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Sponsor Activitation- “Instagram Pro” and A Studio In A Box

In the old days you’d shoot a polaroid and give it to the customer.  Today – we shoot; tag and share.

Studio in a box (and a bag)

Saturday – I’m shooting a corporate marketing event gig today (I’ve had three days notice) – the shoot requires me to setup a mobile photography studio at the end of a red carpet to create a “media event” like customer experience.

The photos will be branded with the sponsors message and sent to the guest (via MMS) – before they’re seated – well that’s the theory!

I don’t want to talk about my experience with Telstra over the last few days trying to get this sorted but just to say – that it was much faster to deal with Telstra through Twitter than their website and phone.

We’re at WIN Stadium down at Wollongong.  Parking is 200m from the venue; access is limited and setup time is less than an hour so I have to get everything into into one case (and a bag) for rapid deployment.  

Far out – the case weighs about 60kgs – there’s about 10kgs in sandbags; six light stands; two LED 18′ lights; four strobes; batteries; a strong tripod; power leads and clips.  The LED’s will give me some rim lighting but they’re really just there for “red carpet” effect. 

My camera bag is packed with two cameras (one for safety); four batteries; laptop; lens and cables – there’s about 15 kgs in there as well.

Fingers crossed it all works.

Post Event

The corporate guests were photographed with one of the team’s brand ambassadors (Wendell Sailor; Dean Young, Ben Craig; Shaun Timmins; Mark Gasnier) and the sponsor mascot. These photos then branded with the sponsor message and sent ASAP to the guest’s mobile via MMS with a phone number and hyperlink. In the majority of cases we were able to send these before they sat down at their table.

My Iphone personal hotspot died 1/2 way through the gig but I was able to quickly tap into the venues media WiFi network.

Guests then shared on social media.

 

book Page 1-Edit.jpgPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

 

We could have probably shot the whole thing on a Iphone/ Ipad but we wanted professional shots (lighting; resolution; glass) and not tie up the camera while editing and sending the shots.

With more time/ budget I’d do some smarter things with URL’s for tracking purposes and maybe tie in an intergrated Facebook Fan Page campaign element.

 

Client: Always Co / St George Illawarra Dragons

Agency: Creative Stars

 

Just Another Week of Full Moons, Landscapes, Sunrises and Big Boobs


My partner Kim rings me at around 5AM on her way to work – “quick getup the full moon looks fantastic” she says. I stagger out of bed, grab the camera and race off down to the Bay. Brrrr, I forget a jacket and beanie – it’s about 4 or 5C. My camera blinks – battery low, my spare batteries are back at home charging, I manage to get one shot off before the moon totally disappears behind the clouds (to the right) and then my battery dies. Maybe tomorrow.

Moonrise over Captain Cook Bridge

Wednesday – the swell is suppossed to be up, I head down Cronulla – the primary objective to shoot some cloud movement and also look to combine different photograph exposure layers.  I end up shooting some long exposure HDR shots instead.

Mid week sunrise down my local surf beach at Cronulla

Sunrise CronullaPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Best Seat In The House

Best Seats In The HousePhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Offshore and Bumpy

Winter WonderlandPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Friday 

Some experiments with compositing, skin tones and paint filters

c - 5Photo by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Advertising Photography – shooting green screen for Photoshop compositing

Last week I was down at Wollongong to shoot a few St George Dragons players for one of their sponsors game day activation campaigns.

The shoot was technically a bit different as we shot on blue screen so that we could then cleanly key the players onto a sponsors existing image (an outdoor shot with the setting sun onto a large excavator)

alwaysimageIn most case you’d shoot against a green screen but because of the green in St George Banks Happy Dragon it was best to change to blue.  

For green (or blue) screen shooting one of the most important elements is to get consistant lighting on the background to make the keying in Photoshop (or video editing) easier.  This uniform lighting usually requires a whole lot of diffused lighting BUT I’m now using a new reflective chromakey background screen technology which bounces back the blue (or green) light from a coloured LED ring that you put on your camera lens.

There’s some big benefits from this approach

  1. You achieve a perfectly lit background without the need for extra lights.
  2. The chromakey screen is very mobile (we’re able to setup in the players change room)
  3. Enables you to focus lighting and attention on the subject without being too concerned about light spill from the background.  In theory you’d be able to shoot the subject with something as little as candlelight.

For the subject I used 

  • 2 x constant 18 inch LED panels set at head eight and as close to 45 degrees either side to create rim lighting around the subject (increases edge contrast and key quality).  Set at -1 stop below key exposure.  These lights are flagged so that I’m not getting light coming directly back into the lens.
  • For the Key and Main lights I set up two speedlights per side through umbrellas set to the same 1:1 ratio flat look exposure.

 We wanted the flat look so that in Photoshop using Layer Effects we can match the lighting effect on the players to the original outdoor background image.

 Cindy offers to be my test model while I’m waiting for the players – I use her to try out some new techniques I’ve learnt from my Compositing guru Andrei from PSDBox (tutorial)

End Result of Test

Always IIPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Back to the job at hand, the player RAW photos are forwarded to the Phoenix Biz design guys who quickly key the players onto the old background.

A5-Flyer-6--frontback-High-Res-4-1-1

Getting More Photography Jobs through Internet Marketing

I’ve been doing a fair bit of work on my website over the last week as it’s not performing as well as it should or could.  The best way to approach this business challenge is the same way I’d approach any new digital media or internet marketing client

First of all – a Situational Analysis

Current Situation (take a breather and look around)

  • My photography website is not performing, traffic is only about 150 unique visitors per month; 250 page views and only a few requests for quote.
  • Photography services are “portrait photography”, “model photographer”, “actor headshots” in Sydney or more specificly St George and The Sutherland Shire
  • Test social media advertising campaigns have failed to generate any significant return on marketing investment.  Facebook fan page at 556.
  • Significant energy into Facebook and to lessor degree Google+
  • Photography skills are estimated in the top 15% of all photographers or at the lower end of the commercial photegraphy level  (this includes Photoshop post production)

Problems with Current Situation

  • Photography is a highly competitive marketplace with hundreds of new market entrants per month due to low cost barrier to entry – new camera technology adoption and internet distribution and marketing.
  • Descreasing mass media (magazines/ newspaper) commercial revenue opportunities as advertising dollars move online.
  • Most new potential customers will begin at search – Search Engine kewords or phrases like “photographer Sydney” are getting Google Adword rate of around $3.90 CPC (Cost per Click).  Great for Google and those with deep advertising budget pockets.
  • Website does not rank at all for common search terms.
  • No current strong market differentiation – ie unique style.
  • No significant reputation (at this stage)
  • The limiting perception that as an artist you must therefore be poor.
  • Previous lack of confidence (so many great photographers out there)

Proposed Solution

  • Develop a niche customer proposition / position and implement an optimised digital media strategy. Purely focus activity on the type of photography you enjoy most (and potentially revenue generating) – ie “fashion photography” and develop a marketing plan for that sector and
  • Find a niche and develop
  • Digital strategy and style pursued to be very focused – eg the success of light painting photography; boudior/ burlesque trend which I’ve seen evolve over the last couple of years.

Alternative Solutions

  • Do nothing and continue as is (not an option)
  • Try to incorporate photography into other business opportunities (eg marketing social media manager for a fashion brand)
  • Develop other advertising services and incorporate photography into that service offering (real possibility)
  • Develop own brand and incorporate photography.
  • Increase skills in digital media – eg compositing 

Benefits of Proposed Solution

  • Focus energy 
  • Develop style expertise and network of contacts

Cost of Proposed Solution

  • Time

Return On Invesment 

  • Financial – To early to tell
  • Job / Life Satisfaction

Next Action 

  • Start now
  • Lean Start Up
    • I’m a fan of Eric Ries and Steve Blanks Lean StartUp methodoloy – essentualy it’s about delivering a minimal viable product (MVP), getting out there in front of customers and constant improvement.

Digital Strategy

To get anything out of your website you really need to be in the top five for organic listings on the first page and the way you do that is through keyword and phases website search engine optiminisation.

That begins with a strategy of heading in one direction (and not the boy band)

As mentioned big generic photography search terms like “wedding photographer sydney” or “portrait photographer sydney” are highly competitive and fetching up to $3.90 CPC (Cost Per Click) in Google Adwords.  

What I tell all my digital marketing clients is that the way to online success is dominating a lessor searched term and buiding a sustainable competitve advantage – what that means is creating a reason why a potential customer will choose you and not some other photographer.

Toi be continued

 

Loves, Hates and Likes – Finding Your Tribe of Lovers

This post is dedicated to the fans of my photography.

For the last few days I’ve been going back over some old shoots, applying some new processing techniques and then comparing to the original to see whether I’m creating a better shot (see below).  

I suppose the key thing to constantly remember is what different people like is very subjective and it seems as as a photographer that you always seem to get to a point of saying no more work on an image so that you can move forward.  That is, to be happy with the work at that point of time then let it free to see whether your audience loves, likes, hates or ignores.

An artist friend of mine has an interesting take on this whole Facebook/ social media “like”thing  – he says he’s only interested in “loves” and “hates” of his work – that “likes” are commodities of familiarity and that “Likers” don’t buy his paintings (at around $10K a pop).

From a photographic development (and business development) point of view this approach is consistent with the writings of popular marketing guys like Seth Godin – that you need to focus on your early adapters or lovers of your work who will then advocate and spread your message.  The idea that even though the world is such as big and diverse place, in this digitally connected age you will find your tribe of lovers.

With the lastest processing I think I’ve probably gone too hard on the sharpening and the gradient layer I’ve added seems to wash out the middle too much – (particularly on the old LCD screen I’m typeing this blog on).

Ten minutes later when I look at the image – my model Lanny beautiful, the processing hmmm – again – I’m happy (but not loving) so it will stay until I look at again next time.  

2013

Original – 2008

Gatekeeper HeartPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Model: The lovely Lanny