Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The National Geographic Photographers

I went to Chicago for a photography seminar a couple of weeks ago.  I love their Traveler Magazine, and this was a seminar featuring an editor and a photographer who work for the magazine.  It was an entire day of gorgeous photos and stories about how the photos were made.  I know when I open the magazine, I think of those faraway places and how I might like to go to a certain place based more on the photos than on the story.  As it turns out, the stories and photos rarely ever go together from the start.  They have writers who submit story ideas.  Then photographers are assigned to the locations and often the full story hasn't been written yet.  Sometimes the writer and photographer meet for a few hours in overlapping time to discuss ideas.  That was amazing to me, because when I travel, I take my own photos and then I write about my own stories, often making photo books to capture the adventures we make.

The day went way too fast.  I enjoyed hearing about how it takes 15,000 photos to do an article that might include 5 photos. I don't feel bad anymore about shooting 100 photos in a day.  I feel sorry for the person doing editing and making choices though.  None of the photos get photoshopped for a magazine like traveler.  I learned that the photographers do a variety of tricks to improve how things look, since there won't be touch-ups done. Like, they always try to shoot at sunrise and sunset when the light is at its best.  Food photos are brought to a sunny window so they can be shot in natural light.  Weather can't be a factor when they have just a couple days to get the shots needed for a story so you learn to use the light to advantage.  On rainy days, don't shoot the sky.  When there are clouds, shoot up to capture them in your composition.  Rain makes everything look shiny- not a bad thing.

After this day of stories about the people behind the shots, I did some thinking.  I have so many photos that no one sees but me and my Facebook friends and family.  I wanted to do something useful with them and share my own stories.  I started writing a book.  I have been writing another blog about Milwaukee Parks for the past year.  Once you've covered the parks in all seasons, a book could pretty much write itself.  So, that's my latest project.  I am about 90% done and hope to have it on Amazon by Christmas.  I guess we all need inspiration to get something done.  I'm excited to see my book published now!

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