There are very few additions that you can make to your camera bag that spur your creativity as much as a Lensbaby lens does. I’ve bought my first Lensbaby for my full frame DSLR in 2006. Today, 10 years later I still enjoy using my (latest version for APS-C Fuji X-Mount) Lensbaby Composer Pro Sweet 35 lens. But the lens has really grown up compared to the early version from 2006. Instead of the flexible rubber tube that you had to manually turn and hold in place with your fingers, the new versions come with a flexible stepless locking … [Read more...] about Get creative with this lens – My quick Lensbaby Composer Pro review
I recently wanted to put an image on some wood in photoshop, but wanted it to look like it had a border. I looked for Photoshop brushes and they all did a pretty good job, but what I really wanted was a technique that I could use to get various effects. This was my solution; Photoshop Art Brush Photoshop Art brushes work a little differently to regular brushes. Used with a graphics tablet it can give a more natural feel for digital painters. In this tutorial I won’t be using a tablet but I will be using the different settings. As you can … [Read more...] about Using Photoshop Art Brush To Make A ‘Painted On’ Effect
I grew up an “art kid.” I was always in love with art class. I took up drawing and painting at an early age. My parents always enrolled me in some sort of after school or summer art program. As I got older, I focused on every honors and advanced placement art class I could get. I was always fascinated with trying to capture my reality on paper. When I found photography in high school, it clicked as the best medium I had to capture what I was after. Shortly after discovering photography, I knew I wanted to be a photographer and so I sought out a … [Read more...] about Am I Making Art?
I’ve written before on pre-visualization. It’s an important tool for photographers who are trying to make the jump from good to great images. I am not really sure when I figured out how valuable pre-visualization can be, but I do know that photos of mine like “Cranes in the Fire Mist” couldn’t have happened without it. Every time I write about this I get plenty of email from photographers who want more details. They want a roadmap to pre-visualization. Unfortunately, it’s an etherial thing that is very hard to put into words, but I do … [Read more...] about How To Pre-Visualize A Photograph: Interpret – Envision – Plan – Execute
Picking bookmarks is a little adventure for me. My daughter is constantly creating pictures and doodles, so I usually use one of these as a bookmark for whatever book (or books) I'm reading. Unfortunately, I didn't get to pick a bookmark for Jay Maisel's Light Gesture & Color. In fact, I didn't use a bookmark at all. It's so engaging and so easy to read that I only put it down twice, and the distinctive photos on every page it simple to find my place. Light Gesture & Color is a must read for all photographers. Every genre and every … [Read more...] about Book Review: Jay Maisel’s “Light Gesture & Color”
Wacom announced their new range of entry level Intuos Pen & Touch tablets consisting of four models: Intuos Draw, Intuos Art, Intuos Photo and Intuos Comic. Each model includes creative software as well as additional training and service offers. A graphics tablet (also called pen tablets), allows a person to draw by hand using a pen shape tool called a Stylus. Using a pen instead of a mouse to draw made graphics tablet a hit with graphic artist. They quickly replaced their mouse with a comfortable stylus. I didn't think I needed a tablet … [Read more...] about Introducing Wacom’s Newest Tablets : Which one is right for you?
Why are prints are so important? Printing is a part of many photographers business or workflow that can be improved. Most of us don't know how to print or even understand the basics of printing. Sure, the ease of going from one screen to another is often easy, while figuring out how to print at the right size and the right output can be daunting. Why Print? Printing can bring another level to your photography and client base. Prints obviously do not require hard drives, cloud storage, or a powered on device to view. A print is a tangible … [Read more...] about Printing is the Lost Art of Photography
I want to share a simple way to apply a "texture" to a plain or seamless background. A texture is an image of almost anything that can be appropriately ghosted back adding a "texture" to the background. I use images of side walks, freeway underpasses, brick walls, sheets of paper, rusted steel, graffiti, roads, cracked glass, wrapping paper, you name it. Truly, infinite possibilities. This simple technique can provide you with the power to control the drama, mood and overall feeling of your image. It will also provide you with perfect … [Read more...] about Simple Background Magic for Photos
Rich Harrington has two special guests on this week's show. We're joined by Dave Wilson, a freelance art photographer from Texas. Dave shares his approach to getting the best shot (no matter how many exposures it takes). Dave is a native of Scotland who likes to photograph subjects, scenes, locations and objects which symbolize Texas, the American Southwest and the United States in general. In the second half of the show we catch up with Lightroom expert Gerard Murphy. Gerard has had a passion for photography since borrowing his Moms Pentax … [Read more...] about Photofocus Podcast with Special Guests Dave Wilson and Gerard Murphy
You'd think that some people WANT a bad photo. While there are no real rules in photography - that pertains to what you SHOULD do. When it comes to what you SHOULD NOT do, well pretty much everyone (except the most pedantic of the pedants) agrees that there are several things you should NOT do. So if you find yourself doing four or more of the things on this list and you're not happy with your photos, at least you now know why. 1. They worry more about low-light camera performance than they do finding a compelling subject with a nice … [Read more...] about Seven Things Photographers Do To Ruin Their Photographs
I have been studying Zen Buddhism and I am struck by how so much of it can be applied to photography. Don't get me wrong. I am not religious. Nor am I somebody who would ever, or has ever said you should live your life like I live(d) mine. But I do think that we as photographers can apply the things we learn from religion (even if it's just intellectually) and see better photos as a result. Before I go on remember that I am relatively new at this and do not claim to be a Zen expert. I'm just trying to get people to think a little differently … [Read more...] about Photography Zen
The Auto and the Perspective method offer dramatically different Photomerge results. We stick with Auto for the first attempt. The Photomerge command offers six different layout options when creating a panoramic photo. Each method interprets the panoramic photos differently. We often try to run multiple methods to see which produces the best results. A good place to start is Auto, which attempts to align the images but will bend them as needed. Auto: With this method, Photoshop first analyzes your source images. It then applies either the … [Read more...] about How To Get The Most Out Of Photoshop’s Photomerge Command
I saw a post on the Internet by an "expert" who said you shouldn't make "unnecessary" black and white photos. I am pretty sure that I lost brain cells just by reading that sentence. It generated several questions for me: 1. What constitutes "unnecessary" black & white? 2. Who gets to decide what's "unnecessary?" 3. Why should anyone care whether or not I (or you) decide to shoot black and white? 4. What's next? Unnecessary color? Of course I'm writing this a bit tongue in cheek, but I do find the whole conversation to be … [Read more...] about Unnecessary Black & White???
Eric Maisel: Making Meaning Through Creativity from Omega Institute on Vimeo. With a hat-tip to my favorite writing blog (onewildword.com) I'd like to share a video that is designed for novelists but which applies 100% to photographers who are searching for a way to be a creative. Two minutes that might change your opinion on creativity. _______________________ … [Read more...] about Making Meaning As A Creative
Rather than having the latest aluminum cased device adorning their landing page, one year ago apple.com consisted solely of the image below; and it remained that way for an entire month. Of course, it was in tribute to Apple's founder who had just passed away. Purportedly, this photograph, made by Albert Watson, was Jobs's favorite and was shot on medium format film. I hadn't yet read Walter Isaacson's excellent biography on Jobs and had very little knowledge of the man; this image, however, intrigued me. Even if you don't know who the … [Read more...] about Photographic Tributes
I get email and tweets like this every day "New #show filmed 100% #DSLR coming soon! PLZ RT" "New motion picture filmed entirely on an iPhone - please spread the word." "Photographer uses old The Graflex Speed Graphic to shoot weddings." Sigh Folks if your press release or news is about the tool you use not the story you tell - well sorry but to coin a phrase the young people use these days - you're a tool! (I think it's spelled that way - but you get the idea.) The notion that the tool you used to shoot your documentary or make your … [Read more...] about Tools Don’t Create Art – Artists Do That
With age comes clarity - well and all sorts of medical issues but that's TMI. Back to the clarity I've gained from age... I've noticed that people have very different versions of what constitutes a "famous photographer." This post isn't designed to tell you who is and is not a famous photographer. It's designed to ask more questions than provide answers because I want it to lead to deeper thinking on this idea of "famous photographers." So let's start with one of my concerns. Should photographers be famous because they take pictures of … [Read more...] about Famous Photographers – Really?
Guest Post & Photo by Stephan Bollinger Circle Stephan on Google+ Lately, I see more and more "flat" images, and I constantly hear the terms "fill in the shadows", and "maintaining shadow detail". Many new photographers try their hardest to light everything evenly, and eliminate the very essence which creates emotions: Shadows. Late at night, the silhouette of a man with a knife... it's a scary image, but only until you turn on the lights, and you see Jamie Oliver cutting celery. It's the shadows which make all the difference. The … [Read more...] about Light Guides The Eye – Shadows Touch The Soul
Old Guy's Rant Alert - I've noticed a trend among some photographers - they tend to quickly fall into the trap of thinking the old ways must be better than the new ones. Somehow making something harder to do makes it better to them. I can't wait until they get as old as I am and realize just how backwards that thinking is. Just because you get a retro camera, doesn't mean that it or you are cool, or that you are an artist or that your images will sell. It just means you got a retro camera. There are a few things that I know to be absolutely … [Read more...] about If Only It Were Retro/Vintage
NOTE NOTE NOTE NOTE NOTE: The Photofocus Podcast Feed HAS CHANGED! Here is the new feed: feed://feeds.feedburner.com/photofocuspodcast PLEASE BE PATIENT - OUR SERVERS SEE LARGE LOADS ON PUBLISHING DAYS. THE DOWNLOADS MAY GO SLOWLY BUT THEY WILL FINISH. Hosts Rich Harrington and Scott Bourne discuss a variety of topics including: Apple Annoucements Aperture 3.3 Lightroom 4.1 Rich's visit to HP Important hardware for upgrading photo editing New lenses from Nikon Olympus point and shoot cameras Smart phone photo shooting Security at … [Read more...] about Photofocus Podcast June 15 Edition
We live in an age where on the Internet, everyone's opinion is apparently supposed to have equal weight. High school drop outs are allowed to critique NASA PHD-level scientists with impunity. A guy with 20 followers and four years on Twitter is allowed to tell someone with 200,000 followers they're getting it wrong. Someone who hides behind a fake Twitter name can pretend to be an expert on anything and never be held accountable. And therein lies the problem. There's no authority in these opinions and I am sorry, but they simply don't matter. … [Read more...] about Image Critiques – It Really Does Matter Who’s Doing The Critique
Some things can't be bought. Some things only come with time. Some things have to be earned. Some things take a lifetime to achieve. The latest camera or lens won't get you the success you seek. The best workshop or photo conference won't make you an overnight rock star. Following all the cool kids on Google+ or Twitter won't make you a camera craftsman. Simply feeling like you're entitled to recognition won't bring it. Spoofing polls, pestering your friends for "likes" or begging for fans doesn't cut it. Time - that's the one thing you can't … [Read more...] about An Open Letter To Young Photographers
Guest Post by Rich offers a tutorial on a new feature in Adobe CS6 Called Adaptive Wide Angle DISCLAIMER: This post isn't intended to be definitive - we're not claiming this is the ONLY way or even the BEST way to accomplish this task in Photoshop, Aperture, iPhoto or any other post-prodcessing program. We're merely offering it as A way you might accomplish this task. These tips are free, offered only because they might be helpful to someone. ____________________________ … [Read more...] about Free Video Tutorial – Adobe CS6 Adaptive Wide Angle
(NOTE: This photo was already licensed under an exclusive arrangement so therefore could not be included in my Creative Commons Non Com experiment. Sorry.) Good writers know that you can say too much in a story. Rather than spend page after page in a book to describe a character, good writers will pick something simple to do the job such as, "He put on the same pair of boots and spurs his dad gave him in college." It's a cowboy. Simple. The same can be true in photography. When photography is practiced at the highest levels, it serves as a … [Read more...] about Photographers – Sometimes You Only Need Tell Part of the Story
NOTE NOTE NOTE NOTE NOTE: The Photofocus Podcast Feed HAS CHANGED! Here is the new feed: feed://feeds.feedburner.com/photofocuspodcast PLEASE BE PATIENT - OUR SERVERS SEE LARGE LOADS ON PUBLISHING DAYS. THE DOWNLOADS MAY GO SLOWLY BUT THEY WILL FINISH. Download episode here... Sorry we're no longer providing show notes. __________________________ … [Read more...] about Photofocus Podcast May 25 Edition
Guest post by My Honey bee hovering over a Calandrinia flower. The 180mm macro's small angle of view makes it my favorite lens for clean smooth backgrounds. Nikon D800E, Sigma 180mm f/3.5 EX APO Macro HSM lens, single Nikon SB-R200 flash with diffuser 1:8 power, handheld, Manual mode 1/250th sec, f8, ISO 500. Geranium flower close up. Tech details same as above. Daisy full frame close up. Focus was critical since depth of field at this magnification ratio is paper thin. Tech details same as above except for f5.6 and ISO 100. Daisy … [Read more...] about Macro Photography – Guest Post by Robert O’Toole
Sorry - none of these tips involve buying a magic camera. But if you try them, based on my own experience, they will help you become much better at producing images that matter. 1. Stop comparing your gear against anyone else's gear. It doesn't matter that Ernie in your local camera club has a better lens. All that matters is what he does with his lens and you do with your lens. Almost any lens you can buy today is better than those made 50 years ago. Some very iconic photographs were made with gear you'd scoff at today. Stop obsessing over … [Read more...] about Five Steps Toward Becoming A Master Photographer
If you want to help your photos get noticed - arrange your composition so that the viewer needs to work just a little bit to find the treasure. Here, there is one bright stand of orange poppies sticking out amongst an entire field of purple flowers. The eye is naturally drawn to the thing that doesn't appear to belong. And that's exactly what I am going for. You'll also note the placement in the lower right corner of the frame - homage to the rule of thirds. Lastly - I shot with a long lens to compress the distance between the single stand of … [Read more...] about Quick Photographic Composition Tip – Look For Something That Stands Out
NAB is history. The show was well-attended and even though most of you are still photographers, there was plenty to look at for the average stills person. That said, video on DSLRs is here to stay and just as there were photographers who predicted film would beat digital, there are those with their heads still in the sand about this. But it's an undeniable fact that half of you have shot at least SOME video on a DSLR and from that perspective, NAB is hoping. From the Canon booth everything was on display - including the new 1DX. The video … [Read more...] about NAB 2012 – From A Photographer’s Point Of View
While in Alaska I was after eagles. I made thousands of eagle photographs. But I'm always keeping one eye open for something unique or special or just abstract. I love abstract photography. I play little games with myself wondering if people can guess what the object I'm shooting really is. In this case, I came upon the harbor at sunset. The light was hitting this extremely colorful, rainbow-colored boat and the reflection caught my eye. The above photograph is the result. Would you have recognized that as a boat sitting in the water? The … [Read more...] about Abstracts: Don’t Forget To Look For The Little Things Next Time You’re Out With Your Camera