Category Archives Photography

onone2d

The wait is over! After releasing the Canon version of their iPhone remote control app earlier this year, now OnOne Software has released a Nikon version of their app which lets you control your Nikon DSLR wirelessly from your iPhone or iPod Touch.

I haven’t given it a studio test yet (that’s coming next week), but basically what this puppy does is let you take control over your tethered Nikon DSLR, letting you change your f/stop, shutter speed—-you can even use LiveView to see what you’re camera’s seeing (right from your iPhone)—-and then use it actually take the photo wirelessly (think about using this when you’re shooting the kids!).

Anyway, you just gotta love that, technology like this for both Nikon and Canon shooters, is starting to appear. It’s $19.99 and you can buy it from the iTunes Store. Way to go OnOne!!!! Here’s a link with more details.

©JU-october2009

Hi Gang: A friend turned me on to Journeys Unforgettable, and their amazingly unique photographic workshops. Here’s the scoop on their next one (which is coming in October) which is going to Zambia & Zimbabwe (and I’m passing this on because NAPP members get $500 off). If you’ve got a sec; check out the details below (wish I could go!).

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Join Host Journeys Unforgettable with Special Guest 2008 BBC Wildlife Photographer of The Year: Miguel Lasa and Dana Allen for an Extraordinary Unforgettable Photo Adventure into the Heart of the Wilderness to Zambia & Zimbabwe.

Miguel Lasa who was recently featured in the June 2009 Issue of Outdoor Photographer may be a physican by training, but he’s a top wildlife photographer by avocation.  Some of his top tips for your best wildlife photo moments are:  Passion & Patience, Understand Animal Behavior, Use a Fast Shutter Speed, and Utilize a Suitable Camera and Lens.

We are very fortunate to have this incredible duo for this photo safari workshop led by Photography Professionals Dana Allen and Miguel Lasa.

You will not only learn how to capture the moment, but receive daily in-depth instruction, giving you all the tips into how to optimize your incredible images and share with all!

The camps for this photo adventure have been specially chosen for the unique game behavior at this time of the year.  We are planning to visit the South Zambian Kafue National Park, famous for its open plains and incredible cheetah sightings.  Following this, is a visit for a couple of days on the Lufupa River which will allow for photography from a wet/water perspective with fantastic bird life.  Then it’s onto the famous Little Makalolo camp in Hwange National Park with some of the most amazing elephant sightings anywhere in the world!

PHOTO WORKSHOP HIGHLIGHTS:
-Daily Activities Include Fieldwork in Exotic Wild Africa
-Max. 4 Photographers Per Open Land Rover (each photographer has own row)
– 1 on 1 Instruction
-Classroom Lessons with Peer Review and Professional Critique
-Electrical Power 24/7 For Photographic and Computer Equipment
-An Experience That Will Change Your Life!

TRIP DETAILS:
Arrive in Johannesburg on October 4th to Enjoy Group Dinner and Overnight at Luxury Hotel

  • October 5th Depart for Victoria Falls,Zimbabwe
  • October 5th Toka Leya Classc Camp in Zambia
  • October 6,7, 8, and 9 Shumba River Premiere Camp in Zambia
  • October 10 and 11 Lafupa Tented Classic Camp in Zambia
  • October 12,13,14, 15 and 16 Little Makalolo Classic Camp in Zimbabwe
  • October 17th Depart for Return to Johannesburg with onward flight to USA.

**Pre-Post Trip Extensions to other camps/cities available**

If interested, please contact brennan@journeysunforgettable.com to receive Special Pricing & Itinerary Details.

NOTE: *NAPP Members will Save Additional $500*

photo equipment on green grass

I guess it depends on how you look at it.

(NOTE: before you post a comment; please read Mike’s comments in the next post below, which explains what happened, and why FSU is absolutely not to blame).

You all know that on Monday we announced the winner for our “Shoot on The Sidelines with Scott & Mike,” contest, and Alex Walker, a really talented amateur sports photographer from Virginia won with an incredible shot of his son taken during a soccer (football) match.

You probably also know that a very vocal group of sports photographers were outraged at the fact that we did this contest in the first place. They didn’t feel an amateur, no matter how talented, had any place in “their world.” They were very bitter, angry, and made it very clear in online forums that having the winner on the sidelines was absolutely unacceptable.

But they didn’t stop there.

We just got word that these photographers were so upset that some of them contacted Florida State University directly, and told them they were making a mistake by letting an amateur “run amok” on the sidelines. This was dangerous. It’s not a good decision. This “amateur” has no business on the sidelines, and they should pull his sidelines pass!

Apparently, these angry sports photographers were very convincing. Florida State felt they had no choice but to rescind his pass Now, Alex will not get to shoot on the sidelines at the Florida State game.

Congratulations. You were able to steal Alex’s dream of shooting a big time game from the sidelines.

Yesterday I called Alex and told him the news. As you might imagine, he was very disappointed, but as good a photographer as Alex is, he’s even more of a gentleman and took the news like a pro.

He was already aware of the angry, hateful comments posted by some of these photographers, but I don’t think he ever thought it would come to this. Nevertheless, he was still grateful to have his photo chosen, and I’m sending him a bunch of cool goodies to, in some small way, take the sting out of losing out on such a wonderful opportunity, but obviously it won’t replace what was taken from him.

So, I guess these sports photographers felt it was really important for them to keep Alex off the sidelines, even though doing so:

  1. Wouldn’t put a dime in their pockets
  2. Wouldn’t in any way help their careers
  3. And wouldn’t impact their livelihood in any way

But they did manage to take a lifelong dream away from a very kind, talented dad, who just loves taking shots of his son.

My congratulations to this group of sports shooters on being able to convince Florida State University to change their mind. You should be very proud, and celebrate this great day for sports photography.

Last night my buddy Mike Olivella gave me a shout with his final pick for the winner of our “Shoot on the Sidelines with Scott & Mike” contest. With over 800 entries, it was an incredibly hard choice for Mike to make, but I won’t make you wait….

….the winner is “Alex Walker,” who took the kick-butt winning shot shown below:

winner

Mike said picking the winner was incredibly tough because there were so many great entries. Below are some of Mike’s other favorites from the contest (Mike told me, and I agree; any of these could have easily been the winner, because each one is that good, and you could make a great case for any of them being the winner, but at the end of the day, you can only pick one). I’m glad I didn’t have Mike’s job (I’m still reeling from choosing a winner for the Worldwide Photo Walk. Whew!

Here’s Mike’s other favorites, and although they didn’t win a prize, they certainly deserve some recognition.

the original catch

“The Original Catch”
By First Team Photography

3659210186_d4d378f7a4 Bringing em out with a bang

“Bringing ’em Out With a Bang”
By Steve Hiscock

(more…)

Just a reminder—today’s the deadline for entering the “Shoot on the sidelines contest with Scott & Mike” contest (where we fly you to a Florida State Seminoles game, wine you and dine you, then you shoot on the sides with me and sports photographers Mike Olivella). Get your entries uploaded by midnight tonight, because we’re announcing the winner on Monday!!!

Here’s the link to the video describing the contest, and here’s a link to the flickr group and more details. Hope I’ll be shooting with you on the sidelines in just a few short weeks!!!!

Good luck everybody! :)

peoplemag

Another photo retouching controversy popped into the news this past week over a recent Self magazine cover featuring singer Kelly Clarkson.

The article I saw showed the Self cover, and then a shot of Kelly during a recent daytime concert. (An example from People magazine’s Web site is shown above, but it’s been picked up by about every media outlet now). Here’s a link to an article that showed the same two shots I originally saw.

The concert shot of Kelly was particularly unflattering, and looking at the two side-by-side makes it pretty obvious the cover photo had been retouched. In fact, Lucy Danziger (the Editor-in-chief at Self) reportedly admitted that the cover shot had indeed been retouched, (like all cover shots of all similar major magazines—it’s not a big secret—they all do it). According to the article, here’s what Lucy was quoted as saying:

“Yes. Of course we do retouching,” she writes. “Did we alter her appearance? Only to make her look her personal best.”

I applaud Lucy for admitting the retouch publicly, but my article isn’t about whether or not you should retouch. This is different.

Now, if you had asked me before Lucy’s admission if the Self cover photo had been retouched, of course I would have told you that it absolutely was (Everybody on a cover like that gets retouched. Period!). However, there’s more going on, on that cover, than just post-production retouching in Photoshop, and it’s something you don’t really hear anybody talking about.

It’s Not Just Retouching
If Self magazine decided to release the un-retouched version of the photo (which I doubt they would do), I think you’d find a surprisingly good shot of Kelly was the starting point. Not exactly the finished image we saw on the Self cover, but a shot where she looks better than you’d think. Here’s what I think you’d find:

  1. The photographer (or Art Director) purposely posed Kelly so she would look thinner. There are all sorts of tricks to hide, mask, and disguise facial and body flaws, and great portrait photographers (the kind that shoot major magazine covers), know how to do exactly that. He didn’t position Kelly at an angle that would accentuate her backside (like the concert shot did), but instead found an angle that was the most flattering for her body type.
  2. The fashion consultant/designer on the shoot dressed Kelly in an outfit that would accentuate her best parts, while cleverly hiding or minimizing any unflattering parts. We all know what a difference the right clothes make, how the fit of the clothes plays such a role, and what a big difference color alone can make in making someone look thinner (which is why you never, never, see me wearing white or light gray). It took me all of five seconds to find an article online about which clothing tricks you can employ to look thinner (here’s the link). Here’s another called “How to look 10 pounds thinner in photos”. I could list these all day, but you already know from your own experience how the right clothes, the right fit, and the right color can make a huge difference in how thin (or not-thin) we look.
  3. There was at least one or more Professional Make-Up Artists on the shoot. They are masters at making people look their best before the first shot is even taken. They know every trick in the book on how to slim a face, slim arms, and add shading and layers of highlights and shadows to sculpt and trim the face to make it look many pounds thinner. I’ve worked with professional Make Up Artists on my own shoots and I’ve seen the mini-miracles they create first-hand. I’m always amazed at what they’re able to do (which makes my job as photographer/retoucher so much easier). A great MUA is worth his/her weight in gold, and I’ll bet Shape has some fantastic ones at every cover shoot.
  4. The lighting set-up and position of the lights the was intentionally chosen by the photographer to provide the softest, most flattering, light possible to make the subject look her best. You can light a subject to hide, obscure, or flat out avoid parts of your subject that aren’t flattering, and accentuate the best parts, and you can be sure the photographer who shot Kelly used as flattering of a lighting set-up as possible (not just for Kelly, but for every cover shoot).
  5. After all that work on the set, then the photo was professionally retouched, and I’m not just talking about color correction and sharpening, I mean the standard tucking, thinning, skin softening, blemish removal, wrinkle removal, eye enhancement, etc, and everything else that goes into a finished cover shot.

However, I think we’d be surprised to learn that it wasn’t as much as we’d like to believe, and part of that is because of the four things I listed above that happened on the set, before the retouching. Using just the right pose, the right outfit, a great Make-up artist or two, and ideal lighting make the retoucher’s job that much easier because that much less is required. (Note: I seem to recall that in one of the articles I came across while researching that the Self Editor said that in fact it wasn’t Photoshop that was used for the cover retouching).

What The Reporters Didn’t Ask
Because we’re now all pre-programmed to think that “Photoshop is the culprit” nobody even considered asking the Self magazine Editor these questions:

  • Did you pose her so she looked thinner?
  • Did you use a make-up artist to sculpt and thin her face?
  • Did you dress her in an outfit that helped hide her battle with weight
  • Did the photographer light her to make her appear thinner?

A bigger question may be; does anybody care that all those other things were done first? I doubt it.

Those kinds of retouching are probably considered “fair” in most people’s minds. Retouching you do in “real-life” first is somehow perfectly acceptable, but once it gets in the computer, then it becomes unfair, which I think….is unfair. The goal of both are the same; make your subject look their best (or in many cases better than their best).

I’m not trying to pass judgment here on whether the photographer, make-up artist, retoucher, and/or magazine in general went too far (that’s a different topic, and one where I was quoted last week in an an article on photo retouching in The LA Times), but I think it’s important to realize that Photoshop is just a tool. It’s not the culprit and Photoshop is not the only way to change someone’s appearance pretty drastically in a photo.

My Offer to Lucy at Self Magazine:
I invite Lucy and the folks at Self to send me the unretouched original to confirm what I believe about the “pre-preproduction” done on the shot, which is “The shot looked better than we all think to start with,” (of course, I would sign an agreement not to distribute the unretouched photo to anyone under any circumstances).

If they’re uncomfortable with that, I’d be happy to fly up to Self’s offices myself to see the unretouched image on their computer screen, or as a print in their office, to confirm that it is indeed, a very flattering photo to begin with. This is a pretty unlikely scenario, but if they took me up on it, I think it would be eye-opening to a lot of people in Hollywood, in this industry, and to the media in general. Photoshop is a powerful tool, but it’s not the only tool in the retouching bag of tricks.

One Last Thing
If you see a headshot of me. Ever. It’s been retouched (but probably not as much as I would have liked). ;-)

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