Strange World

Recycled materials and digital capture combine to create elaborate miniature narratives

The American Dream looks different through the eyes of Jeff and Sabrina Williams. When they go off on a trip and come across a scene that grabs their attention, they start drawing pictures rather than photographing them as they have intentionally replaced their cameras with a pencil and sketch pad. Odd, given that the Williamses are photographers, but... Read more

White Balance Blues

If you had asked me a few years ago if I could tell the difference between a photo shot with Auto white balance and one with a specific setting.

If you had asked me a few years ago if I could tell the difference between a photo shot with Auto white balance and one with a specific setting, I would have laughed and said, “No way.” Auto white balance may have its problems, but I didn’t think it was that distinctive to immediately show up in a photograph. I would have been wrong. While I... Read more

Lighting Gear Makes A Difference

Lighting is the most crucial element in photography, and, in fact, it’s at the very core of image-making, be that photographs, paintings or drawings.

Lighting is the most crucial element in photography, and, in fact, it’s at the very core of image-making, be that photographs, paintings or drawings. An artist needs great light to produce great images. In photography, the most basic source of illumination is “available light,” a general term that describes the existing light on hand. Sometimes... Read more
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Target Fixes

In the digital darkroom, it’s important to think and work selectively, rather than thinking and working globally.

In the digital darkroom, it’s important to think and work selectively, rather than thinking and working globally. In other words, you usually want to work on only part of an image, rather than on the entire image. In this column, I’ll share a few examples of this thinking and working process. I’ll use Photoshop CS5, but you can use these basic... Read more

Extra/ordinary

There couldn’t be truer words than those found in the Latin proverb, “By learning you will teach, by teaching you will learn.”

There couldn’t be truer words than those found in the Latin proverb, “By learning you will teach, by teaching you will learn.” My cameras have taken me to more than 80 countries around the globe, but Tiffini Myers, a student of mine at The Art Institute of California in Hollywood, reminded me that there’s a whole world of photo opportunities... Read more

The Details Of Portraiture

Learn to notice the subtleties for more expressive photos

Photographers, in essence, are storytellers. Instead of words, we use images to tell our stories. In traditional portraiture, we most often focus on the face of our subject to narrate the shot. We look to capture just the right curve of the mouth, the twinkle in the eye or the tilt of the head and rely on facial expressions to reveal the heart and soul... Read more

Go Macro

So you want to dive head-first into the great big world of photographing little bitty things?

So you want to dive head-first into the great big world of photographing little bitty things? That’s great, because macro photography is interesting, fun and rewarding, and it doesn’t take too much expertise to make awesome images right off the bat. What it does take is a bit of planning and the right equipment. Here’s what you need to know, followed... Read more

Smoother Skin In Minutes

If you want to be a portrait photographer—whether pro or weekend warrior—you need to know how to light a person for soft and flattering lighting.

If you want to be a portrait photographer—whether pro or weekend warrior—you need to know how to light a person for soft and flattering lighting. You also need to know how to create the soft-focus look in the digital darkroom. The opening picture for this column started out as a sharp shot and then was softened in Photoshop. In the digital... Read more

Noise-Reduction Basics

In the days of film, we worried about grain, and higher ISO speeds resulted in larger, more pronounced grain.

In the days of film, we worried about grain, and higher ISO speeds resulted in larger, more pronounced grain. Now we have noise. Digital noise is also affected by ISO, but unlike grain there are many ways to eliminate it before and after exposure. Before Shooting Advances in DSLR sensors allow photographers to now shoot at ISO 4000 much as they once... Read more

Photo Flexibility

Several months ago, I attended a wedding in northern Michigan.

Several months ago, I attended a wedding in northern Michigan. Originally, I planned on spending only a few days, but found the area so interesting, I stayed nearly two weeks. My only other visit to Traverse City was several years earlier on a cold winter evening in the middle of a snowstorm. I was there to photograph a baseball-bat inventor... Read more
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