Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Guest Blog for Angeline-Marie - Developing a Style

Recently I was asked to write a guest post for Art Studio Reports by Angeline Marie.  Take a look!  If you are interested in art make sure you check out some of her other blog posts and website.  Just follow this LINK.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Abstracts in Nature

Often times when I shoot landscapes or nature I look to tell a story or to show an event.  The following photos on the other hand caught my attention while I was searching.  I really dig abstract art (much to my surprise) and I look to find ways to add it to my chosen art form.  The best part of the four photographs that you see were all taken the same day within about a 3 hour period.  The abstracts are there we just need to take the time to look.  As evident by two of these photos you don't even need to be close to the subjects to pull out the abstract.  These were all fun for me to photograph and a cinch to post process.

I like the two color images but the black and white photos really draw me in...  One of the abstracts even tells the story of the rising sun and the moving mist.    The next time you are out trying to tell a story just relax and look for the abstracts that surround you.  You might be surprised at the story they tell.  To me...  All four tell me that the world continues and lives barley aware of my existence.  I love it!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Art Exhibit in Homestead, FL

Last night the family and I had the pleasure of visiting the Children's Museum on Krome Ave right here in homestead.  It was a solo opening featuring the works of Angeline Martinez (a local artist).  The materials used to create the various works were beyond the "standard" painting materials.  It included encaustics, acrylics, and mixed media.  The works are unique to say the least (that is a good thing).  Her work is so unique in fact that I believe once you are familiar with it you can pick it up out of a line up.  The work will be displayed there for the next month so if you get a chance drop by and take a look.  You will not be disappointed.

I know...  I know, this is a photography blog...  What does this have to do with photography?  A LOT!!!  We as photographers need to study all art to get a better handle on what we are trying to accomplish.  We are artists after all.  Looking at works as unique as Angeline's helps us to take chances with our own art.  Don't settle for the mundane or the "standard".  Go for the unique in your own works.  I am speaking of your own works that you do for you.  Often times clients have a certain style that they are looking for.  All the more reason to expand your repertoire.

Incase you missed the links at the beginning of this blog here they are again.  Check them out!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Photoshop Elements: A Poor Man’s (or Woman’s) Photoshop

With the switch to Mac I lost my Photoshop CS5 Extended… which is just sad. I do not have the $999.00 to spend on the Photoshop CS5 Extended so I reluctantly went with Photoshop Elements 9. Elements 9 only costs $99.00 (which I got free with my Wacom Tablet). The first thing I noticed is that it works very similar to Photoshop CS5. Then, I noticed that everything I do in CS5 to develop my images is available in Photoshop Elements 9 with only minor exceptions.

It’s tools include:*
Photomerge (for panoramic photos)
Blend Modes
Most Filters
Supports the Wacom Tablet sensitivity

What it does not include:*
Smart Objects
Not all filters

Since I still use Photoshop Lightroom 3 for 95% of my editing this was not a big deal. All and all I still want CS5 because of the power and all the available options but until I can come up with the 999.00 for CS5 Extended Photoshop Elements 9 will certainly do the trick.

Now, if you happen to go to college, have a kid in school, home school, or you work for an education institution you can get CS5 for $168.00 using the education discount. Wow is all I can say!

*This is not a complete list but rather a list of items that I specifically use for photo editing.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Switch

My first computer was a Commodore 64 but since then I have always been a PC guy. Why? Well, they were the cheapest and the most versatile… I owned my first PC 21 years ago (DOS and eventually Windows 3.1). Since my first PC I have had many variants of the PC. The timeline (or stages) of PC ownership has always been the same.

Year 1 - Thrilled: Happy that I didn’t spend a HUGE amount of money but managed to get good performance. Later in the year you upgrade the RAM and maybe the video card.

Year 2 – Denial: Your computer begins crashing fairly often and you begin to have issues with disk space (for unknown reasons). You check for virisus, delete everything you can, take off programs, and run system clean up after clean up. But, hey this is still a great computer right? You begin to search websites on occasion looking for a new one.

Year 2.5 – Realization: This is the realization that your PC is in full “Windows Flail” mode. Constant crashing (blue screens), no disk space (don’t know why), simple programs take forever to load and are buggy at best. The fans begin to make noise and system tools to help improve your computer just don’t work anymore. Finally, you reformat your heard drive and clean install the operating system.

Year 3 – Waiting for Trash Run Thursday: If you have made it this far you are on the verge of a nervous breakdown if you ever have to do work on the computer. The clean install worked for a few months but it passes quickly. You buy another computer and you start the cycle back at Year 1. The old computer gets stripped of any usable parts and tossed in the trash.

I am trying to break the cycle.

I used to look down at Mac users because they had systems that couldn’t run EVERYTHING (I was mostly concerned with games). I would laugh and talk about how inferior their operating systems were and how much faster my processor was. Here was the deal… They always seemed to hold onto the same computer for a very long time. Being a photographer I also noticed that most of the professional photographers I followed used Macs. I started the research and quickly realized that from a photographer’s perspective the Mac platform stands above the rest. I use the computer for one primary purpose and that is post processing my images. You guessed it… I bought an iMac 27”. No, I can’t play all the games I used to but that is why we have console systems. I would say the photographic processing performance of the Mac is as good as (maybe a little better) an equivalent PC but I am hoping that at the Year 3 stage I will not be waiting for the trash to run. Stay tuned for some photography specific reviews as it relates to the Mac platform.

Monday, August 8, 2011

How to Make Lightroom Presets

Check out this short video and find out how you can quickly create Lightroom presets.  By having presets available you can significantly decrease the amount of time you spend in post processing.  While it might now be set exactly right for each photograph it will get you very close.  If you are seeing this post of Facebook you can follow the YouTube link here.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Well, Crop it!

Should you crop your photos? It depends. If you are a photojournalist then you should not crop your photos. Photojournalists generally do not make any adjustments to their photos because their clients (newspapers, local news tv etc) require that the photos be untouched for authentic reporting purposes.

If you are not a photojournalist then CROP the photo if it is needed. I attempt to get everything correct in camera because when you crop you lose image quality. This cannot always be accomplished so when cropping is necessary I crop. When you are not taking a photojournalist approach the end result is the most important part of the process. If you photographed a crooked image then straighten it with the crop tool. If you see some weird person stupidly standing in the frame and you can crop them out then crop them out. While you are processing and you can use the crop tool to tighten down the image to really bring out the rule of thirds then crop…

The small example I have here is of a cat.  I took the photo and it stands as is with two exceptions. The location of the cats head within the frame and the distracting white wall and assorted stuff on the right side of the photo...  However, when I crop it down and remove any distracting objects or areas of the frame it has a stronger feel.  The head of the cat is now in the third nodal point of the rule of thirds.  Remember, the rule of thirds can be power but think of it more as a guideline than a hard fast rule.
First and foremost get it as right as you possible can in camera but always remember… You are an artist so use the tools that are available to make the best possible image for you and for your clients.