Fotografía Profesional en Costa Rica–Professional Photography in Costa Rica

Archivo para julio, 2012

Trabajando con su fotógrafo comercial–Tips for working with your photographer on a commercial shoot.

Trabajando con su fotógrafo comercial

Ha decidido contratar a un fotógrafo para las fotos de su negocio. Felicitaciones. Ahora le toca trabajar con ella o el y si nunca lo ha hecho puede resultar frustrante o decepcionante. Manejo de expectativas y preparación son la clave para maximizar su inversión.

 

Comunicación y organización. Sea claro en cuanto a lo que busca y comuníqueselo a su fotógrafo. Si tiene a alguien que se encarga de mercadeo o anuncios, que estén presentes durante el proceso para guiar la idea de las fotos. Recuerde que es su producto (servicio etc) y visión la que se debe representar y su fotógrafo es parte del proceso pero no debe llevar la batuta. Tenga una idea clara y manténgala. Cuando tenga las fotos que requiere, entonces es el momento de dejar que su fotógrafo se suelte un poco.

No cambie las cosas a última hora. Me ha pasado que no traía el equipo necesario cuando una sesión de producto resultó tener una modelo y un fondo improvisado. No resulto muy bien. Hágale caso a su fotógrafo especialmente en temas técnicos. Perdí la cuenta de cuantas veces dije “sí se puede pero no con mi equipo” o “sí, pero no con nuestro presupuesto”. Comparta cuanta información pueda y no cambie sobre la hora sin consultarlo.

Preparación. Asegúrese de que áreas de trabajo, productos y modelos estén listos y en excelentes condiciones. Productos deben ser ejemplares y estar muy limpios. Si se trata de arquitectura (hoteles, casas, oficinas etc) asegúrese de cortar el pasto y tener todo pulido y esté preparado para reubicar algunas cosas durante el proceso. Si requiere de modelos, deben estar profesionalmente maquilladas y peinadas, no dependa de que su fotógrafo les haga “photoshop” gratis. Alguna vez duré demasiado quitándole decenas de picaduras de mosquitos a  las piernas de una modelo. Una espinilla puede ser un arreglo rápido pero demasiado solo resulta en un fotógrafo cansado.

Fotógrafos tienen maneras distintas de trabajar y algunos prefieren no mostrar las fotos que van saliendo en el momento, otros no se molestan. Yo prefiero compartirlas con mis clientes en el momento ya que me ayuda a saber qué quieren y si les gusta lo que va saliendo. Acuérdese que lo que ve en la pantallita puede variar bastante respecto a la foto ya editada. Y hablando de editado asegúrese de preguntar cuanto editado puede hacer Ud. después de recibir sus fotos. La mayoría de nosotros pasamos un buen rato en editado así que si ocupa un aspecto diferente (incluso a blanco y negro) pídalo. En general no hay problemas con recortes pero un cambio radical a los colores o contraste podría ser un tema a conversar.

Si tienen algún proyecto o preguntas adicionales sobre el proceso estoy a la orden para conversar.

 

Tips for working with your photographer on a commercial shoot.

 

You’ve made the decision to hire a photographer for your business photos. Great. Now you have to actually work with him or her. If you’ve never done this before it could be a frustrating or disappointing experience. Knowing what to expect and how to prepare is the key to getting the most out of your investment.

 

Communication and organization. Be clear about what you are looking for, and let your photographer know. If you have someone in charge of marketing/advertising etc have them present to help guide the vision. Remember that it’s your product (service etc) and vision that’s being created and the photographer should be a part of that but not its driving force. Have an idea and stick to it. When you have what you want then that’s the time to let your photographer get a little more creative.

 

Don’t change things at the last minute. I’ve been caught without the right gear on hand when I went in for what I was told would be a product shoot and found the client trying to set up a make-shift backdrop for a model. That shoot didn’t go very well in the end. Listen to your photographer, especially about the technical stuff. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to say “yes it can be done, but not with my equipment” or “yes, but not on our budget.” Give your photographer as much info as possible and don’t change things at the last minute without discussing it first.

 

Preparing. Be sure to have work areas, models or products ready and in top shape. Product should be exemplary and very clean. If you are shooting architectural (hotels home offices etc) areas have the lawn mowed everything polished and be prepared to move things around for photos. If you have models be sure that they are professionally styled and made-up, don’t rely on your photographer to “photoshop” it for free. I once spent way too much time removing mosquito bites from a model’s legs. A pimple or other small defect can be a quick fix but dozens of bites over hundreds of shots just makes for a tired photographer.

 

Different photographers have different styles and some don’t like to show the pictures as they are being taken, some don’t mind. I prefer to share my shots with clients as it helps me get a feel for what they want and if they like what is happening. Just remember that what you see on that camera screen could be quite a bit different after the editing process. Speaking of editing, be sure to ask how much is OK to do yourself after you get your shots. Most of us spend a lot of time editing so if you need a different look, ask. Generally, cropping is fine but major changes to contrast or color choice (including black and white conversion) could be an issue.

 

If you have a project in mind or have any questions about the process I’m happy to help.

 

 

 

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Driving in Costa Rica: Tips on Surviving Your Rental Car Experience

This article of mine originally appeared in The Costa Rica Star, please stop by and have a look around. Thanks, Solson

Do pay for the GPS option. You’ll learn to love that heartless voice. And if you’re thinking you’ll turn it off. Don’t. You’ll want to keep your eyes on the road.

When you come from any developed country driving in Costa Rica may be the most maddening, if not downright terrifying thing you can undertake. I read an article recently that suggested that Costa Rica would have to invest $2 billion per year for 25 years to catch up on its road infrastructure. Throw in an average fleet age of 13 years and a notable absence of traffic cops (which are a different group from regular cops) and you’ve got a recipe for trouble. I don’t recommend driving on your visit especially if you suffer cardiac conditions or would like to preserve the health of your marriage, but if you must I’ll try to help you survive.

It took me about a year to stop breaking into a sweat every time I had to venture into San José in morning traffic. Every intersection seemed like a bumper car rink where someone had turned off the power; motorcycles materialized out of nowhere and the buses were always in the way. I suffered a thousand tiny heart attacks every time a cab pulled into my lane. Eventually I began to learn a few of the basic local rules.

Lanes are more like suggestions—if they are even marked at all. What may seem like a dangerous invasion of your lane is pretty normal even on the highway, and a necessity in town. Buses have legal stops all over the place (including highway lanes) and will often stop anywhere someone requests. This slow speed stop-and-go game is no fun for those behind them. So folks just go around. If you are on a road with two lanes in the same direction you need to be aware that people will just squeeze into the other lane a bit to get around the stopped bus. Your normal first-world reaction is to slam on the brakes, honk the horn and curse. Here your reaction should be to just drift a bit left even at highway speeds. If you have time, do a quick mirror check for motorcycles. If you’re on a two lane road and you see a stopped bus in an on-coming lane be prepared for someone to pop out suddenly from behind.

Certain intersections in urban areas will get choked with magically appearing extra lanes as locals jockey for position. A good rule of thumb is to add at least one lane to whatever is marked. A hand wave and eye contact are often effective in slow speed merge situations. Flash your high-beams or wave to let someone in. Wave or blink your hazards once to say thank you if you are let in.

Speed limits are very slow by most developed standards and change very frequently and often for no apparent reason. Try to follow them reasonably closely (within 10kph or so). Scoot a bit to the right to let someone by if they want to go faster, you’re probably on vacation and not in such a hurry anyway.

If you get pulled over, don’t offer a bribe. That’s illegal here just the same as back home. While some cops might pull you over just in the hopes of collecting a bribe, it’s not worth the risk. Also it’s worth noting that police vehicles run around with their blue lights flashing permanently, it doesn’t mean you’re being pulled over. Traffic cops that stop you will generally be in a fixed position and just point to you and signal you to pull over. If you hear sirens then you do need to pull over, either to let them by, or get your ticket for an infraction.

If you’re hauling suitcases and/or surfboards be careful where you park. Those flip-flops and shorts you’re wearing make you a target for getting all your stuff stolen (plus you’re driving a late-model car). Most public places have a gentleman in a reflective vest hanging around helping you park and “taking care” of your car. While they will certainly not be held responsible for any damages to your car they do provide a small amount of security and not playing along is often a sure-fire way of having a problem. The going rate for tipping these guys is 500-700 colones per hour and is a good way to use those giant coins you accumulate on your trip.

Back to that GPS I told you to get.

Directions here are really difficult to follow since they require you to know some fixed reference point and also which way is North, South, East and West (not hard for people from Saskatchewan). A great tip for figuring out which way is North is by finding a Catholic church. Nearly every Catholic church faces West, so that should help you get oriented. If you forgo the GPS or it doesn’t have the reference point you want, don’t be afraid to ask. Your wife will thank you and locals are very helpful in this regard since we have to ask as well.

Also local vernacular will often substitute “abajo” (down) and “arriba” (up) for left and right. In flat terrain “abajo” means left and “arriba” means right, this all goes out the window if there is a hill. If you are confused get clarification via left and right before proceeding.

Now you know why you and your wife will end up loving that monotone self-righteous GPS voice. Welcome to Costa Rica.


Top 5 Local Hangout Spots in Heredia Costa Rica

This article of mine originally appeared in The Costa Rica Star, please stop by and have a look around. Thanks, Solson

 

To most valley dwellers Heredia means, traffic, universities, call centers and Intel. To the foreign visitor it’s all just San José. Most outsiders haven’t a clue about the places we prefer and most of them are not famous outside our little city, unlike places in San José like Soda Tapia and Avenida Central. We’ve got our favorite spots to meet and eat, and I’ll share some with you.

Fair warning, the following are presented with absolutely no scientific study and are in no way definitive, feel free to add to the list.

5) Bol Cariari. Probably the latest arrival to the trendy list in Heredia. Tucked awkwardly near the Real Cariari Mall you may have seen the sign from the highway, but you still may have a little trouble finding one of the few bowling alleys in the country. Locals have found it just fine. By American standards it’s a bit cramped and noisy, but it’s brand new, good fun and usually hopping. You’ll probably have to wait a while for a lane (charged by the hour not by the game) and be sure to dress appropriately. Its proximity to business centers, and the ritzy Cariari area means that most folks are on the upper side of the income scale and are either blowing off steam after work or pre-gaming for a night out so you won’t find many grungy tee’s or blue collars.

Food here is a predictable assortment of fried things, nachos, pizza and beer. Also, if you’ve ever attended a bowling alley in the States don’t expect anyone to follow any sort of basic lane etiquette, so just breathe deep and have fun.

4) Café Scarlett. A block east of the courthouse, this unassuming cafe is the requisite meeting place for local politicians and lawyers. A number of expansions over the years means that diners are often seated in a labyrinth of rooms where one would expect to find the kitchen. The odd layout brings new meaning to the term “backroom deal.” Don’t be surprised if you end up rubbing elbows with folks like the mayor, city council members or other folks you’ve seen on TV, but don’t be intimidated, plenty of locals stop by as well.

Open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon coffee, Café Scarlett serves up a nice alternative to the greasy spoon “sodas” widely available in downtown Heredia, often featuring lovely green salads and lasagna. Be sure to be in early enough to grab lunch while they’ve still got some.

3) La Parrillita de Pepe. Open late (5am on weekends) and serving up goodness for what ails you La Parillita de Pepe has seen near instant success despite a somewhat awkward location on the fringe of downtown. Featuring a mix of local “soda” style short order as well as Colombian specialties means they have an extensive menu that is especially well suited to the tastes of local college students. While students aren’t their only customers, the proximity to university watering holes means they’ve taken full advantage of the buzz-busting power of their menu. They’ve recently expanded their dining area as well as their hours (opening at 11:30am) while retaining their speedy delivery service. I expect that they get quite a lot of late night business from our next place on the list.

2. El Bule. Technically it has the awkward name of Bulevar Relax Bar Restaurant & Grill, but ask for it by that name and you’ll get nowhere. This is THE bar in Heredia. Locals go and bring their out of town guests with them. Weekend nights mean loud music overflow onto the sidewalk, and little access to parking on the streets. Heaven help you on game day. Like La Parrillita de Pepe the clientele is largely student driven but it’s iconic status means that young and the young at heart still drop in to revel. I can’t say anyone I’ve met has ever commented on the food, but we’ll take that as a good sign. They open for lunch but the party gets started late.

1. El Parque Central. The historic central park still serves its role as meeting place for the community. It’s where championships are celebrated and heartbreaking losses are mourned. High school students flirt and kill time while older gentlemen complain about the government and the the management of Club Sport Herediano. All the bustle is flanked by the historic “Fortin,” the historic post office, the renovated Escuela República de Argentina, and a couple of iconic eateries: Pops and Soda Testy.

While Pops has grown into a well recognized national ice-cream franchise, the central park location has been there for close to 40 years marking it as an Heredia institution. It’s always bustling with folks of all ages with a sweet tooth, but an endless stream high school students keep this place in the black. Soda Testy is equally iconic, serving up classic Tico short order food and is well known for its air-raid type siren that sounds with unwavering devotion to the victories of the local soccer team.

Well let the debate begin, this is my list, make your own. Let some other towns chime in with their best local guides, I’d love to know where the local hot-spots are for when I’m wandering about.