Archive for the ‘(c) Tips for Clients’ Category

This post has been created and written by attendees of the 10 day JarvieDigital Bootcamp 2011 – (Interns for summer 2011)
Each post that we will release in the coming days will be about what they learned on that day.

(Photos by Laurel Scott)

INTERN 1

Bootcamp Day 2 – “Creative Solutions”

Today we worked on workflow in the morning:

  • Reject blurry photos – “X” in lightroom
  • Pick photos to give to the client “P” in lightroom
  • Start the rating process – 1 star, 2 star, etc.

In the afternoon we worked on assisting – which involved setting up and breaking down equipment, moving things around, understanding directions, and learning what the different pieces of equipment do.  We used off-camera flash, radio sync, light sync, manual flash settings, ttl, diffusers, reflectors, LED lights, “the sun,” etc.

Assisting was all about speed and accuracy – both are very important… but if you can “get it wrong fast” that’s ok because you can also fix it fast, and less time is ultimately wasted than if you had spent a long time getting it right the first time.  So following directions, and being able to predict what is wanted, rather than simply stand around waiting for directions, are very important aspects to being a great assistant.
Knowing how to assist is a very important skill, because then in the future, if I were to ever have an assistant helping me, I would know better what kinds of instructions to give to get the result I wanted… fast.

Knowing how to assist is a very important skill, because then in the future, if I were to ever have an assistant helping me, I would know better what kinds of instructions to give to get the result I wanted… fast.

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(Photos by Britney Brent)

INTERN 2

  • Assisting is Prestiging! (Prestigious:)
  • Assisting someone in some eyes may not seem to be a very prestigious job. However, it very much is! A master of photography, such as Scott Jarvie, doesn’t just let anyone assist him BECAUSE of how important an assistant is to a photoshoot.
  • As an assistant it’s so important to KNOW THE EQUIPMENT!!!
  • As an assistant it’s so important to make QUICK ADJUSTMENTS!!!!
  • As an assistant it’s so important to LISTEN CLOSELY to instructions!!!!
  • As an assistant it’s so important to UNDERSTAND THE WORK FLOW of the photographer!!!!
  • As an assistant it’s so important to know GEOMETRY (if you don’t lol he’ll give you a lesson!)
  • As an assistant it’s so important to LOVE WHAT YOU’RE DOING!!!
  • As an assistant it’s so important to KNOW THE PHOTOGRAPHER’S style!!!

Being an assistant for a mentor you love really is a great honor! Latch on and learn every thing you can. Love every second that you have to help him be great. Assisting is a vital role is is a prestigious one… don’t take advantage of the constant learning opportunities that you will have.

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(Photos by Angela Terry)

INTERN 3

“Beep Beep Beep, Beep Beep Beep”

Being efficient is of great importance. There many ways to up your efficiency rate in photography. Using a timer to test how fast your efficiency is just one great tool to help up your efficiency rate.

I have learned that the timer is my friend and is a great tool to help train interns, for good reason. To be good and fast one must learn and practice over and over, and how do you know if you are improving? By timing yourself. It shows improvement and it helps teach yourself with repetition and speed. When working with the light boxes, stands, and flashes; first I learned how to set the items up, but then I was pushed to set them up accurately in a short amount of time. Doing it over and over, trying to beat my previous time before truly helped in my efficiency, but also in my knowledge of the equipment as well as the confidence in using the equipment.

I think the timer has become my new best friend. I now must find a cute timer at Target for my office.

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Day 2 – Basic Lightroom (picking of photos) workflow

INTERN 4

As we work on the photos we have taken, we focus on a software program Adobe Lightroom. This software was created to cater specifically to photographers and their workflow process. It is designed with a basic workflow “built in” but allows for individuals to develop their own specific direction and tools to utilized based on that persons style and needs.

Scott has refined his personal workflow around his editing style and to utilize efficiency as much as possible. As the workflow goes, we progress in layers or steps that narrow down what photos will be worked on and edited. For example: We all get blurry photos for many various reasons. The narrowing down process quickly gets rid of blurry photos and allows the editor to judge to keep or Reject (X Key in Lightroom) ones that might be a little bit softer just in case that particular photo is a unique moment, composition, subject, etc.

The next step in the workflow is to Pick (P Key in Lightroom) the good photos from the ones that may not be so good. Again, by quickly going through and narrowing down to get rid of photos that the editor would simply not want to keep for reasons that should stand out as obviously not a good photo.

We then move on to the first step in the rating process (1,2,3,4,5 Keys in Lightroom (star rating)). At this stage, we either don’t rate (also a 0 star) or add a 1 star to the photo if we want to have that photo continue on as a good photo. This will be continued on very similar to a sports team during their playing season. Al of the teams start out, then progress layer by layer or level by level until they reach the top (1 stars are then narrowed to the better 2s, then 3s, etc. until the very best are 5 stars). Keeping in mind that even the 1 star rated photos will be edited because they were picked as good photos but, the ones that made it to 5 stars will get much more attention towards their editing.

On this day, we also learned how to assist the main photographer. I will discuss this on Day 3 however.

(Photos by Scott Jarvie)

(Photo by Laurel Scott)

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Situation

Here’s the situation: you’re a bride who loves photography, you want really great art work to remember your wedding, however in your searches for the perfect photographer you’re finding your budget just doesn’t allow you to get what (or who) you want.

Consider “Formals” or what is better described as: couple pictures on a separate day from the wedding.

Some call  them “groomals” (because it’s a combination of the word bridals and the word groom) and many times they can be called “First Look” because that’s how it starts – Capturing the first time HE sees the bride in the dress looking stunning. (I would call that Formals with a “first look” moment)

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Any Budget

There are always options out there for photography that can fit ANY budget. Some photographers are more expensive and some won’t charge hardly anything or will do it for free because they’re just starting.

But if you want the high quality of work with a proven track record of consistency with a style that matches your aesthetic preferences those artists can cost more. (due to supply and demand and the amount of investment the artist has put into their craft, both time and money)

I believe in the concepts:

When there’s a will there’s a way.
AND
Thinking outside the box.

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So you’re a bride and you want amazing pictures, you found your photographer but simply are not able to reach the budget for wedding day pictures… maybe doing your pictures on a prior day of just the two of you would be more beneficial.

Let’s weigh the benefits of Formals: The benefits to the photographer equates to a saving for the bride and groom

  • Flexibility: They don’t have to set aside a popular wedding date many months in advance and turn down many other weddings. They set formals often on a free weekday and unlike a wedding they have the ability to move the date if something big comes up. They can also plan the day when it gets closer and both parties better know their schedules.
  • Timing: They get to choose any time of the day they want to take pictures, which can lead to better lighting and a less rushed pace.
  • Location: They can choose any location or several locations, they are not limited by the schedule of a wedding day as to how the schedule dictates the locations possible.
  • Quality: Because of time and location they can spend a little extra time making the photography better.
  • Subject: To many photographers these are the pictures they enjoy the most. They get to take only the most appreciated and exciting pictures and not have to take group pictures and other shots that aren’t as artistic for them.
  • Presentation: These pictures are most often done Before the wedding and in most cases they can be selected and edited prior to the wedding… meaning they can have enlargements AT their wedding reception.
  • Stress: Weddings are known to have the element of stress. many great photographers avoid weddings because they aren’t people persons or they don’t like the stress of having to be in charge or feeling like this is one of the most important moments and they can’t mess up.

All in all when you take many (or all) of those things into considerations it’s no wonder these shoots can cost a lot less from even the best of photographers.

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Does it replace wedding day photography?

NO. I sure hope people don’t read into this post that way.

Regardless of what you choose, I hope you still get pictures on your wedding day.

Why wedding day pictures are important:

  • It’s all about the moments and memories. (What more can I say)
  • You’re wanting to capture the things that happened, how the day looked, any memorable events and people and details.
  • All of those unstaged moments that a photographer is often there to just capture without notice without staging in the best possible way.
  • All of those people that travel long distances to be there.
  • Did I mention emotions: Emotions are high and varied that day, we want to remember them.

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Wedding Day or Formals

So why consider pre-wedding formals for couples over wedding day? You don’t.

But it might be a good option to do both… and it might be less expensive to do both.

OPTIONS

You can have that photographer who you really love (but can’t afford to do the full wedding day) do formals and then be more OK with hiring someone more in your price range do the wedding.

Regardless of what people think of this, but it’s a fact that many people are offered free photography by friends or family members. Be that a good or bad thing.

But this is one option for the bride to be able to figure out what she wants and is able to do.

Don’t forget this awesome option:

Have your favorite photographer do BOTH. (formals and wedding day) You get all the benefits of both lists (which I listed above) with the best Art for you.

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About this situation:

I have been friends with her father for a while now (he’s a long time photographer – not weddings)

I told them because of that relationship AND knowing their budget that i’d be able to work with them on their wedding cost. And even still it was hard… so I explained the concept of formals and that worked for them.

They get married on the 23rd and their budget might not be able to afford even most beginning photographers but they were able to get some beautiful pictures that document their Love and their personalities and are strong symbols of their wedding.

Them:

They got to go to their wedding location, we got to spend a lot of time focused on their pictures, more time than I would have had on their wedding day. Without the stresses of the wedding day that the bride, mother of the bride or groom have on that day.

Me:

I got to focus on what I enjoy the most focusing on the love and the personalities and I got to pick a free day that I wouldn’t have been shooting anyway.

They still want a photographer for the actual day (and we are trying to find a creative solution for me to be there) but they made the judgement call that these pictures would provide a great benefit at a great value.

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You deserve the best, believe in yourself:

Let’s take on this subject for a moment because it’s something i feel sometimes people have problems with.

Often people don’t attempt to get what they really want and “settle” for what’s easiest.

Keep in mind: Deserving “the best” doesn’t mean feeling like you’re entitled to “the best” – but entails finding it and working for it.

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While sometimes I pick on themed shoots for a few reasons… the truth is I wan to do more.

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Mannequins for my idea… no

I’m not gonna ask my clients to dress up like alice in wonderland, a disney princess, the newest most popular movie character.
I also won’t insist they need to go with a desert, beach, stadium or race track just for the heck of it and make it very themed based on those locations.

It just doesn’t work for what I’m doing… if their friends look at the picture and ask why are you on a beach towell at utah lake having a pic-nic. You hate Utah Lake, you two have never been on a pic-nic and that’s not even your beach towell nor does it have anything to do with you or your wedding.

I don’t want a mannequin for some idea i have… “you go stand here and put your hands just like so”
I want to use the location and light and their personalities to create something that works just for them.

I create art around them… I don’t just put them into the art I create.

I know there are plenty of photographers that do this other way… and I think it’s cool and they come up with great stuff… it’s just not me.

Collaborate

So when I do more themed it’s because the client was also creative… and we collaborated.

What usually happens is they have an idea that they think shows off their personalities and their relationship… and I… adapt it to make it look photographically much more appealing.

That’s the way I pose… you do what you would normally do and I’ll tell you when it sucks and adapt it to make it much more photogenic.

I communicate a ton with my clients and give them what I consider lots of instructions… and yet they always tell me they feel like I didn’t pose them. That I’m not a poser.

So with themes they say:

  • Our first date was …
  • We love to…
  • Our favorite location is…
  • Our favorite music… our favorite store…
  • Our favorite activity together is…

I say: Let’s run with that… I have some good ideas that will work for that. Such as…

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PERSONALITY

My photography is about personality.

I want my clients and their friends and family to say “Oh my heavens that’s so ‘Bobby and Susie’ ”

  • Does it reflect them?
  • Does it reflect their wedding?
  • Does it reflect incidents in their dating history?
  • Does it reflect things they like? (at least)

I do want to do more themed shoots

  • They get lots more attention
  • They are more creative and artistic (in general)
  • I like the challenge.
  • Even the challenge of making the repeated theme fresh and new in my own way.
  • They are better for business. (the attention they get)
  • They are more desired by wedding magazines and blogs

Why I have sometimes been hard on themed shoots.

Well it’s not because I’m against themed shoots or think they’re bad for photography.

It’s because I worry that people don’t do a good job of distinguishing creative direction for photographic skills.

I think a picture can be a great picture while being a poorly taken picture.

The key is to appreciate each are for what they’re worth!

Areas of impact to consider

Locations, creative ideas and selecting photogenic subjects are all GOOD things (needful things)… but then there’s that other pesky little thing… taking good/skilled pictures (light, emotion, composition, processing, the moment)

People can be praised in the picture for many items

  • The Location
  • The Idea
  • The Subject
  • The Photographic Skill

I guess what I desire is that people can look at a picture and see where each of those skills came in.

Examples

Part of this came from thinking about typical Orange County or NYC weddings where they’re spending crazy amounts on the weddings. There is so many pretty elements on the wedding day that I worry potential clients are seeing all the pictures of the pretty things and confusing it for pretty/skilled photography. (Yes they can certainly be skilled photographers as well as pretty items/locations/subjects of course.)

I myself have been fortunate to have taken pictures of a lot of typically pretty people. I have also taken pictures of couples at nice places (a lot of LDS temples) and a few more exotic locations.
I don’t do the fancy very expensive receptions (not like OC or NYC) … in fact often I do cultural hall weddings.

I have tuned my skills dealing with mid day light and crazy colors of a church basketball court for many a reception. (I am thankful for that tough teaching)

Making up for deficiencies

You deserve it all

A client deserves all those things we can offer, good ideas, good locations and good photographic skills.

I think the Photographic Skills can make up for possible deficiencies in the other areas.

  • They can make a boring or “ugly” place look great.
  • They can bring out the most beauty in the subject
  • And they can portray the idea/theme in the best possible way.

THIS THEME

Here’s the deal on these pictures.

They had a long distance relationship.

He would fly up from California almost every weekend. He had graduated BYU and had a job in California and she was still going to BYU living in Provo.

So they said Airport and we rolled with it.

We then threw in some other pictures… Like these Memory Grove pictures.

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I have re-written this post now about 5 times. Because I wanted to cover some topics I considered important.

It’s important because I want to explain to present and future clients what I do and why I do it.

On this attempt I will do it in question and answer style

TOPICS: My Style, Posing, Good Clients, Soap Box

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(Above) In this picture can you see the personalities of some of the subjects? If so it was successful.

QUESTIONS

What is my style of photography? – “Documentive”

What do you document? People, places and events and the feelings and personalities associated with them.

Are you passive or an active participant in the moment? Yes

How would you describe your approach? The subject and feeling first… done in the Jarvie style. NOT the art of Jarvie with happenstance visitors and models.

What’s the best compliment? A friend or family member telling a client that the picture is “SO YOU (Them)”

What the client doesn’t get? Directed poses from your favorite modeling magazine. (If your purpose is to look past the person at a product then perhaps those are proper.)

How much do you pose? In the comparative world I apparently pose almost none (so I’m told)… But I feel like I take control of the pose a lot more than people perceive. (Create the situation)

Why do you think you pose people a lot? Because I put them into the proper locations, and facing the right directions and having put them into the right situations the scenes usually just create themselves.

What are 5 important things in the interaction between the shooter and the person being shot?

  1. That they like my work. (and therefore have trust.)
  2. That they know I have their back and will tell them when they’re doing something that will look like crap. (Again… Trust)
  3. That they don’t feel confined or limited in their personality or creativity.
  4. That I don’t feel limited in what I am able to do.
  5. They are able to act naturally around me.

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Best way of posing? Take what someone does and enhance it. For example (above right) take how they sit and take it to the next level. Or make adjustments so nothing looks bad.

(Above Left) This was how they posed themselves. You can tell the little girl has a lot of character by the way she chose to stand. The best part is she did this herself with no coaxing from anyone.

One person’s fun and fancy pose is another person’s nightmare and stupidest thing ever.

Idea of a perfect client? Someone with lots of personality that feels ownership in being part of creating the perfect pictures.

Idea of a client you would rather not have? No passion for the result… but high expectations.

What you’d like to say to a client? This is a team process for us. I want you to want the best and work with me to create the best.

What you want to say to clients but won’t usually say? I want to tell them to be themselves… but I don’t, because there’s no need… they are already themselves and will act that way. I just need to put them in situations where they are comfortable and motivated to do so.

Would you rather (For a photoshoot) … Beautiful Appearance or Sparkling Personality? Sparkling Personality.

What you hate to hear during a shoot? Competent people being needy. (We both need to work together to strike doubt and worries from the photoshoot. So I claim part ownership in that problem)

What would help your clients prior to a photoshoot? To love my work and trust my abilities. That every shoot i do works out just fine so what is there to worry about?? When they can understand that they’ll just have fun and enjoy the moments and start focusing that energy with me towards the creative process.

Most common comment by grandmothers at weddings? You must really enjoy doing what you do… because you’re always smiling?

Funnest comment at weddings? You did such a great job (They haven’t seen a picture) I ask how do they know? “Because you handled yourself so well and made it enjoyable”

Do you like the very posed type of photography? Yes, I appreciate what those photographers and models do… but don’t feel the industry needs yet another photographer like that. I’ll try to stick with my strengths.

Who wouldn’t be the best candidates to shoot with me? Though I joke, it’s only a partial joke to say that: if you’re not comfortable with who you are then my style of bringing out who you are might not be your favorite. But on second glance we are often hard on ourselves and my objective is to bring out the BEST in others.

When does it call to break from this form? In some cases companies are trying to sell a product so they actually might want very little personality to show from models. This is understood.

See or create? I’m much more of a see the potential kind of dude. I don’t often go out with an specific idea in mind. (Although I appreciate that style) But based on lighting and the emotions and feelings I’ll look around and come up with the best scenario. I can bring out the best in any scenario I’ve learned to not wait for the most fortunate circumstances to take pictures.

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(Above) I knew I was going to get on top of my car at some point in the shoot… when I saw the clouds and the lighting and understood the need for a couple more group shot options. When I saw how they interacted and the feeling of the group. This is when I decided to do a shoot like this. I didn’t have this shot in mind until about 1 minute before I pressed the button. (BTW I wouldn’t have minded if that cloud were a few dozen miles closer and bigger.)

A Motto? Don’t wait for the best situation make whatever situation you’re in the best you can.

What you want people to know about the photography industry?

  • Anyone can take the best lighting, the best models, tons of time, great equipment and turn them into great pictures. But in our not-made up world with lower budgets and limited time. Learning to make the very best of any situation is true skill.
  • Sometimes photographers can become well known for taking pictures at fancy, perfectly planned weddings or for taking portraits of beautiful superstars. This should neither be a reason for or against them. But be careful they rest on these things alone. (See what’s inside)
  • Look for consistency. Just because there are 25 great pictures in their portfolio doesn’t mean your pictures are automatically going to look awesome.
  • The experience is on par with the product. A misanthrope will tarnish your pictures forever with ugly memories.
  • You don’t always get what you pay for… but you usually do. You need to be smart and informed.  Look for a good return on the investment. Most expensive is not the best, neither is least.

Most encouraging comment from a potential client when on the phone (or email)? We loved your work, but it was the personality we see in your work and in your writing that really sealed the deal.

What do you preach from your soap box?

  • Deception in Marketing = Bad and Sad!
  • Photographers who show their work in chronological galleries ONLY
  • Symbolism. This deserves a post unto itself. If it were a couple I would encourage and work with them to internalize their feelings for eachother and things that are special to eachother. To include into the theme of the pictures. Nothing so big that it takes away from them or takes away from good solid photography.

There is a point an attraction becomes so overwhelming it turns into a distraction.

What is your stance on editing? While I can make any picture many times better with a few quick edits. My editing is about bringing attention to what is most important. I stick with bright, clean and simple… If someone views a picture and fixates on a series of edits I have made the picture about my editing and forgotten that it is about “People, places and events and the feelings and personalities associated with them.” I can edit as much or as little as needed as long as it has an end and an objective.

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Will you pose? Well yeah of course, I’m not opposed to it. I posed this one (Above)… but it’s not my favorite shot because it doesn’t really match the personality I got from this girl. But then again I didn’t tell her the facial expression to have, so there’s plenty of her in it. But mainly I’ll do things that will put them in the way of the best lighting.

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The recap

Let me write a recap… at the beginning…
In the post I’ll tell you that stretching yourself to handle any situation, and to even embrace them will make you a better photographer.
And not just stretching yourself in photography (more specifically locations) but stretch and expand your horizons in all you do.

Finding the good, finding the beauty is an ability that goes way beyond photography and as an aspiring photographer can even be developed outside of your actual photography

Get ready for a LONG post.

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My Last Wedding > Is the new standard

I view my most recent wedding as a standard for things to come.
Let me explain why and how.

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What I did to make this possible

A couple months back I was so busy that I opted to raise my prices in a deliberate attempt to have more time.
More time for my photo projects.
More time to have a real life.
More time to focus on each photo shoot.
More time to UP my standards.

And so far it’s worked.
It’s been weird to not book as many photo-shoots, I’ve learned to deal with it.
I’m learning how to fill in all that available time.

New Pricing – Thoughts About

I didn’t want to simply raise costs just because, but I wanted to raise them at the same time raise the quality of the product.

Over the years I’ve raised my prices many times… back in 2005 with the first few weddings I shot for as low as $250 for a wedding.

I didn’t just raise costs because I wanted more money, but because I felt the product was worth that, because I had worked hard at improving with talent, time and equipment.

Now I finally have pretty much every tool I’ve wanted for a long long time.

Weddings I’m searching for

This Hawaii wedding is also an example of the types of weddings I want to focus on working on.
Nicely organized weddings, with people who are very interested in a higher level of photography.
I want to be dealing with brides who don’t simply want A photographer but are in search of A great quality photographer.

I understand for some photography isn’t their #1 concern.
And I also understand there are many who really want great pictures but can’t usually afford them.

I want to still be in an affordable range… as a bargain for an educated shopper who can understand what I’m giving when they compare it to other options.

I want to deal with people that stretch to reach the cost (even if i have to help them with the cost) so that they’re appreciative of the product.
But I also want to deal with people that understand the bargain.
I am in Utah where the wedding photography costs are way down in comparison to many other parts of the country.
I suppose this is why I travel a lot.

Give more

If you compare straight up prices it can be deceptive.
But when someone sees I don’t charge by the hour and they could have me for 10hrs + on a wedding day.
And when they see how many pictures I typically give to a client.
When they recognize things like how I review and edit Every picture I give to them.
Many of the intangibles such as the experience which will help me deal with any possible situation that might come up for a wedding.
Or the demeanor and attitude that helps me deal with weddings perfectly. Not too formal, not too informal.
Not just the quality of the picture… but the feel of the picture.
The speed with which the sessions go… not rushed and not dragging along.

Consistency

I’ve always prided myself on the consistency of my weddings.
I felt confident telling clients that they were assured of great wedding pictures.
It wasn’t hit and miss. It was hit after hit.
And sometimes of course there were some big hits.

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New Standards

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