Tuesday
May
2012
22

Update on Google+ Photographer’s Conference

by Brad Moore  |  4 Comments

We’re minutes away from the keynote at the Google+ Photographer’s Conference! Brad Moore here with some quick updates so you all know the latest of what’s going on.

First, as it turns out, Google will not be streaming the keynote, but it will be be re-broadcast later. More details on that when we have them.

If you would like to submit questions for Bradley Horowitz and Scott Kelby to answer during the keynote, head over to the Conference page on Google+ and leave a comment on the latest post there.

Keep an eye on that page throughout the conference to ask questions for other sessions as well!

Also, make sure you download the Google+ Photographer’s Conference App (Android | iPhone) if you’re using your mobile device. That will be the most convenient way to keep up with everything that’s happening while you’re away from your computer.

Tuesday
May
2012
22

Watch the G+ Keynote Live Today at 9:00 AM PST Right Here

by Scott Kelby  |  8 Comments

Hi Gang: The keynote will be streamed lived via YouTube.com and our plan is to embed the stream right here on the blog, LIVE today at 9:00 am Pacific Time (Noon East Coast Time US), so check back then and see if we actually got it to work!

Also, you can watch from our Google+ page, so I hope you’ll tune in, just 2-1/2 hours from now (well, from when this was posted anyway).

See you then! :)

Monday
May
2012
21

Live From San Francisco, It’s “Short Blog-Post Monday”

by Scott Kelby  |  11 Comments

Hi Gang, and greetings from sunny San Francisco! We arrived yesterday afternoon,; Matt grabbed a rental car and we headed down to Monterey to shoot along the coast at Big Sur.

The sunset was kind of sketchy — for a while it looked like it might be good (as seen above), but then this fog kind of rolled in off shore (they call it “marine layer”) and once the sun tucked behind it, it was not to be seen again. Still a lot of fun just shooting along the chilly, windy Garrapata State beach at Big Sur (shown above).

Today is set-up day for tomorrow’s launch of the “Google+ Photographers Conference” here at the Yerba Buena Center, but the conference kicks off later this afternoon with Photo Walks all over the city (I’m leading the one at Golden Gate State Park), and then we all meet-up at a gallery tomorrow night for a wine and cheese reception where we’ll be showcasing the work of some of our attendees, which will be on display in the gallery.

Lots of last minute details to get done, and it’ll be a busy day here. Hope I’ll be seeing you at my Photo Walk today, or at the keynote tomorrow, or in one of my four sessions (four sessions? Yikes!).

Hope you all have a great Monday!

Friday
May
2012
18

Heading to the Google+ Conference for Photographers

by Scott Kelby  |  13 Comments

Man, have I picked up some Frequent Flyer miles in the past few weeks. As I write this, I’m on my delayed flight back from Norfolk, Virginia after speaking the ISAP aviation photographers’ conference (had a great time. Their association is so fantastic, I actually signed-up myself while I was there, and now I am a proud ISAP member). A big thanks to Nikon for having me there in the first place, and to Larry Grace and all the great folks at ISAP.

So, after back-to-back London and Paris trips (hey, I’m not complaining) I’m off this weekend to San Francisco as we kick off the first ever, “Google+ Photographer’s Conference.” We’re going to have a packed house out there, and we’re getting there early to get everything set-up, coordinated, decorated and ready to rock. I am SO excited about this has come together — it is going to be a really amazing experience, and I looking forward to meeting some of the people I’ve been following this year on Google+ face-to-face, and to making lots of new friends while I’m there.

I’m teaching a few classes, and doing some location shoots as well, and the whole gang here at Kelby Training is really psyched up for. I hope if you’re there, you’ll stop me and say “hi.” (I always get a kick out of meeting people who read the blog). :)

I’m not quite sure how much time I’ll have to blog while I’m out there — hoping to have one for Monday, but Tuesday may well be “lame-out Tuesday” but I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Here’s wishing you all a terrific weekend, and I’ll be seeing some of you out West in just a few days, so safe travels to everyone!

Thursday
May
2012
17

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  321 Comments

Google+ Photographer’s Conference
We’re just days away from the Google+ Photographer’s Conference in San Francisco! The Kelby offices are in the midst of all the last-minute preparations, and we’re excited to be heading to the west coast. Don’t miss this opportunity to see your favorite Google+ photographers all in one place! Head over to GPlusPC.com for the full speaker lineup, schedule, and registration details.

Use GPLUSCOMM to save $50 off registration AND get 2 free months of online training at KelbyTraining.com. Or if you’re a student, use GPLUSSTUD to register for just $99 (must provide student ID)! These discount codes are valid until tomorrow, May 18.

Plus, leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to the conference! This will be the last chance to win a free ticket from Free Stuff Thursday, and we’ll be picking a winner in the next 24 hours since we’re so close to the conference.

What’s New In Photoshop CS6 DVD
Win Matt Kloskowski’s new DVD, What’s New in Adobe Photoshop CS6, before you can buy it! This DVD is perfect for people who have experience using a previous version of Photoshop – CS5, CS4, or even CS3 and just want to know all of the “good stuff” in CS6. Leave a comment and we’ll randomly draw for 2 winners.  Full details about this brand new DVD here.

Matt has another DVD out called Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Crash Course. This title is designed to have anyone using LR4 up and running at full speed in no time. Leave a comment and we’ll randomly draw for 2 winners. Learn more about this DVD here.

Lightroom 4 Book – Spiral Bound!
Speaking of Lightroom 4, the spiral bound version of Scott’s brand new book, The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Book for Digital Photographers (Spiral Bound Edition), is here and yep, you guessed it – we’re giving away a copy here on Free Stuff Thursday. The spiral bound edition is killer if you plan to use this a lot as a reference because you can keep it flipped open on your desktop while you work. Just leave a comment and we’ll draw for a winner before next week’s installment. Learn more about Scott’s latest title here.

50% Off At The NAPP Store
Most shirts and mugs are 50% off at the Official NAPP Gear Store. Get a great deal on a NAPP shirt or mug by entering GRADSHIRTMUG in the coupon box at checkout. Some exclusions apply. Hurry because the offer ends Thursday, May 17 at 11:59PM Pacific Time.

Kelby Training Live
If you’re in Indianapolis, you’ll want to check out Dave Cross and The Photographer’s Photoshop CS6 Power User Tour on May 23!

Matt Kloskowski is also hitting the road with the Lightroom 4 Live Tour! He’s heading to Washington, DC, Lansing, MI, Richmond, VA, and San Francisco next month.

You can get dates, details, and register at KelbyTraining.com.

Drew Gardner Webinar
Today from 2:00p – 3:00p, join Drew Gardner and the Manfrotto School of Xcellence for a free webinar on Celebrity Portraiture! Drew will take you behind the scenes of his celebrity photo shoots in the studio and on location and talk about what he’s learned from his years of experience. You can sign up right here.

Last Week’s Winners
Google+ Photographer’s Conference
- Christopher Johnston

Crush The Composition DVD
- RJP
- Hollyhockrose

A Day With Jay Maisel DVD
- Doug Evans
- Thomas

That’s it for today. Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday
May
2012
16

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Alex Koloskov!

by Brad Moore  |  20 Comments

Hello there, my name is Alex Koloskov, I am a studio product and advertisement photographer.

When started to work as a commercial photographer many years ago, I was trying everything: from portraiture to architecture, but very soon I realized that I can be successful and “the best” only where is my passion, doing things where I can use my full potential.

It appears that such place is a quiet studio, a place where I feel extremely comfortable working with still life and motion subjects.

I love to perform technically challenging shots, where I have to engineer the lighting and light modifiers, creating custom solutions for each shot.

Today I’ll show you how I work with one of my favorite type of shots: a combination of liquid and product subjects in one composition. “Sculpting” unpredictable shape of moving liquid and adding still subject to the composition is very interesting and challenging task, and outcome is unusual and eye-catching.

The idea was this: get a white iPhone and wrap it with white milk-like liquid splash, all around, like it would happen if stream of milk would hit a phone from behind. iPhone from a few smartphones available in white, and showing with the milky splash will look really cool :-)

Here is what I mean… the shot we did:

Looks quite unusual, doesn’t it? Almost like 3D rendering, which is a great accomplishment for a photographer: it is hard to get a real shot to look as clean as it could be done in 3D.

Let me show how we did it, step by step.

First step: The Phone Shot

Usually, shots like this are a composite. Meaning we do separate shots for each piece and then assemble everything in Photoshop.

So, the first shots was a phone alone.

This supposed to be a straight catalog-like product shot, with phone screen on. Because of the shape of the iPhone, this is quite simple task, with one little trick. Because I shoot with strobes, camera is usually set to X-sync speed (1/200sec for Canon 5d mkII) and I do not care about ambient (in-studio) lighting.

With strobes, effective exposure (I mean amount of light which will hit camera’s sensor) determined by power output of the strobe and lens aperture. Shutter speed does not affect the exposure as long as it longer than a flash duration and short enough to prevent in-studio ambient light to affect the shot.

The only issue with such approach is that we can’t capture weak continues lights, such as modeling lights or.. a smartphone’s screen.

Below is the phone with screen “ON” and 1/200sec shutter speed @ F16:

Despite the brightness of the iPhone screen, it appears completely black, as given exposure time was too short to let camera to capture it.

So, how to get it right? You probably already know what should be done to get the screen exposed correctly: lower the shutter speed. Which means that any other lights should be turned off: studio light, modeling light and even the monitors (I always shoot tethered in studio). There should be no other lights affecting exposure now, only strobe impulse and phone’s screen light.

This time we had shutter set to 1/5sec @ F16:

I often call such shot is “in-studio HDR” because in one shot we are getting like a double exposure: one from the strobe at effective “shutter speed” of about 1/2000 sec (determined by a flash duration measured t.1) and a second one from the phone’s display at effective duration of 1/5 sec, determined by a camera actual shutter speed. In one shot we have captured a huge dynamic range: strobe light and thousand times less brighter phone’s display light.

The lighting setup for the shot is quite simple:
One stripbox from the left, about 45 degree from the phone, and another stripbox on the right, slightly behind the phone. Because the phone face surface is completely flat and sides are non- glossy brushed metal, there was no issues to deal with unwanted reflections often found on glossy spherical subjects.

I used a Matthews Minigrip clamp mounted to a lighting stand and iPhone cable with connector to attach the phone to it.

After we were done with phone, it was time to do some mess:

Step Two: Splash Creation

The plan was to use iPhone more than just for this shot, so we did a trick: glued iPhone case to a rod and mounted it exactly the same way as the phone was.


Clear backpanel iPhone case mounted on the rod to replicate the phone position.

We also covered with plastic the whole shooting area. We were going to use latex paint and it was necessary to protect equipment and studio from it. All the lighting was covered as well. Here is how studio looked like after such waterproofing:

Camera view: plastic screen was fixed around lens hood

Back view

I have also adjusted the lighting accordingly to a new requirements: because latex paint is not transparent, there was no reason to have stripbox on the right behind the subject, so I moved it to be front-right. More frontal light is needed for white liquid to keep it white. To smooth the shadows even more, I’ve replaced narrow stripbox with square softbox.

One more softbox was added on the left, far from behind, just to create a slight edge on the splashes from that side. Oh yes, the background lights were added as well. We did not care about background when shooting the phone, as phone will be clipped out anyway.

For the splash part, we needed the real background. We got yellow seamless roll of paper hung about 5 feet behind the “splash area,” it was lit by 2 strobes with standard PCB reflectors.

After everything was set, the very first shot I did was a shot of the color checker card:

This is a very important part of each shot to have a correct color profile. Especially when shooting on such colorful background: without a color profile it won’t be possible to get a right white balance and correct colors for the subject and background.

Even if we are going to tweak colors during a post-production, I always have to have a way to revert to correct colors when needed.

When everything was ready, we started to throw the liquid. As mentioned before, we used latex white paint, and mixed it with water to 1:1 ratio. It gave us the thickness we were looking for.

The Lighting:
I use Paul C Buff Einstein strobes, as they have great stopping power in action mode. Typical power range I use is 100-150Ws, and flash duration is 1/6000 -1/4000 of a second. Such short light impulse is what freezes the action, not a fast shutter speed.

Back to the shot:

We got as many shots as we felt that would be needed to get a set of cool looking splashes to be combined into that flower-like splash around the phone.

Here is a short “behind the splash” video, it will show you how it was happening in realtime:

The Final Composition

Hope it was interesting. If you want to learn more about stuff I do check out Photigy.com, this is a place where I share everything what happens in our studio: behind the scenes videos, tutorials, tips & tricks and much more.

Every Wednesday at 10 PM EST I run Studio Photography Insights, a Google+ hangout: we discuss and critique submissions for the weekly assignments, talk about lighting, gear and secrets of studio product photography shared by amazing photographers like Dave Nitsche and Bill Cahill. Join us if you love working at studio, it will be fun!

You can see more of Alex’s work at Koloskov.com, find him on Google+ and Twitter, and come see him live at the Google+ Photographer’s Conference!

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