Saturday, February 21, 2009

Stock Image Shoot with Rhu

Stock photography is a growing part of my commercial photography mix, and even in stock I'm spread over a couple of avenues, RM, RF collections through Gallo/Getty and then my own portal (amazing RF prices and images - with regional South African relevance!) . Soon you'll be able to start ordering some of my own projects for prints.

This particular shoot was to be images for Gallo/Getty first and foremost and then also some peripheral imagery for My model for the day was Rhulani, who also happens to be a mate of mine and Jeremy's,...which also meant we were gonna  get a little silly. Rhu's day-job is in the stock-market, as in futures and bonds and things, not stock photography, but he has a natural charisma that makes him a very suitable stock model.

I needed to build out my business and business-lifestyle portfolio a bit for stock, so we set about on a fairly windy summer's day to the Mouille Point Promenade, here in Cape Town. Jeremy was as always ready for action and acting, as the images will show.

After about 2 hours of running around looking business-like, we felt it was enough and let Rhu get back to his flight to JHB.

Strobist info: 580 EX II (bare), 430 EX (bare), 2 stands, Elinchrom Skyports, 5D. Jeremy hand-held the stands when shooting over the water, to be able to get light coming from the seaside.

PS - due to usage constraints and exclusivity clauses, I can't publish much of the final shots, except one of those I've kept for .


20081127_175lr Yeah Baby - click to see enlarged image on

20081127_088Shooting yourself is an easy quick way to see the light set-up perform and build-up a definitive collection of self-portraits. 24mm for maximum distortion and awkward looking expressions. I'm planning a on location self-portrait exhibition online (c'mon, who's gonna come see it in a gallery?).

 20081127_161   20081127_209  My man Jeremy... Acrobat-assistant and general assistance in fun are his fortes. He's also not half-bad in the RAW workflow department and he has some serious stamina. He also makes tea non-stop, so your diaretic in-take quadruples in his presence.

20081127_178... now and again assistants need to be brought into line as Rhu demonstrates... Labour-laws are a bit sketchy in the production industry currently. This particular incident had to do with Jeremy not fetching something quick enough, or making snide remarks about the model or throwing pebbles at seagulls. You tend to forget the details.


20081127_162 Rhu and me looking rather cool. Or not.


Vist my stock image portal at: . Register for free and have access to cool things like the light-box, emailing of light-boxes etc.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Steffen & Lara's Wedding - Table Mountain

20081105_125lr20081105_202lr20081105_090ii20081105_191i20081105_206i 20081105_12120081105_059 20081105_062i 20081105_076i      20081105_058i20081105_288


20081105_097lr  The location, Jeremy with boom, Walter preaching and the couple...marrying? 

pics from phone 047 On the way up - check the dude in the back! Normally Jeremy would do that!

20081105_292The team (less Walter). Jeremy, Lara, Steffen, Me

The mainstay of my business is editorial and advertising photography, and I choose it that way. I've done more than a hundred weddings in the last 5 years, but in terms of weddings I focus on these tourist/destination weddings. Why? Well, normally it happens in and around office-hours, seldom on weekends (I have children and would like to see them grow up). Also, these are exciting, small projects with excited people, no guests, phenomenal world-class locations, and creative license. The latter is a big factor for me, as weddings allow me to go a bit photojournalistic, as I don't get the opportunity in commercial work that often.

Steffen is a lawyer in Germany, and his wife is a stewardess for Lufthansa, and she introduced him to South Africa. They thus decided to get married here, in Cape Town. KapEvent (Cape Town wedding agent) commissioned me and we started the 3 hours affair at a guest-house in Camp's Bay for the legalities and signing. After that it was up to the top of Table Mountain in the Cable Car and then to a secret little spot Walter (the wedding facilitator) knew of.

Now, the problem with shooting on locations such as these are that often people think the photos are doctored, cuz how the heck can you get to locations like that? do. If you're in Cape Town, it sort of becomes a bit mundane....ehehe, no, now I'm just kidding. We appreciate it as much as everyone else most of the time.

Up on the mountain it was hard to keep the tourist's curiosity at bay, with flashing lights and Jeremy holding a flash on a boom over the couple. But in the end, it was private enough. After about 2 hours of shooting and having some creative fun we had enough material, and we could venture down to the foot of the mountain.

So - Cape Town is definitely the place to elope to. You've got the mountain, the sea, the views, good food and wine, and Jeremy and me. ;)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Things Break



Sometimes clients wonder why we make a big deal of our overhead costs. To them you simply take a camera (that in their mind you buy once a decade, not every 2 years as is the norm for me), take pictures and all the money goes to your pocket. Well, if only!

The above picture was a relatively small breakage, that left my strobe fairly intact and a only a broken brolly and dog-bowl shaper. I was able to fix the dog-bowl, but the brolley is gonners.  The strobe started acting strange shortly after and left me down about a week later. More repairs.

Since January this year I have had to replace 5 brolleys. Late last year my 24-105mm F4 L-series fried the aperture control circuitry. 4 weeks without my lens and a lot of money I was back in business. I had to repair 3 strobes since end last year.

Soon a camera upgrade is due - R40 000. Shortly before a new set of location strobes).

End last year a soft-box gave up the ghost due to simple hard graft for 5 years - another couple of thousand. Last year on a shoot a light dropped and broke. The cost of repair to me was bigger than my invoice for the shoot.

End last year was tuff on breakages!!

And so it goes on. Is this a matter of complaining? No, not at all. All industries have breakages. It's a matter of perspective and context. Why do I turn down work on location that I cannot charge a 2 hour minimum for? Simple - if you're carrying around R100 000 worth of gear it's kinda hard to justify a one-hour charge. Oh, and I have the usual IT and vehicle overheads as well.

My camera's insurance on location is more than my studio and vehicle's risk coverage... Hope this puts a bit of photographers' pedantic nature about equipment in perspective!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Remember Noah Kalina's "Everyday" project?

There is a guy who's been at it longer even than him, by 2 years. Noah is in his 9th year, which would put JK Keller at about 11. If you're wondering what I'm talking about, just check JK Keller's video and then Noah Kalina, who has become world famous for his version of the project.



This is commitment.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

What's up with

Apart from my commissioned work, I keep an archive of stock images, all RF, that I sell from my own stock label . Now, I supply among others to Getty/Gallo Images, istockphoto (owned by Getty anyways) and then nelimages. I've recently chatted to a stock agency in Germany interested in taking some of my collection onto their books. However, is where I call the shots.

What I enjoy most about my own collection here is the regional relevance of the images. The African models here are really African, more specifically South African. That is hard to find in any other major stock agency. The food is from here. The landscapes and scapes and general are from here. The needs are from here,  as the images are often sourced from older commercial work where I own the copyright.

Apart from that, the site is rather nifty with key-word searchability, light-boxes, emailing of selection etc etc etc. I paid some good money for this thing! You can register/subscribe to the site, FOR FREE, to use all this functionality. Don't worry, this doesn't include a newsletter you don't want to read anyways. You can even rate the pics.

As was noted recently by Chase Jarvis's right-hand man on their blog is that supplying to major stock agencies means being narrowed into scientifically monitored and planned criteria, which is all good and well to try and reach the very commercial market, but one has images that you like, or in my case that is not exclusive in the market anymore, such as released and expired licenses that allow me to resell images. Wow, that was a long sentence... Basically, for some reason I felt these images to be better suited to my portal's needs. I shoot specifically for Getty, and those images never make it here. The rest is a divide between very generic (for istock) and more client specific and off-beat images I like for I can also keep as many version of a shot as I like, and avoid the wastage of multiple image submissions, where good shots are left unusable by similar's restraints in releases.

Anyways, here is a introduction to some of the images I keep on . They are all model-released, property released, RF and up to A3 Adobe RGB jpg's.



Photo ID: 1281
Gallery ID: 42 - People


Photo ID: 402
Gallery ID: 37 - Food Beverages Culinary


Photo ID: 63
Gallery ID: 38 - Cape Town & Tourism

The delivery of images takes place through email, ftp or disc and payments are no longer excepted via credit card portals, since I've disabled direct download capabilities, due to some security concerns and excessive bandwidth costs for the size of my set-up. However, the site is fully keyword-searchable and even has secure galleries, where clients can view their images before they order.

I don't however take submissions from other photographers as this is very specifically an archive of images I own.

What are the biggest challenges in running

Mmm. Time for stock image preparation and upload, and sourcing the images from my collection. Then there is competing with the pricing of istock and the like (if you can't beat them join them). But mainly, I'd say time. I'm sitting on thousands and thousands of images in my archive that hasn't seen the light of, simply because I haven't had time. Instead of trying to just do big uploads, I'm starting to upload images as I finish them and prep them.

Also, I would imagine, is to simply get people to buy stock! If PRO's, companies and not just designers and publications, can see how a simple image can spice up their corporate identities, stationary, website and the like, they would start buying stock like it's going out of fashion.

So herewith an invitation - come check out or click on STOCK images in . Buy images, interact and chat.