Category Archives Guest Blogger

[Note from Brad: This post contains a little PG-13 language/imagery.]

I would first like to thank Scott and Brad for inviting me to be today’s guest blogger⦠it’s quite an honor and hopefully I won’t make them regret asking me. Like most of us here, I am an image guy and words are my enemy. So, I will do my best to finish a thought, not use run-on sentences, and in the end, shed some light on what I do as a digital artist.

For those of you who don’t know me or my work, let me give you the elevator ride explanation of who I am. I have been in the business of making images for high profile clients, ad agencies, and celebrities for over 15 years. After graduating from the University of Michigan, I cut my teeth in a small retouching studio and worked my way up through studio/agency life until venturing out on my own. I consider myself a digital artist, who’s specialty is creating hybrid images. This is done by combining all of my skill sets into one image, CGI, illustration and photography.

One of the most rewarding aspects of what I do is collaborating with some the best photographers in the world. Working with another artist on a project can be very rewarding, especially when you can combine your talents and create something better than you could have alone. I have had the luxury of working with some great photographers and I would like to shed some light on how the whole process works. Keep in mind that there is no one formula for working together, as we all know, people are very different and so is my approach when working with photographers. The best way to explore this topic is to use real world examples and talk a little bit about approach, collaboration and promotion.


Photos by Tim Tadder

I will start off with a photographer who has done the guest blog before and who has inspired me to be a better artist. That guy is Tim Tadder. Tim and I met a few years ago and we both felt an instant connection in our work⦠wow, that sounded more like a “bromance” story, not that there is anything wrong with that. Anyways, Tim and I have come to rely on each other for creative inspiration and as sounding boards for ideas.


Photo by Tim Tadder

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Photo by Claude Bauschinger

If you decide to read about portrait photography, you'll find a lot about cameras, lenses, lighting setups, and tricks. Most of that misses the most important ingredient of all — your relationship with the subject, so frequently overlooked yet just as important as the technical mumbo-jumbo.

I was going to call this post "Why I Use Wide-Angle Lenses and Get Up In People's Faces," but thought better of it because there's so much more involved. For me, meeting and talking to my subjects during a shoot is a big reason why I love taking portraits. The camera settings and technical considerations melt away (or, more often, are left to muscle memory), and it becomes two new friends getting to know each other.

Since taking portraits is an active process, "taking" doesn't adequately describe what happens. It's collaborative, and when it's really going well, I liken it to a dance. You need to allow me to take a good picture as much as I need to want to take it. Read that last sentence again — it's important.

That said, every subject is different, but that's what makes it interesting. I've had people who trusted me fully upon walking in the door and others who took hours before I got anything that I liked out of them. Sometimes you have to wear them down with kindness. Keep shooting and talking until you get to the point where you're just talking and one of you happens to have a camera. That's when things really work.

Preparation is critical, of course, but so is thinking on your feet. Being empathetic toward your subject is a big part of it, especially with people who don't get their picture taken very often. You have to make it not feel like they're sitting on the cold crinkly paper of the exam table at their doctor's office.

Sometimes, good preparation is enough. I was assigned to shoot Charlie Maxwell for BusinessWeek. Charlie's an oil analyst who has been in the business since the 50s — basically as long as the oil business has been the oil business. So as for most of my editorial assignments, I did extensive research the night before. I learned everything I could about current reserves, recent discoveries, peak oil, and so forth. When I got to his house outside NYC and started to shoot, I wasn't talking to him about the weather. I was talking to him about a recent find in Kazakhstan and what it meant for Saudi Arabia and the oil sands of Canada. I was talking to him about the one thing he knows more about than almost anyone else, and the fact that I had obviously done my research made him respect me in kind. Things went so well that he invited me and my assistant to the back lawn for lemonade with his wife afterwards and gave us a ride back to the train station when we were done. Memorable.

Other times, it's not about anything you can prepare for, but just knowing how to turn someone around in the moment. On one my first magazine shoots, my subject was author Jhump Lahiri. I was really nervous already, but then she was late, which ate into the time I had to work. Apparently there were some politics going on, and they weren't sure if she was going to show up at all — but no one told me any of that until we were in the thick of it.

She arrived 45 minutes late, spent 30 minutes in hair and makeup, put on a pretty dress, and then was ready. She was nice and polite, but not yet invested in what we were doing. I knew I'd have to wear her down a bit if I was going to get the kind of connection I needed. As we began shooting I asked (as I often do) if she liked getting her portrait taken. "Sometimes," she responded. "It's the photographers, isn't it?" I said. She rolled her eyes slightly, and I'd found my way in.

Later I moved us into a corner of the huge studio away from the magazine staff, so we could work more intimately. I was up on a chair shooting down next to a big octabox and said to my assistant on the floor (within obvious earshot of the subject), "You know, Meg, I don't care what these pictures look like as long as SHE says I was one of the good photographers." That brought a big smile from Jhumpa and I thought, "Ah ha! Got her!" She immediately loosened up and the rest of the shoot went swimmingly. Afterward, she pulled me aside to shake my hand and assure me that I was one of the good ones.

Every once in a while, you have to look like you're in complete control even as problems pop up like whack-a-mole. A few years ago, I was hired by TIME magazine to shoot author Malcolm Gladwell in a small studio in their offices in midtown Manhattan. Since the Time-Life building has airport-like security, I put my camera bag down on the x-ray machine, walked through the metal detector, and picked it up on the other side. However, I'd apparently forgotten to secure the flap on the bag and my 50mm prime fell three feet onto the concrete floor. BANG! I cringed, but upon inspection it looked ok and I figured, "hey, that happens — it'll be fine."

About 40 minutes later, I'm shooting Malcolm with the only other lens I'd brought — a 28mm prime. I stand up and walk back to the table to switch lenses, chatting as I work (as an aside, I like the break that happens for a few seconds when I change lenses — it's kind of like the period at the end of a sentence and helps control the tempo of a shoot). I put on the 50, pull it up to my eye, half-press to focus, and the gearing in the lens makes an ugly grinding noise and seizes up. But — never let â˜em see you sweat — so I half-mumbled a comment that the wide-angle suited him better and quickly switched back, shooting the whole thing wide-angle. I'm just glad that the camera I was using had enough pixels that I could crop it in post and still get what I was looking for.

Sometimes it's all about getting your subject on board with a concept, which is ultimately all about trust. I came up with the idea of shooting comedian Dave Hill rocking so hard on stage that sparks were flying out of his guitar. He loved the idea, but since I didn't have a stage to shoot him on or the budget to get one, I planned to piece the whole thing together in post. The shoot involved him silently mock-rocking on his knees on top of the coffee table in my living room with a roll of gray seamless behind him. That's trust.

Other times, the trust has to go the other way as well. I was in a hotel room in Austin taking portraits of magician Brian Brushwood, and he was lighting small fires on the room service plate in front on him. But since he literally wrote the book on fire eating, I had to believe that we weren't going to burn the place down. That's also trust.

One last example is personal. Last Christmas, we had a table full of friends over for dinner. Before dessert was rolled out, I told the group that I'd like them to be in a photo I had in mind. I'd always loved the Caravaggio painting The Calling of St Matthew and wanted to do a little bit of a homage for fun. To my surprise, instead of sighing and trying to get out of it, everyone started working together to choose their places and throw together props to make it even better. It ended up being one of the best group photographic experiences I've ever had. I set up one light, we shot a couple dozen variations, and 20 minutes later we were done.

So, sure, cameras and lenses and lights and business practices are important, but they're not going to make good pictures of people into great portraits. You and the subject have to do that — together. My two cents.

If you'd like to hear more behind-the-scenes stories and before/after composite comparisons, check out my hour long lecture The Making of Drabbles on Vimeo.

—————

Bill Wadman is an American portrait photographer living in New York City. His editorial portrait work has been featured on the covers and pages of major publications throughout the world. Bill also appears weekly as the co-host of On Taking Pictures, a podcast on the 5by5 network about the art and science of photography and the creative process. See his work at BillWadman.com, read his blog at OnTakingPictures.com, and follow him on Twitter @billwadman.


Photo by Mike Corrado of Nikon USA

Love and Pictures…

Around this time, during that fateful fall 12 years ago, Mike Wernick came into the Giant Polaroid studio, then on 2nd St., near the Bowery. He had walked over from his firehouse, Ladder Nine-Engine Thirty Three, tattered, dust laden bunker gear in hand. He got up on the stage we had built for subjects to stand in front of the behemoth camera known as Moby C, the 40×80, the world's only Giant Polaroid.

The camera couldn't be focused. It was the subject who had to be focused, shuffling, every so slightly, back and forth until their eyes resided within the slimmest of depths of field. The lights would go out. In the darkness, 25,000 watt-seconds of strobe flashed, like the briefest blare of the trumpet section of a mighty orchestra. Then all returned to darkness. The lights came back on.

Mike got down off the stage, and signed a release. In the comment section, he wrote, "Responded 1993 WTC, 2001 WTC, 2002 Retired." He walked out of the studio. I had shot one frame. I wasn't sure I would ever see him again.

He was a reluctant subject. He came over to the studio alone, having been deeply involved in the events of that day, and thus deeply affected, to the point of largely keeping his feelings to himself. He was unsure of the idea of a photo being taken. He wasn't interested in describing what happened, and how he survived those aching, interminable moments when two of the world's soaring structures tumbled to dust, and took nearly 3,000 souls with them.

Thus his image could not stand on the floor at Grand Central Station when the show called the Faces of Ground Zero opened. The stories out on that floor consisted of words and pictures. Without his description, his feelings, his thoughts, the searing photo I made of him that fall day would stay in a warehouse, rolled up in a dark tube.

Nuri, his wife, friend, and fierce defender, kept calling. She knew, as wives do, that being a part of this project would be a good thing for Mike, and, just perhaps, the beginnings of much needed healing. "Can you wait?" she would ask. "Can your writer call again?" Production deadlines were looming quickly. I told her that if Mike could offer some thoughts, I would guarantee he would be in the show.

She called back at the last wisp of time left. "He's ready to talk. Please have the writer call him." Melissa Stanton, one of my editors at LIFE, and the one responsible for interviewing all of the subjects in the show, talked with Mike. His story, his "caption," was the longest of anyone's.

"We were on the 27th floor of the north tower when the building shookâ”the south tower collapsing. When terrorists attack, they often do something after rescuers arrive, so we thought another plane had hit. In '93, you always felt more (bombs) were going to go off. The fear of what will happen next is a tremendous fear. We didn't run from the 27th floor, we just filtered down. Seconds after I got to the street the tower fell and I was blown off my feet. I was choking. Some guys picked me up. I went to the hospital. My lungs were filled with all that stuff. Three guys in our company did not make it out."

It was a step.

Mike's firehouse was the first of many to come by the Giant Polaroid. A grievously wounded house, having lost 10 of the 14 men who responded, they rolled the truck around to a photo studio of all places, rapped on the steel door with a Halligan tool, and asked, "Is this where you're taking the pictures?"

My response to that astonishing leap of faith, an act of trust, has been to be at the house on Great Jones Street every 9/11 morning since that blue sky day 12 years ago. I stand to the side, and pay respects. And I see Mike and Nuri, every year. And, every year, being the family documentarian, she makes a photo of the two of us.

On the tenth anniversary, at the house, Nuri gave me a package. Inside a cube, she placed a Polaroid camera, and a couple thoughts.

And, she gave me a book of the photosâ”the snaps of Mike and I throughout the last decade. At the end of the book were pictures of Mike down at Ground Zero. He had not gone there for ten years.

She said simply, "Thank you. The pictures have been important. They helped him heal. I have my Mike back."

I've been a photographer for many years, and in the natural course of a long career, have won the occasional award. Every once in a great while, I've even been asked to stand at a podium and accept a glass block, or a piece of brass carved into an eye, or some such thing. Nice enough, and, like a quick visit to the chiropractor, it makes you feel better. That feeling is quite temporary, and by and large, unimportant.

What is important, and lasting, through all this frenetic clicking and flashing, for all these years, are the feelings, and the power of memory, contained, or prompted, by a picture.

Photography, as has been said, can be a mirror, or a window. In this case, for me, it has been the latter, opened just a bit, onto the lives of two truly special, heroic people. My camera has just occasionally stood in service to their amazing love of each other, and their powerfully meaningful lives. The occasionally awkward, uncertain walk one takes with a camera in hand can, at improbably important, tough, or even desperate moments, intersect with such people.

The book of snaps Nuri gave me means more to me than any photo award ever could. In that single flash of light 12 years ago, there was trust offered, and hopefully, returned. They gave me a gift I can never really repay. I happened on them at the worst of moments, and the simple nature of my picture taking over the years has seemed a small thing to give back, by comparison.

I’m proud to know them, and to be witness to their deep and abiding love. I’m grateful the carrying of a camera made that happen. I remain proud to be a photographer. If we walk the world with open eyes and an open heart, the telling of such wonderful stories remains possible. The thought of that is enough, really, to take the cameras and put them on my shoulders every day.

Mike officially retired from FDNY. He and Nuri together run Rising Wolf Motorcycle Parking Garage, on the lower east side of NYC. It’s an amazing facility, filled with fancy, fast, two wheeled dream machines.

More, as they say, tkâ¦..

-30-

You can see more of Joe’s work at JoeMcNally.com, and more on this project at FacesOfGroundZero.com, and follow him on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Instagram.

Hi everyone! Aaron Blaise here. For those that don't know who I am⦠I've been in the animation industry for almost 25 years now with 21 of those years spent at Walt Disney Feature Animation. I was lucky enough to have contributed to many of Disney's latest classics including Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Lion King, Pocahontas, and Mulan. I also co-directed Brother Bear. In the last few years I've been developing several films for various companies by way of story development and visual development/concept design. I've been a guest on Photoshop User TV a couple of times and will be an instructor at the upcoming Photoshop World event in Las Vegas! (That WILL be fun!)

Thereâ¦now that I got the intro out of the way, I'd like to share with you the latest project my directing partner, Chuck Williams and myself have been working on, Art Story. First I'd like to give you a little background on this project.

A few years back, Chuck and myself were presented with an amazing opportunity. Leave Disney in California, and move back to our home state of Florida to head up the creative development of a brand new animation studio being created in Port Saint Lucie. The studio was to be a division of the then visual effects giant, Digital Domain.  It was a big gamble for us, but ultimately we couldn't resist the opportunity.

We started in April of 2010. Chuck and I were tasked with creating content for animated feature films and hiring the staff to make them. Over the next year we, along with a great story team, developed four original ideas. One was a fantasy piece (Art Story), another was a comedy, another was a sci-fi piece, and the last one was a big epic adventure called The Legend of Tembo.

After looking closely at all four projects we decided to go with The Legend of Tembo as our first film. It was a big story and one we thought would be perfect as a first film for our young company.

It was the story of a gentle, young African elephant named Tembo, taken from his savannah home and shipped over seas where he is forced to become a battle elephant. It's here that he must fight for his freedom and make his way back home.

Tragedy struck though 13 months into making Tembo. After over a year of preproduction and development and literally 3 weeks from the start of actual production we came to work on a Friday to learn that the company had gone bankrupt and everything was shutting down. We had two hours to clean out our desks. Just like that the dream was crushed.

Over the next 6 months or so Chuck and I worked on trying to get Tembo out of bankruptcy with no luck.  It was then though that our ex-boss, John Textor was able to get Art Story out of bankruptcy.

Art Story was going to be our follow up to Tembo, a completely different film from our big elephant adventure. It’s a story about an 11-year-old, meticulous boy, WALT, and his crazy, loopy GRANDPA — two complete opposites — who get stuck in a vast, imaginative WORLD OF PAINTINGS.  Inside, they cross paths with a ruthless painted character determined to make it into our world. In order to get home and stop the villain, Walt and Grandpa have to set aside their differences, work together and navigate worlds where the rules can change around every corner.

It's a big visual undertaking in that every time Walt and Grandpa enter a different painted world they take on the look of that world. It'll be like having 7 or 8 completely different art directed little films in one!

It was at this time that we decided we wanted to try and create something from the ashes of what we once were. We decided we wanted to make this film. We didn't have a studio anymore though and all of the staff we had once hired had moved on to other jobs.

Chuck and I had used up almost all of our savings and parts of our retirements just to get by over that year. We needed to figure out how we were going to get at least the start of this film funded. That's when we decided we wanted to give Kickstarter a try.

For those that don't know, Kickstarter is a crowd funding website owned by Amazon where you can present a project to the masses and they can decide if they want to donate to it or not. In return for their donations they receive different rewards that we come up with at different monetary amounts given. It's a simple idea really but one that's really taken off.

After figuring out what key work we would need done over the next year or so, we came up with an amount of $350,000 that we would try and raise to get the film seeded. Chuck and I then put together a short video explaining our story and process and attached it to our new Kickstarter home page and launched it July 7th. Kickstarter has a finite number of days for you to raise the funds. If you don't do it within the days allotted then you get nothing. We had 47 days. We had until August 23rd to raise the $350,000 needed to get started. This is where we got our lesson in social media! We plastered ourselves and Art Story everywhere we could, several times a day. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagramâ¦and it worked!! By August 23rd we had exceeded our goal and raised $365,670 donated by 1,785 backers!!! We couldn't believe it! You can see our Kickstarter page right here.

And now here we are. Chuck and I are in the early stages of utilizing the funds (we aren't taking salaries) and getting Art Story to next stages of development. We intend to get our script finished and very tight, create all new visual development/concept pieces, create a new story reel of the film, and we also want to do something a little different. We want to create both a children's book and an e-book telling the entire story and release them before the film. Where the big studios like to keep there original content secret up until their release dates, we thought we would get the story out there ahead of time and get the public behind it. Get them excited for the film version!

All of these pieces you see here were done in Photoshop CS6 on my 21″ Wacom Cintiq. I have to say that it is an incredible amount of fun for me to put our characters into these great pieces of art and try to emulate the various styles. (Keep in mind I'm painting our characters into existing high res pieces)

Creating animated features is a marathon process, taking up to 5 years to complete. We are just now in the beginning stages of Art Story and we have a long road ahead of us, but I hope you'll keep up with our progress over the coming few years on our website.

Thanks so much to Scott for allowing me to share with you all our little movie and thank you readers for taking the time to read my ramblings. If you happen to be in Vegas for Photoshop World and you see me, please come up and say hi. I'll also be teaching classes on Digital Character creation, Wildlife painting in Photoshop, and Character design.  You can see more of my work at CreatureArtTeacher.com. Hope to see you there!!   -Aaron

You can see more of Aaron’s work at CreatureArtTeacher.comAaronBlaiseArt.blogspot.com, and follow him on Twitter and Google+

Wow, what a great honor to be this week's Guest Blogger - thanks Scott!

Folks who know me personally know that I've never met a soapbox that I didn't love so I'll try to keep today's musing short and succinct.  I'll have a chance to pontificate at length at this year's Photoshop World and encourage all attendees to try to catch both of my information packed seminars.

On Thursday, September 5th I'll be presenting The Ten Commandments of Cinematic Lighting.  Although trying to distill thirty years of hard-won Hollywood and high fashion lighting experience down to an hour's worth of easily digestible tips is an almost impossible task, I've taken my best shot at it.  This isn't a class for hardware fetishists but rather a philosophical primer on the emotional and practical application of any artificial light source, be it large, small, classic, current, or yet to be revealed.  That said, please don't mistake this class's admittedly philosophical bent as code for "More Useless Mumbo-Jumbo" for that would be a huge mistake – attentive attendees will learn from many carefully created examples and take away ten concise and useful tips to consider when creating a dramatic lighting design for either cinema or stills.

And these tips are not a simple distillation of my own extensive experience but rather a finely crafted brew of knowledge gleaned from years of working with The Best of The Best in both the still and motion image-making arenas.

Yep, over the course of my career I have had the honor of not only producing wonderful imagery but also the great pleasure of assigning the creation of such work.  As a young man, working as an Art Director for Conde Nast Publishing's Mademoiselle Magazine, I routinely assigned juicy editorial assignments to some of the worlds' best fashion photographers.  Can you imagine how much I learned by offering creative challenges and then stepping back to quietly but intently observe each individual artist's approach?  It was an amazing time and I gleaned a lot of fresh knowledge with each new experience.

Ditto on the Cinematic side of the street.  As time passed, and my interests changed, I segued from the Rag Trade into the more creatively-broad arena of Advertising.  I continued to do a bit of Graphic Design and Art Direction - and a lot of Still Photography - but ultimately found my True Love in The Art of Cinematography.

I must be the luckiest guy alive because one thing led to another and I soon found myself working in Hollywood!   After induction into the Directors Guild of America, I became a Creative Director at the world's biggest motion picture special effects house (Robert Able & Associates) where I spent many years busily designing, producing, and directing major television advertising campaigns.  Big budgets and lots of creative freedom added up to what could only be described as truly awesome times.  And, as a Producer and Director, I was once again blessed with the great pleasure of assigning plum jobs to other creative souls - this time to the guys and gals who I think occupy the highest rungs of the lens-based visual arts, the Cinematographers or, as they are also known, the Directors of Photography.  Sweet!

Which finally brings me to my second seminar offering at the upcoming Photoshop World conference, Introduction to HD Storytelling, on Friday September 6th from 1:00-2:00pm.  This seminar will focus on the exploitation of contemporary hybrid tools for a personal exploration of motion picture storytelling.

Here's how I see it: I think every person has an interesting and compelling story in them – maybe more than one.  These stories may big and far-reaching or small and private but at their heart every well-told story is based on effective structure and basic technique.  If you own a hybrid camera - one that offers both Still and HD capture - and a computer with an editing program, well heck, you're halfway to your three-picture studio deal with Paramount!   That's how it went for Writer/Director/Producer Robert Rodriguez when he created and shared his first short film "El Mariachi"!!

Okay, so you're not really halfway to Hollywood just because you own some gear but you do have a solid foundation on which to build your own personal exploration of motion picture storytelling. And I'm excited to help you along the way with an inspiring hour of entertaining examples and solid advice to get the ball rolling. My personal career with the motion picture camera has taken me to the most exciting places on the planet where I see and capture the most beautiful things. In this seminar I'll also share how that came to be and offer solid advice on how to start your own cinematic show reel.

My advice? Invest two hours hanging out with me, Brucie -The Second Most Interesting Man Alive!  Fail to do so and you'll miss out on good solid advice, inspirational imagery, and a well-marked road map to Big Fun ;)

Wait a minute – just two hours?!? I could do days on these topics! Quick, someone tell Scott to get me on the video tutorial program around here!

You can see more of Bruce’s work at BruceDorn.com and iDCPhotoVideo.com, and follow him on Twitter.


Photo by Greg Mellang

To do, or not to do, that is the "new" question. A Photoshop Journey, for the non purist.

First of all, thanks to Scott and Brad for having me here, it's an honor.

I have been writing a regular column for Photoshop User Magazine for over a decade, but this is my first time as guest blogger. I hope you enjoy what I have to share.

Now that we have Photoshop and great resources to learn how to master the tool, is it still necessary to do "trick photography" or create surreal looks in camera? Should we be using all the tools at our disposal, or should we try and be purists?

What is purism anyway? It's funny how as artists we can so quickly go from pioneers to museum keepers. Painters scoffed at photographers, film photographers scoffed at digital photographers, digital photographers are now scoffing at iPhone shooters. Where will it all end I wonder?

My opinion? Why cripple your artistic vision with prejudice or elitism? It's not the tools that you use, it's the art that you make that matters. Personally, I like to use every tool that's available. Because of this, I like to do as much in camera as possible and also do as much in Photoshop as needed. To top it off, I also like to throw in some 3D as well, and if needed, I'm not opposed to mixing illustration.

Ever since I started to create digital art, I have been influenced by movies and often have a cinematic leaning to my images.

There is nothing more thrilling than creating art using lighting, photographic techniques and Photoshop together. It's easy to get lost in the moment and stay up all night making images. There have been many times when I see the sun come up before I leave my computer for some sleep. I believe if you really want to get good, you have to put in the time. I heard a great quote once: "Work while others are loafing, study while others are sleeping, and then dream while others are wishing."

Let's go through a few of my images and see if you can tell which ones have been processed more than others. I'll also tell you the techniques used.

First of all, what do you think of this pelican shot? Unusual perspective to say the least. Surely, I composited this in Photoshop, right?


I felt very lucky to get this shot

Wrong! The only post work on this was a slight vignette and a contrast boost. This was shot with a GoPro Hero 3 on my DJI Phantom quadcopter. I was hovering when this bird swooped underneath it, I knew I had a killer shot. Ok, I did also remove the small shadow of the phantom using Lightroom.

Come to Photoshop World and attend the in-depth workshop that I will be teaching with Russell BrownTop Gun Flight Training from Photographers.

In this workshop you will have the opportunity to fly a Phantom for yourself. Russell will be teaching still photography and I'll be teaching the video side of things.

The next image is one that I shot recently in Maui Hawaii. The mist look was created by attaching a Neutral Density filter to my Canon 5D MkIII. By reducing the amount of light coming into the lens, I was able to slow my exposure time down to 30 seconds and allow the waves to become like mist. I also shot 3 exposures and turned it into an HDR image to preserve the details in the sunset while opening up the shadows in the rocks.


There is nothing like a beautiful sunset in paradise!

I have actually used HDR in most of the images that I'm sharing here. Maybe you aren't used to seeing HDR used in these ways. I like to use HDR more for the advantages of an extended dynamic range than to create an "effect." Don't get me wrong, I like the effect, too, it's just not the only use for HDR.

This next image, has to be totally done in Photoshop right? Or did I shoot a scale model? Nope, this is the real Times Square, New York. I used a Lensbaby Edge 80 lens to create the "tilt shift" effect that creates the miniaturized look and some HDR to make the details and color pop. No other Photoshop work involved.


Little New York

This next Photo involved HDR, so that I could capture the lens flare from the car headlights without totally blowing them out. The model was illuminated with a single Canon EX580 speedlight modified by a Chimera Octo-beauty dish. I then did some Photoshop work to create a mysterious cinematic feel.


Going for a cinematic look and feel

This is another from the same shoot, using the same setup. I wanted to create a nice rim light using the car's headlights. Sometimes you can use what is known as "practical light" when an object in the scene is used to create part of the lighting effect.


The same scene from more a fashion perspective

Finally, you know it. This image was heavily Photoshopped. I shot the model in my studio and used some blue colored gels to simulate the moonlight on her rim. The moon and the rock were both shot as HDR images and composited into the scene. I created the tail in Maya (a 3D program) and composited and textured it in Photoshop. I was very honored to have Adobe show this image during their keynote address when they unveiled Photoshop CS6. This was the featured image on photoshop.com for almost 2 years.


A few different parts used to make up this scene

Some of you may have seen this image before. I created this image for a cover story in Photoshop User Magazine and walked the readers step by step through the creation of this piece. All the asset files were also available to NAPP members. This began life as a portrait in my studio. It was lit by Kino-flo video lights. Everything else was composited in Photoshop. The text was created with Photoshop's 3D tools.


I'm glad I didn't have to actually expose my guitar to water

This image is a mixture of everything. I modeled these wasps in Maya. The background, I photographed as HDR at the Television Center in Hollywood, which I thought was a perfect setting for my killer wasps. I then took all the elements together and composited them in Photoshop and added some illustration to finish it off.


These wasps wear gas masks because they are mutants and their stingers emit lethal gas

I was going to stick with all photographic imagery in this post. But I decided a good way to finish off is with a piece that I won a Guru award at Photoshop World,  1st place for Illustration. This guitar was created 100% in Photoshop. I didn't use Illustrator, 3D or any photography at all. It's all illustrated from scratch in Photoshop 6 (not CS6) out of the box with no 3rd party plugins. This one took me a while, but it was so much fun!


100% Photoshop

Thanks for reading this post and going on a little Photoshop Journey with me. I really hope that you can make it to see me at Photoshop World in Vegas in a few weeks!

You can see more of Colin’s work and tutorials at PhotoshopCafe.com, and follow him on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

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