•April 8, 2014 • Leave a Comment
In my last many posts you will notice a similar thread. That we create the reality which surrounds us. As I have come to see this more and more, my work has come to also reflect that. Our success or our failure depends on what we envision for ourselves. I used to see that as somewhat conditional, but more and more I see it as the ONLY factor at work.
This photo is part of a fine art fashion photography series. This particular one is titled Deep in Thought and shows the energy that surrounds us to become what we see, feel, and experience.
More of this growing collection can be seen on my Fine Art Gallery. Also please visit me at Mark Stout Photography for advertising photography.
Fine art portrait – copyright Mark Stout. All rights reserved, no free use allowed
•April 3, 2014 • Leave a Comment
The title may not seem the most appropriate, but it is. This is personal work, something I do on an ongoing basis and it is the work that if I didn’t take time out routinely to do it, my clients would all be cheated.
In an era where everyone has an iPhone and is snapping pictures of whatever happens to be in front of them and sharing it on social, it can seem that is all there is to it.
Any successful photographer has spent many years not only learning the techniques, but exploring the creativity they unleash (no, an instagram filter is NOT creative) and learning to unleash his own creativity. This doesn’t happen overnight, or even fast. In fact, when I look at the careers of any successful photographer, they have spent more in money and time on their “education” than attorneys, doctors, or computer programmers. This is true whether they have an art degree or not. The dues get paid, the apprenticeships get done and the lessons learned one way or the other.
Once that is done, if it ever is, the true professional photographer continues every day to greater or lesser degree to expand his creativity, explore his own soul, push his tools to new limits always searching for a way to create something more beautiful.
I finished this photo last night. It is a part of that ongoing journey.
Fine art portrait – Copyright Mark Stout, no free use allowed
•March 24, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Last night I decided I had to get out from behind the computer. I grabbed my gear and headed downtown and started trying out a number of experimental techniques I had in mind.
When I get into the creative mode, that is all I think about. It is as if I enter a different space, a different world. One where the rules are different, where nothing can go wrong, and I seem to have no attention on anything else.
This isn’t always a good thing. From the moment I got out of the car, my attention was on the various things around me, and what I could turn them into. I no sooner finished one picture and I was looking at the next thing I could create. About two hours and a couple miles later a woman noticed I seemed to be doing something a bit different than just pointing my camera and pushing the button. I showed her the last image I took to show her how the technique I was using resulted in unique images and we talked a while.
It was then I realized that my camera bag wasn’t over my shoulder. I remembered for the first time that I had set it on the trunk of my car when taking the first picture and never given it another thought. With the car being in the nightclub district, there wasn’t much chance of it still being there… but somehow I knew it was okay.
As I got to where the car was in sight, the camera bag was gone. I started doing a mental inventory of what was lost, put the tripod in the trunk and was considering retracing my steps once more when I saw the security guard from one of the highrises coming toward me with my camera bag over his shoulder.
He told me he saw it on the trunk and knew it wouldn’t remain there long, so he took it in the building with him for protection.
I can’t tell you how it made me feel. It wasn’t so much that I was spared the expense of having to replace my camera bag as it was what it did for my faith in humanity. He could have so easily just said “It isn’t my problem” and done nothing. But instead he took a moment to care enough to do something. It is what makes people so wonderful and the world a decent place to live.
Here is one of the photos I took on my journey. The effects were created in camera.
•March 20, 2014 • Leave a Comment
This is a fashion photo I recently completed that I wanted to share with you.
Fashion Photography – copyright Mark Stout, no free use allowed
•March 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment
I have been working with photoshop since about 1995 or before… and I am still “learning” it. It never ceases to amaze me just how much you can do with it.
A while back I threw away all of the “rules” (again) and a whole new dimension of creativity opened. Like, who says you have to put the background behind the subject? I also spend a lot of time with experiments…. “I wonder what would happen if…” The results are sometimes amazing and part of what has led much of my more recent work into a style I know no one will ever be able to copy. Photoshop is like a painters brush, paints and canvas. You learn the basic techniques, but from there it is some sort of inner magic at work that transforms it into art.
The male nude image below is an example. I had the basic idea in place, but as I worked on the image I experimented and discovered a whole new technique. I love the effect it created and can’t wait to apply it to some of my commercial shoots as well.
Fine art male nude – copyright Mark Stout, no free use allowed.
•February 25, 2014 • Leave a Comment
While it hides behind the “credibility” of being part of Getty Images, iStock manages to raise the ire of photographers (and clients) more than any other stock photo agency in the business and their abuses of both are frequently in the news.
I’ve been seeing the latest pop up in the forums and now it has made headlines in PetaPixel about how 9000 contributors have been informed they were “overpaid” and have to pay iStock back! What PetaPixel missed in their article is how frequently this occurs over at iStock. I have seen numerous threads over the years on the forums about iStock chargebacks to contributors due to “miscalculation” or supposed credit card fraud…
In this last instance, iStock should have sucked it up and eaten the loss… if there really was one at all. Instead they pushed the liability for their incompetence down to their contributors one to many times and now have a PR nightmare on their hands.
It doesn’t matter how you look at it. The best thing that can be said here is that iStock is incapable of accurate bookkeeping… which of course also says that most likely there are a similar amount of “mistakes” being made in calculating just how much a contributor is earning in the contributors favor as well. This is if 9000 photographers were overpaid, how many were underpaid?
iStock started the race to the bottom with their images for pennies business model that pulled the rug out from the stock photo industry. Apparently they didn’t just choke photographers when they built the express elevator to the bottom… they also choked themselves and are constantly on the lookout for more ways to gouge photographers.
While the overall abuse is typical in large sectors of the stock photo industry, iStock leads the pack for abuses. It is seriously time for photographers to back up and take a look at things. What do any of these agencies have of value? YOUR images. Why enable them to abuse you? Delete your account and move your images to Photoshelter where you can charge a fair price and keep the majority of the earnings!
•February 23, 2014 • Leave a Comment
I’m doing some updates to my commercial photographer site and this is one of the images I just added. I actually didn’t do anything with this photo at first because I didn’t think it was good enough. Now it is one of my favorites. I’m often surprised at how much we can beat ourselves up.
Portrait of a rugged, handsome man – copyright Mark Stout, no free use allowed.