by J. Rae Chip

Photographers... do you use Apple or PC products? I think there is a good split between the two. I use Windows. There comes a day in business' lifetimes when equipment becomes obsolete and must be replaced. My Dell Inspiron still runs, actually, and is a great personal computer now, but it's past its forecast business lifetime and was therefore up to be replaced.

After much unwanted drama with Best Buy (read it HERE), I ordered a Lenovo IdeaPad for my photography business, and like most new computers, it came with Windows 8, a steep learning curve for me. 

Please allow me to give you this Windows 8 tour.

It seems that most of the tech-minded people I know don't like Windows 8 for some reason. For me, every time Microsoft Corp. decides to update their operating system, it is a learning activity for me to figure out how to do all the things I need to do. I remember being in awe of XP when I took the tour of it. My Dell Inspiron runs on Windows XP, and I love XP.

That said, my only real complaint about Windows 8 is that it doesn't have a function to run in XP mode. I checked, and it does not exist.

Otherwise, so far, I'm satisfied. I think a lot of people just haven't figured out how to use Windows 8 yet, and that's understandable. In fact, it makes me feel better that I'm not the only tech-challenged sub-35 year old individual on the planet. (I know of at least one other, and he has had the same last name as me since he was born.)

Contrary to popular belief, you can customize the Windows 8 start screen. If you click on the tiles and drag them to new positions, they will be stuck there. I have a nice dock of Adobe functions so they're all together for me to use for my photography business. Then I have another dock of office programs, accounting programs, etc. For touch-screen computers, you can do it on screen. You can create a new dock by holding a tile between established docks. A vertical bar will show up, and then drop the tile there.

If you right click a tile, it brings up a menu, and you can ask it to make the tile smaller (or bigger), or you can deactivate the animated tiles. You can un-pin a tile from the Windows 8 start menu so the tile never shows up on that screen again. You can even uninstall a program from the right click function. 

Allegedly, Windows 8 was developed for people who like touch screens. They're trying to turn your computer into a phone. As a photographer, I like my screen to be clean, so I don't have a touch screen. 

If you have a touch screen you can still right click, but you can also touch the bottom segment of the screen, and a dock will pop up. Click on the tile and hold onto it for a second until a check mark pops up, and then you should be able to utilize all the functions as if you right clicked.

Pressing the windows button from the desktop brings you to the start screen. Pressing the windows button from the start screen brings you back to the desktop. You're welcome. 

You can also get back to the start menu from the desktop by moving your mouse to the lower left corner where the Windows icon used to be. The Windows 8 start menu will pop up once you move off screen, and then you can click on it.

Pressing the windows key and holding it while you press w brings you a small new Windows 8 menu where you can search for programs on your computer easily. Again, you're welcome. Make sure you have the apps option selected if you are looking for a program (I guess Microsoft wanted to emulate a phone operating system and utilize the word "App.")

Pressing the windows key and holding it while you press c gives you a menu where you can go to the start. Or if you click on "settings" in there you can shut down or restart windows.

If you downloaded something and it doesn't show up on the start screen, you can find it in the windows w menu and ask the computer to pin it to the start menu. If you downloaded something as a zip file, you have to unzip it in order for it to show up on the start menu, just like before.

You can update your start menu profile photo by clicking on it and uploading one or taking one with your webcam.

Are you bilingual? If you click on your photo and name in the start menu, click on "change profile photo" but instead click on "general" in the menu and scroll down to "languages" to install a second language on your machine. Go to "language preferences," and from there you can "add a language." This is actually much easier to do with Windows 8 than it has been with previous operating systems.

Clicking or touching the top of a program and moving downward off the screen will close the program for you. Also, moving or touching from the left side to the right side will change the screen to your most recently used app. If either of those things annoy you, you can deactivate them under the profile photo on your start menu, under the general tab and "app switching." This tab is generally your control panel now.

You can change the background of your lock screen and start screen under the new control panel and the "personalize" menu. Change your desktop background by right clicking an image and saying "set as desktop background," just like before.

To change the screen saver you can go to the windows w menu and search for "screen saver." That will find the menu for you. And holy cow you'll realize that the menu is the same as what you remember from previous versions of Windows.

Do you have any other questions about Windows 8? (That a dummy like me could answer?)
 
 

by J. Rae Chip

Some of the photographs in this blog post could be TRIGGERS or considered of graphic nature (none are newer than 2001.)

Photojournalists often go hunting for doom and gloom because that's news, and nobody wants to report boring news (well almost nobody.) Some of the world's most famous photojournalists have taken horrific photographs. 
Shouldn't photojournalists help their subjects instead of selfishly dramatizing the suffering for the sake of a paycheck? 
Let's check the record books...
Picture
"Napalm Girl" by Nick Ut, Associated Press 
This Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of a girl (Phan Thi Kim Phuc), was taken in Vietnam on June 8, 1972. She was running away from her village after the South Vietnamese forces dropped a napalm bomb on it.

After taking the photograph, Ut took Kim Phuc and the other injured children to Barsky Hospital in Saigon, where doctors said her burns were so severe that she probably would not survive. After a 14-month hospital visit and 17 surgical procedures, Phuc beat the odds and returned home. Ut continued to visit her until he was evacuated during the fall of Saigon.

Today Phuc is a Canadian citizen. Ut still works for the Associated Press and is currently based out of Los Angeles.
Picture
Vulture and Kid - by Kevin Carter, Johannesburg Star & NYTimes
Carter photographed this Sudanese boy trying to reach a feeding center when the vulture landed behind the child. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1994.

This photograph was the source of a lot of controversy about Kevin Carter because he was rumored to have stopped to take the photo and then leave without helping the starving child. 

The St. Petersburg Times in Florida said this about Carter: "The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of him suffering, might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene." 

The photo was sold to the New York Times in 1993, and the Times was contacted numerous times about the fate of the boy, to which they truthfully said that they did not know if the child reached the feeding center.

On July 27, 1994, Carter took his own life. His suicide note said: "I am depressed ... without phone ... money for rent ... money for child support ... money for debts ... money!!! ... I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain ... of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners ... I have gone to join Ken (recently deceased colleague Ken Oosterbroek) if I am that lucky."

An alternative account of the scene of this photo was provided by João Silva, a Portuguese photojournalist based out of South Africa, who accompanied Carter to Sudan.

According to Silva, Carter and Silva traveled to Sudan with the United Nations aboard Operation Lifeline Sudan, landing in southern Sudan on March 11, 1993 with only 30 minutes to take photos. Silva went looking for guerrilla fighters, while Carter strayed no more than a few dozen feet from the plane.

After some time, Silva also started to take photos of children on the ground as if crying, which were not published. The parents of the children were busy taking food from the plane, so they had left their children only briefly while they collected the food. This was the situation for the boy in the photo taken by Carter when a vulture landed behind the boy. Carter took a few photos before chasing the bird away.
Is it biased to publish a photo that only shows a portion of the global story?
The short answer is, maybe. But the thing is, even though a photojournalist's goal is to capture the story in one frame, it's not always possible. In the case of Carter's photo, he could have zoomed out to get the adults in the frame as well. Doing so would have probably saved him some controversy, which may or may not have saved his life.

People who argue this were not there when the photo was taken. The fact that the bird flew and landed behind the boy was the story behind the photo. The starving child was lying in a position that even had the bird wondering if the child was deceased. When the adults approached with more food, the bird would have likely flown away.
With all the prestige associated with winning a Pulitzer, how do we know the photos are not staged?
Photojournalists are not allowed to pose an image, add anything to an image, or take anything out of an image after it was taken. That is treated the same as when a reporter knowingly publishes information that is made up.

Even before today, there was always a curiosity about award-winning photos, and whether or not they followed the rules. In fact, this was something that Ut experienced with his photo of Phuc (Napalm Girl). Audio tapes from 1972 reveal that then President Richard Nixon said, "I'm wondering if that was fixed" after seeing the photo. 

After discovering that, Ut commented, "Even though it has become one of the most memorable images of the twentieth century, President Nixon once doubted the authenticity of my photograph when he saw it in the papers on 12 June 1972. The picture for me and unquestionably for many others could not have been more real. The photo was as authentic as the Vietnam War itself. The horror of the Vietnam War recorded by me did not have to be fixed. That terrified little girl is alive today and has become an eloquent testimony to the authenticity of that photo. That moment thirty years ago will be one Kim Phuc and I will never forget. It has ultimately changed both our lives."
Picture
Raising the American Flag on Iwo Jima by Joe Rosenthal, Associated Press
Rosenthal was standing on Suribachi, a Japanese observation post on Iwo Jima island in World War II when he made this photo and the two that followed it. This image is the most reproduced image in history and won a Pulitzer Prize.

The third photo in the series, depicting 18 Marines smiling and waving under the flag, is what caused accusations that this photograph was staged.

The confusion about Rosenthal's photo stems from a report from Guam, where the reporter asked Rosenthal if his photo was posed. Rosenthal allegedly thought the reporter was referring to the third photo of the 18 men under the flag, which was posed.
Why do photojournalists take images depicting death (taking advantage of victims), in the interest of getting rich and famous?
Picture
One of the "Boston Photographs" by Stanley Forman, the Boston Herald American
Stanley Forman documented a young woman and two year old girl falling from this building that was collapsing because of a fire. He won the Pulitzer Prize for it in 1976.

The two-year-old baby survived this fall, but the young woman, the mother, died.

A lot of people say it is unfair to the victims to publish a photo like this, showing the death of the young woman in slow motion. However, it is what actually happened. One argument was that the two-year-old, when older, would be traumatized by this photo, seeing the death of her mother.

Is it necessary to dramatize the death so publicly? It's not for shock value, and Forman didn't take the image in order to become famous. In fact, he happened to be at the scene documenting the fire. He was not expecting, and surely not hoping that such a tragedy as this would happen. 

Showing images like this, what actually happened, is important. Without the truth of what happened in an image, how is the average American supposed to take anyone's word for it? The old phrase "pics or it didn't happen" holds true more than ever, especially since we have the tools to show the images.

Conspiracy theories happen if people don't get to see what happened with their own eyes, as is evident by the death of Osama bin Laden, where some Americans now say they don't believe he is dead because they didn't see a photo of him deceased before he was buried at sea.

Showing images of death is not new and not old. In fact, it's been happening the entire time that photojournalism has been a profession.
Twin Towers Jumper 9/11 - by Richard Drew, Associated Press
Richard Drew photographed this man as he fell head first toward the ground. The man jumped out of one of  the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001.
The Suicide of Evelyn McHale by Robert Wiles, Life Magazine, NY Times
She jumped off the observation deck of the Empire State Building in New York City, falling to her death in 1947. This was taken a few minutes after her death.
Monk Sets Himself on Fire - by Malcolm Browne in Saigon, Vietnam 1963
This Buddhist monk lit himself on fire to protest the poor reforms of the South Vietnam government. Browne photographed the monk as he was dying.
Footage of the tornado in Joplin, Missouri in 2011 seems to have cemented the
guidelines of documenting death. That is the first time I can remember as a journalist or consumer of the media's product, when I ever remember it happening. When one of the reporters from The Weather Channel walked over a hill he took a look, and turned to the cameraman. With a tear in his eye he said, "CUT IT NOW!" 

It's worth clarifying why he did that. Journalists don't like to announce to a person's family that their loved one has died. Journalists like to wait for the police or other proper authorities to do that first. Nobody wants their first notification to be from national television or from the newspaper; it's just not right. Journalists are human beings and follow guidelines that would be expected of other human beings.
 
 
It's been about a year since I started hearing other professional photographers speaking out against watermarks on images. Such a basic issue among photographers has unnecessarily become a humongous hot button issue.

It is true that people who watermark get more comments from other photographers expressing a dislike of watermarks than do photographers who don't use them. It is not true that watermarks are useless in the digital age, and it is not true that the decision not to watermark an image never offends.

1) The first reason why I watermark images is because every lawyer I've ever had has advised me to do so. While it's true that watermarking an image does not prevent theft (people can crop it off or photoshop it out), if someone posts an image of mine without my permission in a way that omits the watermark, it displays an intent to steal. It shows they wanted it to be seen as their work and not just an appreciation for my work. All new photographers should be familiar with their rights as laid out in the DMCA Section 1202.

2) Some of the clients I have worked with have asked me to watermark my images of them that I post on the web because their lawyers told them that it's best to have watermarked images out there for similar reasons as I stated above. As a portrait photographer, not only do I have to be concerned about people stealing my image, but also my client's face. Someone taking my client's face and using it on a site that promotes child abuse or molestation would not be good for my client. And yet again, while my watermark does not prevent them from taking it, they are removing copyright identifying information, which is illegal and could win us a law suit.

3) To my knowledge, nobody has ever stolen one of my watermarked images. I also have never noticed anyone cloning it out or even cropping it off. It's just much easier to steal a similar image from someone who doesn't watermark. When I park my vehicle, I lock it because if someone is going to steal, it's easier to take the one that is left unlocked.

4) I give complimentary tear sheets to models. I'm sure they get a lot of them. While every photographer would like to think the model remembers which photographer took every shot, watermarking them ensures it never gets mixed up. It then frees up the model to post it where ever they desire to post it without typing my name everywhere or answering a thousand people wanting to know who took the photo. It also avoids other photographers of accusing the model of a failure to credit me for my photography. Similarly, I often give complimentary tear sheets to gallery owners, art show organizers, museums, or interested clients, and it is much easier to habitually watermark every image to ensure they have my information for later. (And yes of course I also use business cards.)

5) Honest to God I have had people referred to my site because they saw my information on a watermark.

You will notice additionally that my watermarks do not run through the middle of my image, and very rarely are they ever opaque. There are certain times when I will take that extra step, but ordinarily I use a faded watermark in one of the corners. I also advise new photographers to use Digimarc and fill out the necessary fields in their EXIF data.
 
 
Jessica Rae Photography requires a pre-session consultation to go over this question face-to-face, but there are certain rules about what to wear and what not to wear that are universal.

Photographers can use many pieces of software to create a work of art that shows you at your best - but you have to follow the rules to make sure this happens! Most of the time, if a client decides they don’t like a photo, it’s because of confusion. The photographer needs to explain what the client’s job is, and the client needs to explain what they expect from the photographer.

Retouching is an every-day process for many photographers, but there are limits to what retouching can accomplish. Sometimes it can take longer to do for different patterns of clothing or different styles of hair, which would cause the price to go up. Typically if the client wants a photo done in a wardrobe or style that is not in compliance with what the photographer outlined, the photographer will change more or even void the refund clause.The guidelines in this post are by no means all-inclusive, but some guidelines are below:

Clothing
TOPS: A solid color top that is not revealing is best - avoid obvious textures or fabrics that shine (avoid sequins, velvet, glittery clothing etc.) In most cases plain cotton or polyester blended fabrics work out best.


Sleeveless tops are a good item to avoid if you are concerned about your upper arms and shoulders looking large or if you are concerned about cellulite or arm hair.


Avoid very bright or bold colors if you are looking to have a great photograph of your face.


Generally, shirts that show the midriff or belly are not a good idea for most women - some are concerned about stretch marks or imperfections, but almost all will decide they do not like it when they are a few years older. Jessica Rae Photography tries to generate photographs that are loved for lifetimes.


BOTTOMS: Dark with dark stitching or a solid color - non-textured pant is best if you intend to have retouching done to your photography.

Solid colored not-shimmery mid-thigh length or longer skirts are preferable.

If you are concerned about looking slimmer in your photo, you should wear black clothing that is relatively form-fitting but not skin tight.

Short shorts and short skirts - these items limit your posing options and can be an issue to some people who are concerned about the toning of their legs, stubbly leg hair, or cellulite.

Makeup
Avoid glitter. When glitter is photographed, it tends to looks like white dust spots on the camera instead of shiny makeup. In other words, it looks bad on film.


Wear makeup that you would wear in your everyday life. If you change what you look like, you might end up with a photograph you dislike simply because it doesn’t look like you. Your parents might not like it for the same reason.

Typically, the simpler the better is the rule for glamour shots.

Shoes
Unless you want full-length shots every time it’s not necessary to go buy shoes for the photo shoot. Keep in mind that full-length also limits your posing and greatly limits the photographer’s ability to hide features of your body you don’t like by not putting them in the frame.


The photographer will often like to do informal attire shots without shoes, but you can keep your shoes on if that bothers you.

Hair
Wear your hair however is natural for you, but you need to make sure it is neat.
 
 
DISCLAIMER: This post is in no way meant to be condescending. I love my clients, as anyone who has worked with me will tell you. On the contrary, this post is supposed to show, in brief, some of the ways photographers use to book clients and a brief peek into the world of the professional photographer. IT IS INTENDED TO HELP CLIENTS. My hope is that it will help clients find the right photographer for them. I’d love for it to be me, but if it is not I would like to offer advice to find the right one.

1. AVAILABILITY For obvious reasons, the first reason why a photographer might not book a client is simple availability issues. Photographers have extremely busy schedules sometimes. When this happens to me, I will most-definitely recommend a photographer who I believe will do a good job. One thing to keep in mind is that good photographers book quickly, so it behooves you to make that call and turn in a contract and a retainer fee (if applicable) quickly in order to ensure your time slot gets reserved. It is probable that I might get other inquiries about that time slot. I hate telling people that I booked someone else while they were deciding whether or not to sign the contract and pay any applicable retainer fees.

2. PERSONALITY CONFLICTS Other photographers may disagree with me about this, but a personal requirement of mine is based on personality. It is important for me to be able to establish a good business relationship with a client, and because I’m an artist, that is achieved through personal interaction IE personality. It may sound harsh, but let me show you some examples of clients I turned down in the past, and hopefully you will understand. 1) a client who said that he wanted traditional photography and wanted to tweak my style - he also wanted me to use his camera instead of mine 2) a client who was always very short with me on the phone and demanding in e-mails - used curse words to describe his wife 3) a client who demanded that I take photographs on a military base where there was a “no photography” sign posted 4) a client who a friend had booked and then not received payment from for months 5) a client who called numerous times with condescending questions about various aspects of my photography, credentials, etc. (For the record, I do not false advertise. Everything in my credentials is true.) For obvious reasons, these clients would not have been a good match for my business, so unfortunately I had to turn them down. LET ME QUICKLY CLARIFY THESE AS WELL: I love it when people ask me about my credentials, photographic style, and ask questions. Understanding these things about me ensures that the client gets what they are intending to pay for and helps me create work I am proud of.However, if a client is going to tell me that they do not think I did something listed in my credentials I do not want to work with them, and chances are they don’t actually want to work with me either. I will list other photographers for them in this case. If a client states that they do not like my photographic style, then they do not want to work with me and I will suggest someone else whose work they might prefer. If a client calls every day for a week with two hours of questions but never pays a retainer fee or submits a contract, I will tend to try to direct my time toward someone who is ready to pay and commit to hiring me and suggest someone else to that client.

3) FINANCES (We live in a capitalist country, so this one gets more than one paragraph) Budget is a big issue for most Americans these days, and everyone is feeling the heat from the economic crisis that has befallen our wonderful country. That being said, I don’t understand why certain people seem to think that they can negotiate with me about price. Nobody negotiates at the gas station or at restaurants or at the grocery store. I am self-employed and there are very good reasons why I charge what I do. My rates are based on the equipment I am using / wear and tear on such equipment (which is why I charge more for shooting at places where my equipment might get damaged), commute to on-site locations (gas is not getting any cheaper), insurance, taxes, shipping if applicable, other employees I may need to hire for your shoot, and the amount of time I will spend on the photography, which includes shooting time and editing time. As artists, most photographers are not greedy people and live a minimalist lifestyle. For example, I live within my means – but I also do not drive a Ferrari (I drive a 1997 Toyota pickup that has 185,000 miles on it. I bought it when I was 16.) For this reason I find it insulting when I get clients who ask me to discount my rates because they feel they are too expensive. THAT BEING SAID, if I do not fit inside your budget I would be willing to help you find an alternative that does fit – whether it be a different photographer or a new idea – and you are more than welcome to ask me.

(HERE IS A GEM FOR A POTENTIAL CLIENT WHO IS ON A BUDGET AND PLANNING A WEDDING: I am really worried that if you “Walmart” your photographer (see below) you will end up with a photographer who does not do work that you are satisfied with. My MOST COMMON recommendation to people in your situation is as follows: don’t hire a photographer. Instead do this: go to the grocery store and use your photography budget buying disposable cameras. Put them on the pews of the church with a sign “fill this camera with photos and then leave the camera here.” Put one at each table for your reception. I suggest this because I have considered doing this for my own wedding – and even if you do hire a photographer it would be cool to see the photos from all the people in the audience. You might end up with thousands of photographs from simple disposable film – and some of the people in your audience might even be photographic hobbyists / artists.)

I have been seeing something happening more and more lately, and I like to call it “Walmarting Photographers.” I sometimes get e-mails addressed to several other photographers besides myself simply asking for a price of the photography and a CD. This tells me that the client is shopping for a photographer based on who will roll back their prices and offer the lowest deal. I don’t like to get into price wars, and I’ll tell you (additional reasons) why: 1) it has been noted that clients who shop off price are more-likely to be unsatisfied with the photographic work. 2) It has also been noted that photographers who lower their price lower their work accordingly as well. I am proud of my work, and will not lower my standard, which is why I do not lower my prices. I am looking for clients who want to hire me off my artistic talent and body of work and not-so-much for having the lowest prices.I hope this helps my potential clients. Feel free to post comments / questions to this post if you would like. Please be nice, as this is intended to be a nice gesture / tool for your use.