Using Adobe’s Kuler Tool to Color Tone Images By Mark Bowers

 Technique  Comments Off on Using Adobe’s Kuler Tool to Color Tone Images By Mark Bowers
Nov 302016
 

Something I get asked often is how to add color tones to your images. Often the easiest option is to use filters either in Lightroom or with a plugin software such as Google Nik. However, as you delve deeper into the world of color grading you will eventually become curious how to create your own effects.
There are obviously an enormous number of ways to achieve a certain look to your photos. The Adobe Kuler plugin for Photoshop is an incredibly powerful option that is available to anyone with Photoshop (for free) and provides complete control over the look and feel of an adjustment.

The first concept to grasp is color theory. You know, the whole color wheel thingy and colors complementing one another… Well this is huge. And while you don’t need to be an expert on the subject, it helps to know the basics which will eventually lead to a better understanding of the subject as you use it in practice. One article I have found extremely helpful on his topic was written by one of my favorite landscape photographers of today, Ted Gore. Gore has won several accolades in his field and produces some of the most amazing images I have ever seen. His article titled “Color Theory and Landscapes Photography” goes into great detail about color harmonies and how to work them into your images. He explains the difference between analogous, complementary, and monochromatic color harmonies (as well as several others that are much less obvious) and gives great examples of how he uses them in his work. I highly recommend this read as it applies not only to landscapes imagery but color grading and application on any photograph. At its core the idea is that certain colors simply work well together and are pleasing to the viewers’ eye when introduced into an image with subtlety. For example, blue and yellow are complementary colors. When the darker tones in an image are “cooler” and the lighter tones are “warmer,” the image is more aesthetically pleasing than if the color tones were simply left to chance.

This is where Adobe Kuler comes in. For one, the Adobe Kuler tool is free if you already have a Creative Cloud membership and you can also install the tool directly into Photoshop (directions provided here). Once installed, it is available by going to Window > Extensions > Adobe Color Themes which creates a new tab in your workspace. How is this useful? The tool provides a built-in color wheel which allows you to create custom complimentary color tones. More importantly though, it contains a ton of color pallets already available for use that follow the “rules” of color theory.

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Fstoppers Reviews the New Best Portrait Lens, the Nikon 105mm f/1.4, By Quentin Decaillet

 Gear  Comments Off on Fstoppers Reviews the New Best Portrait Lens, the Nikon 105mm f/1.4, By Quentin Decaillet
Nov 302016
 

Canon has always been known for its fabulous portraits lenses: the 85mm f/1.2 and the 135mm f/2. I used to own and love both of them, with a preference for the first. When I bought into the Nikon system, I was afraid I would miss these two optics. But truth be told, the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 is at least as good as its Canon equivalent if not better! Regarding the 135mm, that’s a whole different story as the Nikon’s is quite old now. However, they recently announced the 105mm f/1.4, and I had the chance to put my hands on it for a few weeks! Let’s see how it compares with other portrait lenses and if it could potentially replace a 135mm.
Many people regarded the 105mm f/1.4 announcement as very bizarre. The new portrait lens is not extremely different from the 85mm in terms of focal length and most people probably expected a 135mm replacement instead. Nonetheless, the 105mm in itself is an interesting focal length for many uses, especially for someone who owns a 58mm even though they don’t share the same image quality or look at all.

Build Quality
When taking the lens in your hands for the first time, you immediately notice its weight and size. It’s not small by any means. For someone used to the Canon 85mm f/1.2, it’s nothing very surprising, but for Nikon users, it might feel beefy.

Canon 5DII with 85mm f/1.2 vs. Nikon D810 with 105mm f/1.4

Canon 5DII with 85mm f/1.2 on the left and Nikon D810 with 105mm f/1.4 on the right

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500px Launches ‘500px for Business,’ a New Global On-Demand Photography Service

 Marketing, News  Comments Off on 500px Launches ‘500px for Business,’ a New Global On-Demand Photography Service
Nov 232016
 

Earlier in the year, I reported on a photography service that was offering tourists the chance to summon a professional photographer through an app — essentially the photo-equivalent of Uber. Reaction to the concept was mixed, although there’s clearly potential in the idea, as 500px has just taken things up a notch with “500px for Business,” their newly-announced series of photography on-demand services.

So, what differentiates them from other companies offering similar services?

We draw upon billions of data points from social signals on our own site about what images people respond to based on their demographic and psychographic make up… from how Americans versus people from Asia want to see images of Amsterdam, to what kinds of images of coffee women like versus men.

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Five Things Fuji Missed With the X-T2

 Gear  Comments Off on Five Things Fuji Missed With the X-T2
Oct 122016
 

Fujifilm recently released the updated version of their flagship DSLR-styled mirrorless body, the X-T2. There are plenty of great things to be said about this new body. However, after a few weeks of using it, I’d like to share with you and Fuji a few things I’d like to see fixed or changed in the next firmware update.

The Menus

Although perhaps not as convoluted as the menus on Sony cameras, the X-T2 menu system is starting to go that way. Simple things seem to be buried very deep — things like formatting your memory card. The new menu has a cleaner look, but I find it to be overly complicated when compared to the older menus on the X system. Although this is not the place to provide a full list, I feel that some things could be pulled out from the third-tier menus up to the main tier.

Saving the Focus Settings

I’ve written about this before. It seems like such a simple thing. When I’m using AF-S, I like to use my camera in single point AF. When working in AF-C, I like to use 3D tracking. I very rarely switch away from these two settings for my day-to-day work. However, the Fuji system keeps the focus mode and drive mode absolutely separate. This means that every time I switch to AF-C, I also need to switch the focus mode to 3D tracking. Then, when I switch back to AF-S, I also need to change the camera back to single point focus. This is a two step process that could be a single step.

Flat Picture Profile

With all the effort Fujifilm went to in order to improve their video integration, the missed some things that would be really useful. I am a huge fan of Fuji’s film simulations. I love them. Classic Chrome and Velvia make the shooting experience more fun just by having them. However, that’s not what I always want for video. A flat profile would be really great. Of course, you can create a similar effect by pushing shadows and pulling highlights in camera, but simply being able to switch to a flat profile would be so much simpler. Of course, then there’s F-Log.

Internal F-Log Recording

HDMI output only? Really? This feels like something Sony might charge you an upgrade price for. However, we can hope that the Fuji engineers will find a way to incorporate it through firmware. The hardware is there, so presumably, it’s just heat dissipation that they’re finding to be a problem. The F-Log footage looks great, so hopefully we’ll see that in the next firmware upgrade!
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We Compared the iPhone 7 Plus Camera to a Nikon DSLR

 Apple, Gear  Comments Off on We Compared the iPhone 7 Plus Camera to a Nikon DSLR
Oct 122016
 

Another iPhone has hit the market and once again Apple has claimed that its camera creates “DSLR quality pictures.” I never believe when any cell phone manufacturer makes this claim, so I decided to put it to the test.

The iPhone 7 Plus has two cameras on its back: one 12 MP sensor has a wide-angle lens with optical stabilization and excellent ISO performance, and the other has a standard/telephoto lens with poor ISO performance. Our iPhone cost us around $1,000 but we certainly can’t claim the camera itself is worth that much. It’s one of many included features of this smartphone and therefore we couldn’t compare it to a $1,000 DSLR. We decided to compare this phone to a Nikon D300s and a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens. Both cameras shoot 12 MP files and both of them have a wide to standard “zoom” range. On eBay this kit sells for around $500. Honestly this is still too expensive to be a “fair” comparison because the camera in the iPhone certainly isn’t half of its value, but it’s what we had available.

Image Quality In Ideal Light

Winner: Nikon D300s

I expected the Nikon to absolutely destroy the iPhone in this test and I was shocked to see how well the iPhone’s wide-angle camera performed. If you printed both of these files out, I’m not totally sure you would be able to pick out which is which, but if we zoom in to 100% on a computer we could tell the iPhone had more grain and noise than the Nikon.

Camera Speed

Winner: Tie

The Nikon D300s shoots at 7fps but the iPhone seemed to shoot around 15fps. That being said, the iPhone didn’t give us manual control and chose a slow shutter that produced blurry images. In short, the iPhone is faster but the Nikon got the better shot.

Shallow Depth Of Field

Winner: Nikon D300s

Once again the iPhone lost but was still quite impressive. The new “portrait mode” on the iPhone allows you to create a fake shallow depth of field that looks quite convincing, especially for web use. One major downside is that the longer lens on the iPhone used in this portrait mode does not perform well in low light.

Video Quality

Winner: iPhone 7 Plus

This test wasn’t even fair. The D300s was one of the first DSLRs to ever shoot video and it can shoot a very poor 720p. The iPhone shoots an incredibly crisp 4K. It’s amazing to see just how far technology has come in seven years.

ISO Performance

Winner: iPhone 7 Plus

This was the biggest shock to me by far. I never would have believed that a cell phone could beat a DSLR, even if that DSLR was seven years old. Well, the iPhone was extremely impressive in low light and easily beat the ISO performance of the D300s.

Versatility

Winner: Tie

This is a tough one to judge. A DSLR will obviously give you access to unlimited accessories like lenses and flashes, but the iPhone has access to the App Store. Currently, many apps are allowing you to shoot raw on your iPhone 7. If you want to shoot a long exposure, a DSLR is your best bet, but if you want to do almost anything else, an iPhone probably has an app available.

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Fstoppers Reviews the Phottix Mitros+ TTL Hotshoe Flash

 Gear  Comments Off on Fstoppers Reviews the Phottix Mitros+ TTL Hotshoe Flash
Oct 042016
 

When getting into flash photography, it’s easy to look at camera manufacturers’ flagship flashes and assume they are the best you can get. When I first started out, I made this exact assumption. But I always wondered how some of the cheaper hotshoe flashes would hold up against these higher priced competitors. So I ordered a few Phottix Mitros+ flashes and put them to work.

Build

The overall build of the flash is very similar to other high-end brands. It feels sturdy in my hand and I have dropped them from decent heights on more than one occasion without any problems (not that I recommend it, but it’s nice to know they can handle an accident or two). Overall the flash has a lot of similarities to other brands. The head swivels up and down and rotates side to side, there is an AF assist light, built in wide panel diffuser and bounce card, backlit display panel, and most other features that you would expect in a hotshoe flash.

Phottix Mitros with Magmod Grip attached

One of the main build features that I haven’t seen on other flashes is with the locking mechanism on the hotshoe. Most flashes have a switch or a lever that drops down a pin in order to lock the flash into place on your camera. This flash has the same feature, but in addition, it has a rubber gasket that also drops down that creates a more sturdy lock. This really comes into play when mounting the flash onto a cold shoe for off-camera lighting. Before, when using flashes with just a dropdown pin, the flashes would be locked into place but would still feel loose and wobbly. With this rubber dropdown, the flash feels very sturdy and there is zero play between the flash and the cold shoe.

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Why Fuji’s New Medium Format Camera Is Important

 Gear  Comments Off on Why Fuji’s New Medium Format Camera Is Important
Sep 302016
 

Since the days of film, medium format has been far from reach for many photographers. Even working professionals can have trouble justifying the high price point of these systems: when used, they can be $8,000-10,000. Medium format film bodies, while cheap now, were always several thousand away from even the most exorbitantly priced 35mm bodies. Factor in the inconvenient size of just about every medium format camera ever, and it’s easy to put the idea of working with these monsters far from mind.

The Fuji GFX 50s

The world of digital photography is ever-evolving, however, and just a few short months ago, Hassleblad announced what could be a solution to these issues, the X1D. While certainly intrigued by what that brings to the table, I believe the future of medium format lies with Fuji. Fuji’s new camera has this name for a reason. G refers to their medium format heritage, F for their heritage in film and the popular film simulations offered on the camera, and X because well, it’s a giant X-T2. The GFX 50s has been rumored for quite a while. I recall personally having seen small rumors here and there over a year ago. To much hype, Fuji finally decided to unleash it on the world this year at Photokina. Fuji did not disappoint. The 50s has an impressive list of specifications, many of which will be familiar to current Fuji shooters, some of which are standard in the world of medium format. What has me so excited is how Fuji is marketing this camera directly at DSLR shooters. I say this for several reasons, the first of which is the size. The 50s is nearly identical in size to the D810 and 5D Mark IV, but with a sensor 1.7x larger than full frame. With the vertical grip that Fuji announced, it may be slightly larger, but the point is that the size and feel won’t be foreign to full-frame shooters. The camera can also shoot tethered, which most medium format users are used to, the 50s also has more physical controls on the exterior (like a DSLR), rather than the sparse bodies and extremely menu-driven operation of many current medium format platforms. There is also no X-Trans sensor, which could be good or bad depending on who you are and how you feel about Fuji’s other options. Essentially, the X-Trans sensor uses a randomized pattern for the color pixels rather than the standard RGB order in traditional Bayer array sensors like those found in Nikon, Canon, and Sony cameras. X-Trans is what has always given the Fuji cameras their distinct look and color, but it has also caused many issues with raw converters like Adobe Lightroom, as the information is a little more difficult for the software to decipher. In what seems to be more seamless integration into existing workflows, the 50s has forgone an X-Trans in favor of a traditional Bayer array sensor. Being such a massive sensor, the difference, other than better file-handling in post, is likely negligible.

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Zeiss Adds 15mm, 18mm, and 135mm DSLR Lenses to the Milvus Line

 Gear  Comments Off on Zeiss Adds 15mm, 18mm, and 135mm DSLR Lenses to the Milvus Line
Sep 092016
 

Expanding upon the high-end manual focus line of Milvus lenses for DSLR cameras, today Zeiss announced they are adding three new additions. These new lenses — a 15mm f/2.8, 18mm f/2.8, and 135mm f/2 — will feature the same solid optical quality housed within a beautiful barrel design that the Milvus line is known for. Created for both high-resolution photography and videography, the new lenses will begin shipping at the end of October.

All Zeiss Milvus lenses have a floating elements design and use T* anti-reflective coating. Together, many common image errors are compensated for right in camera, such as flare and ghosting.  The lenses are dust and weather resistant, and feature a full-metal barrel.

The Zeiss Milvus 2.8/15 uses a Distagon lens design with 15 elements in 12 groups, including two aspheric lenses. The super wide-angle lens offers a 110-degree field of view. Something fairly rare for super wide-angle lenses like this is that the 2.8/15 also has a 95mm filter thread.

Zeiss Milvus 2.8/15

The Zeiss Milvus 2.8/18 is a compact super wide-angle lens that also uses the Distagon lens design. There are 14 elements in 12 groups packed in, with two aspheric elements. The 2.8/18 has a 99.9-degree field of view and can focus as close as 0.25 meters, making it useful in architecture and landscape applications. The filter thread size of this lens is a more standard 77mm.

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How Self-Portraits Can Make Us Better Photographers

 Technique  Comments Off on How Self-Portraits Can Make Us Better Photographers
Sep 092016
 

Self-portraits, unlike selfies, are not always easy to make. They are not a cry for attention or a showcase of your physical beauty. Self-portraits are a learning curve and experimental field for the photographer who is willing to bare his soul in front of his own lens, like Van Gogh and Rembrandt did before for their paintings.

When I bought my first DSLR, I never thought I would end up working as a photographer someday. At the start, I wanted to figure out what I liked to photograph, and it turned out to be people. I photographed the streets of my capital city in Mauritius, only to realise I wanted to make people pose as well. I wanted to be creative. However, I was still a student and I did not have a dime to spend on hiring models from local agencies. And quite possibly, I wouldn’t have had a clue about directing a model. So I resolved to use the only model I could think about: myself.

 

I should say while it was the best idea back then, it was and is still a gruesome process because I simply disliked being in front of the camera and taking a bad photo of myself. You know how the saying goes: “we are our worst critics; we either judge too harshly or not enough.” I guess many photographers at first disliked the idea of photographing themselves, but sometimes, the process can be a revealing and enriching one.

One of my early self-portraits: it was not perfect but I still kept trying to understand what I was lacking.

 

Using Yourself as a Model

The reason I used myself as a model was mainly because I had never worked with a model before. I did use a couple of friends to try my skills out and of course, it showed that I had no experience in directing a model or adjusting my light quickly. I needed to improve on that and so, I began experimenting at home. I did not have a nice enough room to photograph myself in. But I did have these red walls in my bedroom, which I could use as backdrop.

 

The first thing I had to figure out was how to get the perfect focus when I was not pressing the button. I chose to focus manually, using a teddy bear (the little sisters!) as dummy. Having a fixed focus like that limited my movements. But in hindsight, it made me learn to try out different poses and expressions while standing on the same spot.

Being out of focus can also help in creating a mood surprisingly.

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A Guide To Sony’s Ridiculous 50mm Lens Selection

 Gear  Comments Off on A Guide To Sony’s Ridiculous 50mm Lens Selection
Aug 312016
 

Sony has created a few gems when it comes to lenses in the past few years, with the 90mm Macro and 16-35mm f/4 potentially being some of the best in their class. 50mm for some reason seems to be their favorite focal length to produce, seeing as they now have seven different “normal” lenses with the release of their new 50mm Macro this morning.

With over double the selection in this range of their closest competitor, Canon, it may be tough to choose exactly which one to go for. Whether you’re starting in the world of Sony with an a6000 or are a professional photographer with the most demanding clients, they have a 50mm(ish*) lens for you.

Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 

Starting with their cheapest offering, we have the “Nifty Fifty.” A full frame lens with a decent aperture of f/1.8 that’s extremely inexpensive. From my experience with the lens, it’s plenty sharp on the a7sII or a7II and a6000/a6300. On the a7RII, you might not be so thrilled, but a $250 lens isn’t likely to be stellar on a 42 megapixel sensor. The autofocus speed is simply alright. If you’re shooting portraits on single autofocus mode and you don’t need good tracking, you’ll be fine. With a $250 price tag, this lens is for the photographer on a budget or someone just getting their feet wet in the world of 50mm lenses.

Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS

At $299, this lens is also pretty inexpensive. For $50 dollars more, what are you getting? It’s also what you aren’t getting. This lens does not cover full frame. Image Stabilization and significantly better autofocus performance are the real benefits here. If you have an a6000 or a6300, this lens is great. If you also own an a7 or plan on it down the road, maybe hold off. Optically I would say the FE 50mm f/1.8 and the OSS version here are similar.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.8 Macro

A brand new addition to the lineup, this is Sony’s second full-frame macro lens. I have not used this lens (as it was announced this morning), but I would venture a guess that this will likely be a solid performer on all of the A7 series cameras, functioning as an excellent all around lens for macro, portraiture, and product work. On a crop sensor Sony, this is around a 75mm lens, perfect for portraits and studio work. If you like getting close, this is your lens. At $498, this is a reasonably priced lens with promising specs. Auto focus it is yet to be demonstrated so beware if good AF speed and accuracy is important to you, as macro lenses are typically underwhelming in this category.

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Exploring The Simplicity of Black and White Photography

 Technique  Comments Off on Exploring The Simplicity of Black and White Photography
Jun 102016
 

As a boudoir photographer for over seven years, I am always seeking new ways to keep the artistic appeal to my images. Sometimes we work so hard to create something so epic, that we forget about that simplicity is usually the key to greatness.

Creatively Diving Into The Past

A huge step into the world of color photography was due to the introduction of Kodachrome in 1936. Color correction took a another step in 2008 with the version of CS4 releasing the adjustment panel. Users had an advantage than those before to improve on color in a whole new workflow.

This ability to work color into so many different levels may also have lead to the current desire to jump back to the simplicity of black and white images. Color has somewhat taken away the main foundation of an image. Tone, texture, and contrast are key features that color sometimes overwhelms and takes focus from.

Less Distractions

While color boudoir photography can be sultry and beautiful in its own way, there is just something captivating about the mood of a black and white image. Kara Marie shows a perfect example on how you can take the smaller distractions in the background out of the final image without deleting them entirely. The background is blended into shades of dark but not creating a pure black. The levels of color themselves lend way to creating a few color coordinates in the light and dark areas. This creates depth yet maintaining the eye to be drawn to the subject. The shaded between light and dark in the black areas on skin tone also create excellent highlights and accent strong features.

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Ten Must See Photography Documentaries and Their Trailers

 Cinematography  Comments Off on Ten Must See Photography Documentaries and Their Trailers
May 162016
 

If I ever find myself wallowing in a creative rut, I have a few surefire ways out of that hole. My most effective method, although probably not the quickest, is to watch a documentary on another photographer. They need not be similar to your own brand of photography; in fact, I often feel it’s better when they aren’t. Whatever sub-genre of photography the subject does, a documentary is invariably a rich vein of ideas and inspiration.

If you think I’ve missed any out of this list, please leave a comment with your suggestion.

Bill Cunningham New York

Without question one of my favourites, “Bill Cunningham New York” is an insight into the godfather of street fashion photography, a movement that has generated a lot of steam in the last ten years. Bill isn’t just a photographer with many other strings to his bow like most; he is a disciple of photography and an index of street fashion for over five decades. His life has been a mission to record street style and he has reaped the sort of rewards his dedication deserves. Bill is a hero of mine and I implore you to watch this.

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Four Awesome Photography Videos That You Should Watch ASAP

 Cinematography, Technique  Comments Off on Four Awesome Photography Videos That You Should Watch ASAP
Apr 182016
 

There is no shortage of amazing videos on the subject of photography. The field is broad. Every once in a while, however, there is a video that pops up which leaves me with my jaw on the floor. Whether it invokes the magic of inspiration, or opens doors I didn’t even know existed, those sorts of videos stand out as keystones of great, inspirational teaching.

In this post I’m going to point you towards four videos in particular that stand out in my mind as some of the most inspirational content I have ever ingested. Fair warning however, they are not short.

Building a Dramatic Portrait by Joel Grimes

Joel Grimes has a magical way of distilling the breadth of photography into the simplicity of creative passion. This particular talk he did at B&H Photo a few years ago is a great inspiration that not only focuses on Grimes’ particular brand of portraiture but also on the development of the artistic mind. I’ve sent this video, many times, to friends who aren’t even photographers because of how well Grimes empowers creativity.

Stunning Photos of the Endangered Everglades by Mac Stone

I had never heard of Mac Stone until I clicked on a TED talk that had an interesting photo on the cover. Not entirely sure what I was expecting, I quickly became utterly mesmerized by Stone’s amazing passion for storytelling. Any photographer can learn from Stone’s method of drawing his soul into the work. Not only is he creating beautiful work but Stone is tethering that beauty to the heart and soul of his audience in an unforgettable way.

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We Asked, They Answered: CineStill Launches 120 Cinema Film on IndieGoGo

 Cinematography  Comments Off on We Asked, They Answered: CineStill Launches 120 Cinema Film on IndieGoGo
Feb 162016
 

We Asked, They Answered: CineStill Launches 120 Cinema Film on IndieGoGo

We fell head-over-heels when we saw CineStill’s 35mm 800T film, repackaged from Kodak cinema film. Beautiful golden skin tones, cool shadows, and that ever-difficult-to-explain magic glow, brought the beauty of true filmmaking to the still format. It’s been a long wait since the 35mm format was introduced in 2012, but today, CineStill launches their high-speed, tungsten-balanced cinema film in the 120 format.

We could scroll endlessly through a gallery of these images. They’re absolutely stunning. And to have that quality and color response come into a format more akin to that of the 65/70mm IMAX film that directors such as Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, and J.J. Abrams have been using recently is a real treat.

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Jan 092016
 

One key to longevity in filmmaking or photography is to have regular clients that you enjoy working with. What’s even better is when you have enough work coming in from those top clients, so that you can actually pick and choose the projects you take on, and even go as far as to expand your business or pass work off to qualified associates for a modest finders fee. It takes a long time to get there, but being savvy about building a client base can help tremendously.

I get asked all of the time about where someone can go to find work, but honestly that’s an extremely difficult question, without a singular answer. There’s quite simply, no secret formula for finding work. It’s a combination of many things, some of which are out of our hands, as filmmakers, photographers, or any type of independent creative. Outside a few individuals who get lucky early in their career or have projects that go viral, there’s little more to do than work hard and put yourself in a position to make the most of opportunities when they present themselves. So where might those opportunities exist? I recently relocated to Lexington, Kentucky, and I’ve been spending my recent time researching and doing honest work to find new potential clients I can market myself to. Here’s how I approached this process, and where I’ve found some success in finding those elusive opportunities.

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Aug 182015
 

fstoppers-kenn-tam-retouching-restoration-jane-long-photography-burn_0

It takes a lot to motivate me to reach out to a photographer for permission to feature their work but a lot is exactly what Brisbane-based photographer and digital artist Jane Long provides with her latest series, “Dancing with Costică”. Colorizing, compositing and creating content for images she sources from the Costica Ascinte Archive, Jane is able to deliver beautiful, imaginative and surreal narratives to each of her final images. This series has already been exhibited at the Romanian Embassy in Canberra, Australia and the Romanian Photo Festival this past May. If you’re fortunate enough to be in the area, you can see her work first hand at the Ballarat International Foto Biennale starting this August 22nd. If not, then you will just have to stalker her on Facebook like the rest of us unlucky masses. Thanks for sharing and inspiring, Jane.

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Jul 272015
 

Whether you’re just starting out in product photography and are trying to figure out where is the right direction to head, or have been in the business for a long time and want to hear another professional’s perspective, this interview with Tony Roslund is going be well worth watching. From starting up and getting his first clients, to maintaining relationships with those clients and running a business, to establishing a style and making an impression on potential clients, Roslund’s stories and experiences that he shares are a perfect mix of interesting and informational.

RGG EDU’s Rob Grimm talks at length with Roslund, who recently released “The Complete Guide To Product Photography & Retouching.” Roslund starts by speaking about being a third-generation photographer and how his grandfather and father established themselves in the photography business. This transitions into his own start in product photography and quoting his first big gig, and the mistakes made early on.

product-photography-tony-roslund-interview

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Jul 192015
 

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Imagine I gave you three ingredients to make spaghetti. I gave you the pasta, the marinara sauce, and cheese to top it with. The only catch was that you could only use each ingredient in certain amounts. What if I said you could have either 0, 500 grams, or 1,000 grams of each, but nothing in-between? Well, certainly, you’ll need pasta if you’re going to eat spaghetti, so let’s say you chose 500 grams. Unless you’re a marinara fanatic, twice as much sauce as pasta is going to be way too much. Even 500 grams to match the spaghetti is excessive, but then again, the only other option is no sauce at all. And what about the cheese? That’s going to be a lot of cheese.

The problem, of course, is that it’s not just how much of each ingredient is present that matters, but how much is present relative to the others. What if I gave you finer gradations, say steps of 100 grams each? You could probably make a pretty good approximation of your preferred meal, say 500 grams of pasta, 200 grams of sauce, and 100 grams of cheese. If I gave you 50 gram gradations, you could get even closer. For the record, the ideal meal is 473 grams of pasta, 167 grams of marinara sauce, and 56 grams of cheese.

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fstoppers

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Jun 062015
 

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The photography industry is beyond saturated. Everyone is clamoring for a tiny piece of the shrinking pie. Instead of battling for scraps, California-based photographer Hannah Ray is busy baking her own pie by crashing through the boundaries of conventional commercial photography.

Traditionally, fashion photographers make a living by hiring out their services to marketing agencies, brands, and creative directors to create images that compliment marketing campaigns. Ray is breaking that trend by making herself a spokesperson that communicates directly with potential customers by showcasing the brand within an exciting lifestyle.

Ray’s method begins when she gets in touch with a fashion brand looking to reach new customers. Each client is a bit different, sometimes Ray reaches out to them, others track her down through word of mouth or after seeing her work firsthand.

Once she begins working with a client, Ray proceeds to plan an aspirational adventure. Each trip is a bit different, but almost all feature exotic locations and exciting activities. While on the journey, Ray consistently wears her client’s clothing while planning photoshoots as she goes that will be shared on social media and on her blog.

Throughout the trip, the brand she is representing is front and center enjoying a unique form of exposure tied to the adventure that Ray’s viewers love to be a part of. Finally, once the trip is complete, Ray’s clients have a great set of images that they can use to further market their products.

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fstoppers

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May 182015
 

why-sexy-as-a-subject-is-boring

The critical value created when shooting a great portrait is tied to building impact that lasts. Psychologically, humans have evolved to take notice of sexually attractive people, focus on them briefly, then completely forget. This phenomena helps maximize genetic quality in a population but can also have an impact on how viewers remember your sexy photos.

There is nothing wrong with shooting sexy subjects, rather, shooting attractive images can be tremendously rewarding to the client. However, it is your job to add more depth to the image than just being “sexy.” Sexy needs to be limited to being an aspect of the image rather than the primary focus of it.

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fstoppers

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