It’s That Time Of Year

While parts of the nation are blessed with warm or let’s say tolerable weather during these winter months there are many more areas in which we inhabitants spend the short days thinking about the springtime to come. For photographers who earn all or part of their keep with their camera some of the planning has to be preparing for what is hoped will be a busy season—the myriad social events that photographers are paid to document, including weddings, graduations and concomitant senior portraits, Easter and First Communions, and whatever social and familial events that come along. Granted, a good many jobs are already booked by now, but there are always late calls, cancellations, and rebookings.

Regardless of the calendar, this time of year is a great time to hone skills, check gear, and see what other photographers are up to in their work. That’s why trade shows like WPPI and Imaging USA are held this time of year, and why many working and aspiring pros attend them. That’s also why we dedicate this issue to the wedding and portrait trade and skill set, to hopefully bring you some tools and techniques you can apply to your art and craft.

In this issue we have once again delved into photographic bookshelves to bring you excerpts from leading lighting and photo specialist authors, including, in this issue, from Steve Sint. I met Steve coming up, as they say, and he has always combined a practical and artistic approach with a style that is all his own. Learn from Steve and you learn from an experienced pro.

On another note, I personally find this time of year perfect for catching up on image editing, printing, and web work updates. There used to be a finality about image editing—you got the slides back from the processor, clicked on the light box and started culling out the bad exposures and bad ideas right away. Or you made a contact or proof prints and did the same with poor negatives and prints. There wasn’t any storage for those rejects aside from the round file, and you soon forgot the ones that got away.

Digital seems to foster a hoarding mentality, at least in me, where I keep all the images somewhere, and have the pretense of thinking that with processing or some miracle plug-in I will turn the many sows’ ears into silk purses. After all, if it’s out of focus I can use a Holga plug-in, or turn a mundane still life into a platinum emulation, can’t I?

Yet, as I accumulated more and more of those borderline-at-best images I became disabused of the notion of salvation via special effect and now understand that if you have to force it too much it just isn’t worth it. Also, you don’t miss what you can’t see, and there’s only so much time, so the (hopefully) ruthless editing this time of year fosters should mean that the virtual round file should start being filled. Admittedly, I still end up giving too many hopeless cases a reprieve, only to have them turn up and haunt me again in the following year. You’d think I would learn.