Maximize Your Work by Presenting It On the Right Paper.

Today’s guest blog post comes from professional photographer Levi Sim.

The Mona Lisa was made with oil paints on a wood panel made of poplar, and it’s the most viewed painting on Earth, and it’s survived for more than 500 years. What if it had been painted in watercolor or acrylic? What if it had been made on canvas…or a napkin? Each of these media lend a different effect to the finished picture. Oil is workable for a long time, and colors can blend well. Watercolors can be ultra soft, and water color paper can be highly textured, and strokes dry very quickly. Acrylic paints can be vibrant and wood is durable. Other great paintings, like the Last Supper, also by DaVinci, have not survived well because they were created on materials that couldn’t last. Can you imagine if they were made on something as disposable as a paper napkin?

If you’re like me, you want your work to be viewable for ages, and your clients want their photographs to survive as heirlooms they can share through generations. Furthermore, you want to present your photographs on suitable media, on the paper that best presents the character and mood of the image.

If that’s what you want, then why would you ever print on materials equivalent to a paper napkin?

Let me show you how to maximize your work by presenting it on the right paper.  Kodak Professional Endura papers will survive for hundreds of years, so that takes care of my longevity concerns. (Be advised that the big box stores I’ve been to recently are not printing on Kodak Professional Endura papers, and I’ve personally experienced their short life spans, not to mention their inconsistency.) Not only will they last well, but there are six types of paper surfaces available and their characteristics can enhance (or hinder) the impact of your photographs.

Lustre

When you print a picture, you won’t be wrong choosing Lustre paper. Like all the Endura papers, colors on Lustre are true and smooth with excellent gradients skin tones always look great. It’s a bright paper, and the finish is excellent for viewing both in the hand or on the wall. It’s kinda shiny, but it doesn’t hold on to finger prints as much as glossy might, and the pebbly texture is subtle but gives some body and serves to randomize and soften the sheen. It’s really a good way to go, and it’s my default for print orders through my website.

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Both color and black and whites look great on Lustre

Glossy

There’s a reason good magazines use a glossy finish. It’s eye catching and looks extremely high quality. It’s like acrylic paint, and it’s shiny sheen makes colors explode off the page. The sheen gives an upper class feel—Ferrari’s and jewels should always be printed on Glossy. However, it’s not always the right choice, for both practical and aesthetic reasons. For instance, if I’m making small prints that will be handled by people, like those for a holiday card, then glossy may not be right because the fingerprints will show in the sheen. If I plan to mount the photograph behind glass, then I usually don’t choose Glossy, either, because I’ll have a shiny surface on the glass and the shine of the photo, which will make it hard to view. I love it for display without glass, though—make a big poster on Glossy and it’ll make your work look like a million bucks.

The subject of the picture is important when considering Glossy. Soft subjects with pastel colors that we want to dwell on and consider may not be well served by the shiny sheen on Glossy paper. However, if it’s a richly colored image, or a commercial photograph, and you want color dripping off the paper, then Glossy is a great idea. Shiny subjects, like cars, and products, and fruit, always look good on glossy.

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These pictures are full of color and the subjects themselves have a shiny texture. Glossy would compliment them on the walls of the cafe, or in the menu, or marketing materials, or as posters.

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These are both landscapes, but they are very different. The bold contrasting colors in the Tetons would be enhanced by the Glossy paper. The soft, nearly monochrome pastels of Garden of the Gods would be good on Glossy, but I think a matte finish and possibly something texture would be ideal.

Metallic: Color

Since we’ve just talked about Glossy, this is a good time to discuss it’s spunky, slightly rebellious brother, Metallic. It’s got a shiny finish like Glossy, but there’s an underlying excitement revealed in the sheen that always surprises me and makes my viewers gasp.

If you can imagine printing a photograph on the finish of a luxury roadster, that’s what Metallic is like. The sheen is deep and truly metal-like. Rich colors appear richer and there’s liveliness—a vitreous quality that you really need to experience.

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This moving bus looks great on Metallic. The rich colors are vibrant, and the highlights let the paper’s metallic sheen through and the impact of the movement is doubled by the metallic sheen.

While rich colors appear brighter and more vibrant, lighter colors, like Caucasian skin, appear less saturated and you may feel they are a bit gray (it’s like metal, after all). Your clients will say, “Wow, that looks so cool,” which is appropriate for striking scenes full of color and hard impact, but it’s probably not quite the right idea for most newborn photography. It’d look cool, but it wouldn’t have the timeless emotional impact we’re after in newborn pictures. I’d use it for marketing, but I suspect moms will prefer something softer on their walls.

The yellow flowers and mountains above would be striking on Metallic, but the pastel rocks may not be as powerful. Like Glossy, if the subject matter is shiny, or hard, or vibrant, or moving, or impactful, then Metallic is a good choice. Sports, action, movement, color, fast: if these words fit your picture, use Metallic.

Furthermore, when I have rich colors with small highlight areas, like the bus above, or a nightscape, or this street portrait in Tampa, then it’s perfect because the colors are enriched, and the metallic sheen comes through the desaturated highlight areas and the impact is incredible.

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The dark areas and the rich colors here are enhanced by Metallic paper, and the lighter colored areas allow the sheen to show through and it’s cool. It’s a crazy expression, with lots of movement, and Metallic enhances those properties.

Metallic: Monochrome

This is such an important (and profitable) idea, that I think it needs it’s own discussion. Black and white photos printed on Metallic paper are incredible. That’s all you need to know, and you should just print it and see. Here are some examples.

I’d be hesitant to print an entire album of this couple on Metallic paper. I feel the sheen of the paper would distract from the connection between the people. If the medium detracts from the idea I’m trying to communicate, then I’ve made a bad choice. I think people would look and say, “That’s cool,” instead of, “That’s beautiful, what a great moment, how touching,” etc. Their skin tones here would be desaturated with the metallic sheen showing through.

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Metallic would be a poor choice for an album of this wedding in color. The medium would detract from the subject, and that’s bad communication.

A black and white album or wall portrait printed on Metallic, however, would be wonderful. The tones grade so nicely, and the sheen gives us a photograph that’s like a flexible tintype. It ends up being a timeless look that’s also cool. Now we have an album that exudes quality. I love Metallic for black and whites.

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As monotones, Metallic is totally appropriate for these portraits. The sheen and shine accentuate the impact and emotion of each image. Perfect for an album or a wall portrait.

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This color portrait is warm and earthy. Printed on Metallic, the skin would be desaturated, and we’d see lots of sheen on his face and shirt, and it’d detract from the image; let’s save it for Silk. In Black and white, this is a perfect candidate for Metallic.

Matte

Reflections on the surface of a photograph may detract from it’s content, mood, and view-ability. When I print a photograph, I consider where the picture will be viewed. For instance, in a gallery or home with opposite a bank of windows would make it hard to see a photo with a glossy finish. In a case like that, Matte paper would be a good choice. Matte also shows well behind glass.

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This photo is terrific on Matte because I don’t want any sheen to distract from the intensity in the eyes. Just a little glare could ruin the experience. The true whites of the Endura paper are marvelous, too.

Besides that, Matte paper is excellent for all photographs. Colors are true and blacks and whites are clean, looking classic with great depth. Like Lustre, it’s hard to go wrong with Matte. If I’m printing holiday cards or other handled products, Matte is ideal because the no glare finish won’t make fingerprints stand out. Albums on Matte paper are ideal as well. I love that Kodak Professional Endura Matte paper, unlike ink jet papers, is still tough and enduring. Ink jet papers I’ve used are very delicate and can be easily damaged, even just by framing, but Endura papers are all much more robust.

Silk and Canvas

Silk and Canvas papers are just as fine and luxurious as they sound. The subtle texture is both visible and tactile and it becomes an experience to view and handle it. Colors are as great as the other Endura papers, but, like the Mona Lisa, there’s something just right about printing on these papers.

Silk has a fine texture, and if you’re thinking of printing small pictures on an ink jet canvas, or on Canvas paper, you should consider Silk instead. We view small pictures up close, and the large texture of canvas can obscure fine details, whereas Silk’s finer weave leaves details clear. Both Silk and Canvas papers have a gentle sheen that looks like fine fabric and may be just the finish you need for your fine works. Try it for holiday cards that really stand out. Another advantage, too, is that the texture helps relieve the impact of noise and soft focus.

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This image is both slightly out of focus and very noisy, but Canvas and Silk papers’ texture helps relive the impact noise would otherwise make. Both Color and BW are ideal.

Regarding mood, these papers are aptly named. Silk is gentle and luxurious and smooth. If any of those words fit your photograph, try it on Silk. Printed large, the picture appears to have a smoothness that texture less papers cannot imply. My picture above of Garden of the Gods is ideal for Silk, as are any of the portraits, especially close ups. Skin looks amazing with the Silk texture.

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The soft color palette and the gentle smoothness of the sky are ideal for Silk or Canvas

Just about any picture I’ve printed large looks good on Canvas. There’s a sturdiness to the texture, and also a timeless quality. Printing on canvas has a connotation of quality these days, but ink jet canvases lack the colors, gradient, and real photographic qualities we get with photographic papers, not to mention the display options (there are only so many places one can change a 2” thick canvas). While the texture appears durable, it’s also soft and works marvelously with emotive images. A Canvas paper print looks like a memory. I love Canvas paper for any large print and I know you’ll have good success with it for your clients, too.

Conclusion

As artists have done for millennia, you ought to choose the best media for your photographs with consideration for their final use and display. Using Endura papers, you’ll get the best colors and durability, and choosing the right finish will augment the emotive impact you can make with your photos. Mothers will cry, clients will gasp, and generations of people will enjoy your work.

My Love Affair with Film

Today’s Film Friday blog post comes from pro photographer Caroline Tran. You can follow her on Facebook or visit her website.

Caroline will be presenting at Imaging USA 2016 in the Kodak Alaris booth #1820.  Join her on January 10  & 11 @ 4:00 PM! We look forward to seeing you there.

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My love affair with film began in college, when I first started taking art classes to balance out the heavy workload of my physics major. I ended up loving photography and one of my professors asked about my future plans; at the time I was set on continuing to get my master degree at UCLA and hadn’t considered photography as anything further than a hobby. He said, “I see so much potential in you,” and encouraged me to audit an extension class he was teaching there. It’s really funny to me now because back then I didn’t think as a grad student I’d have time for my “hobby,” but I loved it.

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I loved the unique, nostalgic look of film and learned the ins and outs of working with it in my classes. While in grad school, I started planning my own wedding and fell right into the beautiful world of weddings and all the gorgeous details that come along with it. I loved the planning aspect so much that I just wanted to have a side business so I could keep my foot in that world. I had no idea that my little business would blossom into what it is today but I’m incredibly grateful to be able to work in a field I love and am passionate about.

When I started in the industry, many photographers were switching to digital photography, and that’s the age we live in. I wanted to go forward with the direction the industry was going, but found myself spending many hours behind the computer editing. Especially having started learning on film, I had a set standard for the look and feel of the colors that I fell in love with in college. I found myself spending an exorbitant amount of time on editing my photographs; I wanted a consistent look for my photos and would spend hours at the computer in post-process, getting all of my digital photos to look like film. The look is really important to me and it’s incredibly difficult to replicate. However, as my business started expanding and I had more opportunities to travel and shoot weddings abroad, I realized that the amount of time on editing wasn’t sustainable, especially if I wanted to be able to spend more time with my family.

I was pregnant with my first son, Cameron, when I made the decision to move to film. If I was spending so much time editing my photos to get that film quality aesthetic, why not just shoot film to begin with? Getting pregnant was the catalyst: I wanted to be able to spend more time with my family and less time behind the computer. I needed my business to be more efficient and wanted to work smarter.

I tried a few different photo labs before deciding to work with Richard Photo Lab. I immediately fell back in love with the process and I saved so much time on editing; it was absolutely worth it. Today with two kids and a thriving business I definitely think shooting with film is worth it to achieve both beautiful photographs and also so I can spend time where it’s important.

The best thing about shooting film is that it brought me back to capturing that look that I started with; I love the nostalgia of it, that unique style that stands out in a digital age.  My favorite film to shoot is (Kodak Professional) Portra 800.  Working with film for me is not just an art style, but an experience; you don’t get to see what you’re creating -you have to really know your craft.  I have to think through each shot, making sure everything is beautifully composed and being mindful about what’s within the frame. Each shot is time and money, and I find that taking that deliberate process for composing each shot creates a very distinct and special product for the client.

Film produces a distinct quality of photographs that is difficult to duplicate. I had come to appreciate this look when I learned how to develop film in college, but when I started my photography business I thought going completely digital would be following industry standard. However, in order to achieve the look of film, I spent copious hours editing my digital photographs during post-process. When my husband and I started a family, I realized this process was no longer sustainable if I wanted to have time to spend with them. I’d decided to switch to film in order to save time, but it also brought me close to an art form that I loved. Photographing with film is a special experience that has no parallel; it’s challenging and thrilling to work to create compelling photographs while working with the limits of film.

Film Friday: Shaun James Cox

Today’s Film Friday guest blog post comes from pro photographer Shaun James Cox.

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Originally from North Wales, I moved to London to study photography. I’ve been working as professional photographer since 2010, covering fashion editorial, exclusive events and society reportage worldwide. I have worked exclusively for royalty, society, fashion houses and celebrities. I work closely with the British Fashion Council, who play a crucial role in nurturing and supporting British talent.

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I began my photography education by shooting on analogue and being in the darkroom, processing and developing film; it is a beautiful place to learn and work. These days I take my film into labs, but it’s good to have that background of hands-on in traditional photography.

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I shoot my personal work on film. There is something special about film which digital doesn’t quite express: the sense of creation and tangibility, where each frame feels especially important and considered. That said, because many clients often need images the same day, I shoot the majority of my commercial work digitally.  It’s efficient.

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Most of the film I shoot is 120mm and I tend to use a lot of Kodak Portra film, especially the Portra 160 and Portra  400 . Both give beautiful tones and colours that work well with my style. I have some Portra 800 stock in the fridge, which I will be using to shoot backstage at this season’s London Fashion Week. Apart from the regular & expired stock I shoot, I have some 35mm colour IR in the freezer that I’m really excited about – it’s just waiting for the right project to get the best from it.

02 Model backstage at the Casely-Hayford show LCM SHAUN JAMES COX

You can follow my LFW highlights here.

Website: www.shaunjamescox.com

How and Why I Shoot Kodak Professional Film at Hawaiian Weddings: Guest Post By Wendy Laurel

Wendy Laurel is a film photographer who shoots weddings, families, and lifestyle work on Maui, Hawaii.  She was selected as a PDN winner in the annual Top Knots wedding photography competition for 2015 and her work has appeared in many wedding publications and blogs, such as Pacific Weddings, Style Me Pretty, Snippet and Ink, 100 Layer Cake, Green Wedding Shoes, and many more.  She lives on Maui with her husband and four children.

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Why I shoot film at weddings here in Hawaii is something I get asked all the time.  All. The. Time.  The simple answer is easy — I shoot film at weddings because I love how it looks. I shoot Kodak Professional film and I find that it gives me the colors of Hawaii that I see with my eye here and does it in a super pretty way.

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I am not a super technical person. They way I can explain what I see with film that makes me want to shoot it exclusively is Kodak Professional films’ colors, the depth in the image, the way film handles light.  Film images always draw me in.

I also have fallen in love with the process of shooting film.  For me, the simpler my process is, the freer I am creatively.   With film, I am freed from looking at the camera back, from worrying about the camera settings beyond the basic aperture and shutter speeds.  That simplicity keeps me in the moment with the people in front of my camera and inspires me creatively.

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People sometimes wonder how I shoot film at weddings as if it was a harder process than digital. But I don’t think it really is.  Here are my go-to’s for shooting film at weddings.

  1. KEEP IT SIMPLE

For the majority of the wedding, I shoot with mainly my medium format camera – the Contax 645.  I also carry a 35mm camera – the Canon 1v with a wide-angle lens, which I use for photojournalistic type shots, movement, and some fun portraits.  I also pack 2 back up cameras just in case.  You never know at a wedding what will decide to break.

I have a ton of film cameras that I love to experiment with.  I love my Rollei sl66 and my toy cameras (Holga and Lomos) and fun and different lenses.  But I pick only one “extra” camera to bring with me to a wedding. And I preload that camera with the film it will need and I usually shoot only 1 or 2 rolls through it during the bride and groom portrait time.  I have found that in older cameras and lenses, using Kodak Ektar film works really well.  The strong colors and contrast from Ektar help work against older lenses loss of contrast.

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  1. MY FILM BAG

I use an old shoulder carry camera bag as my film bag. It has three compartments, which I use for the three different speeds of film I will use during the day.  In each compartment, I have a zip lock bag of unwrapped 120 rolls of film.  On top of each bag is a replacement insert for my camera (Contax 645) loaded with that sort of film.  For me, that’s one compartment of Portra 160 and Ektar 100 mixed (my daylight outside films).  The second compartment has Portra 800 (my favorite inside or nighttime color film). And the third compartment holds Kodak Tri-x 400 (for nighttime reception shots).  There is also an empty Ziploc bag that I use to put in all my shot film.  I also put a couple of spare batteries in my film bag.

On the outsides of my bag are two pockets. In one is Kodak Ektar 35mm film, in the other, Kodak BW400CN and Tri-x in 35mm.  Those are for my 35mm camera- Canon 1v.

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  1. MY ASSISTANT/SECOND SHOOTER

I love to shoot weddings with someone by my side. It makes the day go smoother and I love having someone to chat with and bounce ideas off.  My assistant carries my film bag and reloads the spare inserts for me. When I finish a roll of film, I just turn around and open my camera back, he hands me a new insert and I hand him the insert with the finished roll.  Then he reloads that for me while I’m shooting.  Easy. Peasy.  He also shoots here and there as inspiration hits him.

Of course he doesn’t always have to stand right there with me. In slower times of the day, like the getting ready, I might be with the bride and he will be with the guys and I reload the film myself.  But in the busiest times of the day, its especially handy to have his help reloading the film.

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  1. BRING LIGHT

I shoot film all day and all night. So the reception is shot on all film as well.  For nighttime shooting, I like to bring a variety of lighting tools — 2 video lights and 2 flashes.  The video lights work great for first dances and cake cutting.  I set them up on nearby tables, or one on top of my camera and one held by my assistant while I shoot black and white film.   I have flashes for both the Canon and the Contax and I use those also. Flashes work well for dancing shots and candids.

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For me film is all about both the look I can achieve in my images and the process itself. I find myself being much more creative and artistic with film in my camera.  I love experimenting with things done in camera — double or triple exposures, light leaks, super wide angles or older cameras and lenses.  Its really the fun I have with shooting film along with the images I get back that keeps me committed to film.

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Not Fashion Forward from Guest Blogger – Kosuke Okahara

Kosuke Okahara is a celebrated documentary photographer best known for his in-depth work on Colombia and Fukushima, Japan. He is the recipient of several awards and grants including the 2010 W. Eugene Smith Fellowship, Getty Images Grant for Editorial Photography, World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass, PDN’s annual 30 Photographers, and the Pierre & Alexandra Boulat Award. His photography has been exhibited at museums, galleries and international photo festivals around the world.

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Last February, I received an assignment for a kind of job I had never done before. It was from a fashion brand called Comme des Garçons. I haven’t done fashion work so I read the email again. It wasn’t a mistake; Comme des Garçons was asking me to shoot their Paris Fashion week show. They asked me to shoot as I always shoot because the designer, Ms. Rei Kawakubo, wanted to document the day of their collection from the beginning to the end.

Comme des Garçons Fall/Winter 2014-15 | Paris Fashin Week.

It was surprising that a big fashion brand asked me to shoot. I was curious so I said yes. When I asked them how they found me, they said they were looking for a documentary photographer for their show and eventually for a direct mail campaign. Comme des Garçons’s direct mail is widely known for its artistic concepts. They had seen my images and liked what they saw. This was a completely new experience as a photographer and I was excited to give it a try.

Junya Watanabe - Comme des Garçons Fall/Winter 2014-15 | Paris Fashion Week

Comme des Garçons Fall/Winter 2014-15 | Paris Fashin Week.

Comme des Garçons’s asked me to shoot as I always shoot. So I ran out to get enough Tri-X for the day. My guess was that it would be quite dark but I could push the film.

Comme des Garçons Fall/Winter 2014-15 | Paris Fashin Week.

The directions I had from Ms. Rei Kawakubo were quite simple. She wanted to express intensity but she didn’t want ordinary fashion pictures. Some people would expect backstage access when shooting a fashion show. But another condition from the designer was “absolutely no backstage”. She didn’t want any disruptions with the models. So for me, that wasn’t much of option. It was challenging in a way, but sometimes limitations allow you to push yourself further and to be more instinctive.

Junya Watanabe - Comme des Garçons Fall/Winter 2014-15 | Paris Fashion Week

Comme des Garçons Fall/Winter 2014-15 | Paris Fashin Week.

As a first timer going inside a fashion show, I didn’t know what to expect. When I arrived I found a large runway that took up most of the space. This was where most of the action would take place. As a documentary photographer, though, I began to see possibilities beyond the runway. I loaded my camera and started shooting.

Junya Watanabe - Comme des Garçons Fall/Winter 2014-15 | Paris Fashion Week

Once the show started, it was impossible to move – there was a huge crowd and the place was packed. So I focused on everything else; the people coming and going, team members setting up, and the environment itself.

Junya Watanabe - Comme des Garçons Fall/Winter 2014-15 | Paris Fashion Week

When I shoot, I believe that anything and everything can be a part of the story. Of course sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Regardless, I just keep shooting. That is the most important thing for me when I do stories. It may sound basic but focusing all the time is both difficult and exhausting.

Junya Watanabe - Comme des Garçons Fall/Winter 2014-15 | Paris Fashion Week

One of the greatest things of this assignment was that they allowed me to take my time in the darkroom. As they said they wanted me to do it my way, I printed all the pictures on fiber-based papers. I developed the many rolls of Tri-X according to my development recipe, then spent 10 days in the darkroom to print the images. These days in the world of photography, things move very fast but sometimes it is good to take time. Shooting film makes me think more. It forces me to look at images over and over while making contact sheets, choosing images, and then printing images. It gives me more time to understand the pictures during the process. I am not sure if this kind of assignment will happen to me again but it was quite interesting for not a fashion photographer.

Comme des Garçons Fall/Winter 2014-15 | Paris Fashin Week.

Social Media – You need to go fish where the fish are.

Wednesday Works post from guest blogger and professional photographer, Kenny Kim.

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Kenny Kim has always been fascinated by the visual arts, especially the connection between art and photography. This passion led him to study graphic design at the University of Illinois where he also became a Web designer.  But he eventually realized that the greatest outlet for his artistic expression and technical skills would be through his passion for photography.

With the launch of Kenny Kim Photography in 2006, his vision instantly resonated with his audience, and Kenny Kim Photography very quickly grew into a nationally recognized studio. Kenny has captured over 150+ weddings in locations throughout the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and in Italy.

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I recently got back from a trip to The Big Apple. While wandering through the familiar streets of New York City, riding through their elaborate subway trains and walking through the familiar halls of airports, I couldn’t help but to notice something that all these difference places had in common: Almost everyone was looking down at their smart phones! Without glancing at their screens, I could probably guess that the majority of them were either on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and/or another form of a social media application. It was a good reminder to me that we are now living in the social media era. Use of mobile technology has transitioned from an option to a necessity. It has become the main channel for communication, news, advertising and even building relationships.

Wedding images of Bethany Scheuerman & Matt Whipple

When I got into the wedding photography industry nine years ago, social media was just starting to scratch its surface. I recall talking to many of my colleagues who were on the fence about joining the social media bandwagon at that time. Even just a few years ago, during my classes and workshops, I informed everyone about how having social media was a nice addition to incorporate into your business. Times have now changed and my message has evolved. It is now ESSENTIAL to integrate social media into your business.

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As a destination-wedding photographer, social media has played an integral part of my business in helping me get the ideal clients. Aside from traditional referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations, it is now the biggest form of marketing for my studio. The best way to define marketing is that you need to go fish where the fish are. Most of the brides are using their smart phones to plan their weddings. They spend time looking at Pinterest and wedding style blogs for inspirations/ideas. They are viewing and sharing photos on Facebook and Instagram. Social media is now the ocean where your clients are swimming in. This is where you want to go fishing.

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Kodak Alaris has always been the leader in the photography industry. They also recognize the importance of social media as one of the essential steps in sharing and preserving the images we capture for our clients. I am thankful that they have given me the platform to share this message at WPPI Conference in Las Vegas next week. Please join me on March 1st for my Master Class about Destination Weddings. Then on March 2 & 3rd , I will be at the Kodak Alaris booth from 11am to 12pm, where I will dive more in depth about this topic and share some practical social media tips with everyone. Can’t wait to see you there!

Are you on social media? Let’s connect!

Facebook: @kennykimphotography / Twitter: @kennykim / Instagram: @kenny_kim

Guest photographer blogger: Thea Dodds

What a great time of year to be a wedding photographer: tradeshow season.  Wedding photographers are incredibly busy people, so we pretty much have just a few winter months to rest, recuperate and educate ourselves.  Every year I make the trip out to Las Vegas Nevada for the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Expo.  Vegas is just about the most unlikely place you would find me otherwise, but this conference is the “gold standard” in wedding photography education. I owe much of my growth and development to the education I have found at this one conference.

This year I have the privilege of my name being listed next to many of the world’s finest photography instructors and I also have the responsibility of offering the first presentation on same-sex weddings at this show.  Yes, 10 years after marriage equality began it’s journey across the nation, we are on the brink of a Supreme Court ruling which could bring legally recognized same-sex weddings nationwide.  So it is mighty time that us professional photographers start talking about how we can best serve the fastest growing, emerging market in weddings.

In my 15 years as a professional photographer, I’ve photographed more than 200 weddings, so you could say that I’ve gotten pretty comfortable working as a wedding photographer. I have an established routine to meet and exceed my clients’ expectations, and I’m able to offer guidance, based on my extensive experience, to better create beautiful and lasting wedding photographs for them. But in 2005 I photographed my first same-sex couple’s wedding and realized that although I had plenty of professional experience to lean on, in many respects I felt like a beginner.

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That first gay wedding represented many firsts for me. In fact, it was the first same-sex wedding I’d ever attended. It was the first wedding I’d ever photographed where neither member of the couple was wearing a wedding gown. And it was the first wedding where the ceremony kiss turned out to be the first time this couple had ever kissed in front of their families.

This couple was fantastic, two beautiful people who truly and deeply loved one another, but capturing their love on camera was challenging. My “regular bag of tricks” was no help when I tried to convey the level of intimacy I usually capture at a wedding. Even simply posing this couple, because they were so similar in height and weight and couldn’t physically dip or lift each other, made the “standard” images difficult.

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Flash-forward to today, and I’ve learned a lot, namely that love is love and that gay and lesbian weddings have a lot in common with straight weddings. However, there are some key differences that a photographer must understand, and I wanted to do something more to share my experience with other photographers.
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That’s why I called Kathryn Hamm, president of GayWeddings.com and together we wrote a groundbreaking guide, The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Photographing Lesbian and Gay Wedding Photography.  Now I am taking the tips and information included in Capturing Love on the Road to the WPPI Wedding and Portrait Photography Conference and Expo: Kodak Alaris Booth #1319 on March 3 at 10am.  Hope to see you there! – Thea Dodd

The New Art of Capturing Love from Forget Me Not Media on Vimeo