Category Archives Photography

Remember last week when I did that post about a better option from IKEA for hanging your unframed prints on the wall, that I got from Ed Loziuk (one of my blog readers)? Well, although I was able to show the actual IKEA parts (the rail and the clips), some people posted comments asking for images of what it actually looks like in use. Well, Ed was nice enough to take a couple of shots, and he let me share them here with you. Thanks once again Ed—you’re a good man! :)

Asker 1rsm

Asker 2rsm

light it

The 2nd online class in my three-part series called “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it” went up live last week at Kelby Training Online, and this one shows how to shoot and retouch a beauty-style headshot like the one you see below left (in-house we call it the “Oil of Olay” look).

I show how to create the exact same beauty-style head shot that I took which wound up being featured in FJ Westcott’s 2009 lighting catalog (seen below), and you see the entire process from start-to-finish including setting up all the lighting, the shoot itself, and the retouching in Photoshop afterward.

I just got incredible feedback from the first one in this series, and I hope you’ll give this 2nd one a look now that it’s live. Here’s a link to the online class.



Earlier this year I was lucky enough to get a media pass to shoot Tiger Woods during the Tavistock Cup golf tournament, and after I posted some of the shots from the day here on my blog, a friend asked if I might send him a couple of prints of his favorite shots from the bunch. I used to send him two framed prints, and I’m honored that they’ve been hanging on the wall of his office ever since.

Yesterday I got an email from him, and the subject Line read: “Moral Dilemma.” He said he found Tiger’s recent actions dishonorable to his wife and family, and he was so disappointed in him, and had lost such respect for Tiger’s moral judgment, that he had taken the framed prints off his walls, and he wanted to know if  I wanted them returned or donated to charity.

Later that same day, I got another email with a similar subject line, but it was from one of my blog readers, asking how I could keep a photo of Tiger in my portfolio (it’s not the one shown above, though it was taken the same day). Then I got another email asking the same thing—-when would I be removing Tiger’s image from my portfolio. I could see a pattern developing.

Last night I called my friend to let him know I was as disappointed in Tiger as he was. We both looked up to Tiger not just as an incredible athlete, but as a role model—-a devoted husband, a sharp businessman, and a family man—a guy that had it all, yet still had it all together, but now we feel much differently. But I asked him to reconsider taking the framed prints down—not because they were photos I had taken, but for something bigger; an act of Forgiveness.

Tiger admitted his mistakes publicly, and took full responsibility for them. He admitted that what he did was wrong, and besides, this is between Tiger and his family. Even so, his entire life—his entire career—will forever be tainted, and impacted, by his transgressions. It will cost him sponsors, fans, and will cause him untold public humiliation for years to come. Now, if Tiger had come out and said, “Hey, it’s no big deal—everybody does it” that’s a different story entirely. In fact, if Tiger had in any way tried to justify what he had done, or downplayed it in any way, he’d be all alone on this one, but he did something most folks in his situation would never do—admit his mistake, publicly apologize, and recommit himself to his wife and family.

Tiger made a monumental mistake, but we all know people in our own lives, (friends, co-workers, perhaps even family members) that have not only done similar things, but in some cases much worse, and I can only hope their private and most humiliating mistakes aren’t paraded around to the entire world like Tiger’s have been. This is another case where people are all too happy to line up and sling arrows at a privileged person. Outside his celebrity, Tiger Woods is a real person, as are his wife and children. They are all real people dealing with a painful situation.

When I look at my Tiger Woods photos, I may never feel the same way I did about the man in the photos, but I won’t be taking them down. I forgive him, too. I’m also not deleting my photos of A-Rod that I took when I shot the New York Yankees, and if I had shots of President Clinton, I wouldn’t remove them either. I’m glad I’m not a celebrity photographer, or I’m not sure I’d be able to display any photos at all. However, I am happy to report that my friend had a change of heart as well and he’s re-hanging those images in his office today.

There is no shortage of people taking shots at, and severely judging Tiger Woods today, and I’m not saying he doesn’t have it coming, but if there’s one thing my Faith has taught me is that when a family is in trouble, we pray for them, and that’s exactly what I am going to do.



We’ve snagged another killer “this weekend only” deal—this time from Artistic Photo Canvas (the same people who did that five-foot long pano of St. Lucia on canvas for me—here’s the link to that post).

Here’s the deal: For this weekend only, they are offering you (the readers of my blog), a big 20% OFF your entire order plus you get a FREE microfiber camera lens cleaning cloth. The discount is applicable to all 102 standard size and finish combinations for gallery wraps, stretched canvases and unstretched canvases — as well as all optional techniques and add-ons including texturizing gel coats, dust covers and blind drop shipping.

When you place your order, you have to use this Promo Code to get the special discount:


If you’ve been thinking about getting a canvas print made—this is your chance!!!! (Here’s the link to Artistic Photo Canvas).

These canvas prints make fantastic Holiday gifts, and obviously they don’t just do panos—you can choose from loads of standard canvas sizes, and you’ll be tickled with the quality—these guys are really good!

Note: (The promotion does not apply to custom sizes and cannot be combined with other discounts.) Also, this special 20% off deal ends this Sunday at Midnight EST.

ONE MORE THING: The guys at APC told me this truly is a special deal, (one of the best discounts they’ve ever offered). From now on, I’m making sure that if a company offers to give my readers a deal, it has to actually be a special, unique killer deal for my readers or I’m not posting it, so a big thanks to APC for making this special discount happen.


That’s right folks, I thought I’d use this Holiday week as a kick-off for my releasing my Fourth Annual Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide (well, that and the fact that it’s the cover story on the current issue of Photoshop User magazine which most NAPP members already received in the mail).

Anyway, it’s here and this year I tried to include lots of affordable gear (which isn’t as easy task when it comes to gear), but don’t worry—I did keep a few items in there for the rich doctor or personal injury attorney on your Holiday Gift List.

NOTE: I named this Part 1, so I can add some extra Part Two stuff that we didn’t have room to fit in the printed magazine edition of the Gift Guide. Look for Part 2 next week.

I really wanted to make this year’s guide my most useful yet, so I came up with some rules for what would make it into the guide.

Rule #1: They have to be products that I use myself, and that I absolutely love, and now can’t live without (well, I could live without them but I just wouldn’t want to).

Rule #2: If a product makes the guide, it has to be one that I would recommend to a close friend without hesitation, especially if that friend was really loaded (kidding). And…

Rule #3: Although this is mostly camera gear (which isn’t a cheap hobby), I wanted to include a number of items that were under $100, and even some under $50 if I could find them (that’s a lot harder than it sounds).

OK everybody, here we go (Happy Shopping!)

Lastolite Hot Shoe EZYbox:

Lastolite Hot Shoe EZYboxIf you’re ready to have studio quality light from your flash, this is a great way to do it. It’s a small, collapsible softbox that does a very slick job, and everybody I know that has one, loves it. In fact, they say it’s gonzo (no, not really). The 24×24″ version sells for $190.00. There are also kits available containing various brackets and adapters that will cost you extra.

Elinchrom BXRi 500 Compact Monolight:

Elinchrom BXRi 500 Compact MonolightYou’ll love these new lower-priced strobes from Elinchrom because they have built-in wireless receivers, so all you need is the little match-boxed sized transmitter (that comes with their two-light kit) and you’re good to go. Plus, you can use the transmitter to control the power of the strobes from right at your camera position. Give this to someone on your holiday list, and he will love you so much you’ll probably have to get a restraining order. A single strobe will run you $624.95 and the two-strobe kit which also includes the transmitter, a couple of softboxes, lightstands, case, sync cords, and Monolight case is $1,

Wacom Intuos4 pen tablet:

Wacom Intuos4 pen tabletIf you can spend a little more, you can give him a gift that will impact what he does in Photoshop all year, and you’ll change the way he works forever. Ask anybody that has an Intuos tablet, and you’ll hear nothing but raves. Once he uses one, he’ll never want to use a mouse again, and he’ll thank you every time he picks up that wireless pen. The Medium tablet, which has a 5.5×8.8″ active area, sells for $

MPIX Gift Card:

MPIX Gift cardWant a gift that will have a double impact? Get the photographer on your list an MPIX Gift Card (well, it’s actually a gift code) to have a large-sized print made from a photo she uploads. She’ll be happy when you give it to her, but then you’ve got to convince her to upload a photo immediately. When she gets her big print back from MPIX, she’ll lose her mind and become an MPIX fanatic and you’ll always be the one that turned her on to MPIX (double impact). This one is a lock, and you’ll get the “love” twice!

Think Tank Photo’s Airport International V2.0 Rolling Camera Bag:

Think Tank Photo’s Airport International V2.0 Rolling Camera BagThese are, hands down, the best designed, rugged, and just clever camera bags on the market today (well, at least I certainly think so, but luckily I’m not alone—Think Tank Photo has a lot of pros that wouldn’t dream of using anything else). I have the Airport Security V2.0, and the slightly smaller Airport International, and now I can’t use anything else. They’re not cheap, but nothing this good ever is. You can buy the Airport International directly from Think Tank’s website for $

Ray Flash: The Ring Flash Adapter:

Ray Flash: The Ring Flash AdapterThe ring flash look is hot for fashion and portraits, and this adapter fits right over the Nikon SB800 and SB900 or Canon 580EX (I and II) flash units to give that ring flash look. My only gripe had been that it was about $100 too expensive. That was before they lowered the price by $100. Now, it went from being a little overpriced to being a bargain at $

Remote Cable Release (for Nikon & Canon):

Remote Cable Release (for Nikon & Canon)This is one of those gifts that everybody knows they need, but it’s also one of those things that most photographers don’t actually own, which makes it perhaps the best kind of gift (that thing you know you need but won’t buy). It just lets you fire your camera (on a tripod) without touching the camera itself, so it dramatically reduces camera shake, which gives you sharper photos. They have wireless ones and ones with wires, and they both work great. Prices range from between $10 and $100.

The Zumbrella:

The ZumbrellaFamous wedding photographer David Ziser convinced the folks at F.J. Westcott ( to create a shoot-thru umbrella using the same material Westcott uses for the front diffuser on their popular Halo softboxes, and the long and soft of it is, he’s created a small, lightweight collapsible umbrella (that literally can fit in a coat pocket) that has a more softbox-like punch than other umbrellas. Now it’s the only umbrella I use. It’s $34.95 direct from David. Worth every penny. Also, if you want to stay “lean and mean,” get a Cheeta Stand 8 auto pop-up light stand ($89.95 at, and a Westcott Cold Shoe Umbrella Mount swivel adapter ($35), and your photographer will have an entire setup for under $160.

Nik Software’s Viveza 2:

Nik Software’s Viveza 2Making selections in Photoshop, even with all the latest tools, for correcting specific areas of an image is still kind of a pain. When Nik introduced their groundbreaking Viveza Photoshop plug-in for correcting brightness, contrast, and color, the pain was gone. Now, with Viveza 2, it’s actually a pleasure. Just flat-out amazing technology that can correct a precise area of an image without creating selections or masks—a perfect gift for anyone who constantly makes selections for color correcting in Photoshop (which for readers of this magazine, is everyone!). Viveza retails for $249.95, but it was actually on sale for $149.95 as I was writing

Elinchrom White Minisoft 17″ Reflector (or Beauty Dish):

Elinchrom White Minisoft 17If the photographer on your list shoots portraits, chances are he has a softbox or two, but he prob-ably doesn’t have a Beauty Dish, which is why you should get him one. It provides a little edgier light (without being harsh), and works great for everything from fashion photography to portraits of men. It just attaches to the front of a strobe. The one I use is the white 17″ model from Elinchrom that sells for $162.45. I also use a 17″ diffuser ($21.95) made by Elinchrom specifically for the Beauty

onOne Software’s FocalPoint 2:

onOne Software’s FocalPoint 2The idea of being able to add realistic-looking depth-of-field effects via a filter or plug-in isn’t all that new, but how this puppy works is, because all the other ones make you do the work—this one doesn’t. The technology is just so cool, and so easy to use, that suddenly the photographer on your list will look like she shot everything with an f/1.4 lens. In short, she’ll love this. FocalPoint 2 retails for $

MPS Sticky Fill Flash Filters:

MPS Sticky Fill Flash FiltersIf the photographer on your list has a flash, this gift is a no-brainer, because it not only gives her the gels she needs to adjust for different lighting situations, the clever design makes it so easy to use she’ll actually use them. The price is right, too! For $49.95 you can get two complete sets of their standard size filters directly from their

Lastolite 30″ TriGrip One-Stop Diffuser:

Lastolite 30 TriGrip One-Stop DiffuserEvery photographer should have one of these TriGrips because they do an amazing job of letting you shoot in direct, harsh, ugly sunlight, and turn it into soft, wrapping, wonderful light. The handle lets you easily hold it over your subject (while your right hand holds the camera), and you can even use it as a reflector. When you’re done with it, it collapses down to a small disc. Just brilliantly designed—trust me, he’ll love it. The 30″ model sells for $

Nikon’s AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 70–300mm f/4.5–5.6G IF-ED lens:

Nikon’s AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 70–300mmThis lens has been called “Nikon’s Best-Kept Secret” because it covers such a wide range, yet it’s incredibly lightweight and, perhaps even more shocking, it is amazingly sharp at it’s inexpensive price ($589.95—remember, we’re talking about lenses here). This lens just rocks, and if you buy this one as a gift, you’ll be a

ColorMunki Photo:

ColorMunki PhotoGetting what comes out of your printer to match what you saw on your screen is still (unfortunately) a big challenge for most of us, but ColorMunki does such a nice job of it, it’s really starting to steal the color-calibration show by finally giving photographers that dream of having the screen and printer match up. At $360 from B&H, it’s not cheap, but once you see those two finally match, you’ll wish you had bought it years ago (except, of course, it didn’t exist back then)

Canon EF-S 18–200mm f/3.5–5.6 IS lens:

Canon EF-S 18–200mmThere’s something about always having the right lens on you, and an 18–200mm (which gives you wide angle, portrait length, a nice telephoto, and everything in-between), makes sure you have that right lens almost all the time—without ever changing lenses. Everybody I know with an 18–200mm swears by it; especially as their one “go-to” lens for travel photography, where they want to stay lightweight and not have to change lenses in the street. Buy this for the photographer you love (because you probably don’t have any friends that you like enough to spend $595 on for a holiday gift)

Photojojo! Insanely Great Photo Projects and DIY Ideas by Amit Gupta with Kelly Jensen:

Photojojo!This is a very clever book for the DIY freak on your holiday list. There are just so many great projects in this book that the person you give it to will be so busy trying all this new stuff that he’ll probably forget to thank you (that’s okay, as long as he doesn’t forget to give you your gift, which should be either a studio strobe, Wacom tablet, or a lens, right?). This book is published by Potter Craft and retails for $21.99.

Within the Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision by David DuChemin:

Within the FrameThis critically acclaimed book isn’t so much about which button does what, but more about the process of taking great
photos. David’s photography in the book is just wonderful (and great photography books have great photography), but there’s more here than just pretty pictures. It’s a learning guide about how to see, and people love it. This is perfect holiday gift at a just $

Manfrotto 244 Variable Friction Magic Arm with Camera Bracket and Manfrotto 035 Super Clamps:

Manfrotto 244This is another one of those things that every photographer wants, but only the pros buy (but it’s not because of the cost—it’s just one of those, “Yeah-I-really-should-get-one-of-those” type of gifts that gets you big props for giving). These arms attach to just about anything, they hold anything, and they’re almost like having a photo assistant on the shoot with you (of course, even real live photo assistants swear by them because they feel like they have their own assistant on the shoot). The Magic Arm will run you $109.95 and the Super Clamps go for $24.90 each.

Topaz Adjust:

Topaz AdjustThe high-contrast, desaturated look is really huge these days, and a lot of people are getting that look using this surprisingly inexpensive Photoshop plug-in that keeps getting better and better. If the photographer on your list hasn’t heard of Topaz Adjust yet—don’t worry—she will. It’s getting lots of attention, and by giving this very cool plug-in as a holiday gift, you will, too. And it’s only $49.99 direct from the Topaz Labs website.

That’s It! Have a Great Holiday

Last week we called the guys over at and asked if they would run a special deal just for readers of this blog on the exact same type of prints and mounting that I order from them all the time.

I usually order 16×20″ prints on Metallic Paper, and then I get them mounted on black foam core. Everybody loves the way they look with that paper and black mounting, so I thought it would be the perfect one for a special like this. (Watch the really short video I did above to see an example of what I’m talking about).

I also use these mounted prints fairly often as gifts (I have MPIX ship the mounted prints directly to the person I want to send the gift, and I can’t tell you what a great reaction it gets—especially since they ship flat in a large thin box).

Anyway, for this weekend only, readers of this blog can upload your image to them, and they’ll create that same 16×20″ metallic print of your image mounted on foam core for just $28.93 each (plus shipping). This deal (which would normally run you $34.04) expires at Midnight CST this Sunday, and you have to enter this special promo code when you check out to get your discount:


Don’t forget to enter that promo code—or you’ll have to pay the full price (15% more). Also, under Framing and Mounting, choose Foam Core. Here’s the link to so you can set up your account (it only takes two minutes), and upload your image(s). Anyway, once you get your print (or prints), drop me a comment here on the blog to let me know what you think.

Thanks to Joe, John and the gang at MPIX for hooking my readers up with this weekend deal. You guys rock!