This past month, I photographed the 2011 Spring Vineyard Ride, hosted by Nassau Suffolk Horsemen’s Association and Old Field Farm, Ltd. It was my first ever on-my-own gig! For those of you that attended the Spring Vineyard Ride, please e-mail me for a link to the rest of the pictures from that day. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Everyone else, I’m sorry to say that I won’t be sharing all of my photographs here, just a select few.
I actually learned about the Spring Vineyard Ride through a co-worker of mine, Denise Speizio. She happened to be the president of the NSHA and was talking with me about the different events she was helping to organize for the 2011 year. When I heard there was a Vineyard Ride planned for June, I asked her if I could come photograph the event. She was absolutely delighted, and so was I! It was honestly the opportunity I’d been searching for. Not only that, but she suggested I use the Annual Swap Night to get a head-start on exhibiting my work. I had edited a picture a while back using Photoshop CS4 of a saddle on a white picket fence with rows of grape vines behind it. I framed it and placed that item in the Silent Auction, the first piece I’ve ever made available to the public!
On to the main event! I couldn’t have asked for better weather: warm and sunny with a nice breeze. I arrived at Martha Clara, the start and end point of the wine tour, an hour before the event was to begin. I checked in with Denise, picked up a map of the trail route, and started photographing right away. After working at Explo and for Lifetouch’s Sports and Events department, I learned that every aspect of an event is important and should therefore be documented. There were four wineries on the tour: Martha Clara Vineyards, Paumanok Vineyards, Jamesport Vineyards, and brand new to the trail, the Diliberto Winery. I managed to photograph the groups at all but Jamesport. I couldn’t follow the groups on horseback (no horse), so I settled for my car. I probably could have photographed at all four if I had planned my own route better, but you do what you can your first time out. Whenever someone asked how they’d be able to find my pictures later on, I handed them my business card (made at Vistaprint.com. FREE!) which has my name, what I photograph, my phone number, e-mail, and blog.
Editing was easy in comparison to a few other bumps I encountered on this enlightening journey:
- watermarking my photographs
- debating what platform to post the photographs
- deciding how to price my product, how to receive payment, and ultimately how to send the photographs
I debated how I would watermark my photographs. There are a few different watermarking programs you can download from the internet. Most of them are free trials with the option of purchasing. The ones I ran across were:
- Mark It Now Pro 2.1 (which I used)
- Easy Batch Watermark
- TRS Watermark Image Software
- For Mac: iWatermark
I used Mark It Now Pro 2.1 because it had a ten-day trial and was easily uploaded from cnet.com. My biggest complaint with the trial was you couldn’t re-size the window to be able to read all of the text boxes and options available for placing your watermark. Other than that, it was user friendly and even had a manual you could read through if you had any questions about the program. You could create one watermark you liked and transpose it onto as many photographs as you wanted, and even save the settings for that watermark rather than figuring it out again. There were two types of watermark: text and picture. I chose text, that way I could write my blog name all over the photograph. A picture watermark would be good for a company with a logo.
I finally chose to place my photographs on Picasa, a Google-based photo sharing network. Since I already use Picasa as my primary editing software and have a Google e-mail account, it was really easy to do. What really helped me to choose Picasa was its ability to make my photo albums private unless I invite someone to view that photo album. I didn’t think it would be fair to post these photographs from this event online for just anyone to see. Similarly, when I post Ultimate photographs on Facebook of myself and my friends, you can only view them if you’re a friend of mine or a friend of a friend.
How to print and where… It turns out those questions weren’t very simple to answer. I turned to the internet and found a forum to help. It turns out there are two types of printers available: inkjet and dye-sublimation. Inkjet printers make up solid colors using tiny dots of individual colors, sort of like A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. These dots can be visible if you hold the picture close to your face. One post on the forum described dye-sublimation very well:
Dye-sublimation printers actually print gradients (shades) of colour and layer it on top. If you want something in shades of red on an inkjet, [its] solid red dots combined with the white of the paper underneath to give the illusion of shades of red. A dye-sub actually prints different levels of pure colour.
To make purple on an inkjet, [there are] lots of solid red and solid blue dots to give the impression of purple at an appropriate viewing distance. On a dye-sub, it actually puts red on the paper, then puts blue right on top of it, so you actually get a true purple colour. No matter how close you get to it, no dots.
The post went on to say that Walgreens actually prints with dye-sublimation printers. I’ve never known what it was about the printers about Walgreens that made them better (I’ve tried CVS and Target and found I don’t like their prints as much). I felt rather enlightened. So when the time comes, I’ll be making sure the printer I use is a dye-sublimation rather than an inkjet.
Pricing the products were difficult, mostly because I’ve never had to make my own prices before. It’s been said you need to take into account a few things: traveling to the site, use of your equipment, time spent editing, time and resources put into the printing process, and how you’re shipping the packages. I tried to make my prices as reasonable as possible based on a website I had seen of similar nature, and made the products pretty basic (4×6, 5×7, 8×10, and “negatives”). One thing I had considered putting together was a photo book, but with over 150 photographs one book was $80+ to create. That would make it next to ridiculously priced by me, so I scrapped the idea.
My original idea for sending the products and receiving payment went from going through an online website and PayPal to the old fashioned way: e-mail me your order, mail me a check, I’ll mail you the pictures. The reasons I didn’t set up the online printer website were I wouldn’t be able to see the prints first, and the prices. I want to make sure the photographs that are ordered are 100% approved by me. If the print doesn’t come out to my standards (improperly cropped, not a large enough file for that particular size sheet, grainy looking photograph, etc.), I want to be able to fix it. The prices ranged from $100 a year to $360 a year just to sell your photographs online, something I really can’t afford at this time. PayPal wanted a cut of the money I’d be making, which is perfectly reasonable considering they are offering a service but once again it’s not something I can really do (plus keeping my bank account information stored on any network makes me nervous).
So there you have it! The behind the scenes of my first ever photo shoot. And here you thought all I did was take amazing pictures 😉 Enjoy!