Well, hello Mr. and Mrs. Owl!

Barb and I had just sat down to watch television. We were in the family room with the back door open to the screened porch. Suddenly, we heard owls who, who, whoing and it seemed they were very close to the house.

In a maple tree in the backyard about twenty feet from the house and about twenty feet high were two large owls screaming for a little attention. Barbara went to the door to watch and I went for the Nikon. When I returned one flew away, but the other was content to allow a few snaps.

The lighting wasn’t great, but the owl didn’t seem to mind the sound of the motor drive. After about thirty images, I decided to take a chance and return inside to get a flash. My feathered friend didn’t seem intimidated at all by the bright light from the flash as a I proceeded to capture this magnificent creature.

Finally, he flew off and joined his mate on a limb in the neighbor’s yard. I attempted to shoot a flash photo from about forty yards and was surprised to get a decent record of the occasion. We even saw them kiss!

Thanks to some plug-in filters, I was able to enhance the photos and give them a little color instead the existing flat, dreary lighting of nighttime approaching..

All photos copyright 2011 Jim Lockman/Click!

Successful Hospital Photography #3

Organize Your Photo Session

On one hand, you need to keep your photographer moving. On the other hand, the photographer needs adequate time to capture images and not feel rushed in the process.

Planning your photo shoot will help you get great pictures while making the shoot progress smoothly. Those involved in the photo session will appreciate knowing when the shoot will occur and the approximate duration. The photographer will be able to pace himself in the lighting, direction and capture of the photos.

On a recent shoot, the client had me scheduled too tightly. Before long, I was behind on our schedule and others to be photographed were waiting for me at another location. I was under tremendous pressure to finish this set and move on to the next one. This pressure almost always results in inferior images.

Discuss the shoot before you block out time for the photo session. The photographer should be able to give you some indication of the time required for each shot, depending on complexity, location and subject matter being captured. It would be better to end up with some free time (which I will discuss in a future post) than to be rushed to get the work accomplished. Don’t forget to add adequate time in your schedule for set-up and tear-down of the lighting equipment and the time required to move to your new location. Budgeting for a photographer’s assistant will make the shoot progress much more quickly.

As much as moving too fast can be problematic, the opposite is also true. Make every effort to prevent down-time, where you and the photographer are hanging-out, waiting for the area or personnel to be ready for the photo shoot. A slowdown in the schedule can cause the creative-juices to quit flowing. A photographer doesn’t need to be rushed, but he does need to be hyped. A good shoot should be a little edgy.

Clients sacrifice the most for a lull in the schedule. You are paying a price for this work and you are paying whether the photographer is shooting or not. As I like to tell my clients when they apologize for making me wait around for a shoot, “Just think of me as an expensive taxi: the meter’s running!”

 

 Photos: Copyright 2011 Jim Lockman/Click!

 

Successful Hospital Photography #2

Hire A Photographer Who Works Fast

The hospital environment is a hectic scenario. Patients are in various stages of healthcare need. Hundreds of employees are providing care for the sick and injured. A hospital is like a city with all the hustle and bustle.

A photographer in healthcare not only has to be sensitive to the seriousness of patient care, but he also has to be conscious of  the people trying to get their job done. Their tasks are important and photography is not always high on their list of accomplishments. “Get in and get out!”

You need a photographer who thinks fast on his feet, can imagine a photo quickly and act with urgency to “get ‘er done”. I’m not suggesting a compromise on the quality of the final image (even though sometimes that is a reality). You are looking for someone who can quickly formulate and translate ideas into photographs.

You are looking for someone who can deliver creative, quality photography without taking all day.

Photos copyright 2011 Jim Lockman/Click!

Successful Hospital Photography #1

 Hiring a photographer.

Contracting with photographers can be complicated. All photographers are not created equally. The knowledge and experience that a photographer possesses can vary from a beginning freelancer to a seasoned pro and anything in between. At the same time, years of experience are not a guarantee that the photographer is capable of producing the level of skill or creativity hospital marketing requires. Photographers have differing focuses and are not all suited for the same types of assignments. Some are great portrait photographers, but are lacking in ability to stage more complicated lighting. Others may be great with the technical aspects of a shoot but may be lacking in their “bedside manner” or may not possess the people skills to bring out the personality of their photo subject. A photographer’s creative eye may not match that of the hospital staff and his style can conflict with the “look” the management desires. 

Choosing a photographer involves studying his work and style, making sure abilities and work are a good match for the hospital. 

The healthcare setting has circumstances that set it apart from other photographic situations. An environment where people are ill or dying requires a sensitivity to the patients and staff that is more important than “getting the shot”. A number of times I have been shooting in the Emergency Department when staff get hurried and it becomes clear photography is not important at that moment. I’ve had to back up and wait for things to settle. 

Once I was photographing in  hospital when a manager asked me if I knew a certain photographer. I answered that he was one of the top photographers in my city. She responded that he would never work for her again. She said he was photographing in the radiology area and was ordering people around to get the best shot, but was not sensitive to the procedure being done or the staff trying to work on the patient. In his defense, if a photographer doesn’t take charge to some degree, creative photos will not be the result.

 Whether you have one photographer you call, or whether you use various photographers for different tasks or availabilities, hiring photographers with hospital experience is advantageous. The hospital setting is like no other. Take time to orient a photographer to the healthcare arena, educating him to the limits of his freedom to create, the sensitivities of the areas he will invade, and the specific decorum required to work in the hospital.

 The perfect situation is to have photographers in your employ who are comfortable in the hospital setting, who you trust to represent you and your staff to your varied publics, who have the technical and creative skills you desire, and who you consider to be “part of your team”.

Photographs copyright 2011 Jim Lockman/Click!

Happy National Photo Month!

Every year, beginning in 1987, Congress has recognized May as National Photo Month. The Photo Marketing Association (PMA) has promoted National Photo Month each year to encourage taking pictures and sharing photographs with friends and family.

During the month of May (and maybe a little longer), I will be doing a series of blogs I am calling Successful Hospital Photography. The blog will focus on two topics; working with photographers and shooting photos with your own camera. I will be sharing  ideas on hiring and working with photographers more efficiently (while hopefully saving some money), and I will also be sharing  tips on getting good photographs with your hospital’s camera, even if it is just a “point-and-shoot”.

I am looking forward to this series and have over thirty topics ready to write. I hope you find these helpful as you shoot photos for you hospital or for your personal satisfaction.

Anyway, enjoy the springtime and Happy National Photo Month!

Happy National Photo Month!