Making Not Taking Photographs

Backstage views on making photographs professionally

Archive for the ‘Event Photography’ Category

What about “uncle Bob” for your important event photos?

Posted by Mike on August 8, 2009

I ran across the complete explanation for going with a professional photographer the other day… quite by accident.  I was catching a rerun of the Red and Green Show the other night and Red was explaining the difference between reliable and unreliable methods of repair to some object using  his famous Duct Tape.

“Do it the right way and you get the Grapes of Wrath, he said. (A Nobel, Pulitzer, and Literary Award winning book/movie.)

“Do it wrong and you get the Wrath of Grapes.”   (See here, here** , or here for citations.)

** “…television producers in America venture into a world they know nothing about…sweet dreams slowly ferment into sour grapes as “American Idol” executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick invest in a California vineyard…”

You could also check this out for a little eyewitness testimony on the subject of being out of your league as an amateur photographer:  Seattle Bride Magazine.

Just to fend off the Best Buy crowd a little… Check this link out here. As Ken puts it; “…There is nothing wrong with being an amateur photographer. Many of them are better than professionals…” And certainly “most amateurs have better equipment than professional photographers…”.  But, as we all know equipment does not make photographs, eyes, hearts, and brains do.

Recounting the last few jobs I have worked… Here are some topics that are not in the latest book of TIPS on how to make great photographs….

1) Client does not know what they want… they are hiring you for your expertise… If you have no expertise perhaps you should pass on the job?

2) Client is drunk during the photo shoot… How do you handle that.

3) Or worse, the client has a talent agent who thinks he knows more about photography than you do. How do you handle that?

4) Computer breaks during print on site job.

5) Camera refuses to record pictures.

6) Lens fails.

7) It’s dark outside. How do I make photos without people looking like deer in headlights?

8) You know in your heart the shadow on the side of everyone’s head in vertical compositions is the sign of a equipment poor, unskilled photographer. How do you make it not happen?

The answer is right here:  Read this blog.


Additionally, I might add that here is a link to a pretty good sized blog that is absolute proof that good photography trumps photoshop. Trying to “fix” poor photography does not work.

Photoshop Disasters…

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International Trademark Association, Elle MacPherson trademark violation

Posted by Mike on July 19, 2009

The fun part of this convention was meeting Elle MacPherson and photographing her for an afternoon….

Here are links to the main part of the job in case you need to hire an event photography company:

We made more than 6000 photographs in the 5 day convention at 4 venues, including the Washington State Convention Center, Museum of Flight, and the Seattle Sheraton… plus numerous party locations.

Poorly engineered marketing plan #1:

Mike tries to become famous signing autographs of the published MacPherson Photos…

The only strategy left (to becoming famous) is to get sued by MacPherson for diluting her trademark, or causing confusion between our “brands” so that when the public thinks of her they automatically and intrinsically think of me too. What do you think? Can this happen?




inta elle

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Making a photo from pretty much nothing….

Posted by Mike on July 10, 2009

We needed a front page photo for the INTA daily newspaper at their 131st convention. Mind numbing images one person at a microphone after another came into view all day… And even this seminar on how to make a presentation went bad with the sound system failing and people scattered all over the stage…. Not to mention the really poor background, fire extinguisher, and doors (that I took out).

Then it occurred to me that if we could just get all the participants to play along for 5 minutes after their presentation we could condense the whole thing into one shot and sucessfully tell their story.

More Photos:

I think it worked:


inta presentation

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Shinto in the Spring

Posted by Mike on April 27, 2009

You need to be tough to hop into a nearly freezing river in the spring…

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Shinto New Year

Posted by Mike on January 3, 2009

On 12/31 and 1/1/09  I visited the local Shinto Shrine for New Year’s and a Shinto Wedding.

On New Year’s Eve it was snowing and since the Shrine is located up in the foothills it was snowing and made for really good photo opportunities regardless of how cold it was.

First, there is Snow Falling on Cedar…

shinto12-31-08-098Then there is Snow covered bamboo.

shinto12-31-08-055Then there is Bamboo against Fir trees.


Posted in Event Photography, Landscape Photography, Photojournalism | Leave a Comment »

Best Holiday Party 2008

Posted by Mike on December 14, 2008

Every once in a while you run across a class act sort of guy who really knows how to do things that just get people laughing, motivated, and forgetting all the problems of the world.

Here is that guy!

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Into the light…

Posted by Mike on November 16, 2008

There is, of course, no better time to shoot pictures (i prefer “make” pictures) than when the sun is on the deck… You only have a few minutes and you need to explain this to your clients… it’s not negotiable.. there is only a 20 to 40 minute window.

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Mustang for Make a Wish

Posted by Mike on June 30, 2008

We recently did a job for Car Star (nationwide chain of auto repair shops). They were going to sell this car they rebuilt (to almost race standards) and give the proceeds to Make a Wish.

The trick photographically was to get rid of the busy background so we split the photo into two layers and used a lot of blur in the lower layer… painting back the car with a layer mask.


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The “Dukes”

Posted by Mike on May 18, 2008

I was photographing a party for Perkins Coie (the large law firm) and was asked to make sure I got a photo of the two senior partners together….

Immediately I “saw” Mortimer and Randolph Duke from the movie “Trading Places” with Eddie Murphy et al…

So here they are, Seattle style….the-dukes

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What if you had a new product to launch?

Posted by Mike on December 9, 2007

I covered the X-box launch party…. $700K for 3000 people….Wow, it was nice! …and loud, beyond belief.

If you were the bartendress who gave me the earplugs… I owe you!


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