Tag Archive for 'education'

Pro Photo Podcast #89 – Christmas 2012 & The 33 Tips of Christmas

Gavin is hitting the road again for an early 2013 tour. Visit his website for details. More travel talk in the after show.

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Today’s Panel... Gavin Seim Nina BeheimKerry GarrisonBrady DillsworthMark TeskeyJohn Cornforth

We wrap up 2012 with our annual Christmas roundtable featuring loads of photography tips and gear favorite gear and gadgets of the season. Join the discussion on the PPS forums.

Brought to you by the Seim Effects. And the EXposed Photography Workshop.

Use code: PPSCHRISTMAS to save $30.00 on EXposed before Dec 31st.

PPS #89 Forum Discussion HERE. Share Your Opinions.

Main Time Indexes:

  • 000:00 Introductions.
  • 005:30 – News Highlights
  • 023:45 – The 33 Tips of Christmas
  • 01:12:05 – A Visit with John Cornforth
  • 1:23:55 –  Picks of the Year
  • 1:59:30 – After Show. Sailing & More.


Nikon D5200 looks good. Also the Nikon D600.

The wall portrait article.


Lytro Light Field Camera

Sony NEX Series

Sigmas 35mm 1.4.

Zone System
Gavin’s articleFree videos.
Crash Plan Backup

Film is Coming Back.

Gavin’s article on signature and branding usage.


Sticky Filters Lighting Gels
Tripad Laptop Tripod Tether TableDojo Review

Continue reading ‘Pro Photo Podcast #89 – Christmas 2012 & The 33 Tips of Christmas’

Why So Many “Professional” Photos Look So Bad!

by Gavin Seim (rev 03/14): I’m seeing so many bad photos posted as professional these days. People are trusting us with their time, dignity and money as they are photographed looking awkward, uncomfortable and often downright foolish. I am genuinely embarrassed. Not only for my industry, but for people and their families. They look ridiculous.

I’ve realized why these poor images are often even worse than snapshots: A snapshot is not pretending to be something artistic, creative, or edgy. It’s role is simply to be a memory, and it fulfills that role quite well.

I post this to remind those with experience to make sure we’re offering quality to our our clients. We are supposed to produce art they will want to keep, but I see and endless stream of bad images. Sometimes so-called professional images are so bad that a child could do better. People are pointing cameras and thinking they will do the work for them.

We cannot simply pull ideas for posing, lighting and composition out of thin air, with no aesthetic understanding of our subject. That is like builders throwing hammers at a pile of wood and expecting a mansion to appear. I see mothers who look fat, babies who look like Oompa Loompas, kids who look angry and dads who look like slobs because someone who was poor at their craft propped them up like badly drawn cartoon characters.

I love helping people learn. I’m not posting this to be hurtful, just to be real. It’s important that we’re honest with ourselves and clients. A doctor does not open their practice until they’re trained. A carpenter that opens a home improvement business without knowing how to improve homes is doomed to failure. Digital has not made great photography easier. It’s only made taking pictures easier.

These days it’s not easy, no matter how much experience you have. But some the best advice I can give to people starting out is don’t become a professional photographer until you are professional level. Having that camera means nothing. I’m not defining exactly when you become experienced enough. For most of us, it takes years, just like it does to become a doctor, a carpenter or just about anything else. You learn the basics first. Then it becomes your job and you keep learning.

This applies to all fields. A person should not be in business until they can make the product they claim they can. They should not have a website with prices offering services they are not qualified to give. They should not claim the title of those who spend years and decades mastering a craft, when they have no experience in that craft. There are different levels of professionalism and we don’t need to be perfect to go pro. But we do need to actually be photographers before we call ourselves photographers. We need to know the fundamentals of how to make quality images of whatever our subject might be.

If you don’t know the difference between f16, ISO800 or 1/160th, if have no idea how to light a 3:1 ratio or how to key strobes for a blue sky at noon, if you don’t know how to make your subject sharp enough for a thirty inch print, how to pose a woman so she feels beautiful and a man so he feels strong, if you don’t know what to do with the clutter in the background or how to compensate your exposure value, chances are you’re not ready to be a photographer professionally – There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with snapshots. There’s nothing wrong with being an amateur. You’re learning and that’s just fine. Keep at it. If you want to call yourself a photographer, take the time to learn how first.

You don’t start as a photographer. You start learning to become one – Gavin Seim

Further Reading…


What’s With the Film Thing?

Learning is NOT about your equipment. It’s about you.

Film versus Digitalby Gavin Seim: There must be a romantic draw to film because some still love it. That’s OK with me, even though I can’t totally relate. When I started in photography I was using film and the day I went digital I never went back. That was the days when film may have actually been better. As a teenager I remember eagerly reading things like “digital will be as good as film once we hit eight megapixels.” Then it happened and they still didn’t acknowledge it. Now with digital we can shoot at huge resolutions and get ISO over 100,000 for less money than using film.  Sure it’s grainy, but show me a film that will shoot ISO 100,000.

Some photographers STILL tell newbies to learn film first. All the while I’m thinking. “Stop wasting their time and money. Do we learn to ride a hoarse so we can drive a car? Their both transportation.” Fans of learning on film say it makes you think more about the shot since you have less of them. I say if you want less shots get a 1 gig card, or better yet a 256 meg. With today’s cameras that will make you think twice before you shoot because you’ll fill it up in no time.

Some of you may remember in the film days we heard things like “digital is great for learning because you can see immediate results and respond accordingly.” I concur. But now that digital is the norm people say “it’s better to learn on film because you cannot see the results. It’s teaches you discipline.” Huh? Something not making sense here. All the essentials like shutter, fstop, composition, focus and the rest can be learned just as well on digital and for less money.

If you still like film that’s OK. I know people get hooked on things and retro can be cool. But can you actually give us a real factual argument that film is better? I’m not talking about a romantic feelings towards film, I’m talking about some proof. With digital. I can shoot faster, longer, with less light and less resulting grain, then manage and edit the resulting images faster and spend less money doing it. What does film give me.

Bottom line. If you find film interesting and useful then go for it as long as you can still find it. Personally I would suggest learning digital first and then trying film if you like. Otherwise you’ll spend a lot of money on so so images that you could be putting into better lenses, education and more. In the end I think we all need to remember that it’s not about the gear we use. It’s not Mac or PC, Canon or Nikon, film or digital. Being a great photographer is about taking the time to learn and master your passion. If you want to make it as a professional it’s that too, but even more it’s about learning to sell and market your image to the paying customer.

Then again, I am just a young punk and I’m not afraid to change my mind. For curiosity sake I’ll add a poll below to how many of you are actually using film.

You might also check out this article on Seim Effects talking about getting a feel of film tones in digital and where things are going in the future.

Do you actively use film?

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