10 Steps to Better Photo Workflow

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I don’t know about you, but I got into photography so I could spend my time taking photos. What I did not get into photography for was the post production, the marketing, the meetings, the consultations, the pitches, the proposals, and the networking. Or the countless hours away from my family. For that I could have kept practicing law and left photography on the shelf as a hobby. The things we do in life always look different to those on the outside looking in. Just like my non-lawyer friends were convinced that all of my courtroom appearances were worthy of a “Law & Order” script, I find that many of the non-photographers in my life have a totally warped view of what those of us who make a living with our cameras do every day. Realistically speaking, I’d have to say that maybe only ten percent of my life as a photographer is about shooting. The other ninety percent is the stuff that makes me wish I could afford a full-time assistant. For me, it comes down to the best use of my time. Does “insert activity here” take time away from shooting and/or family? If so, what I can I do to switch that around?

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New Algorithm Uses Text Commands to Change the Weather in Pictures

Do you ever notice how sophisticated and easily accessible futuristic technology can look at times when watching a movie? Just to throw an example out there, remember how subtly awesome it was when all Tony Stark needed to do to paint his armor was ask Jarvis to add some hot rod color? As advanced as technology is these days, Louis C.K. was right; we’re a bit spoiled when it comes down to how much we expect. Just the other night, I had a friend complaining that he was stuck on 4G because there wasn’t any LTE in the area.

The bottom line is that efficiency and speed both play a big role in how technology moves forward. As simple as it is to take your phone out and press a button to show the screen, we ended up finding a way to make pushing it unnecessary. As simple as it is to type in a password to buy an app, we replaced it with a fingerprint sensor. And as efficient as it is to Photoshop your pictures to change the weather, we’ve now found a way to let an algorithm do the job for us.

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How to Resize Images for Print in Photoshop

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Way back in September, I wrote an article about The Power of a Print. I talked a bit about many of the things we do with our images these days– from editing and processing to sharing and blogging. What we hardly every do anymore, I pointed out, is actually print them. I’m not talking about the work we do for our clients. They’ve hired us to create those images, at least some of which almost always get printed. When it comes to the images we capture for ourselves, however, printing hardly ever seems to be at the top of our priority list. How many truly stunning images are living inside your computer, external hard drives, or even your phone? What sort of joy or sense of accomplishment are they bringing you from the deep, dark depths of their binary existence? I’m not going to rehash that whole post here (although I do encourage you to read it), nor am I here to lament the terabytes of unprinted pixels in the world. I received an email from a reader the other day asking me if I could clarify a few points for him on how to resize images for print. Rather than just dash off a quick reply, I decided to address it here.

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Dear Adobe, I Want to Join The Creative Cloud, Please Help

Dear Almighty Adobe,

This is not a break up letter, you know I love you, but, I have questions going around in my head…. I really want to join the creative cloud, please help.

I love the idea of the Creative Cloud. Really, what’s not to love there. Laptop/desktop/tablet integration; instant updates; $10 for the photography plan. So why haven’t I moved yet. I actually consider moving almost daily. Well not daily, you know, but quite often. If you just made those really minor tweaks, I would hop over in an instant.

dear-adobe [Read more...]

12 Essential Photoshop Skills Every Photographer Should Know (With Video)

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“…If you’re saying in your head, ‘Oh, I’ll just fix that later in Photoshop,” stop what you’re doing and slap yourself as hard as you can.” –Zack Arias

If you’ve been reading my stuff for a while, you know that I’m a huge proponent of getting it right in the camera. Exposure, lighting, composition– all of it. As I tell my students, Photoshop is a tool, not a crutch. A bad photo is a bad photo, and no amount of post processing is going to miraculously turn it into a good photo. A good photo can very often be improved with a few well-placed tweaks and adjustments, but it’s just as easy to kill a perfectly fine photograph by going overboard in Photoshop. Still, though, photo editing is a fact of life and I think there are certain essential Photoshop skills that every photographer should know.

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Don’t Have a Polarizer? This Tutorial Just Might Convince You to Get One

Did you know that that when you use a polarizer in a wet forest, the color come out more vibrant because of the water’s effect through the lens?

Up until today, the only two things I knew about polarizers were that they make things go black when you put two together, and that they’re a feature in my American Optical Pilot Aviators (insanely affordable for their quality). Photographer Steve Perry, however, is so passionate about the polarizer that he made a ten minute long video tutorial over it. And don’t let that throw you off; this video doesn’t waste time. He spends ten straight minutes teaching you about polarizers, and it’s one of the most informative little pieces I’ve seen for a while now.

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Journalist Checks Beauty Concept By Having Herself Photoshopped In 40 Countries

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Over the time, we’ve seen many here-is-a-picture-how-can-you-shop-it projects, but something sets Before & After apart. In this project, journalist Esther Honig took her unedited image and had it Photoshopped by 22 individuals so far.

Honing sent her image to about 40 retouch artists at varying levels from amateur to pro, and asked them to retouch her photo (seen right after the jump), with a simple single directive: “make me beautiful“. Contact came via several freelancing channels (most notably Fiverr) so work has been committed at rates between $5 and $30. This is pretty cheap for a pro retouch, but still the wide selection of skill and geographical locations  provides a window into the concept of beauty as it is perceived in various regions of the world.

Honig shares that: [Read more...]

The Comprehensive And Contemplative Guide On Creating Magical Smoke Composites

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There is an old song that says that no good story ever started with the words “No Good Story Ever Starts With Drinking Tea [Watch this link, it has some pretty explicit music]. Anyhow,  I am not really sure if this is 100% accurate, but it definitely applies for my story today. I once drank a nice shot of Whiskey. Drinking Whiskey and smoking cigar. I kinda threw my head back and relaxed while enjoying the smoke swirling upwards. Ahhh…. What a nice swirl…… It was actually dancing its way up. I know that this is what incepted this ballerina photograph: [Read more...]

How To Do A 2.5D Parallax Animated Photo Effect Using Only Free Software

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I had been fiddling with creating these 2.5D parallax animated photos for quite a few years now, but there had recently been a neat post by Joe Fellows that brought it into the light again.

The reason I had originally played with the idea is part of a long, sad story involving my wedding and an out-of-focus camcorder that resulted in my not having any usable video of my wedding (in 2008). I did have all of the photographs, though. So as a present to my wife, I was going to re-create the wedding with these animated photos (I’m 99% sure she doesn’t ever read my blog – so if anyone knows her don’t say anything! I can still make it a surprise!). [Read more...]

Adobe Is Taking A Big Bite Into The Hardware Market, Competes With Wacom

Adobe's new hardware: Ink and Slide.

Adobe’s new hardware: Ink and Slide.

If you think Adobe, you think software. With the release of new iOS applications for iPad, Adobe today also announces new hardware to break into the market previously dominated by Wacom. With the release of a new stylus and digital ruler, Adobe has come out swinging by turning the iPad into a high definition graphics tablet.

Previously, Adobe have excelled in producing software and dominated within the photographic and design industries. Now, with new hardware, they are further cementing themselves as the leader of innovation. If you own an iPad already, no longer will you have to buy a graphics tablet in addition, which you likely use with Photoshop anyway. Instead, by using the free iOS apps, particularly Adobe Photoshop Mix, these two pieces of hardware allow you to expand your work into areas you may not have previously ventured with fine control in editing and design work around your photographs.

I find this bold step fascinating. Adobe has long had a firm foothold in the industry as a software giant, but now it is taking that extra step to go further. The hardware items are listed below:

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