Photography Certificate Complete Brings New Self Assignment

Stacey This week concludes my program at the Center for Digital Imaging Arts in Waltham. ScarecrowIt's been an exciting year and half as I pursued the Certificate of Professional Photography, attending class two nights and every other Saturday for the entire duration. The end of my studies brings with it the start of a professional vocation as a photographer, albiet part-time for now. I feel that the program at CDIA fully prepared me for this new path, and I've emerged confident and skillful, and ready to take on new imaging challenges.

Hollywood Glamour - Hi KeyAs I immersed myself in photography technique I owe additional thanks to some "virtual mentors", especially David Hobby ("The Strobist") for his extremely helpful blog entries and DVD tutorial, Joe McNally for his helpful blog and online training, and Zack Arias for his online tutorials as well. (I just started following Ryan Brenizer's blog as a valuable resource, too.)

KimFor the graduation ceremony, to be held in January at CDIA, I will be able to submit 4 framed images for display among all the images from my class. Many students submit work done during their time as students, but I would like to use this opportunity to challenge myself with a new project, specifically for the graduation show.

Patrick, front stepsIn this project, I want to exercise the best of all the strengths that I've gained by producing a collection of 4 environmental portraits done in the style of photographers I wish to emulate such as Joel Grimes and Tim Tadder, such that the portraits have a coherent theme and lighting style to bind them together. I've decided to call this first self assignment: Alchemy: Series One, a series having portraits that integrate the four natural elements, Air, Water, Earth, and Fire. More on this assignment later when its complete.

For now, I spent part of Thanksgiving in the garage practicing the technique and exercising all the moving parts.

Three Light Strobist Practice, on Flickr

The One Light Workshop on DVD

DericEver since I read about Zack Arias on The Strobist blog I've been a fan of his photographic style and I've enjoyed his generous lessons such as the 5-part White Seamless Tutorial. To the right is a photo I took after mastering the inverse square law of light in part 2 of Zack's tutorial. This was shot on white seamless believe it or not. Ok, this was one gridded main light at F22 and two bare bulb strobe heads behind him for rim light, but what the hell, that's my style.

When I learned that Zack has a DVD of his popular workshop for sale, I checked out the site and watched the promo video of the workshop. I'm always looking to learn new photography skills so I ordered the DVD set of One Light Workshop right away.

The DVD just arrived so I can't review it yet, but I have to say that Zack is one hell of a marketer! Included with the 2 Disc DVD set was a handy lighting field book to keep in the gear bag, and some One Light bumper stickers, and a One Light T-Shirt, and a music DVD produced by his wife. That's quite a package.

I'll be completing my photography work at CDIA by the end of this year and will launch a formal small photography business. The 10 hour Strobist DVD set was a treasure chest of speedlight skills which I devoured this past summer, and I expect to fully immerse myself in One Light Workshop (as well as the Joey Lawrence DVD tutorial) very soon.


"People are happier when they're lit" - Love that tag line Zack!

If you're in Boston tomorrow for the Photoshop CS4 for Photographers Tour, I'll see you there!

Hollywood East comes to Boston... or not

Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray has better things to do... What?!?!

The Boston Globe reported today on the progress of a legislative bill to increase tax breaks for Plymouth Rock Studios, a.k.a. Hollywood East. Former executives from Paramount Pictures have been planning construction of a massive $420 million studio located less than an hour south of Boston, expected to have over 1.2 million square feet with 14 stages AND "50,000 square feet of the world's most advanced Post Production facilities"!!

The Massachusetts House of Representatives discussed the bill this week, and its destined for approval in the state senate next, but according to the Globe, Senator Therese Murray is blocking the additional tax incentive by claiming that its "not at the top of her agenda". The Senate's not even going to think about it.

Taxachusetts, er, Massachusetts has been hemorrhaging residents for years because there's not enough high wage jobs and out of control housing costs (a problem that continues in the area despite the nation-wide housing crisis). Hollywood comes to Boston and wants to drop a huge chunk of change, but now Senator Murray's too busy to help give the state a massive shot in the arm?

The opportunities for creative professionals in film, photography, audio, animation, and other computer specialists would be a boon for the state, and New England. According to Plymouth Rock Studio's website:

Plymouth Rock Studios will employ over 2,000 skilled professionals and generating billions of dollars in direct and indirect economic benefits to the Plymouth area and the Commonwealth.

And where is the brand spanking new Massachusetts Creative Economy Director Jason S. Schupbach in all this? He should be in Senator Murray's office tearing her a new lobbying on behalf of Plymouth Rock.

Geeze... Massachusetts, please get a clue!

Smashing Copyright on Stunning Photographs

Smashing Magazine recently published an article, in blog format, titled Really Stunning Pictures and Photos. The article begins with the presentation of text advertisements from Google Adsense in the main column, and a row of image-based advertisements in the menu column. Further on the article begins as a brief introduction that heralds the effort involved in Photography as a craft and a very brief notice that all photographs are copyright of their respective owners.

The publication then seems to flagrantly and egregiously disregard all respect for copyright by actually displaying copies of photographs hosted on their website that have been scraped off well known photo sharing websites such as Flickr and DeviantArt. While it's very flattering to have a magazine or well known person or organization use one's photo, perhaps an ego trip sometimes, we as photographers shouldn't let third parties arbitrarily steal or borrow creative work or intellectual property by using it without consent or without proper credit.


Bare Knuckle Boxer

Bare Knuckle Boxer

In a recent shoot at CDIA, we were all shooting fashion models in glamour, fashion, and your basic "All-American" type styles. By contrast, one model showed he had a tough, serious side which gave me the idea for a classic boxing shot that you might have seen 30 or 40 years ago.

Using hard, split lighting from two 20 grids mounted on strobes on either side I was able to produce some dramatic light bouncing off his shoulders and cheeks, while a 18" dish above him provided a hair light and kicker. In fact, this was the same light I used on this very different shot here, and yet the results have very different feels.

At the dollar general store across the street, I found a squirt bottle and a roll of sports tape to help prepare the shot. I wrapped the tape around his hands the way boxers do before putting on gloves, pressing it into the knuckles to make it look worn and used. Still the tape didn't have that look and feel of the real thing because it was so white and shiny. Luckily, with a little improvisation, I found some leftover chocolate cake nearby which had a rich brown color, so I convinced the model to let me rub some of it into the tape. Wiping off the excess, it perfectly matched what could have been some dried blood and dirt.


Adobe's Angela Drury, Photographer by Night, on Adobe TV

New on the Photography channel on Adobe TV, Angela Drury, Customer Support Manager at Adobe, share's her story behind her passion for photography, including her experience with the Lightroom team in the 2006 Lightroom Adventure in Iceland. You can follow along with Angela and the Team right now as they're in Tasmania on the latest Adobe Lightroom Adventure 2008.

After Hours at Adobe - Angela Drury
By day, Angela manages a team of product support engineers for Adobe Customer Care. After hours, she's an award winning photographer.

Working with Models: A tough gig, but someone has to do it!

This month at Boston University Center for Digital Imaging Arts I'm learning to work with fashion models in studio photography. This course, DP206, teaches us the rhythm of working with models, how to direct them and engage them to turn the shots we visualize in our heads into beautiful prints in real life. It puts together everything we've learned so far about about camera operation, studio lighting, portraiture, concept, and posing. Additionally, as the program emphasizes the use of Lightroom for digital imaging workflow, and Photoshop for retouching and compositing, this course also puts our full range of beauty retouching skills to the test.

...not that we really need to, because they are -after all- models. ;-)

BOOM!, there it is in living color. I'm especially proud of this one, and I think its my best image to date. You can check it out on Adobe's new Photoshop Express Gallery.

The Look

The models are real, both male and female, and our best images will go into their portfolio as well. This means lots of exposure to the photographers because every ad agency they work with will see model's portfolio, and if we're lucky, they'll want to know more about the photographer behind that great model shot. From the CDIA website:


New Kinder, Friendlier Photoshop Express Terms of Service

Its already after working hours here on the East Coast, so many Photoshop Express users out there may not yet be aware that the Terms of Service (TOS) have been greatly revised based on user feedback. The TOS are no longer so all-encompassing as they were when Photoshop Express went live last week.

In fact, I think they are written to be much more readable since they now include (parenthetical) plain english explanations of the generally terse legalese, and I think users will find the new TOS to be respectful of your copyright on your intellectual and creative property.

The TOS now include a means of terminating Adobe's display of your images on the site if you so choose, which should provide a greater measure of comfort to using or considering using the online photo editing and sharing service.

You can read the kinder, friendlier Photoshop Express Terms of Service here (see Section 6: Use of Your Content)

Adobe Lightroom Adventure 2008 in Tasmania

Wow, did I miss the boat on this one! (or the plane as the case may be)

The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Team is happily clicking away as I type this in the luxurious landscape of Tasmania this week and next, corresponding with the release of Lightroom 2.0 Beta.

This is the sequel to the very successful Adobe Lightroom Adventure 2006 in Iceland which produced copious gigabytes of beautiful images to herald the launch of the first version of Lightroom.

You can follow their daily blogging from Tasmania on the O'Reilly website here. Among the crew is a friend and colleague Angela Drury, frequent contributor to Photoshop User magazine, award winning photographer, and manager of Dreamweaver Support at Adobe.

Introducing Flash Mini - Squeezing Flash on the iPhone

Just when all the news of porting Flash to the iPhone has died down, I stumbled across what appears to be an internal document diagramming how Steve Jobs intends to do just that with a product code named Flash Mini. Who knew!?

Read the full story for more...

Squeezing Flash onto the iPhone


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