Posts Tagged ‘photography

17
Jun
08

What makes a good photographer? What makes a good photo? What makes them great?

This should be a very discussion based post. Although the answer might seem simple at first, I really want you to think hard about what it takes to make a good photographer or to make a good photo. Then, I want you to tell me what makes them great.

I’m very curious to see what higher ed (and non-higher ed) people think about this. Please share this with people or start a conversation amongst the people in your office.

Here are some samples to get you thinking.

Is this a good photo?

Students on the Quad

What about this one?

Frisbee

How about this one?

Millie with her dad

Finally, this one? One person calls this one a “favorite” on Flickr.

Kitty

Are the photos themselves good, or are there only aspects of each one that are good? Do the technical elements (composition, bokeh, focus, exposure, color, etc.) make them good or great (or bad)? Or are these photos just snapshots?
Final question which will take some stretching of your imagination; would you use photos like these (some with different subject matter of course – obviously the father/daughter photo wouldn’t be that appealing, but what about two soccer players embracing each other after a goal) when marketing to high school students? How do you think they would rate these photos?

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24
Apr
08

The benefits of high-quality photography in recruiting efforts – Part One.

First off, let me start by saying my apologies for not having blogged in such a long time. Finding that balance between full-time employee, student, and friend has been difficult this semester. The last three weeks have been particularly crazy and have seen me virtually disappear from the social media world (aside from Twitter). But I’m back now and ready for the final semester push that includes final projects and commencement.

Anyway, this is a post that I have been working on for quite some time, and I’m not quite sure that I am done with it yet, but I’m throwing this initial piece out there to start some discussion. I’ll give you some background as well since this is really where this post started.

I’ve been trying to think of what to do for my final in graduate studies. I have three choices: comprehensive exam, thesis paper, or a project. I am not a paper person, so I immediately ruled that out, and I really don’t like taking tests. Not only that, I love working on projects, so that was really the only choice in my mind. The more difficult choice was choosing what to do for it. I wanted to do something that would not only benefit me, but something that I could use in my job. My first idea, however, did not go over so well. So, I talked to one of my professors about doing a tutorial with me this summer that would be the prelude/beginning of the project and he has agreed.

I will be working with my photography professor on a very intensive research and building project. The research will involve studying good photography and really breaking down why the photographs are good. I want to pay particular attention to higher education photography and portraits since that is what I will be shooting most often. I think I have a good eye for getting good shots, but sometimes I feel like my technical knowledge is not put to use. I can explain photography to people all day, but then I don’t always illustrate it in my photos.

Building may or may not be the right word to use here, but it’s all I can think of. I will be building a new collection of photos for the campus for use in admissions recruitment purposes and for marketing. I will be primarily photographing students because we already have plenty of campus scenery shots that are good. And the students are what a university is all about right?

The reason I am doing this is because students nowadays don’t want to see those setup shots. And believe me, they can tell. I’ve co-hosted some focus groups recently which we asked the students a variety of questions, one of which was whether they felt we portrayed the university accurately. Most said yes, but the no’s all referenced our brochures. And that my friends is why I decided this would be the perfect project.

Alright, I think that is it for this post. Over time I have realized that this is something that is really going to take multiple posts, so I’m going to split it up. I’ll bring you along in my progress and hope that you enjoy the ride. I have some other drafts started that will give some examples, etc. of the old verses the new. I will also go into more detail about HOW it will help.

28
Feb
08

Scene 7 2008 Survey Report

I got an email this morning from Adobe offering me a download for a Scene7 Survey Report for experience in Web 2.0 for 2008 and beyond. I haven’t really looked it through thoroughly, but it’s on my list for today. Sign up really quick and they’ll email you a link to download. Here are some highlights that I found.

  • 360-degree spin is considered one of the most highly-effective features, yet it is underutilized today. Nearly 30 percent of respondents plan to add 360-degree spin in 2008 along with other top top-ranking features including: alternate views, user ratings, videos, blogs, product tours,online catalogs, personalized messaging, quick looks and personalized stores.
  • Increased clicks or usage and increased conversions are the leading metrics used for evaluating enhancements; however, more than 40 percent of respondents measure the effectiveness of features based qualitative feedback and increased revenues
  • Surprisingly low number of respondents for Education
  • Effectiveness of user videos (p. 6)

It’s not a super comprehensive report, but it might offer support for integrating new features to your website for the upcoming year. Just thought I’d share it with you guys!

18
Feb
08

Housing Virtual Tours

So for the past two months, I have been working off and on on complete 360 degree virtual tours for housing. It’s been a slow process because I have been working on a lot of other projects, but also because it hasn’t been a huge priority. After meeting with our Web Services people, we discussed having them done in time for unveiling with the newly redesigned Housing website. I will be using the ones I created along with some/all of the ones Brad created when he was here.  So of late, I have been trying to get them all put together. I have been using a program called Cubic Converter which has been working great! I’ve been using Photoshop CS3’s photomerge feature along with some of my own editing. To shoot the panos, I have a Panosaurus head mounted to my tripod (which is weak and has caused me to have to do A LOT of post-processing). I am shooting with a Nikon D200 with an 18-70 mm f3.5 at 24mm and manual exposure controls. I will be writing a how-to later about this detailing the process in full. It’s been a lot of fun, but it’s also been a lot of work. The results have definitely paid off though! Now, I need to figure out how to convert from outdated QTVR to a Flash file for the website…if you have any suggestions let me know. Here’s a little sample:  *Wordpress does not allow embedding of videos into posts due to security reasons.  So for now, I’ll link to it.  It is in it’s full screen version here, but it is undecided how large the final will be.  Use your mouse to control the scrolling and shift and control zoom in and out.

Let me know of any changes you would make or do before the final cut.  I think they look pretty good, but then again, I may be biased…

07
Feb
08

A little bit about me

Per Matt’s request, I thought I would give you guys a little background into who I am. I will tell you that I have probably been working in higher ed for the least amount of time (7 months) out of all the people involved in BlogHighEd, but I am extremely passionate about what I do and therefore always wanting and willing to learn about the ever changing field of Higher Education.

I am officially the Marketing/Recruitment Specialist for the Office of Enrollment Management for the University of Illinois at Springfield. I work for the smallest of the three U of I campuses, but still get all the benefits. This position was created last year for UIS graduate and co-creator of BlogHighEd, Brad J Ward, but he moved on to a position at Butler University in Indianapolis, IN. I spend my time researching trends in the current and potential student market for recruitment and retention. I also implement ideas that I present to the directors on our websites. I also have some web experience, but desperately want to learn more! I also do campus and event photography.

I look forward to learning with and from everyone who contributes here and I am very thankful that I was chosen for bhe. And here’s a better photo of me and my wonderful girlfriend.

Jordan and I
31
Jan
08

I am getting the bug back!

So as I sit here, bitterly enjoying my Subway sub and looking at lenses for my camera, I am thinking to myself: “I really miss taking photos.” Over the course of the past week or so, I have been able to take a lot of photos of a variety of different things. I’ve been able to hang out with some friends and shoot photos with them, and more importantly, some of my girlfriend! As I thought about it over lunch, I realized the reason I quit enjoying photography was because I was shooting too many things that I wasn’t passionate about. Not only that, but it was usually on a last minute notice thing and more often than not, after hours. And while I enjoy attending events, I wish I had something to show for it. I talked with our creative director the other day, and ever since I started here I’ve been trying to get some new camera equipment. I’ve been begging for a good telephoto to replace the 28-200 G lens that I have now. Performance wise, the lens takes nice photos outdoors. Inside shots with low light, and autofocusing though are awful. I don’t think I’ve ever used a lens that focuses as slow as this one does, and is also not that accurate. Also, the zoom is not very tight (and is backwards from every other Nikon lens I’ve ever used…) and slides out while moving around. Aside from all that, it does take nice photos when the lighting is right. Unfortunately for me, I take a lot of photos in very poorly lit places and in places you’re not supposed to use a flash. In these situations I resort to my trusty 50mm f1.8. Like these photos here, the left one being pretty much my trademark shot:

Eddie Smith Dunk at UIS Eddie Smith Dunk at UIS

Now, my friend Joe, of FJ Gaylor told me yesterday that he had a lens he might be able to sell me which would be amazing! Hook me up! Another reason I have been excited about photography is because the FJ Gaylor was updated to include all their fall 07 shots. Let me just say that they have their act together! If you need photographs of your college, I would highly recommend them! And I’m not the only one.

 

Moving on, last night at the library (I briefly mentioned this earlier) I was helping Jordan find some things. I came across a book titled “Memoirs of Mary and Martha Washington.”

Memoirs of Mary and Martha Washingon

 

Then I looked at the copyright date in the center on the bottom of the page….1852.

Mary and Martha Washington
Martha Washington

Isn’t that amazing?!?  It’s crazy to think that book is actually in my universities library.

Martha Washington

It’s hard to read, but this book was given as a gift on Christmas in 1853.  These photos were taken with my iPhone.  It does a decent job for a camera phone in low lighting.  But so anyway, I was really amazed and I think the artistic aspect of that book really made me enjoy photographing them (even just with my phone).

 

Alright…last thing…I mentioned bitterly enjoying my sandwich.  Last time I got a tuna sub from Subway I got a six inch.  They put three scoops of tuna on my six inches.  Today I was starving and decided to get a foot long.  I watch as he applies the tuna and see him put only four scoops on my sandwich.  Now…it’s been a while since I’ve taken a math course, but if there are three scoops on a six inch, shouldn’t there be six scoops on a twelve inch sub?  The tuna was spread so thin on my sandwich, I would have gotten all bread and veggies.  So I asked him to put another scoop on my sandwich and he said it would be .50 a scoop.  Then I started thinking, I’m paying more for a 12 inch sub with an extra scoop of tuna than I would for two individual six inch subs.  $7.10 later, I leave with my sub and drink (drink was free for being a student!) and return to my office.  I usually spend $3.27 for lunch on a six inch sub.  It probably wouldn’t bother me so much except for the fact that 4 out of the last 5 times and 7 out of 10 times I have gotten “fast food” whether it be from Subway, Taco Bell, or Wendy’s, they have gotten my order incorrect.  I guess they think that when I ask for a hamburger I really want a cheeseburger instead.  Customer service has really gone down hill…




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