Monthly Archives July 2011

Please take a minute and check out the short video clip above—it’s an excerpt from this week’s episode of “The Grid” which explains why we need to raise some money quick to help the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya, and how you might win “The Photoshop Guys” signed guitar for helping out.

Here’s the link (watch the video first, then I hope you’ll want to click the link and help. If you do help, please leave me a comment so I can thank you personally).

When I first heard about Google+ (Google’s new social media site), I thought, “Great, just what I need—-I can barely keep up with my Facebook and Twitter accounts….” but now that I’ve been using it for a week or so…I’m kind of digging it.

One of my favorite features of it, versus Facebook/Twitter, is how it displays photos you post to Google+. It puts them at a decent enough size, that in most cases you don’t really have to click on them to see a larger size. To me, the whole thing just feels a lot more “photo friendly” than the other social media sites, including flickr, and I’ve been posting some photos there I haven’t posted elsewhere (so, not really my portfolio images, but instead images that have a story attached to them. Sometimes it’s the post processing, or something that happened during the shoot, and stuff like that).

The whole copyright issue
Of course, when it comes to posting photos on any social media site, the discussion always turns to copyright issues, and honestly I don’t personally have any problems with Google+’s terms. I don’t think Google is going to steal all my photos and use them for their own evil purposes (in fact, I’ve never read a single story about some big photo-sharing site misappropriating a photographer’s photos, or anything along those lines, so I just don’t sweat it. I know, I know….I’m totally naive—the big corporations are actually secretly out to get…..[wait for it…wait for it]…free photography).

Here’s what I do know: any time lawyers get involved in stuff like this, you’re going to have a lengthy legalese document that makes it sound like Google+ (or Facebook, or Twitter) is going to grab all your rights for now and eternity, when all they’re actually trying to do is keep their client (Google+ in this case) from getting sued.

We have a similarly scary-sounding contract for photographers that write for the magazine I publish—Photoshop User magazine. Are we trying to do a rights-grab for the photographers that write for us? Of course not. That would just make us a lot of lifelong enemies. However, our attorneys fight with us tooth and nail claiming we have to have those things in place to protect us and keep us from getting sued into oblivion, so we begrudgingly require them to sign it. Believe me, I wish we didn’t have to. The folks at Google+ probably feel the same way, and wish they had one short paragraph of terms, but in this super-litigious age, they almost have to have it. Sigh.

Add me to your circle on Google+
If you’ve got a Google+ account and you follow me here on the blog, I invite you to check out my Google+ page (I think this is the link, but one thing I had a hard time figuring out is what the simple direct link to my page actually is).

Where does that leave Facebook?
Will Google+ ever replace Facebook? Of course my gut reaction is “of course not!” but after we all saw how went from the biggest buzz site on the planet to a ghost town almost overnight, I wouldn’t totally bet against Google+ (the direct link to Google+ is and if you already have a gmail or google account, you’re already most of the way there).

Hey gang, Brad here with a special This Weekend Only Deal from our good friends at MPIX!

Today through Sunday only, you can get 50% off overnight shipping and 25% off metallic prints! If you haven’t seen the metallic prints, I have to tell you that the color in these things just SCREAM! We have some hanging up around our offices, and everyone who visits always loves them.

These two are by far the most popular promos on the NAPP print store. To take advantage of these deals, just enter the codes senditfast (for overnight shipping) and iluvcolor (for metallic prints) at the checkout.

Have a great weekend!

Hey gang, Brad here with this week’s pimpy! I’m back in Florida this week, and jonesing for some poutine after our trip to Canada last week. Mmm, poutine… :) Okay, on to the news!

The HDR Book Webcast with Rafael “RC” Concepcion
Join us for a free live webcast on Monday, August 1st at 4pm EDTRC Concepcion will be sitting down to talk about his latest title, The HDR Book, is essentially an HDR workshop between 2 covers. The book has 16 projects – each one designed to show you how the subtle differences presented with each scenario (light, subject, environment, etc.) dictate the post-processing needed to achieve each look. You’ll learn the settings RC used as well as the final steps taken in Photoshop before the image was done. The best part is that you recreate these looks yourself using the exact same raw files that RC used in his book! RC will take your questions during the webcast and of course, there will be good deals and prizes to be had by all. Register for the webcast here.

NAPP & Photoshop World Gear
Be sure to check out some of the latest new items over at The Official NAPP Gear Store. You’ll see our usual brand of humor there along with a couple items that would be very appro-pro to grab if you’re headed to Photoshop World Vegas. No matter what the occasion, get your Photoshop and NAPP on!
In Romancing the Landscape Part 3: Ready for Anything, Moose Peterson is back with the final installment of his 3-part class on landscape photography. He’s out at the Valley of the Gods in Utah to show you how to deal with whatever nature throws your way. Plus, he has nearly 45 minutes of post processing at the end of the class!

Also available is Searching for the Light with Cliff Mautner! Cliff is an available-light wedding photographer, and in this class he takes you to a variety of locations with unique light to show you how to get beautiful, memorable photos as quickly as possible.

Kelby Training Live
August is a busy month for Kelby Training Live! Check out these seminar tour dates to see if we’re coming to your city:

Scott Kelby’s Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. LIVE! Tour
– August 5: Orlando, FL
– August 10: Cologne (Köln), DE
– August 12: Amsterdam, NL
– August 22: Miami, FL

Fay Sirkis’ The Art of Photo Painting with Photoshop CS5 Tour
– July 29: Washington, DC
– August 3: Los Angeles, CA

Dave CrossThe Photographers Photoshop CS5 Power User Tour
– August 17: Hartford, CT

Ben Willmore’s Photography and Photoshop CS5: From Focus to Finished Tour
– August 19: Baltimore, MD
– August 26: Charlotte, NC

You can get all the details and register for these tours over at Kelby Training Live!

Joe McNally Workshop in St. Lucia
There are still some spots open for Joe McNally’s Advanced Flash Techniques in the Islands Workshop at the beautiful Anse Chastanet/Jade Mountain resort in St. Lucia! You can get all the info and registration info right here.

Moose Peterson: Nikon Learn & Explore
The latest Nikon Learn & Explore features none other than Moose Peterson with some great advice and tips on photographing air shows! If you’re interested in aerial photography, make sure you head over and check out it.

FX Studio App
Check out macphun’s FX Studio App for Mac, iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch!  This is an easy-to-use app with over 150 and filters and effects for editing photos on all your Apple devices. You can see the interface and read some reviews right here.

That’s it for today. Check back tomorrow for a killer This Weekend Only Deal!

Hey gang, Brad here with some quick news:

David Ziser will be doing a webcast TODAY at 2PM Eastern called Building Lifelong Clients, presented by Animoto, that you won’t want to miss!

Here’s a quick description:

What’s the easiest sale to make?  One with a client you already have.

Perfect the softer side of your marketing from internationally renowned photographer (and founder of DigitalProTalk), David Ziser in this free webinar!

A master of client relationships, David Ziser has been a leading photographer and educator in the industry for over twenty years.  His 2009 Digital WakeUp Call tour was called the best of the year and one of the best digital photography seminar series ever.

Recently, David produced the book Captured by the Light, the Essential Guide to Extraordinary Wedding Photography.

After David shares his expertise, Animoto will do a quick walk through of the video creation and sharing process.

This webinar is free, but space is limited, so sign up now!

Rim Light, A Page from Avedon’s Book

Richard Avedon has captured my imagination ever since my dad bought me my first camera. At 16 years old, I wasn’t savvy enough to know how he created such compelling and visually stunning portraits – all I knew was I couldn’t stop looking at his images and felt an immediate, spellbinding connection with his subjects. Over the years, I’ve studied and learned a lot about his technical style, and one of the most important is rim lighting – a skill all portrait photographers should incorporate into their arsenal of tricks.

Sometimes called “back light” or “hair light,” rim light creates a silhouette of light around the side or top of a subject, without illuminating the background. This light allows the viewer to visually separate a subject from the background. A subtle sheen around the silhouette of a subject can be achieved by placing an artificial lighting source behind a subject or by placing the subject in front of the setting sun. A master at rim light, Avedon uses lighting techniques that give his human characters an exceptional and differential depth.

Taking a page from Avedon’s book, I consider lighting one of my most important technical investments. I have been consistently amazed by people’s positive reactions to lighting in my portraits. I believe our eyes and minds are wired to look for depth in every photograph – and lighting can completely change your perception of the entire composition of the image and the depth of the characters.

I’m fondest of Avedon’s early years, when he often used soft, blurry rim effects in his famous fashion portraiture. Artists have a tendency to mimic their heroes and I, too, often steer toward less extreme, softer set-ups. In the following photograph, I used the after hours, early evening sun as rim – using a 4×6” zebra California Sunbounce as the key light and natural ambient light as the fill. Notice that the rim light helps the viewer focus on the human subjects before identifying with the surrounding environment. The result is a soft, romantic portrait of a couple doused in a sheen of natural light in a vineyard – and it’s just so beautiful.

I’ve learned the hard way, however, that I should step out of the box and try something other than what I’m naturally inclined to do. My lighting director is extremely passionate about lighting (duh) and has taught me to be more adventurous with different kinds of lighting. Thanks to him, I’ve experimented with artificial light to create stronger rim light in some of my shots – which instantly creates a completely different emotional effect. In the following photograph, I used a hard rim light set at about 1 f/stop higher than the key light softbox. The rim light was actually tucked into an alcove behind the bar. This prevents lens flare while creating a golden glow on the silhouette of the model’s hair.

There is no hard and fast rule about how you should use rim light. You should have a vision and design your shot using your available tools and techniques. This might mean adjusting the placement of the rim light, having more rim light, or using natural ambient light (instead of an additional fill light) to complement the rim effect. I meter all my shots; this makes it easier for us to compose the shot again – or know how much we have to modify.

The most important thing is to define your style as a photographer and let your style define what tools and techniques you use in each shoot. For Avedon, it was always more about the emotional darkness and lightness of his human subjects and less about the technical setup. Create a lighting style that best represents your own artistic sense, but don’t be afraid to change it up. You’ll be surprised at some of the shots you will get.

You can see more of Catherine’s work at, keep up with her on her blog, see her on TWiT Photo, follow her on Twitter, and find her on Facebook.