The Power of Post-Processing

In this post, I want to talk about post-processing images. In today's world, everyone is taking photos and doing some type of post-processing of their images. Today it is very easy to use some free or cheap post-processing apps or software to edit your photos. Some apps are very powerful and easy to use. However, it is important to understand not all post-processing apps and software is not the same and you can use a variety of combinations of software to get some amazing effects. The bottom line is, photo post-processing is very important for any photographer. 

So what is photo post-processing? According to Improved Photography, photo post-processing is "When shooting JPEG the camera is doing this for you in a pre-determined way that can't be reversed. When shooting RAW the photographer has to (or gets to) do this on the computer. This cooking of the RAW image using the software on a computer is one form of post-processing". So what can of software can you use to post-process your photos besides smartphone filters? The reality is there are a variety of software products you can use, like Photoshop, Lightroom, Luminar, Arora, etc... Most software products can make a big difference in most images. However, it does take patience, the willingness to learn the software and be willing to invest in some more advanced post-processing software. 

Presets can be very helpful when it comes to improving your images. According to According to Verno Ho Photography,  "a preset is a pre-configured look that you can apply to any number of photos with one click. If you're familiar with using filters in Instagram, VSCO, or any other photo editing application, then you're already familiar with using presets". The great thing about presets is you can get many great presets packages from very experienced photographers and companies. One of my favorite resources for presets bundles is Sleeklens. Sleeklens offers and wide-range of packed presents for Lightroom and Photoshop. They even have training courses to help improve your photography skills. To learn more about Sleeklens presets you can visit Sleeklens . I highly recommend their preset packages and training courses. 

So is there a big difference when you use post-processing software? Why, yes there is. Take a look at this photo of the USS Battleship North Carolina I edited. The image was shot in RAW and edited with two different software post-processing products; Lightroom CC and Aurora HDR. As you can see from the initial original photo the image has no detail and the image is basically a flat unimpressive image. However, if you apply some of the features using a great software program you can dramatically improve the image and make the image come alive. With presets, you can experiment with a variety of looks for an image. If you maintain the original RAW image you can re-edit the image as many times as you like. That is the fun part of post-processing your images. 

 Initial RAW Image

Initial RAW Image

 After Post-Processing

After Post-Processing

Photo-processing can make an image so much better. Filters on smartphones are cool, but nothing compares to software designed specifically to improve your photos. Keep in mind that it is a good idea to try a combination of software programs. It can greatly improve your images. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

 

 

Using a Drone to Capture a Piece of Jamestown History

One of the best things about having a drone is the ability to capture images of locations that are not available to the public. I live near one of those locations. Actually, the location is a historic site in Jamestown North Carolina and just across the street from where I live. I have lived in Jamestown since 2005 and have always wanted to visit the historical Oakdale Cotton Mill site but I knew I would not be able to. I have always wanted to know what was behind the old metal fences and how much the site had changed since it stopped its operations. I knew there was a great deal of history about the mill because Jamestown is a very historic location. You can read more about Jamestown's unique history by visiting Jamestown History

 The Oakdale Cotton Mill

The Oakdale Cotton Mill

What I wanted to see was the condition of the mill. I was always curious about the mill and driving by the mill just about every day did not lessen my curiosity. So, I decided to use my drone to help me explore the old mill from the air. With the drone, I could fly over the location and see the condition of the mill and view a part of the Jamestown history. After flying over the buildings I could see why people are not allowed to enter the property. The building is in pretty bad shape but the area was clean. I was able to see the old towers up close and even the creek that was located near the building. I am sure the creek that was hidden by the heavily wooded area played a part in the mill's history and I never knew it existed until I was able to fly the drone over the area. One reason I wanted to fly over the mill was I was guessing the mill would not be around forever. One day, the town may clean up the area and a part of the history of the time would be gone. I wanted to capture images of the mill my drone allowed me to do that. Another site that I always wanted to see up close was an old water tower at the Phillps Velvet Mill. After 13 years I was able to view the tower up close by using my drone. 

 Philips Velvet Mill Tower

Philips Velvet Mill Tower

 A Historical Landmark

A Historical Landmark

Drones can be a lot of fun but they can also be a great tool to help record images of historical sites. There are a few places in Jamestown that are historical sites but all that remains are signs indicating that the site had some historical value. With my drone I was able to capture images of the old mill in Jamestown before physical evidence of a historical site is gone forever. 

If you have a drone it is a good idea to practice as much as possible with your drone. Many people that have a drone don't practice enough and are unsafe with their drone. A drone can be a very valuable tool for a  photographer because it allows a photographer to capture unique images that many people never get to see. The last thing you want to do is lose your drone because of some unsafe practice or inability to properly control your drone. Besides, drones are not cheap. So practice safely and often. 

Have you ever captured images of a historic location with a drone? I would love to hear your story. Feel free to leave a comment or your story. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Why Photographing Special Events Are Important

Photographing events can be a challenge and a lot of fun. On the 4th of July, I wanted to attend a special event in my little town of Jamestown NC. Jamestown routinely has events to celebrate special holidays and honors our nation's veterans. On July 4th, they held a special ceremony of the raising of the Betsy Ross flag and I wanted to photograph the event. 

 The Betsy Ross Flag

The Betsy Ross Flag

I really enjoy photographing special events. I realize that photographing and videoing special events are important because photographs help captures special moments in time. I don't look at images the way many people do. For some, a photograph is a nice thing to have and may not be that meaningful at the time. But as time goes on, a photograph or video becomes priceless.  I look at not only the photograph but the subjects in the photographs. I wonder who they, their life, and where will they be later on in life. A photograph allows me to capture that very special moment in time. 

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The reality of how powerful a photograph came to me after I had photographed a veteran's ceremony in the small town of Sawmills North Carolina. I did some photography work for the mayor of the town. I had actually done some photo restoration work for him before I even met him. Then I got to meet him at a ceremony that he was hosting. When I met him he introduced me as his personal photographer to his friends, which I was honored. I photographed the event and I wanted to make sure I captured many photos of veterans in the ceremony as well photos of the mayor. I am glad I did. A few months later, sadly, the mayor passed away. It was a shock to many people. I was a shock to me. He was not an old man and seemed in good health. Later, I went back and looked at the old photos from the event and realized how lucky I was to have capture those photos of the mayor before he passed away. 

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At the July 4th event in Jamestown, I thought about the Sawmills mayor. The photo shoot was very similar. It was a small town event and I wanted to capture a few photos of the event. I wanted to capture the people there. As I looked at the crowd I began to wonder, who are these people and where will they be in the future? I learned a long time ago that photos are important because as I take any photo I realize that I am capturing history. Call me crazy but when I see old photos I look at the faces in the image and wonder whatever happened to those people? Are they still with us? One day, my photos will be considered old and maybe one day someone will wonder the same thing. 

I never take photographing special events or people for granted. I understand the power of a photograph and enjoy being able to capture a part of history or a special part of someone's life. Being a photographer allows me to do that and there is nothing wrong with being an active historian of history. My advice is if you have a camera, try to capture special events in your life. You and others will be glad you did. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Becoming a Freelance Photographer

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Photography and videography are one of those businesses that offer so many opportunities for someone that is in business for themselves. However, it is pretty much a known fact that running a photography business can be expensive, time-consuming, and most photographers and videographers don't make a lot of income. That is why many photographers only do photography on the side and make a few bucks for each job they get. Most photographers that want to make money want to start their own business and want to work for themselves. Very few rarely look at the benefits of working as a freelance photographer. In this post, I will talk about what is a freelance photographer, can all photographers do freelance work, and should photographers focus on specific products and services or should they expand their skill sets to do freelance work. 

So what is a freelance photographer? If you look up the definition on the Internet you can find a wide variety of definitions for the term. In most cases,  a freelance photographer is simply someone that does photography work for others besides themselves. Being a freelance photographer can be profitable if you can find the right business or company that needs your skills. Being a freelance photographer can be expensive because another business is normally not going to provide you with gear, equipment, and software to do a job. So a good freelance photographer has to have the proper gear to do the job. Freelance work can be very time-consuming and can require travel and additional travel expenses. Lastly, freelance photography work is normally a "contract" type of employment which means there is no normal work schedule and companies don't offer benefits. So pretty much, you are on your own. 

Now you may think that being a freelance photographer is not that great but there are some advantages to becoming one. Depending on the work, the money might be pretty good in some cases. I recently saw a freelance real estate job that was willing to pay over $75 an hour to do real estate property shoots within a 30-mile radius in my local area. That is pretty good money if you have the flexibility to do the work, the time, and don't mind the travel. Being a freelance photographer can be exciting because you normally don't do the same thing or shoot the same thing on every project. You may do portrait shoots, all types real estate shoots, special events, video shoots, or even drone photography work. So there are some benefits from becoming a freelance photographer and incorporate those services into your photography business. 

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So, can all photographers do freelance work? Many photographers have the ability to do freelance work, while others don't want to or don't have the proper gear or equipment for the work that may be required. Some photographers focus on a specific form of photography and never want to learn the needed skills to do freelance photography projects. In my opinion, many photographers would like to make a little extra income doing freelance work but don't have all the needed gear. There have been cases where real estate agents have used their cell phones to take images of homes and the images were downloaded directly out of the camera and no post-processing was done. As you can imagine the photos were pretty bad. Today, many real estate companies are looking for certified drone pilots to shoot video footage of homes and land. There are a lot of missed opportunities to make extra income if a photographer can do drone footage. 

I feel the biggest reason many photographers don't do freelance work is their unwillingness to learn new skills so they can offer their products and services to potential businesses. Many photographers are very skilled and have the ability to do freelance work but only focus on a specific type of photography or service. Now don't get me wrong, there are many great photographers that offer some amazing work through their own business and products and services are client specific. There is nothing wrong with that. I feel the issue comes from not being open-minded about taking on some freelance work when the opportunity comes along. Many photographers could not only make more money but freelance work provides them a method to advertise their services and products to those for free. The power of marketing and advertising through word-of-mouth is a powerful thing. Freelance photography work allows photographers to showcase their skills and the potential for more work is possible. 

For many photographers, the question is should a photographer focus specifically on certain products or services or should they expand their skill sets? It really depends on the individual photographer and the goals they set for themselves and their business. For me, I am always working to improve my skill sets and knowledge when comes to photography and videography. I like to study more about photography, how to create new products, and I strive to offer unique services to my customers and clients.  I have no desire to open up my own studio for a variety of reasons. One such reason is cost and overhead. Having my own studio would be nice but it would also not allow me to be flexible in my schedule so I could do freelance work. I want the flexibility to work one-on-one with my clients and customers. I enjoy providing my clients and customers one-on-one attention. That is very important to me. So, for me, freelance photography work makes sense. In my world, I can do both. It just takes time, patience, and the willingness to stay focused on building my business. 

So what is your opinion about freelance photography work? Do you do it now?  Are you considering it? If not, what is holding you back? I would love to hear your take on the topic. Feel free to post your comments on the subject of being a freelance photographer. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

 

Do You Really Care About Your Old Images?

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In this post, I want to do a little ranting about a subject that drives me crazy. That is the subject of people not preserving their own photos. For the life of me, I cannot understand why people don't take the time to find their old photos, digitally scan them, and properly back up the photos to a secure location. I know people say they are busy with life but aren't one-of-a-kind photos important too? I believe that it is not that people are so busy they don't have time to preserve their old photos. It is that they don't understand how truly sorry they will be when their old photos were lost, damaged or destroyed. Then it will be too late. 

A few years ago I started thinking about how I would feel if I lost all of my old photos. Then I decided to take action before it was too late for me. I gathered up every photo I could find that was not digitalized and I began scanning them. As I was scanning them I realized that many of the photos consisted of only one copy and there were no negatives or backups. I realized if I did not take the time to scan my own images a part of my own life's history would be gone forever. I would not have images that my son and his family could keep and share for many years long after I was gone. That was my motivation for scanning my own photos. 

I talk to a lot of people that say they need to have their photos scanned and preserved, but never take the time to do it. I often wonder how they would feel if they lost their old photos due to a house fire. I am pretty sure they would have many regrets for not having their photos scanned and backed up. It is pretty easy to take action and preserve old photos. All that is required is locating all the old photos you can find, gather them up, have them scanned, put the images on some storage device, and back up the images to an off-site location. It is also a good practice to have multiple copies of the files. Having photos scanned and saved have other benefits too. All your precious images can be printed, shared, enhanced and restored. 

I have personally asked members of my own family if I could get a copy of an old image to find out no one knew where the images were and the only copy that once existed is now gone. That drives me nuts. I would love to see a photo of my late grandmother who died many years ago when I was a small boy. I really miss that lady and I have actually forgotten what she looked like. Having an old image of her would be priceless. Unfortunately, no one took the time to preserve her image and no one has a photo of her. 

Do you have old photos lying around your home stuffed in cabinets, drawer, folders, or other parts of your home? How would feel if you lost those photos in a house fire? Do your old photos mean a lot to you? If they do, I highly suggest you take the time to have your old photos scanned, stored on some type of backup device, and have the files backed up. You will be glad you did. I know I am. 

If would like your photos scanned contact me. It would be an honor for me to help you preserve your precious memories. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Drone Images of the Furniture Land South Building

Well, this Sunday morning was pretty fun for me. My photography goal for the day was to take some drone footage of a unique building that is not too far from my home. The building is called the Furniture Land South Building in High Point North Carolina. Actually, the building is less than a mile from my home and I have always wanted to photograph it but never really got around to it. Of course, since I now have a drone I finally took the time to go get a little drone footage this morning and finally shoot the building. It is funny how one becomes more eager to get out of bed to shoot drone video footage when they have a drone. 

The building is massive and used when the furniture market that comes to our town. Visitors from all over the world come to look at furniture in the showroom throughout town and the Furniture Land South building is stop that all visitor makes. What really stands out about the building is the large dresser that leads to the entrance of the building. You can't miss it. I wanted to do two things this morning. I wanted to get both still photos and of course, videos with the drone. I was pretty lucky this morning. I actually thought I would have some issues with getting a good location to launch the drone and getting some good angles for my shots. Even though the place was closed on Sundays I was still able to launch the drone and get some nice images from a variety of angles. That is the beauty of drone photography and videography, we have better access from above our subjects and the skies are unlimited (unless you violate FAA guidelines). If you are a drone pilot, don't do that. 

I was able to get some nice still images and a nice "pull away" shot of the Furniture Land South Building. Below are the images and video. 

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This morning I was able to accomplish the goals I set out to do. I try to establish daily goals when it comes to my photography and building my photography business. Now, I need to decide what's next on my agenda. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Portraits Sessions With Kids Can Be a Challege, But Rewarding Too

I have stated in the past I believe it is a good thing if a photographer branches out and photograph a wide variety of subjects. I enjoy trying new things that I feel will improve my photography skills no matter what the subject is. Even though I don't do a lot of portrait photography shoots with kids I do enjoy the challenge of photographing them and sometimes the images are awesome. What makes my photo shoots even more challenging for me is I don't like to carry around a lot of gear to do my portrait shoots, especially when trying to chase down "Little Johnny". Kids don't like to sit down to get their photos taken. So, I have to go mobile when photographing kids. That is where the challenge starts. 

I don't mind chasing kids down when photographing them. Walking around observing them and trying to capture unique and unstaged portraits is my main goal for children portrait images. My goal is to get at least one special image for the photo shoot. Sometimes, I may only get one or two special images and sometimes I may get really lucky and get more. Below are four images I took during a photo shoot of a beautiful little girl that was not staged and each photo was taken on her grandparents front porch in the Spring. I believe the photos are unique because they captured the little girl emotions and her expressions were priceless. The cute and colorful outfit was a plus as well. 

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There is a little history behind the images. The images were shot about 7 years ago and taken with my old trusty Canon 60D camera. I wanted to go back and re-edit the old images since my photography post-processing skills have improved over the years. I knew when the images were taken it was important for me to make sure I shot my images in "RAW" which would allow me to work with all the data from each image if I needed to in the future. It is important for any new photographer to remember to shot in RAW when possible. It is always important to save all your images and back them up. You never know when you may want to go back and revisit them and improve the images. You can do that if you shoot in RAW and don't lose them. 

For me, portrait images of little kids can be fun but it requires me to be observant and ready at all times. Kids photo shoots can be short or take longer than most portrait shoots. I always remain myself that I have to disregard time when it comes to photographing kids. I am on their time, not mine.

 It is great to have your own studio to photograph kids and have all the gear you need to take awesome well-planned images of the kids with fancy props, but what is the fun in that? I like the challenge of sneaking up on the kids to get my shots and using the natural environment around me. That is more fun for the kids and a big kid like me. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Preserving Your Old Photos is So Important

I have always loved old photos. The types of photos where there is only one original copy that still exists. One-of-a-kind photos are special and many times are irreplaceable if they are lost or damaged. The sad part is many people don't think about very old photos until they are lost or damaged. Many historic and family photos are usually located in old boxes or still in an old glass frame where the old photo is usually stuck to the glass and can be damaged if you try to remove it. Believe me, I have had my share of photos that were difficult to remove from an old glass frame and several times the print was totally destroyed. 

Today, people don't think too much about photos because we live in a digital world where current photos are easily taken and shared. But for many old photos that are printed and where is only one copy that is not the case. Old photos need to be taken care of, restored (if possible) and most importantly digitalized. If an old photo can be digitalized it can easily be shared and treasured for years to come. Sadly, some people don't think about it until an old historic or family photo is lost forever. 

Below is an old photo I restored for a friend that is no longer with us. He was a mayor of a small town in North Carolina who truly wanted to help preserve the town's history and had me restore several very old photos that were over 75 years old. He only had the originals and wanted the old photos digitalized so they could be shared for many years to come. He understood the importance of restoring old images of the past and took steps to do that. If you look at the old photo and think about it, those people are gone forever and that photo help preserves their life's history and legacy. That is a power of an old image one-of-a-kind image. 

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Do you have old images that need to be restored and digitalized? If you do I suggest you take the time to gather up those old images and have they scanned, enhanced, and stored away. It is important to take the time to do that. I personally gathered up every photo I could find and scanned them so I could preserve them. The tasked took me over 5 days to sit down and scan every image I could get my hands on. It was tedious work but it was worth it. Now I have all my photos backed up and I can share them. Just remember, once an old image is damaged, destroyed, or lost you can never get it back. 

If you have old images you would like restored or if you have old photos that you would like scanned just let me know I can do that for you. I would love to help you preserve your photos and history. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Drone Photography Can Be Fun and Profitable

In the photography world, today drone images and drone video images have become more popular. It takes a skill drone pilot get great images. I am not talking about the person in their backyard trying to fly their homemade drone and hoping they don't crash it or hit someone. I am talking about photographers that are looking for unique images that have a totally different perspective than the traditional photography and videos that are shot from ground level. 

As I fly my DJI Phantom 3 drone more and more I truly appreciate the images that come from the drone. I have the option to shoot nice still images with the drone. More impressive is the quality of the video footage from the drone. When I fly my drone I make it a point to capture still images and video footage during every photo shoot. I want to get a unique view of my subjects. Just recently I flew my drone in High Point NC with my son, Jordan Younce. He is a very talented drone pilot, photographer, videographer, and photographer trainer. I learn a great deal from him during our photoshoots. He and I went into downtown High Point NC to shoot some videos and stills with our drones. He was working on a drone video series for his company and I was just wanting to shoot some drone footage to improve my drone skills. My other objective was to get images I could use for future advertising. 

During my flights, I was able to capture a couple of unique images from downtown High Point. I captured some overhead footage of a nice business building, a new construction site, and a video of a small portion of downtown High Point. Drone photography provides me with an opportunity to look for images that I cannot get when doing my normal photography. I actually get pretty excited when I see what I can actually photograph or video from hundreds of feet above me. Below are a few images I captured;

 Aerial View of Downtown High Point in North Carolina

Aerial View of Downtown High Point in North Carolina

 Aerial View of Downtown Construction in High Point North Carolina.

Aerial View of Downtown Construction in High Point North Carolina.

Drone photography can open up a whole new world for photographers. It can be a little expensive to get started. Of course, you need a decent drone and it is very important to get FAA drone certified. Getting FAA certified opens up more opportunities for a drone pilot. It is also important to know that to fly commercially in the United States, all drone pilots that offer commercial services as a business have to be certified. Believe me, the FAA is continually looking for individuals that violate that policy. Youtube has many videos of drone pilots that have been slapped with fines for improper drone uses and safety violations. 

It takes patience and most of all practice when flying any drone. The last thing you want to do is crash your new drone or even worse, hurt someone because you don't have the skills to fly a drone. Drone photography is not that easy. Just search on Youtube for "Drone Fails" and you will see what I mean. I do not regret getting into drone photography. It opens up new opportunities for me and I can provide new services to my clients and customers. There are businesses that need certified drone photographers and videographers. So, why not provide those services to them. As a photographer, I don't understand why I would not want to do that. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Patience is Key in Building a Business and One's Brand

Building a business and a brand is very hard and takes a lot of patience, focus, and most of all work. The process is an on-going journey that really never ends. Nor should it. Over time, many things change and that is a good thing. You never want to get bored or even worse, lazy. One of the biggest issues for anyone building their own business is not being patient. In our fast-paced society today, people want what they want right now, but are not willing to be patient in building their business. They want immediate gratification either through material things and social acceptance. without putting in the time and energy to build their business. Building a business and most of all life doesn't work that way.  

It takes a lot of patience to build a business and a brand. Many people want things right now and they measure success by the actions of others. In our social media society today people want more likes, more followers, and subscribers. Some people feel that if they have such things they are successful. The reality is none of those things spell success and mean nothing when measuring success in building a business or brand. The number of likes, followers, and subscribers is an illusion and amount to nothing. It is important to keep so-called likers, followers, and subscribers in perspective and remember you don't really know those people and they bring no real value to the success to your business. In most cases, they don't want anything from your business and don't buy anything from you anyway. More focus should be placed on attracting real customers and clients into your business. It is not the number of customers and clients you have it is more about the quality of customers and clients you can attract and provide them with high-quality products and services. I would much rather spend more of my time working with real customers and clients than spending my time and energy on people that clicked a button on one of my social media channels. 

There are ways to be work on patience in building your business or brand. For me, I find that if I work on my business every day and do at least one thing to build my business I will become more successful. That is called putting in the work. Building my business requires hard work. I must consistently learn more about my craft, work in improving my photography and videography skills, write more blog posts, and most of all create more consistent content for my customers and clients. All those actions require focus and patience. 

It is a good idea to develop an action plan each day to keep you focused on building a business. I like to plan out my day and have several objectives in mind that I want to accomplish each and every day. I look at each day as an opportunity to do something special and productive. I don't like wasting my day. 

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I feel consistency is the key to becoming more successful in building my business. Building a business is a process that continually changes. I like that. For me, it is part of the journey and part of the game. Patience is the major player in how successful I will become in the future. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Drone Photography Requires Practice, Planning, and Patience

Flying a drone and doing drone photography can be a lot of fun and helps to get those creative juices flowing. However, flying a drone can present some challenges. It takes practice, planning, and patience. It is fairly easy to simply learn to fly a drone for fun but when your goal is to actually photograph or shoot video of a subject the tasks may require a little more focus and effort.

One of the first challenges is finding a place to get a lot of practice. It requires finding a place that you can safely and legally fly your drone. Many people that first get their new drone usually want to find an open field and fly it to see how far and high their drone can fly. When you have a drone that has a camera you have the desire to want to see all the views from the camera you can't see from the ground. Now that is cool, but it can be dangerous. As a drone pilot, you have to take into consideration your surroundings like trees, power lines, people, buildings and many other things that can damage your drone or even worse hurt someone. When I got my drone may the first goal was not to test the limits of my drone. My main goal was to find out how to properly fly the drone, learn the technology of the drone, how to fly it legally, and most of all how not to crash it.

 AirMap App

AirMap App

Another challenge to flying a drone is finding a place to fly the drone where you can legally fly it. Yes, new drone owners don't think about that when they get a new drone. Most new drone owners launch their drone and want to see how high they can fly and what they can see from a high elevation. That is cool, but it can be very dangerous. There are limits and restrictions on flying a drone. For example, since I am not a certified drone pilot the highest I can legally fly my drone in most situations is 400 feet. I know my drone can fly much higher. For me, learning my limits and restrictions is pretty easy. My son is a certified commercial drone pilot and provides me guidance on what I am allowed to do when flying my drone. To find out where I can legally fly my drone I need to know exactly where I can fly my drone either for practice or to conduct an actual photo or video shoot. To do that I use a simple app called "AirMap" for my DJI Phantom Pro. It provides me with information on where I can fly my drone and where I cannot. It uses my current location to display my limitations.  As you can see from the AirMap App I have limitations. The orange circles indicate where I cannot fly. You can see why planning where to fly is very important. The last thing you want is to get slapped with a $10,000 fine for flying in a restricted area.

On my last drone shoot, I visited a local park called the Oak Hollow Park in High Point North Carolina. My goal was to find a nice location to practice flying my drone. Now I would not recommend flying your drone if you are not confident enough to fly it over water. The Oak Hollow Park is surrounded by a large lake called, you guessed it, the Oak Hollow Lake. After flying the drone a couple of times and getting accustomed to the controls I felt confident enough to not crash my drone into the lake. Once I scoped out the lake and surroundings I started looking for a subject to shoot. There was a couple of fisherman in the lake and I started to video them but I thought that would be pretty boring. Then I realized that I could get a photograph and video of the Oak Hollow Golf Course which was located across the lake about a half mile away. On a previous video shoot, I tried to get a video of another golf course in my local area but was unsuccessful. However, I figured if I could reach the Oak Hollow Golf course from the park I could possibly get a nice area photo and video of the golf course. After a couple of dry runs near and over the golf course, I was able to get the shots I wanted.

 Aerial View of the Oak Hollow Golf Course

Aerial View of the Oak Hollow Golf Course

All-in-all, my day of photographing and shooting video was a lot of fun. I feel more confident as I continue to get more practice with my drone. It is always good to practice as much as possible, plan your shoots, and be patient when flying a drone. My drone is a very expensive and important part of my photography gear. I don't want to lose it due to poor planning and a lack of practice. I am enjoying my drone photography and I plan to do a lot more of it in the future.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

 

Lessons for Building a Photography Business

As photographers who create their own business, we all want to be successful in building our businesses by offering a variety of products and services. We want to build our brand have a lot of customers and clients. Over the last couple of years, I have learned a couple of important lessons in building my business that has made my business life less stressful and more enjoyable.

The first thing I have learned is to not get all worked up about making a lot of money by trying to pressure people into buying my images or taking advantage of my services. Of course, I love when someone purchases an image or two from me. It shows me they appreciate my images so much they actually buy them. I love those customers and clients and will bend over backward to support them and provide them with the best services and products I can. I am very loyal to my customers and clients because they are loyal to me. The reality is I don't need people's money. I don't do photography to pressure people into purchasing my products and services. I want people to want what I have to offer. If they don't that is not a big deal. I have gotten to the point in my life and in my business, I have no expectations of people anymore. If people buy or want services from me, great! If they don't, I will not lose any sleep over it. That attitude has greatly reduced all the stress of selling and reaching goals that others think I should be at based on a specific time frame. I have learned not to listen to others that have never created or struggled their own business.

Another lesson I have learned is I don't need a lot of clients or customers to be successful. In today business world, success is measured by how many followers, subscribers or likes you have on your social media feeds. Having thousands or even a million followers, subscribers or likes does not mean anything. Many small businesses are successful with a small number of clients or customers. It only takes one great client or customer to make a difference in the success in building a business and you never know when that special relationship will happen or who that special client or customer will be. Just one client can make a big difference in launching one's business. Until you find that special relationship you can do things to continue to build your business and strengthen your brand. You can learn from other successful business minded people. You can study what they did to become successful. One such business owner I enjoy following is Gary Vaynerchuk on Youtube. He is not your typical business owner or speaker and has a unique take on business, social media, marketing, and branding. He can be a little aggressive in presenting his message but that is fine with me. He is honest and sincere in his messaging and I like that.

 Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk

If you are a photographer that wants to be successful, measure your success based on your expectations, goals, and achievement, not according to others expectations. Creatives have unique talents and skills. We want others to appreciate our work. Many creatives thrive on that. In my opinion that is not necessarily a good thing. I believe as a photographer, videographer, or filmmaker your primary focus should not be to make a lot of money.  One should always be working hard every day to build one's business and their brand. One day, those that appreciate and enjoy your products and services will come and when they do you must have something special to offer them that they cannot get anywhere else. Strive for quality, not quantity and make your business uniquely your own.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

 

 

My New Toy and Tool; DJI Phantom Pro Drone!

As most people know drones have become very popular today. More and more people are getting drones for a variety of reasons. Most of the time people want a drone because they are fun to fly and give the pilot a cool view or perspective of a particular location or subject that most of us can't see without the use of a drone. Photographers, videographers, and filmmakers are increasingly interested in drones and the unique footage they provide. That includes me.

 DJI Phantom Pro

DJI Phantom Pro

Just recently my son gave me his old drone. He gave me his Phantom Pro from DJI. He got a new and bigger one and he thought of his old dad. I wasn't really sure if I would ever use or want a drone. I did think they were cool and I was very interested and impressed with all the technology that goes into a drone and what they are capable of doing. As a kid, I never had or was interested in remote control devices and to be totally honest if a drone did not have a camera I would not be interested in today's drones. As a photographer, a drone with a camera will come in handy in the future for me and I have a lot of plans for the drone.

Once I received my drone I knew I needed training, practice, and a lot of information on how to use the drone, how to take videos and images, and information on when and where I could fly the drone. There is more to flying a drone than just taking off and landing. I got together with my son who started training and teaching me about flying my drone. My son is a very talented photographer, videographer, and certified drone pilot. What is great for me is that even though I am not certified to fly in many locations (the cool places), I can fly at more interesting locations that he can fly in as long as I am with him.

 Drone Sample Test Flight

Drone Sample Test Flight

My plans for using the drone is simple. First, I need to practice with the drone as much as possible. I don't want to crash my new toy. I want to get comfortable with the controls and be able to shoot unique images and videos with the drone. The DJU Phantom Pro drone does take nice images and I am very impressed with the quality of the 4K video. I plan to continue to scout out locations to video. One location I plan to photograph and video in the near future will be off the coast of North Carolina. I plan to shoot a lot of video and photos in the North Carolina mountains as well.

For me, having a drone opens up a lot of opportunities to capture interesting footage and images that I could have never had the opportunity to capture. Becoming proficient in shooting drone footage allows me the opportunity to offer additional services to my clients and customers. It will allow me to shoot footage for those that may request unique landscape or real estate footage. Having a drone will allow me to become more creative with my work and hopefully provide more quality images to my customers. If you are a photographer and don't have a drone, I recommend getting one. Not only are they a lot of fun they are can be a useful tool for any photographer.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Vlogging at Sunset Beach, Bird Island, South Port, and Bald Head Island

Vlogging can be a lot of fun and is increasing more and more with the help of Youtube. Vlogging a special event, trip, or even everyday task can be entertaining for many people today. I see many well-known vloggers and filmmakers taking advantage of vlogging. For me, vlogging is a method to record special events in my life. Just recently, I vlogged a trip I took and I wanted to record my trip for personal reasons and to share with those that might find the adventures interesting or entertaining. Vlogging to me is a way to explore another creative process and improve my videography skills.

My trips involved visiting four locations and vlogging some of the sites along the way. I visited Sunset Beach, Bird Island, South Port, and Bald Head Island in North Carolina. My objective was to record "B" roll from my vlogs that I plan to put on Youtube. I am new to recording a vlog and I did understand I needed a lot of "B" roll footage to create a good vlog so I could tell a story. I needed to record clips as I traveled to each location and clips that would feature the uniqueness of the locations. So, with that in mind, I recorded a lot of video footage. Actually, I recorded more video footage than still photos. After studying other videographers, I found out that you can never have too much footage you plan to be a vlogger.

My first stop was Sunset Beach in North Carolina. Sunset Beach is a location that my wife and I try to visit each year. We stay at the Sunset Beach Inn for our anniversary each year. This year marks our 36 anniversary. Besides celebrating our anniversary, I wanted to shoot video at Sunset Beach and capture a couple of early morning sunrises images. I also wanted to get a nice time-lapse of the sunrise. I have ever done a sunrise or sunset time-lapse but I was able to capture for both events. Surprisingly they turned out pretty well. I discovered that there is a reason why most people don't do time-lapse. Time-lapse take a lot of time to capture. Getting the morning sunrises at Sunset Beach was a lot of fun except for having to get up a 5:30 a.m. for the sunrise. Lucky for me, I am an early morning riser so it wasn't too difficult for me. I was surprised how many photographers were present for the sunrise. It was great to see others that shared the same passion and enjoyed seeing a beautiful sunrise and start to a new day. Checkout the Sunset Beach Sunrise Time-Lap or Sunset Beach Sunset Time-Lapse videos.

 Start of a New Day

Start of a New Day

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My second stop on my journey was Bird Island. Bird Island is a unique location to photograph and shoot video. The location is very quiet and calming for many people. From my hotel, it took me about 1:30 minutes to reach the location. I would have gotten there quicker if I had not stopped to get all the additional "B" roll footage I needed. On my walk to Bird Island, I had the chance to stop at the old Kindred Spirits mailbox. That is a nice location to stop and take a break. What is unique about the Kindred Spirits mailbox is there is actually things there to read that are in the mailbox. People enjoy reading messages left in the mailbox from those that visited the mailbox before them. You can actually leave a message too. So, if you get a chance to visit the mailbox, I suggest you sit back and enjoy reading the messages, enjoy the sunshine, and the sounds of the ocean waves. It is very relaxing. One interesting note, the manager at the Sunset Beach Inn, told us that Nicholas Sparks visited that Inn about a week before we arrived and she said he was planning to write a story about Bird Island and the Kindred Spirits location. So, if you are a Nicholas Sparks fan, be looking for a book and maybe a movie in the future.

 Kindred Spirits at Bird Island

Kindred Spirits at Bird Island

My third stop on my travels was to South Port, North Carolina. South Port is a nice quiet little town on the coast of North Carolina. What is unique about South Port are some of the homes. Some of the homes were built back in the late 1800's. The town could be described as a "Slice of the South". The town is very nice and has a southern charm to it. The town has sailboats and a relaxing waterfront to enjoy. What is also unique about the town is that several Hollywood films were filmed there. If you visit the town hall or museum you can see what films were done there. Several of the films were romantic films that most ladies will remember.

 South Port Bird

South Port Bird

South Port also has the Bald Head Island Ferry. We were able to take the ferry to Bald Head Island. My plan was to photograph and record video of the Bald Head Island Lighthouse. The lighthouse is not like other lighthouses off the coast of North Carolina. Not only is the structure of the lighthouse different from other lighthouses, it is the oldest lighthouse in North Carolina. For me, it was very difficult to video or photograph the lighthouse. Selecting a composition was very difficult. I realized there were not too many options for photographing or videoing the lighthouse. That is why you don't see very many awesome photos of the lighthouse. It is difficult to find a good shot. That did not stop me. I needed "B" roll footage. Visiting the island was worth the time. I suggest if you visit Bald Head Island, plan to eat before you go. Food choices are limited and can be pretty pricey. If you plan to explore the island, rent a golf cart. If you go, enjoy the island.

 Bald Head Lighthouse on Bald Head Island

Bald Head Lighthouse on Bald Head Island

 Bald Head Island Port

Bald Head Island Port

My vlogging adventure was a lot of fun and I learned a great deal from the trips. I learned that I need to take a lot of video footage and still photos if I plan to continue vlogging in the future. I did have a lot of footage from the trip and I learned I need to be very selective on what footage will go into my vlog. I had to cut out a lot of footage because my video from my trip was way too long when I post processed the footage. I learned that time-lapse footages take a lot of time and I am not sure if the time is worth the reward. The most valuable lesson I learned from post-processing a video is to create video content in segments. I created my video as one video and put it together after the trip. It would have been better if I had created a vlog for each day rather than wait to do all the footage at one time.

I enjoyed vlogging my trips and I was able to purposely capture photos and videos I can look back on in the future. I will be vlogging more in the future and I will get better if I continue to work on my vlogging skills and storytelling. When people ask what makes a good vlog, the answer is not the equipment you use or the places you visit. A good vlog is all about the story. To see my vlog of the trip visit my Roger Younce Youtube Channel at "Sunset Beach, Bird Island, South Port, and Bald Head Island Trip".

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Getting Up to Get That Sunrise

Are you a morning person who likes to get up super early and go outside on a cold windy morning and take photos? I am, sorta. It all depends on my reason to get up and go outside and get an early morning photograph. I really don't have a problem getting up early. I usually am awake around 5 a.m. Most nights, my body only requires about 6 hours of sleep. So, one a recent trip, I took advantage of my insomnia and got up each morning to get a nice morning sunrise photo on the beaches of Sunset Beach in North Carolina. After getting up at 5 a.m. and having a half a bucket of coffee I was on my way to get a beautiful sunrise image.

The temperature the morning I ventured out wasn't really that bad. However, it was a windy morning with winds around 20 mph. I arrived about 45 minutes before sunrise to set up and get the shot. My objective was not to get a photograph of the sunrise. My objective was to get an early morning video of the sunrise and the red morning sky. I wanted to capture the beauty of the red morning sky and the soothing sounds of the beach at high-tide.

I wasn't surprised at the number of photographers that were out to capture the sunrise that morning. I understood why they wanted to get an epic shot of the sunrise too. It was actually pretty nice to see so many people that shared the same passion for natures beauty and photography.

 Morning Photographers

Morning Photographers

Below is the video I captured that morning. I wanted to capture the beautiful red sky, the sun, and the waves as they came in during high-tide. It was nice to video the morning sunrise and at the same time have the opportunity to enjoy the moment while my camera did all the work. Sometimes, as photographers, we get so focused on a shot and never take the time to enjoy the special moments and live in the moment. That morning, I did.

It can be a pain to get up early in the morning to get a unique image. I want to get the shot because I am aware that that special image will never come around again and I don't want to miss my opportunity to capture it. I enjoy sleep as much as the next guy, but I also know I a take a nap later. If you are not a morning person, do what most photographers do and at least get a sunset image. Below is a sunset video I shot the same day. It was a great day.

Until next time, get up early and keep shooting!

Roger

Real Estate Photography

In this post, I want to write about getting out of your comfort zone as a photographer. Now, before I begin, I want to make it clear that my opinion may not be the same for all photographers. I am only stating my opinion about getting out of "my" comfort zone and challenging myself to become a more skilled photographer.

Recently, I started thinking about my own photography and wondering why I should only photograph specific subjects. I photograph landscapes, wildlife, nature, pets, to headshots and portraits. I thought, why shouldn't I do real estate photography?
I have the camera, lens, tripods, and knowledge of how to take all types of photos. So, why not real estate? After thinking about it I realized there was really no reason why I should not make that a part of my skill sets. So, I decided to get to work on developing my real estate photography skills.

For me, I am pretty fortunate to have a very talented son who is a great real estate photographer. Jordan Younce is not only great real estate photographer he is a talented videographer, trainer, creator, graphic designer, webmaster, drone pilot, and CEO of Sleeklens. Jordan does a lot of real estate photography and figured if I hung out and assisted him when I could I could develop my real estate skills. I knew I needed real estate properties to photograph. I needed to be able to access nice homes and properties to practice taking real estate images. Tagging along with my son would give me a variety of properties fo photograph and build my real estate photography portfolio.

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Recently, I had the opportunity to photograph the perfect place in Asheboro North Carolina. Jordan had a real estate photo-shoot and I asked if I could tag along. The home was beautiful 3800 sq foot, 4 bedroom home, with a large pond, and over 230 acres of beautiful land out in the country. Such a location give a chance to improve my real state photography skills. I had a variety of subjects to photograph. I also had the opportunity to shot video, collect a variety of images, and shoot some nice "B" roll footage for my video about the photo shoot. I love to shoot "B" roll footage. Below are a few images from the photo shoot.

The real estate photo shoot in Asheboro North Carolina was a fun shoot. I got to spend time with my son, learn from him, photograph some nice real estate and improve my photography skills. I took the opportunity to develop and improve my real estate photography skills. Most of all, I got out of my comfort zone and worked on learning new things. That is always refreshing. Yes, learning new things can be a challenge, but it can be a lot of fun too. To view my video from the photoshoot, visit "Asheboro Real Estate Photo Shoot" on my Youtube Channel and feel free to subscribe and leave a comment if you like.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger