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Something to Consider In Photography.

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Are you familiar with the quote “spray and pray” in photography? I think we’ve all done it, at least when we first started out. You take pictures, lots of pictures hoping that by magic you get that good shot through luck. It happens make no mistake, but rarely. Let me recommend an alternative………..

Do it with purpose. Before your next shoot and during your shoot keep asking yourself the following questions.

Why are my shooting?

What are my shooting?

What makes it unique?

What am I trying to say?

What is the concept?

What is the setting?

What angles will I shoot from?

What kind of light will I be using?

What type of light diffusers will be ideal?

e.t.c

By doing so we give the whole experience a sense of purpose, a direction. Thereby controlling the whole experience. Brooke Shaden (check her on instagram) gave us a template to start with, she recommends we consider the following when coming up with a concept for a shoot. They are:

  • Color
  • Prop
  • Wardrobe
  • Setting
  • Theme

I think that they are a great starting point for any shoot and we should consider them when next we are shooting. So for your next photography session you may want to consider or incorporate these suggestions. So get out there and start shooting.

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The Importance of Museums & Exhibitions

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Still on the topic of inspiration, I cannot stress enough the importance of visiting museums and galleries, especially art galleries. You can find links (October Rain 2017 and Art X Lagos) of the last two exhibitions I attended which may or may not be a source of inspiration. There is nothing as inspiring to an artist as seeing the work of others, galleries and exhibitions have an uncanny ability to bombard your sense of creativity that I feel you can’t get anywhere else.
If you can’t, for whatever reason physically visit a museum or attend relevant exhibition you can always do so online. I however I recommend you  get out of your comfort zone and physically go to one. I think there is a certain feeling you get when you attend galleries as opposed to just checking out art in the comfort of your chair or sofa. Such as interacting with others, speaking to the artists themselves who can actually give you insights into what was going on in their mind while creating that particular piece of art, and so on. You just can’t get that online, yes you can communicate via messages depending on the online exhibition, but I feel it is fairly limited.
So find out about upcoming exhibitions  and visit galleries in your area and whatever you do constantly bombard your senses with inspirational images/art/sculpture and so on to get your creative juices flowing.
Side note:
If you are ever in Lagos, Nigeria; I highly recommend you visit the Nike Art Gallery, you won’t regret you did. Their instagram handle is nikeartgallery. So check them out.
Below are  some of my favorite artists works on-line, check out their work. Spoiler alert, they are amazing.
Brooke Shaden –https://brookeshaden.com/
Stanley Lau (Artgerm)  – http://artgerm.com/
Justin Dingwall – http://www.justindingwall.com/
Aleksei Vinogradov – https://avvart.deviantart.com/
Sergey Muzlov – http://muzlov.com/
Now tell me after checking out out these artist that you are not inspired to create. So get out there, be inspired and go create!!
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Inspiration

You can get it from anywhere at any time. Try to keep a log, a note, a drawing, anything to help you remember for the future, especially when you are void of it. Like I mentioned in the past I use Evernote for so many things especially to help me remember things. I keep inspirational images for the future, be it something I clipped on-line that can inspire me to creating something new. I noticed that if you don’t keep a record you forget and invariably it is gone forever. So keep notes, keep images, keep ideas, keep concepts and you will have stock pile of inspirational stuff for when you lack any sense of creative ideas which you are guaranteed to get from time to time..
So what do I do when I lack inspiration? I keep busy? Huh you ask? Let me explain. You see by keeping busy it takes my mind to other things that are important say, improvements to my website, writing my blog, e.t.c. You see I noticed that when I keep busy I find that my subconscious mind goes to work for me, and at odd times I get something. If I don’t get anything from my subconscious mind, at least I have been productive in a different aspect. So either way I don’t lose. Try to keep, busy doing productive work and you never know what may come your way. What is however critical is you have a means of recording your ideas when you come across them, for if you don’t record it you lose it. Heck if you are driving find a safe place to park and record it. You’ll be glad you did.
Keep moving, persist, and never stay still. Who knows when you’ll get that million dollar idea, concept, or work that you’ll be proud of.

Below is one of my artistic portraits from a raw photograph I wasn’t a fan of.

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Do you need a Graphics Tablet?

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People generally ask me if you really need a graphics tablet for post-production in photography or digital art. I’ll be frank, you do. Yes you can get away with not using one initially; say for post-production in Lightroom and even Photoshop. Over time however you will notice its limitations. For digital art in particular you just can’t get very far.
Why? The main reason is precision. You just can’t be precise with a mouse.  They also offer what is called pen pressure which can be particularly useful when you are painting i.e. the harder you press the pen the thicker you lines or vice versa, with a mouse all you get is an even line/stroke when painting. You just can’t do very much when shading with a mouse. Yes a graphics tablet takes a bit of getting used to, especially if you are a traditional artist/painter but the potential is limitless. So get one and start practicing.
If you plan on working in Lightroom exclusively a graphics tablet may not seem as important. I use both Lightroom and Photoshop for my work and I can say that a graphics tablet greatly helps my workflow. Getting used to one may take you a few weeks of consistent practice, depending on how much you practice, but stick with it.
I use a Wacom tablet and it gets the job done, I’ve been using my current one for about 2 years and I don’t feel the need to change it. So depending on the one you purchase, they do last a long time. So get practicing and thank me later.
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At the Omu Resort.

Boy at Omu Resort

Above is picture taken in Lagos Nigeria at the Omu Resort. It was taken about a year ago but I noticed that I just didn’t get to share it with my followers.  The young boy was not aware I was taking it, if he was it wouldn’t have turned out as I would have liked. I think. To get the shot I had to take the following into account:
  • Take many shots, just in case.
  • Shoot in wide angle so I can crop later if I need to.
  • Crop were necessary so that he is the subject of the shot.
  • Take into account my composition.
  • Wait, wait and wait.
  • Enhance my colors until I am satisfied.
Remember these points the next time you shoot! It helps.
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Happy New Year !!!

Happy New Year 2018

May the new year be better than the last, may we achieve more than we bargained for and may we be granted the strength to overcome all our obstacles that may be in our way. If we can’t, may we at least survive and live to tackle it on another day. Wishing all our fans a happy 2018 !!!

So you want to get better?

What does the following things have in common? being good at basketball, being good at any craft be it public speaking, art, music and so on. It all takes tremendous practice. Practice! Practice! Practice! It seems obvious but for some reason or the other we don’t do it. What can help is our ability to discipline yourself. As one of favorite motivational speaker Brian Tracy said
“Self-discipline is the ability to make yourself do what you should so, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.”
If we need to get good at anything, the more hours we put into it the better we get. I remember the first time I started using my stylus for Photoshop, it seemed hopeless. This is someone who has always been used to drawing on a piece of paper while looking at the paper as opposed to drawing while looking at the screen and not my hands. It was a nightmare, but my goal was I want to learn to learn Photoshop and this was a skill I needed to learn. So I watched a couple of YouTube videos and started practicing. Now everything is now muscle memory and am happy I stuck with it.
To get good at anything you need to practice a lot. Below are some of my recommendations to help you get into the habit of practice
  1. Set up a specific place and time.
  2. Set up a specific place and let your environment encourage you to practice.
  3. Remind yourself of why you started in the first place.
  4. Practice whether you feel like it or not, you will have days that you may do a lot and you will have days where you do little, either way do something. I have days that I feel tired or not motived, on those days I draw a couple of lines and call it a day. However in most cases the few lines lead to actual work being done. Just because I started.
  5. Get inspiration from your mentors.
Below is a value study I did recently, yeah! yeah! She may not look like who she is supposed to be but I learnt something a lot about values and practiced a lot in the process of drawing it.
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Associated Costs

We tend not to consider them. You want to be a photographer you get a camera and you think that is the end of it. Not! You find out that you need a lens hood, an external flash, batteries, an SD Card, light stands, a backdrop and so on. It’s called the Diderot Effect.
According to Wickepeida “The Diderot effect is a social phenomenon related to consumer goods that comprises two ideas. The first posits that goods purchased by consumers will be cohesive to their sense of identity, and as a result, will be complementary to one another. The second states that the introduction of a new possession that is deviant from the consumer’s current complementary goods can result in a process of spiraling consumption. The term was coined by anthropologist and scholar of consumption patterns Grant McCracken in 1988, and is named after the French philosopher Denis Diderot (1713–1784), who first described the effect in an essay.”
The funny thing is you can see it in other areas of your life, you get a new TV and all of a sudden you need to get a new and matching surround system, you buy a new couch and all of a sudden other furniture in your living room seem “old” or out of place or as a result of buying a phone you need a case and a screen protector. The list goes on.
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In photography it is particularly bad and it can end up costing you a fortune. Now there isn’t a perfect solution to the problem, sometimes you really just don’t have a choice. I mean if you get a car you need insurance, it’s not negotiable except you want to get in trouble with the law. However for other things there are strategies that you can do to mitigate the problem. From experience I do the following, it not by any means exhaustive but it has helped me a lot, hopefully it can do the same for you.

  1. Consider the associated cost before a main buy. Sometimes the best decisions you can make is not getting into certain situations in the first place.
  2. If you suddenly have the need to acquire a gadget, keep a list of what I call upcoming buys and delay the purchase by at least a week. I keep a list of upcoming buys in my Evernote. I noticed that in most cases the urge significantly reduces over time which allows me to debate the purchase and at least make a better decision going forward.
  3. Get the most out of what you already own. So you have a low level camera with a 50 mm lens, have you mastered that lens before you start thinking of an 85 mm lens? Have you mastered a one light set up before you acquire more lights?
  4. Know that acquiring new equipment/gadget doesn’t necessary make you better at photographer/artist but your ability to use what you have well. Heck I know Iphone photographers that are amazing at taking pictures with their phones.
  5. Get inspiration from the people who use what you already have.
  6. Limit your exposure. What you feed your mind affects your way of thinking and eventually what you do.

Hope this helps. As usual please remember to drop a comment and like our Instagram and or our Facebook page (a link at the bottom of the page). Also remember to share with your friends.

It never goes according to plan, does it ?

How do you make portrait or artistic photographs when it never goes according to plan. Initially I used to find it frustrating, you set up a shoot and the model doesn’t turn up even if you have a back up model especially a day before after all arrangements have been made. The truth is we are never in control of everything we just work with what we have. I’ve learnt over the years that it comes with the territory, so depending on what is thrown at us we make do. Below is a sketch for one of my previous shoot and the final image. I think it is important that we allow our plans to morph, who knows where they will lead? Initial concept and final product.
The image it was converted into black and white and with a layer mask the colors were revealed. People ask did I have this image in my head from inception that is did I know I wanted a black & white image. My answer, it depends, in most cases I have several variations of an image and I review them all. I only ever post the ones I personally like in this case however my wife made the final decision. She really is the inspiration behind it.

 

My tip of the week. If you want to take up photography as a hobby or a passion. Start with your camera phone and take  pictures of what you are passionate about for say 6 months and begin reviewing your images. If you are still passionate after 6 months about photographs, invest in a camera. If you can’t consistently take pictures for 6 months straight  maybe its not for you.
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Art X Lagos…………

Now this is what you call an exhibition and a half. It took place at the Civic Center at Victoria Island Lagos from the 3rd of November to the 5th of November 2017.  My review I’ll rate it an A why? Everything was just professionally handled. You had 2 floors of all kinds of art from sculptures, to paintings, to video exhibitions, refreshments were available outside if needed and you even had various concerts at night outside the venue in the evening. Oh year don’t forget there was also a  drawing/painting bus outside which was flooded with people exhibiting their artistic talents whether they had one or not. It was just light years ahead of October Rain in terms of organization and execution.
The art work on display were modern compared to those on display at the October Rain 2017 exhibition I attended the week before. However I felt that those on display at the October Rain 2017 exhibition felt more timeless. The art pieces in whatever shape or form felt like a lot more labour of love went into them as compared to those of Art X. Now don’t get me wrong the art on display was amazing at Art X, I was just giving my two cents if forced to compare the two exhibitions. Say you put a gun to my head for a review. Below are my favorite art pieces.
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