Great Magazines Feature Great Photography

The society of Publication Designers gives out awards every year for achievement in the field of publication design. At first glance this might seem to have little to do with photography—certainly not enough to justify a whole blog post dedicated to it. But in fact I eagerly await the SPD awards every year because they do a great job of showcasing amazing photography. (It doesn't hurt that it's also in conjunction with amazing design, which should be a reminder of how important each is to the other.) They just announced the finalists for the 47th annual SPD awards, and while you can see the covers if you cross reference the list with a Google image search, it might be easier to wait and get the book of winners when it's published. Until then, check out the most recent winners in the recently published SPD 46 annual, which you can read all about at SPD.org, and even thumb through it to see the great photography via the Amazon.com "Look Inside" feature. You'll find a collection of tremendous portraits, landscapes and still life photographs on the covers of a dozen magazines that clearly care about good design (and great photography). So go get inspired, and remember that great magazines require great photography—and vice versa.

http://www.spd.org/2011/12/spotted-in-nyc-on-a-mail-carri.php
http://www.amazon.com/Publication-Design-Annual-Society-Designers/dp/1592537502/
DPMag
The society of Publication Designers gives out awards every year for achievement in the field of publication design. At first glance this might seem to have little to do with photography—certainly not enough to justify a whole blog post dedicated to it. But in fact I eagerly await the SPD…

Get Your Monitor Right With X-Rite

After the recent upgrade of my Mac to OSX Lion, I discovered—unhappily, I might add—that some of my old software was no longer supported. This is the subject of much consternation among many Apple users. Alas, I bit the bullet and learned to love my new operating system and finally upgraded my obsolete color calibration system to one that would be compatible with this OS. After a bit of shopping around I finally settled on the X-Rite i1 Display Pro. It seemed to offer the ideal balance of power and precision that I'm looking for, and better still it wouldn't require a new degree for me to learn to use it. Now it turns out this OS upgrade was a blessing in disguise because this monitor calibration system is amazing. I've long operated with a dual-display setup (something I highly recommend to all computer users, especially photographers) and while I never had any problem profiling my newer Cinema HD display, I've never been happy with the calibration of my older, secondary display. Quite simply, the difference between the two monitors has always been very noticeable—to the point that I've never considered the secondary display to be color managed. Until now. The X-Rite i1 Display Pro seems to have done the trick, not only profiling the monitor and adjusting for ambient lighting in the room (a nice touch) but also matching it to my primary image-editing monitor. In short, after a few years living in the dark ages of an only partially color-managed desktop, I now have come into the light—and it looks perfect. So if you're on the fence about a color calibration solution I can definitely recommend this one. And if you're not sure about whether profiling is even something you need to worry about, let me say this: you'll never feel more confident about the photographs you make than you will when working on a color calibrated system. You can, in the end, trust your eyes—but only if they're looking at a calibrated monitor. The important thing isn't that you use this calibrator, but that you use any calibrator. For more information on my X-Rite system, visit the company's web site.

http://www.xritephoto.com/ph_product_overview.aspx?id=1454&catid=109&action=overview
DPMag
After the recent upgrade of my Mac to OSX Lion, I discovered—unhappily, I might add—that some of my old software was no longer supported. This is the subject of much consternation among many Apple users. Alas, I bit the bullet and learned to love my new operating system and finally…

Use Lens Flare To Your Advantage

I like lens flare, which might be a surprise since lens flare is the product of when things go wrong with your photography. You point your camera toward the sun and find halation and fog and a general lack of contrast and sharpness in your pictures. But lens flare can also be used deliberately as a visual storytelling tool. I think it's popular because it implies authenticity. It adds a snapshot cue, a sense of spontaneity, and a visual element that frankly sometimes just looks really nice. If you're a photographer who also likes lens flare, you might want to check out this post from the Light Stalking blog that offers not only a bunch of great examples of flare in practice, but also a whole bunch of tips and techniques for putting flare to use in your own photos. Because you see, while lens flare may look spontaneous and add an element of casual authenticity to your photographs, doing it right requires actual planning and precision; effective use of lens flare is anything but spontaneous. In the example above, for instance, I worked to create the perfect flare in camera, and then augmented it in post production. So check out Light Stalking to learn how you can break the rules by applying this "mistake" to your own photos. 

http://www.lightstalking.com/lens-flare
DPMag
I like lens flare, which might be a surprise since lens flare is the product of when things go wrong with your photography. You point your camera toward the sun and find halation and fog and a general lack of contrast and sharpness in your pictures. But lens flare can…

A Collection Of Early Kodak Award Winners

In what appear to be some of Kodak's most trying times, The New York Times Lens blog has given us a beautiful tribute to happier days around Rochester. This great gallery of images from the early 20th century is filled with award-winning snapshots from Kodak's formative years. These images were submitted to contests hosted by "Big Yellow" and they serve not only to showcase life from a different era, but just how amazing even a snapshot photograph—made with the most rudimentary films in rudimentary cameras—can be. And that is a testament to the real power of a photograph: it's not about the gear that made it, but the vision of the photographer along with the magic of the moment and the technique (which, of course, does include the equipment). If these folks can do it, we can do it.  

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/02/an-amateur-snapshot-of-kodaks-early-days/
DPMag
In what appear to be some of Kodak's most trying times, The New York Times Lens blog has given us a beautiful tribute to happier days around Rochester. This great gallery of images from the early 20th century is filled with award-winning snapshots from Kodak's formative years. These images were…

Defining Sepia

Here's an interesting little sidebar by photo guru Chase Jarvis. He poses the question on his blog, "What the hell is sepia?" He makes a good point, because to many photographers sepia is just an effect achieved by clicking the appropriate preset or filter in a given photo editing application. But as Chase points out, sepia actually has a long and rich tradition in the photo world. When I was just a young pup, I made actual sepia prints in an actual darkroom. Sepia, you see, is a photographic toning technique from the silver darkroom. Sepia became popular in the 19th century, and remains so still today. Read a little more about the origins and history of sepia at Chase's site, then think about how to apply its effects to make your black and white photos look even better. 

http://blog.chasejarvis.com/blog/2012/03/sepia-what-the-hell-is-it/
DPMag
Here's an interesting little sidebar by photo guru Chase Jarvis. He poses the question on his blog, "What the hell is sepia?" He makes a good point, because to many photographers sepia is just an effect achieved by clicking the appropriate preset or filter in a given photo editing application.…

The Science And Magic Of Light

I teach a studio product lighting class and I'm pretty proud of what my students seem to get out of each lesson. I'm pretty strong on lighting technique because in my own undergraduate work I found that I didn't get enough technical lighting foundation to feel like a well-equipped photographer. Lest my students feel equally unprepared, I focus on technique and they seem to appreciate it. But I'm embarrassed to say I am unfamiliar with this book I just learned about from the Cool Tools blog. It's called "Light: Science and Magic," which appears to be the perfect manual for a lighting class like mine. Based on the chapter previews available at Amazon, the book covers much the same technical ground that I focus on in my class. Maybe I'll have to invest in this book, not only for my students' sake, but for my own too. If you want to build your own technical lighting foundation, consider starting with this book.

http://www.kk.org/cooltools/archives/006122.php
DPMag
I teach a studio product lighting class and I'm pretty proud of what my students seem to get out of each lesson. I'm pretty strong on lighting technique because in my own undergraduate work I found that I didn't get enough technical lighting foundation to feel like a well-equipped photographer.…
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