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Real Estate Shoot in Greensboro...Carroll Bellemeade Apartments

Shooting real estate can be a lot of fun and a bit of a challenge. Recently, I took a trip the Greensboro North Carolina to do a little real estate photography. One of the locations I chose was in downtown Greensboro. I wanted to shoot a very nice apartment complex called the Carrol Bellemeade Apartments. I really like the look of the apartments. I liked the design the color scheme and the exterior layout of the apartments. I wanted to get a overview shot of the apartments and I chose to shoot from a roof top of a nearby parking garage. The parking garage would give me the shot I was looking for. Even through the apartments are still under construction they are at still a great piece of real estate to photograph.

The Carrol Bellemeade Apartments are luxury apartments according the their website, Carroll Bellemeade Apartments. To learn more checkout their website. The interior photos of the apartments look very nice.

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Choosing the Right Tripod For the Job

When it comes to selecting a good tripod it can be a little confusing. All tripods are not the same and selecting one may come down to what you need to shoot. In this post, I want to go over some of the most common types of tripods. I own all these types of tripods and use them regularly. When I use them depends on the shoot, the camera, the lens I use, and most importantly the types of images I want to capture. Let's look at the most popular types of tripods that you may want to consider for your photo shoots.

Ball Head

The ball head tripod is a very popular tripod for many photographers. It is my go-to tripod because the flexibility it provides me during a photo shoot. Have a rotating ball allows me to place my camera in wide-variety of positions. However, the ball head does have it issues when it comes to using a large and heavy camera with a heavy lens. Since the tripod requires a locking screw to secure the ball head, there may be an issue with the screw not being able to lock the ball head in place. In turn, that may cause the camera to move and affect the stability of the camera. In most cases, the ball head tripod works great if your camera and lens are not too heavy.

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Fluid Head

When it comes to shooting video you cannot go wrong with fluid head tripods. The fluid head allows a photographer to simply drag the head. It allows more control by providing a degree of friction when you have to pan and tilt. The result is a much smoother shot when shooting video. I know when I shoot any video I like to use the fluid head tripod. No one likes video that is choppy and shaky. If you are going to shoot video I highly recommend getting yourself a fluid head.

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Pan and Tilt Head

The pan and tilt heads is a unique design. It has two axes that work independently. If you need to pan and tilt you can simply twist and lock your camera into the position you need. The pan and tilt head does have an advantage of the ball head tripod. It makes applying a minor adjustment for your camera must easier. However, the pan and tilt heads design are larger than the ball head and can take up more space. I really enjoy the flexibility of the pan and tilt head.

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Gimbal Head

I am a big fan of the gimbal head. I use mine when I shot video and I looking for smooth shots. The gimbal head is great because it allows the camera to be perfectly balanced. The camera's weight is completely balanced which allow me to move the camera horizontally and vertically. There are all types of gimbal devices to choose from. I have a gimbal head for my iPhone and it makes shooting video smooth and effortless. Gimbal heads are nice and great for shooting video, but be prepared for the price. Most are pretty pricey.

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Pistol Grip Head

I have to admit when I first saw a pistol grip head I was a little confused. I was confident I would never have a need for it. I was wrong. I love the pistol grip head tripod. I like the tripod because of its size, weight, and how quickly I can position it. It is very easy to use and convenient. All I have to do is just throw it into my bag and I am set. I never thought I would use the pistol head tripod and I probably wouldn't if it wasn't free. I am glad I tried the pistol grip. It has come in handy for me on my simple photo shoots.

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Monopods

A monopod is not used by too many photographers. However, there are some advantages to owning a monopod. First the monopod does not require a lot of setup. Secondly, it's easier to carry when you walking around in a crowd or taking it along on a hiking trip. In many cases, a monopod can be seen at a sporting event, like a football game. Other sports photographers use monopods. I like the use the monopod to stabilized video shots that require me to move my camera from side-to-side and forward and backward. You can get some uniques shots and video footage when using the monopod. Plus, monopods make great walking sticks.

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In this post, I covered six types of tripods. Each tripod is unique and can be very helpful when shooting images or video. I really enjoy m gimbal devices. They have helped me in becoming a better photographer and videographer. Yes, using a tripod can be a little cumbersome, but the pros do outweigh the con of using them.

Until next time!

Roger

Social Media Platforms Vs Having Your Own Website

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As most people know that read my blog regularly, I am not a real fan of social media platforms even though they are extremely popular in our society today. Just because a social media platform is popular doesn't mean it has real value. Three of the most popular social media platforms are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. In this post, I want to express my views on the three platforms and explain why having your own website can be much more beneficial for one's business and even one's personal life. But first, I want to share my views on the top three social media platforms.

FACEBOOK

One of the biggest social media platforms is Facebook. Facebook has been around for a long time and over the years has had its problems with security issues, privacy issues, content bias, and poor leadership in how the platform was being run. I remember back in the day when the use of Facebook was fairly innocent. Families and friends could post articles and express themselves on a regular basis. It was fun. But today Facebook has become a platform to post content that is, in my opinion, brings no real value to my life, especially if I want to use it for my business or to advertise my content and brand. It is not a place to express one's thoughts, ideas, and creative processes. It is limited and greatly controlled. Post on Facebook is never current. Think about it. Have you ever liked a post on Facebook and went back to find a post a week or later and it took you forever to find it? That can be very frustrating and total waste of my time.

If you are a creative person who likes to express yourself, Facebook is not a great place to do that. You are limited by what you can put on Facebook. Besides, most people are not going to read a long article listed in a post on Facebook. Facebook is not made for that. Thankfully, one can visit an external link on Facebook if Facebook does not block it. Depending on who reviews content, information is routinely blocked by Facebook. They can do that. It is their platform. I understand why content may need to be controlled, but I don't like the idea of someone else deciding what should be controlled and limited when it comes to my content. With my own domain, I get to decide what content can be posted, when it can be posted, and how much. As the owner of my site, I am in control.

Facebook is a good platform if you want to see what others are doing and to be kept updated with friends and family. However, it is also a place to waste a lot of time and energy on mindless content. Facebook is also a place to be bombarded with advertising you really don't need or want. If you have your own website, there is no advertising that needs to be ignored or blocked. Better yet, with your own website, you can put as much advertising as you want for free.

Facebook does have some useful attributes but for me, it is a waste of time, energy, money, and productivity. If I want to hear from family and friends, I can always pick up the phone and communicate as we did back in the good old days. There is nothing truly social about Facebook in my opinion.

INSTAGRAM

Instagram is a different beast from Facebook. Where Facebook provides you with the ability to post more content, Instagram is all about photos, favoriting post, likes, and followers. If you have the need to be liked and followed it is the place for you. But not for me. I do enjoy the ability to get feedback on the content I post. When I post a photo on Instagram I am looking for feedback and not likes or followers. I could care less about how many followers I get and I am not going to buy followers and many Instagram user do. Like Facebook, Instagram can present the illusion that people on Instagram are popular and successful, but the reality is many are not. I have followers on Instagram. Do I personally know them? No, I do not. Are they real? I have no idea. Do I care? Not really. That is why I do not spend too much of my time on Instagram. Instagram, like Facebook, provides me with no real value in my business and personal life. However, if you like to spend most of your day looking at other photos, it is the place to be. For me, I would rather be out taking the photos.

As for me posting content on Instagram, I am limited. I cannot post active links to my Instagram post. No one is going to copy a link I post on an Instagram feed to get to my website no matter what click bate image I use for a photo. Having to copy a link is too much trouble and a waste of others time they are not going to do it. However, Instagram is good for posting images. As a photographer, I like that. What I don't like is how the quality of my photos are presented on Instagram. As a photographer, I want to present my images that I may want to sell in the best possible way. Facebook and Instagram are not the best resources for showcasing my images. By using my website, I can present my images more effectively.

Instagram is a better platform than Facebook in my opinion. Facebook, in my opinion, is losing ground in the social media platform arena. Instagram is growing more in popularity for the masses, but I am becoming less-and-less a fan. I can post photos on Instagram, but I can't post my content. For example, even with this post, I would not be able to express myself or provide information the way I would like on Instagram. Instagram was not created to do that. Instagram has limits. Limitations are not a good thing for a creator. That is why I rarely use Instagram today. I prefer my own website with no limitations.

TWITTER

Oh, Twitter. How I hate Twitter. Of the main three social media platforms, I hate Twitter the most. The reason is that Twitter over the years has become a place where a lot of people like to complain, harass, attack others, and post some of the most useless information on the Internet. I rarely visit Twitter or post there. If I do, I post on photography related topics. I do have followers and I follow a selected few. In other words, I don't follow or care about others that don't have similar interest. I don't care about retweets or random followers. I do enjoy blocking followers that want to follow me and really don't know me. Blocking Twitter followers in one of my favorite activities when I do go on Twitter. I do have to give Twitter a couple of thumbs up. Twitter has increased its character length and allows me to use hashtags. But most importantly, it allows me to create active hyperlinks for my website. So I can redirect people to my site. Which is where I want my followers, customers, and future subscribers to go. The goal for me is to redirect my visitors to my website. As I mentioned earlier, I hate Twitter.

WHY I LIKE HAVING MY OWN WEBSITE

There are a variety of reasons why I enjoy having my own website over using social media platforms to distribute my content. One of the main reasons is I like owning my own website. I am the owner. By being the sole owner I get to create my own content. I get to decide what I want to put on the website, how much, the design of the site, who can post to it, when I want to post information, and I can express what information is important to me. I get to share my interest with others and hopeful, over time, meet others who share the same passions. If I want to advertise anything I can do it and it requires no additional cost to me. I can get analytical data, reports, site activity information and even sell my products online. I am the creator of my website and that is very important to me.

Having my own website allows me to build my own brand. I understand that building my own brand takes focus and time. It is a process. If you took a hard look at many successful creators, you will find they have developed there own brand and utilizing a great website helped them do it over time. Building my own brand is a continuing process and over time my brand, views, and photography business may change. That is okay with me. I like "change". I like the journey and looking forward to new experiences over time.

Owning my website allows me to be more creative with no limitations like having to adjust to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter company policies. I get to be creative in what I want to develop as far as information, products, and additional content. As a creator, it is important to have no limitations. Creators who are limited cannot create or express themselves when using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. When using any of the three social media platforms, creators can only provide a snapshot of their ideas during a specific moment in time. Over time, their information gets lost within the garbage the social media platforms collect and propagandizes.

Another important reason that I like having my own website is I have the ability to collect feedback on my website. I can collect and review productive feedback for others. I also have the ability to control feedback that is useless. For example, I can review feedback before it is posted to my website. I get to choose if I want the feedback to be public. On many social media platforms you don't have to the ability to remove replies from trolls that love to post stupid replies to get attention. By having my website, I get to decide if the feedback provided within the post will benefit others in their growth as a creator. My goal for my website is to build a great community. I cannot do that on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It may sound like having my own website sounds like having the power to control others. It is not. Having my own website allows me the ability to control what information I allow in my life without being limited by others. Trolls are not allowed on my website. Just the "Cool Kids".

If you don't have your own website and have considered it before, I suggest you go for it. Having your own website can be a learning process but well worth it over-relying on social media sites and apps to share your thoughts, ideas, and views. My advice is if you are considering getting your own website (I use Square Space), do your research, buy your own domain, evaluate your website features, and then get to work. It can be a lot of fun.

Until next time!

Roger

Social Media Can Be a Waste of Time for Photographers

Over the last year, I have been taking a close look at how important social media can be for my photography work. Over the year I have felt that it is important to devote a lot of my time in creating consistent content for my social media platforms. I believed that if I created a lot of content and used social media it would help me distribute my work to others and maybe even help me to make a little money along the way. However, I have started to look at my photography journey a little differently lately. After carefully examining my current views on how I develop content, distribute content, use time management, look at the cost versus reward, and quality over quantity, I have come to a conclusion I need to make a change.

My views changed when I took a look at a Youtube photographer that has a unique view of what helps him to become a better photographer. He approaches his art of photography in a unique way that I really find interesting. He does not use social media in the same way many photographers use social media. He uses it very sparingly and selectively. He is very selective in what he puts on social media, how his content is distributed, and even how much time he devotes to editing his content. In other words, he does not put content on social media platforms for the sake of just posting something on social media. His does not concern himself with quantity. He focuses much on quality and capturing unique images at unique locations. He enjoys the journey and it is important to him and what it took to get a photograph that most people will never have the opportunity to capture or be willing to do what it takes to capture. He is not interested in taking photos of the same locations that thousands of photographers have taken. That is one reason why Dave Morrows spends 9 months out of the year hiking through the country recording his journey's as a photographer. He writes journeys and feels even the art of writing helps him improve his skills as a photographer, communicator, and most importantly, a creator.

So is social media important? Yes, I feel, not at the expense of devoting hundreds of hours on any social media platform. Social media can be useful but you have to ask yourself, at what cost? Today many people, including well-known photographers spend many hours on social media. I am guilty of that as well. I have spent many hours posting new images, old images, sharing others images, and reposting meaningly post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other lesser known sites. Has it helped my photography? The answer is no. It has put me in the same category as many other photographers who really are not growing as photographers.

The importance of social media is an illusion of success. Photographers continue to distribute the same old content with no originality or uniqueness. If you take a close look at social media content by photographers you can see photography information is reposted and repackaged many times. The information is repetitive and becomes very boring. Over time, looking at the same content, even from different photographers (including the ones I admire), becomes valueless. That includes content from Youtube and even photography podcast.

If you want to hear a unique view and perspective on photography checkout Dave Morrow's Youtube Channel. He has a unique perspective on photography that I believe will make you look at your views on photography differently.

Let me know what you think of the video and feel free to leave your comments. I would love to hear them.

Until next time!

Roger

The Benefits of Using a Drone for Inspections

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Today drones can be a great benefit to help industries and companies collect all types of data very quickly. The problem is most companies are unaware of how beneficial and useful UAV's can be to help inspect all types of assets and properties. Traditional methods used to inspect properties and other assets can be very costly and the safety risk can be very high for personnel that may be used to conduct hazardous inspections. That is where the use of an FAA-certified drone pilot and a high-quality drone can be very helpful to an organization.

The companies that do understand the benefits of using a drone to conduct inspections use drones for aerial photography survey's, deliveries, asset inspections, and other types of tasks. Other companies don't fully understand the great benefits of using a drone. Companies that do take advantage of the use of drone understand that drones are very helpful in getting information and valuable data very quickly and safely. Drones can provide accurate inspection data in a shorter amount of time. Drones can be used to inspect many types of facilities, industrial building, energy resources, real estate, insurance related incidents and activities, and a wide range of other inspections. Traditional inspections without the use of a drone can be risky, costly, and take a lot of valuable time. Drones in a sense can help eliminate inaccurate or incomplete data due to human errors and other mitigating factors. There are benefits to using a drone for inspections and using a FAA certified drone pilot to do the job.

Reduces Dangerous Risks and Health Risks to Personnel

Depending on the area needing inspections, drones can be used to inspect structures that may be too tall or complex. Many industries have facilities and structures that can be very complex and difficult for personnel to inspect. Drones can be used to access hostile locations, inspect tall structures and be can be used to easily access locations that may be too risky for personnel.

Data Collection

All drones are not the same and it is important to make sure that an FAA certified drone pilot is used for any type of commercial work. A high-quality drone has the capability to inspect areas because of the unique features of the drone, such as obstacle avoidance, 4K video, and a high-resolution camera. The high-quality of the camera allows a certified drone pilot the ability to inspect the properties in greater detail and can be accessed much easier than using an inspector or inspection team.

Access Properties Very Quickly

The benefit of using an FAA certified drone pilot is that inspections can be done very quickly. In a matter of moments, a drone pilot can quickly and safely launch a drone. Drones are very helpful not only for routine inspections but for emergency situations. Drones are fast and in many cases, an inspection can be completed in less than 30 minutes. The quick use of a drone can help insurance companies, engineers, lending companies, home buyers get the information they need very quickly.

More Capabilities of a Drone

Drones have the ability to conduct inspections from different altitudes and angles. They have the ability to collect accurate data because of how they are equipped. Drones can take a wide variety of images, capture in-depth and impressive video, and gain access to locations that require effective data collection. In many cases, access to some properties would be very difficult and unsafe for an individual.

No Downtime

For some companies, an inspection would require downtime. Downtime may require a company to shut down operations during the inspection to eliminate potential risk to personnel and equipment. Drones can be used to safely inspect facilities and locations with complex systems such as communication towers, radar systems, and other important and highly complex structures. Drones can eliminate downtime so operations and can safely proceed.

Saves Time, Money, and Insurance Costs

Personnel inspections cost money and so does the insurance cost to protect inspectors and workers needed to conduct high-risk inspections. Drones can help eliminate the costs and the risk. Using a drone eliminates the need, time, and cost of using high-risk equipment to conduct inspections. A company does not have a need for ladders, heavy equipment, and large commercial vehicles to conduct sometime dangerous inspections.

Drones can be used for more than just aerial images and videos for photographers and hobbyists. They can be used to eliminate the risk of personnel, properties, and save companies a great deal of time and money. More companies should consider using a drone for their inspection needs. Companies just need to make sure they hire a pilot that is FAA certified and qualified to do the job. All drone users are not the same.

Until next time!

Roger

There is Always Something to Photograph

Starting to work on a new area of photography can be a challenge but a lot of fun. I have been wanting to start shooting different types of subjects and I wanted to explore shooting more black and white images. I didn't want to shoot just anything. I wanted to shoot subjects that display a type of mood, tell a story and has a simple, minimalistic quality to them.

This past week I had the chance to visit Hanging Rock State Park in Danbury North Carolina. I wanted to hike to the top of the Hanging Rock and get a photo or two. I wanted to record my trip and do a little vlogging and capture a little B-roll footage along the way. It was a nice day, but a little breezy and brisk. Nevertheless, it was a good day to do a little hiking. My goal was not to get an image from my adventure but I would capture one or two if I could.

The hike to the top was challenging for a guy that is almost 60 years old. But I knew I could still do it. I figured I am not dead yet. As the hike began it was pretty easy until I reached that mass amount of steps, boulders, and the uphill climb at the base of the Hanging Rock. I had to take a few breaks a lot the way to do some vlog recording and rest. I am not a young man anymore.

When I reached the top of Hanging Rock I was in for a little bit of a shock. The winds were gusting over 60 mph. There was a reason I was the only one upon the Hanging Rock. No one else wanted to be there. Once I arrived I took advantage of having the whole place to myself. Normally, I would have to work around the crowds to get a good shot. On that day, that was not an issue. I had the whole place to myself.

I took a look around for a good composition and to try to get a shot that I thought was unique. I located two lone trees at the rear of the Hanging Rock formation. They seem to stand out. Even though I had passed by them on several occasions there was something special about them that day. I knew I wanted to get a unique shot of the two trees. So, I decided to experiment with shooting the image in a 4:3 format rather than my usual 16:9 format. I also wanted to shoot a latitudinal image. I knew from the start I also wanted the image to be in black and white. I was very pleased with the image and after posting the image on my social media sites, I was very pleased with the positive feedback from others.

Family Trees

Family Trees

It is always good to experiment with new techniques as a photographer. I feel creative people need and want to challenge themselves. They know the challenge makes them a better creative. It can be very easy to become bored as a photographer. You have to get out of your comfort zone and remember there is always something to photograph. For me, it took climbing a mountain, hiking over boulders, taking a lot of steps, and battling 60+ winds to get the shot. That made the journey fun.

Until next time!

Roger

Building My Youtube Channel in 2019

One of the creative projects that I have planned for myself in 2019 is to create more Youtube videos for my Youtube Channel. I want to create content that I would like to share with others and hopefully, they will enjoy. My main objective is to create informative and entertaining content without repeating the same old content you see from other channels. It will be almost impossible to not cover some of the same subjects and materials like other creators. My main objective is to give my own spin and comments on the subjects I find interesting. People that know me understand that I am pretty straightforward and honest in my opinions and that includes my opinions on many creative subjects such as photography, videography, blogging, and business. I don't want to offend anyone. I just want to create my own content for my Youtube Channel. I am looking forward to reading my subscribers comments and replies. 2019 should be pretty fun. But first I need to set up a productive workstation and studio for my Youtube video recordings and photography post-processing.

Setting Up My Work Station

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Setting up my workstation is not really a challenge. For my work, besides having a nice camera and a variety of lens, I only need a few items and most of them I already have. My first task for setting up my workstation is to make sure I have all the lighting resources needed for the Youtube recordings. I want videos to have the appropriate lighting for my videos. Some of the best Youtubers I follow are very good at having the proper lighting that is not distracting to the viewer. The good thing is lighting devices and products are pretty inexpensive. I have 2 soft-box lights and 2 small LED panels that will work very nicely when recording in my office. The LED lights are very easy to use and they are portable. I can attach the LED lights to light stands and even on my camera shoe. I really enjoy the LED lights because the lighting devices are adjustable.

When comes to sound I have the option to use a RODE mic or lapel mic. I have tested the two devices and I can tell a big difference in the quality of the sound when using a good microphone. I could use the camera microphone but it is not as good as the RODE or lapel mic.

I have a dependable tripod for the recordings. Many people don't understand how important a good steady tripod is for photography and video recordings. My tripod has many adjustment options and allows me to adjust not only the camera but the camera's height. I can adjust the tripod to even shoot over my photography softboxes. I have found that very helpful when shooting my Youtube videos.

Establishing a Schedule

Part of being a Youtube creator is having good content and uploading your content on a regular schedule. I watch a variety of creative Youtubers that release content on a variety of schedules. Some release content every couple of weeks. Some release content weekly. Some of the hard-core Youtubers even upload content daily. Those Youtubers are nuts, but they do have some very entertaining content. For me, I plan to release my content at least once a week. I am looking for quantity, my goal is quality. I do understand that if I do not upload content on regular basis, no one will subscribe to my channel.

Plan and Create Good Content

My content will vary and will continually change based not so much on what others do, but what I want to talk about, what I am doing, where I go, and things I find interesting. I don't want to cover photography gear or a lot of techy stuff. I will not be looking for sponsors because sponsors seem to have their own agenda that I may not agree with. I will be doing some limited reviews on products that I use. If I dislike a product I will let my audience know. Most of all I will be honest. I see a lot of creators that started out with great content and as they gained more fame their channels became huge advertising channels. From comments I have read, many subscribers don't like that. I understand the importance of getting paid for reviews by sponsors. However, making money will not be my main objective for building my 2019 Youtube channel. It is all about the content for me. I also plan to do some interviews with subscribers and other creators. I am really looking forward to that.

I just want to create a Youtube channel that hopefully others will find interesting. I am planning for 2019 be to a great productive year.

Until next time!

Roger 

The Importance of Capturing Images of Yourself

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Isn't it crazy how a tragic death of a friend or family member can put life into perceptive and remind us of how important memories of a friend or loved can be? Sometimes we lose a special person quickly and without notice and wished we had spent more time with them. Not spending more time with family and a friend is something we seem to regret when we find out that special someone has passed. We long to hear them talk, see their expressions, and to be able to go back and capture those special events and days with them all over again. The sad reality is, we can't.

Remembering an Old Friend

I recently had an old Air Force buddy pass away very quickly and suddenly. It was a shock to many people. My friend was actually pretty young. He was one of the kindest and most caring guys I had ever met. He loved life and he was loved by so many. I was fortunate to have lunch with him about 10 years ago and it was the last time I actually spoke to him. However, I was able to follow him on Facebook for the last few years. It was a shock to hear of his sudden passing.

Collecting Memories

After being notified of his passing I scrambled to find photos and videos of my friend. The sad reality is I had very few photos and no videos of my buddy. This was not the first time I had a friend pass away quickly. I had another Air Force buddy who passed away and I learned a valuable lesson from that experience. That lesson was to collect and keep as many photos and videos of old friends and family members so I could remember them in the future. So, every opportunity I could get, I would download images and videos of my friends and family in case they passed away suddenly. I wanted to be able to look at old photos and videos so I could remember the days we spent together. Today, each photo and video are priceless to me.

Recording Yourself

Thankful, I understood quickly how important photos, audio, and video can be when it comes to remembering someone, special memories, once-in-a-lifetime events and other special moments in my life. But, have you ever thought about how important it is to record video and photograph yourself? For many people having a photo or video shot of them is something they don't like to do. They feel they don't look good in videos and photographs. Many people fail to realize that when you are gone your loved ones and those that cared about you could care less how you looked, what you were wearing, how you sounded, how old you are, or anything else superficial. They just want to be able to see you again or at least an image of you. Today, that is very easy to record and photograph yourself. It just takes the willingness to do it. If not for you, at least for those that care about.

Leaving Your Legacy

I feel images, either photos or video is very important. Simple imagery help remind others of who you were. For example, I have 2 grandsons that I want to remember their "Pappy" long after I am gone. I don't know how long I will be around and I want them to have something to remember me by. Having images of parents and grandparents are important. I wished I had more photos of my grandparents. I have only a couple of photos and videos of one of my grandmothers that I cherish. I have no images of my other grandmother or great-grandparents. It would be so special to have just one image of them today. Of course, I can't have that but I can leave my own legacy for my grandchildren.

Taking Action

I can make a conservative effort to record myself, either through photos or video. A video is the best way for one to leave a part of their legacy. A video is very nice because one can leave a recording of their voice and those that love and miss them can hear their voice for years to come. Shooting your own videos allows you to tell others of your thoughts on a variety of subjects, your likes, dislikes, and you can ever share your life's story. You cannot do that with a photograph. In the future, I will record more of me. I will create videos of myself talking about things that are important to me. It will be a way to share a part of who I am and who I was. I will leave photos and videos for my wife, son, and my two little grandsons. Recording myself is something I have control of and something I feel is very important. I just need to sometimes remind myself how important photos and videos can be for others.

Thanking My Old Friends

I would like to thank my old Air Force buddies for reminding me how important images and memories can be. I will always remember those that were a part of my life, even if was only for short time. RIP, my friends and thank you for the memories.

Roger

Hey Creatives! Stop Seeking Others Opinions That Really Don't Care

Have you ever created a cool photo, video, drone shot, other creative product and noticed that some people don't really care about it? I see it all the time. Creatives get so excited about a product, project, or an adventure they took and some people could care less. That is ok. The problem is creatives don't seem to realize that not everyone is interested in their work. Many people could care less about what it took to capture a unique image, create a film, how much time it takes to capture b-roll, how a great drone clip was shot, how much time and money it takes to get capture an image, how a photo or video was edited or just about any part of the creative process. So, if most people don't care, why do creatives still continue to seek others approval or feedback? It is not that a creator did anything wrong or the product was bad. It is that not everyone has a creative mind and most people don't think like most creatives.

Here is the bottom line. Everyone does not care about your creative process. Most family members, friends, co-workers, the public, and just about everyone you think might get excited about your creative projects, don't really care. That is just the facts and as a creative, you have to just accept that. You also have to get away from those people. Not that you have to not associate with them, you just need to keep them out of your creative environment. In a way, they can greatly affect your creative work by making you doubt your work. Too much rejection could actually cause you to want to quit. That is not good.

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The best thing to do is find other like-minded creatives to talk to and communicate with. For example, I have a friend that is a very knowledgeable and talented painter. I love to hear him speak about his art and his painting. I love the conversations and our conversations get me excited to do what I do. We respect one another. I understand his mindset and he understands mine. My son is a very talented graphic designer, photographer, videographer and he is very creative. Some of my favorite conversations are about the creative process and discussion what projects we have going on. Sometimes we even work together which is always fun. Other creatives don't even have to do the same type of work. But they will be more likely to understand how a creative mind works and respect your art, talents, and struggles you go through to create. They can also provide an environment that may lead to more creative projects in the future.

I have learned over time that I should never create something for others and trying to create for others is a waste of time, money, and energy. I should create for myself and because I enjoy the process. If someone truly enjoys my product or services they will want them. My primary purpose is not to create and do things for money. I create because of the challenge and to simply 'create" something cool.

So stop trying to recruit others in to loving your work. The reality is, most people don't really care and you should use your time, energy, money, and talents wisely by creating something cool. You don't need others approval, just yours.

Until next time!

Roger

Choosing a New DJI Drone

Well, it is time to make a decision on what drone I will purchase next. Just recently I decided to sell my DJI Phantom Pro 3 drone. My original plan was to keep the PP3 until Springtime and then sell it to help purchase a newer drone. Then I started thinking that I was most likely not going to be flying my drone too much during the winter so I decided to sell it early. I figured until I find a buyer I would continue to use it. Little did I know, I was going to sell it faster than I expected. I was able to sell the PP3 in one day. I sold it to a gentleman from Greensboro who just happen to have several drones and he said he was experienced in flying them. However, he did not have a DJI Phantom Pro 3. I was a little nervous about a guy buying the drone and not have any experience in flying a PP3. It all worked out because he was experienced in flying other drones. That was good news for me because the last thing I wanted to do was sell my drone to a novice and he ended up crashing it and claiming the drone was defective and he wanted his money back. Thankfully, I did not have to deal with that issue.

After selling my PP3 I knew I had to save up some funds to purchase a new drone fairly quickly. Saving up money to buy a new drone is one issue I have to deal with but another important issue is what drone do I select for my next drone. I know I will be buying a new DJI drone and it will not be the Phantom Pro 4. I liked my PP3 but I wasn't too thrilled with having to carry around a large case to transport the drone. If I bought the PP4 would have to deal with the hassle of carrying it around like I did the PP3.

I want something more portable. The dilemma is DJI has some very nice small, high quality, portable drones. DJI has the Spark, DJI Mavic Pro, DJI Mavic Pro Platinum, and Mavic Pro 2. My dilemma is figuring out which one to buy. As with any purchase, there are many factors to take into consideration and DJI makes making a decision very difficult. However, my decision will be based on two important factors; price and needs.

I am the type of guy that looks at many reviews when purchasing any product and looking at reviews online and on Youtube is how I normally select a product I plan to purchase. I have been looking at many resources and Youtube channels to find reviews from not only tech reviewer but more importantly reviews from those that have purchased several types of DJI drones. I needed specs information on each drone type as well as hands-on reviews from users that have a lot of experiences with drones. One thing I am very aware of is that many Youtuber reviews can be very misleading because some YouTubers have hidden agendas when it comes to giving true product reviews on purchasing drones. They get paid to endorse them to make money.

One good review that I did like was a review from "Cruising Off Duty" on Youtube. The review was good because it provided me with a good comparison between the DJI Mavic Pro and Mavic Pro 2. I have been eyeing both of them. Even though the reviewer was new to the Mavic Pro 2 drone when he tested it he did give a nice breakdown between the two drones. The drone specs between the two drones can be found at DJI Mavic Pro and DJI Mavic Pro.

DJI Mavic Pro

DJI Mavic Pro

After reading dozens of reviews and looking at many Youtubers that do photography and shoot videos with drones I have to make a decision before Springtime. Do I buy what I know is the best drone or do I buy a very nice drone that is very popular, is much cheaper in price, and will most likely fulfill my photography and video needs? Based on the specs of the Mavic Pro 2, it is a much better all around drone. But the price tag is very high. It looks like I could get a Mavic Pro 2 for around $1500. Of course, that does not include extra batteries, SD, and other needed essentials.

Mavic Pro 2

Mavic Pro 2

Or I could purchase the Mavic Pro for around $1100 that would include 2 extra batteries. I have to decide is paying up to $700 more for the newest drone worth it. From what I have read from those that have purchased a DJI Mavic Pro they are very pleased with it. I have also read that many of those same people would buy the Mavic Pro 2 in a heartbeat if the price tag wasn't so high.

I will hold off and conduct more research on the DJI Mavic Pro and Mavic Pro 2. I will also be waiting to find out if there will be any sales on the two drones. I have plenty of time to do more research. As of today, I am leaning toward the DJI Mavic Pro because I feel it will fill all my needs as a photographer and videographer.

So do you have a DJI Mavic Pro or Mavic Pro 2? If you do, what do think of your drone? If you don't have a DJI drone are you considering buying one? If so, which one? I would love to find out your views on the drones. Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Until next time!

Roger

Go Ahead and Shoot Yourself

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Isn't the title of this post catchy? When I say people should shoot themselves I am referring to photographing or shooting video of themselves. Why? It is simple. Because today in our society recording your life is so easy to do. We see people all the time doing selfies, taking video, uploading videos to Youtube and other social media sites. Of course, most of the videos and photos are trashy, meaningless and have no real value or real purpose. However, shooting video can be very important and can serve a real and meaning purpose when it comes to recording your life.

Shooting video is a lot of fun and is pretty easy to do these days. Everyone has a camera and shooting all types of videos. However, most people don't seem to understand how shooting stories of their life and special events can be very important for future generations. People fail to realize that if they take the time to record themselves they can leave a part of their life's story and legacy behind for others. Think about it. How much do you think your family and friends truly know about you and your life? I would guess very little. Do they know when you were born, stories about your childhood, where you went to school, how you met the love of your life, your friends, historical events that affected you throughout your life, the birth of your children, precious photos of family and friends, your plans growing up, your achievements, your failures, and even your regrets. All that can be told "BY YOU" through video and on a simple little device called a camera.

The good thing is today we all have the ability to record our life and create a biography of ourselves to pass on to others long after we are gone. We can tell our own life story in our own words. Those words and visuals can be shared with our children, grand children, extended family members, and friends. All it takes is the willingness to take the time to sit down and record yourself or have your personal biography professionally done. I remember when I researching how to create personal biographies for my customers a gentleman made an important statement during a testimonial that I will never forget. He said he wanted to have his story told so he could share his life story with others long after he is gone. The biggest statement that touched me was when he stated that his grandmother was Native American and would have loved to had the opportunity to see her and hear her life story in her own words via video.

Today it is so easy to shoot/record yourself. It just takes the willingness to understand the importance of leaving a piece of your legacy behind for you those you love. Forget how old you are, how you look, if you can speak effectively, or how you may sound in a video. No one will really care. All they want is to hear is you telling your own story. Recording yourself can make that happen and it is not that difficult to do today. The bottom line is, we can all record silly or worthless video to put on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube. Or we can record video that is meaningful and priceless. It just takes the willingness to do it.

Until next time!

Roger

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 

 

 

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

 

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 

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