• Seoul photographer Greg Samborski shoots it all -- commercial, event, engagement, wedding, portrait... Give him a mission, he will deliver.

Cornerstone Restaurant, Park Hyatt Seoul: Any day I get to take a photo is a good day.  The days I get paid to take photos it’s a bonus. And the days I get to photograph food, eat it and get paid are pretty much heaven!

Photographing the Italian Chamber of Commerce Italian Food Festival was my 2 hour visitors pass to heaven. Each of the 10 chefs in attendance this year cooked a dish representative of 10 of the 20 cooking regions of Italy.

My job over the course of the 2 hour event was to photograph the chefs, dishes, sponsors, speeches, atmosphere and attendees. Being event work, time was in short supply. I decided to photograph most of chefs in the glass entry area where there was more natural light but little wind. We then went outside to get a few closeups of the dishes. I put my new Genaray SpectroLED Essential 240 Bi-Color LED Lights to use. Powered off of a 6300 mha bettary they were able to add a nice rim/separation light to the chefs for that little bit of extra punch / depth. I also used them in the low lit areas of the restaurant to get better light on some of the foods. Over all I’m really happy with how it all turned out. Big thanks to my partner in crime, Dylan Goldby of WelkinLight Photography, who passed along this gig.

Looking for a food photographer to photograph your next menu? Contact me via the contact form above to discuss your project!

Sit down, put on some tunes, grab some wine and start proofing!

Sit down, put on some tunes, grab some wine and start proofing!

So your photographer sent you some “proofs”. What does that even mean and what should you do next? Here’s a quick guide with some advice well worth reading before you go about selecting your photos. Let’s get started!

 

proof |pro͞of| – Dictionary Definition

a trial photographic print made for initial selection.

Proof – Greg’s Definition

“Proofs” are a batch of images that are typically:

  • unedited ~ the main purpose of proofing is to determine which images are desirable and should be prioritized for editing
  • small in size ~ 800 pixels on the long edge
  • low in resolution ~ they will look OKAY on your monitor at 100% size but pixelated when zoomed into or printed
  • watermarked ~ usually with the photographers name or logo

Small, low resolution files are created for three reasons:

  • to save space
  • to increase upload, download and viewing speeds
  • to deter unlawful usage of images

Watermarks are applied:

  • to deter unlawful usage and distribution of images
  • to identify any images that were unlawfully used
  • to brand an image / like an artists signature

Proofing – An Analogy by Greg

I love analogies. Here’s the best one I have for proofing… thus far. Think of a proof like a raw steak in your local supermarket meat section. You ALWAYS want to select the best cut to begin with. BUT, keep in mind steak can be prepared many ways and even if you like it raw, it is often significantly better once seasoned, seared, plated and paired with a nice red.

014-Raw-Steak

Proofing – Give it 3 Rounds

Round 1: Start with emotion. Don’t focus on technical elements such as lighting, colors, background elements etc, those can all be changed (see below) rather ask yourself if that photo made you feel something in the first few seconds. If it’s hard for you to decide than it probably didn’t. The impulse to select a photo should be a gut reaction. Don’t limit your selections your first time around. You might end up selecting everything – that’s fine.

Round 2: By now you have already seen all the images so it should be easier to discard images that are visually similar. You don’t need three slightly different facial expressions in what is otherwise three identical shots. You may also choose to discard entire segments of the photos session. Maybe those 5 shots in the bamboo just don’t fit with the rest of the story.

Round 3: Okay, round 3 is tough! You need to be relentless an KEEP CUTTING! Remember LESS IS MORE! If  you really can’t decide, you can always purchase the extras 🙂

Korea Event Photographer Peroni Promotion

Proofing – Things to Keep in Mind

As mentioned above, it’s important to start with an emotional mindset, not a technical one when proofing. In this day and age we photographers have more ability than ever to change the way a photo looks but even for us there are limitations. Keep these things in mind when making your selections.

  • EASY TO CHANGE
    • cropping/composition
    • exposure/brightness
    • contrast
    • color
    • small blemishes, scars, wrinkles, wardrobe malfunctions
Cropping can bring the subject into focus and eliminate distractions. Notice just how drastically you can crop, about 70%) and still maintain a crisp looking image. Cropping any further could lead to pixelated looking images.

Cropping can bring the subject into focus and eliminate distractions. Notice just how drastically you can crop, about 70%) and still maintain a crisp looking image. Cropping any further could lead to pixelated looking images.

Notice how we can recover a very over exposed/bright image.

Notice how we can recover a very over exposed/bright image.

We can also recover under exposed/dark images. Note I also cropped in to make our subjects a little larger and improve the composition.

We can also recover under exposed/dark images. Note I also cropped in to make our subjects a little larger and improve the composition.

Cloudy days cast a very even light which can make images look a little washed out or faded. Contrast can be added a number of different ways quite easily in Lightroom.

Cloudy days cast a very even light which can make images look a little washed out or faded. Contrast can be added a number of different ways quite easily in Lightroom.

Images can be "cooled down" or "warmed up" in seconds so don

Images can be “cooled down” or “warmed up” in seconds so don’t despair if your skin looks too blue/orange.

Colours can easily be desaturated, enhanced or even changed in Lightroom. Not that the colors need to be fairly similar in tone to get a natural look. You can

Colors can easily be desaturated, enhanced or even changed in Lightroom. Not that the colors need to be fairly similar in tone to get a natural look. You can’t turn black to pink, for that more extensive editing is needed.

  • HARDER BUT POSSIBLE TO CHANGE *
    • facial expressions – IF there in another photo in the same sequence/set with a better expression
    • backgrounds and distracting elements
    • *These changes often require work in Photoshop ranging anywhere from 3-30 minutes per image
Doh! We missed dad

Doh! We missed dad’s great smile in the first shot! He’s looking at the camera in frame 1 but in frame 2 tiny Ted is looking away. There’s a trick we can use called “face/head swapping”. It works here because our lighting, angle and most elements in the frame are identical. Dad’s body is stationary enough in both frames that we can take his head in frame 2 and place it on his body in frame 1 in photoshop. You could also switch Tiny Ted’s head from frame 1 to frame 2 but that’s a much more difficult edit as the background behind Ted’s head (mom’s hair and clothes) is much more complex than the blue wall. Ted’s arm has also moved which could affect body position alignment. As you see for head switching the photos should be nearly identical in every other way.

No one would know even know a head/face transplant had occurred!

No one would know even know a head/face transplant had occurred!

See that distracting yellow licence plate in the background. We can remove that! You could also remove the whole car but it would go from a 2 minute quick fix to a 10-15 minute photoshop mission.

See that distracting yellow licence plate in the background. We can remove that! You could also remove the whole car but it would go from a 2 minute quick fix to a 10-15 minute photoshop mission.

 

  • IMPOSSIBLE TO CHANGE
    • emotions/facial expressions that don’t fall into the category above
    • body parts that are hidden/cropped
    • out of focus areas to be sharp again

Get Going!

Okay, you are now a pro on proofing. Someone asks you “what does proofing mean?” and you be like, “Well imagine a proof is like a raw steak…”. Grab your partner, friend, family, get comfy, grab a drink, throw on some music and enjoy viewing and choosing your images together. Once you’ve finalized your selections let me know by email and I’ll edit and send them to you. One more thing, remember that you can leave a comment on every image so if there’s something you want changed, i.e. you want to swap faces, please give me a detailed description: “Please replace my head in this image with my head from image 132” or “Please crop police man cuffing my fiance out of the frame.”

Thank you and happy proofing!

China-Wedding-Photographer-Chinese-Wedding-135

160217-Who-Does-Baby-Love-Most-Competition

This reminds me of that “who does baby love best” competition that always gets played here in Korea – you know that one where Koreans surround whoever is holding baby then clap, coo and stretch out their arms to assess who is the most worthy. If baby turns or hides from a contestant that person is deemed a wretched, evil, baby hating being. Should baby accept the invitation to be held by one of the constants, the winner is applauded and admired by all as clearly babies only choose to be held by the purest souls.

Odds are typically stacked in grandma’s favor as they have typically given the baby the most sweets and dealt the least punishment over baby’s short lifetime. In the event grandmother is holding baby and mother and father are coerced into playing this game and baby happens to choose daddy be prepared for absolute insanity to ensue.

I love playing it because I often win! 😛

This musing is part of my 30 day What if we posted to our websites instead of facebook? experiment.

Are we slaves to social media? I don’t mean the way it is usually depicted in those dark depressing images that circulate around facebook every few months of people literally shackled by a little “f” icon or fiending for “likes” as though they are crack-cocaine. Those images typically focus on society’s need for interaction, affirmation and the vast amounts of time facebook and other social media platforms steals from us. I’m looking at it from the perspective of building someone else’s empire for FREE. Sure, we haven’t been coerced to create facebook accounts so “slave” may too strong and too loaded a word, rather my point is that we are creating a lot of wealth for someone else and basically our compensation is a blue thumbs up icon and a platform that further enables us to share more content, ideas, comments, preferences, events and personal data which in turn produces more money for the people who can harness, analyze and sell it.

What if we posted to our websites instead of facebook

On my walk to work today I wondered yet again what if each time I was about to post on facebook I posted to my personal website instead? Rather than create content that will be buried for eternity within minutes, maybe a few days at best, I could grow my website with content that could reach a much larger audience and be easily accessible for years, maybe even decades. New clients and existing “followers” could gleam a little more well rounded view of Greg the person rather than just GregSamborski.com the business. There are a number of other immediate benefits that came to mind:

  • content can be searched and accessed by the entire online community vs just your social network friends/fans
  • content is more diversified and may lead to clients you never considered targeting and who in turn never may never have considered booking a photographer… that is until they decided to check out your portfolio 😉
  • content increases which can never hurt because as they say in SEO, “content is king”
  • I may learn to write again

Already I’m seeing the pitfalls of this endeavor, this post has taken WAY more time and effort than anticipated, but wait a second… is this actually a negative? Let’s investigate.

Why is this post taking longer?
Because I’m trying to flesh out an idea in what I hope is an interesting and intelligent way and I don’t feel limited by the small text box facebook provides or the knowledge that this post is essentially disposable with its half day shelf life.

And why is this post more challenging?
Because it’s taking longer (for the reasons mentioned above) and I can’t do a half-assed job with the knowledge that I can just append and edit my thoughts in the comments section for the next 10 minutes until the post sinks below my front page deep into my facebook history. Instead I have to make an effort to explain m thoughts clearly and concisely (the latter is always the most difficult). Furthermore, I need come up with things like titles, keywords, categories and descriptions so that this idea is easily recognizable and retrievable.

Hmmmm, so if posts like this take more time and are more challenging than I suppose I’m only going to post things that are truly worth the effort… I-I-I-I-I-I-nteresting.

Alas, today begins the 30 day facebook to blog trial. Anything I think of putting on facebook will be posted here. I have a feeling this will result in a significant decrease in posts. At the end of the month I’ll look at my webpage analytics to see if there were noticeable trends.

  • […] This musing is part of my 30 day What if we posted to our websites instead of facebook? experiment. […]ReplyCancel

  • Andrew Faulk - 2016/02/27 - 9:43 AM

    Good thoughts here Greg. Thanks for taking the time to write more challenging posts and pressing yourself as a creative. We all benefit from that.ReplyCancel

    • Greg Samborski - 2016/03/02 - 12:13 PM

      Thanks for stopping by Andy. What are your thoughts on building facebook instead of our own pages?ReplyCancel

      • Andrew Faulk - 2016/03/18 - 7:44 PM

        As a Facebook stock holder, I want people to enjoy Facebook all day everyday. As a photographer and as a contributor to the photographic community, I want to house information on my website so that it is available to all. Lasting content should be housed off of social media. While those quick tad bits should be thrown into the Facebook abyss.ReplyCancel