Saturday, July 31, 2010

Workshop Results

Here are my notes from the workshop! I had a blast!

Friday, July 30, 2010

.TIF versus .PSD

Here's a hardline response to the TIFF vs. PSD question... Read here.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tip of the day: Exposure vs. Brightness

I've been playing around with these a lot lately and here's more light on the subject to provide you better/more control over your post-processing!

Exposure vs. Brightness

FU Lightroom!

I've got 2 drives. An internal and an external. My internal drive is a 256GB SSD which isn't a lot of space when you shoot 12MP and occasionally 31MP (when I get my H3DII-31 back someday...).

I usually keep the stuff I "need" on the internal. When I'm done with that folder, I'll move it to the external as an archive. Lately, I've noticed that my disk space hasn't increased much by moving these folders off-site. I couldn't figure out why. I figured my pictures were the only things taking up space... boy was I wrong.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Here are a few notes and thoughts from the recent FORD "activity":
  • I used the lookbook casting from last month to inquire about testing.
  • I reworked my website (and generally rework my website before anyone important views it) so it would be up-to-date for FORD.
  • Called up the main office and requested the email for New Faces.
  • Sent out an email with my information and attached a sequence of pictures linking to my website. The pictures ensure the agent sees a sample of my work without doing anything else.
  • In the email I mention that I casted the lookbook through FORD last month and also test for several of the notable LA agencies.
  • Followed up with a call 2-3 hours later.

FORD Models

I'm going to be shooting FORD girls soon :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Calling FORD Models later...

Just putting it out there. It has been one of my greatest goals to become a FORD Models-approved photographer. I'll let you know later if it works out!

Two is better than one

Incidentally I love that duet by Boys Like Girls and Taylor Swift :) Yes, I'm a Taylor Swift fan.

When we present images we're also presenting ideas. For far too long I would present images one at a time. This was a result of convenience and also not always having multiple images to present an idea.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Military Part II: Amy

First off, you should stop thinking whatever you're thinking about Amy unless you want Chris Hansen to show up at your door. Amy's going to be an 8th grader this fall. That makes her 13 and that makes you a pedophile :)

She might just be the tallest 8th grader I've ever met. Towering in at 5'10" she shoots extremely tall. I remember being at the end of the studio to fit her entire length at 70mm.

The Italian's cup of tea

I have a flickr photostream that is subject to public viewing and commenting. I don't mind this too much since I merely use flickr as a storage vehicle for my web content. I used to post them to groups to generate views but have long since stopped doing so. I honestly don't know who's looking at my pictures and where they come from.

There are a few notables. I think some of you blogger regulars came from flickr. Lately I've noticed there are significantly more Italians that are leaving comments on my photostream. Actually it could be just the same guy leaving comments.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Workflow update

I used to take screenshots of all my edits. The following would be such an example:

If you're thinking "What the hell?!?" it's okay... I'm thinking "What the hell?!?" too.

Seriously. WTF.

First of all, the bottom layers aren't even editable anymore. Once I copy all (layers) and paste (onto the top layer like where it says "Layer 1" and "Layer 2", everything below it is pretty much locked... I think. I dunno. I don't edit like this anymore and I can't figure out what the hell is going on in this screenshot.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Managing divas

Since Tommy asked for some stories about managing shoots, I figured I'd tell this one. The memories from this shoot have mostly faded from time but there are important lessons to be learned.

I once worked with a wardrobe stylist that had an abrasive personality. Over the phone the stylist bragged about different shoots and the big players he/she knew in the industry and really just rubbed me the wrong way. I was a little stunned but I thought that maybe I misunderstood the stylist because I couldn't see his/her facial expressions over the phone. Maybe it was my fault?


Lately, it's been hard for me to pull material out of thin air to blog about. So I greatly appreciate your comments because it gives us a dialogue for me to work from. This post is mostly a response to oneredpanther's response to the previous post :)

Lighting for me was the spark. The Inception (great movie, you should all go see it!). The first taste of what could be. As a normal human being up until learning how to light, I only saw when there was light and when there wasn't light. I wasn't able to scrutinize exposure, shadows, and type of lighting (hard, soft, etc.).
Manipulating light with a flashlight was my first experience with really "seeing light". Ultimately, you should wean yourself off of the modeling lamp and just mentally see the light without setting it up... but even I still like the crutch of the modeling lamps of the AlienBees.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tip of the day: Appreciative Inquiry

One of my favorite classes from my Psych program in grad school was Appreciative Inquiry. The concept is so basic but yet so foreign for our society. Here's an excerpt:

AI involves, in a central way, the art and practice of asking questions that strengthen a system’s capacity to apprehend, anticipate, and heighten positive potential.

Unfortunately being an over-achieving Asian makes it damn near impossible to appreciate my successes.

Lighting diagrams, blah blah blah :)

These days I'm so "over" lighting schematics that I don't trouble myself with looking at setups from others and/or document my own. That might be a mistake.

That's not to say that I don't occasionally come across something that's lit in a very impressive manner, but more so that it's not so much the lighting that continues to impress me but more so the comprehensive nature of the image. By "comprehensive nature" I mean the logistics, wardrobe, makeup, thought process, model, retouching etc. that go into making an image what it is.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The boy who cried "Loba"

There've been quite a few pictures of Stephanie appearing on my photostream. Stephanie explained that when she was in Spain, people would point at her and say "¡Loba!" because of her piercing eyes (I think they're green mostly with hints of yellow and a little bit of blue). As such I suppose I'd talk a little about the images.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Shooting 200mm

Since shooting the Hasselblad, I've adjusted my shooting with a zoom lens. Not exactly sure why this happened but I imagine that shooting exclusively with Hasselblad's HC 80 (80mm f/2.8), that I forced myself to think more about composition. Sounds like more gibberish but I think this is an extension of Zooming with the feet, and I'll explain...

Tip of the day: Shooting the crop

Stephanie D3/70-200mm 1/200th f/11 ISO200 @190mm B1600 in 7" reflector from camera upper right. No makeup. A few adjustments in PS.

Stephanie D3/70-200mm 1/200th f/11 ISO200 @200mm B1600 in 7" reflector from camera upper left. B800 from camera front right for rim light. SB800 in purple gel through a bed sheet from camera left.

I've seen differing points of view on this one but I feel pretty strongly on this one and I'll present to you my body of logic that supports this idea :)

When composing the frame, I generally shoot the final crop that I want. While I'm a big fan of experimentation, I don't believe in experimentation at the cost of well-thought out composition.

When I first started shooting, I shot all my frames as full-length portraits. Every shot included the entire body. That way, later on if I decided to crop for the face, I'd have everything in the frame that I needed.

That works if you a) have no foresight and b) have lots of megapixels to spare.

That doesn't work if the modeling agency requests that you provide them a large resolution file in excess of 4,000 pixels on the long end.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Disclaimer: Yet another half-baked post ;)

Sometimes I go into the studio and I know exactly what I want to do. Sometimes I go into the studio and I have no idea what I'm going to do.

There seems to be no correlation between being prepared and having a successful shoot.

I want to say that this isn't entirely true. I really do. I want to tell you that my best shoots are the ones that I planned from head to tail. But I'd be lying if I said that... because some of my best shoots have been half-baked (no I'm not talking about weed), or not even baked at all.

Black & White hunger continues

A very good article on tonal response in black and white images:

Petteri's Pontifications

Wish I had seen this sooner!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Improvements on retouching

So I got upset at myself for not having improved in my retouching... not fast enough for so many months gone by so I spent the last 4 days researching new techniques and learning more about Photoshop. I placed a lot of emphasis on understanding more about black & white conversions and the tools that enable us to create more powerful B&W images.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Ania H3DII-31 1/250th f/5.6 ISO100 @80mm. Gridded beauty dish in B1600 from camera upper left.

I've been monitoring the way that I retouch and I'm seeing that I'm "doing less". I used to toil away for hours on end to smooth out skin imperfections. Taking care of the little things that would bother me to no end. As I retouch more, I find that I "do less". Perhaps I'm more efficient in the way that I retouch? Or perhaps I'm just able to accept the things that I couldn't overlook before? Either way, I find that my philosophy of retouching moves towards a minimalistic approach.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Retouching by feel

Roxy H3DII-31 1/800 f/6.8 ISO100 @80mm AlienBees B1600 in 40º gridded beauty dish from camera upper right.

Roxy H3DII-31 1/800 f/5.6 ISO100 @80mm AlienBees B1600 in 40º gridded beauty dish from camera upper right.

Along the lines of
Learning, breaking, and making the rules I'm starting to see another change in my retouching.

Admittedly sometimes I retouch quantitatively. I suppose this comes from my analytical background in either finance, logic, or not wanting to make mistakes. Basically sometimes, I make decisions based upon the "numbers".

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

In the presence of giants

D3/24-70mm f/2.8G 1/13th f/2.8 ISO3200 @28mm. Ambient lighting and B&W conversion.

The H3DII-31 digital back went into Hasselblad USA for repairs a couple weeks ago. One of the benefits of purchasing through Calumet and also Hasselblad is the incredible customer service. On the day the digital back went to Redmond, WA, Calumet Los Angeles loaned me their 31MP digital back as a substitute. As such I was able to shoot in
Lucerne Valley with the H3DII-31.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Things to do in the desert II

Kaley Hasselblad H3DII-31 1/800th f/8.0 ISO100 @80mm. B1600 with beauty dish camera upper left.

Kaley Hasselblad H3DII-31 1/180th f/4.0 ISO100 @80mm. White side Scrim Jim from camera right.

Kaley Hasselblad H3DII-31 1/250th f/4.0 ISO100 @80mm. White side Scrim Jim from camera right.

Kaley Hasselblad H3DII-31 1/800th f/6.8 ISO100 @80mm. B1600 full power from camera upper left.

Kaley Hasselblad H3DII-31 1/500th f/8.0 ISO100 @80mm. B1600 full power from camera upper left.

I love the posts where I continue where I leave off. In
Things to do in the desert I had several great take-home points from the shoot.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Tip of the day: What's in a pose?

A while back I started noticing that photographers I liked were able to physically demonstrate what they wanted from their models. In other words, these photographers they were great at posing their models. Watching behind the scenes footage of their shoots inevitably revealed that they had some pretty incredible moves of their own.