Blog Moore Consulting Photography

January update — published, published and published

Time for a quick update on what’s been happening at Moore Consulting Towers recently.

It’s partly been the usual unusual mixture of writing, web work and photography — new sites are underway for a graphic design firm I’ve done a lot of work with, and a homeowners’ association where I’m doing some photography as well as the web development.

But I’ve also been lucky enough to have a couple of photographs published recently, one of which shows how good photography can get you better press coverage.

Front Page for the Folk Art Market

The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market (for whom I do lots of work) were holding a fund-raising event to announce the public element of their campaign to raise $6 million, and they asked me to photograph the event. Specifically, Clare Hertel from Clare Hertel Communications — the PR firm that also works with the Market — was keen to have a photograph of co-chair of the campaign Leigh Ann Brown addressing the audience.

I got that shot and a range of others that were used in the Market’s own social media coverage of the event — and Clare did her great work in securing coverage of the event and campaign in the local press.

A couple of days after the event, Journal Santa Fe ran the story (and my photograph of Leigh Ann) on the front page. When you’re approaching the press with a story, being able to offer quality photographs to them really improves your chances of making it into the paper — especially in a prominent position.

Cross-Country Skiing in New Mexico Magazine

Another of my images was published in the December issue of New Mexico Magazine.

A couple of years ago, I’d been asked to shoot and write a story for the magazine on what to do in ski town if you don’t downhill ski — a very nice commission.

But between the story being filed in March and the winter season rolling around later that year, the editor at the magazine had changed, and they didn’t end up using the full article.

The images were kept on file, though, and one appeared as an accompaniment to a new Red River article last month.

It’s nice to see the photography work being thought of as good enough to stand on its own — and be used large on the page — even when it was originally commissioned together with some writing.

Annual New Mexico Vacation Guide

One of my images also made its way into the 2013 New Mexico Vacation Guide, published by the New Mexico state Department of Tourism and New Mexico Magazine. The magazine had put out a call to regular contributors (including me) for photographs that covered the full range of activities and regions across the state. While not primarily a landscape photographer, I reviewed my archives and identified some that matched their requirements.

So page 93 includes a 2-column shot from an autumnal day on the Rio Grande at Embudo.

That’s it for now — back to work for me. Hope you’re doing well.

Blog Moore Consulting Photography

Two and Two: Interview with Environmental Photographer Dave Walsh

Two and Two: Interview with Environmental Photographer Dave Walsh

Two and Two: Interview with Environmental Photographer Dave Walsh

Time for something a little bit different. I’ve been wanting to interview photographers for the site for a while now, and eventually this desire concentrated around getting them to talk about photographs. Not gear, or techniques, but the finished work — both theirs and the work of other photographers that they liked. And we do it on video so you can see the photographer and the images we’re talking about.

The idea is simple: each photographer suggests two of their own images and two by other photographers, and then we have a chat about them.

So recently, I sat down (virtually) with Irish documentary and environmental photographer Dave Walsh — an old friend — to launch this endeavour.

His recent show at the Copper House Gallery in Dublin — The Cold Edge — showcased his polar photography, but his work more broadly looks at humanity’s relationship with wilderness and wildlife, and our use of energy and resources.

In addition to two of his own photos, he chose one by Belgian photographer Stephan Vanfleteren, and US photographer Joel Sternfeld.

As I’m just starting out with this format, I’d love to hear your comments about it, or any suggestions for improvement.

Iceberg from Humboldt Glacier, Kane Basin, Nares Straight, Greenland.

By David Moore on January 7, 2013.

Canonical link

Exported from Medium on October 17, 2020.

Blog Moore Consulting Photography Santa Fe and New Mexico

Dogs in the office — living history dogs (lots of them)

“When I die, I want to come back as a dog and get to stay here,” Leroy from El Rancho de Las Golondrinas is clear that the dogs in this ‘office’ have a great life.

And so they should, with tons of room to run around in at the living history museum just south of Santa Fe, and a dog-friendly working environment that sees up to nine employees’ dogs on the property some days.

And what a range of dogs they are. There’s Sarge, the sweet lolloping doberman that sometimes gets out and is found heading down the road outside.

And Jax, who was in costume the day I visited because it was Halloween.

They share the main office building with The Mayor (who’s also known as Big Dog, Big Red or just Sir). He was found on the property one day, adopted by one of the employees, and years later, he’s still in charge. He follows school parties around, just to make sure it’s all going well, and while he’s slowed down a bit now, he’s clearly the boss of the place.

Patch is Leroy’s dog, and since Leroy looks after the water resources on the 200-acre site, Patch spends most of the day on Leroy’s four-wheeler, coming into the office for breaks and meetings.

In the historic Pino House next door, Henry and Hannah hang out with their owner, although Hannah can be a little shy, and preferred to keep an eye on me from the security of her person’s desk.

Another couple of four-legged staff weren’t around during my visit, but I met enough happy dogs and their happy owners to confirm Leroy’s assessment — Las Golondrinas is a perfect spot to bring your dog to work.

Thanks to John Berkenfield, Madeline Mrozek and everyone at El Rancho de Las Golondrinas for letting me come and chase after their dogs.

Jax isn’t sure about this one.

Patch rides the four wheeler.

Patch waits for Leroy.

Henry relaxes in the corner

Hannah’s not sure about the photographer

The Mayor installed outside

Blog Moore Consulting Photography Santa Fe and New Mexico

Audio Slideshow: Curbside Cuisine from Le Pod

Audio Slideshow: Curbside Cuisine from Le Pod

Audio Slideshow: Curbside Cuisine from Le Pod

You might recall the photo project I did earlier in the year about Jean-Luc Salles, the French chef who runs Le Pod — a restored 1960s Airstream trailer that serves French street food to go.

I interviewed him recently, and put together this audio slideshow about him and his work.

I think it communicates the unique appeal of Le Pod well (and it makes me hungry). I’d love to talk to you if you think a similar approach would work well for your organization.

Bon Appetit!

By David Moore on November 13, 2012.

Canonical link

Exported from Medium on October 17, 2020.

Moore Consulting Photography

How to take better photos for your blog and social media channels

It’s great to see real organizations posting regularly on Facebook and Twitter, writing blogs and being open and authentic in their communications.

Part of this is strategic — we’re moving away from the old days of a senior figure in the company or non-profit checking every communication that goes out of the place themselves and hiring PR people or ad agencies to polish a message until it shone (even if it didn’t represent the truth of the organization). Now, your audience wants to know what’s it really like behind the scenes, and for its employees to show some of their own personality and that of the organization.

Not all images are the same

But after the strategic comes the practical — you’ve got the plan and now you have to implement it well. So let’s assume that your organisation is writing blog posts, tweeting up a storm and using Pinterest like nobody’s business. You’re taking lots of photos at events or of products, but the problem is that none of the images look very much like the ones you see on the charity: water or ONE sites.

Poor photography makes you look amateurish, and turns the most lavish party into a dull-looking event or an attractive product into an e-Bay advertisement. NYC event organiser Jeremy Norman speaking in a Photoshelter blog post on event photography made it clear: “We’re very big on creating moments in the events — different opportunities for exciting photographs. Because if you’re going to spend one, two, three hundred thousand on an event you definitely want to have memories that are well shot and well photographed.”

You might not spending that much on your events, but the chances are you still need some better photography to create more impact and reflect your organization more positively. And if your blog posts have a more news feel to them, or you case studies tell particular stories, then you also need good photojournalism-style photographs to accompany that content. Finally, if you’re a fundraising organization, photography can play a key role in engaging potential donors.

I can make a very good case for employing a professional (and I’d love it if you’d call me, especially if you want documentary-type work or multimedia), but if that’s not an option here are some key tips to help you get better social media and blogging photos on your own.

1) You don’t need a good camera

Digital SLRs and other expensive bits of gear are really good at delivering great images, so long as the person using them knows what they’re doing. So rushing out and buying a new camera probably won’t help you if you’re going to leave it on auto-everything mode and just use the kit lens it came with. Good pans won’t make you a good cook.

Even with a point and shoot, or a cellphone camera, you can get better images if you concentrate on the points below (except the last one where I explain that you really do need a good camera for some kinds of shots).

Swanee Hunt, founding director of the Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and former United States Ambassador to Austria addresses a Democratic Party fundraiser in Santa Fe.

2) What’s your photo about?

This is the first question to ask as you’re picking up a camera to take an image. You probably know what it’s going to be a photo ‘of’, but that’s not what it’s ‘about’. What are you trying to show or tell with this image? You could take five different photos of a chair and say different things with all five.

Once you know what your’e trying to communicate with the image, it will help you decide what to put in and leave out. Do you want a candid moment, where the subject’s not aware of the camera, or are you going for a posed shot with everyone smiling, for example? What emotion are you trying to capture or communicate? It might not be a very complex idea, but if you’re just snapping away and hoping you get something good, it’s not very likely that you will.

3) Only show what’s important

Most amateur photographers leave too much in the frame when they’re taking a photograph. When you look at the world, your eye focuses on the subject you’re considering at that moment, and you don’t really notice the things around it. But when we look at a photograph, we tend to see everything that’s there, diminishing the visual importance of what’s supposed to be the main topic. So as your’e composing your image, make yourself look all around the frame and check that there’s a reason you’re including all the elements.

Sometimes things are improved by zooming in or getting closer to the main subject, removing some of the clutter. Other times if you move sideways, you’ll exclude a distraction like a sign or a trash can.

4) Head in a clean spot

Many of your photographs will probably include people. Try and make sure their heads aren’t in front of a distracting background. This could be the line of a wall running behind them, or a tree branch appearing to come out of the back of their heads. Watch for part of the background being darker than the people and part of it being lighter. A flat even background will make sure the viewer’s eye stays on the people — and your eye is naturally draw to the light areas of a frame.

5) Put people’s heads near the top of the frame

Unless there’s a good reason not to, try and put the top of people’s head’s near the top of the frame. This is the case whether it’s a tight shot only showing one person’s head and shoulders, or a group shot showing a bunch of people full-length. A lot of cameras’ main focus point is in the middle of the frame, so the tendency is to put that focus point on a face and leave it here, resulting in lots of blank space or clutter in the top of the frame. Cameras that have face recognition can help with this, but you still have to compose in a way that fills the frame.

For extra credit, move the main subject to one side or the other — often, putting things right in the middle sounds like the obvious choice, but in fact placing them to the side creates a more appealing image.

Heads near the top of the frame, out of the full sun, nothing too distracting behind them . . . guests at a MIX Santa Fe event I photographed over the summer

6) Get out of full sun

Especially here in bright New Mexico, shooting outdoors people outdoors in the daytime can be a real challenge. There’s such a contrast between the brightest areas of an image and the dark shadows, that most cameras struggle to capture the full range — either something will be blown out (full white, with no detail), or too dark. And nobody looks good squinting in bright light, or with ‘raccoon eye’ from strong shadows on their faces. So, if you can, photograph people in shade, where they’re looking towards the light. This will mean there’s an even light on them, which is much more flattering, and that they’ll likely have catchlights — little bright spots in their eyes, which bring the images to life.

7) Mix up the range of shots

If you’re shooting an event, make sure to get a range of different types of images. So that could include individual portraits, couples, larger groups, a wide shot of the whole event (sometimes standing on a table or looking for a higher vantage point will help here), and some detail shots (if there’s some nice food on offer, get some images of the spread). Also mix up the landscape (horizontal) shots with the portraits (verticals). Depending on what you’ll be using the images for, being able to give the person laying out the blog post or designing the newsletter a good choice of images can really help.

A details shot from the MIX Santa Fe event.

8) Try not to use the flash

Most cameras built-in flashes make people look washed out and ghostly. The light hits the subject full in the face, and often the background disappears to black — it’s not a good representation of the actual scene. If it’s not too dark, switch the flash off and depending on your camera’s settings also try increasing its ISO (how sensitive the camera is to light). If your images are coming out blurry (because the camera has to use a slow shutter speed to let in enough light for a decent exposure), then you’ll have to turn the flash on, and live with what you get (see the last point on what a good camera can give you).

8) Do some processing afterwards

This is one of the main reasons professionals’ images look much better than amateurs — the pros work on the images after the fact. A bit of time spent cropping some images, or adjusting the contrast or exposure on others can really make a difference. Most pros shoot RAW images, which give greater leeway for adjustments, but even if you’re shooting JPGs, a bit of time improving the images you know you’ll be using can really help. On the Mac, the free iPhoto program can do a good job, but if you’re going to taking a lot of images a program like Apple’s Aperture or Adobe’s Lightroom will give you more powerful adjustment and organizing tools to help you manage your images.

9) You don’t need a good camera, except when you do

For a lot of daytime images, pretty much any camera will give you an acceptable image, there are a few situations where a good camera can get a shot that you just can’t with a phone camera or a point-and-shoot. If you really want a blurred background and the subject in focus, you’ll need a camera with a larger-sized sensor (at least Micro 4/3rds but APS-C or full-frame are better), and a lens with an aperture of around f/2.8 or below (depending on its focal length).

Similarly, these type of features will help you get images in low-light without a flash. For the image at the top of the page — an architects’ event I shot for the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects — I used a Canon 5D MkII and a 50mm f/1.4 prime lens (and wall to put the camera on). Such a shot would have been almost impossible with more consumer-focussed cameras.

If you’re taking shots of fast-moving subjects (sports, or kids for example), you’ll need a camera that focuses quickly and has no shutter lag — so when you press the button, the shutter opens almost instantly.

Time for the professionals

There are times when you need both a good camera and a good photographer behind it. Sometimes what seems like an ordinary location — like a hotel conference room, for example — can have shocking light and be very difficult to shoot in. Or you have just a couple of minutes to get a good image or an important person giving a speech. Or you’re looking for a particular powerful image to use prominently in campaigns. Or you don’t have the time to shoot and edit hundreds of photos from an event because you’re busy hosting the event . . . you get the idea.

Even in more benign circumstances, a professional will almost always deliver a better set of images than the ones you’ll be able to get. Here’s the full set of images I took at that MIX event I’ve mentioned as an example — they present a good picture of a hip summer event instead of looking like a set of party snaps made with a cellphone.

So sometimes you really should call a professional, but other times if you can take these points to heart, you’ll end up with good images for your site or social media needs. If you have any specific questions, feel free to comment below and I’ll try and answer them for you.

- — As well being a professional photographer available for work in New Mexico and elsewhere, I also teach workshops on taking better photos for social media and your site. Get in touch if you’d like more information or you have a project you think would be up my street.

Moore Consulting Photography

“Everything we do, we film or photograph” — how Greenpeace uses photography

The crew of the Greenpeace ship MY Arctic Sunrise construct a ‘heart’ with the flags of the 193 country members of the United Nations on an ice floe north of the Arctic Circle. © Daniel Beltra / Greenpeace

In a recent interview the magazine for pro photographers Photo District News spoke to John Novis, head of photography at Greenpeace International about the way his organisation uses photography to further their mission. (The article is here, sadly behind a paywall.)

For the past three years, Greenpeace has won World Press Photo competition prizes for news and nature stories they’ve commissioned — showing their commitment to quality photography, and also showing how the lines between journalism work for publications and for non-profits and NGOs are blurring.

Novis was very clear about the results Greenpeace get for their investment in quality photography (emphasis mine). “ We have always put a big budget in visuals. Everything we do, we film or photograph. We hire good freelancers, go to remote places and do good stories. . . It used to be basic direct action [coverage] on the hard news side. Now there’s much more documentation and stories in response to environmental news events.”

He’s also very keen on adding a multimedia element to the work the photographers are doing as the expectations change: “Everything is more Web based, so we’ve been doing a lot of work that combines photography, video and audio.”

One element of this is the Greenpeace Photos iPad app — a regularly-updated portfolio application that showcases the best of Greenpeace photography.

Like all NGOs and non-profits Greenpeace is trying to have the most impact for the least amount of money. If they’re investing so heavily in quality photography, it’s obviously because it works.

That old online forum cliché that ‘this thread is useless without pics” has never been more true across the internet, especially for social media channels. Look for strong stories in the work you’re doing, and then tell them visually. Are there events, programs and projects that your organisation is engaged in that aren’t getting the photography they need?

Moore Consulting Photography

Dogs in the office — public relations dogs

Welcome to the Office

A lovely open office with a great view in the hills above Santa Fe — not a bad place to bring your three dogs to work. Especially when your commute is a walk across the yard from your house, as is the case with Clare Hertel, principal at public relations firm Clare Hertel Communications.

When I show up, Clare’s black lab Hatch is so excited to see me he jumps in the back of my car, and even when we walk up the stairs to the office he’s very interested in me and all my gear.

Eventually though, he resumes his normal position in the office — sprawled on the floor with old golden Huck. Young buck Mellie takes the first watch sitting outside the door.

Complete with bright works of folk art from one of Clare’s clients, the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, the office has a great feel. Clare is at one end, Clare’s assistant Joy at the other, and the dogs in the between. Old mellow cat Daisy tucks herself into the back of Clare’s chair and successfully ignores all the dog shenanigans.

I’m beginning to notice the different types of interactions between the dogs in the different offices I’ve been in. In Trey’s office, the dogs got each other excited and all chased around like crazy. In Kimberly’s, Archie was the main dog who moved around from chosen spot to chosen spot while his friend cowered under the desk the whole time I was there.

Clare’s dogs — who have the option of staying in the main house with Clare’s husband, but prefer to come work — were pretty mellow but communal. They lay down beside each other, or looked up when one of them moved around, but they didn’t scamper and bark too much once they got over their initial excitement.

Thanks to Clare and Joy for letting me crash their working morning.

Do you know a dog-friendly workplace in the Santa Fe area that would like a visit from a photographer? Let me know in the comments or via email —

I’ll take the first watch

Did I miss anything?

Yin and Yang

Hard at work

Old dog smile

Photography Santa Fe and New Mexico Travel USA

North to Chama and Beyond

Just before school started this week, we headed up to Chama in northern New Mexico, to ride the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, which winds its way through some amazing scenery on its way to Antonito, Colorado.

It was a family trip, but I brought the camera and got some images that communicate something of the day.

Moore Consulting Photography Santa Fe and New Mexico

In the MIX — photographing a great evening event

The nice people at MIX Santa Fe — the networking and micro-finance group I like to think of as the hip offshoot of the local Chamber of Commerce — asked me to shoot their most recent event, and I was very happy to help out.

It was a party and awards presentation held at the Santa Fe Art Institute, in one the lovely courtyards of Riccardo Legoretta’s landmark building. Often evening events are held in dark hotel meeting rooms where you’re fighting with low light and loud carpets, but this was a joy.

With a bar staffed by the Cowgirl, serving drinks featuring Santa Fe Spirits’ fine local liquors, the party brought out an eclectic creative crowd. Santa Fe seems small, and you’re often running into the same people again and again, but this group refreshingly seemed to transcend a lot of the normal cliques.

Music was from DJ ‘jaro, and eats from La Cocina Doña Clara. Folks were friendly and the space gave me some chances to get some shots you wouldn’t normally associate with event shooting.

Thanks to MIX for the opportunity, and if you’ve got an event you need professional coverage of, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Moore Consulting Photography Santa Fe and New Mexico

Dogs in the Office — design dogs

My dogs in the office personal project has started nicely. I’ve done three shoots now (more photos to follow), and it’s great to have some reason to shoot for myself that’s not just walking around seeing what I get. I’m a documentary photographer, so it’s the stories and moments that I respond to best, and with the dogs in the office, there are plenty of those.

Here are images from the session I shot with Radius Books and Trey Jordan Architecture. They share a lovely space in the same building as my office, and I’ve known Trey and David Chickey from Radius for a long while (full disclosure: I built Trey’s website).

Trey and David bring Jasper and Lola, while Jenni brings Terry, and Thomas brings Eames (what else would an architect name their dog). There’s art on the walls, lots of great space and a very hip kitchen stocked with dog treats (and some nice things for the humans, too).

For the gearheads among you, these were all shot with the Fuji X-Pro1, using 18mm f/2, and 35mm f/1.4 lenses.

Eames being shy.

Taking part in an impromptu meeting

Jasper appreciates the art.

Terry helps out

Time for a bit of affection