Aaron Ottis's picture
Average rating:
2.4 out of 5
Aaron Ottis
Columbia, MO

Articles written by Aaron Ottis

Interpreting and Executing Two Briefs

In my last Fstoppers post, I shared an interesting video called Briefly, which discussed how and why a company or advertising agency might approach developing or executing a creative brief.

Remember, the brief is the information that you receive going into an assignment and client relationship. It can serve as your guide to understand what your client aspires to accomplish; a jumping off point to get your own mind working to produce concepts and content ideas. Some briefs are short; some briefs are lengthy and detailed. Some are open for interpretation; others seem rigid and strict.

How to Better Inspire and Communicate with your Team

In the photography business, collaboration among all the players at a photo shoot is the key to success. We all know that concept is king, and effectively communicating that concept to your production team, model, retouch artist, makeup and hair stylists, and printer can make or break your idea.

But let’s step back for a minute and understand how you even got to the concept.

Interview with Andy Adams on his FlakPhoto Midwest Print Show

In conjunction with The Bubbler and the Diane Endres Ballweg Gallery of the Madison Public Library, Andy Adams of FlakPhoto has produced a new photo exhibition called the Midwest Print Show. The show features 41 photographers living and working in the Midwestern United States, and includes a variety of subject matter from across the region.

The show officially opened on September 26, 2014 and will continue through October 30, 2014. Given that the Society for Photographic Education Midwest Conference is set to happen in Madison this month, Adams decided to take advantage of the happenings and produce a show that celebrates photographic prints from Midwestern photographers.

Mercedes-Benz Documents the Return of Instant Film

Mercedes-Benz – yes, the automobile manufacturer -- has shared a nice video featuring The Impossible Project and their quest to bring instant film back to the marketplace.

As the video explains, six years ago IMPOSSIBLE started with a factory and little else. The company was able to redevelop the necessary processes and materials to produce instant film. They now offer 600-type film, SX-70-type film, and even 8x10 black and white instant sheets.

Umbrellas 104 for Beginners: Flagging and Feathering

You may have noticed during our studies of umbrellas and technique that we have been lighting everything in a very direct manner, illustrating some very basic techniques for you to test out with your own photos.

Those techniques will serve you well, and can be used to create beautiful photos. But it’s time to try something a bit advanced, something that will give you the ability to better control your umbrella light and impart your own style into the photo.

Umbrellas 103 for Beginners: Light Fall Off and Comparing Different Umbrella Sizes

We’ve studied how direction and angle can drastically change the quality of light produced from your umbrella. We have also seen examples about how distance can change the umbrella light falling on your subject.

Now it’s time to look at the big picture. Let’s take a peek at how our umbrella is actually producing light across the whole image, not just the subject that you chose. In Umbrellas 103, we’re going to study fall off, and compare the type of light produced by four different shoot thru and reflective umbrellas.

If you’ve ever wondered why you might use a giant umbrella instead of a small, collapsible model, this article is for you!

Umbrella 102 for Beginners: Placement of your Umbrella and Flash

Last week, we talked about how to understand the difference between your bare flash unit and a flash fired through an umbrella. We learned that adding the umbrella would drastically change the light, creating a much softer glow to aim toward your photo subject. We also learned that we could use a white umbrella in a shoot thru position or a reflective position. But there is so much more to learn.

Umbrella 101 for Beginners: Bare Flash vs. Shoot Thru vs. Reflective Umbrellas

Many photographers get their start by taking natural light photos, then progress into experimenting with flash photography. Maybe you’ve tried a flash on top of your DSLR, only to become frustrated and disappointed from the results. If you thought those images looked bad, don't fear. There is an easy way for you to begin using a flash and achieve great results like your photography idols.

Ferguson, Missouri: Summary of Media Harassment and How Photojournalists are Being Attacked and Detained

By now, many of you have seen the news coverage surrounding the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. The shooting took place on August 9, 2014, with the demonstrations and looting beginning shortly thereafter. Unsurprisingly, nearly every major news outlet has a team in Ferguson to cover the events. I’m sure many of you know about the tear gas, rubber bullets, arrests, Molotov cocktails, military presence and pleas for peace in the streets. That said, you may have missed the coverage of incidents directly involving the media. Here’s a summary of some of the media-related incidents that have occurred in Ferguson.

Music Photographers: Five Things to Know When Working with an Artist Manager

Sure, you could go grab incredible live shots of an artist and post them all over the internet. Guess what? If those images aren’t in their manager’s hands when it is time to make the new round of posters or t-shirts, you’re no further along in terms of advancing your photography business than you were before you hit the shutter button.

Creating a Conceptual Portrait for a Poet

It’s always nice to work with a client that has as much invested in making a great image as you do. I recently had the opportunity to work with poet and academic Katie Schmid for some portraits. Outside of her own poetry, Katie writes for a few blogs and online magazines. Katie knew she needed a fairly standard image to use with those publications, but expressed interest in creating a second image that better captured her personality.

Dead Weight: Tony Irons’ Large and Medium Format Film Photography

I recently produced a documentary on fine art photographer Tony Irons, showcasing his new photography exhibit entitled “Dead Weight.” The collection includes images created in a studio setting on large format film and landscapes photographed in and around Taipei, Taiwan.

A $3 Improvement for Your Vagabond Mini Battery

Paul Buff’s Vagabond Mini is a great portable power source for flashes. I use these little gizmos all the time, and in many different situations. They charge quickly, and they allow for a fast recycle flash time. Here is a $3 improvement on the Vagabond Mini that has made a big difference for me.

Bayhem: When Too Much Isn't Enough

Michael Bay, the American movie director and producer, is worth millions of dollars. In fact, Forbes has Bay making $66 million in 2014 – and that’s just through the first six months of this year.

How’s he do it? Well, Tony Zhou has created a mashup of Bay’s movies for us to study. Let the Bayhem begin.

Take Better Family Formals, Get Better Wedding Clients

You don’t need another image of the bride’s shoes, the groom’s bow tie, or some other “detail” photo to repost all over your Pinterest album. Really, you don’t. That’s not the photo that will make you the hero of the wedding day, or even keep you in the conversation for the rest of the evening.