Tuesday
Mar
2008
04

Review: Lucis Art Photoshop Plug-in (and the “Dave Hill Look”)

by Scott Kelby  |  8 Comments

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The original image is shown above—that’s Photoshop User Managing Editor Issac Stolzenbach, on his classic Honda Shadow Sabre (click for a larger view).

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The Lucis Art plug-in interface (Click for a larger view).

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The grittier, hyper-sharpened, high-contrast image after applying the Lucis Art plug-in (click for a larger view).

YOU’VE GOT THE LOOK
Photography, like fashion itself, seems to go though periods of time where there is a certain “look” that everybody wants to have, and right now the hot look for portraits is what you might call the “Dave Hill look” (I blogged about Dave’s photography last month—here’s the link). His trademark look is gritty, sharp, yet at the same time I’ve heard it described as almost “painterly” in nature. Whatever you want to call it; every big celebrity and rock band wants him to shoot them, and even big business magazines are calling on him to shoot their covers. He’s the “it” photographer.

Now, after researching the living daylights out of this topic, I can tell you this: I don’t believe Dave Hill’s look comes from a plug-in, or just a Photoshop technique, or just a Continue reading

Monday
Mar
2008
03

Shooting (and Lighting) for Food

by Scott Kelby  |  1 Comments

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I mentioned last week that I’ve been trying to get my wife to do a cookbook of her recipes, and along those lines I’ve been shooting a lot of food lately (when I tell people I’ve been shooting food, they usually look at me and say, “Food?” I tell them to think of the type of shots you’d see in a cookbook—as shown above where I mocked up some of my shots with a cookbook layout).

I’ve done a food shoot every single day this past week, and I’ve gained 14.3 lbs. (totally kidding, but I’ve got to tell you, since I’m closely watching my weight, it’s tough shooting food and not totally chowing down on it. The only saving grace is; once you’re done shooting it for an hour or two, you usually wouldn’t want to eat it).

I took the shots above (click on them for a larger version) using pretty much the same lighting set-up; natural window light, along with a Westcott Daylight Fluorescent Spiderlite with a 24″x32″ softbox as a fill light, and a small handheld white reflector to fill in the shadows on the opposite side of the light.

For example, the cereal shot above was taken in front of a open window, with the window light coming in and lighting the cereal from behind. Then, just off to the right of my camera, I positioned the Spiderlite aiming down at a 45° angle. Lastly, on the left side of the bowl, I held a small handheld reflector just outside the frame.

The cereal photo was taken with a Nikon D3, (mounted on a tripod) with a Nikon 70-200mm lens, with the screw-on Canon Closeup lens attached (which I mentioned in Vol. 1 of my digital photography book, which turns any 77mm sized lens into an instant Macro lens).

The Spiderlites are really ideal for shooting food (or any product shots for that matter), because they match the daylight light nicely; they don’t get “hot” (because they’re fluorescent), and because they’re always on (a continuous light source), which makes lighting something as tricky as food much easier. Here’s the link for more info on the Spiders.

TIP: The “milk” in the cereal you see above is actually Elmer’s Glue. Real milk makes the cereal really soggy, really fast, and it’s hard to control, where glue pretty much sticks where you want it (get it, sticks….ah forget it).

I’m doing a food shoot every day for 30 days (in between other shoots, like the two I have scheduled for tomorrow), and I’m learning a lot and having a blast. I’m going to hire a food stylist for some of the final shoots later in the month, so if you know of a kick-butt food stylist based in the Southeast, let me know.

Friday
Feb
2008
29

Friday Wrap-Up (and BIG news about Nik Software’s Viveza plug-in)

by Scott Kelby  |  1 Comments

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Before we get started, just a quick word of thanks to the wonderful folks at the ISAP (International Society of Aviation Photographers). I spoke at their annual symposium in Dallas, Texas yesterday (on behalf of Nikon), and I just had a wonderful time. They’re a terrific group to present to, and once again I was blown away by the images their members capture. They had a mini-gallery set-up of their attendees work, and it was just absolutely stunning. Thanks to Nikon and ISAP for having me back this year.

  • On a side note: while at ISAP I picked up a wonderful book by aviation photographer Erik Hildebrandt called “Anytime Baby; Hail and Farewell to the Navy F-14 Tomcat.” It’s filled with incredible images, and fascinating stories about one of the most amazing fighter jets ever made (Here’s the link to it on Amazon.com). Now, on to the news:
  • THIS IS HUGE: Remember last week when I raved about Nik Software’s new Photoshop plug-in Viveza? Well, I told our chief deal maker here at NAPP, that this plug-in was the next big thing and to see if we could get a special discount on it just for NAPP members. Well, he pulled it off, and for the next two weeks only; NAPP members get $50 off Viveza (That’s 1/2 of your NAPP yearly membership back to you in just one discount. Sweet!). So, for everybody else, it’s $249. For NAPP members, for the next two weeks, it’s only $199 (plus, NAPP members get the plug-in two weeks before the rest of the world, which is totally cool if you ask me). If you’re a NAPP member, drop by the NAPP member homepage for your link to get the exclusive member discount (Note: NAPP does not get any rebate, kicker, commission, etc. from Nik Software. I know you know that, but I thought I’d mention it anyway). Thanks to Ed and everybody at Nik for making this available to our members.
  • Hey, it’s Friday; take two minutes and check out photographer David duChemin’s portfolio from his recent Mongolia trip. Absolutely wonderful images that will totally make you want to go to a workshop there. Here’s the link.
  • If you’re anywhere near the Washington DC area; don’t forget that Jeff Revell over at “PhotoWalkPro.com” has an “everybody’s invited” photo walk coming up on Saturday, March 8th. The walk is in this very trendy, hip little neighborhood and for two hours the group is going to shoot whatever looks interesting, and then afterward, it’s off to a local haunt to do some serious “chimpin” (looking at your, and your fellow shooters images on your LDC’s) while you have some pie or “photo walk” food, or whatever you eat and drink after a photo walk. Sounds like a great way to spend a spring Saturday to me. Here’s the link with all the details.
  • If you’ve been in this business a while, you’ll probably remember a plug-in that did pro-level auto image enhancements called “ImagePrep Pro.” It was really brilliant; you told it what your final output was (newsprint, offset press, etc.) the line screen, etc. and it would automatically color correct, sharpen, resize, set the resolution, and do pretty much everything for you lickity split (even the AP wire service used it worldwide for years). It was so good, I figured at some point Adobe would buy it and just build it right into Photoshop. Anyway, the color wizard behind Image Prep Pro was Herb Paynter, and he’s just launched a new “Color blog” dedicated to getting color right (here’s the link). It’s great to see Herb back in the saddle again!
  • We proclaimed today, leap-year day, an “un-official day” at Kelby Media Group, and we gave the crew the day off, so I’m staying home to play with the kids; shoot some more food shots, maybe hit a few golf balls, and even go tinker around over at the studio for a bit. Hey, this day off thing could really catch on. ;-)

Have a great weekend everybody, and we’ll see you on Monday.

Friday
Feb
2008
29

Last Day for $100 Off Early Bird Photoshop World Registration

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

OK, so since today’s the last day to sign up and get the $100 off Early Bird Registration to Photoshop World, I thought I’d post a “Photoshop World in 30-seconds” video to remind you to lock in your conference pass today.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/whEDTGzkp_s" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Thursday
Feb
2008
28

Classes I’d Love to attend at Photoshop World in Orlando

by Scott Kelby  |  1 Comments

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I used Dave Cross’s ingenious “Photoshop World PDF Planner” to pick which classes at the upcoming Photoshop World Conference & Expo (on April 2-4), I would take if I wasn’t teaching any classes myself, and could attend a different class the entire conference–just like an attendee (see the graphic above, which was generated from Dave’s planner). Now, these aren’t my suggestions for everybody else; these are just the sessions I would catch if I could (although I am going to do my darndest to catch at least one class per day—that’s much harder to do than it sounds with my schedule).

If you’re going to Photoshop World, go to Dave’s site and download his free planner—you will love it. If you’re going, but you haven’t signed up—there’s only two days left to take advantage of the $100 off early bird registration. If you’re not planning on going…why the heck not? I checked Travelocity last night for some flights to Orlando, and here’s what they listed as their cheapest fare (cheap!):

(All roundtrip airfares)

  • From Charlotte, NC: $148
  • From New York’s JFK to Orlando $158
  • From Chicago O’Hare $200
  • Boston $193
  • Atlanta $166
  • Cleveland $186
  • Detroit $213

Hotel rooms are fairly cheap too, because the conference is so close to Walt Disney World. I hope I’ll see you there! (Here’s the link for more info, or to register).

Wednesday
Feb
2008
27

Lastolite’s HiLite Background gets a “Scott Thinks It’s Hot!” Award

by Scott Kelby  |  8 Comments

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Yesterday I was shooting some shots for a project I’m working on (see top image–click on it for a larger view), and I got to use Lastolite’s Hilite background, which gives you, about as simply as I can imagine it could ever be, a perfectly lit, shadowless white background for high-key shots. I got a live demo of the HiLite background at the Imaging USA expo in Tampa back in January, and I bought one right on the spot, but this is the first chance I’ve had to shoot with it. It was so easy to set up, so easy to use, and just so darn clever, that I knew about 5-minutes into the shoot that it was going to get my “Scott Thinks It’s Hot!” Award.

This background is incredibly portable—basically, it just pops-up (when it’s collapsed it looks like a large collapsible reflector), and it’s free standing, so you don’t have to carry any stands or supports for it. You just stick a strobe in one end (as seen in the bottom photo above; (photo courtesy of Lastolite), or both ends (I only used one strobe on one end) and that’s pretty much it. You pop-it open, pop a strobe in the side, and that’s it—you’re ready to shoot high-key, even in a very small space, or on location.

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I took the top photo at the top of this post, featuring model Stevie Lynn, on the HiLite background (there are no other lights on the background). My Main Light was a Elinchrom RX-600 strobe with a 53″ Elinchrom mini Octa softbox, mounted on an Avenger rolling C-Stand, and I fired the strobes using Elinchrom’s Skyports (more on them later this week). It was shot with a Nikon D300, at 1/60 of a second, at f/7.1 at 200 ISO. The lens was a 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens at 102mm. So, the set-up was one main light, and the light inside the HiLite background—that’s it. (click the photo right above for a larger view of the shoot; that’s me on the far left–photo by RC).

The HiLite Background comes in two sizes; a 5′x7′ and 6′x7′ (by the way; get the 6′x7′ model—you’ll thank me later), and B&H Photo has the 5′x7′ for $376 (link), and the 6′x7′ for $428.95 (link). For more info on the Lastolite HiLites, click here.

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