Back Up Your Computers, People.

Sorry for the absence. My computer died Wednesday (we’re assuming it’s a hard drive problem) and I’ve been making up for the loss of all of my files amongst photoshoots, work and other such busy-ness.

Not having my own computer has been an interesting experience. I don’t think I’ve been in a situation where I had to rely on community computers since I was in elementary or middle school. My family always had a home computer around, so even when I didn’t have a laptop I had a computer where I could safely store my files.

Luckily, my school is pretty good about having computers available for students to use, and they have most of the programs that I need in order to get things done. It’s just weird having to store anything I do on an external storage, as well as having to start over on everything every time I go to do work. No leaving any half-finished edited pictures up overnight for me.

I should hear back about what is actually wrong with my computer today hopefully, but until I hear otherwise, I have to assume that I have lost all of my pictures not backed up (which thankfully was not as much as I originally thought) all of my documents, and all of my music. I think the worst of all of that actually is the music, since I have original files of a lot of my pictures, and documents can be recreated when needed… but my thousands of songs organized, with artworks, from years of downloading… that one hurts.

I’ll be spending a few weekends fixing all of this once I have a working computer again.

Saturday, which should have been the day I posted, I was in Phoenix again for a cosplay photoshoot. I had a lot of fun, met some great people, but I’m still hoping that this weekend was the last of those types of trips for a while. I’d love to go back and spend more time with some of the people I have done shoots with, maybe do some individual shoots where it’s not so stressful to get everyone done, but for now, I need to concentrate on surviving the rest of the semester.

After three weekends of being away from the apartment, I definitely feel like staying in for a bit and sleeping in my own bed, just being in one place for a while… but with spring break coming up at the end of this week, that’s not going to happen. My sister and I are headed to Disneyland, and will be driving from California to Tucson for a few days after we are done with the fun.

It’s supposed to rain while we’re at Disneyland, that will be a first for us. We spent a good part of this morning reading up on what the parks are like when it rains. I’m actually excited, as long as it doesn’t rain too heavy, it will end up in our favor, hopefully it won’t be as busy as it usually is. Also the last time we went we accidentally ended up going on the  opening date of Disneyland on its 60th anniversary, so really it can only get better from there as far as crowds are concerned.

For now, I’m just concentrating on getting through this week, not ending up in a puddle due to a huge stress-enduced meltdown before Thursday afternoon.

 

Out of curiosity, do any of you have suggestions for laptops that would be great for photo editing and potentially gaming?

Advertisements

Why Is Liz So Stressed Out?

Entering in to my last semester of college, I thought everything would be business as usual, nothing too crazy, that I would just get through my classes for the last time and graduate.

I was wrong. Very wrong.

This semester I decided on four classes: three photo classes and an online business class that would last for the first half of the semester. Sounds pretty simple, but it’s proven to be the ingredients to the busiest, most time consuming group of classes I think I’ve ever taken in all of my college years. Three photo classes is just not as easy and carefree as it sounds, really.

To be fair, it’s not only my classes that are taking up my time, work and social life events are also a factor. This year has been the busiest socially for me, which I’m really alright with, and with my new position at work, I have more hours there and less time at work that I get to work on other things since I don’t just sit at a desk the whole time anymore.

It would probably help my case if I took better care of myself. Somehow I have been sick for most of the semester, and it seems like I haven’t been 100% healthy at any given time. My eating habits aren’t the best (though I am working on that) and I definitely don’t drink enough water to keep my body happy (also working on that.) I don’t get enough sleep, but that isn’t all my fault. Noisy room mates who don’t sleep and have no regard to others who may want to be sleeping tend to keep you awake it would seem.

This weekend coming up will be the third weekend in a row that I’m traveling, and the second one of the three wheee I’ll be doing a big shoot. After the last weekend I did traveling and with big important shoots, I have to admit I wonder if I can handle it again so soon. It may require very high amounts of caffeine, some crying, and a very decent playlist to get me through.

I plan on actively trying to fix some of my issues, working to keep myself organized and healthy. It just feels as if I’m adding more to my plate by trying to fix those issues while trying to keep up with the rest of life.

I shouldn’t complain too much, this is probably pretty close to what life after college will be like, crazy and full of stress, but I can only wish that things are especially crazy right now and I won’t actually have to go through lack of sleep and being overwhelmed so often in life when I’m done with school.

Food Photography: Restaurant Shoots

Becoming more and more interested in the world of food photography has introduced me to doing restaurant shoots. So far I have done two, and I have to say, the first time I felt absolutely professional as a photographer was when I did this second restaurant shoot in Tucson. Not that the shoot went perfectly (it really didn’t for many reasons) but it left me feeling like I was a professional and that I might be able to survive in the real world of photography.

Reasons it didn’t go so well: I didn’t realize that I had received an email from the restaurant owner rescheduling the shoot until I got there (always check your email before going out on location, things tend to change). The timing of the shoot was later in the day and I found myself losing light fast (usually I would opt for morning shoots, but sometimes you have to work with the client’s schedule). The audio recorder wouldn’t work for the interview (not a common problem for most photographers, but in this case I needed an interview and of course technology isn’t always reliable.)

Renees-5

Reasons the shoot went well: The staff at the restaurant I was shooting for was amazing and very understanding. Not only did they let me shoot at the original time and provide me with 3 dishes and a beverage to shoot (above and beyond, folks!) but they made sure I was comfortable too, really helping to lessen my stress level. The restaurant owner was very understanding too, and was super supportive, knowing I was a student and not very experienced in these types of shoots. The dishes were amazing! They were colorful, beautiful and unique, everything a food photographer could hope for.

I’m very glad that everything worked out in the end, and it was fun to use some special equipment to do the shoot, but I would definitely check this shoot off as a learning experience over anything else. I’m proud of myself for handling things so well, taking the curve balls as they came and coming out with some great pictures (all hence why I felt professional even though things didn’t go 100%).

Renees-9

Some basic tips I would give to any food photographers staring out are:

  • Don’t count on the restaurant having all the supplies you need. If you think you’re going to need props, utensils, placemats, etc, just take them. I did and left them in the car, so as not to seem overbearing in the shoot, and didn’t end up needing them, but I would have been glad to have any of it had the need arose. I would add that you want to make sure you have any photo equipment you might need. Reflectors, flashes, extra lenses, should all be ready to use and in your vehicle just in case.
  • Don’t be afraid to touch the food. I usually use a fork or some other type of utensil if I need to move parts of the food around, but if you need to get your fingers messy to get the food looking right for the shot, go for it. You don’t want to have to rely on PhotoShop later to fix the food.
  • If you are using natural lighting (I highly recommend natural!) make sure sunlight is diffused. This shoot took place on the patio of the restaurant, which is always my first choice if such an area is available. I mentioned before that it took place later in the day, so I was lucky to have some nice shade to work in. But if I had been faced with direct sunlight I would have used some sort of diffuser to avoid harsh lighting.
  • Realize that food is time-sensitive. In this shoot, I was working with some veggies and fruit, as well as lettuce in several of the dishes. Over time, all of this type of food will start to wilt. The avocados were especially time sensitive since it was a bit warm out. I ended up shopping out some of the brown spots that started to appear, but overall I knew I needed to shoot these dishes quickly to avoid capturing any discoloring or wilting.
Renees-2

This is a Short Post

I missed my post on Monday, and this one is really late, sorry, but I have good reason for such bad posting habits this week.

This past weekend, I was overloaded. I mean, seriously, too much on my plate, I didn’t sleep, I definitely had Starbucks coffee for about 6 of my meals. I had to get through three photoshoots, write a 7 page research paper, do a bunch of work for an online class, the list goes on and on. Long story short, I spent this weekend getting no sleep and working myself to death.

So Monday I was still recovering and forgot to try to post, and the busy lifestyle just keeps going. Weekends don’t really exist and there’s never nothing to do. Having a life and getting work done simultaneously is an olympic sport and I’m training for gold.

On the bright side, I managed to get some really great photos, got a good amount done otherwise and didn’t actually die from lack of sleep and real food. Hopefully I can recover soon and start at least attempting to function like a real human being again. Also I will try to share some of my images as soon as I work on them a bit. Because seriously, it was a productive weekend in the world of photography.

Until then, this is a short post and I will try to queue some more so you all won’t have to miss me too bad…

I’m a Nikon.

I’ve mentioned before that one of the perks that I enjoy at my job is that I get to try out a large amount of photography gear for free. Our Communications school has been blessed with a good-sized equipment room, where students can check out gear including cameras, lenses, lighting, audio, and accessories. It’s a fantastic resource for the students to have and it definitely benefits the quality of our programs.

I have definitely used my privilege to work with all of this equipment to my benefit, trying out different types of lenses to better know which ones I might want to buy later on, using the expensive lighting gear to capture great images for various genres, and even using equipment I might never use again just to get the experience. The one downside I have encountered in this opportunity is that while I use a Nikon camera and I love it, the school gets great deals from Canon, and therefore an overwhelming majority of the cameras and lenses available to us are Canon.

img_20160214_170211.jpg

My camera (Nikon D200) and a Canon 5DIII from work.

Many photographers are all too familiar with the Nikon vs Canon debate. It has been going on for years and years, people going back and forth with why each brand is superior and why the other brand falls short. Each brand continues to produce “new and improved” versions of their bodies hoping to become the best choice for all photographers.

The brands even have an impact on our identities as photographers. When two photographers meet the question ultimately comes up “Nikon or Canon?” At work we have photographers on both sides, and we tend to refer to each other as “She’s a Nikon” or “He’s a Canon”.

One difference I’ve noticed between the two groups of photographers, however, is that only one group tends to have a problem with using the other brand (that I’ve encountered personally, this may not be true everywhere.) Since our school uses mostly Canon gear, sometimes Nikon users need to use Canon cameras and lenses in order to try new types of gear. But I’ve never really heard the Nikons complaining about this. They might wish out loud that we had more Nikon gear to try, but as far as using Canon gear, they’re ok with that situation. The switch from Nikon to Canon isn’t a big deal, most photographers learn all of the settings quickly.

Ask the Canons about their experience trying Nikon gear, and it’s a different story. Most Canon photographers I know say they can’t use Nikon cameras, they’re just “too complicated.” It’s interesting how that works out.

2016-02-14-17.06.26.jpg.jpeg

For me, I don’t mind using different types of cameras from time to time. As long as they work well and produce great images, I’m a happy photographer. I’m going to take advantage of any gear available to me right now, and besides, it’s fun to experiment.

Photographers, which brand is your preference?

Becoming a Real Photographer

I’m a photographer, that is not a secret to anyone. I have social media accounts for my photography business, I post pictures I have taken, I often talk about ideas I have for photography projects, I work at an equipment checkout facility where I deal with photography equipment almost every day, I go to school and take photography classes… my life is full of photography in all of its various aspects.

Well, sort of.

It’s funny to think, that if someone were to spend a full week with me, go to school and work with me, take part in my social events, see me while I’m at home, follow me wherever I go, and know nothing about me… they might not consider me to be a real photographer. They’d see me studying photography, working with the equipment at my job, sure. But actually taking pictures? It might happen the last day of the week for a project that’s coming due.

It’s a terrible thing to admit.

20150613_173556.jpg

I promise, I do actually take pictures!

My problem is, I’m a timid photographer. It’s not that I don’t like taking pictures, or that I’m lazy about it, or I have no time, etc. But I’m nowhere near being considered a paparazzi. I tend to avoid taking my camera anywhere because I’m afraid it will freak people out. If I do take my camera to events I try to blend in and stay hidden instead of coming right out and letting people know I’m taking pictures. I try to stay out of the way and out of sight, which is hard to do when you’re trying to get a specific angle or lighting.

I’ve been at plenty of events or even just out and about on the town where I see photographers casually taking pictures of anything and everything. They usually don’t try to hide, they don’t seem to be worried about what people think about them taking pictures… and they get their shots, specific angle or lighting and all.

One of my goals as a photographer is to become more active in photography. Even if I’m not taking pictures at events, I want to take my camera out more, become the person who “looks” like a photographer. Perhaps I’ll gain more business that way, I’ll definitely build a better portfolio. When I went to New York, I let myself become a tourist, taking pictures of everything I could, and I think maybe I should consider that to be a normal characteristic of mine.

screenshot_2016-02-07-22-30-50-1.png

Some of the wonderful equipment I get to work with.

I think it’s my last step into belonging into the “world” of photography. When I first started in the photo program at my school, it was hard for me to feel like I truly belonged in the world of photography. I just wasn’t at the same level as so many of the students around me, but I learned. I definitely think that changing my “photographer personality” is the last thing I need to do to feel truly a part of it all.

Not that the learning will ever stop, of course.

Photographers, what’s some advice you would give someone diving into the world as a photographer? How do you keep your camera out and your images flowing?

Cosplay?

For my last semester in college I’m required to take a capstone class (think like super senior project class) for photography. I basically had to choose a theme for a photo project that I will work on for the whole semester. I decided on portraiture, specifically portraits of cosplayers in costume. At the time I thought it would be amazing and unique and really fun, and I still think that now, except I’m having a teeny bit of trouble actually getting cosplayers to photograph. I’ve got 3 months so I’m not going to worry about that quite yet…

With all of the research that has gone into Cosplay Portraiture I’ve definitely been inspired to make my own costume. I’ve been looking into making a costume for Rey from the latest Star Wars movie. I really admired the character and thought the costume looked simple enough (but very cool at the same time). So I started doing some more research, looking for bits and pieces of the costume and very quickly learned that actually putting together a decent cosplay is hard.

ReyCostume

Source  (I mean who wouldn’t want to look this amazing?)

Let me tell you. I have searched through amazon, looked up diy videos, compared cosplays already made… and it’s gonna be some work. Work I think I might be willing to do. I have no sewing skills, no costuming expertise or experience really. But I really want to try this. I’m sort of laughing at myself as I type this (I do that a lot in case you all were wondering.)

I’ll keep you updated on my progress 🙂