Category Archives Guest Blogger


First of all, thanks to Scott and Brad for giving me this opportunity. It’s always an honor to be a guest blogger here. And last time I blogged here, some amazing things happened. More on that later.

I wanted to chat this time about a growing concern I’ve had lately. I’ve been noticing from a few people that follow my work over the last couple years that seem misunderstood in their perception of who I am as a photographer or more importantly, how hard I’ve worked to succeed in the first place and how hard I’m still working. They seem to think that I’ve arrived at some magical destination in photography land where I just sit back and watch the jobs roll in. But more alarmingly, they seem to think the same thing is going to happen for them too. I see it all the time and it’s frustrating. It’s frustrating because they have the talent but they don’t have the drive or motivation. They seem to think that their amazing talent is going to do all the work for them. And sadly, that’s just not the case. Maybe it used to be that way but it’s not that way anymore.

I recently heard an assistant (24 years old) mocking a 30-something year old wedding photographer. He said, (more…)

….none other than Jeremy Cowart.

I totally dig Jeremy’s work (and I also love the way he has his portfolio categorized into the types of shots by their style — Mood, Light, Texture, Atmosphere [my favorite] — rather than the usual categories we see day in, day out).

Besides his amazing work, I’m equally impressed with the kind of person he is, and how he gives back (like what he’s done with Help Portrait), and while I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us tomorrow (it’s truly an honor to have him back once again as a guest blogger). Why don’t we all take a quick moment right now to jump over to his portfolio, and check out his work?

It’ll get you in the mood for tomorrow (and it will make you want to grab your camera and start shooting in the meantime). Here’s the link, and we’ll see you back here tomorrow.


First off, it is an honor to be featured on such a great photography blog. As long-time readers, we’ve often enjoyed reading the “Weekly Guest Blogger” feature so it’s a bit surreal to be taking part.

About a year ago, we all came together (from various freelance backgrounds) with a strong desire to share our strengths in close community with one another. The idea behind us being a “collective” is that we believe that together we can create work at a higher caliber than we could as individuals.  We all fill different roles at different times, which is something that helps us grow individually and as a functioning unit. It is a spectacular feeling to share in both the struggles and triumphs with people who you not only consider artistic peers, but friends as well.

Here’s a video that walks through a recent shoot we did with the band Shapiro.

Click here to view on the iPad/iPhone.

And here’s the before and after of the image in the video:



For more from DuckDuck Collective, check out their website, blog, podcast, and follow them on Twitter.


The news of the flooding in and around Nashville began hitting the local media Saturday afternoon. Speculation held that we would receive at least eight inches of rain in a twenty-four hour period; however, the estimates were off by nearly ten inches. I woke up Sunday morning to a phone call informing me that the farmers market four blocks from my apartment had sustained massive flood damage. Ignoring the requests by law enforcement to stay home, the defiant adventurer in me decided to grab my gear and go. My original objective was to take still photos of the happenings in and around my neighborhood, but I quickly realized that still photos wouldn’t have done much justice. I saw shop owners wading chest-deep in murky water, trying to save what was left of their livelihoods; contents of their shops floating all around them. I saw families evacuated from their homes without a chance to collect their only belongings. I drove past parking lots full of vehicles almost completely submerged in water. This kind of flooding hasn’t been seen in Nashville in over seventy years; we simply weren’t prepared for it.

The human element to this story is vast and far-reaching. Lives have been lost, homes and cars destroyed, entire neighborhoods underwater and their inhabitants displaced. The news media had focused so much on the water rising instead of what the rising water was directly affecting; people. I didn’t set out to capitalize on a tragedy. I didn’t set out on a vast humanitarian effort. I set out to take pictures of people in my neighborhood and I ended up getting caught up in the emotion of what I was capturing. I wanted to share what I was seeing and experiencing and I did it the best way I knew how.

The way I see it, if you are true to yourself and true to your craft, people will see the real heart and motivation behind your actions and respond appropriately. I have a huge problem with so called “slacktivists” who are quick to talk and slow to act. There are far too many artists, writers, musicians and photographers who align themselves with causes and do little, if nothing, to help with said causes. They tend to be vocal, uninformed, and carry a sense of entitlement that their art is more important or more necessary than others. These are sharply contrasted by those who dedicate their art and their lives to capturing and sharing the needs of the less fortunate. I’m seeing that we can use our art to promote true, good, and meaningful change; not the kind spouted by slick politicians using enigmatic buzzwords. The catch is, you’ll never know what good can come of your work if you don’t get out there and use your talents.

For those curious about the technical aspects of the video, it was shot completely with a Canon 5D Mark II at 1080p and 24 frames per second. I mainly used Canon’s 85mm and 50mm primes as well as a 35mm on a few shots. I edited and color corrected in Adobe Premiere Pro CS4. The shakiness of the video was a bit of a concern for me, but I’m not a videographer so I don’t have all of the necessary tools. Shooting this showed me the need for shoulder stabilization and a follow focus.

I don’t claim to be a great artist or a great photographer. I’m certainly not a great cinematographer. This was my second attempt ever at shooting and editing a video. As the news services picked it up and Twitter exploded with retweets from various blogs, I began feeling very uncomfortable about the “success” of my work. The praise received began to feel misdirected and frankly, wrong. This wasn’t supposed to be about me and my abilities – it was about getting the word out about a tragedy which the mainstream media had yet to satisfactorily cover. Soon after the buzz began to die down, I started receiving numerous notes thanking me for bringing this tragedy to light. I heard from viewers who were brought to tears by the images I had captured. I heard moving personal stories from people directly affected by the tragedy. As of writing this, my video has received over 130,000 views. That’s 130,000 people who otherwise may have not heard about what was happening. Even though it wasn’t my original intent, I’m thankful for the opportunity to share Nashville’s current situation with so many people.


If you feel inclined to help, but you live outside of the Nashville area, there are several local charities to which you can donate. I can wholeheartedly recommend The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, Hands On Nashville, and The Salvation Army.

…Nashville portrait photographer Michael Deppisch!

With the recent flooding in Nashville and the surrounding areas, I thought it would be timely to invite Michael to share the short documentary he made over the weekend that shows the devastation they’re facing right now.  Check back tomorrow to see the moving video and a bit of the story behind it.

In the meantime, you can donate to the recovery efforts at and check out Michael’s work at


First, thanks Scott for having me back; my postings here have afforded me an opportunity to reach thousands of passionate Photoshop users and in the case of JDI, I even had a mechanism to communicate with all of you and help turn some of your ideas into features.  I’ve spent the better part of the last year showing early glimpses of Photoshop CS5 to people under NDA…I cannot tell you how nice it feels to discuss the release openly!  There’s a whole lot to talk about…

The vast Photoshop ecosystem and have seen to it that our major feature set has been explained extremely thoroughly.  You won’t have to look far to figure out what CS5 means for photographers, retouchers, illustrators, creatives, designers, 3D artists and much more – we have strong stories for all of them.  What I’d like to do here is tell you about some of the tricks, polish and little known tweaks that went into making these features so magical – the inside scoop from the perspective of a product manager.  Fear not…I’ll give you some great links to the big stuff too ;-)

Camera Raw 6.0

For any of you playing around with Lightroom Beta 3, you know all about the major changes to raw processing (better color, sharpening, noise, vignetting and effects – as before Camera Raw retains feature parity with Lightroom’s Develop module)…but one of my favorite ways to use noise reduction is in REVERSE.  In the image below, you can see that heavy noise reduction and little (to no) detail can soften the image to the point where it almost looks like an illustration.  Reversing Clarity is a popular way to soften skin, I think this will be too.


Another new feature in version 6.0 is Additive Grain; yes, it can be used to mimic TMAX 3200, etc. – but I think the real strength is establishing a bit of grain consistency prior to compositing images.  Have you ever noticed how synthetic a 100 ISO image married to a 3200 ISO looks?  With a sprinkle of additive grain (and it really doesn’t take much), the unbelievable is suddenly very realistic.

Last note on raw, while we have support for ~300 proprietary formats, all of the above (and more) could just as easily be done to a camera phone image (JPEG) or a scanned file (TIFF).

Mini Bridge

For those of you who liked the File Browser, you’ll love Mini Bridge (I know I do).  From full-screen previews (spacebar) of any file (including your DSLR video) to multi-file operations like Panos, the new HDR Pro, batch, etc. – “MB” has you covered.  Mini Bridge runs in a panel, so it’s right there in Photoshop…fast, convenient, scalable (MB can be an icon, stretched panel…even a photo tray – great for multi-monitors).  I drive everything from Mini Bridge.



There is SO much to say about HDR; re-imagined from start to finish…but I want to focus on the most minor part of the UI and one of the most major parts of what makes the new Merge to HDR Pro so unique – “remove ghosts.”  I believe that much of the abuse of HDR imagery (we’ve all seen it ;-) ) stems from a want to camouflage artifacts (namely moving leaves, branches, water, clouds, etc.)…”remove ghosts” solves that problem in a single click.  I think this feature combined with a host of other major changes will allow people to shoot HDR; shooters that haven’t until now because of the compromise in quality (I count myself amongst them).  In the case of ghost removal, the problem was so unique that we went beyond Adobe’s walls to an expert who focused solely on this one problem – thank you Greg Ward!


What about all of the people who like the dramatic aesthetic of HDR imagery, but either have older, single images or don’t want to bother with bracketing?  You can thank Scott himself for insisting that we (more…)