Saturday, December 13, 2008

Shooting with the Digital Future in Mind

I have often shot multiple exposures (using bracketing) in the past knowing that the technology of digital data is always improving and evolving. One of these technologies is HDR. (High Dynamic Range)

If you don't already know, this is the process of taking three shots of a given scene at three different exposures. Then, combining them to create one image with overall good exposure.

I shot the image to the left once and the sky looked great, but the building was too dark. I shot with a longer exposure and made the building look nice, but then the sky was blown out. Ever run into this? If so, then HDR is for you.

This is the first time I have opened these images to do anything with them and I shot them three years ago! At that time I didn't know much of anything about HDR. But, what I did know is that it was an emerging technology and I wanted to be prepared when it hit the market.

For this image I used a fairly popular HDR software name Photomatix. It's fairly simple to use and many different effects can be created. If you have not had the chance to play with this software you may download a trial version here.

HRD has caught on over the past few years, but I don't think its status has been changed to "overused" quite yet. So, take a few minutes and play with bracketing and HDR software. Especially if you are shooting non-moving objects/scenes.

There is new technology being revealed everyday and it's a good idea to keep up with it. This knowledge will help lead us digital photographers in the right direction and keep our minds aware of what we can do with this new technology.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Critiquing Images

Have you ever analyzed what goes through your mind when critiquing an image?

This post could be a bit on the psychological side, but it's important to know why we think what we think, for if we know what our viewers (target audience/client) are thinking certainly that helps in knowing what to shoot to obtain the best images possible.

Critique's can change depending on if you were asked to critique an image or if you were doing it out of your own will. It seems to also depend on who's work is being critiqued. It could be a stranger, a friend, or someones work you admire or that you don't. Such things will change how we process an image in our minds.

The first thing I notice when viewing an image is lines, shape, and color. Next are angles, depth/DoF, and contrast.

From those six components, that only take a split second to analyze, mostly subconsciously, I form a feeling about the image as a whole.

From the above process I then start to critique certain aspects of the image. Example, a certain shape or color rubs me wrong and then I begin my critique of what would make the image feel better to me.

Similar to 2 posts ago, it's about the feel of an image. Find the right feel and you have found yourself the right image.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Perfect Practice Photography

I once heard someone say "Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect." This saying has stuck in my head for years and has effected many aspects of my life, especially photography.

As photographers we are striving to make the best image for the purpose it's intended for. I keep this quote in mind when shooting. I strive to shoot everything I can as 'perfect' as I can. Whatever I miss only becomes more work in post production!

The lovely blond is Charlotte. This was our first time shooting together. We shot for exactly 10 minutes. I was pleased with the result.

• Canon 20D
• f/2.8
• 1/160
• 50mm

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Or, maybe it's sepia? Maybe it's more technical like duo tone?! We could also go with 'brown tone." Anyway it's looked at it's still about how the image feels in the end!

I started this image with out-of-camera color and I didn't really like the color all that much. (...even though I used custom K balance!) So, I went with the sepia look. I preferred it much more until I tried to add color last. Since I already worked on the sepia image I decided to overlay the original color back into the sepia version. The overlay of color came out to be just as nice as the sepia!

Check out the color version here.

The gorgeous eye candy above is Elizabeth. We have worked together three times and each shoot we walk away with better and better images!

• Canon 20D
• f/2.5
• 1/1250
• 50mm

Monday, November 10, 2008

One step at a time, but QUICKLY!

I had the chance to travel to Tampa Florida this past weekend for another Supershoots event. It was the best time to head to Florida since it snowed in Illinois right after the plane took off! The event went extremely well! Gorgeous girls, fantastic make up artists, and participants ready and willing to pick up new knowledge to improve their images.

It's still amazing to me what can happen with lighting in 1/125th of a second. This whole sundown situation really gets those synapses flying. Everything hits at once! It goes from simple things like "am I holding my camera for the horizon is flat?" to less obvious changes like "is the lighting ration between the strobe and sun correct or even close?!" And a million other things. Like, I CAN'T HEAR BECAUSE THE OCEAN IS LOUD! Who knew? I don't live near it! The loudest noise in the Mid West is corn blowing in the wind or maybe a tractor driving by once in awhile!

The fine lady above is Mandy. A big thanks to Kenn Ellis who provided some needed equipment and acted as a human light stand. I couldn't have made this shot without him. Also a big thanks to dK for allowing me to shoot with his 20d!

• Canon 20D
• f/8
• 1/125th
• Vivitar 285HV Flash

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Las Vegas!

I just returned from 11 days in Las Vegas which I spent about 4 of those days mentoring and shooting for the LasVegas Supershoots event. Every cab driver that asked about our stay said that 11 days is way too much Vegas. They are right! It seemed like I was there three months!

In the past year I have set and attained a goal. My goal has to bring down how many frames I shoot but still attain the images I want. I used to shoot up to 70-100 frames to get one or two good images. Ridiculous I know! I have narrowed shoots down to less than 40. It takes time to see what the camera sees!

To the left/above is the lovely Leanna. When I saw her clothing I envisioned a Sports Illustrated type of cover shot on a beach. But, I didn't have a beach in the Vegas desert! So, I set this up using bounce light from the ground and a white wall at the hotel we were at.

A big thanks to Pete Springer for allowing me to use his strip light and trigger for this shot. I was excited about this image because it took only three shots. It's exactly what I wanted to walk away with. That made picking the best image fairly easy since they all three looked the same!

I changed the truck color from light blue to green because blue and yellow together wasn't doing anything for me.

Anyhow, this is Cheryl rocking the yellow bikini. She does a great job with posing instructions and she fell into what I asked her to do almost immediately. It's nice to have models fall into place for you!

I have never got to shoot with Laura until this Vegas trip. My file information says we shot together for 5 minutes. She can pull off the most interesting poses and angles. Hopefully we will have more time at another event.

This image was made in-camera and equally in post production. We didn't have anyone else around and no reflector or lights. (And only 5 minutes!) So, it was a shot in the dark to shoot an even exposure as possible and make it all come together in post production. You can see an un retouched version HERE.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


(click for larger version)

This past mothers day my father decided to sell his Avalanche truck for he could purchase my mother a Corvette. She drove around that mothers day giving people rides with a huge smile on her face. It was awesome! So, now it's September and we decided to take the Vette out to some country roads and do a shoot. We choose to shoot in the morning where the sky and ground would have some feeling. After we shot I decided I wanted to try the same sort of shoot with sundown to compare the differences on sunup/sundown. Hopefully we get to that next week and I will make a post of the differences.

The shoot went something like this. I shoot three shots, CAR COMING!, dad runs to move car, me and mom run to the side of the road, car passes, dad reparks the car and while he gets out I'm posing mom, shoot three more shots, do it all over. I only have this shot out of post so far. I'll get to the rest next week.

Shot with:
Canon 20D
Vivitar 285HV Flash

Friday, September 19, 2008

Digital Camera's in the Future

I was over on Model Mayhem tonight and there was a good topic started titled "The next big photographic movement." I was feeling my brain juices moving around and decided to start throwing ideas on the table. Enjoy!

• HDR capture. Exposure established in post [ARTFORM's made this one up]
Solid state hard drive IN the camera. (drives made, not in caeras yet)
• built in Wi-Fi to transfer images to anywhere you want (already made, not built in)
• multi lens to capture full Depth of Field, choose DoP in post (already made)
• retouching tools in-camera
• auto tagging a persons name, gender, hair color, eye color, etc.. to meta data by facial/feature recognition (already being used in software..not in camera yet)
Retina scan of photographer shooting the image and auto-tagging the metadata with the photographers information (personal and business)
• [b]since our future camera has Wi-Fi..whatever info the retina scan takes from the photographers eye shooting the image automatically transfers a thumbnail of the image and the photographers information to the Orphan Works Database[/b]
• the ability to auto configure strobe power by noting their distance from the subject...of course programmable modes and "auto" modes for different automatic light ratios (the subject would only need to wear a pin-head sized chip to get that working) Even busy mom can nail lighting ratios at home! Yaay!

If you have any fun ideas to share, comment away!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Canon and iPhone ...together.

If you are like anyone else who has messed with someone elses iPhone for an evening it's hard not to go out and buy one. It's a killer device.

If you shoot Canon and have an iPhone, your cell phone just became your cameras new best friend. Well, that is because the sexiness of the Canon:WFT-E2 wireless device became involved. If you don't know, Canon's wireless device (WFT-E2) attachs to your camera and allows transmission of images from the camera directly to another wireless device, like a laptop, NAS storage device (Drobo anyone?!), or you guessed it, the iPhone. With NAS and Drobo you would have to be shooting in the range of those devices, like a studio. But, with an iPhone this opens up to being able to shoot on location while transfering your images to your iPhone as you shoot them.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Supershoot Video

The above video is a trailer for Supershoots events. This was made at this years BackToTheBeach event. A big thank you to Tim Jackson for recording and producing this video! If you are interested in attending a photography workshop, check out when and where they are located at

If you want to talk with Supershoot event attendee's, mentors, models and make-up artists, go to

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A 3D Wedding?!

Sometimes your most noticed work is something you didn't plan. That is what happened in this case. The bride and groom wanted to have images made at the school they teach at. (Which they also attended when younger.) I suggested we meet before the wedding date to go over some ideas. We came up with maybe seven to ten ideas before we decided that this was plenty to fill in the short time we will have on the actual wedding day.

During the wedding day we started shooting on the theater stage and the stairs leading up on either side. Which we did both. But, as I was setting up my first light on the stage I looked up and saw the entire wedding party sitting and waiting for me to get my things set up. I instantly saw the above image in my head. I told them what I was thinking and they were excited to play the part of "movie audience." I believe there were 4 or 5 shots total and this one jumped out to me. Of course we didn't have 3D glasses available for this to work, but I knew 3D glasses wouldn't be too much of a pain in post production. I shot this feeling that it would be worth it in the end.

Here is a planned shot on the main entrance stairway. I used a soft box (strobe) up high and to the right and a bare bulb (strobe) behind them and to the left. A reflector was held by my wife directly to the left of them to fill in some shadows. I shot from the floor on a tripod with a Canon 20D camera and a Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens.

Mix all the technical jargon with some "just married love" and you have yourself an image!

If you shoot weddings sometimes it seems like there isn't room for creativity. But, keep your eyes and ears open. Look for things that are unique and different from all other weddings. Everyone wants their wedding to be different, so grab your camera and make it happen!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Digital Workflow

I get many e-mails about digital work flow. Some e-mails are asking me to give a work flow for they can get started, others ask for an evaluation to see if something can be done better.

I'm not sure if anyone noticed, but my work flow evolves and changes over time and my work flow doesn't work for everyone else. Nor can it. But, it's not a bad idea to listen to other's work flow. You can always find a gem.

There is not any one way a work flow can be done to suit everyone. There are too many variables that make each person’s work flow a little bit different than the next persons. Also, a work flow isn't set in stone. Because of variables the work flow system evolves. What variables you might ask? Here is a list to get you started:

• file sizes
• file types
• color spaces
• for print or for web, or both
• average frames per-shoot
• how often do you have sessions
• computer speed
• JPG (please no!) or RAW?
• Converting to DGN?
• storage capabilities
• seasonal or full time shooter
• time it takes to retouch
• what level of retouching needs to be done
• single user or multiple users
• MAC or Windows or Linux
• what software is being used
• work in one location, or many
• how many files do the customer see compared to how many you shoot
• how quick do the clients need to see their images

As you can see there is a lot that can make a work flow different and a lot that can make it change. Over the years I have come to realize the quantity of images is a good place to start on work flow. Most shooters that shoot 500-1000+ images per shoot will have a similar work flow. Not the same, but similar. Those shooters only shooting 60 images a session won't have to have such an extensive work flow. Also, depending on if you are a jpeg (shame on you!) or raw shooter, your work flow will be different.

Speaking of raw shooting, did you know that if you are in JPG mode your camera is still shooting a raw file then converting it to a JPG? Why waste that time and battery power in file converting inside the camera?! Why waste 4 to 6 bits per pixel of data when it's going to capture it anyhow?!

Above is Roberta. She always has a killer swimsuit to show off. This is the only shot I took of her on the beach, my camera broke immediately afterward. It's currently on its way to the company for repair.

Comment if you have work flow questions.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Satisfied Client

Here are a few words from our client about the Grandkids at church! session.

"These are tremendous!"

"We could not be happier with the photos . . . They are truly works of art!"

Friday, July 25, 2008

Grandkids at church!

One of our sessions this month included 7 grandkids and a miniature church. This miniature church located in Groveland, Illinois is well-known in the area for a place to tie that knot. We have shot a wedding or two there in the past, but not the kiddies!

This session, or event as I would call it, took about 1.5 hours and was fairly enjoyable due to the kids having good attitudes. Lucky us huh? My wife and I each had a camera and a few lenses close by knowing that we would be all over the place. We started 30 minutes beforehand by cramming into the tiny chapel and choosing the best place to shoot. This also involved where the lights are going to go, do we even needs them, and where are we going to be shooting from. I don't have a great shot of the entire interior, but here is a 35mm shot that reveals about half of the interior and a few kids not paying any attention to me! :) Tech specs are at the end of this post.

I shot that first image above as they were running into the church. Immediately after that shot I ran towards the church doors. As I got closer I heard one of the family members yell to the kids "don't go in yet, they (us, the photog's) may not be ready!" PERFECT! I got inside as the kids ran back out which gave me the chance to capture the shot to the left. I decided to sepiatone some images because we were told before hand that the kids would be dressed in 60'ish vintage type of clothing.
What was a surprise is that the night before we found out that we were NOT shooting at their home, but instead at this miniature church. I figure, "hey, it's better than a living room!" I usually go with "don't pass up a unique setting!"

We figured that since we were not in a living room that we would go outside and see what there was to play with. We said nothing and watched where the kids naturally ran to. There was this awesome tree that screamed for kids to climb. This opened up many opportunities to capture the kids playing and not being coaxed into "smiling." I went with a sepia-like toned image, but with more color. I really wanted to push the vintage feel for them. I wanted the images to look like they were shot at that time period.

There was also a well that we played at for quite some time.

We ended our session with headshots of each child, but right before that I couldn't pass up shooting the guys (and girls) together while sitting on the church entrance steps. I mean, the place was built for kids right? Maybe not, but it sure fit their heights! I processed this image much different from the others. It reminds me of pictures of my father when he was young. It's like the images had some sort of color overlay on top of a black and white.

Tech Info:
Images inside the church: Alienbee800 softbox for a main and an unmodified light bouncing off the ceiling for fill.

Images on the church steps: Alienbee800 to camera left to fill in shadows.

All other images: no studio lights, Canon 10d and 20d with various lenses.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

It may be dark, but lights are portable!

I'm always amazed by what can be done with photography. There are many dimensions to explore that allow control of any given situation. And not only control, but the ability to change what the camera is seeing compared to what is actually seen on the set with our eyes. This is where taking a picture turns into a vision being created. But, not all vision involves setting up lights and controlling everything.

This is a main factor that stands between me and my wife's approach to shooting. She is energetic in capturing the way life is. She creates wonderful images that posses feeling without ever having to setup studio lights or planning a shoot. (I'm actually quite jealous of her simplicity!) Check out her recent tear from her Tanzania trip.

I, on the other hand, have a vision of creating images that involve setting up lighting and controlling everything in front of the lens. I think what is more important than choosing your approach is to discover what approach you naturally fall into. Like they say, "knowing is half the battle."

When it comes to creating a vision, there entails a monster list of things to think over. But, other times it's very simple and takes little to create. It all depends on how big your visions is and also how well you stick with the K.I.S.S. rule.

I recently ran across some really fun in-camera color work from joserra puelles flicker account. Check out this link for some interesting approaches to in-camera color. It's subject matter that is right up my alley! (aaand not so much my wife's :)

If you know your vision isn't being reached, I suggest starting by finding people who you see have vision. If you want to think visionary, follow those who already think that way. I have many artists floating in my head that have great vision and direction when shooting. In fact, I added to the right hand column ("artists links that interest me") a bunch of links of other artists work that I personally enjoy. I hope you find a gem for yourself there.

The above is another image of Maria. This is one of those images where if you were standing there, it didn't look anything like this. It was totally dark outside. This was shot using one AlienBee as the main light and an off camera flash for a hair light. Almost as simple as my wifes approach! A big thank you to Jeremy Sparling for allowing me to use his flash and also for manning it during this shot!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

High Lighting

I have always wanted to shoot with my lights higher than what the stands limit me to. I got that chance last weekend when I had a boom stand available. I feel pretty good about the outcome. Thanks to Chelsea who prepared by obtaining couture clothing from several different designers.

Above Chelsea is a soft box and behind her is a gridded strobe for separation. She is natural in fashion posing so she felt comfortable striking something fun and strong. A bit of tweaking of chin placement to the light and there it is.

A big shout out to Kate Carroll, one of the best make up artists that I know who worked on Chelsea for this shoot. Heck, she taught me how to do make up and I translated those ideas into Photoshop!

Hit the Lodge 2008

If you haven't ever been to a photography event I would suggest any of the Supershoots events. More specifically the Hit the Lodge event.

Hit the Lodge is Supershoots biggest yearly event that I have attended twice now. It's a great place to stretch your knowledge in photography. From classes that are taught by those that have "been there" and "are there" to learning from other attendees. It's impossible to walk away without learning 100 new things and gaining some great images.

I'm still finding my pocket in photography, which proves to be a long hard road but enjoyable to walk. It's tough to learn and discern styles of photography. Especially glamor versus beauty. It's sort of like arguing Ford or Chevy at times. They blend on so many levels, but at the same time they are completely different in approach and goal. More on that in the future.

When shooting my mind is usually wrapped around the models personality and look. I try to make the best of whatever I'm shooting, and if i can I mix in a bit-o-fun.

Above is Maria. She is a friend of mine that attended her first Supershoots event last weekend. I have not shot her before and she hasn't done modeling at an event. She asked if we could shoot together in the morning before the event started to work on communication and flow. I believe she did a fine job! She fit in incredibly well and had a great time at the event. She will be back for events in the near future.

You can learn about other Supershoots events at

Canon 20D
f/2 @ 1/125th
Strobe + White Umbrella

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Headshots and miniscule movements!

Head shots involve so many variables in angles that it's almost infinite on what the outcome may be. As I scrolled through my shoot of about 45 shots I realized that one image looks ok and then the next where I shot within 1 second later looks totally awesome. They are almost identical yet one jumps off the page where the other doesn't. I'm excited to (re)discover angle relationships and how they can impact an image. Make it a goal to understand what angles make an image jump off the page and/or what other variable in relation to angles makes this happen. Maybe it's a correlation between facial expression and posing angles? Maybe it's the lighting incidence angle? Maybe it's nothing at all and simply preference.

Two light setup. Softbox on left and background light. I used a $1 car visor for a fill and since my white shirt was reflecting in the glasses I took it off (I had another black tee on) and used it to diffuse my background light. For post processing I decided to use a split tone green and remove some saturation.

(click image for detail)

f/3.5 @ 125th
ISO 100

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Please WAIT !!!

Exactly. Wait... It's difficult to do, especially when starting out in photography. Our inherent feeling is to not wait, to go, to move, to be what I would say overly active. I still move around too much during live shoots, out of sheer excitement I would say. At times it can be a struggle between 'shooting' and 'producing.'

What's the difference? I personally see 'shooting' as a "press-the-shutter okay we are done" type of approach where obtaining images is the goal. Compare that to a 'producing' approach where everything is considered before the shutter is released. Lighting, positioning, camera settings, lens, angle, distance, personal vision, professional vision, and timing. Maybe not a complete list and maybe not in that order, but all should be considered before pressing the shutter.

You know that feeling you get while looking through an entire shoot of images and there is that one image that makes you feel excited inside? This is the feeling to start searching for before squeezing the shutter release. I promise the pain that there is in starting to approach photography in this manner will fade quickly once you see how good you can be when actually taking the time to 'produce' an image!

The shot above is a band hailing from Peoria Illinois, Cygnus Loop.

Canon 10D - Manual Mode
f/5.6 @ 1/90th
24mm (17-28 Tamron Lens)
Flash - Vivitar 285hv

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Deeper Blues

I always end up shooting something completely different with each shoot that comes at me. There are two things to say about this. One, I'm still a novice in shooting since I haven't stuck to one thing yet, and two I still shoot things that "come up" instead of things I "make happen." To jump those two lines will place me on a map as "xyz photographer." Thanks for encouragement from Alan and Jeremy, I should be starting to have a place on the map maybe sometime this summer. (I think I said this last summer, no?) There are numerous opportunities with band photography from local clubs to traveling shows and I have many hookups for both. And, most importantly shooting live music is my most favored flavor of photography.

The image to the left is of a blues band named Deeper Blues. They truly blew me away with the soul of blues laced with the power of rock. It was actually hard to shoot at times because I wanted to intake the music as freely as the crowd was. Being on side stage, and partially laying on the front of it, gives the entire show a different feel. Sort of disconnected from the projection the musicians are giving off yet very connected spatiality speaking. I usually shoot with my trusty 17-35 lens which requires me to be about 5 feet from the performer. I always think being so close will tick someone off in the band, but nothing has been further from that thought. They usually love having someone shooting them and especially someone like myself who doesn't stop moving and will ninja slide out onto the floor to get 'the shot.' I remember my days of being in a metal/rock band and I rather enjoyed people standing around while I played the skins. It made one feel "popular." Now, the only thing to worry about is angry crowd people, but that hasn't happened either. I figure they are too jealous to say anything because they are shooting from 20 feet away with a point-and-shoot. ;)

The above image was shot with a Canon Mark II, f/3.5 @ 1/80th.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Ringflash and Hoodies

Yesterday morning David Lee, which is the owner of the studio I work for, shot Terrace in her Blues for some traditional military shots. Afterwards we spent much time playing with lighting and props; something that doesn't happen enough when the studio is rolling at full speed! The lovely Terrace was our model of the day.

We spent a lot of time paying attention to how light works with a new home made ring light that was recently purchased. We tried everything we could think of. Close up, far away, to the side, in the background, behind the camera, shooting through it, shooting only with the ring, adding up to 3 other lights in various setups and probably many other things that might be too silly to mention.

Like most of the shots I have done of Terrace, the above image was her idea. But, since someone needed to be there to push the shutter release and I happen to be standing there with a camera, it just worked out. It seemed rather simple to cover one eye and not the other with a hood, but for some reason we were having trouble. She was having trouble getting the hood straight while I was having trouble communicating just how far to move the hood. I think it took 5 to 8 shots to get this one right!

Other than the ring light there was one extra light that was on the background. Terrace was 6 feet from the background. This was shot f/4 at 160th - ISO400 - 140mm - all hot lights.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The iPod Generation

I had a family shoot last weekend which is the first shoot of the year for me. It isn't everyday, er, month that I have a kid to shoot. At a wedding there is usually more than one kid, in fact there are anywhere from 2-10! In those cases it's rather simple to get the kids to interact and play with each other since that is what they like doing anyway. It pays off with some adorable shots!

With this shoot Hunter (the child) was the only kid there. He was content half of the time, but overall 'good' I would say. The other half he wanted to listen to his iPod or play/tear magazines up. I made the best use of the situation and used Hunter's so called 'toys' as props.

I titled this post "The iPod Generation" for obvious reasons of Hunter being connected with his music. If the iPod was set down, he was unhappy. If it was handed to him, he would [happily] chew on it. Perfect! Since Hunter was already on daddy's shoulders all I had to do now was somehow interact the third subject. Easy, have her put the earphone into Hunters ear! *snap!*

I used a 3x4 softbox to the subjects right and a umbrella fill behind me and camera left. The room was about a 12x12 living room. Shot with a 10D at f/9.5 @ 180 ISO400. Why f/9.5? Well, I was moving lights often and simply changing my aperture as I went. Since my lens only opens up to 5.6 everything in the background would be in focus anyhow, so who cares if it went to f/9.5?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Peoria Supershoots 2008 (is now over)

This weekend was a Supershoots(.com/.net) event. The event was a complete success in the fact that, well, I had a lot of fun! I didn't shoot as much as I usually do since I was helping others with their cameras/posing/lighting/etc...

The event started Saturday morning at 9am, but all of the mentors arrived Friday during the day. We met up that Friday night, had some drinks, hung out at our home, played some drums, and was in bed by midnight.

Saturday went really well. I would have to say that the group attending was mostly full of people who really did want to learn more about photography. Sometimes you get those "one" guys (or girls) who are there for other various reasons, but I don't care to expand on that.
I spent the entire day on one high key set. If I had a gun then, I wouldn't be writing this post today. Though, I was proactive in working on my posing skills. Not "my" posing skills, but my ability to pose other people. Well, maybe somewhat my posing skills since I have found 'doing' a pose works better than 'explaining' a pose. It's somewhat queer, but non-verbal communication works very well in communicating with a model. Saturday ended at a Mexican restaurant in Peoria where I got to have great conversation with Jeff and his wife (Her name slips me).

Sunday started at 9 am with me teaching a digital retouching session. I arrived at 9:10. I'm so awesome. Anyhow, I took this session a different route than I have before. This time I asked for a few images from the attendee's to use as my example(s) in digital retouching. I would usually use my own, but what a better way to teach by putting myself on the spot and showing how I would approach retouching an image. I figured that the less "unknowns" during the entire process the better everyone could understand it. All of the techniques that I used were proprietary to Photoshop and very simple. I believe that the session went extremely well and that everyone walked away a better retoucher then before. I heard several "ohhs" and "ahhs" during the session, so I'm basing my information off of that. Well, and of the several attendee's that spoke to me personally afterwards with great appreciation. Thanks for that guys.
Sunday ended at Mings Chinese restaurant with many many laughs.

At the top is Kalleigh. She had a great persona in front of the camera and had no issues with going outside the box to create some great shots. This was my first time ever working with her, but it didn't feel that way.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Chelsea from Vegas

I worked on about 1/2 of the Vegas images right after we got back. Here it is 4 or 5 months later and I realized that I didn't retouch some images to send to the models. I probably missed 3 or 4 models and they never got an image from me! ahh!

See, since I'm a mentor at the photography seminars I have to set an example of shooting the models AND send them their images. The models work really hard for several days and hear "you look great!" or "this shot is awesome, check it out on the back of my camera!" but then a month after the event have to find that photographer on the internet and ask them for the images. I'm never 'that' photographer, but I'm afraid I almost become 'that' one.

Anyhow, the image above is of Chelsea. I finished retouching her earlier this evening. I did a lot of work on this image, but it may not look like it, which is my goal. If it looks over-retouched, then I have failed at keeping the image close to its original representation. Highlights in the hair were hand brushed. Several filters and overlays were used to bring out the texture in the back wall. A couple of warming techniques were used. Basic skin cleaning, but not much. Her skin was 85-90% of what it likes like on the final image. I made here eyes like jewels since they are the strong point of the image. I actually shot it in 3rd's and didn't crop in post. That isn't usually the case. Anyhow, to see the image better, click on it.