Dave Cross and Corey Barker square off during Photoshop Wars in the Dell booth at Photoshop World Las Vegas 2010. Hey gang, Brad here with the news for this week: TOMORROW is the LIVE NAPP webcast featuring Dave Cross and Corey Barker sponsored by Dell!  They'll be taking the stage to present a bevy (yes, bevy) of their coolest Photoshop Tips & Tricks, plus it's open to the public, plus plus they're giving away FREE prizes! So register now for your chance to win, then tune in tomorrow at NOON Eastern on that same page. Matt Kloskowski will be bringing the Photoshop for Digital Photographers seminar to the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle on November 18! You can get all the details and sign up right here. Speaking of Matt, episode 56 of DTown TV with he and Scott Kelby will be going up…

My name is John McWade. Because this is my first post, here’s a quick history.

I’m a designer, not a photographer. Early in 1985, I was the first person in the world to lay down my T-square and become a full-time “desktop publisher.” That meant that I was doing my design work entirely on a computer — a 9″-screen Macintosh — with a test version of Aldus PageMaker.

I’d been at it for months when, that summer in New York, Apple rolled out its “Macintosh Office,” a networked suite consisting of the Apple LaserWriter, Adobe PostScript, and Aldus PageMaker. All three were revolutionary. The press, impressed, said, “Yeah, this looks good, but is anyone actually using it?” To which Apple said, “Well, there’s this guy out in California . . .”

And my phone started to ring.

Things have not been the same since.

It took only five years for desktop publishing to democratize design. Its early adopters, with exceptions, were not designers. They were writers, editors, marketers and others who had design to do — newsletters, brochures, business stationery, whatever — but lacked the time, budget, or need for a professional.

Most had an affinity for design, too. But most did not have the skills.

Books and periodicals taught point and click. How to draw a curve, make a shadow, put a glow on something. This was helpful. They called it design, but it wasn’t. It was effects.

No one outside of school was teaching design. Typography. Page layout. The art of making a visual message beautifully and simply and clearly.

So we jumped in. We launched a small magazine titled Before & After, How to design cool stuff in January, 1990, to help the novice — the non-design professional — with graphic design. It was an immediate hit.

I’ve been at it ever since. In print, in books, online, in video (just starting this), and in the occasional live class. I love my work. The surprise has been that our little five-year project would turn into a career that continues to this day.

Brad asked if I’d do a post for photographers.

From a designer’s standpoint, the great thing about being a photographer is that you have great images to work with. So how about how to get a photo and type to coexist in the same small space, like on a business card? There’s a universal way to do it, which I’ll show you here, and once you have it down, you can elaborate pretty easily if you want.


(Above) Jayne Kettner’s business card had a clip-arty logo, a slogan, a swashy, calligraphic signature, and her business information, all scattered into various corners and places. This is common, and there are several problems with it. One is the scattering, which puts similar kinds of information in different places, with nothing to connect it. Two is the visual complexity; that is, the unnecessary tangle of lines. Three is that we can’t see her photos; her biggest asset is absent.

Here’s how to fix it.

You guys already know that I'm a huge fan of Elinchrom's strobes (they're the only strobes I use in the studio), and in particular their BXRI's compacts. So, I was really psyched when Elinchrom asked to use some of my images for their new print ad campaign (seen below). The first ad features a studio shot I took of professional model Julie Anna Cole (above), using three BXRI's 500 watt strobes (but one of the strobes was just used to light the white background, so there are only two strobes lighting the subject). This ad appears in the new issue of Professional Photographer magazine. Above: Here's a production shot from the shoot taken by Brad (of course, at this point, she had a fur hat on, which you'll see that shot below, but it wasn't used in the campaign), and you can see the…

....by the time Thursday comes this deal will be almost over. I just got word from our crew that they're running a One Week Only Sale for NAPP members only on my "Light It, Shoot It, Retouch it" DVD Collection. The 3-disc set usually sells for $199, but using the link below, and just for this week only (until 10/22/2010), it's only $129.99 (that's an extra $50 off the already low NAPP member discount price). Click here to log in to your NAPP Member discounts page for the special promo code.

I gotta tell ya---I wasn't there long, but I had a blast!!!! I flew out Wednesday night, got there Thursday at 8:08 am (slept a bit on the plane), and by the time I got to my hotel and caught a quick 45 minute nap, I grabbed my camera and headed out the door to meet Dave Clayton and Glyn Dewis (two faithful readers of my blog, and otherwise horrible people). (Above: That's Dave and I posing in front the famous Leaning Tower of Big Ben. Notice how un-touristy I look wearing a Chicago Bears jacket. Photo by Glyn Dewis). Dave and Glyn took me to an awesome place in Covent Garden called "Gourmet Burger Kitchen" for lunch. Yummy burger, and lots of laughs, and then we set out to find a Starbucks so I could charge my iPhone. (Above: That's Glyn and I…

....if anything at all offends you, because this video is packed with offensive...well...everything (from really, really bad curse words and Nazis, to Nazis yelling really bad curse words), but it's after midnight, and I'm sitting in my hotel room in London, practicing for my seminar tomorrow morning, and a buddy sent me the link to this video, and I was laughing so hard tears were streaming down my face. Now, it's very late. I've only slept a few hours after flying all night, so it may be much funnier to me tonight than it will be to you at 8:00 am in the morning, so before you hit that play button, know that this video is wrong on every level, so ask yourself if you're likely to be offended by really, really naughty words and Nazis before noon. If that sounds like you, (and…