Random photos of the kids

I got bored one evening, set up some lights and took a few new photos of the kids.

This one was from a program Colton’s class put on today about Texas history. They were using the over-head to project a story onto a piece of white cloth. Colton was the eagle in the story.

We’re all just big kids

I was making good progress on editing the photo session. Culling down 300 photos to a select few is never an easy process.

Suddenly my desk started to shake. I looked down at the ripples moving across my glass of water. I was reminded of the scene in Jurassic Park when the tyrannosaurus rex first appeared. The vibrating resolved itself in to a steady thumping sound I could feel in my chest. Realizing what it was, I quickly shoved my chair back from the desk and ran for the front door.

I scooped Cody up in my arms and reached for the door, tearing it open. The blaring sound seemed to surround us and shake everything. We ran out the front door, staring above us as three giant helicopters roared overhead. I looked in awe as they thumped toward the horizon. Cody was pointing and grinning.

As they soared away, I saw movement from the corner of my eye. I looked to the left to see my neighbor, Michael, standing barefoot in his front yard, staring at the choppers with the same awe-struck grin I had. It occurred to me that we are probably both past the age of running outside to see helicopters fly by. That didn’t seem to stop us though.

On fixing things and breaking things

I can’t fix things. I just can’t. It’s one of those things that has never been easy for me, no matter how hard I try. This is one of those things that drives me crazy because I grew up with a dad who to this day can fix anything.

Today I decided to take off and finish up a few things that I’ve needed to finish for a while (months, years, who keeps track?). One of those was fixing a few pickets in our fence that had been broken. It was time to finally do the right thing and stop stacking stuff in front of the holes to keep the dogs contained.

Should be a simple job. Buy a few pickets. Take down the old ones. Nail up the new ones. Even add a step of shaving a little off the width of two pickets to make it all fit nicely.

Several hours, injuries, badly-cut pickets and creative words later, I’m done and our fence looks….well, it no longer has gaping holes, and let’s leave it at that.

It really frustrates me too because I see exactly what needs to be done to fix things, but I just can’t do it. If it’s a creative job, I’m your guy. I can sit down and teach myself any new design or photography technique. I can hammer out a good chunk of a novel in just a day or two. But anything involving an actual hammer just doesn’t work for me. And I wish it did.

Any other men out there that are just really, really bad at fixing things?

Studios Blog Update: Magazines, Cows, iPhone book deadline

Every week or two I’ll be posting an update on the activity on all our other sites, for those that only subscribe here.

ChadWright.tv – Commercial + Editorial

Tarleton Magazine #1 Photos

I posted some shots of a magazine cover I had published recently for Tarleton State Universty in Stephenille.

Leon Clift

Here are my favorites from a shoot I did for my father-in-law Leon Clift for his new website.

ImageStudios.tv – Wedding + Family

Cale's Senior Portraits

We had a lot of fun shooting Cale’s senior portraits. Check out my favorites here.

TinyLens.tv – iPhone Photography

2-10-10 iPhone photo

I’ve been keeping up with daily iPhone photos and I’m working hard to finish the first issue of Life Through a Tiny Lens by March 1st.

I’ve also set up a Twitter account for TinyLens and a Facebook fan page for ImageStudios that covers everything we do.

Born in the wrong time?

Ever feel like you were born in the wrong time? My wife says I’ve been a cranky old man for the entire time she’s known me. We met at 20, so my crankiness must have started early.

I ask because every time I see anything from the 40s through the 60s, I flat out love it. I love the design of the era. Everything just seems like it was simpler then. Each time I see something from those decades, I instantly want to go back and live it. Which is really funny for me to say because I’m so plugged in to technology today to do what I do. However, at the core of everything I do is a creativity that can adapt to any level of technology. I think I could have been equally creative with the tools available in 1959.

Maybe it’s because I was born and spent my first 11 years in West Texas. Everything there feels like it’s about two decades behind the times. God help them, that means they are just discovering parachute pants in my home town.

Either way, I feel like I belong somewhere in between the 40s and 60s. It just feels right some how.

So if you could choose any time to be live in, when would it be and why?

The Universal Soldier: Regeneration review

So Chad, are you going to review the Universal Soldier direct-to-video movie?
Why yes, yes I am.

This should be good, your negative review are a lot of fun.
Well, actually is was really good.

But is was direct-to-video. That’s the quality-movie kiss of death.
Normally yeah, but it turned out to be a lot of fun.

Have you seen the other Universal Soldier movies?
Just the first one, and it was long, long ago.

What made you watch this one?
The promise of Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lungren beating the snot out of each other.

Aren’t they like 70 years old?
Yeah, I really thought there would be more wheel chairs involved. That part was disappointing. Other than that, they proved they can still tear up the screen with really great action.

So nothing bad to say about it?
Really no. At no point did it ever feel like a direct-to-video movie. I’m not sure why this didn’t spend some time on the big screen. I would recommend it for anyone who loves big dumb action movies. It was a blast.

Wish I could say the same for your review.
Happens.

A little wedding math

Why does wedding photography cost so much? I hear this question a lot. And not just from prospective brides, often it’s from the general public who perceives that it is expensive. While I agree it’s expensive in terms of what it costs compared with, say a Taco Bell value meal, it’s not expensive when you figure all the costs involved. Let’s just say that out of that $4,000 you spend on photography for your big day, the photographer isn’t exactly walking away with a lot.

Doing wedding photography right is an expensive proposition. Setting aside the equipment ($1,400 lenses?!), taxes, training, travel, office, insurance, hardware, software and millions of other little expenses that eat away all the profit, let’s look at one particular segment, marketing.

We recently did our big bridal show for the year. We paid $1,300 for our booth. Add to that around $750 in costs for brochures, prints, books, etc. Add another $300 or so in other expenses to get it going. I’ll be generous and not add anything for our time or the travel and meals for the show. We have a total of $2,350.

At the show, we booked two weddings. While I fully expect to book more from calls over the next few weeks, let’s just say those two were the only weddings we booked from it. At that point we would have spent $1,175 per customer in marketing costs. By any measure in any business that is an insane amount of money to get a customer. Let’s say we book five more off the show. That’s still $335 per booking. That’s more in line with marketing costs for the auto industry. And I promise, even in hard times, the auto dealers make far more money than photographers do.

Add to that all the previous costs of doing business we didn’t price earlier and you have a very slim margin on what seems like a lot of money. So while you may feel like you might be spending a lot on photography “just because it’s a wedding” know that the costs involved in shooting a wedding right are incredibly high as well.

Tiny changes

Last night I put the finishing touches on another new site, TinyLens.tv. It will be the new home for all my iPhone photography. So why move it from it’s home here on my lowly blog to it’s own site? Well it’s time to turn it into something bigger. Like my move to launch ImageStudios.tv and ChadWright.tv over the last month, I’m dividing out the various things I in order to give them their own home to live, breath and grow.

And also, it’s so I can do this:

I’ll be releasing two issues of Life Through A Tiny Lens a year. I decided to do it biannually for two reasons. One, I’m impatient and don’t really want to wait an entire year to release something. And two, being that it is print-on-demand, keeping it to 120 pages per issue will make it slightly more affordable each time. It will be available as a 7″ x 7″ book in either soft or hard covers. It will be full of iPhone photos I’ve taken from June 1st through December 31st of last year. It will also include new writing throughout. Moving all this to it’s own website will allow me to brand everything under the TinyLens.tv brand, which I have a few other plans for.

The first issue will be available to order March 1st. Until then I still have a lot of writing, editing and proofing to do on it.

Honestly, when I started taking iPhone photos I never really thought much of it. But over time it has changed how I view the world and photography. I’m proud of the work and hope you enjoy it too. The book will by no means lead to riches and fame, in fact I have very tiny (pun intended) goals for it. For me it’s more about shooting for myself and not a client. I’m moving this year to do more work for me and then drag you guys along for the ride.

2-2-10 iPhone photo

2-2-10 iPhone photo

This is the view of my glass desk from the floor beneath it. I really, really need to clean it off. I found this shot when I was unplugging the monitor to pack it up for the bridal show. I though the light coming through the glass turned out really beautiful.

I’m working on something new for all these iPhone photos. Look for an announcement, hopefully by next week.

Taken with the iPhone using Best Camera.

Thoughts on the iPad

So last week, Apple introduced the long-awaited iPad. Prior to the announcement, the world seemed to be losing its collective mind with anticipation.

“It will revolutionize computers as we know them.”

“It will allow you to create things in exciting new ways.”

“It will make a mean stack of Belgium waffles!”

I heard and read every rumor possible about the iPad. At some point, on some website it was rumored to do everything you could ever want, up to and including serve as the soul mate you’ve always been looking for.

Then that black turtle-neck with Steve Jobs in it strode on stage and announced the iPad.

And the world once again lost its collective mind with disappointment.

“It doesn’t multi-task!”

“It doesn’t do Flash!”

“It’s just a big iPhone!”

“Steve Jobs is a witch! Burrrrrn him!”

I’ll admit, I was facing a bit of disappointment after the announcement myself. But, just as I found my pitchfork and lit a torch to join the crowd calling for Jobs’ head, I was struck by one line the world was screaming. It’s just a big iPhone.

At that moment I realized, it’s just a big iPhone. iPhone owners, take a second and think about life before your iPhone. Now think about life after. With the addition of apps to the iPhone, I am now doing things with a phone that I’ve rarely been able to do well on a full-blown computer. The iPhone has become an indispensable part of how we do life. Apple, with the help of third-party developers, managed to reinvent what we expect from a phone in a matter of just two years. The fact that the iPad appears to be nothing but a large iPhone has me incredibly excited. Look at the innovative things developers have done with the iPhone. Now imagine what they can do with a device that is just as capable, faster and has a larger screen. The restrictions of working on a small device like the iPhone has forced developers to think of new ways to do things and this has simplified the design of apps. I hope this new way of thinking will usher in the new era of computing Jobs seems to think it will.

The other reason I can tell Apple is on to something special is evidenced by my Google Reader feed. In Reader, I have several hundred websites I subscribe to. They are divided into the categories Apple, Entertainment, Creative, Photography, Faith. Almost a week after the announcement, I still see stories in every category every day that pertain to the iPad. It think the atmosphere has shifted from rabid anticipation of what it could be, to vehement disappointment and now back to cautious anticipation of what it could be again. All this and relatively few people have even held one in their hands.

And as to the name, I frankly think it’s inspired. In another year, the feminine-product jokes people make every time you hear the name iPad will fade away and we’ll be left with a name that perfectly describes the device. When the iPod was first released, people decried the name from the mountain tops. Now, it’s become a part of our language. Five years from now, the iPad will be as ubiquitous as the iPhone and the name will naturally roll off the tongue with nary an iTampon joke to be heard.