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Monday, June 6, 2011

Guilty Pleasures

So tell me, what is it? What is the thing that we all just LOVE to do? That makes us forget our problems and puts our minds at rest? The thing that women love to do just as much as men, even if some of them would not readily admit it? The thing that, when you're done with, you feel pleasantly exhausted and a little guilty, but you can't wait to do it again? You all know what I'm talking about, don't you? It should be quite obvious by now... It's shopping !!! Don't we all just love it?

Angels on my shoulder. . .Bling

I can't think of anything else that makes so many people happy by parting them with their cash. Well, maybe one thing and, of course, that's photography. Just buying basic equipment will leave you poor, yet with a smug grin on your face... But let's get back to shopping. Because lately it has become most people's favorite pass time. We shop 'till we drop, and when we become penniless, we proceed with a good session of window shopping, making plans for such a time when our credit cards will decide to cooperate again. We feel empowered just knowing that we can bring home a bunch of stuff, most of which is utterly useless, but it's pretty to look at and to have around. Does my cat REALLY need another toy? He (yes, it's a he) doesn't even touch the last one I bought for him. Well, I hope he'll like this one better, 'cause I'm definitely buying it.

The blue cat that needs kisses !Adorable Muchaton

It's soooooo cute, how could he not like it? And what about those gorgeous shoes I saw earlier? I keep telling myself they're too expensive, but it's like talking to a brick wall. I want them, and that's that. I'll just eat less, I DO need to guard my figure...mmm, that reminds me that I should check the cookies department... maybe they have something I haven't tried yet... what was I saying about my figure? Oh, yes. My figure needs THOSE SHOES. Time for another shopping session, I guess...
smarald doll

Sunday, May 29, 2011

bare necessities

So we have our food and our water, and that is a good thing, because we don't go hungry. And we have faith, and that is even better. It means our souls are safe. A good shelter is also most important to our well-being. But nowadays, there's another thing taking over our lives, sometimes even surpassing more critical ones... the need to communicate.

Shy Orange Furry Feline

People of genius made it possible and we LOVE every bit (or byte?) of it. Every "happening" must be thoroughly advertised on Facebook, no deals are sealed unless previously discussed on-line, most meetings take place in front of a web-cam... you see what I'm getting at. It has become reflex to open the laptop, maybe even more so then opening the fridge... because you can go on for quite some time without food, but you are dying to see who else added you as a "friend", how many more "likes" your fan-page has received, what your relatives from overseas have been doing and what on Earth was Princess Beatrice thinking wearing that hat at the royal wedding. And let's face it, it's not bad at all (the information, not the hat).
Besides keeping us entertained, our on-line activities also boost our businesses, cultivate our tastes, make us smarter and more educated, or at the very least more informed. A moderated dose of web interaction has become, for more and more internauts, the any-time equivalent of the morning coffee. Well, maybe it won't alleviate your head pain - the web is caffeine free - but it will lift your spirit, the way a good talk with a close friend sometimes does... Because it is the easiest, fastest, most hassle free (and cheapest, right?) way of making new friends, most of which are people you've never personally met (and probably never will), but whose "electronic" paths momentarily connect with yours, converging on a mutually interesting... something: a nice picture, a good movie, an idea, or maybe a good food recipe. One thing got harder, though... just you try explaining to your grandma' how you made hundreds of friends by sitting in front of that screen in your room. Yeah, that never gets old...
So, there it is, the thing that we are slowly but surely beginning to NEED: THE INTERNET. Besides faith, food and water, of course.


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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dark magic

It used to be simple. Simple, but not easy. It used to be somewhat magical, too. I close my eyes, and once more I enter the dark room with a troubled heart and a mind full of the same old questions: "Did I nail the exposure? What if something has happened to my film? And ufff... the focus..." As the door shuts behind me, the familiar humid warmth welcomes me and tells me that I'm home again. Even the slightly stinging chemical smells feel like the sea breeze to a sailor returning to his beloved boat. I turn off all lights (but not the deep green one) and wait for a couple of minutes for my eyes to adjust. And when I start seeing the tips of my fingers as I wave them in front of my face, I think "...here we go..." and open the camera to remove the precious roll of film, one of only four that contain all the hard work that went into a full day of shooting. And I take extreme care when inserting the roll into the developing tank (we don't want nasty air bubbles in there, do we?), then I pour in the processing solutions, with an almost ritualistic precision and timing: developer first, waiting, then the stop bath and rinsing, then the fixer, more waiting, and finally the washing with a bit of non-ionic solution. It is now that my heart jumps the most... as I remove the film from the tank in full daylight and I hastily check each of the 36 frames. It's ok, I reassure myself: the developer did a good job, the pictures seem crisp and contrasting enough, but of course, I'll only have the final proof when I'll hold the photo - ON PAPER - in my hand. And yes, this is going to be the fun part. I leave the red light on this time, I prepare the processing baths, then I begin the painstakingly slow process of adjusting the exposure intensity, color filters and so on... When I emerge from the dark room after a few hours (how time flies!), I feel a bit tired and hungry, but satisfied as I glance once more at the string of photos drying on the rope....
Yep, it used to be just like that. Now, of course... things have changed. I look at the tiny SD card that contains my (roughly) 2000 pictures for the day, I transfer them to HDD with a few clicks, I fire up Photoshop and load one of them up, and with a few more clicks I get a better result then I could ever have hoped to get the "old school" way. And if I want a printed copy, that will take yet another couple of buttons pushed. And I think this is a good thing, because it's safer, easier and more accessible then ever before. It is all those things and more, only... it's not magical anymore.

Claudia Veja Images


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Monday, May 23, 2011

Old city new

Why is it that every photo shooting day feels like the first day of my photographic life? Is it just me or does everyone else feel like this? A feeling of new and undiscovered, like there's a whole new world out there, waiting to be unveiled through light and color. I start prepping the gear, going through the motions with the kind of automatism that comes with years of repetition, and then the not-yet-taken pictures start hovering somewhere in a corner of my mind.  Then I stop for a moment and look out the window, and I see the same city, yet I know that today it will be different. I know that because it's been different every time. Somehow, every photo-session brings something new and manages to surprise me. The city is as moody as the girl next door, and it shows. Some say that it breathes, that it has a life of it's own, like some giant living organism that coexists quietly along us... and through us. People and cars and clothes and shoes and smiles and trees and asphalt and old buildings and a lonesome puddle catching a glimpse of light... they're never the same. And I know that when I will lift my camera to compose the next shot, all of that will fall into place like a huge puzzle that never assembles the same way twice. I know that every shot I'll take will be a singularity, a never-before-and-never-after event. And that makes it special, and worth taking.

Claudia Veja Images

Sunday, May 22, 2011

MOUCHATON The Mastermind/ Eminenta cenusie

TEAM MEMBER: MOUCHATON
AGE: 5 MONTHS OLD
ASSIGNMENT: ENTERTAINMENT


    At just a few months old, little Mouchaton is becoming a handfull... of joy :) He likes exploring EVERYTHING, he has to see EVERYTHING, and he MUST be included in every activity we undertake. He wakes me up in the morning by rubbing his furry ears against my face and purring... you could die from the cuteness. Too bad I'm too sleepy to snap some pictures :) He likes watching TV, although he's not so easily amused anymore and a harsh critic (he might fall asleep in the middle of the action). He likes his high places, he's always on top of the furniture, and he LOVES the family dwarf hamster. Sometimes I fear he would LOVE it with a side dish of tuna. The hamster, though, in spite of being the size of a ping-pong ball, valiantly ignores the cat's efforts and keeps spinning his hamster-wheel.
    Oh, and another thing about the cat. He is very much a part of the team. Just this morning I was preparing the gear and he was like really helping. You know, messing up the cables, getting into my camera backpack and refusing to come out, scrambling the charged batteries with the not-yet-charged ones, sharpening his claws on the diffusers, and all those other helpful things that cats do. And I was enjoying every minute of it. So yeah, that's his job: entertaining. Somehow, he always manages to make me forget about troubles and brings the sun out.

PRESENTING: TEAM MEMBER MOUCHATON :

o
See a large view and more here

Here is when he was still so very easily amused:


o
Stephie (U know, our teenage daughter) just came from a fashion show and undone her hairdo and it looked huge (here I don't think is quite obvious how big it actually looked/was) and we felt that a few pictures with our new little cat were a good idea. Muchaton fell asleep very shortly after we stared and did not mind at all the lights or anything else for that matter. He trusted Stephie  completely already.

o

Here I found him staring at me from out laundry basket :)
o
See a large view and more here


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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

NEW GEAR

I'm looking to buy new gear. AGAIN and again.
Now I'm looking to buy photography gear. No I'm not selling the 1Ds Mark III. But buying new stuff, yes. All the time.

Looking for :

Canon BG-E4 Battery Grip  for Canon EOS 5D
+ 2 of the Canon BP-511A Lithium-Ion Battery (7.4v 1390mAh) 

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom 

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) or 7D (maybe).

Canon EOS 5D Mark III when will be available ! 

And soon some video stuff also. Not sure exactly what so I'll get back on about this.

I don't know about you but this buying thing never ends. I am happy that most of the gear I have is top of the line so I don't have to sell it after a while. But never the less there is no more then a few months and I have to buy something. Lights, lens, batteries, you name it. If I were to count how much money we've spent on equipment... Oh and a new computer is necessary for the 3D and video stuff. That's another round of "little" spending !!!

Oh well if you have what I need and you or someone else you now is  in US (MN, CA), UK (Oxford) or Spain (Sotogrande) (where I have people who can buy for me) or somewhere around Cluj-Napoca or Bucharest (yeah right) let me know. 
Thanks. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Claudia Veja

 In Spanish Claudia Veja means Claudia can see. Claudia Sees ;)
Isn't that amazing for someone who since always was doing visual stuff and now has an image related business to be born with a name like this? I think it is really cool and I don't think I could ever get board with any of the visual stuff.


Any way I just wanted to share this "Claudia Veja" thing with the people I "see" in my blog's stats ;).
Stay beautiful and have a great day everyone !

I can see you !
 Claudia Veja :)
(Claudia Vede)


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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Retouching Editing Restoring & Digital Enhancement by Claudia Veja Images

     























                                                                                                                                        DETALII
Editing, Retouching, Restoring Images is not easy work but mostly is how far are you going with it.
I find that extreme composites with cool looking conceptual finish are great but extreme editing such as removing face features entirely, removing wrinkles completely or softening skin like it would be about some aliens in a fine art kind of project when in fact is about a portrait session are by far the most common "gone to far" kind of editing out there.


More about this you can find on my website at the Retouching & Editing page.
Hope the Gifs work. Enjoy !


       

Retouching Editing Restoring & Digital Enhancement by Claudia Veja Images


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Monday, February 28, 2011

Q. from CosteVlad :Vazand galeria mea crezi ca as avea sanse sa incep o cariera in stock si sa fac asta toata viata. p.s. Mi se pare ca stilul pe care l-am adoptate este asemanator cu al lui Yuri Arcurs.

Big changes in the stock photography industry so no one can be sure if this is something to make a living from and for the majority probably not but if you want it as a hobby why not.

About your gallery it is way to early to say. When you'll have around 500 images is more likely to say something about a style or anything really.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cum ai ajuns sa vinzi pe http://www.gettyimages.com/ pentru ca am inteles ca este destul de greu.

There are more ways to be a "Getty Images" images provider, but right now this would be the easiest way to have your images sold there: http://www.flickr.com/groups/callforartists/

In 2004 when I first realized that Getty is the best agency out there and I decided to see how stock photography would be for me it was a totally different story.
Since then things have changed immensely and changes are still huge today on every level and not only for stock photographers but for journalist too and photographer in general. Any way Stock Photography is not what it use to be and no one can tell you for sure what it's going to be like in the future.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sleepless Nation

I'll have to make some images about this thing.
I find plenty of friends and friends of a friend (that have to go work next day, really) on-line at 4-5 in the morning posting funny stuff or commenting and I know it for a fact that they were not just wakening up or something.
I know I am. I re enter a more normal program but sooner or later I find myself again working late. So late that is morning ! I thought it's just me and a few crazy once but I have numerous networking sites (not only facebook) to prove me that is not just me at all. Far from it. What's going on people?

unimportant stuff ? what do you mean ? what is really important and what's unimportant ?

This is a good one but at the time (when I said that I should concentrate only on important stuff) I was referring at stock photography to be honest and to the photography business in general.

At that point I didn't invest any more money then the semester's photography exhibitions (huge) expenses and the too many roles of film that I was using every day (like they were digital or something) . But important stuff it would have been to by a digital SLR camera that was already available (especialy that I had plenty of money from the real estates hobby I was doing back then).

Now, important stuff (business wise) would be kind of the same, only maybe its time for some video investments too.
See? I need the 10 years perspective again...

The truth is that always with investing like with giving it comes back to you ten times more :)

Ask me anything

If you could go back in time 10 years and tell your younger self something, what would it be?

Then I was a student at the University of Photography and Videography so I already knew which way I wanted to go. I had faith but I'd just say this:
"Get busy. Don't lose time with unimportant stuff!"

Ask me anything

Ce crezi despre galeria mea de pe shutterstock? http://www.shutterstock.com/g/costevladionut

I see you have a model that you can easily work with
I'm referring to her : http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-70866070/stock-photo-closeup-of-a-smiling-caucasian-woman-eating-a-chocolate-against-white.html

...and you could try some more concept like images. Think like a designer would to find out what type of images are needed out there and still missing. Try new things along with the usual style.

Think more careful about every little space in your frame so you include only what's important (good stock images must have a clear message no matter how small).

Good light !

Ask me anything

Friday, February 18, 2011

16 THINGS about me

16 THINGS reposted from my flickr account where I've been asked (severel times like most of us there) to say 16 things about me. Here it is:

Just a little bit of news for youmagic night


1. I have a daughter that I'm really proud of.
2. My husband is the best man I know.
3. I like nights more then I like mornings.
4. I find to be a powerful person someone who can afford to listen, forgive, forget, believe, understand and help those around and I consider to be a weak and desperate person someone who would give ultimatums, hide under party times or cool faces and destroy any glimmer of hope of others.
5. No question about it, I am not a serious person. I'm serious.
6. My kitchen wall is yellow. Still.
7. The only scary movies that I really like are the Scary Movie series ;)
8. My personal record number of films that I watched in a week was 38 (at home off course) and for one day was 7 and I really like to try harder next time.
9. My favorite comedies are Office Space, Parole Officer and Stranger Then Fiction.
10. I find philosophy, logic, emotional intelligence to be the best "tools" in life but with out faith and especially love, life would not make sense at all.
11. I know that a person with character is something that is very, very rear in real life. I also know that we don't judge our selves with the same eyes that we judge the people around us. All in all I don't put my trust in any human been including myself when it comes to expecting the right thing or stuff like that.
12. I am a perfectionist so if I have to write something (right) it will take a while. :D
13. I really love to dance and I think that you can tell a lot about someone if you watch them dancing....except me cose I know this so I pretend to be different then I actually am.
14. One of the things that I really don't like at all is the fact that clothes have that irritating tag inside witch will end up against the skin making me crazy and most of all that no one from the industry, no matter how famous/good or cool, would consider at least a soft material or some easy way to remove it without ripping the material off. Really annoying and surprising.

15. I have the believe that often real stories would seam so made up that is better not to tell them at all .

16. IF you happen to find any misspellings, contextual errors or any other kind of text-related mistakes, you can blame MS Word or little green men from Mars, but not me. Because I don't make mistakes. Because I'm perfect. That's all.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Let's talk prices for photographs





This saying describes perfectly how I always think. 

In my other post here , I wrote about the importance of knowing how to talk /deal with prospective clients and I mentioned that, I would talk more about the importance of the prices.

 When you charge a rate that you feel is underpaying you, you become a pain in the ass to the client and yourself. You begin to despise what you have to do because it feels like cheap labor. Your creativity suffers along with your work performance. Instead of focusing on the job at hand all you do is worry about the guy down the street making more money than you.



When you work on high standards every single detail matters, and for that reason only, and the task of explaining the client about certain aspects takes a lot of determination and confidence in what you say.
The photographer deals not only with the model (who can be or not be the actual client) but also with agencies, collaborators, artists (makeup, hair, styling, creative) and also his/her team. That's a lot of people to deal with but most important of all is the actual client and the relation between them all.

Usually the main priority of the client is the price and then the product/service to be acquired. Prices are very important. They talk about your business and they keep clients away or bring them back again.

There is no client who would say when do we do that photo session or when can we have those images before a "Request For Bid". No way ! That would be very rear indeed and I totally understand why. But asking the right price and knowing all about it would not make your client totally understand it as well. It's again up to us (our agent) to know how to talk about it.


When I started the photography business I was sure that shooting a Vogue cover would get me so much money and that the model on the cover are paid a fortune as well. Not always true. For instance a model could be paid even less then a hundred dollar for a cover if is not a super model when for a fashion show she could get hundreds of thousands. Advertising campaigns or a fashion designers would have huge budges. Editorials are more opportunistic then strategically planed so the final work is not that certain and prices ten be a lot lower for that. On the other hand, like I said earlier, ad agencies when contacting the photographer already know what they need and the price usually goes sky rocketing because they are always looking for bigger, better and more shocking then the last campaign so the price would do the same.

One might think that is all about the client but like in the magazine cover case there is not about that but about the type of work that needs to be done and the standards to be fulfilled.

Other type of works in the photography industry like the stock photography have quite exact ways of determining the price (agency type, license type, exclusivity or not, size, territory, time...) or it use to be like that, before the micro and macro stock were so much alike.

Interestingly enough only after Istock "created" the very very low prices for a download of the today's micro stock industry I've learned about photographers earning millions from doing just that.


I would be very interested to know how many millionaires are there from photography today .

TO BE CONTINUED

Thursday, January 27, 2011

From my other blog : (Some of the) Movies I like

THE LINK to the "full" list : HERE


The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)













Charles Chaplin












How to Steal a Million (1966)
Small Time Crooks (2000)
 
Ratatouille (2007)
 










Salt (2010)












Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003)












THE LINK to the "full" list : HERE

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Facebook strikes again !

I like facebook but I dislike the violations that occur there all the time even if I might believe this statement: "We didn't do it on purpose,".

After quietly on February 4th '09 Facebook updated it’s terms of service to grant itself an unending and irrevocable license to use all content uploaded despite the media scandal that followed, Facebook continues to raise concerns related to the privacy of its users' personal data and more recently (starting on October 1st, 2010) they strike again with the "Download in High Resolution" link/button available to anyone viewing an image.

Though the final image still remains small, there's a link below-right to "Download in High Resolution" for any users to save the image at the higher resolution (and no options to prevent it except for deleting the image). I'm sure no one likes or needs this as I would prefer the images to be displayed in High Res (as promised) and to be protected from "save image as" all together like on a much better site for images sharing as flickr is. Not a perfect site either but far better in this department.

The terms updated on February 4th '09 are still claiming the rights as follows:
"For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos ("IP content"), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook ("IP License")."

The images recently uploaded are available for download at the high resolution with this "Download in High Resolution" link/button with no warning about it or any options at the privacy settings page. Like in the other cases Facebook steps all over our rights and probably soon this type of behavior will have to change or else.

I've been under the mistaken impression that Facebook has all along been storing an original-resolution copy of each image it receives, and was just not making it available. That isn't the case. In fact, for most photos, Facebook's servers never even see the original image. Its uploading tool first compresses each picture file on our computer, to shorten transmission time.

Also is good to know that the option of uploading at high resolution is not only unnecessary or against your rights (no options to choose who you share it with or if you do or not) but also misleading for everyone. The "high resolution" image that you get is not actually the original one so you (if you would think to opt for this for storage purposes) will and up with a compressed file (lot less quality) just at the same pixels (size) but no larger then 2048 pixels.

So no matter how you look at this "feature" you can't like it. or not as it is today.

Read more interesting stuff about facebook here.