The American Society of Media Photographers provides this forum to encourage the development of critical skills and to foster new ideas. Our goal is an informed and savvy professional photography community.
[by Blake Discher]
An important change in website design is happening now, right before our eyes. Referred to as ‘Responsive Web Design’, it’s a website design approach that keeps an eye toward providing an optimal viewing experience across a range of devices ranging from desktop browsers to tablets to smartphones. More specifically, it concerns itself with easy reading, image resizing, and maintaining intuitive navigation across those devices.
Perhaps Jeffrey Veen, author of the book, The Art and Science of Web Design said it best, “Day by day, the number of devices, platforms, and browsers that need to work with your site grows. Responsive web design represents a fundamental shift in how we’ll build websites for the decade to come.”
As photographers, we’re very aware that changing technologies impact how we present our work on the internet for potential clients to view. Just a few years ago, many of us used Flash to present impressive interfaces and utilize a degree of interactivity to our websites. When Apple decided not to embrace Flash on the iPhone and iPad, we were left scrambling to redesign our sites to eliminate Flash entirely or create “mirror HTML sites” that simply were a Band-Aid and presented our work less than ideally.
All of that worked fairly well; that is until viewers tired of squinting to view tiny text and tiny images on tiny screens. Enter Responsive Web Design (RWD). With RWD, the viewer’s experience is enhanced because text and images are resized specifically for the device on which your site is viewed.
If you are not utilizing RWD, the next time your site is revamped, ask your web designer to fully embrace the technology. If you are doing it yourself, an excellent resource is Ethan Marcotte’s book, Responsive Web Design, available at http://www.abookapart.com/products/responsive-web-design.
Below are two examples of RWD. The first is Target’s corporate site, the second is my own SEO company’s site, go-seo.com. The images show how the sites look, from left, on a desktop browser, on a tablet, and last, on a smartphone. Note that the images resize and the text re-flows depending on the device.
You can see the difference, especially when comparing the desktop browser version of the site to the smartphone version. Without responsive design, the full desktop browser version would be “squished” down to 320 pixels in width on most smartphones, 640 pixels on the iPhone 5. Responsive design affords your viewers (potential customers!) a much better browsing experience because they aren’t forced to constantly be zooming in and out to read your site’s contents. Little things all add up in making your marketing effective, responsive web design will help you to look your best.
Blake J. Discher is a Detroit-based people photographer, SEO consultant, and educator. Get him talking SEO and he’ll go on for days. His thoughts on Pandas and Penguins are probably very different than yours.
By Blake Discher |
Posted: June 13th, 2013 |
[by Carolyn Potts]
On May 22nd, 2013 the world lost photographer, Wayne Miller, talented contributor to The Family of Man, which was one of the most popular exhibitions in the history of photography. We also lost a member of the photography family we know as the ASMP.
I learned a lot about Wayne Miller’s work via the Stephen Daiter Gallery which represents Miller’s work. Yesterday, gallery director, Paul Berlanga, shared the beautiful and well-worth-watching, 6-minute video about Wayne and his career.
Wayne was chairman of ASMP in the mid-1950s. As I read more about him on this site, I was struck by how many of the the same issues that ASMP is fighting for today, were the same ones that Wayne was also dealing with over 50 years ago.
Miller served ASMP during a time when there was heated controversy surrounding photographers’ rights and the economic threats they faced. Magazines would routinely have multiple photographers shoot an assignment and then decide who’d get paid for the coverage. Clients also expected that they owned everything the photographer shot. Sound familiar?
I was also surprised that Miller wasn’t part of my photography studies at the Univ. of Illinois–which was also Miller’s alma mater. I knew all about a number of facets of his photo world e.g., his mentor, Edward Steichen; his photo agency, Magnum; and The Family of Man (and my mother may have even been reading A Baby’s First Year which he co-produced with Dr. Benjamin Spock!). Yet it was only in 2012 that I became familiar with his work. I’m sharing this today in case there are others who might also might not know the work of a man who shot with such tremendous skill–and such a clearly felt love of humanity.
Carolyn Potts, international photography marketing consultant, speaker and former photo rep, shows seasoned & proactive photographers how to get more work. Find her at www.cpotts.com , https://www.facebook.com/CarolynPottsCreativeConsultant and Google +
By Carolyn Potts |
Posted: June 12th, 2013 |
[by Barry Schwartz]
My dog is so useful for taking pictures of cats. I usually walk him without a leash, and when we’re out where there might be something interesting to take a picture of, I bring a camera. That would be almost anywhere.
My dog, Whiskey, is rather interested in cats, and they in him. Living in Southern California, cats are out and about most seasons of the year. It’s a good life. Whiskey (full name, Powers Irish Whiskey) is a Wheaten Terrier, an Irish farm dog, bred to be a herder and ratter. While cats are not rats, as far as Whiskey is concerned, it’s a difference without a distinction.
One of our favorite places to walk is Venice in a small sub-neighborhood of canals in a tight grid of modest lots with small front yards, perfect for viewing cats on their porches or in the plantings. Whiskey doesn’t often get to look at cats so close, and while he’s appreciative of the access, the cats seem ambivalent; they don’t run away (usually) but rather freeze in place and match him in interest.
This makes them ideal portrait subjects for me. Whiskey is well-behaved, and if I ask him to stay where he is, he will do just that. The cats do the same, and I don’t even have to ask them. Whether or not they find Whiskey’s lack of movement reassuring, their hyper-attentiveness makes them great posers for me; stillness with lots of energy, like a good fashion model. I’ve gotten any number of really great photographs of cats this way, and I can’t imagine how I would have done it otherwise: cats just don’t find me as interesting as Whiskey. They have their agenda, I have mine.
This is all an accidental discovery. I had no inkling Whiskey would be a great portrait facilitator, it’s not really what he was bred to do. He’s never shown any real interest in my camera. I don’t think cats care all that much, either.
It took me three cats before I figured out what was going on, and now it’s a well-traveled routine. We all – me, the cats, and Whiskey – find the whole thing very exciting, and in completely different ways – which is exciting in and of itself. We’re all engaged rather intimately in this temporary, highly energized relationship, each with our own agenda. I get some good art out of it, which was my intention the whole time (predating cat photography).
If I could only figure out how to use my dog equally to help me in my professional life, I’d do nothing but brilliant, exciting work all the time. But that would not be fair to Whiskey, who, like all dogs, sleeps 90% of the time (that’s part of his own job description). It would be dangerous to depend on Whiskey’s presence as some kind of talisman or lucky charm to produce good work: what would I do when he’s asleep? Professionals have to make good work even in the absence of dogs and cats; that’s the gig.
Whiskey’s assistance with the cats, though, is a solid reminder that you never know what’s going to help get the work out, you just have to stay alert to the possibilities, like a cat watching a dog.
Barry Schwartz is a photographer, writer, and designer in Los Angeles, who is already planning his next outing with Whiskey.
By Barry Schwartz |
Posted: June 11th, 2013 |
[by Selina Maitreya]
I’ve spent most of the last year bringing photographers back to their creative roots. Why? Because with all the focus on marketing, sales, and the huge effort it takes to stay in business, Creatives are reporting in that they are NOT feeling very creative. If your creativity is waning you’ve got a problem, as vision is the value clients look for when hiring a commercial photographer.
Being open to creativity, making choices that develop your creative muscle is key to your success.
I liken creativity to a muscle in your body. Your muscles always exist you just don’t see them. When you choose to put your attention on them, using a free weight to exercise them, you physically bring them into your awareness and over time your exercised muscle is strengthened and becomes very apparent to all. Creativity is a muscle. Your job and what a wondrous job it is, is to keep your creative muscle alive and well.
How do you do this?
Choose to spend time on this precious task.
- Surround yourself with art. See movies, museums, gallery shows, watch and listen to slam poets, and music.
- Provide quiet times for your being. Sit 3 times a day, close your eyes and breathe. Deep breaths that slow your systems down.
- Go to nature at least once a month. Being surrounded by natural beauty stimulates the senses and takes you outside of your local existence.
- Create test opportunities, challenge yourself with new ways of seeing.
If you find yourself shaking your head, and saying “this is too easy” or “I don’t have the time for this silliness” think again. Qualified buyers in every area of our industry look for photographic artists, not just technical facilitators. Defined and refined creativity is what separates pros from amateurs, and great clients from low-ballers. Mondrian once said: “The job of the artist is simple. The artist is a channel”. I believe he was referring to artists being a vehicle through which the divine flows through.
Are you ready to step up to the responsibility of working your artistic muscle? Or are you willing to settle for the role of technical facilitator? The choice is yours, choose well.
Selina Maitreya was the first photography consultant in the U.S. Through her 1 on 1 consulting services, online teleseminars, books and lectures she continues to guide, inspire and teach photographers world wide how to build businesses that meet their creative goals while building a business that will thrive.
By Selina Maitreya |
Posted: June 10th, 2013 |