Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Video interview for Ashiatsu massage studio

Videographer preparing camera for a video shoot in Austin, Texas
Checking video and audio settings
It was my great pleasure to work again with Christina Meehan, of Sole Symphony Austin. After a great photo shoot (see the photos on her website) earlier this year, we moved forward with a video interview. The videos will describe Ashiatsu massage and Christina's specific offerings, and provide her website with more great content to help her business' target audience.

Video interviews provide an excellent way to have a conversation with your existing customers and prospective customers, and provide more detailed information on what you provide without being to "salesy".

Videographer monitoring camera during a video shoot in Austin, Texas
Conducting a video interview
Her video interview will sprinkled with some of the still photographs we took before, samples of which are below.

Hands & feet during Ashiatsu

Enjoying an Ashiatsu session
Sole symphony Ashiatsu studio

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Matt's Five Fave recent articles on photo/video/design and other cool stuff

These are five interesting or useful articles I've come across recently:

How to Look Good in Self-Portraits Using the Power of Angles

Gulp. The world's largest stop-motion animation set, shot on a Nokia N8. - YouTube
  • This is one of the coolest things I've seen in a while - but I actually suggest watching the "Making of" video listed below, first.
Gulp. The making of. - YouTube
  • The "Making of" video for Gulp - actually puts the Gulp video in context. Absolutely fantastic.
Portraits of People’s Lives by Looking Inside Their Refrigerators
  • You might not ever look at your fridge - or anyone else's - the same way.
Cosmic Candid Camera: This is not an article but rather a blog. Follow my friend, John Langford, on his fantastic adventure around the world. He's in his early fifties, sold ALL of his possessions (except what fit in a backpack) and is now traveling the world having adventures. His photos, stories, and observations will peak your imagination, tickle your funny bone, and captivate you like few other blogs out there.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How to avoid these 10 business headshot disasters.

A business headshot is a staple of today’s media driven business world. Getting an excellent photo is more than finding some guy with a camera. It’s half finding the RIGHT guy (or gal) with a camera, and half doing your part to get outstanding results.

Do Your Part
  1. A banker, a designer, and a musician walk into a studio... Your headshot, as a component of your branding, needs to reflect the personality and tone of your industry, business, and you as a person. If you are a blues guitarist you don’t want to be mistaken for a banker. Angle, lighting, posing, and background all make up the aesthetic tone of a photograph. Be sure you are clear on the message you want your headshot to communicate.

  2. Shower, shave, and shine. Earlier this week I saw a man’s headshot that floored me. The man had 5 o’clock shadow to rival Homer Simpson’s! To look your best, have your photo made when you are freshly shaven and well groomed. Get your hair cut about a week before your session to give your cut a few days to blend in. I strongly recommend investing in the make-up and hair stylist option (for men or women). Most seasoned photographers can make one available.

  3. That’s so 2001! Unless you want a new headshot every year or two (and you might), choose clothing with solid colors vs. patterns; patterns date photos faster. Keep your jewelry simple and avoid accessories. Exception: if you’re known for having flair (not of the Office Space variety) and you’re okay with a faster photo expiration date.

  4. You look stiff & unnatural. Probably because you were stiff & unnatural. You have a lot of responsibility in this arena. This is the time to silence the voice in your head which says you never look good in photos - it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your attitude and desire to get the best photo possible is at least 63% of the battle.

  5. Death of a headshot. The newspaper is writing an article on you and needs your headshot ASAP. Your hard drive crashes! You have another computer, but the only copy of the file is now a useless jumble of ones and zeroes. BACK UP your headshot files! Have at least three copies saved on different media.

  6. Attack of the floating head. Think through the layouts of the three most likely uses for your headshot. This will impact the choice of background(s) to use. If your company’s website design is on a white field, a headshot with a white background will make you look like a floating, severed head. 

    “Can’t you change the background in the computer?”. Answer: “Yes, but...” Expect a real photographer to charge for this additional service. Plus, depending on various factors, changing backgrounds doesn’t always look natural and convincing.

  7. I look like I survived the Bataan Death March. Avoid looking tired, with puffy eyes, dark eye rings, bloodshot eyes, etc. I prefer scheduling people for headshots in the morning when most of us are the freshest. Do your part by getting good rest the night before. If you’ve been sick in the days before your session, talk with the photographer about rescheduling. Be honest about how you look on a day to day basis and consider hiring a make-up artist and/or using the photographer’s retouching services.

    Select the right photographer

  8. “But I paid 50 bucks for it.” Repeat after me, “You get what you pay for.” This is becoming more true as legions of people (who I affectionately refer to as Weekend Warriors) buy a camera at Costco and call themselves “professionals.” It takes luck to produce an acceptable photo; it takes craft to produce an excellent one. Look for a photographer with training and experience in lighting, posing, computer skills, as well as excellent customer service.

    Also, it’s essential your photographer have good interpersonal skills which are critical in helping you feel relaxed during your session resulting in better, more natural and personality-filled headshots.

  9. The Glowing Diva. We’ve all seen them, the “glamor shots,” featuring huge hair, spotlit backgrounds, radiantly perfect skin. Avoid overly stylized and over produced/contrived headshots - again, think in terms of your branding. This holds true for retouching too; go for a natural, subtle effect. Your clients want predictability and may be jarred when meeting you if your photo makes you look 20 years younger or 30 lbs thinner!

  10. Death of a headshot, Part 2. It’s a year after your headshot session and you can’t find your digital photo file. Your photographer was your neighbor Henry (not a real person) who took up photography on the side. Now you’re trying to reach him for your photo files. Here are some possible scenarios:
  • Henry moved out of state and you can’t reach him.
  • Henry still lives next door, but your files went into the trash with his old computer when he got a company provided laptop.
  • Or, Henry says, “Um, I’m sure I have your photos on CD somewhere... let me call you back when I’ve had a chance to look.”

    Full-time, professional photographers, who run a real business, have proper systems in place to archive and retrieve your images efficiently. Or, they will specify their policy on how long they store your files.
With the interconnection between all of our various electronic business tools: websites, blogs, social media channels, etc., an outstanding headshot is more powerful and more important than ever.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Canine chiaroscuro

Light areas, dark areas, and a fixated dog; what more could a photographer ask for?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Firefighter calendar kick off party & new video

Another photo from one of my sessions for the 2010 Austin Firefighters Calendar. My images will illustrate the March, April, May and January months. See my September postings for more photos.

The calendar release & signing party is this Thursday, November 12 at Cool River Cafe on Parmer starting at 6:30pm.

Below is a new version of my "behind-the-scenes" video from the calendar shoot (new music). It combines time-lapse footage plus stills from the sessions. Be sure to have your speakers on for the subtle background music.


Video not working (or want to see it larger)? Click here for the YouTube posting

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Oct 13, 2009: Firefighter calendar production video

(Video not working? Go to YouTube version)

This is a 2 minute movie combining time lapse video of my photos sessions for the 2010 Austin Firefighters calendar with the actual still photos from those sessions. I also added in some subtle music for your enjoyment.

See the previous two blog entries for other photos from this project.