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The Truth about Photography: Telling It Like It Is At Google Israel

Jared Polin May 15, 2014 Comments Off

While I was in Israel I had the pleasure of speaking at Google to over 200 Fro Readers who came out to listen to me speak.

As many of you know I am not a fan of power points or rehearsed speeches and that’s why my Google Meetup was one big Q and A session. The questions that were asked were very solid. It’s always questions that help trigger a deeper discussion in my brain. Because the questions were quality I was able to expand on them and get as much information out as possible.

I was truly humbled by the fact that 200+ people in Israel think highly enough about me to take time away from their schedule to hear me speak. There is no better feeling than to stand in front of you guys and give my all to help. Thank you for those who were able to make it and for those who were not, please enjoy the session.

Click Here to download the RAW File of this photo.

DSC 6258 The Truth about Photography: Telling It Like It Is At Google Israel

Photo concept and lighting setup courtesy of Benjamin Von Wong and Broncolor

Herman Miller Embody: Something To Make My Butt Feel Good

Jared Polin May 13, 2014 Comments Off

The majority of our time as photographers and videographers is spent sitting on our butts in front of the computer. So why do we buy crappy chairs that are not comfortable or enjoyable to sit in?

I know I have been using a chair from Staples that was around $200 that seems fine until you try a real chair like the Embody.

The point I am making here is we spend money on quality gear why would we skimp out when it comes to something we have to sit in close to 6 or more hours a day.

Let me tell you this chair is not inexpensive, not everyone can or would spend $1,500 on a chair, I understand that. I myself have a hard time justifying spending that much for a chair.

But what I can tell you is when you finally put your butt in the chair you understand that just about everything you have sat in before pales in comparison.

I look at Herman Miller as the Apple of chairs. They just make sense, the levers, switches and everything is where it should be and just works. And it better for for that price.

I have heard from other readers who have Herman Miller chairs and say they have had them for close to 10 years and they are still going strong.

So knowing that this chair will last me 15-20 years makes my own decision to pick one up for myself and my dad much easier.

Screen Shot 2014 04 29 at 4.55.57 PM Herman Miller Embody: Something To Make My Butt Feel Good

Gary Vaynerchuck – Jab Jab Jab Right Hook: From My Bookshelf

Jared Polin May 10, 2014 Comments Off

We now live in a socially connected world where connecting with people is more important to your brand and business than ever before.

But many people aren’t doing it properly. I know there is never a perfect way or model to follow when it comes to social outreach but there are tweaks that can help you win in the noisy world.

That is exactly what Gary V was aiming for when he wrote Jab Jab Jab Right Hook. He uses real world case studies to try and show you what has worked and may continue to work for you. Again none of this is the gospel but it is based around success.

The tips and tricks inside this book are an eye opener for anyone looking to get more reach online. Even if you have a following you still are going to find nuggets of info in here that will surely help you out.

The Hardest Rapid Fire Critique I Have Ever Done: Photography

Jared Polin May 7, 2014 Comments Off

I get asked to critique a lot of peoples work and usually they are people I have never met. So, critiquing their work is not an emotional thing, meaning I don’t have a personal connection with them.

But when I get asked to critique a friends work I have to be very careful how I word things. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t change the harshness level or let them slide on certain things. I simply try and watch my words and the message I am getting across.

My long time friend Taylor whos first introduction to a DSLR was when I handed her a D3000 with a 35 1.8 has come a long way in her photographic journey. Click Here to see the Seeing And Feeling Video. Since that time in 2011 she has continued to shoot, picking up different cameras and lenses but rarely asking me for my opinion.

The reason she never asked my opinion is she knows how opinionated I am. Plus she knew if she brought up a subpar lens that my answer would be swift and harsh.

Now she is out taking real paying jobs, she is shooting weddings, baby portraits, candids and pretty much anything that catches her eye.

I am not sure if she asked me for this critique or I asked to see her top 10. But I wanted to see her progression from 2011 until now.

When it comes to critiquing peoples work in my opinion it’s not about finding and ripping every small mistake. It’s about finding those issues but giving positive reinforcement to how they can be corrected or changed.

It makes zero sense to rip someone totally down to the point where they feel like they have failed as a photographer. This may work for some but that’s not how I like to learn nor how I want to critique others.

I chose not to look at any of her images before doing the critique. I wanted you all to see my honest reaction as soon as I saw the images.

What is great about having these sets on flickr is I can see the meta data. I can see what lens, what modes and a bunch of other data that helps me point someone in a direction.

Some people say that the gear, lenses and settings shouldn’t matter during a critique. I don’t agree with that at all. That may be the case with pros who are getting ripped apart but when it comes to someone who is learning, the only way to help them evolve is to see the settings.

I want to know were they in Manual or aperture priority or even in auto. What was the shutter speed, ISO and aperture. By knowing all of these things I can better understand the entire photo and help the photographer with some different ideas for settings.

Now that brings us to the critique of Taylors new work. It is not easy to critique the work of someone you are close with. I definitely watch my words and tone to make sure the perception was not that I am ripping her just to rip her.

I am not going to rehash all of the things I said in the video above but I do want to point out some thoughts. Her images are very very close throughout this set. What I mean by close is they are not far off in my opinion from all being keepers.

You have the simple shot of her daughter with the statues. With slight changes that image can go from “that’s nice” to “wow”. Don’t get me wrong, I understand when you are in the situation the images may change quickly and not allow you time to make certain changes. But by me mentioning different ideas and thoughts during a critique, that may resonate in the back of the mind on the next shoot.

Seeing shots of her daughters head from behind with the goggles strap on it is one of my least favorite images from the set. Like I explained in the critique, it needed more context. It possibly could work as part of a photo story but on its on it just didn’t.

You hear me talk about photo stories quite often. How an some images can stand on their own without anything surrounding them where others just don’t fit unless they have more context. When I am shooting I am always thinking about context, could this image stand on its own or does it need to be part of a story? If I shoot this tight will all context be lost but if I shoot it wide will it tell the entire story?

I used to love shooting everything extremely tight but I soon realized that the better images have more context and tend to be wide angles. One mistake people make when shooting with a wide angle is they don’t get close enough to their subject. Their subjects are there but they are very small. The key to a wide angle is filling the frame with your subject while keeping the defining parts of the scene intact.

Taylor asked to see my critique before she would agree to let me put it live. She was slightly worried with what my harshness level would be. But when she watched it she got it, she said it really helped her and was not to harsh. That’s exactly what it’s about, it’s about her coming back to me telling me that she took something from the critique.

Critiques are meant for one person to give their opinion. I am not looking to create a clone of my own work but simply interject my thoughts based off of what I think makes a solid image or photo story.

Keep up the great work Taylor.

If You’re A Scared Photographer You Should Quit And Sell Your Gear: RANT

Jared Polin May 6, 2014 Comments Off

I am deciding on gear to take to Israel right now. I am taking my Nikon D4s with the Hebrew Trinity but I am debating wether or not to take a backup in way of the D610 or D800. I honestly think I will opt to not even take a backup to save the space and having to take extra chargers.

I have heard some people saying “don’t risk” your D4s take X because it’s lights. I would never leave my best body at home because “something” could happen. That’s the point of owning pro gear or gear in general. You want to take it with you any where you go.

It’s like when people ask me “what’s the best point and shoot I could buy to take on vacation because I don’t want to take my DSLR”.

I understand some people want to travel light and not have so much gear but if your planning on taking photos why not take them with the gear you spent all this money on. I want to have my best gear with me to hopefully get the best images.

The one other statement that always gets me is “I only shoot RAW when the pictures are important. That makes no sense, every picture I take I consider to be important. You never know when that best shot is going to happen. I don’t care if it’s a job, a family picture, a snap shot, I want the best quality possible every time.

The moral of the story is I answered my own question, I wont be taking a backup with me to Israel. Shoot on the other hand maybe I should……..