May 31, 2014

7 Years of Editing Luke

With each year this site has become more of what I dreamed it would be when I started it back in 2007. Part photo journal, part video archive, part general scrapbook, what I think a lot of people don't realize is that the reason I invest so much energy into Editing Luke is because it's been proven that what I share here can actually change my life. 

From the opportunities that have directly presented themselves to the impression that having a site like this can make on so many people that I've never met, the fundamental reason that Editing Luke has continued to work for me is because I crave the challenge it presents and have a strong desire to make the most my time. The need to grow, share, and entertain myself has always been a driving force for why I do what I do. Put simply, this has been fun for me. 

The name Editing Luke stemmed from my time as a film student with a focus on post-production, but that also went hand in hand with actually editing how I viewed myself and the work I was producing. I've always strived to put my best foot forward, and have acknowledged many times that what you see here is often a work in progress. I've learned a lot in 7 years, and that experience has continued to fuel my curiosity and further motivated me to explore my creativity in increasingly ambitious ways. I'm not reinventing the wheel here, but I am keeping it rolling.

Editing Luke has grown to over 1600 posts that have seen hundreds of thousands of views, contributing to over 1.52 million online video views for my work. The point is that the rewards have come from persistence, and to think that I could have missed out on so many opportunities had I not decided to do all of this is the best excuse I have for not stopping. Thank you for being part of the journey. Here's to 7 years!

7 Year Stats - 371,728 blog views, 1635 posts, 1.52 million video views.

May 29, 2014

Thinking Hat on 2nd Street

Ideas swirled for months about what might be next for Thinking Hat, the photography and design-fueled exhibit about Medicine Hat's downtown that SPECTACLE and I collaborated on last fall. After a stint at the public library, all of the panels moved into storage at City Hall where they stayed until yesterday. Leading up to Spectrum on Friday, we were asked if we wanted to display our exhibit in the storefront windows of the former Centennial Stationers (currently unoccupied) on 2nd Street in downtown Medicine Hat. Naturally, we thought that sounded great!

With Phil and Jessie (of SPECTACLE) in Calgary, the task came to me to organize the display and get things set up (thankfully Brandy from City Hall was able to help out too). It actually took surprisingly little time, and I was really pleased that almost the entire exhibit fit in the windows. The only thing omitted was the Beveridge Block material, and that seemed like an obvious choice seeing as the building (fittingly where our exhibition debuted) is already under renovation now. 

Thinking Hat, our celebration of Medicine Hat's downtown history and the potential for its future, should be up for several weeks in this location. I even cleaned the outside of the windows so the artwork and designs would really pop. 

What more can I say? Have a look if you come down for Spectrum, or take a glance at the display while heading to the Monarch Theatre (it's right next door). We hope Thinking Hat will open your eyes to the history that's worth preserving in our downtown, and how a few fresh ideas could bring the energy back.

May 28, 2014

Trading Your Photography for a Credit

As a corporate photographer and videographer it's almost immediately apparent when you start out that there are lots of people who think your work should be free - and frankly, maybe that's another topic. They tempt you with a photo credit, they say it's great exposure for you, and they lay on the compliments about how much they love your work. This isn't a bad thing necessarily, but at some point (especially if you're pursuing a career) you have to ask yourself when are you going to get paid? 

Over the years I've traded my work for opportunities to be published in books, magazines, on websites, and in all kinds of promotional materials - even a textbook in Singapore. Often times my decision on whether I donate my work (or trade it for a credit) comes down to a few simple things:

1. Are they going to make a profit by using my image?

If someone is looking to use your work in an ad or in any way where they are directly pushing a sale, you should be compensated fairly. The time that went into shooting and editing that image obviously got their attention, and in an advertisement it seems more unlikely that anyone will notice the little photo credit you traded your work for.

2. Do you agree with how your image is being used?

The intent of someone looking to use your photography is incredibly important. Naturally, if you're trading your work for a credit you want to make sure that your image is used in the most flattering way possible. 

3. Will this photo credit lead to future work or attract potential business for you?

In some cases trading your work for a credit can be like free advertising for your business. For example, I donated my photography for a 2014 calendar with a local real estate agent and he covered all of the printing costs. I had my logo (which included my web address) on each image, and he had his contact info on the calendar. It was a win-win for both of us, and a situation where the local advertising the calendar brought me was greater than any short term payment I would've received from just the images alone. 

Do your research. I've also had lots of businesses and groups come to me with the promise of giving me promotion, but my images were already showing up first in google searches or I personally already had a significantly larger social media following than them. In those cases, it becomes clear that I'm helping them more than they're helping me, and I'd prefer they purchase an image license to use my work. 

4. Is the story worth it?

Sometimes the photo credit doesn't matter because the story is worth the trade. Like that Singapore textbook I mentioned above - I just wanted an excuse to say that I've been published in a Singapore textbook.

5. Is the trade portfolio building?

Sometimes the payoff in having someone ask to use your work is about the prestige more than anything else. In these cases you know that the client has more experience or following, etc. than you and you're just happy to be included. Still note the points above, but consider the value of how that credit will look in your portfolio. There's no reason that this couldn't be a paying gig either.

In the end, whether photography is your hobby or your business, realize that the quality work you do has value and giving it away for free sends the impression that it's cheap. There's a reason why people continue to ask for images. They want them! Photography for a credit is only one form of compensation, and the reality is that people are responding to quality creative work now more than ever. It's worth something! Don't be afraid to ask to get paid for your efforts (and throw in the credit too).

May 27, 2014

Pecha Kucha Night in Medicine Hat

Last Friday (May 23) I attended the latest Pecha Kucha event in Medicine Hat, hosted at the Royal Canadian Legion. Pecha Kucha (Japanese for chit-chat) is a presentation event where a speaker chooses 20 slides to show for 20 seconds each, and they accompany them with a story or interest that they want to share. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but I went to hear Jessie Andjelic speak about the Thinking Hat collaboration that I worked on with her and Philip Vandermey last year.  

Overall, I found the event really interesting. Not only did Jessie nail her presentation on Thinking Hat, but others spoke on everything from military history to restoring old motorbikes to eating local. It's just an interesting way to hear a lot of cool ideas and stories in concise presentations - especially in a place like Medicine Hat, where Pecha Kucha is still pretty new (events have been held in over 700 cities around the globe). Check out the Medicine Hat Pecha Kucha facebook page, and be sure to get in touch with them if you'd like to speak. It makes for a fun night out!

May 26, 2014

Medicine Hat High School: Part 2

Having previously photographed my old high school in the winter, I thought it would be fitting to capture MHHS in a more flattering light. It also came to my attention that Medicine Hat High School is going to be receiving some pretty substantial renovations over the next few years to improve the campus, including both additions to and demolitions of the current school. 

Like so many other locations I've documented in my hometown, the value hasn't just come from shooting in my distinct style, but also from the fact that the detail I've captured makes the archival quality apparent and increasingly rare with each passing year. Myself and many others have a lot of personal stories tied to this place, and images continue to be a great trigger for bringing them out.