BLOG + VLOG of AUTUMN THEODORE PHOTOGRAPHY
CROPPING + ALIGNING
I crop images for a number of reasons. Sometimes I want the subject to be more of the focus, other times I want to crop out part of the image that I don't like (maybe someone began to walk in front of me, or there's a power line I can see crossing the sky at the top of the image). There's a long list of why I might crop a photo. I also align images while I crop them. If I wasn't holding the camera perfectly even to the ground, I use cropping like a level to be sure the photo is straightened.
ADJUSTING COLOR BALANCE
Due to various lighting situations (and how frequently they can change dramatically), I edit the color balance to be sure the image looks just like my eye saw it in real life (that's my "style" of photography). Sometimes the color is too cool or too warm. (See examples below.) Like Goldilocks, I like it just right.
High quality DSLR cameras do a great job creating sharpened images, especially when using auto focus. However, I use Lightroom to sharpen it even more!
When parts of images have shadows that I want to have more light, I brighten them when I edit.
REMOVING UNWANTED FEATURES
People often think of this as blemishes or flyaways only. Nope! I often want to remove dirt on the ground, a car from the background, someone's name tag, or a fire alarm on the wall (more common than you'd think!).
I hope that helped explain what I do after the shoot! :)
Portraits by Megan Leigh Barnard
Gels are used with flash to add color to photos - think of it like a filter. Today, I'll explain how simple it is to start getting creative with color!
Links, as promised!
(If you're just getting started with flash, check out this video first.)
Other than consultation meetings and calls, I don't have a TON of prep work before the corporate events I shoot. I need to be sure I have a shot list, that all of my batteries are charged, and that I'm taking the lenses I need. However, the editing afterwards takes just about as much time as it took me to shoot. So for a 2 hour event, I'm likely spending nearly two hours at home editing. Which is why shooting is only half the work.
For Meredith, event work with clients has an insane amount of prep work - she needs to know what they like, what they don't like, work through several iterations of design, details, preferences, etc. TONS of prep work. She's also present at the event, then has work to complete after.
While our work is so different, we both have long lists of things we do that will be forever "behind the scenes." Creating quotes for our work is one of the first steps in a new client relationship. If you've ever gotten sticker shock looking at a service provider's price quote, just remember there's often a lot more work outside of when you're present, and you can ALWAYS ask questions, negotiate, and ask if variations are possible. We are so happy to share our work with you. :)
There is no doubt that captivating photography and product imagery can enhance your brand exposure and engagement with your customers, but there are a couple of things that you should consider once your have your final image files prior to adding those beautiful pics to your site to ensure you are maximizing their impact.
Compress Your Images
When your images are delivered to you they are likely going to be full-size. This is great because it allows you to use them how you see fit, however prior to using them on your website, you will want to compress them.
Compressing an image ensures that the file size is as small as possible without sacrificing the quality of the image. Depending on what kind of platform your site is on, there may be some built in tools or plugins that you can use to accomplish this. If not, here are some free online tools that can help you:
To the naked eye, you will not be able to tell that the image is different. To search engines and user-experience, it means that your site will not be bogged down by large files and it won’t sacrifice site load times.
Name Your Images
Once you have downloaded your new compressed image, you will want to give it a descriptive, yet short file name. File names and another feature called alt tags help search engines to understand what your image is. Search engines currently cannot see images as we do, so we need to provide them with the context necessary to index and rank them accordingly.
Take the picture above, a bad image file name would be IMG_367.jpg, instead National-Kitten-Day-Kitten.jpg would be more appropriate and useful.
Now, on to alt tags, like image file names, alt tags help search engines understand what the image is. Alt tags should be concise and use natural language.
A good example of an alt tag for the above photo would be “Kitten on floor for national kitten day”. Your website platform will determine where you need to add this alt tag, but in HTML, which is not visible to website viewers, it would look like this:
<img src=”https://yoursite.com/National-Kitten-Day-Kitten.jpg” alt=”Kitten on floor for national kitten day”/>
Support the Image
Now that your image is compressed and optimized, you need to support it. The content on the page that this picture is featured on should be relevant to what the picture is. Search engines use context clues to not only understand images, but to rank pages for relevant keywords.
So if you added the picture to a page about engineering, then it would not make sense for search engines to rank that page highly for National Kitten Day. If the content on the page was about the history of National Kitten Day and the celebrations through the years, it would be appropriate for that page to rank well when individuals are searching terms related to National Kitten Day.
Search engines use multiple site components to determine which pages are most relevant to respective keywords, this creates a better user-experience when it comes to finding exactly what you are looking for when you Google it.
By following the suggestions laid out, this will help your site rank better for relevant keywords in both traditional and image searches, and it will ensure your wonderful images are not slowing your site down. To learn more about SEO considerations for your website, reach out to us at https://www.holisticmarketingllc.com/
Let's consider the differences between RAW and JPEG.
I have always shot in JPEG. While I do love how much storage space I save by not shooting in RAW, I also feel comfortable shooting in JPEG since I do a lot of "editing in camera." What does that mean? When I take a photo, I look at it - if I don't like it (too light, too dark, etc.), I change my settings and keep shooting until it's right. When I edit on my computer later, it takes much less time than if I just shot a bunch of images without checking the quality in the moment. This gives me control over how much editing I have to do later. (Cons? I have less control over editing since less info is stored on a JPEG file - but like I said, I'm comfortable with this!)
If you're shooting for fun, your options are up to you. If you're shooting for a client, they might ask which format you're using. You may have to have a conversation with them about which format(s) you use and why.
Just remember - weigh the pros and cons since it is UP TO YOU.
If you're indoors and feel like you can't get great natural lighting, head to a window and use a reflector - no flash involved!
Reflectors make a HUGE difference - and are a cheap way to achieve lighting needs.
If you're looking for a reflector, you've got options!
A big thanks to Megan, owner of Studio 614 (where we shot the video!), for being a model and helping create the video. :)
If I can answer any questions, feel free to email me or comment below!
We MUST have a sense of direction.
Why the heck would a photographer have to have a sense of direction? Well, there are a few reasons:
New to owning a DSLR and have no idea what these numbers on your lenses mean? (Or maybe you've had a camera for a while and still don't know!) I'm here to help - let's talk about focal length!
Below are examples of how focal length of various lenses drastically changes each image - especially since these were all taken with my arm in the the exact same location!
Just remember these two things:
My background is in journalism. I have a Broadcast Journalism degree from the University of Kentucky. After graduation, I spent 10 years in local television news. I worked as on-air talent in Parkersburg, WV, Birmingham, AL, and Lexington, KY. Our family moved to Savannah, GA right before coming back to my hometown of Columbus.
Shortly after our move back to Columbus, I was approached by co-owner of Zest Juice Co. Natalie Helman to take over their social media platforms. At the time, Zest only had one location (Grandview) and Natalie and her husband didn’t have time for social…but it was a necessary tool for their business model.
I quickly learned social media could be a major headache for many startups and small businesses who do not have the marketing budget. I founded White Barn Media in 2015 in hopes of helping small businesses connect with their target audience and create a big impact within their community.
What exactly does a social media manager do?
Social media is so much more than posting a few pictures online. There’s a balance to everything and social media is no exception. Sometimes it’s a balance between art, risk and analytics. Nothing is surefire with social media, it’s a living breathing thing that is constantly evolving. That being said, staying on top of trends is one of the most important duties of a social media manager. Creating new campaigns, monitoring the success and failure of the campaigns, and constantly staying connected to your phone are also important duties for a successful social media manager. Keeping my clients in the loop on the numbers behind the campaigns is critical. I try to keep an open mind to all campaigns and offer suggestions for tweaking what worked and what didn’t.
What makes White Barn Media different than large agencies?
Most large agencies have dozens if not hundreds of clients. I like to keep my client base small to guarantee more one on one attention for each client’s brand. I don’t use automatic posting software such as Hootsuite or Buffer to post, as I like to keep my posts fluid and organic with the weather, time of day, and what’s happening. Because my client base is small, I am always connected to their accounts and have accessibility to any questions, comments, inquiries or complaints.
What are your favorite apps and resources that support White Barn Media?
My phone is filled with third party apps to help curate creative content for my clients. Some of my favorites are Word Swag, Adobe Spark, Snapseed, Canva, and Lightroom. I prefer Square Space for web design and Wordpress for blogging. And I’m always connected to Pinterest for creative ideas!
What does your typical day look like?
Like most Americans, I check my phone first thing when I wake up. I monitor all comments, mentions, direct messages for my clients and quickly respond to any inquires or concerns. I then take a quick glance at Twitter to see what is trending for the day. After I post during my clients' peak hours, I monitor any quick comments that come in and engage with their audience. During the morning hours I will also click on some of my clients' followers’ profiles and engage with their posts. From there, it’s really monitoring the feeds, answering emails and creating fresh content for the next day.
What other services do you provide?
Currently, I offer bundled social media services like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and more. I also offer web design, photography and videography. SEO and SEM can also be bundled in my web design package.
Are you taking new clients?
Yes! I would love to hear from you if you think White Barn Media would be a good fit for your small business. Additional information about my company can be found at www.whitebarnmedia.com.
After nearly 15 months of start-and-stop planning, collaboration, writing, design, and edits, you are viewing the updated version of my website! And I am SO pleased.
I'm really proud of the updates since they showcase more of my work. I created portfolio pages for each type of photography I provide (brand, portrait, event, and product), which include sample photos, client stories, and reviews. I also designed a new resource guide (in the footer of each page) which helps explain how to prepare for brand photography.
I could not have done this without Brandi Lust (for her amazing website vision/goal consulting skills); Kelley Engelbrecht (for her incredible writing skills); and Sandi Theodore (Mom!), Alida Smith, Andy Gottesman, Brittany McClaskey, and Jared Gibbons for their consultation/feedback/editing help. Thank you all!
Writing and vlogging to entertain, educate, expose, and encourage.
A few of my favorite shots, available for purchase for both personal and commercial use. SEE GALLERY
READY FOR BRAND PHOTOGRAPHY?
I created a free resource guide to help maximize your photography experience, no matter who you're working with.