Monday, August 3, 2009

Business of Outdoor and Nature Photography Seminar

I am pleased to announce that I will be teaching a business and marketing seminar for outdoor and nature photographers in November in Bryce Canyon National Park. I will be joining Gary Crabbe, former stock business manager for Galen Rowell and Marv Johnson, CEO of online photo agent Fogstock. This seminar will cover subjects ranging from what sells and why to adventure sports, marketing and self promotion, pricing images, and sealing the deal. We will be staying at Ruby's Inn where they are giving us a killer deal on room rates. There is also an early bird price special running through August 15th. To read more click here. Keep Reading: Full Post and Comments!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Learn Commercial Photography on the Internet

There are many, many photographers wishing to go pro and I hear from a few and fairly often as they wish to assist me. There are more assistants wishing to assist than I could ever use. I wish I could help them all. I have been teaching on the internet for the last five years and a few location workshops each year as well, but I decided to create a professional photography training program as an option to these photographers wishing to learn on the job.

I started on it two years ago, writing, photographing, and video taping for this program and the result is a one year professional photography training program that is offered on the workshop website. This is the answer for those who cannot attend Brooks Institute or Art Center College of Design or RIT. Read nire...
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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Industrial Photography: Shooting the Wind Turbines

Last week I had a great assignment at the wind turbine farms in Eastern Oregon. I sure love shooting this type of stuff with the blue collar workers out in the field. We shot a ton of imagery with this guy positioned around the wind turbines and from high angles and low angles, telephoto and wide angle. The image will be used for a trade ad. For lighting I used a Norman 400B on a stand with sandbag and Pocket Wizard.

There is nothing scientific here as far as lighting, rather its the look that I wanted to achieve. I could have used the flash as a flash fill letting the sun be the main light, but I really like the look of underexposing the ambient light and using the flash as the key light. I set the strobe at 1/2 power and chose the fstop that provided a normal flash exposure and then set the shutter speed at a -1 stop below normal exposure. This really makes the guy pop out against the background. Read on for a few more examples.
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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Portrait Professional Software: Nice!

I have been shooting quite a few staff photography assignments this year. In fact it seems that is one area that corporate clients are not cutting back. I have always used Photoshop to do my retouching, adding some diffusion and skin softening techniques along with an occasional Eddie Tapp Dream Glow effect to get them all to look smoother and younger-the most common request I get. I have worked some of these steps into some actions to speed up the process but you still have to manually paint on your masks as each head is in a different position. It began to get tedious. I have seen the ads for Portrait Professional and decided to read a few reviews which I found to be all positive so I decided to buy it and give it a try. WOW! What a great program and here are some examples.
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Lomography Effect

If you Google Grunge Photography or Lomography or HDR you will get millions of hits and each of them will provide a different explanation of what each of these techniques look like. Over time I have done that to see what 'looks' I like from the various sources and recently it was the Lomography look I want to play with.

What is Lomography? Who is Lomogra(pher) or Lomo or....who? A search on Wikipedia will provide you an answer and basically there is no person which this technique is named for, rather it's Lomo LLC a Russian made camera that resembles the Holga (at least to me). It also states that Lomography was created in Austria. So who knows. But it is the look that interests me. Here is how I did it....
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

More thoughts from Seth Resnicks D65 Workshop

In a previous post I mentioned that I had just taken Seth Resnicks ‘workflow, not workslow’ seminar through D65 and I am still riding high with what I learned. Efficient workflow is not just about knowing Lightroom, but understanding efficient workflow that makes the tedious aspects of managing digital assets easier. We all know someone with the latest and greatest DSLR who cant take a picture if their life depended on it. There are plenty of Lightroom experts out there as well. But how many have a very systematic and efficient workflow? Like the camera, the software is only the tool that makes your system work.

Here are a few thoughts from the seminar, things that really made me think:
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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Anza Borrego in HDR

I just finished Seth Resnicks D65 workshop in San Diego and am making a quick stop in Californias Anza Borrego Desert State Park. The wildflowers are still out and the cactus will not bloom for probably another week. I am bummed because it will be gorgeous when they do bloom. Here is a shot from Fonts Point taken at sunset when there really was no sunset due to overcast. Read on if you want to know the processing. I first shot this is as a 5 stop bracketed series for HDR generation. Now if you are wondering why HDR when the light is flat, it's because it works in a whole new way. You can bracket and there is often no need to, but the results when tone mapping are cool. You can really push the blacks and microcontrast for a very edgy or grungy look.

So my settings are:

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Friday, March 13, 2009

In San Diego with Seth Resnick

So how is your digital photography workflow? Efficient, productive, and easy to use? Well I will be the first to admit that mine sucks. So I decided to take Seth Resnicks: workflow- not workslow, seminar through D65. It was long, intense, and absolutely fabulous. I am a better man for doing so. I have had Lightroom since it came out but never really had time to think about just how efficient workflow is laid out. I needed a crash course and found it in Seths seminar. Four long and productive days with Seth and Jamie will have you mastering Lightroom and the concepts that are behind efficient workflow. You get his excellent book and lots of extras ideas and concepts. Its well worth the money and time.
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Monday, March 2, 2009

Must see: Zack Arias video

I usually dont blog about other photographers blog entries, but just in case you have not seen this it is a must watch: Keep Reading: Full Post and Comments!

Digging Through the Archives: The Mountain Man Rendevous

Twenty some year ago I photographed a modern mountain man rendezvous for a magazine story. I cant even remember the magazine but it may have been the AAA magazine or Farmers Insurance or something like that. I have been having fun occasionally going through my old stock and assignment files and looking for images that could be considered timeless, meaning that they might still have a current appeal in the market.

I have been scanning some of these and then applying more current looks or effects in Photoshop. This image is of Crow Killer, a modern day mountain man at a rendezvous in Oregon. I photographed him and a bunch of others during multiple events I shot for the assignment. I scanned the image on my Nikon Coolscan and then opened it in Photoshop. I have a plugin called Redynamix that creates a HDR like look to the images. It is fun to play and cheap, like $16 and you get it at Mediachance. The problem is that it works only in 8 bit and that has definite drawbacks. Noise comes in very quickly if you are pushing hard on the sliders.

I worked this over a fair amount with the sliders, then rendered it and added a High Pass to it, tweaked the levels and bent a curve a little to add contrast. I then posted it on my new website among other people and portrait images.

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Related Posts;

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Joe McNally has another book due soon!

Master genius incredible nice guy photographer, Joe McNally has another book due out anytime and it is called the Hot Shoe Diaries. Joe is a phenominal photographer and I have had the pleasure of teaching workshops with him along with others like Drew Gardner, Chase Jarvis, David Hobby, Bobbi Lane, and others. The book is supposed to be released anytime and I am anxious to see it as well. If you have not seen Joes other recent book, The Moment it Clicks, get busy and look. He is a master at concept and creation and with using wireless flash and displays his work regularly on his blog.
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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Photography Usage Rights: Who Can Use Them?

oI have been working with a client on a large architectural project for the last month and a half and when she e-mailed me today about scheduling our next location she also asked about the granting of usage rights to one of their partners whom I would call a third-party.

Here is part of her e-mail and in particular the question regarding usage

Second, if XXXXXXXX wants to use your photos do they need to get rights for distribution from you? I know we talked about us having the rights, but I didn't know if that is extended to XXXXXX.”

Here is my reply:
“Thanks for asking about the usage rights. This can be a confusing subject and I am not sure how much you know about photographic usage so I will go ahead and explain and use a couple analogies in case you are not familiar.

When we photographers do photo assignments we are generally doing them for one client and if anyone else out there wants to use the photographs they usually pay the photographer for those usage rights. This is a pretty common arrangement and I usually describe it in a couple ways: when I buy a plane ticket I get the usage of that seat for one of the flight. At the end of the flight I get off and I have no more rights to get back on without paying more nor did that one flight buy me any ownership in the airline. I paid for one use of an airline seat. Another analogy is an architect provides building design for one client but that one client cannot distribute those plans to their friends to build with, without paying the architect a license fee.
In a similar situation, I have had homebuilders asking me to photograph one of their new homes and I photographed the interior and the exteriors, then the cabinet company sees the photographs and wants to use them in their brochure and they paid me for the rights to use the photos on top of what the homebuilder paid. So this would be similar to XXXXXXXX wishing to use the photos in their archives as well.

The most common approach for additional usage by third-party clients is 75% of what the original assignment fee was. This is a general starting point for many photographers with the idea that the third-party client benefits from 100% of the effort but only has to pay 75% of the cost while not having to expend any cost to be there for the shoot nor do any of the coordinating prior to the photo shoot.
I should also mention that in situations like this, I have had clients who teamed up with the third-party company, as in XXXXXXXXXXXX and XXXXX, and split the cost of the photo shoot and the third-party usage fees for a more equitable arrangement between the two. It makes sense because they both benefited equally.

So I hope that gives you a good idea about usage and third-party use and……………………….”

That was a quick explanation in essence telling a client that they cannot share the photos I'm taking for them with any other parties unless those third parties pay a license fee for the usage. I'm sure there many photographers out there who would handle this differently but this approach has actually worked quite well in the past and seems to be an equitable solution all the way around.

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Friday, February 6, 2009

Chromasia announces their new Photoshop tutorial

Our friends at Chromasia have announced their new Photoshop tutorial on working with Textures, has just been released. Chromasia is an online Photography, Photoshop, and HDR training site with a diverse selection of online tutorials.

Chromasia director David Nightingale and I will be teaching an HDR workshop in Tampa Florida on April 19th - 23rd, 2009. For more information on the workshop click here.
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Monday, February 2, 2009

Interior Photography and Photoshop

Here is an example of needing Photoshop to balance color in an architectural interior. The assignment was shooting interior designs. In this shot we are shooting a row of office spaces to show the furnishings. When I do this i ask the client how far down they want to see because the further down the more distortion in the image and the harder it might be to straighten in Photoshop.

The client did not want to see that far down so this wide angle shows a lot of ceiling. We added strobes that were color corrected to match the ambient lights and place them only to open up darker areas. Right in front on the right side was dark with shadow so we have a large light box on a floor stand to brighten it. In the back and on the left is a small orange panel that also needed brightening so there is a small strobe hidden back there to brighten that area up. Next we go into Photoshop. The first thing I do is and compositing of windows or lights or any parts from other images. There none needed here. So I open the lens correction filter and adjust the distortion. Next I crop out the ceiling excess. Now the image would be done if it was not for the off color rear wall at the windows. The left side is pretty neutral but not the right side, so I use the color picker to sample the left color on that white wall and make note.

I add an empty layer and fill it with the color, then use CTRL-I to invert that color which is now blue/magenta in tone. I set the blending mode for that layer to color, add a mask and fill it with black. Then with a soft white brush set at 5 pixels, I slowly paint the right side rear wall until its color matches the color on the left. The last step was a dodge layer to balance tonality between left and right sides and I was done.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Removing Powerlines in Photoshop

When shooting architecture, the retouching of power lines and telephone poles can be quite a challenge. I had a client ask me to shoot a bunch of projects a few months ago. They wanted a lot of locations shot in a little time so we did not scout or select the perfect time to shoot for each building, rather we shot what was there when we were there. This is typical in today's economy...just shoot it! The lighting was not that great on the building and the time of year played a roll where the sun hits the front in the summer but not late fall.

I shot this building along with the others and delivered the to the client expecting an email later requesting the Photoshop work be done after they selected. Much to my surprise they did not want any post processing. That is until they realized months later that they could not use the pictures as they were and particularly this image. Here is how I did it.

The problem was obvious; the building had power lines everywhere and one old telephone pole and they had to be retouched out. As with any assignment, I brainstorm while setting up to do the shot, the Photoshop work that will be required. When you are cloning or replacing the power lines you need something to replace them with. The telephone pole was the problem; when I removed it what would I replace it with? The first thing I did was shoot the main exposure and once secured, I moved the camera left 10' and shot again. This provided the ends of the windows and brick that was behind the telephone pole.

When I opened the image in Photoshop, I then started on the sky and used the Spot Healing Brush, Clone Stamp, and the Patch Tool to clean up the sky first. Each of these tools works well for some things but each does not work great for everything. When you are close to edges, the Spot Healing Brush is no good and the Patch Tool does not work that great either. I then move to the Clone Stamp.

When I got to the siding to remove the power lines along the walls, I used the Clone Stamp when I had room to work with it. In several areas on the buildings side, none of those tools worked so I actually copied sections of siding and laid them over the section of power lines. This worked well. But you have to copy right next to the power lines if you can because any further away the perspective of the siding changes and will not lay into place well.

All in all it took about 2 hours to do and the client was thrilled. And to think how did we ever get along with out Photoshop.

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Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Very Special Holiday Surprise

Wow, was I surprised when I got an email from a dear friend of mine from so long ago. It was a total shock to hear from her, but even more thrilling was to see that she is now in the music industry and a successful jazz singer and recording artist. My friend Aysha and I worked at the YMCA when we were in college, me at Brooks Institute and her at Santa Barbara City College. She was a lifeguard and I was in membership. We had fun with our gang, rock climbing, ski camping in Yosemite, and college partying. As usually happens when it is time to move on, you end up losing touch and that is what happened to us.

Then the surprise email right before Christmas. She found me on the internet and dropped me a note. We have barely had a chance to catch up with the busy Holidays, but I have had time to listen to her music and I really like it. If you like Jazz/R&B you can buy her CD right here.

The incredible photography of Aysha was shot by Hollywood Celebrity photographer Winston Kerr and you can see more of his work here.

Thank you Aysha for getting back in touch, you brightened my Holiday!
Happy New Year to all of you!

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