Posing Eyes

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Last week my good friend Rich asked me to demonstrate a few things I learned in Skips Summer School, so this post and several to follow will let me do just that.

One very important, but usually forgotten task is to pose eyes.  I did not have a chance to set up a portrait session, but I will demonstrate this works for any type of photography.  In this case sports!

In this sting of photos note on the picture of the boy grabbing a pebble and getting the catcher gear on, you do not see the pupils.  Yet you will follow them to what they are looking at!  This allows you to create some drama and set the stage for a good photo.

In the remaining photos note how the eyes add or subtract from the image.  In each case the boy catching (well trying to catch) has eyes visible or hidden from view.  I think most viewers will automatically have a great sense of connection to the photos where they can see what the boy was focusing on.  This applies to whether or not you can see the object of the boy’s interest (the ball) in the photo.

And a final learning point…remember I said to get the ball in the photo?  Well there is the tip again!  Photos with the ball in them make the photo more relevant and understandable.

So whenever you edit any photo session, apply these rules of thumb.  It will lead you right many, many more times than not.

(Thanks to Roberto Valenzuela and Scott Kelby for those tips…and their books have many more)


Summer School Lessons

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I attended Skip’s Summer School this week with over 100 other aspiring photographers in Chicago.  The atmosphere crafted by Skip Cohen and his incredible instructors electrified the place for four days.  I was starstruck when I sat next to Scott Bourne, talked to Clay Blackmore, took classes from Tony Corbell and Roberto Valenzuela, saw Jerry Ghonis, and enjoyed the company of Levi Sim to mention a few of the many incredible pros there!  If you do not know these folks you should.   They are incredible talents and even better people.  They took the time out of their schedules (for very little monetary payback) to help people like me discover what it will take both in business and in skills to survive as a photographer.  The passion they shared lit the school like a four alarm fire.

I am forming my business plan now, with the help of my lovely bride, thanks to lessons taught there at Skips’s.  These baby steps will allow me to grow over the next year in confidence that I can pursue this dream (and still feed the six of us).  It feels good to be taking constructive steps forward.

On the photographic side here are two photos I’m sharing from the ride home Thursday with my son.  Both were taken in Vincennes, Indiana.  One is a standard touristy type photo of the George Rogers Clark statue at his Revolutionary War Western Victory Memorial.  It says. “I was there!”  It is an ordinary photo of an extraordinary thing.  The second photo uses some lessons I picked up from Tony Corbell and Roberto Valenzuela.  Note the drama in the lighting.  The tension between the shadow and light makes it a better keepsake.  The pose and sharp contrast also help you see the power and strength of the man it represents.  It provides the onlooker an vision of a bold man who captured Fort Sackville during the high water mark of the winter floods while cut off from all supply and reinforcement.  That photo says, “I was there and the achievements of this man’s small 130 man army in defeating a 300 man fortified army are legendary!”  (Do read the story of this man and his army!  Take that from me Mr. Bachelors of Science in Military History at West Point)

The motto of all this is to take every lesson you can into your heart.  Put those lessons into passionate practice both in business and skill execution every day.  Doing so builds businesses, nations and legacies worth remembering by our children.


Nashville, Indiana

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On my way to Skip’s Summer School…yes I was bad boy in school last year…I stopped to visit a friend in Nashville, Indiana. It is a small town in the middle of a State Park between Columbus and Bloomington. Most people don’t realize that there are hills in Indiana, especially south of Indianapolis headed towards the Ohio River. The town’s major business consists of artisans of all types selling their wares to passing tourists.

Whenever I pass through small towns my normal tack is to try and locate something that will remind me of the people. The downtown architecture is a mix and match hodgepodge of styles. Rustic and fantasy all wrapped into one. WIth that in mind I took a few photos trying to capture that feeling around storefronts just opening up for the day.

Next time you travel, try to use a picture to capture those thousand words you just don’t feel like writing down!