As I said in Sunday’s post about the Seattle SMUG Cancer Survivor Charity Photo shoot, I would be back to explain my absence. Before Sunday, it was about 4 months since I’ve posted anything.
And that was just my annual Year in Photos. An easy blog posting with a simple slide-show.
Since last year I’ve had several major changes in my life.
First, I moved from Tulalip/Marysville, Wash., to Bellingham. The Ham, as locals call it, is 90 miles north of my favorite city Seattle. Bellingham is not so bad. It’s been hard trying to figure out what to do.
The Second, and most important, major change: I married my Sweetpea Heidi. Yep. Married 6 months after we moved up here.
Now that things are beginning to settle down, I feel like I can concentrate on the direction I want to take my photography.
During these times, however, I’ve worked on a new website, updated my logo, and began shooting stuff that normally isn’t shot.
The biggest project of all was having my website redesigned. As a co-leader of the Seattle SMUG, SmugMug allows for free use of the website as well as hooking you up with free customization.
Charles Chung with Creative Soda helped steer my site to how you see it today. Clean and easy to navigate.
Before I could do anything to my site, I needed a fresh, modern, updated logo and watermark. My old logo was, well, old. And to put it in the words of a web designer: “Just plain outdated, and get rid of the Papyrus font. It’s overused.”
With the help of my good friend, Kayden Christianson, we went and redesigned my logo to be cleaner and more modern.
Last year, I changed my business name from Sky Fire Photography to simply Pablo Conrad Photography. It was time to brand myself and not some ambiguous business name. You can read more here at From “Sky Fire” to the Real Me: Time to Brand Myself.
The main reason I did that as people not only know me as Pablo (the nickname I picked up in college), but know me as hardworking, try every angle to get the photo, constantly stretching my creativity, constantly trying new things, always learning, good guy with a big heart. I will keep shooting until I know I have the images necessary to tell the story.
That’s me in a nutshell. Hardworking and dedicated. Ask any of my former editors.
One of the most beautiful things about photography is the great variety in styles and subject matter one can specialize in. I fell in love with the scenery of the Pacific Northwest when I moved here. In Colorado, I was always out and about photographing to my heart’s content the beauty of the Rockies. Here’s some of my images- Rocky Mountain High: The Beauty of Colorado.
But after 15 years at newspapers shooting news, where do you go? This is where I’ve been the past 6 months or more, and where I got stuck at.
I love news. I miss the “deadline adrenaline” one gets when covering breaking news 15 minutes PAST a deadline. That really proves your mettle as a newspaper photographer. Not whether you can get nice photos of kids in the park, or the local sports teams, but what images you can capture using instinct, cunning, and creativity while moving fast on your feet.
You can translate that into shooting weddings. But as my wife told me, “It’s like Mario Andretti driving a bus. Sure he can do it, but does he want to?” Yes. I can shoot weddings. But do I want to?
Do I want to deal with “Bridezilla and Her Seven Bitches?” Not really. However, I do have fun shooting weddings. I’ve shot my family and friends performing their nuptials. And in reality, it is fun.
Like shooting news, weddings are challenging, I have to use my wits and cunning, I must anticipate, I must use all the tools necessary, and I have to meet a deadline. Several actually. Click here for examples: Weddings & Nuptials
The first being sending the Bride a few images of the event. The second is posting something on a social network such as Facebook, then a blog, uploading to a gallery, and finally having to sit down with the bride to show her what I have from her special day.
Then there’s the delivery deadline. Making the sure the Bride and Groom receive the goods in a timely fashion.
Keep the buzz going. Post a few during and immediately after the event. Post a few as you edit. Then when the Bride and Groom return from the honeymoon, post a few more. Several deadlines.
Then there’s portraiture. When you work at a newspaper, you have a major amount of flexibility of which image you choose for the assignment. However, in the business world, creativity counts for naught if a client does not like the work.
So you have to be flexible in that respect. Sure you can be creative, but you also have to shoot a few that the client wants. Cover your bases. And just like weddings, create a buzz and keep it going for the client. The faster you process and get the whole package done for them, the more business you’ll get. Here are some more samples of my portraiture: Personalities & Profiles
And landscapes? I love the outdoors, from the high peaks of the Rockies to the lowlands of Death Valley. Landscapes are fun and challenging. Sure they’re mountains and will be there for another million years or so. The challenge is to photograph them anew each time you go see them
For example. I lived in Aspen, Colo., for over 7 years and only 10 miles away were the Maroon Bells. Yet each time I went, I found something fresh, or a new angle, or went a different time of day and night. Always a challenge to capture the soul of the mountain no matter each time. For more of my Landscapes, visit my gallery page Nature’s Beauty.
But all this aside, it’s the WHAT to shoot. It’s not a matter of IF, it’s a matter of WILL.
News has always been in my soul.
From the time I was 7 when my dad sat me down in front of the TV to watch the moon landing and said “You are watching History in the making,” I’ve liked news. I like watching it and reading it.
And when he returned from Vietnam, he gave me all his photo gear and books. Yet couldn’t understand why I love photography so much.
One thing is for certain, I must photograph people.
It seems writing this has helped me figure a few things out.
Thank you for stopping by and reading. All comments are appreciated.
Paul “pablo” Conrad