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Case Studies

Chevron Designer Learns to Take Portraits

Chevron’s Information Design and Communications (IDC) branch of the Business and Real Estate Services division has hired Sylvester Garza twice in the past few years to coach their employees in varying areas.

The most recent assignment began when the IDC supervisor called Garza to train his new lead graphic artist, Rick, on how to take ego-pleasing head shots, and photography for newsletter and magazine production. This half-day session trained the new artist on the best camera angles for general photography and most importantly the angles that flatter the subjects in the head shots. Garza also taught on improving a photographer’s people-skills, working with people on body language, engaging the person being photographed to relax them, and establishing a sense of trust.

At the first coaching assignment, a few years earlier, Garza gave a half-day training session that helped Chris, Chevron’s lead graphic artist, improve his job-related photography and cataloging skills. The session covered shooting file formats and basic lighting techniques for better graphics, plus best practices for file naming conventions to improve cataloging the photos and easier retrieval during graphic lay-out.

Martial Artist Takes Up Photography

Sylvester Garza was contacted after a Web search by a mother of a professional martial artist. She knew her son had a natural talent for photography. After Reese returned from extensive martial arts training in China, five two-hour photography training sessions were set up over a series of weeks.

The first session covered the wide range of equipment used on professional photo shoots, the best cameras and equipment for high caliber photography, and the basics of camera operation, such as shutter speed, and care of the camera. Once Reese purchased the recommended equipment, Garza held the second session. He taught the proper handling of the equipment, camera angles, basic lighting, flash photography, best storage and file naming practices, plus improved work flow.

Reese used his new equipment and took many photos before the third session. Garza returned and reviewed the pictures. He taught the eager student ways to improve his shots through controlled lighting and using a tri-pod.

The fourth and fifth sessions followed after Reese’s endeavors at wedding photography and other gigs. Each time, Garza reviewed the pictures and discussed the great photos and how they differed from the not-so great shots. He also taught body language positioning and the importance of establishing trust between the photographer and the subject. Through these sessions, Garza helped the aspiring photographer refine his entrepreneurial skills and launch his career.

IT Pro Takes on Product Photography

Texas Pipe and Supply contacted Sylvester Garza to come to their location and photograph their stainless steel inventory for online sales. As Garza shot the larger items, he talked with the product manager on considering a more cost effective way to handle photographing the myriad of small couplings, bolts, and such. If he could train the company’s web designer on the technique of a repeatable shooting process then Texas Pipe and Supply would save a lot of money now and the next time a new batch of product required images for their website and e-publications.

The head IT professional was immediately set up for two three-hour training sessions.  During this time, Garza taught on the right equipment for the job, proper lighting for shiny objects and depth of field. He also taught how to shoot tethered to a laptop for immediate viewing of each shot and thus reducing editing time later.

The greatest challenges facing the IT Pro were:

  • learning to light the reflective objects against a certain type of background
  • using light modifiers, much like in jewelry photography
  • setting the camera’s lens for fast and repeatable shots
  • naming conventions of the files for quick retrieval in the company’s database

Through these two sessions the IT Pro was able to visually catalog the products for the company’s needs in a cost effective, repeatable-process way and with the benefit of improving his work flow.