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Muslims In America

The first Muslims may have arrived in the North American continent in the 14th century. And according to this article about “Islam in America,” even Christopher Columbus may have used a guide book written by Portuguese Muslims!

Yet, Muslims in America today often feel marginalized and stigmatized by the media. They become easy targets of ridicule because of their faith or in the way they dress. The fact is, Muslims who have either immigrated to the United States or have been here for generations are productive citizens in the communities they call home.

Genesis Of A Project

So, when New York based editorial photographer Syed Yaqeen was looking to work on a portrait project, it would seem the work came looking for him!

Syed who is originally from Bangladesh, identifies himself as an American now. To counter the often negative portrayal of Muslims in the media, Syed commenced to work on project to portray his Muslim sisters and brothers in a positive manner. Through his work, he hopes to inform us that Muslims are so much more than the stereotypes seen on television every night.

He embarked on a portrait project called Muslims for American Progress, funded by The Institute of Social Policy and Understanding.

Portraits of A Community

From Syed's site:

“The Muslims for American Progress (MAP) Project educates the public by providing a much-needed, evidence-based portrait of a deeply misunderstood community. The MAP project quantifies the contributions of American Muslims in New York City in eight areas: Civics and Democracy, Economic Development, Medicine, STEM, Philanthropy and Nonprofits, Arts and Entertainment, Sports & Education. MAP-NYC is a project of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. ISPU conducts objective, solution-seeking research that empowers American Muslims to develop their community and fully contribute to democracy and pluralism in the United States. ISPU is a leading think tank focused on studying and empowering the American Muslim community.”

The Interview with Syed Yaqeen

Syed and I recently chatted about his work and where he hopes to take it after New York City. Give this quick interview a listen please.

Syed Yaqeen, Muslims For American Progress - YouTube

Syed's Portrait Portfolio

Give these portraits a close look please. These are our neighbors, our friends, may be even our relatives. I believe the central premise to Syed Yaqeen's work is to show us that Muslims aren't really very different than you and me.

Meet & Greet

Meet some of the subjects of this project this Saturday (April 14, 2019) at the Mulberry Street Library in New York City.

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Light Your Subjects

Have you ever had trouble using flash to light your subjects?

John Gress will teach you to light for impact and precision. He has just launched his first US workshop tour, starting with these nine cities: Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, El Paso, Dallas.

Who Is John Gress?

John Gress got his start in photography in Portland, Oregon. Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago is now home. Initially a photojournalist, John now considers himself a commercial and editorial photographer. He is also actively involved in directing videos now.

Recently, John spoke at ImagingUSA, in Atlanta, Georgia and will soon be presenting at the CTPPA convention, February 15-18th.

From his website:

Gress arrived in Chicago in 2003 after having worked as a Portland, Oregon-based freelance photojournalist since 2001, regularly handling assignments for Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, USA Today and People magazine.

From 2000-2001, he was a staff photographer for The Topeka Capital-Journal, where his subjects included the University of Kansas basketball team, the Kansas City Chiefs, and state government figures.

Previously, from 1996-2000, he was a freelance photojournalist for the Associated Press, covering the Portland Trail Blazers, the USA Track and Field Championships, the 1998 World Cup, and various natural disasters across the Pacific Northwest.

Interview With John Gress

Give this a quick listen now:

Chicago Portrait Photographer Launches Workshops Around The Country - YouTube

Lighting Scenarios

Lighting Workshops

Learn more about John Gress' lighting workshops here. Use the code or mention: SESHU, to save $50 on your workshop registration.

Remember there are only 15 spots in all of these workshops and most of them are more than half full already. So, jump to it people!

Looking for other resources on lighting your subjects? Try this one about Zack Arias' OneLight 2.0 video course and this one about Joseph Victor Stefanchik's speedlighting workshop

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The post John Gress Will Teach You To Light Your Subjects For Impact appeared first on Views, Reviews & Interviews For Photographers On Tiffinbox.

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Mizu Backdrops

As a photojournalist and much later a family portrait photographer, I rarely considered using backdrops in my photography. Backdrops would have simply got in the way of what I was producing for my clients.

Recently, however, I've a new-found interest in studio photography and want to go well beyond the existing lavender walls in my home studio. As luck would have it, I stumbled upon a backdrop company called Mizu.

Mizu's brand promise is this:

“Presenting MIZU Backdrops, handcrafted to perfection. Each drop is painted by seasoned artists with high quality materials for a timeless touch that your pictures deserve.”

Ordering A Mizu Backdrop

The Mizu bacdrop website is elegantly designed and easy to navigate. The sample images on the site are stunning and inviting. What caught my eye was however the fact that Mizu offers custom backdrops. Not having backdrops before, I don't know how many other backdrop companies offer that to their customers, but the fact that I could a request a specific tone and have that delivered really intrigued and excited me.

So, as I said, my home studio has lavender colored walls. When I repaint it, it will be a neutral gray, I promise. But until then, I'll be using my Mizu backdrop in my studio because it was neutral gray that I requested when I placed my custom order.

I was intrigued by Mizu's process and reached out to the owner and asked if I could see what was involved in making a custom backdrop. A few days later, I received a video and a Dropbox full of images of my canvas being produced!

Mizu Backdrops – Building A Custom Background - YouTube

Click to view slideshow. The Backdrop Details

One has three choices for backdrop dimensions: 5'x7′, 7'x10 and 10'x15′. Given the dimensions of my basement home studio, I ordered a Mizu backdrop in the 5'x7′ dimension. My cost was just $100! While the payment was originally in Indian rupees, Mizu now accepts Paypal payments in US dollars.

The canvas is sourced from Camlin and is made of a linen canvas fabric. The backrop I received, a small, weighs between 6-8 pounds. The backdrop is made and shipped from Chennai, India, via FedEx and I was very surprised that it arrived here in the US within days of ordering it.

While I ordered a custom backdrop, you may want something out of their current inventory. At this writing, Mizu has nine different backdrops for sale. If I had a typical commercial studio, I would likely buy every one of them.

As Mizu was running a launch special when I ordered my custom item, I ordered a second backdrop from their inventory (Creative Charcoal). I have not had a chance at using this second backdrop yet, but here are some examples from a recent portrait session using the custom backdrop.

A Mini Review Of Mizu Backdrops

As much as I wanted to photograph a few friends indoors, in my basement studio, I chose to experiment a little by using the Mizu backdrop outdoors on my back deck. With a little more space to move around, I felt quite comfortable initially in setting up my backdrop.

A couple of A-clamps held the backdrop steady until a gust of wind took the whole set up crashing down. My backdrop did get crinkled a bit (as you can see from the portraits above) but one way to look at it is that it adds a little more character to the backdrop in the process.

So, one big lesson I have learned from setting this up outdoors is to invest in lots of sandbags.

The Mizu backdrops are my first backdrop, so I didn't know what to expect. The finish of the custom canvas was spot on to the color I sent them to emulate. I was thrilled to get just the color I was looking for. I was also happy with how quickly the order arrived. Lastly, the price surprised me the most. Making hand-made made backdrops is no easy task and it is labor-intensive. When I discovered these are produced in Chennai, India, it made a lot of sense. Labor costs are definitely lower than in Brooklyn, New York. But that they can produce something so beautiful at such an affordable price truly amazed me.

I invite you to compare Mizu backdrops with Oliphant, Gravity and PaintX.

Are you going to take up studio photography? Is studio photography “The Comeback Kid” as Rangefinder magazine suggests? If it is, and you are looking for a well-made, affordable custom backdrop for your studio, you should place Mizu backdrops on the top of your wish list.

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The post Using Backdrops, Custom Hand-Made For Portraits appeared first on Views, Reviews & Interviews For Photographers On Tiffinbox.

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Who is Don Giannatti?

Please join me in my congratulating Don Giannatti, creative mentor and coach, as this year's recipient of the Tiffinbox Award.

I recall attending one of Don's first lighting workshops in Boston and kept in touch as he evolved and began offering his advice to other emerging photographers online.

Don is the consummate photographer/teacher, who gently coaxes you into being a better photographer and a better business person. He is relentless in sharing his opinion and delivers them as a matter of fact because he has the experience to back it all up. In addition to being a photographer, at one time Don also owned a design agency that worked with a variety of corporate and editorial clients. He brings all of his knowledge, distills it and delivers it to students through his websites Lighting Essentials and Project52.

In his own words:

I have been a commercial photographer since 1974, and have worked with advertising agencies and design firms all over the world. I have had studios in LA, Chicago, and Phoenix.

In the decades of my career I have shot fashion and beauty, product, industrial and corporate, and currently I make portraits and environmental images.

Project 52 Pro System is my flagship online learning center where I work with small groups of photographers, and I offer one-on-one mentorships.

I have taught at CreativeLIVE, and other online education platforms, and written 6 books on photography.

My belief in the power of photography and the creativity of photographers to wield that power makes my job the best in the world.

Example Of Don's Advice

Don's YouTube channel is one of my favorites. He doesn't mince words. He lays it out like any good teacher should. The advice is for us to take or leave behind. Here are two gems:

So You Want to Be a Photographer? OK - Start Making Photographs - YouTube

Saying Yes - or No - to Shooting For Free - YouTube

Don's Sample Portfolio

How Can I Learn From Donald Giannatti?

I've already mentioned Don's YouTube channel. But you should also follow Don on Instagram. He is a huge proponent of having a visually rich social media channel and likes what Instagram has to offer. Do pay attention to his advice on how to use Instagram, though.

Don is also a three-time book author. Yes, I do recommend his books.

If you are an emerging commercial photographer, you need to sign up for Project52. Interested in his other workshops or lighting tutorials? Bookmark Lighting Essentials.

Don's courses on CreativeLive are extremely popular. Here is one on product photography. And here's the first one he called Lighting Essentials.

The next course I want to enroll in? Don's environmental portraiture class.

Recognizing Past Tiffinbox Award Winners

Now in its 8th year, the Tiffinbox Award is now an annual tradition on August 23rd. Please visit and celebrate the previous awardees at the following links:

David DuChemin

Spencer Lum

Jamie Swanson

Jenika McDavitt

Neil van Neikerk

Megan DiPiero

David Anthony Williams

Do Me A Favor Please!

Did you learn something new or were you inspired by this post? Please share it with your photographer friends. Copy + paste the link and send your colleagues an email and tell them why they should check out this post or any of the other posts on Tiffinbox. I appreciate your help in spreading the word!

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Rajesh Setty knows you are smart. But he also know that you sometimes get stuck in business. He speaks from personal experience and he wants to help you get unstuck fast.

As a serial entrepreneur (see list below) and a book author based in the Bay Area, Rajesh encounters numerous examples of business owners initially enthusiastic about their project but who find themselves soon spinning their wheels.

Speaking with him recently, I know he feels passionate about helping people in trouble. His latest book, “Smart, But Stuck,” outlines the problems most business owners face, and what he believes can be solutions to get them out of their own way.

Give this interview a listen to see if you can glean any nuggets from it that will help you get unstuck too!

Are You Smart, But Stuck? - SoundCloud
(1848 secs long)Play in SoundCloud

Rajesh is crowdfunding the book, “Smart, But Stuck“. Supporting this self-publishing process not only helps Rajesh get his important and timely advice into the world, it also inspires other authors to step up and contribute to the business dialogue that is often sorely missing in the marketplace of ideas.

Learn more about “Smart, But Stuck,” here. To contribute to Rajesh's crowd-funding campaign, please go here.

Here are some of the projects Rajesh has been involved in with over the years:

Witty Parrot
iCharts
Compassites
Jifflenow
ForesightPlus
Thoughtful Cards
Napkinsights

I hope you will step up and support the publication of Rajesh Setty's new book, “Smart, But Stuck” with me. The information and the steps outlined in the book could be priceless for your photography business. Isn't it time you invested in yourself?

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A few weeks back, I spoke with Ritesh Uttamchandani as he began promoting his new book, The Red Cat & Other Stories. Ritesh, a photographer based in Mumbai, India, dove into the production of this book despite the odds and the naysayers who rejected his book proposal. So he published it himself.

The Interview

Listen to why you should consider launching your own photo book project:

Ritesh - Uttamchandani - The Red Cat & Other Stories - SoundCloud
(1712 secs long)Play in SoundCloud

The Transcript

This transcript is made possible by Descript.

Tiffinbox:

Welcome Friends to another episode of Tiffincast and, Tiffinchat this time around as I talked to Ritesh Uttamchandani who was a photojournalist and an author based in Mumbai, India. Welcome to the show, Ritesh.

Ritesh:

Hello. Hi thank you for having me on the show.

Tiffinbox:

You’re welcome. You know, one of the things that uh caught my attention was that fact that you are not just a photographer you’re also an author and the book you’ve just published is called the Redcat and Other Stories, so, uh, obviously the title is very intriguing and for most of us who are not from India the the story of the red cat is probably something they may need to tell us about so tell us how the the title of the book came about.

Ritesh:

So, um around 2015. I was wondering whether I should be doing a book because I had a little bit, you know, I had things to say I had developed some sort of a vision some sort of a way of seeing and I realized that that way of seeing is very central to uh, the kind of fables my mother would tell me so the Red Cat essentially the fable that my mother used to tell me which is about an unusual friendship between a boy and a talking cat that he meets in the jungl. And I found that this fable is quite uh, you know, uh, I’ve used it as a metaphor for the city and you know, like when you’re new to a place, uh, how you meet certain strange characters and they kind of you know, they help you achieve certain goals. They help you be stand on your own feet.

And that’s what I guess is central, not just to Bombay but to most other cities in the world, I guess. So the so the book contains pictures of Bombay which are in turn, you know kind of held together by this fable.

Tiffinbox:

Oh wonderful. Okay, so the folks who know the story of the Redcat are they going to be able to sense the flow of the book through the story that they remember as well or are you leaving a lot sort of open ended?

Ritesh:

A lot of those open-ended open-ended but it kind of comes to it comes to a conclusion.

Tiffinbox:

Yeah

Ritesh:

And if I may say so the Redcat is a story that not many people might know because it is one of those fables that are passed on orally from one generation to another. So, um, a lot of people may not know it but um, it’s essentially a love story. You know.

Tiffinbox:

Is that right? Wow.

Ritesh:

Yeah.

Tiffinbox:

Okay.

Ritesh:

It’s a very progressive fable that you know, where in the you know, uh, there are certain things which I can’t let out but it was very progressive for me when I heard it when I was like, wow, you know fables can be this.

Tiffinbox:

Yeah

Ritesh:

This, forward and this, uh, beautiful at the same time.

Tiffinbox:

Sure sure. Now you mentioned something about uh, you know, the the fable as being a did you say it was a love story in a way?

Ritesh:

Yeah. Well, it culminates into a love story like most you know, most fables are

Tiffinbox:

Right and would you say that the love story that you’re trying to depict in the book is of you love of the city, is that fair?

Ritesh:

It’s my love of the city. It’s my love of uh, you know, uh, my country it’s my love for images, but most importantly it’s my love for the generations that have come before us and the kind of things they pass on to us and you know, we’re at a very critical stage as far as images go, you know, we are constantly consuming things which are you know on the phone or on digital devices,

Tiffinbox:

Right

Ritesh:

And say 40 years from now somebody wants to you know know a little about my life or your life or anybody’s life. Um, they’re not going to scroll down somebody’s Facebook page, you know and go back in time and things like that. So I also felt like, you know, it’s a chance for us to look at what we are passing on, you know. It’s it’s it’s a tribute to you know, what was so meticulously handed over to us in such a casual manner like, you know, our parents reading us stories was a very, you know, a very simple affair but, and certain stories like this one, you know in my case I got the full grasp of it, uh at this stage in my life. So, you know, um, it’s also a tribute to the fact that there are so many simple things which is so difficult to make and so difficult to comprehend that we tend to not even, you know, notice the complexities in them.

Tiffimbox:

Explain that to me a little bit more if you don’t mind, what do you mean by that?

Ritesh:

Like, you know, it’s only at this stage at 35 that I realized that I could. You know, the fable has a mention of a house which has seven rooms and in the fable talks about climate change. It talks about uh, man-animal relationships. And when I was a child, I just used to think of it as you know, something, something entertaining but it’s only now that I understand that there are so many layers to the fable and I felt that you know in an age where uh, we complicate things needlessly at times, the simpler bits, you know, like the simple bits of our life or childhood memories, etcetera, you know, they have always informed my way of seeing but I have not really acknowledged them and this is more or less like an acknowledgment of that simplicity.

Tiffinbox:

That’s beautiful man. I’ll be honest with you. That’s a that’s a great way of tying, uh something that you grew up listening to to something that you’re doing at the moment, you know, um, most people most people probably gloss over that and don’t pay attention to that idea that you know, your your past can uh be a propeller of sorts into new ventures and uh is the book a new Venture for you in the sense? Uh, is this something that you like? Is this something that you’re going to be doing more off? I mean or is this just a let’s see what happens with one book and then you know …

Ritesh:

No, no, I’m completely smitten by the book form. Yeah, and I feel that a lot that you know, uh, uh, thanks to I mean, uh, the you know, Instagram Facebook digital, you know outlets are as much of a blessing as as much of a pain in the ass they are. So, I feel that the um, I think I’m gonna keep doing books. I there a good way to uh, say what I want to say. They’re a good way for people to experience images also and also, my book is not very big and you know, it’s not like one of those dead-weights that you keep, you know in the middle of your room or something.

My book is made to be kept by the bedside. You know, it’s it’s something that you treasure like the keywords for me when I was making the book were precious, empathy, humanity, and of course, you know love and you know all its in all its complexities with all it’s like, you know, a little bit of hatred a little bit of anger.

Tiffinbox:

Yeah.

Ritesh:

So the book is like for me, formwise it’s precious. It’s white. It’s uh, it’s it’s entirely white so that it actually gets dirty. It gets a couple of you know, personalized stains on it and things like that. So I feel that this so much more that happens to a photograph for in a book form and especially when you string together certain images. And you know one leads to another, it almost has you know, not not just me but all books have a certain cinematic quality to them, you know, like like a certain image may be a little weaker than the rest but it’s very important for the narration to go through so that’s why it’s there.

Tiffinbox:

Right? Right, right. Yeah.

Ritesh:

And I think I think that helps you become a better storyteller. Become a better photographer and most importantly, it makes you I think in my case it makes you a better person because there are lots of people you have to take with a pinch of salt. There are lots of you know people who have their own flaws and their own this thing and I guess when you arrive at, you know, uh certain decision points in your narration where you have to let a weak image do the talking, it’s also a metaphor for how you deal with certain people who very easily get slotted as difficult and rejected. So I think there’s a lot to learn from the process of book making uh, not just as a photographer as a person also.

Tiffinbox:

Well, that’s pretty deep, Ritesh. I mean, uh, not very many people really sit down and think about a book and in those respect in that respect.

Ritesh:

I know

Tiffinbox:

Um, so I mean the idea of self publishing came to you obviously because uh, you must have felt that you you have uh, a good collection of photographs that sort of really beautifully tie together, um, especially because of your experiences living in Mumbai. Um, and and then you probably have been reminded constantly of this fable that your mom narrated it to you when you were a child and you were able to sort of bring both of those things together. Uh of the examples that you sent me.

Um, you know, there is that, you know, juxtaposition of words that you found, uh, really things that are already in existence in this in the frame and then something else that uh, sort of balances or imbalances the the frame in some way, you know, it could be a human element or it could be an idol of some sort.

Um talk to talk to us a little bit about your use of words and and photographs or words and other elements in the frame when you’re making photographs because that seems to be very intentional on your on your part.

Ritesh:

I’m actually, you know, since the book got shot with a cell phone. Uh, I actually managed to junk years of work and create something fresh. So, I began photographing for this book in 2014. And since it’s with a cell phone there is a definite physical closeness to all the situations that I’m, you know, kind of framing. Also, I’m not very like I’m. I don’t know. I don’t have uh an aversion to beauty but I feel like if something is too beautiful too saturated or you know, kind of it’s too pretty it’s like but I don’t know what to do with it. Like, you know, it’s not really a reflection of the kind of story that I want to tell so I kept like a lot of things like clutter trash etc, but in a dignified manner, I do I feel that you know.

As image makers, we have to be very careful about how we uh depict class and caste in our images because in India, uh, caste and class arer kind of omnipresent in all situations. They are there everywhere in the background or the foreground they are there they, so I have to be very careful in the way. I construct and frame the images and also because the story is about a man traveling through a jungle. I kind of imagine myself, uh walking through a trail in a forest and you know, what are the kind of things that would catch your eye? You know, the smaller things blink-and-miss appearances of animals and birds and people and signboards and that’s why the diptychs are not necessarily opposing each other at times. Sometimes they complete each other. Sometimes it’s like a panorama right? Like, you know, the the left seen merges into the right seen sometimes sometimes it’s just a, you know, a photograph on the left and a long passage of text on the right, which is basically a.

So in the title, it is the Red Cat and Other Stories. So there are 16 shots, you know, 16 photographs with their own text in the book. which is almost like see uh, when you’re walking through a place there are times when you sit down somewhere and you know, maybe the shop owner wants to talk to you. Maybe he wants to tell you a little about himself or maybe somebody, you know, a woman was you know, you know, She wants to ask you where you’re from etc. So you don’t get to really control these experiences. Right? You you you meet people who you know, like if you’re in a cab in Bombay The Gabby wants to talk to you and you can’t escape it, you have to indulge in that conversation.

Right? So these 16 conversations are staggered in such a way that they just suddenly come up and like there’s a man who sells donkey milk. Uh, you know, he walks around with a donkey across the city and he sells donkey milk to people who believe that donkey milk that feeding donkey milk to kids, infants especially makes them smarter in the long run.

Tiffinbox:

Oh boy. Okay.

Ritesh:

Yeah, and he does this very. You know, it’s strange ritual after the child has had the milk. You know, he tosses it around etc. Like almost like, you know, some black magic kind of thing. But it’s so it’s so it’s done in such a normal mundane manner. Everybody around him is so used to this happening for years and years.

Um, I felt that, you know, this man deserves an entire page, you know, it’s almost so all the text on the other page is where he talks about himself. He’s likeI was born etcetera etcetera. And this is how I do things and this is why I sell donkey milk. So the narration style is also almost like like as if you’re new to Bombay and you’re stepping out and you just accumulating experiences.

And that’s where you know the words, uh, the connection between photographs and words or uh, what can I say photos and text basically, uh is played to its maximum.

Tiffinbox:

Okay, but but you have a certain sense of uh, purpose behind it though, you know, it’s not a book of only photographs that sort of portray the city but you have certain ideas behind explaining what’s going on perhaps even right?

Ritesh:

Yeah, the core idea one of the many ideas that run along in the book is that I don’t want to tell you what it looks like because if you want to know what Bombay looks like you just need to Google up on a couple of things or you need to Instagram and see some of the you know, lots of people photograph Bombay as is. You know as representative, but because my investment of time and my investment of uh, you know, I’ve been living here for years. Uh, I want to get the reader close to what it feels like to be here. So, you know, I don’t have too many pictures of the conventional landmarks like Marine Drive and Gateway of India and all that, you know, you don’t need me for that.

Tiffinbox:

Yeah, exactly.

Ritesh:

What does it feel like like this photograph of um, so there’s an interesting situation I came across. There’s a man who had worked on the Gateway of India as a contractor. He was the lead, you know, he was the uh, man who executed, you know, the work of the building. So he had made a small little scale model; five feet high, with the same stone that is used in the Gateway of India.

And he’s got that little model sitting inside his parking lot in a garage and I was like, you know, these are things that I want to tell you, you know, if I’m an insider, this is my perspective, you know. If as an Insider, I’m going to show you seagulls fluttering about the you know, Gateway of India, that’s I think a disservice. I’m not really adding anything to your understanding of the space,

Tiffinbox:

Right? It’s an incomplete picture, in a way right?

Ritesh:

Yeah. Yeah.

Tiffinbox:

Um talk to us a little bit about the uh, the challenges that you may have had producing this book. Uh, what were your challenges, uh in creating this book and this is your first book. So imagine you making a second third and fourth book, And what kinds of things you you are going to obviously know a lot more about when you uh start producing your second book.

Ritesh:

The biggest challenge was not having a publisher, you know show faith in the product, uh-uh-uh. There were lots of publishers who said very very nice things.

They were like “oh, this so different and so cool. But sorry we can’t back it. And then there was a small little publisher who was interested. But I somehow uh, I was also interacting with uh, you know a publisher in Tokyo, uh, not for production of the book but to understand the process a little better.

So that guy told me in one of the emails that you know, if this is your first one I suggest you do it yourself. So, um, Uh, they were also design issues. Like I was initially set. I don’t know design. I’m still not you know, it’s designed as a collaborative effort between me and some friends. We got together and just made it.

But one of the key inputs that somebody gave me, uh Hester Kaiser, she’s a curator in uh in Europe. When she saw the PDF, uh, Uh, actually she saw very old version of the PDF and things had changed by the time she responded to me, but she said that you know your choice of paper and the way you produce it, because these are such blink-and-miss scenarios. If you’re going to make this into like an art book, you know, like very expensive paper and hardbound and foldouts and you know, all those things, then it’s going to be a disservice. Then it’s it’s it’s going to feel something. It’s going to look something and it going to convey something together.

Tiffinbox:

Right? Right. Yeah.

Ritesh:

So that’s why I you know in the production stage. I like like having this feedback. I mean, it’s not like she told me use this. So use that or try this font try this thing, it’s that it helped me get rid of a lot of bullshit, you know. To produce something that looks fragile but is permanent in a way, uh, it’s exactly very very difficult.

Yeah, and uh more time consuming than producing something conventional,

Tiffinbox:

But you did find somebody locally to print it, correct.

Ritesh:

Yes, I I went to Pragati which is the – they are known to be the country’s best printing house, They are huge as in you know, my project is just like a drop in the ocean for them. But uh, they treat every customer on par so, I don’t think I would have got this kind of support from any other printer because I did my rounds of printing houses. I must have gone to about 70 odd printers.

Tiffinbox:

Oh my goodness, wow.

Ritesh:

Yeah, I got quotes and I got like, uh, you know paper samples etcetera because I kept looking I kept looking for you know, what’s the next?What’s the best what’s the next best thing I can get, and I stayed in Hyderabad. I saw the offset process entirely. I stayed there till be made about two proofs, which I came in, you know, which I got back home. And then the rest of the consignment came to me.

Tiffinbox:

Great. Um my last thought yeah, go ahead …

Ritesh:

And I think it’s important for any photographer to go through the process of how a book is made because I made so many last-minute changes and for the better not just like that but you know, it’s important to be part of the entire production also.

Tiffinbox:

I love I love your philosophy on this I completely agree with you and I hope uh more photographers who seriously, uh, you know looked at their either community or their town or village or city like you have uh will be able to produce something that says something a little bit different than the next photographer that also lives in the same town. I mean one of the things I love about uh photo books is that you know there. Take Paris, for example, you know, there’s lots and lots of photographs of Paris. But you know, there’s only uh a handful that have seen it really truly have seen it from the perspective of the people living there.

And I think that’s what I think you’ve done in producing this book. Um, what is it my last question to you? Uh, is this … Ritesh, what does it mean to you personally to have launched your first book?

Ritesh:

You know, there is a joke that used to go around about the Indian hockey team that they would get all these penalty corners and chances but they would be the worst at converting those into goals.

And I think you know, I have we live in a time where a lot of people do a lot of projects which don’t really see a conclusion or you know, and I speak for myself mostly that I do a lot of things that I feel like, oh I can. I do this I do this I just feel nice, you..

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G.E. Masana, a New York based wedding and portrait photographer has a boat-load of real-world experiences and advice on sales and marketing. If you are a wedding or portrait photographer, this post is for you.

I had the pleasure of speaking with G.E. Masana several months back about six specific strategies for wedding photography success:

The 6 Strategies For Wedding Photography Success

1. Be Strategy-Driven Rather Than Tactic-Driven
2. Strategy: Mean Something Significant To A Significant Number Of People, And For Which They'll Pay You Significantly More
3. Strategy: Responding To Inquiries – Stand Out From The Rest and Get Results
4. Strategy: Purpose Of The Phone Call Is To Set Up The Consult For Success
5: Strategy: “Just Get The Booking” and why
6: Strategy: Sales Without Pressure – Gently Guiding Your Prospective Clients To Sell Themselves On You

Mentoring & Courses

Click here for Mentoring, Coaching & Consulting Options

Maximum Wedding Album Profits contains business nuggets, aha! moments, insights and principles as well as a complete system for selling more wedding photos to place into your clients' wedding albums. A few booking strategies are thrown in for good measure.

Instead of a few hundred, you'll know how to set the stage to make thousands. I've averaged adding another up to $15,000 per wedding from regular every day couples with this system.

G.E.Masana's courses (yes, I bought these) are well-produced audio presentations that will help you move beyond the blocks you have:

How to Raise Prices, Increase Profits, Even When You Think You Can’t – Especially If You Think You Can’t

How To Turn Phone Inquiries Into Paying Clients

Other Resources

Listen to G.E. Masana's tips on sales or selling in Ben Hartley's Six Figure Photography podcast.

Buy the book: When They Say That, You Say This: For Wedding and Portrait Photographers – The Strategy for Handling Sales Objections

A Very Special, Time-Limited Offer

From G.E. Masana:

“So as you know, I'm playing with the idea of teaching wedding photographers my complete systems, strategies and tactics, which would cover everything from marketing to handling inquiries to getting bookings to after the wedding sales: the entire what to say, what to do and how to do it. No fluff and no cheer-leading, no theories, just solid info, everything 100% tested, proven and true.”

If you are interested in learning the strategies from booking to marketing your wedding photography clients, contact G.E.Masana right away. This offer is only for 5-10 wedding photographers, so you must act quickly. You have 1 week from the date of this post's publication to contact G.E. Masana.

Please include your name, location, how many weddings you do now and how many you want to do in the future, and how much money did you make photographing the weddings you say you have photographed.

If you enjoyed the interview and this post, would you please do me a favor and share it among your wedding photography friends please? Thank you!

Author information

The post G.E. Masana’s 6 Strategies For Wedding Photography Success appeared first on Views, Reviews & Interviews For Photographers On Tiffinbox.

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The #1 Question Asked By Photographers

“How can potential clients find me online?”

Even in 2018, a lot of photographers believe that all one has to do is upload photographs to a website and their clients will miraculously find them.

Adding to that myth are these words, “oh, I have a website but I haven't updated it in eons.” Then they chuckle.

Imagine your business is a steam engine (remember those?). The content you add frequently and consistently is the fuel for your engine to go faster and farther.

These are both huge problems that Galen Mooney of PhotographySquares is committed to solving for photographers.

If you want to be found online, your website needs to be set up properly and you need to be posting online often, sending search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo! (among many others) an alert that there is fresh content on your site.

Why Squarespace?

Right now I publish two other websites: Seshu Photography & Connecticut Headshots, both using the Squarespace platform.

While it was super easy to set them up initially, I kept hearing about how it was difficult to optimize Squarespace sites for search engines. Digging a little deeper, though, I found out that was not true at all.

Now, compared to WordPress websites that use plugins like Yoast SEO, there aren't any plugins or extensions for diving into SEO on the Squarespace platform. So, one has to set things up manually (but done once and checked often, you should be good to go).

I might have been poking around Google and Facebook when perhaps it was a targeted advertisement that presented Galen's 5-day SEO Challenge (going on right now, with tomorrow being day 5, so sign up now and you can watch the replays of days 1-4).

SEO For Photographers

This is Galen's promise:

SEO for Photographers is … “Made especially for Squarespace users! You'll learn how to optimize your image tags, how to tweak old pages and blog posts to get the results you want, and how to track your SEO success as you start seeing results.”

If you are considering a Squarespace website for your photography business or you already have a Squarespace site, you owe to yourself to at least check out Galen Mooney's 5-Day SEO Challenge first.

If you want to learn more, then sign up for her course, SEO for Photographers. She will be opening enrollment tomorrow with some special bonuses, after her one-hour special presentation in her Facebook group.

5-Day SEO Challenge

Go ahead and LIKE her page and you should see a notification for her 10 am presentation. Just as a teaser, here is Day 1 of her most recent SEO challenge:

Interviewing Galen

A few months back, I interviewed Galen. You'll learn in this short interview with why it's important for you to optimize your site and what she teaches in her course, SEO For Photographers:

How To Optimize Your Squarespace Website For Search Engines - YouTube

Of the two websites that I own that are using the Squarespace platform, I have used what Galen Mooney has taught me through her course on Connecticut Headshots and have seen a great many more inquiries and bookings. These are subtle or drastic changes – something as simple as using a H1 tag on each page or using the right descriptions when uploading images.

While she doesn't say it, I will … it pays to sweat the details. And like I say in the interview above, you won't be breaking anything when making those changes. If you find yourself flustered, Galen's Facebook group is a wonderful place to visit and ask questions and compare notes.

If you have a Squarespace site, you would do well to start optimizing it using Galen's advice.

Author information
Seshu is an Avon, Connecticut based family portrait photographer who creates intimate, sentimental and natural portraits for families who want to celebrate the love they have for each other. He also edits and publishes Tiffinbox, for photographers like you!

The post How To Optimize Your Squarespace Website For Search Engines appeared first on Views, Reviews & Interviews For Photographers On Tiffinbox.

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Learning Flash Photography

I recall my first attempts to learn flash photography and I failed miserably. I had one of those speedlights that pointed only in one direction and so my photographs were, let's just say, interesting and not very flattering.

It wasn't until I encountered a Nikon SB900 that I realized that a) the head could swivel and b) it could be placed off of the camera. This was all pretty exciting, but the flash was set on manual and I didn't have any structure to take the first steps into this (for me) new genre of photography.

So, I languished for a while before thankfully being rescued by Zack Arias. His simple, no-nonsense One Light Workshop set me afloat in a new and exciting direction. It's a resource I still recommend beginners.

Light It Up!

If you are going to go in all the way with flash photography, you might as well go all in. That's where the Belgian photographer Piet Van den Eynde comes in.

Piet (pronounced as ‘Pete') just released an updated and expanded second edition of his book, Light It Up! Techniques for Dramatic Off-Camera Flash [aff].

It's a 185-page behemoth of all kinds of great information about flash photography. He doesn't gloss over anything in the 12 chapters of this ebook.

You'll see below why I recommend Piet's book, Light It Up, as a must-have and must-read for photographers learning the new skill off-camera flash photography.

What's In The Ebook

In Piet's own words:

In the first two chapters, I cover some slightly boring yet incredibly important theory about light in general and flash light in particular. With all the hype regarding off-camera flash, you’d almost forget that there was a time when ashes were mainly used on-camera. That's why Chapter 3 is all about “on-camera ash,” where I show you some of the advantages and inconveniences before diving into the heart of this eBook: working with remote flashes.

Chapter 4 covers the basic techniques of working with one one off-camera flash. I start with a simple scenario of one flash and a couple of cheap accessories, such as an umbrella or a small soft box. In Chapter 5, I show you how to quickly set up a Nikon or Canon to wirelessly trigger an external flash. If like me, you’re working with another camera brand, the procedure is comparable. Chapter 6 provides a fail-safe walk-through on how to put the theory into practice.

Chapter 7 outlines some practical case studies, including images that were shot during a one-year bicycle trip where I only had access to limited gear. The photos show that with only one light, your creative options soar. Chapter 8 discusses the more advanced techniques of working with multiple ashes that can be bundled into a more powerful light source to compete with the sun, or set up in different parts of your scene to create a portable on-location studio.

Gear-wise, Chapter 9 continues where Chapter 4 left off with an introduction to some lighting accessories to complement the basic gear set up. Chapter 10 has more cases where I also show you how to work with portable studio flashes on location. This type of flash has become much more affordable in recent years, with the cheapest third-party portable studio flashes often costing less than the high-end brand name hot shoe flashes, all while offering 6 to 10 times more light output. Their higher output allows you to use them in situations where a single speedlight wouldn’t suffice.

Finally, Chapter 11 addresses flash photography and image editing. Like any other photo, flash photos often benefit from corrective or creative post-processing. In this final chapter, I walk you through a couple of examples.

Pretty comprehensive, right?

Click to view slideshow. What You'll Learn In Light It Up!

• How light behaves the way it does and how you can use the physics of light to your advantage

• Why using flash is not always a matter of increasing the quantity of light but rather changing its quality

• Why the brighter the sun shines, the more you’re in need of a flash

• How to save money when shopping for a flash system: the advice in this eBook will save you its purchase price many times over. You really don’t need the most expensive flash or softbox. Most images in the book were made with gear that costs less than half of what the big flash brands charge

• How you can get started with off-camera flash by using the built-in flash of your camera as a commander for an external flash

• Why modifiers are more important than the actual lights you use

• Why you should plan ahead when you start buying into a flash system

• How you can create super rich light on a budget by combining lighting techniques with some basic Photoshop skills

Early Bird Offer + Bonuses!

Piet just let me know that if you buy Light It Up before April 8th 2018, using this link, you’ll not only get a 20% discount (use code: seshu20), but you’ll also lock in two valuable pieces of bonus content:

1) A set of three bonus videos totaling 45 minutes in which Piet explains even more about his flash workflow. In the first video, ‘For The Birds’ you see him creating an iconic image of an Indian Sadhu on the Ganges, from capture to final edit in Photoshop. In the second video, ‘Layering Lights’, he builds upon the concepts that he explains in the post-processing chapter of the eBook. Finally, in the last bonus video, ‘Creating Light’, he takes you through a number of his images and explains his reasoning and lighting setup. 2) a set of 5 Lightroom presets.

Buy Light It Up! today.

Light It Up, by Piet Van den Eynde - YouTube

A Quick Review

My favorite saying and I act on it is this: The learning never stops! And to that end, finding credible teachers who happen to be active photographers is one of my missions, for your sake and mine. I've followed Piet's work for a number of years through and have been impressed with his energy and enthusiasm for traveling in what I would consider challenging parts of the world.

Add flash photography to his travel agenda and you have the makings of a teacher (pardon the pun) going the distance to show you what you are capable of doing with the right information and acquired skills. His ebooks (and I have several of them through Craft & Vision) are thorough, with the right examples, and more importantly, the right explanations. Too often, ebooks are nothing more than portfolio pieces. But Piet's ebooks double as that and as resources you will dive into whenever you have a question about flash photography.

One other thing really attracts me to Piet's work and it's his transition to Fujifilm mirrorless cameras. Like him, I am moving away from my Nikon DSLR's for the day-to-day work of family portraits, business portraits or events. Just yesterday, I photographed at a local dental clinic in Avon, Connecticut, photographing eight employees for their new website. I used Piet's advice from the book to set up my speedlights; one through a softbox and one hair-light modified by a MagMod diffuser.

Light It Up is a resource you will return to again and again in the future. I guarantee it!

Author information
Seshu is an Avon, Connecticut based family portrait photographer who creates intimate, sentimental and natural portraits for families who want to celebrate the love they have for each other. He also edits and publishes Tiffinbox, for photographers like you!

The post Learn To Light It Up With Piet Van den Eynde appeared first on Views, Reviews & Interviews For Photographers On Tiffinbox.

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Who Is ‘jetsonorama'?

Jetsonorama is Chip Thomas' public artist name. In addition to being a photographer, public artist and activist, he spends most of the time on the Navajo reservation in Arizona as a physician.

Today, as I scrolled through Facebook, I noticed a short documentary produced by KQUED Arts (see below) and I couldn't resist thinking about a few things.

The Commitment For Public Art

It is easy to be in awe of Chip Thomas' commitment when you take a look at Dr. Thomas' dual role of not only being a physician, but also a documentary photographer. What's our excuse for not finding a local cause, charity or organization where we too can give back to our community in our own special way: making art for them?

These murals aim to reflect love and appreciation of the rich history shared by the Navajo people back to Navajo people.

The Documentary

Street Artist Reflects Native American Dignity at a Monumental Scale | KQED Arts - YouTube

You Can Make It Happen

Dr. Chip Thomas is part of the Justseeds artists cooperative and manages The Painted Desert project. His GoFundMe page is very close to reaching its goal of raising $6000 to fund mural opportunities and youth arts education on the Navajo Nation.

Please donate liberally to make it possible for public artists like Chip Thomas and others to continue pursuing their life's mission.

What's Our Role As Photographers?

Assuming we aren't always in it for the money, do we use our skills in a way that makes a direct impact on other people? As a family portrait photographer in Connecticut, I would like to think that I am transforming the lives of children and their parents. But does what we do get measured and if so by whose standards?

Sound-off below in the comments. I am curious to hear your take on this subject. And, if you are working on a personal project, please do not hesitate to contact me. Ok?

Author information
Seshu is an Avon, Connecticut based family portrait photographer who creates intimate, sentimental and natural portraits for families who want to celebrate the love they have for each other. He also edits and publishes Tiffinbox, for photographers like you!

The post Public Artist Projects Navajo Life In A Dignified Way appeared first on Views, Reviews & Interviews For Photographers On Tiffinbox.

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