So Over The “Overly-Retouched” Argument

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Ah, “photography”, you loosely defined word that everyone seems to have their own definition of. It’s amazing how polarizing you can be, isn’t it?

And one of your most polarizing aspects seems to be exactly how much retouching is considered reasonable. Purists claim no retouching of any kind is allowed (then they usually reference Ansel Adams, which is quite ironic considering the amount of dodging and burning he brought to the field), while others gladly accept Photoshop as a regular part of their photography tool-belt.

In general though, there’s a viewpoint around the photography community, that too much Photoshop is a bad thing. That it destroys photography as we know it, and those who retouch an absurd amount should be banned or beheaded or at least mildly reprimanded (depending on which Facebook group you happen to be in). But before we all start gathering our pitchforks, can we maybe examine this concept of over-retouching for just a second?

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A Feather Made From Tens Of Thousands Of Nude Photos

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Artist Angelo Musco created what, at first glance, seems to be a digital feather. But upon closer inspection (and I mean if you go really up close), you see that this is not a feather at all.

Musco composited tens of thousands of nude photos to create this feather and the details of the finished feather (as well as the individual bodies) is staggering.

(Some artistic nude after the jump)

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How We Shot This Photo Of A Floating Woman With A Simple Lighting Trick

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Do you remember your first eye-opening experience with lighting in photography? I think it happend to me while watching one of David Hobby’s tutorials, realizing that the justification for flash lighting is so much more then just “being able to shoot at ISO 100”. Lighting sets the mood, creates separation, defines spacial relation and, sometimes, makes the impossible possible. Today, let’s look at a lighting trick, I’ve only recently come across together with photographer (and good friend) Ethan Oelman while joining him on one of his personal projects. If you love to experiment with mobile flash equipment as well, check out “The Strobe” section bellow – you can win one of the awesome new Elinchrom ELB 400 strobe packs!

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Dear New Photographer…

(C) jenna martin

I’m writing this post because I was up late last night on a Facebook forum, reading close to 200 comments about new photographers and what slime they are to the industry. How they’re stripping photography of it’s “art” and destroying any decent business practices. I read every comment, feeling more and more sick to my stomach the further I scrolled down the page.

“Who do these people think they are? Don’t they remember when they were new and making all the same mistakes?”

I know this year has probably had it’s ups and downs for you; the excitement of booking your first paid gig, the confusion of all that “must have” photography gear and the hurt and guilt of being single-handedly blamed for “ruining the industry.” I know the phrase “what to charge for engagement photos” is probably one of the first things to come up in your Google search bar, and secretly you’re still wondering why using the eraser tool in photoshop is such a horrible thing.

I also know that you’re afraid to ask for advice at every turn because for every established photographer that is willing to help, you’ve got 30 more breathing down your neck that are doing everything they can to cut you down. I’ve been there too – I’ve had my work ripped apart online by a “reputable” photographer (who went out of business earlier this year), I’ve bought things I didn’t need because some famous photographer endorsed them and I thought it would make a dramatic improvement in my work (it didn’t), and I’ve used the crap out of the eraser tool (layer mask, folks).

So what I wanted to do here is give you a heads-up. A bit of a rant mixed with some advice I wish I had known in the beginning, this is just about everything I wish someone had told me the first day I got that used and slightly beat up (but still very new to me) camera in my hands.

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[Strong Graphics] Big Ideas, Small Budget – How To Create Fun Conceptual Images On A Small Budget

Editor note. The post has some strong graphics in it which may not be to everyones taste. Proceed with caution.

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Photography can be an expensive passion; and none of us have the budget of a small European country although sometimes it does feel like we need it to create amazing images.  In this article I’d like to share some of my favourite conceptual images that were both fun and inexpensive to create.

Whilst I understand that my slightly dark and quirky style doesn’t suit everyone, you can take the basic ideas and techniques to apply to your own style.

For each concept I’ve given the price of the items I’ve used but keep in mind that you won’t have to buy everything every time for every shoot.  A little creativity goes a long way to keeping your costs down.

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Margarita Kareva Recreated The Tales We All Grew Up Upon With Photos

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Based in Russia, photographer Margarita Kareva probably makes any kids around her happy (or deeply horrified). This is because Margarita brings fairy tales to life.

Margarita seeks inspiration in fantasy books which she then executes as photo stories.

It may be hard to believe but Margarita only picked up a camera about three years ago, which (again) shows what can be accomplished with love, dedication and passion. [Read more…]

Mind Boggling Ultraviolet Shoot 2 Years In The Making

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Sometime making a great photo is all about getting the courage to ask making it. Photographer Benjamin Von Wong recently completed a spectacular photoshoot involving one of the most talented make up artists I’ve seen – Michael Rosner. It took Ben almost two years to bring a plan together that would make a fantastic shoot worthy of the art.

Ben approached both high end designers Amber Kusanagi and Michelle Hebert, and hair Stylist Dinah Raphaelle toput together an offer Michel can not refuse.

And the shoot came to life with an ultraviolet theme. Photographing Black Light requires a lot of illumination since the material emits really low light, Ben opted for a  Broncolor UV Attachment filter which mounted on the move unit was strong enough to freeze the action. (those are only $1,500 a pop, but you can rent them, or ask your local police station forensic team for a lender).

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How to Create Magical Framed Portraits

How to Create Magical Framed Portraits

I have shot implicit nude before, and one of the things that I find to be hard on this type of shoot is how to hide the parts that you do not want to reveal in the final photo. Aside from the artistic decision, there is always the concern that the model will be exposed beyond what he/she had signed for. One night, while drinking my whiskey I had an idea – instead of hiding certain body parts, I can make them transparent. I thought that it would keep a very exposed feeling, while keeping the final photograph modest enough.

The first set of framed portraits was shot at an abandoned military base in the north of Israel (not telling where, but let me say that I practically shot on the verge of a civil war). I photographed Anna, a model I have worked with before, so we were comfortable experimenting. I also took a few framed photos I had around the house. A Pink Floyd framed poster and a few other framed beer coasters. [Read more…]