Tag: spectacle photo

Top Ten Things Photographers Say That Have Hidden Meanings

Professional photographers have dealt with a lot, especially when they’ve been in this business for a decade or more. Because of this, we’ve come up with workaround phrases that we all use from time to time. Some are to save us from explaining ourselves over and over to different customers, and others are to make us look like we know exactly what we’re doing when, in reality, we’re still figuring it out. I’ve used all of these at least once, and some of them I still use all the time because they make life in this industry easier.    

1.  “Just one more shot.”

This is the most infamous thing we say. To a person who isn’t a photographer, this literally means one more click of the camera button. Oh, but they would be wrong.  “Just one more shot.” means that we have a specific shot we want to get, and you’re going to sit/stand there and let me take pictures until I get the one I want, even if it takes all night.

2. “I think we’ve got those, now lets try something a little different real quick.”

This means that we’ve taken the standard pictures you wanted, but the real reason you’re here is to be a test subject for my latest photography vision.  The “real quick” part is a lie, by the way.

3.  “Yes, we can make that photo edit. Are there any other edits you want? If there are, I’ll make those too. While I do that one.”

If you hear this, it probably means your photographer has already made edits for you, and now you’re asking for another one, and you’re trying his patience because he knows there’s more to come. All photographers loath opening the same picture day after day to make micro adjustments that nobody cares about, except for you. Making your eyes a shade lighter, then a shade darker, then lighter again is enough to make us want to vomit. Unless you’re paying for those adjustments, but you aren’t. If you’re asking for minor edits, that means the touch up fees for your photographers time haven’t hit. Once the meter starts running, magically your picture will be perfect without the changes.    

4.  “I need to expand my portfolio with some edgier, artsy shots.”

If you’re a female model, you’ve heard this a million times, and it means that you’ll hardly be wearing any clothes in the photos.  Photographers, especially male photographers, feel weird asking you to come in and take nude/naked pics, so we replace it with “edgy” and “artsy”.  

5.  “I was going to use a beauty dish for this shot, but I don’t think we’ll need it.”

That’s short for “I forgot to bring that piece of equipment, now let me figure out how to move on without it.” It happens to the best of us, from time to time.

6.  “Yes, that’s a good idea, but it would look better if we did this instead.”

That means your idea is bad and/or impossible. If your photographer has been around the block, he knows more about limitations than you do. If you’re wearing a yellow shirt, a yellow background isn’t a good idea, so how about we go with a grey background instead…  

7.  “We can do it there, but our studio would be good too.”

Clients think the locations they have in mind for their photos will be awesome, but a lot of the time they aren’t. Photographers don’t like hauling all of their equipment all the way across town to shoot on the blue wall in your office. They have a blue background in the studio, and there’s already lights sitting in front of it.   

8. “We’ll send you your photos through Dropbox or Google Drive.”

Buying Blueray’s and thumb drives, that we then have to mail, is a huge pain. We hate doing it. It also adds to turnaround times, and since no customer likes being charged extra for discs or a thumb drives it comes out of our pocket. We live in a digital age, so learn how to use the tools that have been made available and your life will be easier.  

9. “Don’t worry about it, we can take care of that in Photoshop.”

What photographers really mean is “I’m being lazy so I’ll just try to figure something out later in post, even though I probably won’t because it’ll take forever.” This is a major pitfall in the photography world, and one of the things that we here at Spectacle really try to avoid. We take great pains to make the photo exactly as it should be in the raw photo, because using photoshop as a crutch rarely ends well.

10.  “I only shoot with natural light.”

This means your photographer doesn’t know how to use strobes and other lighting techniques, and he quakes in fear at the thought. Natural light is the first thing any beginning photographer learns how to use, so if that’s all he/she wants to work with, he/she probably never expanded their knowledge beyond that. Lighting with strobes and other advanced lighting tools is tricky to learn, but any photographer worth their salt can do it.  

If you have anything we missed, leave it in the comments on whatever platform you’re reading this through. If we get enough of them we’ll do another list. Now, who’s up to take some edgy, artsy photos?

caleb morgan, commercial photographer, Orlando, photography, rich johnson, spectacle photo, top ten

Should You Ignore Your Local Photography Community?

I’m a member of a local photography Facebook page here in Orlando, and today I saw this graphic: 

Sorry about the bad quality, I couldn't find it on Google images so I pulled it off Facebook.
Sorry about the bad quality, I couldn’t find it on Google images so I pulled it off Facebook.

It’s so true.  Whenever we post our work online it’s always picked up and/or praised by the national and international photography communities, but never by our local one. So we sat around Spectacle Photo today wondering why that is, and we’ve come to a conclusion: the bad eggs ruin photography communities for everyone, locally speaking.  You see, to have any kind of voice in the international community you need to have reached a certain level of professionalism and quality as a photographer. To have a voice locally, you don’t need anything. Any no-talent egomaniac can get online and blast nonsense on local groups and forums, and since the local groups are smaller, nonsense can leave more of an impact.  

Who are the bad eggs, you ask?  Here’s the top five douchebags bringing down local scenes everywhere:

1. The Complainer

     You’ve heard from this guy a lot.  He’s the guy complaining that they sell DSLR’s at Best Buy for so cheap.  He complains about everyone these days claiming to be “photographers”(always in parenthesis, just to add some extra doucheyness).  He goes on and on about how everything in the world is holding him back. The economy, the photography community, photo software, available talent, etc.  You name it, he complains about it. 

This guy will forever be stuck in Nowheresville, and he only has himself to blame.

2. The Gear Snob

     The Gear Snob is the guy running around letting everyone know he thinks their equipment sucks.  “So, THAT’S your lens?”.  Your photos will be judged by the equipment you took them with, and he’ll always be there to let you know what “you need”. Then he proceeds to take garbage photos with unnecessary equipment he doesn’t know how to use, if he even takes pics at all.  Most of the time he just stands around talking about how you should get the new Canon being released next month or just quit photography.

3.  The Socially Awkward Jerk

      You’ll find TSAJ at any local photography gathering or forum.  He loves to tell the models their poses are amateur, they aren’t pretty enough for the shots he wants, and then he’ll creepily ask them to do a shoot at his house.  He openly lets other photographers know they’re doing everything wrong, and that his way is better.  You can always count on TSAJ to tell you how successful he is and why you’re not. 

After awhile you’ll see him all alone, awkwardly taking photos of birds right before he goes home and uploads them on his broken website with his homemade logo plastered all over them.

4.  The Photoshop Bandit

     Oh Photoshop Bandit, how I hate you.  He’s always online, dropping comments on your pics telling you how you should fix everything about them in photoshop. Then he’ll get busy uploading his pics of models, or what used to be models until he got them into Photoshop and turned them into blurry, plastic abominations. This modern day Frankenstein cuts, clones, spot colors, and liquefies his way into a garbage photo nirvana, all while laughing at your conservative adjustments. Don’t worry, you too can over-process your photos, just click on the tutorials that he made of himself butchering photo after photo. This guy only exists within local communities because his work is terrible, and national and international outlets don’t recognize him in any way.

Step away from Photoshop and put your hands in the air, Photoshop Bandit.  You’re under arrest for crimes against photography.

5.  The 90’s Photographer

     This guy, in my opinion, is the worst.  He is what truly crushes the spirit of local photography communities.  In the late 90’s, he was making bank.  Bad photo editing was allowed back then because photo editing of any kind was impressive, so he never tried getting good with editing software. He didn’t have to. Fast forward to now:  his photography looks old and dated, his fanbase has dwindled to nothing, and he’s very, very bitter.  If you post a photo, he’s there to dump on it. If you have a new business idea, he’s there to tell you he’s done it and it won’t work.  Instead of helping you, he’d rather take his photography knowledge, locations, client referrals, and anything else useful he knows/has and throw it all in the garbage.  

Because of the recession that happened years ago, this guy’s bitterness is in full force.  Be wary of him, because he’ll do anything he can to hold his local photography community back so he can worm his way back into the limelight.  

The people on this list, of course, are the extreme cases.  Just because a photographer complains doesn’t make him destructive, and not every photographer working in the late 90’s is a raging douche-a-holic.  Sadly though, these people do exist, and they ruin the party for everyone.  With their forces combined, they bring down entire local communities with their inflated ego’s and negativity. 

So what do you do about it? Refuse to participate. If you don’t engage with these people, they can’t affect you in any way. No matter how awesome or crappy your photos are, there will always be someone there to try and tell you how bad they suck.  There’s nothing you can do about it, and there just happens to be more haters in local networks.  Local communities aren’t going to change, these people will always be there. It’s not worth arguing online about photography, there’s no end to it.  When someone is being a jerk on one of your posts, just ignore it.  Don’t respond, don’t delete it, just ignore it.  When someone tells you you can’t do something in the photography industry, just ignore them and do it anyway.

The best thing to do within a local community platform is show your work.  That’s it.  People will see it, like it or hate it, and your job is done.  When you go online, just post your photos and leave. Drop the mic.  


caleb morgan, commercial photographer, community, Orlando, photography, rich johnson, spectacle photo, top 5

Photographing Cosplay

When I was a kid I went to my local comic book shop with my dad. When we arrived, the place was packed full of people because of a comic book signing that was going on.  As we tried to walk in the crammed space, we saw a man dressed up in a homemade Batman costume waiting in line, clutching his comic books. My dad looked at him, rolled his eyes, and said, “Ok, we’re getting out of here.  The weirdos have arrived.”

My dads comment might sound mean and judgmental, but back then cosplay wasn’t socially acceptable.  If you dressed up in the costume of your favorite superhero and went out in public, it meant that you had no job, didn’t shower, and lived in your parents basement.  Today, however, this is not the case.  Now, millions of cosplayers every year attend conventions, parties, special events, parades, and more.  If you go to a comicon now and you’re not dressed up, you’re the one out of place.  I think this shift in public opinion has happened due to the internet. Its given cosplayers the ability to show the world how fun it can be dressing up like a hero and going places with your friends. The public has also seen the art that’s involved in the world of cosplay; the costumes that people make are really amazing, and they get better with each passing year. 

Cosplay is one of our favorite genres to photograph.  Our subjects have so much passion for what they do and the things they create.  We’re constantly blown away by the costumes and props people bring in.  It’s very important to us that we capture all of that hard work and creativity in a way that really brings it to life.  Most cosplayers that come to us bring in costumes that are based off either movies or comic books, so that’s what we make our final images look like.  We have the ability to do this because we have deep roots in filmmaking and film history, and that knowledge guides us to our final images. Rich and I never set out to just take a photo, our goal is to tell a story.  When we plan out a shot we pick a look and pose that will be striking enough so when people look at it they can fill in the before and after story in their own mind.  Then we just stand back, cross our fingers, and hope it worked.

Model: Lauren Oh
Model: Lauren Oh
Model: Lauren Oh
Model: Lauren Oh
Mask/Costume By Matt Sprunger   Model: Matt Sprunger
Mask/Costume By Matt Sprunger   Model: Matt Sprunger
Mask/Costume By Matt Sprunger   Model: Matt Sprunger
Mask/Costume By Matt Sprunger   Model: Matt Sprunger
Costume By Blue Whale StudiosModel: Jonah Levy
Costume By Blue Whale StudiosModel: Jonah Levy
Costume By Blue Whale StudiosModel: Jonah Levy
Costume By Blue Whale StudiosModel: Jonah Levy

blue whale studios, caleb morgan, captain america, commercial photography, cosplay, costume, orlando photographer, portrait, rich johnson, samus, scarecrow, spectacle photo

That Devil Social Media

So Rich and I are ramping up our social Media efforts.  Over the post couple of years our updates have been strong in some places, but pathetic in others. I mean, we’ve posted to our Facebook page twice in the last three months, and that’s not good.  The thing is that its been hard getting around to it in the beginning months of us opening our new studio, but now we’re focusing on making the time.  Starting next week we’ll be posting pics almost daily across all of our social media platforms and a new blog will come out every week.  I’m sure that the MILLIONS that read our blog will be thrilled! Haha. I don’t know what pic I should post on this, so here’s the intro to Silicon Valley.  All posts need a visual.

caleb morgan, commercial photography, Orlando, rich johnson, senior portraits, social media, spectacle photo

Create Light!

A lot of people ask us how we light our photos, almost like we hold some sort of secret technique that pulls our photos into that high-quality, commercial territory.  Want to know the secret? Make it up. That’s all there is to it.  Of course we know the basics, like three point lighting set-ups and all that, but to get something truly unique you have to play with the lights.  Standard lighting set-ups will give you photos that are clean and even, but saying, “Hey, what happens if we move this light over here and, uh, put a blue scrim over it?” is what actually keeps our images looking fresh.  Also, it’s very helpful to keep track of how you light your photos. We had to start writing down how we lit our projects because customers would ask us to recreate a mood from one of our previous photos, and we’d have no idea how we did it.  

Personally, I get bored pretty easily with natural light photos, so it’s nice that a lot of Spectacle’s projects use HyperSync. HyperSync is a process that lets us shoot at very high shutter speeds, while also still allowing us to capture very cool lighting effects. When we’re shooting outside we can overpower the sun and substitute it with our own lighting.  I don’t like ambient light determining the looks our photos; I’m a fan of building it from the ground up.  This, of course, wouldn’t make sense for a lot of projects we do like Lifestyle and culture shots, because those demand mostly natural light, but it’s great for those projects that demand a different look. Photos taken with HyperSync tend to have a very imaginative feel to them, and give our photos that should look normal a creative edge.  We also surprise ourselves the most with this process. Since HyperSync involves blasting light everywhere, we come up with all kinds of crazy ways to make our photos stand out.  For example, we did a fitness shoot awhile ago, and we took one of our lights, turned it all the way up, laid it on the ground behind and to the left of the subject, and aimed it at our camera.  We then put up a fill light and began shooting it.  We had no idea what it was going to look like, but we ended up with the image below on the very first shot.  

Model: Jamie Flowers, Hair and Make-up: Eva Guy-Reed
Model: Jamie Flowers, Hair and Make-up: Eva Guy-Reed

Don’t be afraid to test new lighting set-ups! When Rich and I do a shoot we get the work that we’ve been paid for done and out of the way, and then we ask the model or customer if they wouldn’t mind sticking around to try out some different lighting styles. This way you already have a subject to photograph, and if they turn out awesome you’ll have new pics for your portfolio instead of photos just of yourself.  So go put your lights everywhere and have fun!

advertising, caleb morgan, commercial photographer, hypersync, orlando photographer, rich johnson, spectacle photo

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