On Expanding Ventures

This is a little bit of new territory, I will confess, but I think it’s a good thing that I’m doing for my business: learning photography.

The way I see it, it’s something that had to happen. As a graphic designer, I use stock photography taken by others, usually via a stock-pic exchange site like iStockPhoto. Far as the artists’ photos, I ask the artists themselves, or their management. But, and especially when it comes to live shots, it comes to working with fellow photographers. While often a great thing, it also puts into question copyright.

Now, I credit photographers when and where I can. But a lot of my work usually comes with a stipulation that I keep my logo, or the photographer’s name (or logo, sometimes) off the finished product. So how would I deal with the copyright issues then?

There hadn’t been any issues that had cropped up so far. However, it’s something that’s perfectly avoidable and something that would also give my creative side a whole new outlet. Solution: do my own photographing.

For those of you who have been on my Facebook page, you may’ve seen the virtual whoop of delight when I caved to temptation (and business requirements!) and bought my camera, a Nikon D5100. I figured out pretty damn quick that kit lenses have major limitations, and high-octane lenses are exorbitant enough to make me think twice about changing day jobs. However, I did receive an early Christmas gift in the form of a Sigma lens that I’ve had the chance to shoot with before (hat-tip to the awesome MJ Jones, who had provided me with the opportunity to shoot with it), and that’s a start.

I am still getting used to the cam itself. The one flaw in the D5100 is that it’s “user friendly” – and yes, it’s a flaw. The camera settings are pre-set by choice of scene, which is great, except that concert photography is a gamble. You don’t know how well the stages are lit, and that can and does make or break the shot. This renders most “scene” modes useless, unless you study each one and work through them on a trial-and-error basis. The thing is, I want to shoot manual, but doing so in iffy lighting (and not yet with my good lens) is a challenge.

But I’m learning. That’s the best part. There’s always something to learn.

And yes, I’m doing plenty of reading. Photography and graphic design always go hand-in-hand, and as I improve, I want to be able to see where I’m going to need more  work.

Truth be told, though, I’m pretty damn excited about it. I’ve always liked to tool around with images, so taking my own, to me, is a perfectly logical next step in Getting Better At What I Do.

K.G.

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