Articles written by Stephen Ironside
The first time I landed in a foreign country at night was when I went to Costa Rica in 2009. I remember being wide awake for the last hour of the flight and looking out the window at the yellow spider webs of city lights as I descended over Central America. Seeing populated places from above at night was new to me; the patterns of the streets, the sprawl of the towns, the promise of life popping up at random amidst the calm of the surrounding darkness all made it one of the most exciting flights I'd ever taken. And that's not even mentioning the stars overhead.
Picture this: you and some friends are on a week-long backpacking trip in Alaska, and it’s a frigid 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside. You really don’t want to get out of your sleeping bag. Luckily, before you got in it, you went out and set up your camera with a incredibly lightweight remote that you can control from your phone so that you can take photos of the aurora without leaving the tent. If you want to be able to do this, and for only $100, you should check out the Pulse camera remote by Alpine Labs.
When I first heard about Chase Guttman’s book on drone photography, I was intrigued. Not so much at the subject, or the photos, but in the person behind them. As a person who loves to travel and photograph while doing it, I’m always curious as to how people get their foot in the door in this very competitive industry, especially at a young age. The answer is: he didn’t do it alone, as none of us do.
There's something that isn't really talked about among the freelance photographers that I know, or at least not something that I hear about often. It's a small truth that nags at us all the time until we really, really get to where we want to be in our career, and sometimes even after that. And sometimes it involves bread.
I've spent some time in the tropics, and I've seen the effects that the climate can have on things. Shoes that don't dry for weeks start growing things you've never heard of. Fungi spores creep into the tiniest cracks and crevices of things you didn't even know had cracks or crevices. Things take a beating down there. So if you're living near the equator, or in another place with high humidity and some invasive nature, this new storage solution might become your new best friend.
One of my favorite things to do, when I'm able to, is to do pro bono work for local charities that need the help. There's something special, in a way, about not being paid: the "client" is usually a lot more flexible in their expectations and they allow you more leeway in your creative process. So when I got a chance to do some marketing material for a half-marathon that benefited local emergency services, I took it.
I'll admit that I'm not the biggest sports fan. And while that may be a huge understatement, when I do watch sports, I usually notice that the photographers on the sidelines tend to have a Y chromosome. The women shooters are few and far between. So, on International Women's Day, I'd like to shine a small spotlight on a new internship offered by Getty Images to get women into the sports photography arena.
As a photographer, I take and see a lot of photographs. As a photographer who does a fair amount of work for an art museum, I see a lot of art. So, I don't really know how to feel about this new concept I just found out about (via a user-submitted story idea! Go ahead and submit things!) that involves using a mobile device to view a photography exhibit... that has no photographs hanging in it!
I've been shooting corporate jobs since about 2010. At first, it was a little rocky. I didn't really know what I was doing, I hadn't shot enough with other photographers to learn the ropes, and I was just a self-taught photographer trying to make ends meet. Fast forward to 2017, and I'm shooting high-profile executives at Fortune 500 companies, and am expected to do it quickly. I'm shooting luncheons where half of the attendees flew in from another hemisphere on their private jets, and am expected to do it quietly. And well. So, here are a few quick tips for people who are just starting out in the freelance corporate photography world.
A while back, while on a shoot for Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art here in Northwest Arkansas, I was asked to get a shot of the museum’s executive chef and the Director of Culinary for their members magazine. Time was short, the kitchen was starting to prep for dinner service, and every second I was there I was inconveniencing someone. I had to get in and out quickly and create a dynamic image in the process. Here’s how it happened.
I'll be the first to admit that even though I've used them, I've never owned a professional-grade Tamron lens. I've stuck with Nikon through the years based on a probably-unfounded feeling that Nikon cameras would work better with Nikon lenses, and also because I really like the five-year warranty that comes with them. I may have to change that philosophy soon, though, because there have been some great third-party manufacturer lenses released in the past few years. Tamron has just announced two new lenses. Will they be up to snuff, or is it all talk? Here's what's new.
In the days when film reigned, most people thought that once you took a photo, the image was completed. They thought that clicking the shutter was the end of the process (They obviously didn’t know much about darkroom manipulation). But, as photographers know, that “click” is only a small part of the photographic process. The rest lies in forethought before taking the image, and the way in which it’s processed after it’s taken.
This past weekend, I spent numerous hours with my partner looking through garden seed catalogs selecting and ordering what we wanted to grow this season. I wanted anything with "dragon" in the name. She wanted some unique looking poppies. We both wanted some cool looking "Black Tomatoes." But when I later Googled "black tomatoes," I found something else. I found that you can now pay someone to go on vacation with you and follow you around with a drone to document the trip. What?
If you're not a professional photographer, chances are that you may be under the impression that they do little more than take pictures all day, every day. While we definitely know that's not the case — I'm probably only actually shooting for around 20 percent of my work week, and running a business for the other 80 percent — that's not what I wanted to portray when I got asked to be "job shadowed" by an eighth grade girl a while back. I decided to make the day at least a little more interesting.
On today’s winter solstice, for some reason, I thought back to that time a couple of years ago when the Ice Bucket Challenge was floating around the internet. Remember that? The “either donate to ALS research or record yourself having a bucket of ice water dumped on your head” craze that filled up your Facebook feed in mid-2014 with terrible vertical cell phone videos of water going everywhere? Sure you do.
I've met photographers who sold almost everything they had to travel the country in an RV, doing portrait sessions along the way. I've known people who have given up everything they know about their way of life in order to have the ability to adopt a new sense of adventure. But this guy. This guy! He left everything, started diving around the world, and became National Geographic's "Nature Photographer of the Year."
If you've been practicing photography professionally for any amount of time or even if you're an advanced amateur, you've been asked by friends, family, or strangers if you could teach them how to use their camera. Often, this results in the conversation devolving into bits and pieces about apertures, exposure triangles, and using manual mode, ending with a deer-in-headlights look from the unsuspecting inquisitor. Well, here's a new tool to help teach them how to use that "nice camera" to "take nice pictures" without breaking the bank. And if you're one of the people needing help to switch off Auto mode, this is the tool for you.