Monthly Archives February 2009


This weekend I got the opportunity to shoot some back-stage portraits of celebrated jazz guitarist Barry Greene, who was playing a special engagement at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Florida last night with the Florida Orchestra (visit Barry’s site).

My assistant Brad Moore and I got there about an hour before their sound check, and we were able to shoot for about an hour backstage, out in the theater seating, and along the front of the stage (click on the photos for larger views—they look better larger). There are two very short video clips below; one during the shoot, with me out in the theater seats shooting Barry at the stage, and another of Barry riffing while I’m taking the shots. (Video clips by Brad Moore).

The shot below is my favorite shot from the day. That’s Barry’s son Mitch (a really great kid)  in the background, and he wasn’t actually in the shot the way I was composing it, but at one point I looked out from behind the camera and saw Mitch back there, and I just wanted to capture that backstage moment for Barry so I went much wider for that frame, and I really like how it came out (click on it for a larger view).


GEAR: We used an incredibly simple set-up; just one Nikon SB-800 flash, on a lightstand, shooting through a shoot-thru umbrella (we actually had planned to use the Lastolite EZ Box but when we got there, we realized that we were missing a critical part, but Brad always brings back-up gear so we just quickly switched to the shoot thru umbrella). I shot with a Nikon D700, and I used two lenses: (1) For most of the day I used a Nikon 200mm f/2, and (2) for the wide stuff I used the 24-70mm f/2.8. All the shots shown here were taken at 200 ISO.

Anyway, we had a fun day, and here are some of the shots from the shoot (the production shots are by Brad “Boy Wonder” Moore).







Here are the two video clips (shot by Brad Moore) below:


It’s Friday; the end of a great week, and before we get to what’s up, I just want to thank Bryan Hughes for his Guest Blog Post on Wednesday. I don’t know if you read the comments readers posted about his post, but he really turned a lot of photographers on to Photoshop CS4 features, and ways of using them, that many folks hadn’t realized were there. I can’t tell you how many people have emailed me to thank me for having Bryan as my guest, but honestly all the credit goes to him. Thanks, Bryan! Now, onto the news:

  • Honl Flash Modifiers Now Over at Expo Imaging
    I just found out yesterday that the David Honl flash modifiers I’ve talked about again and again on this blog (and in my books) are now available direct from the Expo Disc people (Expo Imaging). His stuff is so cleverly designed, so lightweight, and so effective (some of them are shown above) that I became a fan more than a year or so ago, and now I’d hate to be without them. Here’s the link to them over at Expo Imaging.
  • Amazon Releases Kindle 2 Book Reader
    By now you’ve probably heard that Amazon released a major update to their popular Kindle ebook reader, the Kindle 2 (I have the original version, and it’s surprisingly cool), but a lot of folks don’t realize that a number of my books are available on Kindle. For example, my book “The Digital Photography Book, Vol. 1” is available for wireless download to Kindle (believe it or not, on it’s the #10 bestseller of ALL photography books, including printed books. I know—I’m just as surprised as you are). Anyway, the Jaldous Journal Blog did piece about how a color book like mine works in a Kindle format (here’s the link). Also, here’s the link for more info on Kindle 2.
  • NAPP’s Larry Becker Interviewed
    Jason Moore over at the Photoshop and Photography Blog Roll did an interview with my buddy, NAPP’s Executive Director Larry Becker. If you’ve got a quick sec; jump over right here and give it a quick read.
  • Trying out a New Camera GPS This Weekend
    I have a location portrait shoot this weekend, and I’m going to be trying a new digital adapter I just got this week called the JOBO PhotoGPS. I’ll let you know next week how it worked.
  • One Week Left to Save $100 on Photoshop World
    We’re only one week away from the Photoshop World Conference & Expo Early Bird registration deadline, so if you’re going to join us in Boston (and I hope you are), don’t forget to sign up now to save $100 (hey, saving $100 bucks means more than ever, right?). Here’s the link for details.
  • Very Cool Bird Photography
    Want some inspiration to take you into the weekend? Holly Tarquinio, one of my readers, turned me on to this site she found with some incredible parrot photography (it’s cooler than it sounds). Here’s the link (thanks Holly for sharing this with us!).

That’s it for today. Have a great weekend everybody, and we’ll see you back here next week. :-)

First, thanks SO much to everyone who shared their ideas for what they’d like to see covered in my new Photoshop CS4 Down & Dirty Tricks book. The good news is: A lot of the techniques you guys asked for are already in the book (which is really good news for me), and some of your ideas are going to be added to the book (now that I know what you’re looking for).

psw09poster2After reading your comments (over 150 of them), I did realize that I haven’t done a good job of making it clear exactly what the book is about, which is why I included this Photoshop World poster at left. Creating that poster from scratch, including putting the collage together which includes the field, the stadium, the lights, the helmet, the reflection of the stadium in the helmet, adding the shadows, creating the text effects, etc. —that whole thing–that is a Down & Dirty Trick (well, it’s the kind of thing my book is full of, anyway).

That poster (created as part of our college football theme this year at Photoshop World) was not only designed by NAPP’s own Creative Director (and Photoshop World instructor) Felix Nelson, but Felix did a step-by-step of how he created it in this month’s issue of Photoshop User magazine, in the column Felix and I created called (you guessed it) “Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks”(our column is now in it’s 10th year in the magazine!)

So, this book doesn’t cover things like color correction, or portrait retouching, or sharpening, or Lab color, or photo restorations, or Actions, or HDR (all those things are covered in my other books). This book is about special effects, collages, photographic effects, type effects, advertising effects, and stuff like that, and luckily I got LOTS of great ideas from your ideas, and because of that, these folks are getting free signed books from me:

  • Steve Vansak
  • Joe Gass
  • Dennis Smith
  • Jay Rodriguez
  • Trenton Moore
  • Jacob Hurlbut
  • Tim
  • Debbi
  • Matt Timmons
  • Csaba
  • Vincent Mistretta
  • Sacha Fernandez

Disclaimer: I am sending these folks signed copies of the book when it comes out, because they had great ideas, or pointed me to great examples. However, that doesn’t mean that I’ll actually be able to figure any of these effects out, so keep your fingers crossed.

3D Stuff: There were a lot of requests yesterday for effects using the new 3D tools in Photoshop CS4 Extended. I’m totally not a 3D designer on any level, but I knew this book would need to have some cool 3D stuff, so a few months back I went to my in-house Photoshop 3D expert Corey Barker, and asked him to do a special chapter for my book with a bunch of 3D tricks. Corey is just amazing, and I think having this extra chapter from him is definitely going to take things up a big notch.

The Book Cover: We had a book team meeting yesterday, and while our original idea was just to update the old book cover (so readers would recognize that it’s a new version of the old book), the old cover is just too old looking, so Jessica Maldonado (my in-house book designer and general wonder designer) is going to come up with something completely new and fresh. I’ll show you guys the new cover once Jess has it nailed down (Note to Peachpit Press; we’re sending a new cover!). ;-)


I’m just 8 days from the deadline to turn in my “Photoshop CS4 Down & Dirty Tricks” book, and before I turn it all in, I wanted to see if I could get some input from you on what to include in these last chapters.

First, a little background on the book. This is the book that started my whole career, as it was the first book I ever wrote, and the first edition was on Photoshop 5.5 (the Photoshop 6 cover is shown above, because it was essentially the same book). The book is a special effects book, and is based on teaching the reader how to create the same looks and effects you see in magazines, on the Web, on TV, etc.


I’ve been planning on doing a new edition of this book for years now (the last version was for Photoshop CS—-just CS, not CS2, not CS3. Just CS), so it’s long overdue, but it just kept getting pushed to the back burner by other book projects, but I’ve gotten so many letters and emails asking for it, I felt I had to do it (I get more requests for this book than about all the others combined). The first version of the book was for Photoshop 5.5, followed by the book you see above (which was for Photoshop 6). Ya know, now that I’m looking at it; even the new cover up top looks a little dated. We might have to work on that.

So, before I wrap things up, I was hoping that you’d share any ideas for effects you’d like to see covered in the book. If you’ve seen a look, or an ad, or a Web graphic, or anything you can point me to, I’ll check it out and see if I can figure out the look, and get it in the final chapters of the book.

If you turn me on to an effect, and your idea makes it into the book, I’ll send you a signed copy of the book as soon as it comes off press, plus you’ll have my undying gratitude, and a mention in the book, as well as the blog, and I might even send you a small box of crackers or something. Anyway, I could really use your input, because I really want to make this my best Down & Dirty Trick book yet! Just post your comments here on the blog.

Thanks in advance for any ideas you’ve shared. I appreciate it very much!


When Scott asked me to pen a guest blog, I was honored and thankful to have such a great opportunity to reach so many passionate users of our application… Then I realized I’d have to constrain my piece some and focus it on a particular room in the funhouse that is Photoshop.  I feel the same way when I’m demoing; whether I have ten minutes or two hours, it never seems to be enough time.  So I’m going to attempt two things here; one, to deep-dive on some new technology that I haven’t seen thoroughly explored, and two, to let this post be a launch pad towards some great resources for information and technology related to Photoshop.

Of the many twists and turns that Photoshop has taken over the course of my (nearly) 10 years on the team, none have been as interesting to me as those related specifically to photography.  My background is behind the lens and it’s my love for the medium that first drew me to Adobe.  Being mindful of photographers and the applications we provide for them, today I want to focus on two features whose powers can be tapped directly from Bridge CS4, Lightroom 2.0 or from within Photoshop CS4 itself.

….none other than Adobe Photoshop Product Manger (and all around cool guy), Bryan Hughes.

I got to spend some time with Bryan when I was out at Adobe’s HQ last month, and he really brings a totally different point of view to the evolution of Photoshop, how we work with it, what we want, and where it’s going. On a personal level, he’s a very dedicated, passionate, fun, and totally brilliant guy, and it’s a real honor to have him as my guest tomorrow here on the blog. I hope you’ll stop by and check out his Guest Post.