Passport Studio Firewire Portable Hard Drive

A blog reader recommended this to me as a possible external storage solution and I must say I am thrilled about it. This is much different than the normal Passport 2.0 external hard drives, and if you are on a Mac Book Pro, its the only way to go. Its a little more expensive at $220, but it is built in a solid metal housing and plugs into your Firewire port, NOT your USB hubs. Portable USB port external hard drives can be a real problem if they do not have external power, at least the Western Digital Passport USB 2.0 couldnt consistently work on my system which is why I started looking for one of these.

Something I have just started to do is “retire” external hard drives, meaning that once they are filled with valuable files I dont intend to access anytime soon, I unplug them and put them into storage. I have back ups on disks and no externals, at least 2 copies of everything. Ive also seen 1 TB drives at unbelievable prices- so another option is to transfer all your files to a home drive like this, keeping your portable ones empty, and then retiring that when needed.

What to Say when offering a free shoot

This comes from an email I recently received from someone who is trying to build up their portrait photography business. One of the best recommendations I can give to a beginning photographer when starting is to shoot friends and family for free. The question was essentially, how do you get people to go along with this whole concept and get them more excited about the shoot.

Most Photographers, including many top level professionals I have seen have a hard time understanding that your “people skills” are more important than your actual “photography” skills when shooting people.

Your subjects will reflect whatever it is you project.

If you are nervous, they will be nervous.
If you hesitate, they will hesitate.
If you are laughing and joking, they will laugh and joke with you.

This is very powerful stuff. Unless the subject is a professional model, it will matter how you act behind the camera.

Lets assume we have a great looking friend whom we want to use to build up our portfolio. The goal and outcome of these 2 questions are the same, however, taste the vibe of each and try to feel what they might feel:

1. Hey I was wondering if you could help me. I am building my portrait portfolio and need some pics. Im not really sure what I am doing, but I need someone to sit and like….practice on? If any of them come out, you could have them.

2. Ive never told you this but I think you are absolutely beautiful and would really like to give you a free portrait shoot. It will be a lot of fun, plus you will have tons of great pictures- its free. What do you think about this week at 7pm?

Always speak to your clients and subjects in their perspective and what the benefit it will be to THEM (not you).

Friends and The Power of Surrounding Yourself with Positive People

A few years ago I began to notice a trend in some of my relationships with friends and loved ones.

I have big aspirations and with these aspirations come doubts, because I am not always sure how I will accomplish them or even if I am capable. Naturally, I would go to friends or relatives just to bounce ideas off them and I noticed something….

Many of them reacted negatively. Not in the sense of “this is a bad idea because of this and that….” but more of a “you cant do that…” Or “you are going to get screwed” but they couldn’t tell me why. (A confession: I silently label these individuals as “poo-poo-ers” and no, secretly, I don’t like them at all.) If someone can give me good evidence for doubt is one thing, if they give doubt/negativity for the sake of doubt/negativity, thats another.

In some ways it reminded me of Russia, as, at least when I was there, some Russians would take great offense if you told them you were having a good day, as it had a supposed underhanded meaning of “I am doing much better than you”. You would often hear Russians say “Awful” when asked how their day was going.

The surprising thing to me about this, is there isnt a cut and dry reason why friends may be negative towards big dreams. Its amazing to me how much positive feedback I get from complete strangers and at times some of my closest friends are indifferent or actively negative towards me. Don’t get me wrong, some of my biggest support has come from close friends, and unfortunately, some of the greatest negativity has come from those closest to me. Is there a relationship of resentment to another’s prospect of success, simply because they are familiar? Im not sure, but it makes me wonder…..

Not long ago I was eating dinner with some friends. One of them mentioned she would like to buy a camera and become a children’s photographer. I could tell she was a little anxious about announcing this in front of her family, as if it was the first time she was letting this idea out. I was surprised to see how many of them, in unison no less, immediately began to shoot her down. This was a little sad because I could see that sparkle of excitement in her eye quickly disappear.

In the forums, as well as in my emails, I see a lot of beginning photographers who show their first few pictures and all they are looking for is just a little bit of encouragement and once they get it, they explode in creativity and confidence. Words are so powerful.

This led me to a very conscious life strategy which I recommend to everyone, and have mentioned before:

1. Surround yourself with positive people.
2. Avoid negative people as much as possible. This includes my own thoughts towards myself and others. Do not allow yourself to marinate in negativity. In my opinion, yes, it is completely worth throwing away a relationship if that relationship constantly brings you down or makes you depressed. (To me, “Turn the other cheek” doesn’t mean to stick around to let it continue.)
3. Be on the constant look out to support others in their aspirations and reflect their enthusiasm.

Looking back, I can say this is probably one of the wisest things I did to get going with photography, and much of my best support came from near strangers who shared the same interest.

This scenario forced me to carefully consider why I am “friends” with someone, and I realized something….we all have different reasons for being friends with whom we are friends.

Why are you friends with your friends?

Do you just like them?
Do you like the same things?
Do you just “click”?

I hate to say this, but answers like these are vague.

Answers such as:

– I like the way they look
– They are popular
– They are fun to go drinking with

Are so shallow, but dang…. they are honest.

Answers like:

– They are nice (which I dont always believe is the case- many friends are a source of great heartache)
– I enjoy being with them
– I feel comfortable around them
– I love them

Are also a little too vague for me. WHY- Are these the case?

In any event, this has caused me to reflect on who I label a friend.

I am learning that true friends are willing to sacrifice for each other’s benefit, without expectation of return, but it still doesnt answer the question of WHY?

Why are you friends with your friends?

Photoshop World September 4-6 2008

I will be attending Photoshop World in Las Vegas September 4-6. Photoshop World is geared towards professional photoshop users and is a wealth of cutting edge information about both Photoshop and other adobe products. It is THE photoshop seminar of the year.

I know we are all waiting for a certain Crash Course DVD on Photoshop, however, once you have the basics NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) is a wonderful resource. Membership in NAPP is about $100/year and the event in Las Vegas is $600. I have never attended but have heard good things about it and wanted to see for myself.

Is there anyone else who reads my blog attending that would like to meet up for lunch?

X Files 2

The formula on this one is simple. If you liked the television series, you will probably like this movie. if you are unfamiliar with Mulder and Scully, this will be a boring and lame movie for you. I was a big X Files fan at one time, so I mildly enjoyed it, but it felt more like a long X Files Episode than a movie, almost as if Chris Carter (the writer and director who I believe to be very talented BTW) was bored or just needed some $$. He is capable of better.