouch. Modern brides want the strength of great portraits with the spontaneity of a photo-journalistic approach. Where are you weakest and what are you doing about it? Become a better photographer. Do it for your brides. Do it for yourself. Do it for your vision.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

our stuido is moving

For about the last year I have run my studio out of a cramped corner of our one bedroom apartment. I sit right next to our refrigerator and bounce on a yoga ball as my chair. Next month we are moving to a much more modest apartment that will allow our life to decompress a bit. I will have a room specifically for my office and I can't wait to work out of this new space. I will be uploading pictures as soon as we get moved in, painted, and walls decorated with photos.

I have been all over the place this past month and haven't been able to post something in quite a while. I have several irons in the fire in the form of video tutorials. I have created an amazing process for reducing/removing chub from under a person's chin area. I also have some amazing techniques for portrait retouching in Lightroom. I plan on recording these this week and having them up directly. Thanks so much for your patience. Look for this month's calendar wallpaper tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

almost a kiss

That moment just before contact. Sometimes it is tough to catch. When I look over a serries of photos from a wedding or an engagement shoot I often see two couples with faces smashed together and think ... wow they look goofy. Most people look kinda strange. Either her nose is pushed up or his lips are off center or something. We never really think about it for two reasons.
1) When we kiss our eyes are generally closed so we don't see the squish
2) When people kiss it happens so quickly that we don't have time to take notice of any distortion or goofy faces that are created when faces collide.

The moment before the kiss has such a build of anticipation. Everyone knows what is about to happen. It is like having a snapshot of two cars driving at 80mph on a collision course seconds before the impact. What is about to happen makes us brace. In the same way we see an image like this and it makes us think about all that will happen. It builds drama and weight to an image. You have to think ahead though. An image like this doesn't just happen - you have to plan for it. It isn't a hard image to capture - but it doesn't usually happen by accident. It is a detail. Something a lot of photographers don't think about - but something ever photographer should tune in for.

Most of the time "the shot" happens before the action - so look for the details and enjoy the anticipation.

Windows 7 - Woo Me!!!!!

As an informed computer user I am always looking at the latest and greatest. My current platform of choice is Mac OSX on a previous generation 15"MacBook Pro (the one before the unibody system). Prior to that my primary production system was a Windows Vista system produced by HP (didn't stick around long) and prior to that was my favorite laptop of all time - the 12" PowerBook. That being said - please do not confuse me with an a-typical apple fanboy because I am not. I enjoy using Mac OSX and will continue to do so for the considerable future. In recent years I have nudged people toward OSX over Windows because of Vista. Vista was a decent operating system - BUT ... there is always the ever present "but." ... but it is a memory hog and has compatibility issues and it doesn't run well in VMWare, and it won't run on a netbook. Those are a lot of buts! Enter Windows 7. A few months back I installed the first public Beta of Windows 7 on my Mac using VMWare (I currently run Windows XP for my album making software on VMWare) I liked the layout; however, I was not really impressed with the speed on my computer. Now granted it was running on a virtual box and on 1GB ram but it still did not replace XP for my use. I just loaded Windows 7 RC (release candidate) and WOW! Super fast, super slick. I have been using it all morning and I am amazed. You have got to go check this OS out. FINALLY OSX has some real true competition in the operating system market again. I am not saying I will be trading in my MacBook Pro for a windows based system; however, I will be keeping a close eye on it and ditching XP from my virtual system when Win 7 ships.

UPDATE: A little perspective... I have not been simultaneously surprised and impressed by an OS since I originally saw Steve Jobs (in all his "Reality Distortion Field" goodness) present Panther and WWDC 2004. I had never looked at a Mac or really use an apple computer before. I remember this feeling of awe and wonder. This was it - my next computer. Looking at Windows 7 I am feeling the same vibe. My wife is in the market for a new machine. I am seriously considering picking up a clearance Dell or Gateway and loading Windows 7 on it.