"Artography is more than just capturing an image; it is the creative use of light, angles, composition, energy, plus a balance of technical and artistic skills captured through the lens and aided with software," says Jerome Spivey, photographer and owner of King and Spivey Artography, of Atlanta, Georgia.
Spivey pushes photography beyond what the eye can see. His images become works of art through adroit editing and dashes of black and white, sepia, full color, or a touch of all three.
Curiosity and Creativity
"There is no substitute for mastering technical skills and striving to be the best while learning from others," says Spivey.
Shooting since age six, Spivey tried the corporate world before realizing photography was his calling. He went solo seven years ago, and in 2001 decided to try digital and purchased a Canon EOS-D30.
"I used the D30 for about nine months. I wanted to get a feel for the camera and learn its nuances. Digital's instant feedback fueled my inspiration." The next year, he purchased a Nikon D1X. Today, the studio uses only Nikon D1Xs.
"Digital totally transformed my business. It's really let me experiment and push the envelope. I have the creative and financial freedom to try more things. I wouldn't have the business I have now without digital. Artography simply would not be possible," Spivey emphasizes.
About two years ago, Spivey reached a personal milestone. Upon returning from shooting a wedding couple in Scotland, he was inspired to do more than just select images and build a standard memory book. Forty hours later, and with the help of SoHo Renaissance Books, he handed the couple a 12"x24" panoramic edition, featuring single and collage photo arrangements.
"They loved the book and I enjoyed designing it. If I hadn't looked beyond a standard way of doing things, I wouldn't have stumbled upon this fantastic new product."
On the Job
Spivey's studio shoots 35 to 40 weddings a year, generally with three assistants. All shoot in JPG on the D1X using Nikon Speedlights and Quantum auxiliary lighting. The team glides through the traditional posed shots before Spivey switches into photojournalist mode.
"Digital's even changed the way I dress. I work with fewer, lighter, more flexible pieces of equipment, so I can really navigate an event. No more looking like a wedding guest. I don black apparel with plenty of pockets and crawl on the lawn or dance floor to get the best angle. This definitely wasn't my work style a few years ago!"
Spivey catches the couple and special guests in environments that best enhance their personalities. On occasion, he places subjects into position, visualizing images that will come to life in the studio. For those shots he'll capture scenery, backgrounds, and other event details.
After a full day, the team returns to the studio to download and backup on DVD more than 3,000 JPG files. The selection is edited to 500 to 800 images, which are stored on the studio's server and burned to a second DVD. Spivey relies on Nikon Capture 7, Photoshop CS, nik multimedia filters, and ThumbsPlus loaded onto five PC workstations, and a dedicated studio image file drawer.
The client's edited images are posted to his website for 30 days. The couple receives a CD and selects desired images on E-Book Systems' FlipAlbums. Spivey designs the book, then the couple can preview their layout using the FlipAlbums centerfold mode. The final book is transformed by SoHo Renaissance or Albums Unlimited.
Spreading the Word
Since nearly all of his couples do a Romance Session—an engagement sitting—he's sure to have books, images, or DVDs ready to display at rehearsal dinners and pre-wedding gatherings.