The Future of Photography. (An arrogant title for what I think 2015offers, with Tourettes Notes!)

A New Year is here.  Imagine it, 2015.  I expected to be able to teleport my self to work by now.  Or, at least, get in my hover craft and float to work.

(Should Old Acquaintance be forgot…)

But, nope.  Not to be.  Tomorrow I board my first flight of the year to…

What exotic location?  Is it someplace warm and tropical?  Perhaps Las Vegas.  Vegas would be nice.  Or Phoenix.  Phoenix would be nice.  Or Rome, Italy.  Rome would be nice.

But, alas, no.  Off to Washington, DC, then to New York City, then onto Chicago.  The high for Washington, DC predicted for Thursday?  22 degrees.   Did I mention I am writing this from my patio, pool side, at my new digs in Palm Harbor, FL where the high today was near 80.

(…hmmmm….hmmmmm….hmmmmmm….Auld Lang Syne…

I Googled it so I know it’s spelled right. Otherwise, it would have be old ang zine.)

And, after going on a nice long motorcycle ride, today I packed my kit for the next two week road trip.

In fairness, a lot of the equipment is the same this year, and I’ve detailed it before.  But one thing has struck me — and that is just how important social media has become to what I do, and how that affects the equipment I pack.

These first three shoots of the year all center on some type of live upload to social media, and the rest of the year will be the same.  As a result?  Much of what I now pack has little to do with photography, and lots to do with hitting the Internet: stronger, faster, more stable.

Yesterday’s 2.4 ghtz 4 G wifi cards are replaced by 5 ghtz cards.  Why?  Less interference with the wifi signal.  That mans buying computers that must have the ability to connect to the 5 ghtz network.  Cha-ching. Of course, I could have adapted the old laptops with a $50 network adapter.  But, well, a new year for me means a new laptop.  Even after buying a house.  A new laptop, of course, means new software.  Does it ever freaking end?

And, those umbrellas I mentioned in a blog post just 6 months ago?  Gone.  Those video lights? Gone.  All those Pocket Wizard II’s?  Three are gone. (HA! HA!  I always hated those freaking umbrellas!  You look at them wrong and they bend.  You sneeze and the little pointy ends fall off.  I don’t care how much you spend, they are all crappy!  Good bye!  Don’t let the trash can lid hit you in the a…  Wait, do umbrellas have a sphincter?)  

All were replaced by switching to continuous, LED lighting.  I use Manfrotto 1X1 panels, and I love them.  The color balance is to daylight, they are less weight, can be battery powered, and require no soft boxes or umbrellas to diffuse the light.  The light is perfect coming right from the panel, and they are great for portraits, meet and greet photography, and, of course, greenscreen photo booth executions.  Plus, they weigh just a few pounds each — compared to the video lights they replaced, and their corresponding soft boxes, which weighed in at about 25 lbs.

Back to social media and Internet.  Just a year ago, I was rolling my eyes  (CHRIST how many freaking social media platforms are there now?  How can they all be freaking important?  How many times can you say you are farting at the UU Church on a Sunday…?!)  about Pinterest and Instagram.  Now, I’ve had to join those networks, adapt my software for these expanded sites, update my own presence with fresh material regularly, and think about how each is unique to the photo industry.  Combine those with Facebook and Twitter — not to mention Tumblr — and, oh, yeah, Google Plus. Flickr.  Instagram.  LinkedIn.   Bite me.

Posting to the social network, though, is just the beginning — especially for an event green screen photographer.  It’s all well and good to be able to post — but what then?  What I didn’t understand a year ago was how much insight those social media platforms generate about the participants who use them.

(WHAAAA??  Boring.  Time to surf for porn…)

Insights.  What you, you comfy and ignorant person who uses these networks doesn’t understand is just how public your information you post to those accounts IS. Why do you think corporate America — including US Event  Photos — wants you to like them on Facebook?  THEY WANT YOUR DATA, YOUR FRIENDS DATA AND YOUR NEIGHBORS DATA.  That’s how social media works.  Hell, that’s what pays for all those free accounts.

The future in photography is all about how to leverage social media — and, further, how to interpret all that data and present it to your clients.  If you can’t do that?  Think about either changing careers or drinking the developer in the darkroom I know you secretly have.   (You know you have one.   It used to be a priest bolt hole from King Henry the Eighth’s time … oh, never mind.  You probably don’t know history.  I’ll move on…  )

The good news is an easy takeaway.  Social media is the best thing to happen to green screen photography since the invention of the camera.  The bad news is hard to swallow.  Photography is as much about social media as it is about the skill of taking pictures.

Crap.  I forgot to update my Swarm location (formerly Foresquare).  No one will know I’m on my patio.  How will the world turn?

(AND THE BLOG!  While I’m on the subject, you know it’s the epitome of arrogance to think anyone really gives a crap about what I say, think, or write.  Who the F am I?  Why is what I have to say important?  I’m no Wolf Blitzer.  Wait, he’s kind of a prick and I don’t really care what he says.  Maybe that’s a bad example.  Maybe I could be the photography version of John Stewart.  He’s kinda hot…)

And now, in case you don’t realize this, I’m going to write crap I need to write to make Google happy.  Google is my God.  Or, in UU (Unitarian Universalist) speak, my “guiding power”.    For more information about US Event Photos, go to my web page, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterst or Google Plus , Linked In pages.  Flickr.  Don’t forget Flickr.   No, really.  Go there now.  I’m sure I forgot one.  If I did, and you don’t have enough info, please just call me.  Phone number is in the Yellow Pages.  No, not really.  Those get recycled immediately in my priest bolt hole.

This evening at my new digs.