Category Archives Guest Blogger

…not just one single person, but a collection of photographers, artists, and instructors who will present my first special guest “Group Blog.” But this just isn’t any group of guest bloggers; I’m honored to be able to host:

  • John Paul Caponigro
  • Greg Gorman
  • Mac Holbert
  • Andrew Rodney
  • Jeff Schewe

I honestly can’t wait to see what they have in store, and I hope you’ll join me here tomorrow to see what they have planned for the first-ever “Group Special Guest Blog!” This is too cool! :)


Greetings from AtlantaâBarbara.

Splitting my time between our Atlanta commercial photography studio, my wife Helene Glassman's portrait/fine art studio in Santa Barbara, and teaching digital photography programs means I spend a lot of time in the air. Today as I start to write the beginning of my guest Blog entry, I am flying to do a program in Chicago.

As I was shooting snapshots of clouds out of the window and thinking of what I would like to write about, I took notice of the date. I realized that in two weeks it will be exactly 30 years since graduating from the Art Institute of Atlanta and official start of my professional career in photography. In those thirty years I then realized that exactly 15 of those years have been in a filmâbased work environment and the other 15 years have been in a totally digital capture environment. A very interesting moment in time to reflect onâ¦.


A lot has changed in those 30 years. Although the tools we work with have changed and the final product is somewhat different, we are still doing the same job that we have always done. What was important then is even more important now. Where quality counts, doing just an OK job is not going to be good enough. For me as a photo-illustrator, I now have the tools to make things as perfect as possible which makes the clients very happy.

As I have been giving programs at photography schools around the country, I am meeting some incredibly talented art students educated in the latest digital imaging workflow techniques and software. It's exciting to think about their futures ahead of them as they get ready to start their new careers. For those of us who are not currently in school, staying a head of the learning curve by being active members in your specific trade associations (like NAPP) and attending seminars isn't even a choice any more. It's a necessary part of your continuing education you must put yourself through to be competitive.

We must all constantly be working hard to improve our portfolios. That's where the selfâassignment comes in. I have several different types of selfâassignments going on at once. One on-going assignment I have been doing for a long time is creating a multiâimage montage or digital panting that represents my feelings of each of the places I visit as I travel. These images are not for clients. Even though they are just for me, working on them makes me better prepared for the illustrative assignments that I do get from clients.



Over the last few years, I have had the honor of hosting the "Art Of Photography" panel at Photoshop World. Several of the PSW photography instructors each get 15 minutes to show off their latest imaging with most of the entire conference in attendance. I am always amazed of what each artist has been doing it the 6 months between each show and I get even more inspired to create new portfolio images. For me, the trick is to now pick subjects for these selfâassignments that I have little or no experience photographing.

I decided I wanted to photograph whalesâ¦. That's a lot different that photographing golf (more…)

…..commercial photographer, Photoshop User magazine columnist, Photoshop World Instructor, and master of the montage, my friend Jim DiVitale (I always just call him, “Jimmy D” for short).

I’m particularly honored to have Jim as a guest blogger because he’s had such an impact on my career. Jim was an attendee at the first Photoshop World Conference ever, and a few months after that, I ran into him at an Atlanta tradeshow (I had never met Jim, but I saw someone walking by with a Photoshop World t-shirt on, and I went up and introduced myself). An incredibly lucky break for me, for as it turned out Jim had been teaching courses for PPA for a while, and he told me (in as kind a way as possible), what we needed to do to offer real photography training at Photoshop World, and he even offered to teach a class. Well, he’s been a fixture at Photoshop World ever since, as one of our key instructors, and for years now Jimmy has penned Photoshop User magazine’s digital photography column.

Beyond that, Jim (along with Kevin Ames) was a big help to me when I was developing the concept for my first “Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers,” and Jim is the reason why I include a tear-out gray card in the book to this very day. Jim and Kevin also flew down from Atlanta to NAPP headquarters a few years ago to help us set up a product-shoot studio for the magazine, and Jim and his talented wife Helene, flew down on another occasion just to spend the day with me, teaching me how Helene lights and poses her subjects.

Jim’s given me an awful lot during the years, and it truly is an honor to have him here on my blog tomorrow, so please make sure you stop by and check his guest post out. Also, in the meantime, check out Jim’s own blog by clicking here.


Between Meetings
Rediscovering My Passion for Photography
By Dan (Dano) Steinhardt

Photographic Birth
I was 13 and barricaded myself in a small bathroom. A towel was jammed under the door for complete privacy allowing a new and mysterious adult-like red glow to fill the room. The smells were intoxicating as I watched the 5 X 7 inch white sheet of paper slowly turn into an image. It was an amazing moment of alchemy meeting art, combined with something special I had never experienced before. I squinted in pain as the light went on like an electric shock in a Sci-Fi movie and there I saw my first print gently bobbing in the fixer. I was immediately hooked. Not only had I developed my first photograph, what I really began to develop was my passion for photography.

That passion was cultivated by my amazing high school photo instructor Warren King who exposed me to the works of Dorothea Lang, Arnold Newman and W. Eugene Smith who would come to have a profound influence on my style. Warren became my first mentor and an equally important critic. I traveled all around my native Los Angeles shooting everything and discovered photography could capture amazing moments on the streets of LA that most did not see. But whenever I talked about the great pictures I shot over the weekend Warren would point to the sign above his desk which 30 years later continues to resonate, "Don't Tell Me How Good You Are, Show Me".

Fast Forward
After graduating from Brooks Institute I was running my own advertising photography business in Chicago. Everything was captured on 8 x 10 film and when it came time to Scheimpflug (for those who remember view cameras) I was world-class. But new opportunities presented themselves and I found myself working in the New York City Photo District for Kodak and soon moved into strategic marketing on a worldwide basis. It was during these years that my focus was business. To paraphrase a song, I was sent away and taught how to be sensible, logical, responsible, practical, intellectual and clinical. I was studying in Executive Programs at leading business schools and advancing in my career. I loved it and I still love business, but I didn't touch a camera from 1987-2000 and hadn't used a 35mm camera since High School. Then I got a call from a relatively new company in the photo world called Epson and was asked to develop and lead its marketing programs for professional photographers and advanced amateurs.

In 2001 digital printing was still relatively new and the market was reaching out for information and education. I developed the Epson Print Academy (shameless plug) as a way to meet this market need (link). We went on the road to videotape leading photographers and fine-art printmakers. My goal was to glean all the technical stuff there from the best of the best. The pre-production notes were a checklist of mission critical items from color spaces, to file formats to advanced color management. But when the video camera was on, these artists talked to how Epson printers reminded them of teenage years, watching their first print develop in a darkroom, fueling their passion for photography. I started to recall the glow of that red safelight, the smell of fixer and the joy I used to experience with the camera. I bought a Nikon D100 in 2002, tapped into my analog experiences from high school and via digital photography became a teenager all over again.

So What Have You Shot For Me Lately?
I travel a lot in my job. I also have the incredible honor to work with the some of the most well-known photographers on the planet. One of those legends is Jay Maisel who has become my new mentor. With all my business travel I took Jay's advice, "Carry the camera because without it, it's really tough to take pictures." In the process I essentially returned to my roots of street photography versus the comfort and control of the studio.

I'm in Las Vegas 3-4 times a year for different trade shows including Photoshop World. I love to shoot in Vegas because there is so much extraordinary to be found in the ordinary like the valet running to retrieve a rental car, the early morning joggers in front of a hotel and the pool chairs stacked in the beautiful light at the end of the day. When I have some free time (and the light is right) I head straight for the tourist traps looking for interesting images of people vs. the actual attraction like the silhouetted person in front of the fountains or the shadow of a person walking in front of a famous hotel.






I also remember Jay Maisel's advice to look 180 degrees in the opposite direction as it (more…)

…Photoshop World Instructor, the man behind the Epson Print Academy, Marketing Manager for the Professional Market for Epson USA, and one of my all-time favorite urban/city/people photographers, Dan Steinhardt.

Dan (better known as Dano to those who know him), has an amazing advantage, in that in his role at Epson, he’s got access to all the coolest new printers even before they’re out, and because of that, I don’t imagine Dano spends a lot on paper or inks. He also has an amazing disadvantage, and that is because he is so well known as “Dano from Epson” I don’t think he gets nearly the attention his work deserves as he is just a flat-out amazing urban/city/people photographer.

Here’s an example, on the day I spent in New York earlier this year with Jay Maisel, at one point during the day, he started raving to me about Dano’s work, and said, “Dano has the city people thing down. He’s got it!” When Jay Maisel is raving about your work, “You’ve got it!” Dano gave me a heads up of his subject for tomorrow’s guest blog, and if you want to be inspired and informed, make sure you check back here.



If there is one thing that I am enjoying the most out of the last few years, it’s the evolution of the Creative Professional. In the amount of time it takes us to say “Iomega Zip Disk” we’ve seen incredible strides in technology, expression and reach. There are few places in this planet that aren’t connected to the Internet, and with that – the playing field has gotten wider. Much much wider. My only job here is to hopefully inspire you to see Photoshop as a tool that is a part an entire toolbox you may -already- know how to use.

If you’re adept at Photoshop, you’d be surprised as to how much you may already know about other tools in the Creative Suite. Take Layers for example. In Photoshop, you can take layers and stack them on top of one another and create cool stuff. You can do the exact same thing in Illustrator — masks, filters, and all. Ditto for programs like InDesign and Flash, that allow you to stack stuff on top of one another. In the world of video and audio, these Layers are called Tracks, and their behavior is modified by Levels rather than Masks.

How about Styles? Photoshop uses Styles to be able to repeat a series of specific effects over and over with one click, centralizing these effects in one area (the Layers Styles palette) and giving them a name. InDesign allows you to make paragraph and textual changes using a Styles panel — keeping stuff centralized in one spot. That same technology is called Presets in Lightroom, and in the world of the web, these saved styles are placed in one sheet called a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS).

These programs, while originally designed by competing companies, have technologies and techniques that are cross-transferable. The trick here is to find the commanilities, learn those first, then double back and figure out the rest of the tool to make the next leap – adding another program to your belt.

So, why is this all important? Well.. if you’ve spent any time taking a look at the papers, or the Internet, or the TV (it’s pretty much everywhere, actually) you’ll notice that the economy is not doing so well. I’d argue that you’re probably sitting in one of two camps: “How do I keep myself competitive to keep my job” or “How can I take what I know to make more money.”

Photographers, you could capitalize on the emotional high of an event by putting your shoots online – immediately. Get them while they’re cheering, I say. If you are a smaller photography studio, make yourself look bigger than you are by creating an effective website to showcase your work. Better yet, take your pictures and make a video presentation attached to music. Now you’re a “Visual Artist” — that can totally be sold.

If you’re a graphic designer, you can either make a logo, or you can take that logo, place it on a website, develop a couple of multi page layouts, make a mini flash movie with the company’s vision, and sell the entire package. At the minimum, you’d give your client a way to ‘visualize’ your idea in different arenas — helping you close the sale, and making you look more professional for it.

A lot of time, people argue that one of the reasons a large part of the Creative Suite is not opened past Photoshop is that it’s “Too hard to get into.” Take Flash for example. Many people want a Flash gallery, but would slam a head against a wall if they knew just how much coding you’d have to learn to make it happen.

You don’t have to learn it though.. Plug-ins and Components are here to help.

I use a lot of Components from Digicrafts Components to do heavy lifting in Flash. Your clients don’t have to know that though… all they have to know is the sweat and tears it took to slave over that SWF file. Well.. not really..

So, I made a video and posted it for you guys to check out. I set my computer to record, and just started doodling around the applications. Took about 20 minutes, but in that time, I set a logo, made a business card, made a three page InDesign layout, built a website, added a Flash gallery based on XML to it. In the tutorial, I cover Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Lightroom, Dreamweaver — editing it in Premiere, with a little Soundbooth for music. It’s long because I didn’t want it to be edited — I just wanted to work in the applications, as fast as I could.

You can click on the maximize video, and it will go to a full screen:

There is a more important thing that I wanted to do here with this video, and this is what I want to leave you with:

All of what I did through these applications, you can do with just an introductory class in the Creative Suite applications. If you spent 2 hours an application — you could do the exact same thing.

This is what I do, day in and day out at the office, and what you’ll see when you come to in the coming months. At the core, I’m still a Photographer, and I’m still a Photoshop guy. I’m just more of the background guy – not really working on the sexy portions of the program, but working on the parts that will give me the maximum amount of reach. And I encourage all of you to do the same.

–RC Concepcion