Angelica Grace Designs Blog

Monday, August 17, 2009

WHAT A WEEKEND!

Isn't it amazing how far we've come in the realm of cameras? I can remember the first time I fell in love with a camera. It was when I was a young girl and they came out with the Le Clic and Kodak disk cameras. I had one that was pink and purple. Do you guys remember those? They were long and skinny. They were the bomb! :) Then, as I got older & spent time photographing things in school for the yearbook committee then graduated and moved on to bigger cameras in my college photography classes, I fell in love with cameras even more. I have two big SLR cameras here in my house now that are still film cameras - not digital. I bought them both right before I began having kiddo's. One is a Nikon N65 and then the other I got when I upgraded all those years ago - it is a Nikon N80. I've contemplated selling both of those cameras recently but for some odd reason, I just can't bare to part with them. Either of them. Neither would bring any big chunk of change at all but I know I'm not using them and thought someone else might pay better attention to them. They are film cameras and not digital so it would take a special buyer for them. But again...I'm not quite sure I'm ready to give them up. They were once my babies. Before Razzi and Big Pappa came along. :) They captured many memories thru their frame. Too many memories to count actually.

And just like back then, I'm still in love with photography. Only now, I actually have the time to devote to the art. After this 3 day workshop I experienced over the weekend, I'm more in love with photography then ever before. My heart is full and I'm seeing images everywhere I look.

I spent three full days (10am-8pm) every day with Leah Profancik. Leah, in my opinion, is a ROCKSTAR in the world of photography. I found Leah several years back when I began designing and selling on eBay. She had been hired to do a few shoots for some of designers on there and I stumbled across her work then. They would send her their clothes and then she would photograph the sets so that they could list and sell their line. I have since then, followed her off and on over the years. I'd always go back and view her blog when I'd think about it. Her images are clear, crisp, and to the point. In this day in age, sometimes it's hard to find the focus in a photograph anymore due to all of the textures, actions, overlays, etc. that are on the market via photoshop or Lightroom. I myself enjoy a clean photograph. One without all of the textured scenes around the subject. Don't get me wrong, I like texture but in select images - at a minimal amount. Leah's work exudes grace and never fails to let you know what the image is about. Not only can she capture the purest and most beautiful images, but she is a seasoned pro at photoshop, color casts, skin tones, and post processing in general. Unfortunately, there really is no such thing as a "SOOC - straight out of the camera" image anymore. Photoshop has demanded a power of the world that is uncontainable. Any photographer that is a professional in today's world does post processing on their images. It's inevitable. Whether it be sharpening, color correction, skin retouching, or whatever - it's being done. A straight out of the camera image is no longer "acceptable" in today's world when it comes to professional images. If you own a studio or a even have a side "MOM" photography business, you will HAVE to post process your images in order to even begin making a name for yourself in this industry. Gone are the days where we rolled negatives out of cameras and blew them up with a bit of mere blemish retouching. Today they are lighting skin tones, correcting color casts, and smoothing skin as well. The trends of today are not straight out of the camera images anymore. The hardest part for me was learning that if I was going to go forth with this business, I was going to have to learn photoshop and all of its in and outs. I fought it and fought it hard. It wasn't until I received an anonymous (well it began anonymous) email from a fellow photographer out in Orange County, CA (who is in the industry) accusing me of having too much orange in my skin tones and criticizing me for teaching an online class as a newbie, that I began to dive into photoshop head first. She told me my kids looked like "Oompah Loompa kids" and that my conversions were hideous. Oh yes...she was as soft as a thorn when she emailed me from out of no where attacking me and my photography skills or lack there of. However, what one person meant for harm, I took and turned into a helpful tool to drive me toward learning the trade even all that much more. This photographer has since been identified and is no longer anonymous. She has also apologized to me for her nasty email from out of no where a few months ago. Her apology (if you want to call it that) was what I would consider half hearted or forced due to her fears that I was going to call her out, post her emails to me, and oust her here on my AGD blog. (She admitted this to me over the phone when I decided to google her and call her up directly) However, as a Christian, I chose to take the high road and refrain from mentioning any names. Throwing her under the bus and bringing her real character to light in the photography industry wouldn't do me any good. The truth always comes out in the end and when you have Christ overseeing everything that goes on in your life, he has a way of making KARMA feel like KARMA x's 100. Therefore, I turned it over to him and have since carried on. I do pray for this individual when her name comes to mind because I realize that it must be tough to live a life where you'd so quickly attack a stranger in the manner that she did and not really have any emotions after the fact about it. I'm guessing, like I told her, that life must be really bad for her if she would go so far as to do such a thing and say such things to not only a stranger but also to a fellow newbie starting out in her industry. The same place where she once "started out." I have prayed that God will soften her heart and that she will learn to be a little more helpful in the future rather then so abrasive. I have also prayed that the good Lord above would give this individual peace and direction when it comes to her approach with others in the future. Strangers or not.

With all of that said, I made photoshop my mission due to that one email. I jumped at every chance I've had to learn the ropes of editing in photoshop and have slowly but surely come to love the program. I don't use it a lot for say the images I post here on my blog. However, I am practicing my heart out with it behind the scenes and am ready to throw it into action full time after mentoring under Leah. Initially, I despised photoshop. OK...I'll just say it..."I HATED IT!" You know how we don't use the word "hate" in our home, right? Well...I hated it! Just hated it. However, after the classes I've taken and after working with Leah all weekend, I am finally getting to a point where I'm falling in love with photoshop. It's an amazing program with a wealth of ability at your fingertips. But...I am far from being great when it comes to utilizing photoshop the way some can. I have a very long way to go with it as well as the fact that I still have a very long way to go in the world of photography. I'm a newbie. Total newbie. There is so much I don't know, don't understand, and might NEVER understand. However, I'm making it my mission to sponge up as much as I can whenever I can. And for anyone else who'd like to attack me for teaching a workshop, or degrade my kids skin tones in my pictures, criticize my conversions, etc., bring it! It only fuels my passion and my drive even that much more. I'm here to learn and I'm NOT going anywhere.

So, how much do I appreciate Leah after all of this? How much do I adore her for taking me on as a student even though she lives and works just 40 minutes from me? How awesome do I think she is for being the exception to the rule in this cut throat business of photography? Well, I pretty much think she hung the moon. She taught me everything she knows in a three day period. She showed me how to scout out good locations, how to use photoshop to my advantage when editing images, how to shoot in RAW (which was HUGE for me) and how to edit in RAW. She taught me new approaches on composition, finally helped make my shutter speeds click in my peanut brain when shooting in manual, taught me how to achieve proper exposure with ease, and I even finally learned why photographers always wear black when shooting. Ha ha! She taught me the importance of why you MUST calibrate your monitors/printers/etc. when becoming a photographer. She taught me the pros and cons to certain lenses and what I should put on my wish list next. She handed over paperwork, stacks of literature, and so forth for me to review and get a feel for how I should word my own contracts, agreements, and releases. She passed off all of her resources to me as far as album vendors, print labs, wall canvas suppliers, framers, etc. She literally gave me everything she could give me in a 3 day period and she did it all with the want of helping me succeed and get started. She offered to bring me along to her next photographers networking group (a group of photographers here in Indiana that she meets with, has dinner/brunch with, shoots with sometimes, etc.) And in the end, as we departed ways last night, I hugged her (even being the sweaty mess that I was from shooting all day in 90 degree heat) and told her thank you for being so generous and so willing to help me. I learned more from Leah in three days then I've learned in the 8 months since making the choice to actively pursue my photography business/passion.

More than anything, I am thankful that there are people in this world who are still willing to help others. And Leah is one of those people. No matter how many emails I get about sewing, beading, photography, designing, etc...I always help in any way I can when another is trying to learn the ropes. My motto is that there is enough business out there in this world for everyone. And bottom line, just like David Jay says, the client is buying "you" - not your skill. They are buying your personality. Just you! Every person is designed with a different art, a different flare, a different eye. For example, no one can create what or mimic what Leah creates - because she is Leah! There is only one Leah. So even if Leah stood there and showed me or someone else exactly what to shoot (just as she did during our time together this weekend), in the end...I will never be Leah. I guess my point is that for those of you out there who are reserved and unwilling to help share knowledge or tricks to the trade in your industry...you are only hurting yourself. It feels good to give and to help. To take away or purposely not help someone out of fear that they will trample on your territory or take your potential business is totally selfish. Just remember that they are not you!

So thank you Leah. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. There are no words to express how much my time with you and your family this weekend means to me. I appreciate all of the shoots you set up, the real session of yours that you let me jump in on Friday evening, the coordinating of the models for the others, etc. I appreciate the lunches we were able to share over conversations other than photography as well as the silly stuff like sharing a field with you while on our hands and knees as you so eloquently swallowed a bug. Ha ha! Good times~good times! I'm looking forward to getting together with you to do lunch and shoot together again. But mainly, I'm just so humbled and grateful for your help and your generosity. I'm thankful for the mentor I've found in you as well as the friendship that has been created thru it all. Thank you.

And yes, yes, yes people...photos are coming from this weekends events. Leah gave me permission to share my shots here on the blog(s) so I will definitely do that. However, I refuse to share them until I calibrate my monitor. Ha ha! Once I've done that, I'll post the shots here. The shoots were a ton of fun and I'm so excited to share the images with all of you. However, if I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it right. An embarrassing realization to the weekend was learning that my monitor colors aren't what some of you are seeing when you come here and read my blog. For example, what a picture looks like to me may or may not be the same colors you guys are seeing on your end. So, when you see shots that look like I've plastered fire engine red lipstick on Kenidi or when my grass and trees are glowing neon green...please know that I didn't make it look like that on purpose. Ha ha! It's because a photographers monitor hasn't been calibrated (nor has yours) and therefore what you are seeing and what I am seeing are two totally different images. (regarding colors and such) Yeah, imagine my surprise when I saw what my blog images looked like on Leah's monitor. WHEW! Scary stuff! Ha ha! Off to get monitor calibration software...

xoxo, Angie

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6 Comments:

Anonymous Jeni said...

I love her work, she is A-Mazing! I saw on her website how she offers mentoring sessions and workshops, that is very cool! That is a pipe dream for me, with the cost of it all, but I will live through your images! Can't wait to see them! :)

8/17/2009 2:40 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

It's so funny that you posted about helping others out when they have questions about something you do or have done. I was working on stuff last night and thinking about who to ask about trademarking a name for a business, but didn't know anyone to ask, but thought of you. Was this a difficult process or very easy? I've already checked to make sure the name & symbol are not taken, so is the rest pretty easy?
Thanks for always "keepin it real", your page is great and your photography is always beautiful!

8/17/2009 3:28 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Wow! It sounds like you definately had the weekend of a lifetime!! I CANNOT WAIT to see your pictures!!!

BTW....the sweet things you said about being open and honest...helping others...THAT, my friend, is why we LOVED taking your class!!!

Yes, Leah is incredible. And so are you. Newbie, or not.

8/18/2009 12:03 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I love that you googled the lady and called her up! LOVE that!! Just like the bible says, what one person meant for harm was turned around and used for your good! I'm so glad it only made you want to learn even more!

I totally agree with you on teaching other people and sharing what you've learned. I just recently did a how-to on my blog simply because when I was learning about crafty things, I had to pay to find out those little tips and I hated that no one was willing to share any of their secrets.

I'm so glad you had such a great time this weekend!

I also wanted to say that I got Kaye's family tile that I won from the giveaway and it was so FABULOUS!! I loved it!! Thank you so much, Angie! The world needs more people like you in it!

8/18/2009 1:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leah does awesome work! I know her husband is a whiz on computers too! Love the whole family! Very nice people! So happy she was able to mentor you for a few days! Can't wait to see the pics you took!!

T

8/18/2009 9:25 AM  
Blogger Kristine McKowen said...

What a great weekend! Some year when the finances allow I would love to do something like this.

I still have both my Canon film cameras too. I have a Canon AE-1 Program that I bought in 1984 - my son used it for his photography class in high school. The teacher couldn't believe what great shape it was in. Everything is metal - including the lenses. Also have a Canon Elan that was a favorite friend for a long time. Like you, I just can't get rid of them.

Can't wait to see some photos from your weekend.

8/19/2009 8:15 AM  

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