Monthly Archives October 2008

Here’s Joe like you’ve never seen him before, ‘runnin’ and gunnin,’ with on-location small flash, in this very cute teaser for his new “Light Shaping Tools, part 2” online class at In his class, he shares his thought process for lighting and shooting in a mix of indoor and outdoor locations with small off-camera flash (after you watch the short video—and you gotta watch the video–here’s the link to his class, and the full course outline).



Happy Halloween everybody!!! Here’s some quick news nuggets:

  • If you’re in New York this weekend, check this out; Jay Maisel is giving his incredible talk on “Light, Color, and Gesture” at 1:00 pm on Sunday, Novemember 2nd, at B&H Photo’s Event Space, in their Headquarters at 420 9th Ave. in New York City. The talk is free, but space is very limited. More info here.
  • Matt and I have been “gently teasing” (wink) our Photoshop User TV co-host and good friend Dave Cross, because he’s uses the Bridge rather than Lightroom. We’re totally (mostly) kidding him, but he got us back this week by creating a “Bridge Rocks” t-shirt for Adobe Bridge users that is actually very cool (that’s it shown above), and best of all; you can actually order one yourself through Cafe Press. Here’s the link to Dave’s daily blog with more info (while you’re there, make sure you check out some of the stuff Dave’s been posting lately, including his popular “Finish the Sentence…” series, with his latest interview from David Hobby).
  • The voting is done, and on November 3rd we’ll be announcing the winners of the “The iPhone Book, iPhone Photo Contest” While you’re in the ‘iPhone” mood, if you bought my new book, “The iPhone Book” (co-authored with iPhone guru Terry White) at Barnes & or, it wouldn’t hurt our feelings one bit (it’s as cheap at $16—perfect Holiday gift, eh?) By the way; don’t forget Friday is “iPhone App of the Week” day at Terry’s Tech Blog (here’s the link to that).

That’s it for today folks, have a safe Halloween—hope you get lots of yummy snacks, and we’ll see you back here on Monday. -Scott


Happy Thursday everybody! Before we kick into this, I want to thank Tim Grey for his inspirational Special Guest Blog post yesterday. I love reading the comments posted by readers, and if you read the one’s posted for Tim’s post yesterday, you can see that his creative insights got a lot of people thinking. Well done, Tim! :)¬† Now, onto the news:

  • First, thanks to everybody who came to spend the day with me in Orlando yesterday learning Lightroom 2. I was up late the night before tweaking every aspect of the workshop, and it really paid off, as I was able to cover more ground, and actually only ran over by 3 minutes. The crowd in Orlando was just a blast to present to, and I was also very lucky to have both Matt Kloskowski and RC Concepcion there helping me field one-on-one questions during the day. Also, Michael Tapes (of Instant JPEG from Raw) made an appearance, and gave me some mini-Whibals to give away (I used one during one of my live shoots), and this was my first gig with Brad Moore assisting me, and as expected; he kicked butt (photo above by Brad). Best of all; we had a really great day! Thanks again to everyone who made me feel so welcome.
  • Crash Taylor has a really fascinating interview with the grand master of wedding photographers, David Ziser, which includes photos, and some of the most in-depth, and intriguing¬† interview questions I’ve seen in a while. I know David fairly well, but Crash’s interview brought out some new things out I didn’t know. Very well done. Here’s the link.
  • Congrats to mega-photographer Joe McNally, whose German translation of his book, “The Moment It Clicks,” (called “Der entscheidende Moment” in German) was just awarded the prestigious German Photography Book Award (The silver medal), which is awarded for outstanding photographic quality, a superior aesthetic overall impression as well as pre-eminent photographic technique and background information. A hearty congratulations to Joe on his now “Award-winning” book!
  • Today is “Back up Your Lightroom Catalog Thursday,” so if you’ve been hitting the “Skip” button when it asks if you want to back up your Catalog, go ahead and invest five minutes right now (right this minute) and have it back-up your catalog. It may save your butt one day.

Have a really great day, and I hope you’ll drop back by again tomorrow. :)


Adding Mood to a Photograph

This may sound a little silly coming from a certified Photoshop junkie, but my tendency when optimizing a photo is actually to try to make it look as close to reality as possible. Sure, I'll add a slight touch of "what I remember" to take it beyond "what it really was," but by and large my aim with Photoshop is to produce an image that accurately reflects the beautiful scene I chose to photograph in the first place.

But sometimes that just doesn't cut it.

I find the desire to push a photo beyond reality usually occurs when I'm a little disappointed with a photograph that I really thought would turn out better. Most often that disappointment is a result of having had an emotional response to the scene that can't adequately be captured in a simple photograph.

A recent trip to Japan provides a couple great examples of this. I started off in Tokyo, and was fascinated by many of the sights. I found myself particularly drawn to the small temples and shrines that hid behind and between large buildings on major streets in some of the busier parts of Tokyo. These temples and shrines provided a remarkable sanctuary, and some great photographic opportunities.

In one case there were three shrines that shared a courtyard, and a small cemetery adjacent to the courtyard. I'm always intrigued by cemeteries, particularly to learn about how different cultures honor those who have passed on. In the corner of this cemetery a collection of wooden planks with Japanese writing on them caught my eye. I was later told these were "prayer sticks" that would be placed at the gravesite by family or friends. I captured an image, confident it would convey the solemn tranquility of this place.


Somehow the image simply didn't elicit the feeling I was expecting. Sure, it is always a very different experience to view a photograph compared to the actual scene. So I started working with the image in Photoshop to see what I could come up with. I tried various adjustments, and then ventured into slightly more creative areas. I tried a black-and-white conversion. That helped. Then I applied a sepia-tone effect. Better. A boost in contrast and a vignette effect, and I was much happier with the image.
My next stop was Kyoto, and I knew I was in for a treat. This is a city with over 2,000 shrines and temples, 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and a tremendous amount of history. It also contains many wonderful Zen gardens, and it seemed each one I visited was more calming than the one before it.

One garden in particular got me clicking the shutter more than usual (and "usual" is still (more…)

Kodak has released a host of Photoshop Compatible plug-ins that do everything from reduce digital noise to retouching skin, to color correcting, and more. Best of all, you can download free trial versions and start using them today. You can download them from Kodak’s Austin Development Center. By the way; over the years I’ve had photographers rave about Kodak’s “Digital Gem” plug-in for noise, but I guess they had stopped supporting it, but now it’s back as one of those plug-ins. I haven’t had a chance to take them through the paces myself, but hopefully I’ll get a chance this weekend.

….prolific photography book author, Photoshop World instructor, and digital imaging expert, my buddy Tim Grey.

I’ve probably got at least half of dozen of Tim’s books on my shelves at home, and if you’ve ever caught one of Tim’s sessions at Photoshop World, you know what a great trainer he is. Since I don’t give my Guest Bloggers any guidelines as to what they should write about (it’s totally “their day”), I have no idea what Tim’s got in store, so we’ll both have to check back tomorrow and see what he’s got up his sleeve.