Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

August 8, 2017

Beta Reader & Editor – The Indie Photobook Publishing Guide

Filed under: Books, Photography, Projects/Series, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 6:47 pm

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copyright Eanna de Freine (The Velvet Cell) 2017

One of my summer projects has been working with Eanna de Freine on the development of his Indie Photobook Publishing Guide as a beta reader, editor as well as providing a self-publishing Case Study (one of 10) for my Bluewater Shore artist books.

A number of friends have been suggesting that I write something similar to de Freine’s guide, but realizing the amount of time and effort to complete this task, it was much easier to help someone else do the heavy lifting of writing this.

As de Freine is Irish and living in Berlin, he has a strong European self-publishing perspective in conjunction with many of the other European editors (Clare Rowland, Tom Westbury, Euan Ross, Kalen Lee, Domenico Bruno Lobkowitz, David Flynn, Gabriele Harhoff and Uwe Bedenbecke). Thus one aspect that I provided was my experience of self-publishing in the U.S. (e.g. that in the U.S. we do not usual refer to page sizes as A2, or B1, but expressed by dimensions in inches, not centimeters) and having reviewed many of the books that he discussed in my role as the Editor of The PhotoBook Journal. As the Editor of TPBJ I also get to sometimes ask some probing questions of the various authors over the years when there was some information that I needed about the self-publishing process.

Likewise, it was also a great opportunity to discuss more of my background during the development and self-publishing of Pine Lake and Bluewater Shore as a Case Study. I am joining the self-publishing case studies by Rohan Hutchinson, Gabrielle Harhoff, Nuno Moreira, Sebastien Tixier, Dustin Shum, Christophe le Toquin, Matej Sitar, Sandra Koestler and Diane Vincent. I had previously reviewed both Matej Sitar and Diane Vincent’s self-published photobooks. A little more publicity for Bluewater Shore is always a nice dividend.

If you are interested in this FREE e-book (PDF), then follow this link: http://upvir.al/ref/D7856028/

I do have to warn you that to finish the download process for his PDF, you will need to email three friends with a link, which of course provides de Freine with some additional emails for his newsletter. There really is no Free lunch ;- )

Cheers!

Btw, Bluewater Shore, Pine Lake and related prints are still available, so email if you are interested in obtaining more information: doug@douglasstockdale.com

August 7, 2017

Solving “Crunchy” photographs

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:18 am

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Seaweed, San Clemente beach, June 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

A month ago I was discussing about my on-going summer beach series that I was posting on Instagram and when I was looking at the resulting print from this post, it appeared kind of “crunchy” (below). The foreground where the seaweed was has some odd halos and the I think the image was not smooth and continuous looking, especially as I was printing the image at 11 x 11″ and 15 x 15″.

In thinking about this I realized that on my monitor the photograph looked fine, but when I was saving it to a jpeg, I have a practice of adding one more un-sharpening to account for the softening by the jpeg conversion. Since this is a Samsung image, perhaps the last un-sharpening, which was not an issue for a Canon 5DMk3 image file, could be problematic for the these smaller files?

In returning to the original PS image and then repeating the steps to save the image as a jpeg but this time without sharpening & then subsequently reopening the file; presto! No crunchy image without halos! I had fallen victim to mindless file sharpening. So lessons learned (yes, also a re-do on some similar recent Samsung photo images)

Just to make sure you are not thinking that all of the visual changes between the two images is due to just not sharpening I also made some other image modifications. I decided that the soft blur effect in Snapseed for the photo below was also a bit over the top, as this was when I was still experimenting with this effect and I applying it a bit strong. Nevertheless I liked the softening effect of the pier to keep the viewer interacting with the seaweed and breaking surf. So for the image above, I added a slight Gaussian blur to the top third of the image to soften the pier. Last I reduced the overall contrast of the photograph while still attempting to keep a slight overcast appearance.

Cheers!

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July 29, 2017

The Photographer’s Guide to Marketing and Self-Promotion

Filed under: Art Market, Books, Photography, Workshops — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 3:47 am

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Maria Piscopo – The Photographer’s Guide to Marketing and Self-Promotion

While developing my Marketing Your Photo Book workshop, I came across Maria Piscopo’s The Photographer’s Guide to Marketing and Self-Promotion. Since this title was in its fifth edition I figured that this book has stood the test of time and photographer have kept buying it and thus might be worth checking out. What I anticipated was this is a generalist guide for a broad spectrum of photographers, not specific to the needs of artist and photographers who were marketing a small niche product like a published book. My background includes graduate level marketing classes that was part of my focus while I was getting my M.B.A. but since that course work was even more general, so maybe Piscopo’s book might help with some photographic market specifics that I might not be aware of. Last, this might make an interesting reference book for those attending my workshop.

Well it turns out that Maria Piscopo’s book is intended entirely for professional photographers while the fine art market is treated as a side-line and provided a short chapter in the back of the book. I had expected a little better organization of the content, but at least many of the parts for a Marketing program appear to be present. Much of this book is about the very business basics (and I do mean basics) of professional photography; business licenses, business ethics, getting organized, using a computer (e.g. bookkeeping), and the internet for event, wedding, and commercial. Writing a Marketing plan does not occur until almost the end of the book, something I might think would be the first thing to do if you have a Marketing book. Which is to say, this book is not a very good guide for Marketing and you might be better off with a college basic Marketing text book.

On the other hand, if you are very new to having your own business and you have not done this before and yet you think you might want to be a professional photographer, this book might be of some help to make sure you have most of your business bases covered. This will not be a reference book for my Book Marketing workshop and not to say that occasionally there are some little gems buried in the book, just finding these can be more frustrating that what it is worth.

Publisher: Allworth Press (NY), Fifth Edition, copyright 2016

July 19, 2017

Portfolio Reviewer for LACP last weekend

Filed under: Art Market, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:06 pm

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Dawn Watson, dnj Gallery, Santa Monica, CA copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale

This last weekend I was a guest portfolio reviewer for the LACP EXPOSURE 2017 portfolio reviews and on Saturday I was held at the dnj Gallery in Santa Monica’s Bergamont (Arts) Station.

Overall it was a great experience as a portfolio reviewer as I was introduced to some very intriguing and well thought out photographic projects. It should probably come as no surprise that many of the photographers and artists were interested in spending time with me regarding my assessment about these projects being published.

One of the most frequent questions I am asked before one of these events; how does one prepare for a portfolio review? Since the review is scheduled for only 20 minutes, everyone is always surprised in how quickly this time slips by. First just about everyone brings too many photographs and supporting materials probably in the hopes that a reviewer will be able to see it all and still have time to provide some wise advice. Nope that usually does NOT happen.

Second, as a portfolio reviewer I start each discussion with three requests: tell me about yourself, tell me about the portfolio we are going to review and what is it you would like to obtain feedback from me about your project that might help you to move it forward?

Reviewers would like to know a little bit about who they are talking to; not your life story, but a quick 2 minute bio, which I call an elevator speech. Same for the portfolio (maybe a photographic project), for the photographer/artist to provide some context as to what is going to be reviewed, again perhaps 1-2 minutes, another elevator speech. Last, what is it you need from the review? Some examples: feedback on the editing of the photographs, are the images technically acceptable, could this sequence or series work in a book layout, are the photographs consistent with the artistic statement, etc.

Third, plan on reviewing only one portfolio with each reviewer, you can bring more portfolios, but you will only have real quality time to spend on one with each reviewer. In most portfolio reviews the artist/photographer might be meeting with a series of different portfolio reviewers and it is appropriate to select a portfolio that is relevant to a specific reviewer. In my case, most wanted me to review their book dummy’s or portfolios that they were thinking about having published.

Fourth, plan on having less than 15 prints in the portfolio to have reviewed. In many cases we did not get through all 15 prints during our 20 minute session. You should want quality time/discussion for each image and how these images relate to each other. This exchange takes time when it results in a give and take discussion.

Bring something to take notes and one photographer recorded our review session. Each portfolio reviewer is an individual with a point of view, which may be very different from yours, so don’t become defensive if the reviewer does not see or understand what you are trying to communicate with your photographic prints. One key purpose of coming to a portfolio review is to get a broader exposure to your work and have others talk about what they see. If you are doing more talking than listening, then you are not going to obtain the full benefit of this occasion.

Last, leave something behind, perhaps as simple as a business card (yes, one person left me with one of their books) to help the reviewer remember who you are (I did 12 portfolio reviews on Saturday and names and projects began to blur at the end of the day) and then follow up with a nice email note a couple of days after the event.

Reviewers are there to help you and if they can point you in a direction or make an follow on introduction, they usually will. I had a short list of introductions and follow-up items that I had promised and these are just about completed, as it takes a few days to get organized. Also realized that these are good events to network with the other photographers and artist who are participating in the reviews as you never can tell what might come up during a side discussion.

Note: I had not realized at the time I took the photograph of Dawn Watson, above, that the large red photograph behind me was going to reflect so much pink color on Watson’s self-published book. Below is a better representation of her book “Trees” ( & thanks to Watson for providing a better photograph) and a nice follow-up email regarding our review time together. well done.

Cheers!

Dawn_Watson_Wild Things Live Here-3

 

July 7, 2017

Marketing Your Photo Book – Workshop at LACP

Filed under: Art Market, Photography, Workshops — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:37 pm

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Photograph 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Just a brief followup reminder from my earlier announcement in April that there is still space available for the LACP (Los Angles Center of Photography) workshop Marketing Your Photo Book which I am leading. Marketing and selling a photobook has similarities to photographic prints but there are enough nuances that if not addressed can end up with you having boxes and boxes of books in your garage, not in your audiences hands. You don’t want to have your first photobook become your last photobook.

Marketing Your Photo Book – This is a one-day workshop being held on Saturday, July 22nd (Note: schedule change: workshop will occur Sunday, October 29th) in Los Angeles. This workshop is is intended for photographers and artist who are preparing to publish their work in book form, whether self-publishing or working with an established book publisher. I will provide creative and practical approaches to marketing your photo book.

The morning will be spent understanding your publishing objectives and how that translates to a marketing plan. This will include discussing the basic elements of a marketing plan; what is being published and sold, who might purchase it, where to sell it, how to price it and how and when to promote it. Issues to be discussed include; how soon to start working on a plan, book economics and buyers price points, buy or create a mailing list, selling self-published books, and do’s and don’ts of using social media and web sites. During the workshop, I am planning a series of breakout sessions to enable development of each person’s specific marketing plan for their book.

Let me know if you have any questions,

Cheers!

PS Marketing is a big aspect of my mentoring services ;- )

July 6, 2017

Seaweed, San Clemente beach

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 3:49 am

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Seaweed, San Clemente beach, June 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

One of my recent experiment/fun projects has been to investigate photographic possibilities at the beach, which regretfully as a genre is a mine field of cliche photographs. So rather run from the obvious as I attempt to skirt around these cliches, the rather wonderful aspect of my process is if I am seduced into taking a photograph that appears to borders on cliche, just take it anyway! No worries! Who knows what might come of it?

I was intrigued by the abstract pattern of these three seaweed pieces that had recently washed ashore. The shore break of the surf was not that large and I could see a series of interesting patterns of surf and residuals as the tide receded. The colors were muted by the overcast sky thus the resulting photograph would be a bit more manageable as I converted this to a black & white image.

So I took a series of images of this composition as the surf broke on the beach and selected this one that seemed to best exemplify the potential abstract surf patterns. I also framed the image to include the distant San Clemente pier as another visual element anticipating that it was going to be out of focus that it might create a bit of visual push/pull and potential mystery.

One of the disadvantages of Snapseed for the initial image processing for posting on Instagram (@douglasstockdale) is the limited black and white conversion options. Nevertheless I think I was pretty close on my initial try and subsequently received a really good response on Instagram, enough to want me to further investigate the black & white conversion with Photoshop. This is the resulting photograph and in line with pre-visualization.

Available as a limited edition archival pigment print. Email me for current pricing for sizes and shipping of this photograph print.

 

June 19, 2017

Fathers Day & remembering Dad

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:42 pm

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Two rods, Newport Beach, June 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

This past weekend was Father’s Day, a time to celebrate Dads and for some of us, to remember their Dad’s who are no longer with us. In my case it was the later as my Dad had passed almost thirty years ago. Yesterday in honor of Father’s Day I posted the above photo that I had taken a earlier on the Newport Beach pier as part of my experiment/play process. At the time that I took the photo and then subsequently tweaked it I had not really given much thought to the metaphoric potential. Until I posted it on Instagram and starting spent a little more time thinking about this image.

So what I realized is that these two fishing rods could represent the current state of me and my dad. Both of us like to fish, he much more than I every will, with the fishing rod on the right going out of focus and appearing to become fainter and harder to make out the details. Which I realized is part of my memory process over the last thirty years I have lost many details about our time spent together. Although these details and experiences are becoming harder to recall he still is a presence however faint he has become. Which was why this weekend this photograph became important to me.

Sometimes I do not recognize the serendipity of my creative works until later, but for me better late than never.

I hope you all had a wonderful time with your father’s and dad’s this weekend and if they are still around cherish the time you still have together.

Cheers!

June 13, 2017

OCMA Family Day out-take

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:48 pm

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Compass Dance, OCMA June 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Last weekend I was the event photographer again for the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) Family Day held in conjunction with their latest exhibition. Although my intent was to capture the interaction of the attendees with the exhibition, family activities and school concerts, I was able to make a few personal photographs. One of which was my capture of the members of the Compass Dance group, above, which is led by Amanda White.

Their dance style is abstract, interpretive and free flowing with a bit of improvisation, which I think is well suited to a slightly slower shutter speed. As a result I hope that I captured some of the kinetics and energy of their dance. Last year I attempted a similar interpretation of the Re:BorN dance assemble.

I do not consider myself a dance photographer but when provided the opportunity to experiment with a group like this I consider this also a time to have some fun, which of course falls under my experiment/fun photographic category. This was also a chance to experiment with my new 50mm f/1.8 lens that I brought along for the occasion.

Who knows where this might lead to one day?

Cheers!

 

June 6, 2017

Mentoring – New service for artists, photographers and organizations

Filed under: Art Market, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:41 pm

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Seagull protest, 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

In the art business there is a service market segment that I was not really aware of until recently: Mentoring. In my biotech world we would call this same type of service consulting and I have come to understand is essentially the same kind of service; having a skill or expertise that can help others. I suspect that mentoring is just a nicer sounding word and a code word for consulting. I liken it to: “is that person over there nude” or “are they naked”? (hint: Artistic models are nude, they are NOT naked)

That artist, photographers and art professionals are providing mentoring services was under my radar. As I have become more familiar with the term and services, mentoring appears to be more prevalent than I was every aware of and see that this service is offered by many individuals. It’s when you buy a silver Honda SUV you suddenly realize that there are a lot more of this style and color out there driving around than you had ever realized.

My introduction to mentoring came about during and immediately after my LACP book design workshop as those attending the workshop kept asking me about my availability to continue mentoring them on their book project. They in turn told their friends how I had helped them to edit, sequence and layout out their book project which sparked additional inquiries into my availability to mentor them as well. The lights finally came on and it all clicked for me. Okay, maybe I am a bit slow, but I am a biotech professional and I did not come up through the MFA educational mill.

As a biotech design and operations guy with a MBA I have been consulting for over twenty years and I really know that particular consulting world, just not the artistic monitoring world. So I did a quick study about artistic mentoring with some friends who were very gracious to help me come up to speed quickly, especially when they realized that I had a very through understanding of a small artistic niche; all aspects of book design and development.

I am now an artistic mentor! I just had not realized that all of the pro-bono help I have been providing other artist, photographers and organizations for the past five or six years on their book development projects was really providing a mentoring service. The difference is now I have a fee (consulting rate) structure for my mentoring. I currently have three personal clients and one organizational client that I am helping with various aspects of their book programs. Nice.

When I went back to my web site to add mentoring as an artistic capability I realized PhotoShelter, my web service backbone, was not very non-photo friendly. It has great infrastructure for showing and selling photographs, just not very conducive for pages about services. After an inquiry with PhotoShelter during which they admitted this weakness they did provide me a potential work-around that appears to be a good start on how to make my mentoring services available. So I have created a new Bio page and a specific emphasis on my availability for mentoring.

I did check with my friend Susan Burnstine’s website on where & how she advertises her mentoring service to get some additional advertising pointers. Unlike Mary Virginia Swanson, another friend of mine, Susan is somewhat vague and not very specific about her mentoring. Different from my biotech world consulting in which you are very specific about the types of consulting services, skills and experience that you offer. Thus the web advertising is an aspect that is a work in progress in which I am starting out. I think that one of the similarities between artistic mentoring and biotech consulting is “word of mouth”; if you can help make good things happen for someone, the word quickly starts to get around and which I am quickly finding out. Very nice.

So if you have a great idea about a potential book project but realize that you might need some assistance to get your project either self-published or to a publisher, let me know and see if I might be able to help you to get’r done!

Note: the seagull photo above was made at the end of last year on one of my drives down to San Diego and during one of my rest stops along the coast to check out how the adjacent seascape was looking. I found that the juxtaposition of the seagull on top of this specific sign was a bit humorous since this bird was apparently begging for treats from those who were likewise taking in the seascape view.

Cheers!

June 2, 2017

Life Guard Station #13 – featured in YourDailyPhotograph today

Filed under: Middle Ground, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:41 pm

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Life Guard Station #13, May 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I am very honored to be featured in YourDailyPhotograph today with a special limited time offer (today!) for the photographic print of Life Guard Station #13, May 2017.

Archival pigment print: 15″ x 15″ on 17″ x 22″ Hahnemuhle matte.

This is part of a series of coastal photographs that I am making along the Southern California shore line. This location was in Dana Point on Doheny Beach.

Cheers!

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