Shooting The Shooter

At the risk of coming off as entirely self-serving, today's blog post is all about me. I was just the featured subject in another photographer's series of photographs of photographers. How meta is that! Corey Woodruff is a photographer and blogger, and he asked if he could photograph me in my studio classroom as part of his "Shooting The Shooter" portrait series. Of course I obliged, and while it's immensely uncomfortable for us photographers to find ourselves on the other side of the camera for a change, it wasn't as excruciating as I thought it might be. Corey made it easy and fun and—especially important given the circumstances—informative for my students too. Corey's only been shooting professionally for four years, but he's quickly becoming a master of the handheld flash in the same vein as David Hobby's Strobist style. Check out the blog post for a glimpse at my ugly mug, and a look inside my classroom (with, I might add, a fairly accurate retelling of the vibe in the class).

http://coreywoodruff.com/wp/?p=1683

DPMag
At the risk of coming off as entirely self-serving, today's blog post is all about me. I was just the featured subject in another photographer's series of photographs of photographers. How meta is that! Corey Woodruff is a photographer and blogger, and he asked if he could photograph me in…

Rembrandt Lighting For Portraits

It's funny to me how often clients and their art directors request from me that I make flat, shadowless lighting on the faces of my portrait subjects. And they don't mean eliminating dramatic shadows, they mean eliminating all shadows on faces. Ugh. Any photographer worth his salt knows that shadows are the key to a good portrait. Used properly they accentuate attractive shapes and features, and minimize flaws. Consequently there have arisen throughout the history of photography a few reliable portrait lighting patterns that we have constantly been able to rely on. There's the butterfly pattern (with its butterfly-shaped shadow just below the nose), loop lighting, split lighting, and my personal favorite, Rembrandt lighting. The Rembrandt pattern is so named because, well, the man himself (seen above) with his tremendous sensitivity to light and shadow often rendered his subjects with just a small triangle of light on one cheek. The result is almost uniformly gorgeous. And if you want to know how to do it for yourself—or do it better than you currently do—then I suggest you read this introduction to Rembrandt lighting on the Light Stalking blog. With a few examples and a diagram to help position subject, camera and lights, you'll be your own master light painter in no time. 

http://www.lightstalking.com/an-introduction-to-rembrandt-lighting-for-portrait-photographers

DPMag
It's funny to me how often clients and their art directors request from me that I make flat, shadowless lighting on the faces of my portrait subjects. And they don't mean eliminating dramatic shadows, they mean eliminating all shadows on faces. Ugh. Any photographer worth his salt knows that shadows…

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…
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