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Robert Edwards Photographer
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CELEBRATING TEACHERS

Teaching is a vocation. It’s a calling for those individuals who shape our lives and those of our children. The most quoted section from Robert Fulghum’s book "All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten" tells us the rules of a civilised world are taught that first year at school.

As with any parent I take a close interest in those who teach my children. I’ve seen great teachers who have had a huge impact on them. More than the pedagogy it’s the simple things, the human element, that influenced their outcomes.

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
– William Arthur Ward


You might guess as a photographer that my art teacher played an important role. Colleen Hinder had an enormous influence. Her classes encouraged exploration and removed traditional rules. She encouraged, inspired and celebrated our work. Once, unable to blend colours in a painting I resorted to a fan brush, to which she exclaimed, “The student has become the master!”. Ms Hinder talked with us as peers; she never spoke down to us. Her positive, forward facing outlook absolutely stimulated creativity.

Practical lessons in art history and theory flamed my passion for art. The length of written assignments was given as “anything from the back of a matchbox to a telephone book” as long as it answered the brief. Without knowing it Ms Hinder gave me the confidence to continue on to study art at university and pursue a career in a creative profession.

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”
– Albert Einstein.


Education photography is an area I’ve specialised in for over twenty years. It’s given me the opportunity to work with several hundred schools, to see behind the scenes and meet hundreds of teachers. I began this post with ‘teaching is a vocation’ and that comes from witnessing the men and women who dedicate their lives to support students. Many go well beyond their job description to care for student welfare.

As a caring profession teaching never seems to be adequately rewarded, at least not financially. Teachers please know that over a lifetime you are a major part in the development of who we become.

Thank you.

http://robert.ph/teachers

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TIPS FOR ATTENDING A PHOTOGRAPHY CONFERENCE

I’ve been attending photography conferences for decades, both as an attendee and as a presenter. As a professional event photographer I’ve also covered all types of conferences for corporate clients.

Some Do’s And Don’ts For Attending:
• Do register early online. Using a service like the Eventbrite platform makes it easy for attendees and organisers.
• Do research the speakers and events. There may be some you hadn’t considered.
• Do allow downtime to rest. It can be tiring give yourself a break.
• Do clear your calendar so you and your clients aren’t disappointed.
• Do change your voice mail/ email autoresponder to let people know you’re temporarily unavailable.
• Do allow time to browse the equipment expo.
• Do allocate time to see any new or specialist gear you.really want to see. Often it’s not available for hands on demo at any other time.
• Don’t forget the social events. Often you can meet presenters 1 on 1.
• Don’t bring too much. Pack light so your can take your stuff with you everywhere.
• Don’t be shy in asking questions.



What Items To Bring:
• Print your ticket to save queuing at the event.
• Water & snacks to keep you going.
• Business cards and lots of them.
• Your mobile phone and charger.
• Small satchel or backpack to keep everything together.
• Pen & paper to take notes.



What Presentations To Attend:
• You can’t attend every presentation so choose carefully.
• Are there areas you need to improve on, gaps in your knowledge?
• Look for a presenter you always wanted to see. Often they’re the keynote speaker.
• Information on cutting edge ideas, styles, techniques, equipment, etc.
• Include some content for your Continuing Professional Development.


Photography conferences are a great way to learn, network and socialise with your industry. You can cram maybe a years worth of experience into just a few days. Please share your tips on attending conferences.

http://robert.ph/photo-event-tips

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WHY JOIN THE AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY?

For well over 50 years the Australian Institute of Professional Photography has been representing the profession of photography in Australia. While similar associations have shrunk the AIPP continues to grow. In recent times the Australian Video Producers Association, Professional Schools Photographers Association and the Australian Commercial + Media Photographers have all merged with the AIPP.

AIPP is a membership organisation governed by its members who support one another through:

* Peer review via awards
* Continuing education
* Sharing knowledge
* Camaraderie
* Socialising
* Helping each other in an increasingly isolated profession


BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
AIPP markets its members to photography buyers through recognition, accreditation, public relations, marketing and advertising.


LOBBYING
AIPP actively engage with federal, state and local government on behalf of the profession lobbying on:

* Photographers rights
* Access
* Copyright
* Certification
* Education
* Taxation
* Standards

AIPP offers a career path from student through to emerging and fully accredited professional photographer. Along the way you have access to the best in education with mentoring from world class photographers and continuing professional development.


CORPORATE CITIZEN
Collectively, AIPP members have supported many causes – most recently Reflections: Portraits of WWII Veterans.


MANY MORE BENEFITS
A long association with the photography industry AIPP has many sponsors and even more importantly, support from individuals and the leading brands. No, its not a discount club but members do receive vendor discounts, access to free magazines, legal advice, contracts, and other benefits.

Like any membership organisation to get the most out of it you need to participate, get involved, volunteer – and of course join AIPP.

http://robert.ph/why-aipp

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USING LIGHTROOM TO MANAGE YOUR VIDEOS

Like many Corporate Photographers I use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to manage my digital camera images. With images Lightroom can edit, convert, print, publish them and more. However video support is limited to managing those generated by still cameras and smartphones, and all modern cameras offer that. With video Lightroom only really offers video trimming and basic grading features. For professional video editing an application like Adobe Premiere Pro is required.

Apart from editing images Lightroom is also the centre of managing an image collection. You can (and should!) rate, keyword, tag, add metadata, move, delete and do all your digital asset management within Lightroom.

How do you manage video in Lightroom generated by unsupported cameras and formats? Many higher end video cameras capture formats not recognised by Lightroom. What I do with video editing is package each project in a folder structure with all its assets (raw video, audio, music, images, documents, Adobe Premiere files, final edits, etc,). I then catalog the final edited master in Lightroom. That way I can search for and scrub videos even when they are offline. If and when I need to access the project and its assets I search for the final edited master in Lightroom, right-click and select ‘Show in Finder/Show in Windows Explorer’, which reveals the project files:

In an ideal world Lightroom would allow us to catalog any file type and use proxies for those it doesn’t support. If you require that level of digital asset management Phase One Media Pro is a better option.

http://robert.ph/lr-video

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BYNDER: FREE DIGITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT

As a corporate photographer with experience in Digital Asset Management clients sometimes ask me what I suggest for their business. Bynder Orbital is a new freemium Digital Asset Management (DAM) application launching soon. Think of it as Dropbox for DAM.

Bynder Orbit is a ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) storing your assets and the application over the internet. That means there is no need for users to install or maintain applications on their computers or devices. There are however native iOS and Android apps available for Orbit.

Users will get 100GB free online storage to manage their assets. Pricing for higher tiers are by request and add-ons like connecting to Adobe Creative Cloud applications attract additional fees. 100GB amount of storage is enough for small businesses managing vector and bitmap images for graphics, JPEGs, etc. Storing large files such as video and camera raw (DNG) files will quickly eat into your free account limit. Orbit currently supports a wide range of file types outlined in their Knowledge Base.

Bynder Orbit isn’t just for business. The interface is simple and would suit novices including families wanting to privately share their images, videos and other content. The Bynder terms of service are far less daunting than social media corporations. Just don’t make it your only storage. Remember, Cloud Storage essentially means you’re storing your stuff on someone else’s computer. Like every storage service out there Bynder could disappear overnight. So have your assets stored locally on at least two other storage systems (hard drive and back up copy).

Earlier this year Bynder offered a free digital copy of ‘DAM for Dummies’ (Bynder Edition). This 84 page book is a great introduction to the principles and terms used in DAM. Sign up for your free copy here: https://info.bynder.com/dam-for-dummies

You can join the waitlist for Bynder Orbital free. I’m currently number 1751 in line, using this link helps push me up the list 🙂: https://www.bynder.com/orbit/?kid=GCNDH

http://robert.ph/free-dam

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THE E-MYTH IN VIDEO PRODUCTION

Michael E. Gerber’s business book The E-Myth is now over 30 years old. Much if not all of it is still relevant for those who own businesses today.

Part of book involves systemising and documenting your processes, as if you’re going to franchise your business. To write these manuals you need to have experience in all the roles. In photography that’s relatively simple.

Video Production has many roles that can scale from a single operator on a corporate video to a Hollywood production with a crew of hundreds. You’ve seen the credits at the end of films: producer, director, writer, camera, sound, gaffer, editor, etc,. As a small video and multimedia producer for corporate communications with a degree in film production I began as a production supervisor at a regional TV station. The advantage of these opportunities means I’ve gained professional experience in all the main roles.

This helps inform my decisions when quoting on making videos for businesses: what roles to do, delegate or eliminate if need be. And what to expect from those professionals I need to outsource to. The video community in Australia is small enough to know people who specialise in key roles, or know who ask when I need a recommendation. While not as unionised as the USA, the local film industry still has demarcation lines. Whether it’s in writing or not crew members know their role in the production.

Of course there is a lot more to Gerber’s book than documenting business roles. If you’re interested, in 1995 it was republished as The E-Myth Revisited as book, ebook and audiobook. http://robert.ph/video-emyth

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DIGITISING PHOTOS WITH YOUR CAMERA

Everyone has a cache of photos, slides and negatives tucked away somewhere. They might be your images, family photos from your parents, or a film archive from your company. They all hold great value whether personal, sentimental or a business asset. It can seem like a huge responsibility:

• What are you going to do with them?
• How will you do it?
• How long will it take?
• And how much is it going to cost?

Chances are you would like to have your photos in a digital form to more easily access, share and if it’s a business, monetise them. Last month I wrote about converting video tapes to digital. Converting, or digitising, ‘analog’ prints and film can seem even more daunting. Traditionally photos and film would be carefully scanned by experienced technicians, one at time. Scans would be individually tweaked and cleaned up then saved as a TIF file. There is a much easier, faster, more cost effective way!

Camera Scans
Peter Krogh, commercial photographer and image collection management guru, coined the phrase Camera Scanning some 20 years ago. A digital camera is used to capture raw images of photos and film at high resolution.

Once the copy system is set up it’s a simple process to digitise and anyone with minimal training can do it. A huge advantage is expertise is only required at the backend, when the images are actually needed. Then they’re converted from camera raw format to TIF or JPEG. This saves you a lot of time and money. Traditional scanning puts the expertise at the capture stage, for every photo as it’s digitised. With decades of experience in scanning, slide duplication, photo copying, and digital asset management I’ve implemented the Camera Scanning system for at least three film archives and seen the results.

Digitising Photos with Your Camera – Step by Step
A decade ago Peter Krogh wrote a Camera Scanning white paper as part of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program for the US Library of Congress.

This month he released Digitizing Your Photos with Your Camera and Lightroom, a comprehensive multimedia ebook complete with 94 instructional videos to guide you through the whole process. Written, illustrated and produced in typical Krogh style the new book goes into great detail on the whole procedure from strategy to publishing options (social media, website, printed book, etc,).

Based on the real world experience of digitising his fathers photographic archive you will see Peter and his daughter Josie go through the entire workflow. Whether your goal is more modest or demanding, the system Peter demonstrates scales perfectly.

The Problem with B&W and Colour Negatives
Copying slides has a long tradition and is made easier because we are making a digital copy of a positive image. Negative film, especially colour negs, create a digital negative that needs to be inverted in post production. Thankfully Peter has been lobbying Adobe to make the inversion from a camera raw file a painless process. Colour negatives have an orange mask that needs to be corrected and the book shows how easy it is in Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw within Photoshop.

Crowd Sourcing Information
Once digitised your photos won’t have any metadata to search on when you need to find the images. Here Peter shows how to include information included with the original photo or slide at capture time. Thinking laterally he also shows you how to crowd source more information from other people to add their knowledge via web galleries. This metadata will increase in value as time (and people) move on, creating a valuable personal or business asset.

The DAM Book lite
As author of the best selling The DAM Book for Photographers Peter Krogh is the leading authority on the subject. Part of Digitizing Your Photos includes a chapter on managing your digital archive. It’s worth a ebooklet on its own. Coincidentally Peter is now hard at work updating The DAM Book and the third edition is expected later this year.

Purchase your copy of the Digitizing Your Photos multimedia ebook now at www.theDAMBook.com. http://robert.ph/dyp
Photo

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TRANSFER VIDEO TAPES TO DIGITAL NOW!

NOW is the time to start digitising all your video or audio tapes.

WHY?
The Australian National Film and Sound Archive made the year 2025 a hard deadline for transferring magnetic tape to digital. After 2025 many factors compound to make digitisation practically impossible:

* Obsolesce – equipment to play tapes no longer made or repairable
* Experience – people with the knowledge to operate equipment retired
* Tape deterioration – tape has a limited life span
* Supply and demand – costs increase as more businesses and consumers need tapes digitised
* Procrastination – as businesses and consumers consider ROI the costs increase
* Worse for business – due to larger scale

SHOULD YOU OUTSOURCE?
There are many services available worldwide who can digitise your video. My advice is to ask a friend or similar business who they recommend. Some operators literally work out of their living room, while others ship tapes overseas.

Outsourcing is easier for the individual who is not technically minded and time poor. It does come at a price:

* Higher costs – you get what you pay for, don’t skimp
* Possible loss of tapes – while off site or in the mail
* Quality may not be sufficient – test before digitising large quantities
* Trust – who is the business doing the digitisation
* Privacy – access to personal and business sensitive information


DIY
Another option for large scale tape digitisation is to create a (temporary) digitisation department or do it yourself. The benefits are:

* Control – over quality, costs and time
* On site – security
* Lower costs – do it in your own time or employ staff
* No risk of loss – tapes don’t leave your premises


Of course there are costs if you DIY

* Time – it will take longer, depends on what your time is worth
* Technical – there is a learning curve
* Set up cost – if you don’t have all the equipment
* That last point is evidenced by the escalating price of used video cameras and players. Obsolete 8mm video cameras now cost more than HD video cameras. * That cost will only increase with demand as 2025 approaches.


WHAT I DID
Personally I went DIY because as a video professional I’m technically proficient and a control freak when it comes to quality, privacy and risk minimisation. I used my own video equipment and a simple program called LifeFlix (no affiliation) developed by the founder of professional video software company Red Giant.

NOT THE END
Remember to have a solid back up strategy for the video and audio as you would with your born digital video and images. Eventually all that audio visual content will need to be migrated to new media and formats. However it will be far easier than digitising tape!

Once your video tapes are digitised you can breathe a sigh of relief. Businesses can now easily monetise their video and audio archive. Your personal video can be shared with family, friends and passed on to future generations.

HOW MUCH DOES COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHY COST?

Ask three commercial photographers to quote on the same job and you could receive three different prices. Why is that?

Commercial Photography typically isn’t a la carte where you pick a package. Instead services are custom priced for your individual and unique requirements. This can be frustrating for clients looking to commission photography for their first time. But there is good news – read on!

Why A La Carte Can Be Wrong
Having a menu of service options would make commissioning photography much easier. However it doesn’t allow for what you and your business needs. When a CPA is asked to manage your accounts costs will depend on your business structure (sole trader, partnership, company or LLC), turnover, whether you have employees and how much staff time is required.

Going off-menu when ordering a la carte will cost more. When ordering from a franchise pizzeria and asking for no olives it may cost you more to have less on the pizza.

A la carte photography would be like purchasing microstock, royalty-free images. Yes you know the flat fee but the image is by its very nature generic and not about your business. And your competitors can use the exact same image!

So How Is Commercial Photography Priced?
Sticking with the stock photo analogy, photographers charge a usage fee for commercial photography, similar to licensing a rights-managed image. There is a vast difference in fees for the same image being used by the local hairdresser in their salon than a multinational company for an international advertising campaign. The value of the photo is far greater the wider it is used. Sally’s Hair Salon will pay less than Revlon. Again you risk a stock image being used by a competitor whereas commissioned photography is custom made for your business.

Commercial Photography licensing fees are based on:

* Creative fee (10, 20 or more years experience and the creative execution)
* Usage (where the image is used, for how long and in what area)
* Pre & Post Production (organising the photo shoot and processing images)
* Special equipment & Permits (studio or location hire, parking, etc,)

A photography quote will include these points along with an outline of the creative “treatment” which helps you compare different approaches to your request.

Copyright
When commissioning a freelance photographer they own the copyright to images they create. Copyright has a commercial value, people wouldn’t be fighting over it in court if it didn’t. Some companies believe they need to own copyright when in fact they might be asking for control of the images. Copyright buyout is very expensive, typically 3 – 5 times the normal usage rate. Licensing usage will serve the same purpose at perhaps one fifth the cost. Note if images contain models their agreement might only be for 12 – 24 months, making a 2 year photography usage license more relevant and far more cost effective for your business.

The Photography Brief
Providing a brief to photographers when seeking quotes helps eliminate variances in photographers estimates. A brief can include:

Example images you like to look and feel of
* The purpose of the images (what you want to achieve with the images)
* List of images needed
* Where they will used (your website, billboard ads, PR)
* Expected timing and dates for shoot
* Your deadline for image delivery

The Good News
Over time clients and photographers establish a business relationship where similar services are requested. For example, updating staff headshots on a regular basis. It’s known quantity so fees, service and the images can be consistent. That makes your life as a client much easier!

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PRINTS LAST LONGER THAN JPEG

Chances are images that you make today won’t last as long as those made by your parents. That’s because our parents used technology that hadn’t changed much in 150 years. As recently as 15 years ago taking photos typically resulted in a handful of 4×6 inch “postcard” prints. They were put in a photo album or a shoe box and inherited by succeeding generations.

Now smartphones are the de facto family camera capturing digital images that are rarely if ever made into prints. Instead they end up on social media or remain dormant on smartphones never to be seen again.

Digital images are more fragile than prints. Due to their storage medium digital images can be easily deleted, lost, stolen and forgotten. Unlike a high quality print there is no file format that can be guaranteed to be viewable in 100 years. Images on your phone, social media account and in the cloud won’t be easy to access after you’ve gone.

Cameras including those in our smartphones capture photos as JPEG images. When images are created by professional photographers or keen amateurs they are captured in a proprietary camera raw format, later processed and converted on computers to JPEG or TIFF. Whilst raw camera formats are the highest quality they are even more fragile than JPEG due to their rarity and proprietary nature. That’s one reason when archiving images cultural institutions prefer prints or TIFFs over raw files.

Artists including documentary photographers are drawn to the idea of having their life’s work collected by cultural institutions. As outlined in an interview with the ABC (Australia) Sunday Arts program (https://vimeo.com/11670927) photographer Stephen Dupont is concerned that the message he creates as a journalist will disappear if left solely to fickleness of the news media. Dupont makes prints and photo books that are included in museum collections such as the New York Public Library (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui5P78HJWmc).

In a PDN article Wilhelm Imaging Research suggest specific colour inkjet prints can last up to 200 years and 400 years for black and white (http://www.wilhelm-research.com/Articles/one_for_the_ages/Fine_Art_Print_Permanence%E2%80%93PDN_Magazine%E2%80%93May_2016.pdf). When a museum creates archival quality inkjet prints of historic paintings it’s likely that those prints will outlast some of the original artworks themselves.

The takeaway here is make it a habit to create prints of images that are important to you. Photographer and writer Derek Story (http://thedigitalstory.com/) suggests that every December make six archival images of the year. That way, if all else fails, at least you leave an easily accessible legacy of images for future generations.
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