Three Lessons I Learned from a European Cafe by Katie Humphreys

Three Lessons I Learned in a European Cafe

It was the danishes that made me think.

Well, the coffee too. (But mostly the danishes.)

This past winter, my husband and I took a trip to Europe to celebrate our five year anniversary and over the last week of our trip, we developed a morning routine that consisted, quite simply, of danishes and coffee. We’d sit at a nearby European cafe on bar stools facing the window and watch people pass by on the sidewalks. We watched grown men biking to work, children running up the sidewalk, and young teenagers in love. We would sit, enjoy our danishes and people watch. When we returned home after our trip, I realized that even compared to so many great tours and activities, these mornings at the cafe were perhaps my favorite memory of all.  Somewhere between our danishes and the quiet walks in the city – in the middle of my “not doing” …

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The Photo Life Podcast: An Interview with Holly Andres

There’s No Place Like Home

In this week’s episode of The Photo Life, we speak with fine art photographer and professor Holly Andres, as she takes us behind the curtain of the often mysterious world of the professional fine art photographer and shares some of the stories and concepts that have motivated her work as well as her conviction that making art can bring pure joy to life. About Holly Andres

Since receiving an MFA from Portland State University in 2004, Holly Andres has had solo exhibitions in prominent galleries worldwide. Andres has been featured in Exit Magazine, Art in America, Artforum, Art News, N.Paradoxa, Oprah Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The LA Times and Art Ltd. – which profiled her as one of 15 emerging West Coast artists under the age of 35.

Andres’ new series, The Fall of Spring Hill, is currently premiering at her Portland-based gallery, Charles A. Hartman Fine Art. …

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Top Ten Galleries Every Photographer Should Visit by Rachel LaCour Niesen

A Gallery New Orleans

Call me old school. Go ahead, it’s true. I love seeing photographs in galleries. Not the galleries confined to a computer. I’m talking about the ones with walls.

There’s just something magical about stepping into a gallery and approaching large photographs hanging around you. It’s like meeting a kindred spirit for the first time; by standing face-to-face, you have a chance to savor their subtle nuances, to get lost in the rich hues of their eyes. Above all, you feel comfortable exploring, discovering and learning.

Sometimes, my palms sweat as I walk into a favorite gallery and glimpse a new exhibit. Rounding the corner of Canal and Chartres in New Orleans, I instinctively look up, toward the worn wooden sign and bold red door marking the entrance to A Gallery for Fine Photography. It was the first real photography gallery I visited, when I was a high school student discovering my passion for photojournalism. When I’m in New Orleans, A Gallery is my first stop. The space always draws me in, like the magnetic force of first love.

When I view photographs in a gallery, I don’t just see them. I experience them. It’s like full immersion in another culture, and it can’t be matched by a computer.

For years, I’ve been visiting galleries, cataloging my favorites. Here are my must-see galleries for photographers. I hope you’ll have a chance to stop by each of them and get lost for awhile. Please share your favorite galleries in the comments section. I look forward to finding some new places to visit!

1. A Gallery for Fine Photography, New Orleans, LA

Located in a 19th-century building at 241 Chartres in New Orleans’ French Quarter, A Gallery houses a dazzling collection of historic photographs spanning the 19th and 20th centuries. Set up like a living room, or informal Parisian Salon, the gallery immediately makes visitors feel at ease. Poke around, walk upstairs, and stare at images of Ernest Hemingway and Louis Armstrong. The singular vision and unforgettable personality of gallery owner, Joshua Mann Pailet, are evident around every corner. That’s precisely why this space feels like home to me.

2. Monroe Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

Located just off the historic city center, The Plaza, the Monroe Gallery specializes in classic black-and-white photography with an emphasis on humanist and photojournalist imagery. From Robert Capa’s pioneering photojournalism to Joe McNally’s contemporary coverage of New York city firefighters, the Monroe gallery is a living, breathing archive of photojournalism. Plus, the owners are casual, friendly and willing to strike up a conversation about their passion for photography.

3. Polka Galerie, Paris, France

The Polka Galerie is located in my favorite Parisian neighborhood, The Marais, and is actually part of three outlets dedicated to photography. The physical space is supplemented by a beautiful, quarterly magazine and a website showcasing exhibits. The founder and owner of Polka is Alain Genestar, former editor-in-chief of Paris Match, which is one of the most powerful weekly magazines in France and is renowed for its use of photographs.

4. Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York, NY

Formerly a photographer and founder of The Center for Photography in Woodstock in 1977, Howard Greenberg is one of a small group of gallerists, curators and historians responsible for the creation and development of the modern market for photography. The Howard Greenberg Gallery, which was founded in 1981, was the first to consistently exhibit photojournalism and ‘street’ photography, which are now accepted as important components of photographic art.

5. International Center for Photography, New York, NY

Nestled in the heart of New York City, the International Center of Photography is dedicated to exploring the photographic medium through dynamic exhibitions of historical and contemporary work. More than a gallery, ICP is a haven for education and scholarship. ICP also holds the famed “Mexican Suitcase,” which comprises a rare collection of rediscovered Spanish Civil War negatives by Capa, Chim, and Taro.

6. The George Eastman House, Rochester, NY

The world-renknowed George Eastman House combines the world’s leading collections of photography and film with the stately style of the Colonial Revival mansion that George Eastman called home from 1905 to 1932. This is the world’s oldest photography museum and one of the world’s oldest film archives, which originally opened to the public in 1949.

7. Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

The Fahey/Klein Gallery is devoted to the enhancement of the public’s appreciation of photography through the exhibition and sale of 20th Century and Contemporary Fine Art Photography. Since the gallery’s inception, exhibitions have embraced a diverse range photographers from Edward Weston to Berenice Abbott; Man Ray to Henri Cartier-Bresson.

8. Robert Klein Gallery, Boston, MA

Founded in 1980, the Robert Klein Gallery is devoted exclusively to fine art photography. The gallery deals with established photographers of the 19th and 20th centuries including those who are considered masters such as: Muybridge, Berenice Abbott, Ansel Adams, Irving Penn, Brassai, Cartier Bresson, Helen Levitt, Yousuf Karsh, Man Ray, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston and Walker Evans. The exhibition schedule is also designed to introduce new photographers to the public. Recently exhibited contemporary artists include: Julie Blackmon, Bill Jacobson, Jeff Brouws, Cig Harvey, Laura Letinsky, Wendy Burton and Chip Hooper.

9. Photo Eye Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

If you’re into collecting photo books, especially rare and out-of-print volumes, don’t miss Photo Eye! Simply put, it’s a treasure trove of photo books. You’ll be consistently surprised every time you step into this gallery a few blocks off Canyon Road. Dealing in contemporary photography, the gallery represents both internationally renowned and emerging artists.

10. Peter Fetterman, Santa Monica, CA

Peter Fetterman set up his first gallery over 20 years ago. He was a pioneer tenant of Bergamot Station, the Santa Monica Center of the Arts, when it opened in 1994. His gallery has one of the largest inventories of classic 20th Century photography. Diverse holdings include work by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Sebastião Salgado, Ansel Adams, Paul Caponigro, Willy Ronis, and André Kerstez. Peter and his colleagues are committed to promote awareness and appreciation of photography in an intimate, user-friendly environment.

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Syncing Color Labels Between Lightroom 3 and Bridge by Jared Platt

You may have noticed that even though your stars ratings, your adjustments and even your keywords sync between Lightroom and Bridge, your color labels do not. This is a simple problem to solve in the preference options in Lightroom and Bridge. This Lightroom Podcast deals with making your color labels sync between Lightroom and Bridge.

Syncing Color Labels Between Lightroom and Bridge from Jared Platt on Vimeo.

Jared’s Lightroom Workflow Workshop is back on tour. Kansas City, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Savannah and Orlando are all on the schedule Starting on May 4, 2011. To learn more and sign up for the workshop, go to www.jaredplattworkshops.com.

About Jared Platt

Jared Platt is a professional photographer and photographic educator. He studied photography at Arizona State University where he earned his undergraduate and masters degrees in Photography. He teaches college photography courses as well as workshops for professional photographers and provides online education for photographers and …

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10 Things I Learned Shooting Corporate Events by Brian Friedman

Economist NYC Business 2007 in New York City

I’ll never forget the day I shot my first corporate event. I rented a Nikon D2h and an 80-200 2.8 lens.  An hour into the shoot my neck was already killing me and the client had already told me to stand in the back because my camera was “making too much noise.”  It was there, at some Economist Conferences Event, that my life as an event photographer began.

In a sense, I “cut my teeth” in wedding photography by shooting corporate events.

Corporate functions such as a “lecture style” event can be very difficult to shoot because of the limited aesthetic range and the rigid situation.  Finding an artful way of representing them with the camera can be a real challenge. By taking the time and energy to make art out of each event, I was preparing myself as a wedding photographer. It was the persistent search for art in every event that I shot that has helped shape me into the wedding photographer I am today.

With that said, here are some of the things I’ve learned from corporate events that can easily be applied to just about any type of event photography.

1. If you’re not early, you’re late. Leave enough time to get to the job so that you’re not stressed once you arrive.  You’ll also impress the client and even the staff/various vendors associated with the event, who may hire you later.

2. Be prepared to muzzle it. By now you’d think our expensive DSLR’s wouldn’t make as much noise as they do, but they do.  I hate shooting with the blimp on my D3, but I do it when I have to.  And the client and everyone around me appreciates it.  Check out the one I have.

3. Look sharp. Never look sloppy. Your own appearance influences how others see themselves in your photos.  Your safest bet is to wear black but don’t be sloppy just because you’re wearing black.

4. Shoot an 85 1.4. Before the Nikon D3 I shot with a D200 and a D2h (cameras not necessarily known for their low light greatness!).  So shooting at 1.4 was the name of the game, but from doing it so much I got much better at composing, focusing, and even manually exposing shots – partly due to the lack of “quick moving” objects and situations.  Have no doubt, the 85 1.4 is my favorite lens to shoot, period, and should be in any event shooter’s camera bag.  If not the 85 1.4, be sure to have a long lens that shoots 2.8 all the way through, and perhaps even a monopod (your back will thank you).

5. Get in, get down, and get out! Be respectful of those around you by shooting from a low perspective (from your knees, or even sitting right on the floor).  You won’t block people as much and they will appreciate that!  Plus you never want to be viewed as a “distraction” so by shooting low, you’ll disappear a lot faster.

6. For heaven’s sake SHOOT RAW!! Even if for white balance freedom alone, shoot raw!

7. Make sure you send an invoice immediately and be prepared to wait 30 days (or more) to be paid. One of the worst parts of the non-wedding world is that it takes time to be paid for corporate work.  Don’t fret and don’t lose your mind if you aren’t paid even beyond 30 days.  Be nice about it, because chances are the person who hired you is not in accounting, and understands fully where you are coming from.

8. Know who it is you are actually shooting! You should know something about every main person you are shooting.  Either ask the client for descriptions or research them on your own.  But either way, come prepared.

9. No matter what, smile and have fun. We’re lucky to love what we do, and it should show when we’re working.  This will very naturally put people at ease around us and contribute to making successful photos at the events we shoot.

10. Strive to make art in every situation. Be able to take anything you want and turn it into art.  However you know how, just do it.  If you have to manipulate a scene by moving yourself, do so.  Change lenses, shoot from a different angle. Whatever you need to do to take a scene and make it into art…  This is amazing practice for the wedding world, especially when there isn’t so much to shoot (like at a corporate event).

Written by Brian Friedman

New York-based photographer Brian Friedman started out as a road manager for the legendary jazz drummer Roy Haynes. But it was during Haynes’ 20-city tour, that Brian began photographing Roy and discovered his passion for image making that put him on a road to a new career.  Since then, he has sharpened his skills and his eye to become recognized as a photographer of choice by noted entertainment personalities, politicians, corporate leaders, event planners and of course, brides and grooms from all over the world.

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The Photo Life Podcast: An Interview with Jeff Dunas (Part 2)

A Seat at the Table

In this week’s episode of The Photo Life, we continue our discussion with Palm Springs Photo Festival founder and veteran photographer Jeff Dunas about the increasing responsibilities of the photographer to create the future for our industry as well as methods for approaching our primary outlet: the photo book.

About Jeff Dunas

Jeff Dunas is a fine art, portrait and documentary photographer and the founder of of the Palm Springs Photo Festival.

1954 Born in Los Angeles.

1971 Began photography professionally. Completed two years at University of California at Los Angeles.

1972-1980 Contributed photographic essays and portfolios to publications worldwide on a freelance basis.

1974 Established residence in Paris, France.

1981 Founded Melrose Publishing Company. Captured Women published in 6 languages.

1982 Mademoiselle! Published in 3 languages.

1983 Founded Collector’s Editions Ltd., mail order distributor of fine art photography publications.

1983-7 Published twenty four fine art photography books by various authors, including Paper Dolls by Art Kane and By the Sea …

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3 Quick Tips for Husband and Wife Photography Teams by Justin & Mary Marantz

photographers justin and mary marantz

This is part three of The Photo Life Blog Series, True Life: I’m Married to My Business Partner. This series explores how husband and wife photography teams find success when their business and personal lives collide.

1) Compartmentalize. Decide up front who is going to be responsible for what tasks that need to get done in the business. Even if there is some overlap, it’s so great to know where the buck stops on all the different parts of your workflow. That way if something doesn’t get done, then it’s really clear who needs to step it up. And the ever-dreaded blame game can be avoided!

2) Go out on a date with your spouse, leave your business partners at home. Talk about The Office, plan out that trip to Ireland, dream up your next house projects, heck update each other on your new choice of breakfast cereal if you have to. Just leave the biz talk at home.

3) Unplug. Nothing will put the damper on that romantic dinner you were cooking together like checking your twitter feed when you’re supposed to be chopping the garlic. Fifty years from now, you’ll remember what those dinners felt like. You’ll care less what happened on Twitter.

Written by Justin & Mary Marantz

Justin & Mary are internationally traveled destination photographers, who call New England home. Justin is a 2003 graduate of the highly-acclaimed Rochester Institute of Technology, and Mary is a 2006 graduate of the Yale Law School.

Justin & Mary have been traveling around the nation on their Spread the Love Workshop Tour teaching photographers and other business professionals about marketing, branding, building relationships, business 101, financial health, balancing life & business, creating systems that stick, and so much more.

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Get Out There! How Getting Away Has Grown Our Business by Katie Thurmes

photography business creative sabbatical

You can’t do a good job if your job is all you do.

At the end of the day, your job is an extension of your life. We learned this lesson the hard way, and we’re still learning it. We’re learning that sometimes the best thing you can do for your business is to give it some space. Wide. Open. Space.

As most photographers would say, we’ve always put our clients first. In the six years we’ve been in business, we’ve held tight to this philosophy, knowing that our clients are our greatest partners. In every decision we made, the guiding voice in our heads told us that making ourselves available to our clients would naturally bring us success. And so, we made ourselves available. We answered business phone calls after 5 pm. We shared our Sunday afternoons so we could accommodate our clients’ schedules.  We rearranged our plans when an album edit would come in. And, we let clients into the half of our personal lives that might fit with half of theirs.

But it wasn’t sustainable. It required that we put on a mask so that we could do what we thought our clients expected of us. It wore us out.

About a year ago, we realized that we were very tired.  Not in any grandiose sort of way, because on the surface, our business and our blog were as alive as ever. But we knew that the fire in our belly needed some rekindling. We realized we had spent so much energy pouring everything into our business that we had failed to acknowledge ourselves as the individuals behind the business. We needed a vacation – and not just a quick dip in the water! We needed a creative sabbatical.

Together, we slated plans to leave our business for two months each; and there would be one month where none of us would be in Colorado to maintain business as usual. We finalized our accounting and outstanding album orders, made lists and back-up plans, and we said no to incoming wedding leads and portrait shoots that were to happen during that time.  The dates of our sabbatical were fixed and nothing would change that.

Before we left, we told each and everyone one of our clients about our plan.  I’d be lying if I said we weren’t terrified, but to our surprise they rejoiced for us.

I spent a month backpacking Europe and had the time of my life. On a rainy night in Barcelona, after a full day of living, I booked two weddings over the phone in a crowded locoturio. My bucket was full.

Jenna and her husband, Matt, took off for the U.S. Virgin Islands to live in a tent for two months, and even started a blog called “Two months in a Tent!”  Our clients couldn’t get enough of it and loved reading about their adventure.  And even when they arrived to the islands and circumstances proved it wasn’t quite the creative sabbatical they had hoped for (think rats and snakes in their tent!), they returned home and didn’t worry what anyone would think.

When they returned to Colorado, it wasn’t business as usual. Although Matt and Jenna came home early, they stayed true to the plan and started a ‘staycation.’ I came home to find them brainstorming big dreams on pieces of tag board, creating art, and finding their center.

Because we took the time to step away from life (and business) as usual, our business is forever changed. The perspective and energy we gained in our time away has done more for our business and art than we could have ever imagined. We found new ways to fuel our passion. We learned that there is more to learn looking out a bus window than we’d ever realized.

Moving forward, we carry this knowledge and fiercely protect it.  Although we won’t always be able to have two months away, we’re still getting out there. In October, I will go to Ethiopia as part of a social project. It will be the peak of our portrait season here in Colorado, but I know that my clients need me to take time to refuel. It translates into better art, better conversation, and better business.

If you think your company will die without you on the ground for a few weeks, that you just can’t miss a single networking event, or that you should skip out on that weekend away because a client needs you…think again.

Because you can’t do a good job if your job is all you do.

Written by Katie Thurmes, co-owner, Jenna Walker Photographers

Katie Thurmes, her sister Jenna and brother-in-law Matt Walker are industry leaders in the Colorado wedding market with work that is considered both emotional and real. Jenna Walker Photographers imagery has been featured in The Knot, People Magazine Southern Weddings, the New York Times blog and more. They photograph 45 high-end weddings each year, including destinations as far as Australia. Their portraiture, TreeSwing Kids, is lifestyle-based, drawing celebrity clients including Carmelo Anthony & Lala Vasquez. In all of it, they believe in working hard, playing hard – and choosing substance over the superficial. In 2010, they launched their women’s photography retreat series – Substance Workshops. Moving forward in 2011, they are most excited to unveil a social entrepreneurial component to their brand. At the core of this is their belief that if you strive for significance, success will follow.

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The Photo Life Podcast: An Interview with Jeff Dunas (Part 1)

Right of the People to Peaceably Assemble

In this week’s episode of The Photo Life, founder of the Palm Springs Photo Festival and veteran photographer Jeff Dunas speaks about the power of sharing and finding a common voice in the photography industry and the efforts that the Palm Springs Photo Festival makes to provide a forward-thinking, professional platform for that voice to be forged.

About Jeff Dunas

Jeff Dunas is a fine art, portrait and documentary photographer who has amassed an amazing body of work focusing on the nude, blues musicians and street photography. He is also the founder of of the Palm Springs Photo Festival which brings together the best photographers, curators, editors and educators. It was one of the best events revolving around photography held in this country and includes workshops, presentations and portfolio reviews. You can discover more about Jeff’s work by visiting his website.

Photos courtesy of Jeff Dunas.

About the Host …

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How We Find Success in Dependent Systems by Nancy Beale

Collaboration in Husband and Wife Photography Teams

This is part two of The Photo Life Blog Series, True Life: I’m Married to My Business Partner. This series explores how husband and wife photography teams find success when their business and personal lives collide.

Dave and I have been working together for five years now. Initially, it was hard and some days it still is, but I don’t think we would have it any other way. Erin Youngren wrote an excellent post last week about how they function best by using what she termed “closed systems” in which each person has their own tasks independent of the other person. We do this to an extent (and after their article we are exploring what additional systems we can “close”), however we have found that having what we’ll term “dependent” systems have been hugely beneficial to our business.

As Jeff and Erin point out, “dependent” systems are often frustrating, and slow. However, we believe having only closed systems would negate some of the best benefits our partnership provides. Like many partners, Dave and I have different strengths and weaknesses. We’ve sought to create systems that employ each of us at our strong points, despite the friction this might create.

For example, Dave is a perfectionist, while I prefer not to let perfection stand in the way of progress. If Dave were writing this by himself, the article might be very good, but it would be ready sometime next year. Instead, I wrote a first draft which he then worked on, and again I revised. This collaboration allowed me to “get it done,” while allowing Dave to improve it. The result is an article that is delivered on time (which makes me and the customer happy) and up to Dave’s standards (which makes him happy – and hopefully the customer too).

There are other areas or systems we always collaborate on. We write almost all of the blog posts together and also select the images together. We usually have lively discussions about what should and should not be posted on our blog. Over the years this has really helped us define our image together. As with this article, I usually get the blog post written to my satisfaction and Dave tweaks it to “perfection.” When it comes to image selection we switch roles a bit. Dave makes an initial selection of 30 or so of the best images and then together we narrow it down to the 10 or so that we feel best represent our client and the work we do.

Photo by Emily Anderson

While Dave handles image production, I handle most of our interaction with clients (again because of our respective strengths and weaknesses). However, even in those mostly closed systems we’ll collaborate at times. When we get an email requiring a complex answer to a difficult or new question, we’ve found that working on a response together has greatly improved our communication with clients. I’m usually very good at writing an initial response and Dave is good at making it sound just a little more subtle. We have avoided hasty, emotional responses by dealing with these issues in this way.

While this may sound somewhat idyllic, the truth is somewhat grittier. These areas of “collaboration” are often comprised of heated discussions, diverging viewpoints, and frustration because it’s either not done quickly enough or well enough (depending on who you ask). In the midst of that we’ve found it vital to constantly remind ourselves of the underlying reason for both our business and personal relationship: the belief that together we are better people, live a better life, and serve our clients better than we would apart. We have to remind ourselves that the very things we find frustrating in our partner are often just the very thing (or the flip side) of what makes the partnership a stronger and more successful entity.

Photo by Emily Anderson

Each couple is different and therefore each partnership is going to function differently. We have detailed how a combination of dependent and closed systems works for us, however, the most important piece of advice we can give on working together is to figure out how you will thrive both as a couple and individually. Our goal both in our business partnership and in our marriage is to create a space for each other so that we can each be the best that we can be.

People like to say that iron sharpens iron, but they forget that that very process involves friction, intense heat, and the occasional sparks. Focusing on the successful outcome is key to working past the temporary discomforts and achieving that sharper iron.

Written by Nancy Beale of David Wittig Photography

Photo by Connie Miller of Studio Atticus

Chicago-based wedding photographers David Wittig and Nancy Beale, have been working side-by-side, capturing weddings and transforming them into art for the last ten years. Their own relationship, a myriad of friendship, partnership and marriage, aides their images, providing two perspectives of a singular moment—what can often be the most important moment of your life. Dave and Nancy have shot weddings from Maine to California, from India to France, and are always excited to add another stamp to their all-ready full passports. Their work, which examines a documentary feel and editorial style, is heavily influenced by their fine art backgrounds and training.

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