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I read a really fascinating article in the November 2007 issue of “Digital Photo Pro” magazine, about photographer and Photoshop retoucher Gary Land. He is just an absolutely amazing celebrity and sports photographer who captures the biggest stars for everything from Rebok ads to editorial spreads in the biggest national magazines, and he is definitely “the man in demand.”

Land has created his own trademark look, which incorporates some absolutely brilliant compositing techniques, which combines detailed planning in the shooting stage (including meticulous lighting), and some serious Photoshop skills in the darkroom. But besides an enlightening article on his work, he said a couple of things in the article that I thought were worth sharing. He shoots 99% of his work with a digital camera, but sometimes the client specifically requests film, so he obliges, but here’s his quote about film:

“I love film, but it’s a pain in the ass, because you’ve got to shoot the film, change the film, you’ve got to process it, you’ve got to scan it. It’s just a pain, and it doesn’t look as good in the end. It really doesn’t.”

But what really caught my eye, was his comment about printing resolution. He said:

“I got into a fight with a printer company rep the other day. I’m like, ‘I’ve printed this stuff.’ I print all my files at 150 dpi. He said, ‘You’re crazy.’ I said I am not crazy. I’m telling you there’s no difference, and I do these tests all the time. I can print one of my files at 150 and the same file at 300 [dpi] and it’s the exact same look. Take a magnifying glass and it’s the same. 150 is awesome.”

He goes on to say,

“That’s a little secret I think. I like printing at 150 [dpi] it just looks much better.”

I’ve subscribed to his “less resolution is more” theory for more than 10 years, since the brilliant Photoshop and prepress magician Doug Gornick showed me the light. Doug was printing everything at 144 dpi. He said the print shop will always argue with you that it can’t be done, but they’re always amazed with the results. I saw Doug’s results again and again, and the proof was in the pudding. To this day, I feel the “use only 300 dpi for print” line is another one of those Photoshop myths that may have been accurate (or just plain simple to pass on a general rule), years ago, but I personally don’t think it’s really relevant anymore. But hey, that’s just me. :)

Stop by and check out Gary Land’s amazing work (much of which is composites of the athlete or celebrity being shot in 15 minutes or less on white seamless, and then is composited seamlessly with a separate background in Photoshop afterward), at his site (click here to jump there).

You can read the feature article on Gary from Digital Photo Pro’s Web site (click here to read it online).

Hi everybody. As anyone who knows me would tell you, I’m the happiest, most blessed guy in the world, with so much to be thankful for, and today I’m taking today off to spend it with the people who made me that way.

Here’s wishing you and yours a day filled with the warmth and joy we get from being surrounded by the people we love. :)

Happy Thanksgiving!


This week I’m just wrapping up the writing and shooting for the soon to be released, “The Digital Photography Book, Vol 2,” which pretty much picks up where Vol. 1 left off. I built the book on feedback from readers of the first book, who asked things like, “Can you do the same thing for studio lighting?” and “Off camera flash” and can give you give us more Wedding photography tips, more landscape tips, more travel photography tips, and just more of everything. So, I did just that.

The new book uses the exact same layout and look of Volume 1, and it goes to press in the first week of December, (although shows it in their warehouses around Jan.5th, and Barnes & Nobles shows it available on December 28th, 2007), so, it will either be:

  • (a) In stock and shipping on that day
  • (b) It will be available earlier, or
  • (c) later

So, I’m going to give you the links here to pre-order the book from or Barnes & (Amazon. com is listing it for $16.49. Cheap!), but here’s the thing: once I send it to my publisher (Peachpit Press), and they send it off to be printed and shipped, it’s out of my hands, so if you do preorder it, and Amazon sends you an automated email message that says it won’t be available until July of 2010, please don’t come here and post hateful comments on my blog that I’m intentionally misleading you, or say bad things about my mother, or any of the other angry things people post here when they get that email, of which I have absolutely no involvement or control whatsoever.

Thanks everybody, and I hope you preorder the book today, and join me in this “when does it really ship?” adventure. :-)


Last year, I got a B&H Photo Gift Card from one of my buddies, and I have to say, I was just ecstatic! Since they carry about every thing any photo or graphics geek could ever want, it’s pretty much “a lock” that it will go over big. Anyway, they start at $20 and head up to $1,000 if you’re really in the giving spirit. Here’s the link to their gift card section (


Hi Everybody. Here’s what’s goin on:

  • My buddy Matt Kloskowski did a post last week called “Why Lightroom?” on his “Lightroom Killer Tips” blog that started a great discussion (and is creating some real buzz). Check it out right here.
  • In that same vein, on this week’s episode of Photoshop User TV, I did a special segment on Lightroom vs. The CS3 Bridge and Camera Raw, and where Lightroom fits in, inspired by comments I got from a number of attendees at my “CS3 Power Tour” in New York City two weeks ago (namely, “What is Lightroom?”). Here’s the link to watch it online (it’s the first segment in the show).
  • Terry White, of Terry’s Tech Blog fame, and co-author of “The iPhone Book,” is quoted in the current issue of Newsweek in an article on GPS units. You can read the article right here.
  • Thomas Testi, over at Blog Critics Magazine posted a very in-depth review of my Photoshop 7-Point System book today, and he does a good job of showing how this book differs from my other Photoshop books. Here’s the link.
  • Want some Tuesday photo inspiration? Go check out photographer Jill Greenberg’s “Manipulator” web site (if the name sounds familiar,Jill gained fame earlier in the year with her “crying baby” shots). Jill has a very unique style (and a signature Photoshop finishing style that is very slick). Click here to check it out her work.

That’s it for today’s new folks. Make sure you scroll down to the next post which answers some questions about the Elinchrom Octabank I keep talking about.


Since I mentioned the Elinchrom Octabank in my New York Studio Post two weeks ago (and in my shots of Photoshop User News anchor Stephanie Cross), I’ve had a steady stream of emails and posts asking questions about it, so I thought I’d go into a little detail on a rig I use.

The Octa Light Bank (which is it’s more formal name), that I use is actually three parts:

  1. An Elinchrom Ranger Battery Pack (it’s important to get this battery pack, so your Octa isn’t stuck in your studio, so you can use it for on location lighting gigs).
  2. An Elinchrom Free Light S Flash Head (which comes as part of the “Ranger Kit” so you get the battery pack and flash head together)
  3. A Free Light S Flash Head, which mounts inside the very large 74″ (diameter) Elinchrom Octabank softbox, and it aims at the back of the softbox, so the light wraps around and comes back out toward your subject, somewhat like a really giant umbrella, but the way it’s designed you get virtually no falloff from the center to the edges (less than 1/4 stop from the center to any edge), which gives you the most glorious, wrapping light I’ve ever seen.

So, it’s those three pieces (a flash head, a battery pack which powers the flash head, and the Octabank softbox itself). Now, there is an optional stand you buy for it on B&H Photo, but I recommend using a heavy-duty C-stand instead, and I would get one with wheels to make it easier to move this very large unit around (I use a Matthews C-stand).

By the way; another reason you want the battery pack, even in the studio, is so you can move the whole unit as one piece, without worrying about cables getting in the way (you plug straight into the battery back, and then mount the battery back to your stand).

Now, this rig certainly isn’t cheap, but I actually think it’s a bargain, because if you get this one rig, you’re pretty much set for portraits (you’ll wind up using this one light and a reflector, and that’s about all you need). The Ranger Kit at B&H Photo (which is the flash head, battery pack, a hard case, and accessories), goes for around $2,029, and then you need the 74″ Octabank softbox itself, (which goes for around $1,100) and then I recommend a Matthews’s Hollywood C-stand to hold it all (for around $150, plus you should buy some wheels for it).

So, altogether you’re talking around $3,300, but if you’re really serious about getting a gorgeous, fabulous, top-pro quality strobe, this is the one I recommend (and now couldn’t live without). Thanks to one of the world’s best shooters, Joe McNally, who turned me onto this rig (it’s the one he uses to shoot everything from corporate clients, to national magazines, to celebrity shoots), and he was right–it totally rocks!

Note: If you happen to have a Profoto flash head, Elinchrom makes a speedring that lets you use the Profoto as your strobe, which fits into the Octabank, so if you’ve already got the strobe, you could just buy the Octabank softbox.