Monday, April 20, 2009

Stimulating Creativity

I was recently reading a models portfolio (I enjoy the articles too.) on a web site and came across this...

"I don't want to take photos that excite people sexually, but stimulate them creatively."

I realized that this is the same thought I have when creating my images.

It's difficult to determine what sexually excites from one person to another. So, there is leeway in what is and is not sexual.

Each photographer has their own way of expressing what makes them feel excited. (Same with models.) Whether it's a sexual excitement or not. Some like faces and shoot amazing head shots, some like full bodies and shoot Playboy-like, some like props, others leather, some rope, some clothing and others makeup. It can also be of technical things like lighting, color tone, or composition. Different things excite different people.

When shooting I'm always looking some something that displays the model as epic. Even if there are two amazing females in an image (like above) I'm looking not for a sexual reaction, but the reaction of a not so sexual "wow!" due to the style, lighting, posing, scenery and processing.

The above is Kaila and Kris in Las Vegas. Shoot in 2007.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

More retouching in the news!

Adding to the previous post of retouching being in the public eye.

In this debate photo journalist Klavs Bo Christensen had some amazing images that he shot in Haiti. He submitted these images for a "photo of the year" contest. (What I like to call a POTY contest.) All was well until the judges suspected that Klavs used "too much" photoshop retouching.

Defining "too much retouching" is going to be difficult. I can see it now, images submitted into photo contests end up in court with the argument of determining if "too much" retouching took place. There are some interesting parts in the article about differences in RAW data and how it appears.

Anyhow, after the judges chatted about moving his images into another category or giving them a 'special' (made up) prize for awesome retouching, they decided to pull Klavs
images out of the contest.

Pictured above is the lovely Marjorie. Shot in 2009.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Image Manipulation and its Effects

In the past few years there has been much hype in the subject of images being manipulated to show something that is not. From false global perceptions on war to personal self image. Image manipulation causes a false ripple in the minds of all who see.

Here are a few examples of exposed image retouching in the mass media.

This subject hit pretty hard in 2006 when Dove released their video showing a model from a just-waking-up-look to the final image used in an advertisement. This video can been seen here.

It's bad enough that images are manipulated so poorly, but adding cloned smoke clouds over a city to make it appear in worse condition that it really was. Wow, really? As if blowing up a city isn't bad enough we have to manipulate it to look even worse.

An article was ran around the world displaying an image of four SAM's being shot into the air. The image was release first by Sepah News, the media arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Here is a clear cut manipulation of the image used. And, it's not the only thing they manipulated poorly.

Sometimes manipulations attack a certain person(s) or business. In this case Fox and Friends news program decided to post some 'doctored' images of a few New York Times reporters for an article they wrote that wasn't in favor of Fox and Friends...well, friends. This manipulation game went back and forth. Childish, but still manipulated.

Ad's in a Berlin subway get ad busted with Adobe Photoshop palette stickers. This is most interesting for printing all of these large stickers cost money. These are some fairly serious ad busters here!

• On a lighter note, to see the most in the world of image manipulation head on over to and flip though some of the contests like levitations or hair do nots. (where you can see Obama with a Mr. T hair do!)

Photoshop Disasters Blog is also a great place to see current manipulated chop.

The above is Terrace.
Shot in a Nevada dry lake bed in 2008.
Don't be
manipulated by the things in this image! ;D

Monday, April 6, 2009

Camera Firmware

I'm working on a children's book. This is the opening line...

"Once upon a time, camera's didn't have computer chips inside..."

*the kiddies eyes get really BIG*


Okay, I'm not really working on a children's book. But, our cameras are now small computers with a shutter and lens. No longer just a regular dumb old donkey camera.

Our camera's are controlled by its Firmware. This is the code inside the camera that sets the rules of what the camera can do and how to do it.

After some time a new camera is released, a firmware upgrade will pop up. Sometimes the upgrade will fix color issues on the screen or maybe when you purchased your camera it didn't support high-capacity CF cards. That doesn't mean it CAN'T. It only means the firmware is not written to support such a card.

(For instance, with the Canon 5d you can upgrade the firmware to allow it to use high-capacity CF cards when it originally did not.)

Here are links to upgrade your firmware. Each camera model firmware corrects and/or changes different functions of that camera. It may be that some firmware updates are updates which are totally useless to you. Others may be very useful.


The above image is Maria looking awesome as usual! But, this time in front of an awesome car, which makes this image double awesome! Shot with one unmodified strobe to camera right.