Ikon Photographs: Blog https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog en-us (C) Ikon Photographs ikonphotographs@gmail.com (Ikon Photographs) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:44:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:44:00 GMT https://www.ikonphotographs.net/img/s/v-12/u973321496-o828287834-50.jpg Ikon Photographs: Blog https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog 120 75 Our Flogging Molly Salty Dog Cruise 2015 Adventure... https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2015/4/salty_dog

Flogging Molly KILLING IT in the aft deck Theater aboard the Norwegian Cruise Lines "Sky" during the "Flogging Molly Salty Dog Cruise 2015" - An absolutely amazing event! ( -Photo by D. Wells -Ikon Photographs LLC.) 

We're big Flogging Molly fans...One of the first shows that Sabrina and I (David) attended together when we were dating was Flogging Molly in St. Louis at the Pageant Theater.  It's easy to say that they hold a special place in our hearts together.

www.saltydogcruise.com

Then they all came up with this idea...Put a bunch of Irish/Gypsy Punks on a boat and take it to the Caribbean for a few days...

When we originally heard the idea, we thought there was no way we could afford it.  Then we looked at prices and said..."Let's do this..." It was more than affordable!

It was literally an absolutely amazing, awesome, mystical, wonderful and enjoyable experience.  Ourselves, like many on the boat with us, had never made a cruise before...and it was the time of our lives.

In the prelude to the whole thing, we had another opportunity arise...A wonderful couple Melanie and Michael posted on a facebook group about the cruise asking if anyone were photographers on the boat...Of course, it being what we do, we spoke up.  It turned out that they were planning on either getting married on the boat or just prior to sailing.  We exchanged emails and private messages and decided to "do a deal" to provide them with some awesome images for their wedding photography...

Little did we know it would spiral from there...

This cruise is an amazing event.  The fans, the musicians/artists, the staff, the security...The whole thing was AMAZING...We knew that we'd want to do it again.

Here's some photos...

One of our "signature images" that we made of Melanie and Mike aboard the NCL "Sky" out in the middle of the Caribbean. (Special appearance by the planet Venus in the sky...) 

Melanie and Mike who are HUGE fans of Flogging Molly (In fact, Mike proposed to Melanie at a Flogging Molly show...So it only seemed appropriate that they got married during the Flogging Molly Salty Dog Cruise 2015...) 

Yours truly, Sabrina and David on the aft deck overlooking the fantail on the NCL "SKY" -the lights on the horizon are other cruise ships in the Caribbean. 

Melanie and Mike on the Norwegian Cruise Lines' Private Island of "Great Stirrup Cay" in the Bahamas.  

So we had already "sealed the deal" with Mel and Mike to shoot their wedding photography while we were on the trip.  We had originally decided to make this a "pure vacation" and not bring any cameras...As photographers...It's hard to leave ANY cameras at home...But when we heard their AWESOME story, we were like..."PUSH ALL THE CHIPS IN...WE'RE IN ON THIS ONE!!!" Well, word got out and we arranged with a few other couples for something better than "regular" (read BORING) souvenir photographs of the trip for them...So we arranged for a few "mini sessions"...Like the Fish and Betty Wilson's...

An absolutely WONDERFUL "souvenir" shot from a session with Matt "Fish" Wilson and his lovely bride Betty from their balcony suite on board while we were anchored off of Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.

Our traveling companions The Timmerman's at Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.

This is NOT the "souvenir" pic you get off the boat!  You only get this from IKON baby!!! 

 

So...We had an absolutely amazing time...SO much so, that you should got to http://www.floggingmollycruise.com/ and get in on the action.

Moreso, if you are going...You should hire us to provide you with some absolutely AMAZING photographs of your trip! 

We agreed with our children (a 15yr old foster son, a 14yr old bio son, a 2.5 yr old bio boy, and a 7 month baby girl) that if we went on the Flogging Molly Cruise, we'd take them to Disney World...We didn't think they'd do a SECOND...ONCE IN A LIFETIME EVENT!!! So that precluded a second Flogging Molly Cruise...So honestly, being of modest self employed family owned photography means, we can't actually afford to do both...But we are willing to work ON the boat to pay for our passage...

That's where you come in...

HIRE US!!!!

What we're offering: 

While we're on the 2016 cruise...We'll work with you.  We will get to know you, we'll make some amazing images for you and yours and then you'll have them as amazing souvenirs of one of the most kick-ass times of your life!!!

Pricing Info:

“Salty Dog Session” – 30 minutes of your choice of location ON THE BOAT, with 10 digital images, completely edited and retouched available via download.  - $100

“Shore Leave” – 30 minutes of you/yours shot on shore either in Nassau or Great Stirrup Cay with 10 digital images available via download $150 –We’ll be in Nassau from beginning to end and can link up with you where we’ll shoot –You make sure we get where we’re going if its way out!

“Sundowner Session” -45 minutes of “PRIME TIME” Sundown photography.  – The absolutely most AMAZING time for photographs on the boat.  Starts 30 minutes prior to sundown and continues until 15 minutes after.  These make literally the most spectacular photos! - $200 with 10 digital images available via download.

“Salty Souvenir Shots” – Will shoot you/yours for a couple of quick snaps for $25 for 2 full res shots.  You get em via download once we get back.   Great for profile pics on social media or a great keep sake once you’re back and still hungover! 

Don't wait!  Contact us!  We are trying to pre-book as many sessions as we can ahead of time to offset the cost of booking for this next cruise! 

 

One love,

Sabrina and David

For more images from Salty Dog 2015 check out:

Images from the Salty Dog Cruise 2015

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ikonphotographs@gmail.com (Ikon Photographs) https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2015/4/salty_dog Tue, 07 Apr 2015 00:13:46 GMT
What do all those letters mean? A guide to file types... https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2015/3/file_types

 

The ABC’s of JPEGs, TIFFs, PNGs, and all those other extensions…

If you’ve taken a picture on a digital camera in the last 10 years, you’ve noticed when you load those images onto your computer, or print them out at the local drugstore that there are “file type” extensions like .jpeg or .tiff or .dng or .png and a whole host of others.

You’ve maybe even wondered “What the hell is the difference between a .JPEG and a .jpeg or a .gif or .tiff or…or…or…or…

 

Well wonder no more… This looks like a job for “Theoretical Thursdays” at Ikon Photographs!  It’s where we do our best to demystify the science behind the art of photography…(That’s catchy, we should use that…)

At a glance, there are a few different file types…There are MANY more image file formats, but for the sake of clarity and keeping things relatively simple, we’re going to talk about the ones that you’re most likely to come into contact with.  Let’s take a look.

Oh…Don’t get “Lost”…

Before we look at those file types…Let’s talk a minute about “lossy”…because it plays into the file formats… To keep information files somewhat manageable, computer engineers came up with two separate “algorithms” (formulas) for storing info…

WAKE UP!!!!!

–Yep, we started talking science and you started nodding off…

Images and Music are very similar in the world of digital information…

If you’ve ever dealt with music files, you might have heard about “lossy” and “lossless”…With images it’s somewhat the same case...

 

Lossless compression algorithms:

These reduce file size while preserving a perfect copy of the original uncompressed image. Lossless compression generally, but not always, results in larger files than lossy compression. Lossless compression should be used to avoid accumulating stages of re-compression when editing images.

Lossy compression algorithms

These preserve a representation of the original uncompressed image that may appear to be a perfect copy, but it is not a perfect copy. Often lossy compression is able to achieve smaller file sizes than lossless compression. Most lossy compression algorithms allow for variable compression that trades image quality for file size.

EARTH TO DAVE! 

 

 

GET TO THE FORMATS!

 

 

.JPEG

Everyone is probably the most familiar with the term “jpeg”. But did you know…

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is a lossy compression method; JPEG-compressed images are usually stored in the JFIF (JPEG File Interchange Format) file format. The JPEG/JFIF filename extension is JPG or JPEG. Nearly every digital camera can save images in the JPEG/JFIF format. JPEG applies lossy compression to images, which can result in a significant reduction of the file size. Applications can determine the degree of compression to apply, and the amount of compression affects the visual quality of the result. When not too great, the compression does not noticeably affect or detract from the image's quality, but JPEG files suffer generational degradationwhen repeatedly edited and saved.  –That means, the more times you open a JPEG and do something with it and resave it, it loses more and more quality! 

.GIF

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is limited to an 8-bit palette, or 256 colors. This makes the GIF format suitable for storing graphics with relatively few colors such as simple diagrams, shapes, logos and cartoon style images. The GIF format supports animation and is still widely used to provide image animation effects. Its LZW lossless compression is more effective when large areas have a single color, and less effective for photographic or dithered images.

.TIFF

The TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) format is a flexible format that normally saves the file in a variety of “bit depth” –meaning how much ‘stuff’ is in each “bit” of information.  The “tagging” refers to a variety of tagged or specifically coded information within the file itself.  The tagged structure was designed to be easily extendible, and many vendors have introduced proprietary special-purpose tags – with the result that no one reader handles every flavor of TIFF file. TIFFs can be lossy and lossless; some offer relatively good lossless compression for black and white images. Some digital cameras can save images in TIFF format. TIFF image format is not widely supported by web browsers. TIFF remains widely accepted as a photograph file standard in the printing business.   That means, if you can get your image into TIFF format, do so...Especially if you are going to get it printed.

.RIF (RAW)

RIF refers to raw image formats that are available on some digital cameras, rather than to a specific format. These formats usually use a lossless or nearly lossless compression, and produce file sizes smaller than the TIFF formats. Although there is a standard raw image format, (ISO 12234-2, TIFF/EP), the raw formats used by most cameras are not standardized or documented, and differ among camera manufacturers.

Most camera manufacturers have their own software for decoding or developing their raw file format, but there are also many third-party raw file converter applications available that accept raw files from most digital cameras.

.DNG

Digital Negative (DNG) is an open lossless raw image format written by Adobe used for digital photography. It was launched on September 27, 2004. The launch was accompanied by the first version of the DNG specification, plus various products, including a free-of-charge DNG converter utility. All Adobe photo manipulation software (such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom) released since the launch supports DNG.

DNG is based on the TIFF/EP standard format, and mandates significant use of metadata. Use of the file format is royalty-free; Adobe has published a license allowing anyone to exploit DNG, and has also stated that there are no known intellectual property encumbrances or license requirements for DNG. Adobe stated that if there was a consensus that DNG should be controlled by a standards body, they were open to the idea.

.PNG

The PNG (Portable Network Graphics) file format was created as a free, open-source alternative to GIF. The PNG file format supports eight-bit paletted images (with optional transparency for all palette colors) and 24-bit truecolor (16 million colors) or 48-bit truecolor with and without alpha channel - while GIF supports only 256 colors and a single transparent color.

Compared to JPEG, PNG excels when the image has large, uniformly colored areas. Even for photographs – where JPEG is often the choice for final distribution since its compression technique typically yields smaller file sizes – PNG is still well-suited to storing images during the editing process because of its lossless compression.

PNG provides a patent-free replacement for GIF (though GIF is itself now patent-free), and can also replace many common uses of TIFF. Indexed-color, grayscale, and truecolor images are supported, plus an optional alpha channel.  PNG is designed to work well in online viewing applications like web browsers and can be fully streamed with a progressive display option. PNG is robust, providing both full file integrity checking and simple detection of common transmission errors.

.EXIF

The Exif (Exchangeable image file format) format is a file standard similar to the JFIF format with TIFF extensions; it is incorporated in the JPEG-writing software used in most cameras. Its purpose is to record and to standardize the exchange of images with image metadata between digital cameras and editing and viewing software. The metadata are recorded for individual images and include such things as camera settings, time and date, shutter speed, exposure, image size, compression, name of camera, color information. When images are viewed or edited by image editing software, all of this image information can be displayed.

The actual Exif metadata as such may be carried within different host formats, e.g. TIFF, JFIF (JPEG) or PNG. IFF-META is another example.

 

So…Next time you are asked about a “file format” for images…Bookmark this page! So that you can go back and say…Hey! I know what a .DNG is!!! I’ll send it to you as a .TIFF but only if you look at the .EXIF data!

Right?

Ok, so maybe we didn’t “demystify” much in this edition of Theoretical Thursday, but we sure did give you a lot of info…

So there!

Thanks for reading!!! 

 

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ikonphotographs@gmail.com (Ikon Photographs) https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2015/3/file_types Fri, 27 Mar 2015 03:21:55 GMT
What your business means to us; How your money spent locally, makes an impact, locally. https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2015/3/spendlocal When your money is spent local, it stays local.

It makes a direct impact in local economics of the businesses you are patronizing and the people that they employ and even in the goods/services that they are buying/choosing.

You make a difference to people you KNOW, not just some corporation's "bottom line".

As a kid growing up in the south, this is what we always thought of as a

"Small-Independently Owned Business".

 

Today, this is what we think of when we think of "Small, Independent, Family Business".

-David, Sabrina, Chase (13), Bradford (2) and Maggie (who's in mom's belly in the photo but now 6 months).

The "core" of Ikon Photographs LLC.  We also employ a few other photographers at various times of the year to assist us in our endeavors.

At Ikon Photographs, we decided to focus on family photography for an extremely good reason. To us family means EVERYTHING.  We honestly believe that the solution to MANY problems in our world can be found around the family dinner table in our homes.  Granted, in today's world, families looks radically different than they did 50 years ago.  Blended, multi-cultural, alternative lifestyles, you name it, many people are deciding that they are a family.  That's GREAT!  The world needs more cohesive family units more than ever.  We don't care if you're blue and have purple antennae, we know one thing though, people with families care.  They care about where they live, they care about where they're going and they care about other people.  They are attached and engaged with the world.  They seek to make a positive difference and impact.  That's not to say that single people aren't cool and awesome on their own.  In fact, David spent many years as a "confirmed bachelor" before he met his "match" in Sabrina.  But it was that beginning of a "family" that has made all the difference and shaped where the "Wells'" have and are going in this world.

Because of that, we chose to focus on "photography of the family".  We primarily photograph, Weddings, Births, Birthdays, Family Portraits and other events that are "family focused" .  We also take on a number of other photographic projects during the year.  We're so much more than just a "pretty face".  David is formally trained and educated in almost every major form of photography and lighting techniques.  We're just as comfortable photographing architectural elements for a realty shoot as we are sitting and making kiddos laugh for just that right moment of expressions and looks!

When you book a session, wedding or project with Ikon Photographs, you are hiring us into a professional contract.  While we are artists and very relationship and "humanity" focused, we still have a business to run.  We are "independent contractors".  We're not "freelancers".  We're not "day laborers".  We're not "hired guns".  We're business owners.   When you sign that contract and pay us your hard earned money.  We provide both services and products for you.  However, it's much different than if you went to Wal-Mart and bought a Mr. Coffee.  Although, we'll have a cup of coffee with you at some point throughout the process...

Those local dollars you are spending are doing something SPECIAL.  Take a look at the diagram below.

 

Look at that!  Your money is being recirculated almost THREE TIMES more within the local economy in which you yourself work and live.  That is AMAZING.  If you want to have a direct impact on how things are going in the community around you, you owe it to yourself and to your community to spend your money both locally and independently.

Going back to our comments about our own "dinner table discussions". We were talking about the impact of local businesses and what it meant to us and other local/small businesses.  We started talking about who all we do business with who is "local".  Allow me to give a quick run-down.  (These are also some AWESOME folks, and we can't recommend them any higher.

Press Printing:

C and C Quality Printing

When we need some promotional materials, i.e. note pads, flyers, post cards, business cards etc.  We go see Max at C and C Quality Printing on Gravois Ave. They are awesome.  They can accommodate almost any "short notice" job (of course they love advance warning!) and they never fail to produce high quality and super competitive prices! 

Max and Family. They're great people and small-independent-family owned business owners, like us! 

Photographic Printing:

Diversified Lab

We do 95% of our photographic printing with Diversified Lab.  The other 5% we do ourselves for our photo booth/red carpet applications.

The folks at Diversified Lab are AMAZING.  Every year during the holidays, (traditionally a very busy time for photographers/printers) they ROCK IT OUT!!!  Last year, they printing something like 25 different jobs for us in a couple of days and didn't miss a lick!  This on top of doing most of the professional printing for all of the other pros in the "know".  You'll hear people talk about this national lab, or that national lab.  We literally have one of the best print shops in the country and they are local.  They're also independently owned.  When I pick up the phone, 9 times out of 10 and awesome lady named Rose answers the phone.  She makes things happen there!  

Cameras, accessories, sales and service.

Schiller's Camera.

Schiller's has been an institution since 1892 and there's a good reason why.  They are excellent.  Their prices are competitive and their service is without equal.  Whether you are just "browsing" or there to seriously buy, they treat you with the same high level of integrity and respect.  We don't like to talk bad about businesses that we've had not so good service/support from, so we won't.  But we have NO problem telling you that Schiller's beats all the other stores HANDS DOWN in EVERYTHING.  They cater to us professionals, but they also treat the novice and newcomer with the same care and service that they do the professionals that spend thousands of dollars a year in their store.  They're that good! -Also small and independent.  They have a great print shop too, but we've got a wonderful relationship with Rose and the folks at DIVLAB.   (Sorry Schiller's Rose got us first. :) )

They also rent lenses and all sorts of camera equipment at very reasonable prices...So if you're a budding pro, or an advocationalist photographer (we really don't care for the word 'amateur'), they offer a great and affordable way to try out some gear for a weekend that you might be thinking of buying.  

 

Other Local/Independently Owned Businesses

We would be remiss both in our support of other local/independently owned small businesses out there that we frequent/support if we didn't mention them too.  Again, we can't say enough wonderful things about each one of these businesses. This is also a wonderful example of how we put the money that we are paid for photography from our family of clients BACK into the LOCAL community. -Let's not even mention how much we end up giving back to our own school district in terms of charitable giving (Ikon Photographs almost always gives away photography sessions for our local school districts for fundraisers/raffles.) 

 

www.chocolatechocolate.com

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company:

The Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company is a St. Louis Original!  This independent-family owned chocolate business produces some AWESOME products!  They also have tours of the factory which is an AWESOME thing to do with the kids when the weather is bad...plus...FREE SAMPLES!!! DUH! 

Kangaroo Kids

Having a two year old (Bradford) and a six month old (Magnolia), we're all about the resale and reuse of kids' clothes and toys.  Kangaroo Kids is also a wonderful resource for all sorts of parenting/child rearing topics/materials/items.  Surprisingly enough, they're an independent, small and family owned business...Just like...Yeah, Us...-Sounds like a broken record...Hopefully by now, you get the point.

Now we get to the fun parts...The yummies for the tummies!!! 

 

Ray's Donuts

Ray's Donuts is a fixture in St. Louis, and you will always see the same friendly faces behind the counters serving up the same A-MAZE-ING donuts each time you go in there! Last year, much to David's delight, they started serving Community Coffee, which is a staple brand of coffee back in Mississippi and Louisiana where David grew up.  In fact, it's officially the "State Coffee of Louisiana" as declared by the Louisiana Senate.  It's a perfect complement to the amazing...(did we say they were amazing?) well, they are! Community Coffee strangely enough, is also an independent business local to Louisiana and we're so proud that they have started 'spreading their wings' and got some good coffee up the Mississippi River! 

Word of advice: Get there early, they get busy and you might miss out on your favorite.  They only bake/fry a certain amount each day, when it's gone it's gone! 

 

Olivette Diner

The Olivette Diner used to be almost next door to Ray's Donuts...We think Ray's moved because the world just could not take that much AWESOME in such close proximity of each other.  However, the Diner, is a great place to stop in and get some breakfast.  It's nice that it's right down the street from us and we're found from time to time keeping a cup of coffee company.  Actually, the morning we got married, we went to the Diner after our "civil ceremony" before the whole BIG DAY started up.  

It's small...It's independent and family owned...It's REAL SMALL and REAL INDEPENDENT.  Bring Cash, they don't take plastic.  -That's how ya do it! Cash money on the barrel head! 

 

Then there's the Crown Candy Kitchen...The oldest Soda Fountain in St. Louis and home of the "Heart Attack" a full 3" thick of B with a little L and some T thrown in there, but mostly Bacon...Get there early, there's always a line and the food is as good as the egg creams and malteds! 

Do it, your cardiologist will thank you. 

Walter Knoll isn't just a great florist, they're a WONDERFUL florist.  We actually used them to do a number of flowers for our wedding.  They also have a "wholesale" end of their shop that we used.  -David being an artist of all sorts of media, decided to take the challenge and did most of the floral DIY, which was a great idea for visuals, but not so much for the sake of time!  -If you ever have any questions about DIY wedding decor...Ask him, he can clue you in on some great ideas, but also advise you in terms of the time coefficient that is involved.

Ikon Photographs is also proud to have been a "donor/partner" in a recent contest Walter Knoll had in which Ikon was featured as their "photography giveaway amazing incredible super duper extravaganza....Ok, at this point, I'm just seeing who's still reading..." -But seriously, we did partner up with WK for a giveaway in one of their contests.  They're an awesome florist and we highly recommend them...They're local, independent and oh, a small biz...Yeah...Just like us...

 

A quick story...

When we were on our honeymoon a few years back, we stayed on Vashon/Maury Island in Puget Sound off the coast of Seattle, Washington.  It was AWESOME.  It's a funky little artists' colony and literally one of the delightfully strangest places in the country...or just off the country as the case is...

All around the island there were these flyers and posts up about keeping $ local.  They emphasized using paper currency more than credit/debit cards.  The reason being, is that it actually kept "hard" cash assets on the island and didn't take money "off" the island and also kept banks and lending institutions (Oh yeah, we also use a local bank for both our business and personal banking...shocker...) because those transactions also charged even more money to the businesses as well as interests that were generated during the vig etc...

We thought it was an AMAZING idea and it's something that we've always thought a lot about but less in an island sense, but more in a local "community" sense.  So, whenever possible, we do things "old school"...We shop local, we spend in cash and we get to know our neighbors.

Try it out sometime, you'll be amazed at how much you'll enjoy it! 

 

For more information regarding local businesses and the impact you can have either

by using one or founding one, check out:

American Independent Business Alliance

 

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ikonphotographs@gmail.com (Ikon Photographs) https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2015/3/spendlocal Wed, 11 Mar 2015 10:08:36 GMT
How Digital Cameras Actually Work. https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2015/3/digital_cameras Welcome to another edition of "Theoretical Thursday", where we attempt to make the complicated even more complicated...

Actually we do our best to simplify all things photographic so that everyone can enjoy it! 

 

This time, we're going to attempt to explain the AMAZING process of how a digital camera works! 

Sure, it's easy to think that THIS is what is inside a digital camera that makes it work...

However, that's not really the case...

 

 

This one is definitely going to involve some "science" so hold onto your hair!

 

First, a bit of history behind things...

Before photography was invented by some really smart French guys, the only pictures people looked at were drawings and paintings.

Well, that and shadow puppets in opium dens...but that's totally a different thing. 

However, cameras did exist!!! 

This big crazy thing being shown is called a "Camera Obscura".  It was extremely popular for artists/painters back in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.  However, building a huge room to be able to accurately paint a scene was a bit of a pain.

They eventually figured out a way to build "table top" Camera Obscuras.  Still allowing the artist to be able to paint from life more accurately.

 

This whole process is genuinely what eventually led to the "discovery" of the process of "photogravure" or "photography" in the early 1800's.

 

WAKE UP!!! WE SAW YOU NODDING OFF!!!! 

 

Sorry...It's a little slow going for a few minutes till we get to where we're going.

Essentially, this is how a camera obscura works, as well as a photographic camera.  

A. The "envisioned scene" B. A lens to focus/harness the image. C. Focused image which is inverted by the lens.

 

Long story short and some 150 years of technological evolution later...Film Cameras looked/operated much like this above.

The scene goes into the lens, it's flipped around and the shutter opens at a set timing to allow the image to "imprint" upon special chemically treated film that absorbs light and "records" the image. -How's that for a "thumbnail sketch" of things?

 

Film photography reigned supreme for many years...and then scientist/photographers lead once more into photography history and came up with something called a "digital" camera.  The first ones literally were film cameras with a crude digitization sensor/processor that produced very rough images.  But then again, the first photographic image was a pretty crude one.

For comparison's sake.  Above, the first photographic image ever.  Below, one of the first digitally rendered photographic images ever.

This was the surface of the moon as seen digitally in 1979.  Yeah.

 

Here's a really good diagram about what happens in terms of digital photography.

The scene,lens,sensor(film),processor(microcomputer),and image.

If you look at it in terms of the original camera obscura and also how a film camera work, you start to see the similarities. 

 

Here is a REALLY GREAT diagram of how photography works in digital. (Courtesy of digital camera world.)

 

So, to not get too bogged down into "technospeak" Light goes into/through the lens, goes through an Red/Green/Blue filtering process.  The light reacts with the sensor...The sensor does the sensing.  The sensor then allows the light reaction to be converted on the backside by converters and processors and eventually gets recorded in a series of super teeny tiny "pixels" that correspond to numerical information spit out by the processor/converters that results in an image.

 

It literally is a wonder of science that his can take place within the matter of a second or two depending on the quality/build of the camera.

Next time you pick up that camera to snap a few photos...Stop and think about what all is going on inside that little machine.  It's a lot more than just "point and shoot".

 

Thanks for reading and tune in next time for "Who the hell is .JPEG and what does he want with my pictures???" 

 

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ikonphotographs@gmail.com (Ikon Photographs) https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2015/3/digital_cameras Fri, 06 Mar 2015 18:57:43 GMT
What the F? Understanding what the F means in photography. https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2015/2/f_stop

What the F?  Just exactly what that f letter means in photography.

Have you ever looked at your camera lens and seen the letter "f" and seen a number with it and wondered exactly what that means? 

Wonder no more intrepid reader!!! (Oh, to our pro-photographer friends...You might want to head on over to Amazon and do a new "Camera Gear" search...This is geared more for our advocational photography friends out there!)  

We are going to tell you all the "F" you ever wanted to know.Way back when, it stood for "Focal Ratio".  Now it is expressed as a number that you will see on almost every camera lens (even point and shoots have them) to let you know just how much light the lens is capable of "seeing" in at it's maximum value.  

For example: 

It will help if you think of a camera lens as a large mechanical eyeball.  It works pretty much the same as one.  Think of the film (if you're old enough) or the sensor (if you're younger than 16 :) ) as the back part of your eyeball.  Think of the front part of your eyeball as the outside "lens" of the camera.  Inside the barrel (tube) of each lens is a contraption made of little "leaves" that open and close mechanically that are called an "aperture".  This works just like the pupil of your eye. 

Think of an undilated as a value of f22 (very tiny opening) and a dilated pupil as having a value of f2.8 (fairly large opening).  The f22 literally needs very little light to make an image.  It is used when there is a lot of light around  i.e. sunny days, very bright in doors lights.  The f2.8 literally needs a LOT of light to make an image, therefore the pupil or aperture is opened up very widely allowing the most light possible to come in.  

When you see a lens and it has f2.8 or f3.5 or f4 written on the front of the lens ring, that is a "code" to let you know how much the "maximum" amount of light can be let into that lens at its widest aperture.

If this isn't confusing enough to learn...The numbers are counter-intuitive or counter-indicative.  I.e. The higher a number is (f22) the less light it actually allows into the camera to the film/sensor.  The lower the number, the more light it allows in.  

When you hear photographers talk about "fast glass" that means a lens that allows the most light possible in at it's maximum (lowest f#) aperture.  Most professional photographers won't even bother with a lens that isn't capable of an f2.8 or lower because of a number of reasons.

Another note...The lower that number, the higher amount of $ you can expect to pay for the lens.  It takes quality and a lot of technology to get that number down...That means $$$ in the end for you the picture taker person.

Here's one of my favorite lenses in the world.  It is a 20mm f2.8 Nikkor (Nikon Optics Corporation) It's a pretty wide angle (allowing a LOT of image in a frame) and it's fairly "fast" (low f-stop).  

As you can see, the numbers towards the bottom of the image that are 22,16,11,8,5.6,4.2.8.  Those are all f-stops.  If you're good at math, you'll notice that going from one direction or another, that these numbers double or half each other in sequence.  That's because the f-stop ratio represents an effective doubling or halving of the amount of light each time the number is raised or lowered.

Those numbers can also help you do some other amazing things with your camera...That we'll talk about next Theoretical Thursday when we get "IN DEPTH with DEPTH OF FIELD". (Cue dramatic music!!!) 

 

To keep up with all the goings on with Ikon and our gang of rowdies, be sure to "Like" us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ikonphotographs

Each Thursday we attempt to de-mystify something about the science of the art of photography and each Friday, we give away a free Ikon Photographs original art print with our quiz contest "FREE ART FRIDAY".  Don't miss it!!! 

 

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ikonphotographs@gmail.com (Ikon Photographs) Creve Coeur Ikon Photographs Photography St. Louis Photographer Theoretical Thursdays https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2015/2/f_stop Thu, 19 Feb 2015 20:46:53 GMT
Panoramas; Understanding the "Big Picture". https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2015/2/panorama Welcome to another installment of: 

When I was 12, my parents took me to Disney World.  One of the things that struck me the most was the 360' panoramic "Circle Vision" movies they had in the various "lands" in EPCOT.  I remember standing in the theater watching a breath-taking film about China and how anywhere I looked there was something to see in the "panoramic" image.  That concept has always fascinated me.

Reflections of ChinaReflections of ChinaWhen EPCOT Center opened in 1982, it utilized over one and half million feet of film to produce over four hours of shows. These films, totaling more than 73,000 feet of finished product, represents the work of 16 production crews in more than 30 countries and nearly every state in the USA.

Reflections of China which, was formely known as the Wonders of China, (shown above) was produced by Jeff Blyth using an enterly Chinese film crew to shoot the first major American production inside modern China. The Circlevision cameras were taken to areas of the country normally considered inaccessible and in many cases the only way to bring in supplies and equipment was on camelback. In the Annui providence, the three hundrend pound circlevision camera was carried on the shoulders of the crew up 16,700 steps precariously perched on the steep slopes of Haunghson Mountain.

Reflections of China takes audites to the 6000 mile long Great Wall, to witness the fabled Mongol horsemen on the wiry steeds, to the seldom seen Tibet and even inside the Forbidden City.

Focal Lenth:15mm
F-Stop: F/2.8
Shutter: 1/3 of a second

The 360 "Circle Vision" Panoramic Theater at Disney's Epcot.

The word panorama is derived from two Greek words which means literally "To see everything/all".  That exactly is what a panorama allows you to do, to see everything.  It has always been a concept artists have sought to portray in one way or another.  That desire was implanted within the photographic medium almost as soon as the technology of photography/photogravure began with Joseph Niepce in 1826 when he made the first photoengraved image from his window in Le Gras, France. 

Don't complain next time your iphone is taking extra long to take a picture.  This image by Joseph Niepce "View From the Window at Le Gras" the world's first permanent photograph took roughly 8 hours to "make" in 1826.

 

Once the "science" of photography and exposure had become a fairly "reliable" one, (We'll talk more about that some other time...) Photographers sought to make landscape images larger and larger in order to offer the viewer more and more to see.  The quest for "panorama" within photography was on.  Early attempts at making panoramic images would find photographers using multiple cameras to make multiple exposures and then printing them in "series" and cutting/combining them to make a larger image for the viewer to take in.  A movement within photography itself lead artists to "document" the world around them, especially for the insatiable thirst that the Victorian world had for far away lands and unique visions of how things were in other places.  (Remember, this is before the days of the internet...One could not simply pull up a webcam of Tokyo in real-time like we can today...) 

 

View of Baltimore Harbor ca 1840. (Courtesy Library of Congress)

Subjects such as views of towns, harbors, battlefields and all sorts of other "still life" shots. (Due to the lengthy exposure process of photography during this time, most exposures still required between 2-5 minutes for processing.)   All of these types of panoramic images were the rage for the general public in Europe and America at large as a way to see the "outside" world without taking the long boat ride required back in the day.  Think of the panorama photograph as the "internet" of 200 years ago! 

 

So how does this help you today?

What's interesting, is that even today, after 200 years of advancement in technology, in photography, we still use pretty much the same method to make a panoramic image.  During the era of "film" (Ewe...Who does that any more? -Pssst...At Ikon, we still do for a lot of artistic projects! :) )  A method of shooting a panoramic image on one frame of film had actually been perfected...However, we are now in the super duper, awesome amazing space age digital era....Now many point and shoot cameras, and even camera phones can and do make wonderful panoramic images.  They are great for when you want to shoot an image of a BIG subject.  Most of today's digital point and shoot either shoot a short video (series of multiple images) and then digitally "stitch" them together.  So we still rely upon that "antique" idea of combining more than one frame to make a panorama.

Below is a simple illustration of how that process works.  For the sake of explanation, we used a professional DSLR from Nikon to make the images.  They were shot with a 20mm lens, (a pretty wide angle lens) and we turned the camera on it's side to capture multiple images.  Doing so gives us the maximum amount of earth and sky for shooting a landscape. 

 

This is a slowed down/drawn out version of what your point and shoot or your cell phone camera does when it makes a panoramic image.  While we use multiple exposures and post production (Adobe Photoshop and NIK software suite) to edit the images together and hone the image for color/tonality, it's really not much different than what your cameras are doing.

The further we come, the more we stay the same it would seem in terms of art.  

Now you know.  Now go forth and make some killer panoramic photos!  Especially since there's snow coming! 

-DW. 

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ikonphotographs@gmail.com (Ikon Photographs) DIY How Ikon Panoramas Photographs Photography Photos St. Louis Photographer Theoretical Thursdays To https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2015/2/panorama Thu, 12 Feb 2015 20:38:05 GMT
Ikon Photographs Announces "Free Art Fridays" -A "socially responsible" give-a-way. https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2015/2/freeartfridays Get your free art on from Ikon Photographs!!! A few years ago, we started something that we didn't know would end up being what it is today.  We're talking about  "Free Art Fridays".

While David was still pursuing his degree in art and taking LOTS of photography classes, he used to produce a LOT of photographic prints.  We're talking literally stacks and stacks of prints.  While they might not have passed the muster of either the photographer or the professor, they were perfectly acceptable to the "average" person who might not know that a corner needed to be burned here or there, or a 1/2 point measure of contrast was needed to be added.  Photographers (and other artists for that matter) are known for NEVER throwing their work away.  Instead, David would take it in to where he worked which consisted of a large group of very artistically minded people, and he would place a stack of prints for anyone and every to take home with them on the lunchroom table. This tradition became known as "Free Art Friday".

 

Now that David's all grown up and running his own photography business (with the irreplaceable help of his awesome wife Sabrina!)...We decided to revive "Free Art Fridays" as a way to give back to our friends, families and fans, and also help get the word out about how awesome Ikon Photographs is!  (How many photographers or photography business do you know just "give" their work away?) 

 

Ok, so here's the deal...

Each Friday (Maybe 2am Saturday morning depending how busy we are...) we'll post a photo of an historic figure or celebrity that "should" be a bit difficult to figure out the identity of.  The first person to guess the correct identity of the person in the photo, wins a free gallery quality art print from Ikon Photographs' Extensive Catalog of Images. We can't promise what size (generally we have 8x10's or larger) or the subject (but we've got some KILLER extras) but we can promise you a free piece of original art!

Some rules:

1. You have to have Ikon Photographs liked on Facebook <----Click on "Ikon Photographs" back there to go to our FB page.

2. You must share the Free Art Friday post on the Ikon FB page for that Friday to be eligible to play that round. (It helps get find out about Ikon!)

3. You can guess as many times as you want, but the first correct answer from folks who have done liked us and shared the post will be the winner.

4. Once you receive your free print from us (We can either mail it, or if you are local to the STL area, we can arrange pickup/dropoff). we'd love it if you'd take a quick picture of it and post it to your facebook and tag us with something like. "Thanks Ikon Photographs for the Free Art on Friday!" 

So yeah...That's pretty much it.  It's our way to spread some beauty in the world and do a little PR at the same time!  

Good luck and....

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ikonphotographs@gmail.com (Ikon Photographs) https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2015/2/freeartfridays Sun, 01 Feb 2015 19:34:07 GMT
Who we are. https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2015/1/we_are_ikon Who are we?

Did you know, that when David was three years old, he stuck a frog in his mouth, and when he spit it out, he was afraid for weeks after that he was going to get warts on his tongue, because surely the frog had to have peed when he got scared in his mouth, and that's how you get warts right?

Now you know something that only our closest friends and family knows.  Guess what that means?  You're now one us! 

People often only get to know others on a superficial level in business.  Do you really know that much about the guy you bought a car from?  Do you know how many kids the manager at your local grocery store has?  Do you know their names?  Do they know much about you? 

Well at Ikon Photographs, we truly feel that once you become part of our clientele, that you're more than that.  We believe that initial relationship is more important than just "You pay us money, we take your pictures." simple...To us, you become part of our extended family.

We have been so fortunate to be present at our family of clients' birthdays, wedding days, births of their children, graduations and other seminal moments in their lives.  We get invited to some of the most important days that you'll ever experience! Of course we're family! You don't invite just any old strangers to your wedding! 

Let us tell you a little more about us.

Mother's Day - Each year Sabrina schedules her own photoshoot.  This was two Mays ago, David, Chase, Sabrina and Mr. Bradford on Sabrina's lap.  (Ms. Maggie hadn't come along yet. :) ) 

 

About David 

David was born in Magnolia, Arkansas.  His family moved to Natchez, Mississippi when he was 3 years old and it was there along the banks of the "Old Man River" that he grew up.

He has an extensive art background and has been classically trained/educated in a wide variety of media but found his "true love" artistically with photography.  He has operated his own professional artistic business in one fashion or another since he was 17.  

Artistically speaking, one of his greatest influences is the natural landscape.  The beauty that is all around us in creation serves as the perfect canvas in which to create awesome portraits including our clients.  It is this love of the natural environment that influences so much of his work.

-Sabrina, Bradford, Sabrina (and Maggie) at Sabrina/Maggie's maternity shoot.

About Sabrina,

Sabrina is a native of the St. Louis area and loves all there is about the "Biggest small town in the upper South/Lower Midwest"...

She and David met one fateful night on a "blind date" at The Pasta House and they've been together since.  

Sabrina's original background is in social work.  She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and has spent a number of years working in the field to help children in the foster care system.  A few years ago, she exited field work to instead work as Ikon Photographs' full time business manager.  She and David also decided that to continue their commitment to helping kids in need, int that they would participate as Foster Parents and provide up to the highest level of staffing in order to help the highest of special needs children in the system.

While her background is not necessarily an artistic one, being married to a full time artist/photographer allows her constant access and exposure to a variety of influences that helps her to "be all things to all people" when it comes to working with Ikon.  She's even managed to get involved in a number of the actual photography projects that are going on throughout our scheduling.  You just might see her at your wedding or special event running our custom red carpet/photobooth area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Kiddos..

(Yes, we're including them...because they are part of who we are!)

Chase is 13 and is interested in the typical 13 year old things...War, History, Legos, Girls...(that's a new one that's taking Sabrina and David a minute to get used to...) and is extremely bright.  Though as he gets further into teenager territory, his parents are starting to wonder... 

Bradford is 2 going on 22 and is his father's child.  He IS Mr. Personality.  He likes Cookie Monster, Johnny Bravo (Dad is influencing his TV habits.) At the ripe age of 2, he is a certified chocoholic and may well have to enter a 12 step program before he gets to kindergarten.

Ms. Maggie (Magnolia) is now 4 months old and is just starting to come into her own with her own brand of giggles, chortles and squiggles that will melt even the coldest of hearts! 

-Unfortunately, due to state privacy/confidentiality regulations, we are not allowed to disclose any photos or information about our foster kiddos.  We do have one young man who has been with us for the last few years who has really grown into an impressive gentleman since he's been with us from have 13 on to his way to his 16th birthday.  We'll be working with him on getting his driver's license this year and he looks froward to getting a job at one of our local grocery stores in town.  We're very proud of who he has become and celebrate his development despite the background he's had to overcome! 

 

 

 

What else you should know about us:

We love family!  We love our family, and we love when others become part of our family!

We're based in Creve Coeur, but we travel with ease!

We are a full time-full service professional photography business. 

We look forward to working with you for your big day's events! 

We LOVE our jobs, both as photographers and parents!

Life is too short to look back on it and see only bad photographs!  We'll make sure you have absolutely beautiful memories! 

Time is running out!!! Contact Sabrina to schedule an in-person consultation today!

 

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ikonphotographs@gmail.com (Ikon Photographs) Creve Coeur Equipment Free Wedding Photography Ikon Photographs Photography Photos St. Louis Bride and Groom St. Louis Photographer Wedding Package Giveaway https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2015/1/we_are_ikon Sun, 11 Jan 2015 01:51:49 GMT
White Balance; What it is and what it does. A blog entry for my mom... https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2014/5/white_balance Understanding White Balance and what it means for your photography.

Before we even start,

DISCLAIMER: This is a very ‘light’ and ‘practical’ rundown on white balance/color/temperature lighting information.  There are literally books and books written on this subject.  We’re presenting this info for people who are not professional photographers, but would like to get some info from the pros about how to make their own photos at home better.

Therefore, we’re going to try…(keyword there TRY)…to make this as easy to understand for the “average Joe/Jane” out there instead of getting bogged down in color theory, the electromagneticradiographicspectrumthinggy, or anything else that would cause our own moms to become confused, when all she really wants to know is how to take better pictures!

We’re about to start talking about something that is akin to sorcery and magic in an esoteric sense.

Hold on to your hats.  Get something to drink.  Let us know if we lose you at any point!  We’ll be happy to try explain it again and again…It can be some complicated stuff…(Even for some “pro” photographers…)

White Balance simply put, is how your digital camera sees color and how it relates to the actual colors that your eye sees before/during/after you make a photograph using a digital camera.

We could get all technical and talk about wavelengths in the light spectrum and how those translate into temperature and all that…

You would begin to snore and then decide to go see what deals there are on lenses on Craigslist…(I wouldn’t blame you.)

Your camera has a number of presets to help it adjust for the situation that you’re shooting in.  First, you’ll want to consult your camera’s manual as to how to adjust your camera’s white balance.  It’s usually done by holding down a button that has “WB” marked, or going into a menu marked “White Balance”.

By doing this you can change the way the camera “sees color” or rather the tones it will add/subtract to the image automatically to make it look more ‘realistic’.

Let’s try and talk briefly about the “color” and temperature within photography.  Literally, millions of words have been written to describe color theory and if you want to understand more about that, then google is your friend.  I am however trying to not bore you to death and teach you a few “tricks of the trade” from the inside.  Therefore, I’m going to try and keep it simple.

Red/Yellow/Orange = Warm Tones.

Blue/Green/Grey = Cool Tones.

These light sources can be expressed in an actual temperature scale within the Kelvin scale of temperature.

What you really need to know is Daylight/Sunlight = 5600’ Kelvin.

 

Therefore, if you are shooting under fluorescent lights, try and find out if they are “daylight balanced” meaning the light they give off is equal to sunlight/daylight.  If so, don’t use your fluorescent white balance setting for a natural look, use the sunlight/daylight setting and you’ll be happy you did!

See, that was fairly scientific but hopefully we didn’t manage to lose anyone in it!

(If you want to really get crazy about the science of color... Here's a great wiki article to start with: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_temperature

Now, moving on to the actual White Balance settings most commonly found on a variety of cameras.  If your camera doesn’t have one of these, don’t worry.  Some manufacturers include them and some done.  Then again at Ikon Photographs LLC, we generally shoot RAW format images where White Balance isn’t as much of an issue. (See the note at the end of the explanation of all the modes for the “why” behind this aspect.)

 

These common white balance settings generally are:

AWB  or AUTO WB– Auto White Balance (This lets the camera select the best option for what it “sees” or “senses”. The camera will then try to choose an average balanced setting between any variances in light sources.  Sometimes this works and other times it doesn’t.  That’s why it’s important to understand how white balance works, so that you don’t end up with a photograph of Godzilla and King Kong where Godzilla's face is all nice and orange/brown and King Kong's face is all grey and blue when they’re right next to each other in a photo.)

Daylight – (This generally is for outside with plenty of sun. The camera’s computer will add warm tones to the image.)

Cloudy – (This is generally for outside with not a lot of sun i.e. overcast or cloudy.  Again, the camera will try to warm things up.)

Shade – (When you’re in shaded light outside…Not direct sunlight and not cloudy.  The camera will add warm tones to compensate for the cool shades already in the image.)

Tungsten – Tungsten lights give off a warm tone naturally.  This is seen as being a bit orange.  To compensate, the camera will add cool/bluish tones to things. (When you are around old fashioned incandescent light bulbs, this is the light it gives off…In the coming years this will be less and less of a concern as we transition to compact fluorescent bulbs.)

Fluorescent – The camera will add warmer reddish tones to counter the bluish/green tones that the Fluorescent (When you are shooting around fluorescent lights.  Unless they are daylight balanced…-We’ll talk about that later…)

Flash – Flashes tend to give a cool blue/white light unless you have put a gel over them.  Therefore, the camera will add warmer orange/reddish tones to the image.  (When you are shooting with an on camera or off camera flash.)

Custom – (When you want to give your images a certain look, or when you might be trying to compensate for mixed lighting in an indoors or even outdoors situation).

Here’s something worth noting.  If you shoot in RAW format, white balance isn’t as much of a concern initially!  Why is that?  It is because in RAW format, your camera only records shutter, ISO, and aperture settings.  Everything can be set arbitrarily in post processing.  However, most “normal” i.e. non-professional shooters shoot in JPEG format.  Getting the white balance is even more important, because in JPEG, there is very little one can do after you make a photograph to edit/change the white balance.  Therefore, we want to get it right the first time!

So what is the difference?

The following images were shot in their "native" white balance location.  Then we proceeded to shoot an extra image, each with one of the white balance presets that the camera (in this instance a Nikon D700) in order to demonstrate exactly HOW the camera applies the corresponding tones and how much it can drastically alter the color scheme of your images.

Here's a photo of our intrepid explorer pal, (Let's call him Spaceman Spiff...We're big Calvin and Hobbes fans...) He's standing in a nice room lit by old school tungsten (incandescent) light.  We thus have our camera set to the "lightbulb/tungsten" setting.  If you notice, all the colors look nice and "normal" the tones appear pretty standard.

We then set the White Balance to the "sun" setting...and now Spaceman Spiff has the space blues. :( 

We then set our White Balance Mode to "fluorescent" which adds a lot of orange/yellow to the scene.

Setting our Spaceman Spiff Phasers to "FLASH" we see things get all bluish white to compensate for the white hot nature of a camera's flash.

With things set to the "Cloudy" white balance mode, we can see things really orange/red in an attempt to compensate for the lack of 'warm light' and the light being a bit grey/blue.  

 

Here we find Spaceman Spiff in the food and water bowl of a monsterous beast about to consume all in it's path.  Spiff is standing also in fluorescent light, and we thus have set our camera to the fluorescent setting thus making the light and colors look fairly "natural" for a most unnatural scene about to occur!

Here Spiff is under the setting of an incandescent bulb in the White Balance Mode.  You can see that the colors have changed drastically from what it is supposed to be.  The "original" coloration of the fluorescent light being a "bluish" with the applied "orange/red" have now rendered the scene with a greenish cast by using the incandescent setting.

Here Spiff is basking in the orange glow of a "Sunny" White Balance Mode.  You can see just how much orange/yellow the processor of the camera adds to the image to try to render it into a "sunlight" mode.

Here the white/blue coloration of the flash setting renders the color a little clear.  We can see that a more "natural" cast is almost rendered, but it's still off a bit.

Then comes the red of adding the "cloudy" setting to the camera's white balance processor.  

Sunny Side up for Spaceman Spiff! 

Incandescent Setting

Fluorescent Setting

Flash Setting

Cloudy Setting

"Cloudy/Shaded"

Incandescent Setting

Fluorescent Setting

Flash Setting

Sunny Setting

 

Next time, we'll take all this white balance knowledge, and show you how to apply it to set your own custom white balance, or how to keep things from getting all funky looking in mixed lighting conditions! 

Thanks for reading and remember "Get the shot, no matter what!" 

 

Sincerely,

David and Sabrina along with the rest of the IP gang! 

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ikonphotographs@gmail.com (Ikon Photographs) Creve Coeur Equipment Gear How to take better pictures Ikon Photographs Photography Photos Price St. Louis Photographer St. Louis Photography White Balance https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2014/5/white_balance Wed, 21 May 2014 08:02:30 GMT
You charge how much? Understanding the value of Professional Photography. https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2013/11/quality Many times people will peruse our investment section or we’ll sit in a consultation and hear from people how we may be “over their budget” for one reason or another.  Yes, compared to someone’s mom with a camera who is charging $40.00/hr and will give you a cd of every image, both the ok quality ones and the really bad ones where your eyes are closed and your tongue is hanging out the side of your mouth.  I assume we are ridiculously overpriced.

Consider this though for a moment.  We are also ridiculously over-quality of what that “fauxtographer” is.

Please allow me to break it down to more understandable terms.

The “Photos by Jenny” who just opened up on facebook…she’s probably spent a few hours learning her way around her $350.00 consumer camera that has a $200.00 kit lens attached.

At Ikon Photographs, both David and his assistant photographers have spent YEARS learning the trade and craft of photography (either in school, on the job or both).  Most of us have a heavy background in film photography we’ve been doing it that long.  The equipment we use is industry standard professional equipment.   It is not cheap.  It does not produce cheap images. 

For example:

David shoots on Nikon D700 full frame sensor camera that renders photos in 12.1 mp.  (1800.00 each) (He actually carries two of these wherever he goes.)

His standard lens kit is a Nikkor 80-200mm f 2.8 Telephoto Zoom lens (900.00) and a Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 (1900.00) wide-mid range zoom lens as well as a Nikkor 85mm F1.8 Prime Portrait Lens (500.00) and 50mm F1.4 prime lens (450.00).

Nikkor 24-70mm F2.8 $1900 Nikkor 80-200mm F2.8 $900

On top of the camera, if a flash is needed on site he employs at least one Nikon SB-800 Speedlite.(350.00)

Accentuating all of this equipment is a Sekonic Lightmeter (350.00), Camranger Wireless Feed/Tether (300.00) Device, and a handful of other handy gadgets that make professional photography what it is.

Stick it all in a very nice camera bag that keeps it all safe and sound. (175.00)

So far that’s a total of $8175.00 in equipment that we will show up to photograph you and yours on that special day! 

While it's understood that all this expensive gear is not worth a dime in an incompetent person's hands, we assure you that we are more than qualified to wield such pricey gear.  We even offer a MONEY BACK GUARANTEE

Once your “Live in the moment forever.” Photos are made, then they’re taken back to our home office where they are selectively edited on state of the art computers.  Roughly 3000.00 of editing equipment and software is employed in selecting and editing your images to perfection.

Let’s not even get into how much the studio equipment, lights, backdrops, etc costs.

Did we mention that Ikon Photographs LLC is a licensed business with the State of Missouri and we pay taxes on each and every job/sale we do?

We’re also members of the Professional Photographers of America with candidacy/certification efforts underway for our photographers. (That’s $300.00 per membership and $200.00 candidate).

We are also bonded to the tune of $50,000 of business insurance.  Which isn’t a lot, but it covers what it needs to at this point while we grow our business, client by client and smile by smile.

Why do we do all this?

Because photography is our passion, it’s our living, it’s our business.  We can promise you that while we may cost a little more than your “average” run of the mill undocumented photographer, we can offer you so much more in return for your money.   We guarantee our work unconditionally.  We know that you’ll love it as much as we do, or we’ll give you your money back. We guarantee that when you look at an Ikon image in 20 years, it will be one of your prized possessions that you’ll be happy to hand down to another generation of your family.  We challenge anyone to put a price-tag on that!

While we offer a money back guarantee, We’re keeping our cameras though! We need them! 

 

With love and great photographs,

 

David and the IP gang

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ikonphotographs@gmail.com (Ikon Photographs) Creve Coeur Equipment Gear Ikon Photographs Photography Photos Price St. Louis Photographer St. Louis Photography https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2013/11/quality Sat, 23 Nov 2013 05:30:43 GMT
The Power of the Crop https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2013/10/the-power-of-the-crop It's October...That means harvest time is here...So let's talk about crops! -Yes, I did just make that pun...

Well, we're not talking about corn mazes and pumpkin patches...we'll save that for the portrait sessions with your wonderful families!

Often, people will cut portions of a photograph away, either because they don't like certain elements (Your intoxicated Aunt Jenny passed out at the Christmas dinner table is or isn't a great opportunity to crop for instance!) or because parts of a photo may distract from the rest of the elements in the photo.  One of the most powerful post processing tools at the disposal of a Professional Photographer is the cropping tool.

Ikon Photographs recently had the opportunity to photograph the immensely popular band Nine Inch Nails during their tour through St. Louis.  That opportunity also provides a great example of the "Power of the Crop" that we thought would be a great chance to display some of the awesome work we get to do!

This is the original frame that I shot:

A wonderful shot of The guys (and girls) of Nine Inch Nails, doing what they so wonderfully do.

However, as I was looking at this image up closer after it was imported into Adobe Lightroom...I decided that I REALLY liked the composition of Trent Reznor and his backing vocals singers.  Time to crop! The area to be cropped is highlighted in the red box in the image below.

See that?  Ooooh, It's going to make a really nice close up shot from a much larger photo.  So we do what we do in the magic of the lightroom.  In the old days, we would be doing basically the same thing, we would be projecting only the part of the image that we wanted, and enlarging it in the printing process during the days of film.  Today it's much easier, and much faster.  However, the effective use of the crop is just as relative.  

Yes, the image enlarges significantly, and fortunately with today's full frame and high megapixel technology in professional cameras, not much detail is lost.  We cleaned this image a bit, edited it up a bit to give it a more artistic feel. and Voila.  A print worthy of any NINophile's collection of photos.

So, next time you have a photo that you're looking at, and you just want it "plain and simple" or something just calls to you...

Think "Rocktober"  Think "Crop"...That was bad...Sorry!

Hats of to Nine Inch Nails for the AMAZING show they put on 10.01.13.  It was great seeing them all again! 

Check back next time when we look at lenses and what all those numbers mean! 

 

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ikonphotographs@gmail.com (Ikon Photographs) https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2013/10/the-power-of-the-crop Thu, 03 Oct 2013 18:26:47 GMT
The Evolution Of An Image https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2013/9/the-evolution-of-an-image As Professional Photographers, we do our best to make sure an image is as close to "perfect" when we capture it in the camera.  That means that the light is sufficient, the composition is correct, things are done just right to make sure that it's "there".  However, often times, there is still a bit of what is called "post processing.  All post processing sometimes might require is some color adjusting, maybe some slight brightness and addition/subtraction of contrast to an image.  Sometimes it requires more.  For the sake of exposition, We're going to look at a test image I shot with my 12 year old son a while back.  I had recently bought some new studio lighting, and was wanting to get a feel for them.  I told him to go get one of his many crazy "hats"...he came back with a WWII style USGI Helmet.

Here is the "master" image that I shot. 

Not a bad shot...everything's nice and focused.  The lighting is pretty neat...the background is just dark enough to distinguish the subject from it, good clear shot.  Something anyone would be happy to get as their "portrait" shot...

Well...not to a nitpicky photographer.  Then an artist friend of mine inquired as to what he thought the image would look like in monochrome (black/white) and then I started to look at the image...if I was going to start "editing" on it, then there are ALWAYS changes that could be made.  Let's darken things a bit, let's clean up the skin (blemishes), lets get rid of any "distractions in the image...

So here's the image 'marked up' noting changes to be made...

Ok...Let's crop it to get a more "defined" image, and everything else...

Added contrast and darkened the image a bit more.  Still have to take blemishes out, and get rid of "distractions" as well as change to monochrome.

Here's the same image with blemishes removed and converted to black/white.  Looks nice, but I'm choosing to go with a more "historic" look.  We'll add some grain and a bit more contrast in the next pass to make the image actually look like an image shot on film and printed in a dark room.  Having spent quite some time with processing my own film and printing my own images in a darkroom, I have a pretty good "watermark" for what I want the image to look like going from digital to making it look "real".

As you can see in the next pass.  The image is darker, its grainy and it's got a nice "historic" look worthy of that old grizzled army helmet.

At this point, this image has gone through three generations/iterations from the "master" image.

Next time you see a photographer's work.  You'll likely have a better idea of what goes into it than just 'taking' a picture.  There should always be a "goal" behind editing a photograph.  It will dictate the philosophy of how it is edited.  If the photographer you hire doesn't have a vision or philosophy behind their work.  Find one that does! 

 

Next time we'll be demonstrating the difference in both quality and price of a wide variety of cameras, styles and work!  Everything from "Lowsumer, to Prosumer to Professional"! 

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ikonphotographs@gmail.com (Ikon Photographs) https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2013/9/the-evolution-of-an-image Sat, 07 Sep 2013 01:33:02 GMT
Making Better Photos https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2013/8/making-better-photos We're professionals at Ikon Photographs.  We've spent endless hours in school learning a wide array of techniques to perfectly craft images that last.  We've spent untold hours, days and weeks on sets and location all over the place in the ever-elusive "perfect image".

We tirelessly pursue perfection in our art and trade.  We're never satisfied.  Oh sure we produce some stellar images alright, but a wise man once said "The main obstacle to perfection is satisfaction." 

We all want to make really good photos right?  I mean, what good is showing off your world to friends and family on Facebook if your pictures aren't awesome.  It's been said that a "picture is worth a thousand words." Well, we're about to show you how to add "Awesome, Magnificent, Stupendous and Incredible" to that list of a thousand words when people see the photos you take.

We're going to show you some "professional secrets" about images that you likely didn't know (or you may have but just didn't know what it was called.)

Each camera has a viewfinder or LCD screen with which you can "compose" your image.  This is your "tabula rasa" as the Roman's called it. (Bet you didn't know they had cameras back then eh? :) ) 

Rule of Thirds

If you're not good at fractions, you might want to get brushed up so your pictures will start to have a nice polish to them.  In photography there is what is called the "rule of thirds" by which the "frame" of the camera (the area of the viewfinder or in today's world the LCD screen) is divided into "thirds". Some camera models even have these "thirds lines" displayed in the viewfinder to assist you in composing. (Oh that's what those lines are! You might be thinking...)

 A photo will show this better; In a thousand words or less...

Don't get distracted by the cute...pay attention to the red lines...Those are "thirds lines"...They divide the image into thirds both vertically and horizontally.

Great photo right?  I mean, LOOK AT THAT CUTE!!!! LOOK AT IT....

LOOK.

Ok, stop looking...

Now look at the red lines.  Do you see how the baby is not in either thirds zones either horizontally or vertically?  He's not even placed at the intersection of "thirds lines"?

This might be a difficult concept to grasp right away.  Here's an example of a subject (same cute...prepare yourself...) properly placed in a frame using the "rule of thirds"...

Ok, we've seen the "cute" already...so let's maintain our focus...(See what the photographer did there...he made a joke...) on the subject.

Notice how he is placed within a third 'zone" of the image...in this case, the right third of the image.  This draws your focus to the subject, it makes for more of a dramatic image, it gives the viewer something to say "Hold on a minute...this is something NIIIIICE...." \

Note: You can also use the intersection of these thirds lines (horizontal/vertical) to give specific emphasis to something (a certain detail that you wish to highlight or demonstrate to the viewer etc...).  Our eyes are naturally drawn to this thirds concept.  (It's actually a design thing.)

Nothing other than the framing has changed in these images...Same baby (cute), same lighting, same backdrop, same outfit, you name it. However, just by using the rule of thirds effectively...which image would you prefer to stick up on your facebook wall?

Moving right along...

Space...the final frontier...[/Shatner Voice]

In a frame (that's what we like to call pictures...) you have a certain space...In the above photo there are 2/3rds negative space (empty/unused) and 1/3rd "positive/active space"  Artists use negative space vs positive space to effectively impact the viewer and draw their eye in one way or another.  By putting so much negative space in the above frame...your eye is forced to look at the subject instead of all the neat little wrinkles in the backdrop.  

Another way to use space in a frame is to "fill the frame".  To literally put the subject in as much of the frame (if not all) as possible.

Warning...More cute ahead.

Now that's a frame full o cute! 

Filling the frame can be done for a variety of purposes.  One of the best I ever saw was a photo of a professional football player that a photographer had made a portrait of.  He literally made the shoulders of the linebacker touch each side of the frame, and had even included the edges of the film in the image to demonstrate just how huge this guy was.  He literally looked like he was busting out of the film frame.  It can also be done to draw extra importance to your subject by forcing the viewer to be full on confronted with every intricate detail of the subject in the picture.  You begin to find yourself looking deeply into the cute baby's eyes.  You see the drool on his chin, the happy in his smile...you're sucked in by the cute once again aren't you? 

SNAP OUT OF IT!!!!

One thing that is really important to point out.  When you're making portraits of someone.  Focus on the eye closest to the camera, unless you're wanting to portray that they are looking off into the distance or off the frame somewhere.  It makes for nice photos!

 

Portrait vs Landscapes.

Do you ever look at your printer setup when it asks you if you wish to print in "portrait or landscape" mode and wonder, "What difference does it make?"  Well, it makes a lot of difference in photography.  Portrait orientation (vertical) is generally used...well, for portraits, or long, tall items like trees or buildings.  Landscape orientation traditionally allows you to show items more fully on a horizontal axis.  However, do not let these terms fool you.  You can shoot a portrait of someone in a landscape orientation just fine.  Vis a vis. (More cute on the way...)

Look at that...a perfectly acceptable "portrait" in landscape orientation...and look at all that cute!!! :) 

You might also notice that this image starts to "pull it all together...We've effectively filled more than half the frame.  His nose and eyes are nicely lined up along "thirds" lines and we even managed to get the right amount of "pouty" from the model.  This frame is well on its way towards being a keeper to show grandma, aunts, uncles and everyone that you forcibly inflict your cute upon!

So, those are just a few tips that you can use in putting images together that will make your photos shine next time you whip out the camera to take some pics to show everyone your world.

 

If you're interested in learning more about photography and how to make better images, Ikon Photographs is available for private photography lessons.  We can teach you the basics, the advanced stuff (like studio lighting) or anywhere in between!

Thanks for reading and check back another time for more information and ideas for better photography! 

David 

 

Contact us to book a free consultation for a photography session today!  Bridal, Maternity, Kids, Seniors...We do it all!

 

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ikonphotographs@gmail.com (Ikon Photographs) https://www.ikonphotographs.net/blog/2013/8/making-better-photos Tue, 13 Aug 2013 04:56:37 GMT