Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Retouching and Image Selection Online Workshop


So you've got hundreds of pictures from your well-executed shoot.

Now what?


Perhaps the most overlooked part of photography workflow is Image Selection. From my experience with previous workshop photographers, Image Selection is the most underdeveloped skill set and consistently weak link in the workflow. Time and time again I find photographers taking fantastic shots only to select the wrong ones for their portfolio.


Monday, November 26, 2012

The Ebb and Flow of Creativity II

Outside the box with Sharon

Q: Quick question... how do you keep from burning out? I feel like I'm hitting a creative wall!

A: That depends on where your creativity comes from! It also depends on how you "burn out" and how much momentum you need to keep creating. Every photographer is different, so we have to define your "system" and then address the causes for the breakdown of that system.

Do I sound like a consultant or what?!?

For me, I don't benchmark myself too much on what other people are doing. I do what I want to do when I want to do it. Meaning I don't look for external sources of inspiration a whole lot (ie. magazines, other photographer portfolios, etc.).

And with my "cycles" which span 1-3 months at a time, I have plenty of time to reflect and consolidate my gains. This is important for learning and true growth. Otherwise you never really know what you know. You're just on a whirlwind journey through your shoots!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Photoshop CS6 Save Speed and File Size

Lloyd suggests that we disable compression of PSD and PSB files for up to 20X faster saves and opens.

I'm a fan of Lloyd over at since he's the expert on all things Mac and most things technical as it pertains to Photoshop code.

I was going to reblog this.

So I tried it. But I realized that this only pertains to .PSD and .PSB files. I usually save .TIFF files. Why? Because I was taught right. PSD/PSB are proprietary files that will go away if Adobe ever decided to stop supporting them. And while that's unlikely to happen, I'm fundamentally against proprietary file formats. Formats like the Drobo's RAID files or CR2/NEF/FFF RAW files. All things being equal, I always opt for the non-proprietary, royalty-free protocols.

Scalable Storage and Backup IV: OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro Qx2

Got my 2nd OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro Qx2 from when it was on sale as a refurbished unit. With 4x1.5TB WD Caviar Green units in the first Qx2, I was running out of space.

But this second Qx2 has always given me problems. Not sure if it's because of the 4x1.5TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 drives in there but for the A and B drive bays (they're labeled from left to right A, B, C, and D), I've lost a total of 4 drives now. 3 in the A drive bay alone. I'd often hear lots of clicking and unnecessary repeated drive activity from the A bay which probably prematurely kills the drive. Eventually the red light flashes and even pulling the drive out and putting it back in and letting the enclosure rebuild the drive doesn't fix the problem. Just a matter of time before that blinking red light for that drive bay lights up again.

Hardware: Wacom Mouse KC-100

I have 2 Wacom KC-100 mice for the Intuos 4 tablet. My first one had a inconsistent left mouse click that would sometimes register a double-click when I intended to single click. This led to a opening a lot of files unintentionally. Extremely annoying to say the least.

Well, my second KC-100 has failed. Not as terrible but the "Back" button that I use to control my browser (Safari) has failed. Won't register a click at all. Opened it up. Cleaned it out, got it to click on certain click angles when it was opened up but when I put it back together it still won't click.

Have reverted to using the first KC-100 with the double-click issue and seeing if the double-click issue is now resolved with either software updates or just the collection of dust from being on the shelf so long.

Otherwise, I haven't had much issue with the tablet. Probably my own fault that the mice fail because I drop them occasionally. But hey, they should withstand basic drop tests. It's not like I'm chucking them at the Eizo when I lose my temper during a retouch.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

dSLR vs. iPhone

Rodney posted this in the Facebook Workshop Group:

here's a pic from day 1 of the Malibu fashion workshop. I took this with my iPhone and edited with a few apps... makes me wonder why bother with a dslr if the lighting is right.

And he's right. Why bother with a dSLR when the lighting is right? I did a whole shoot with the iPhone4 (not 4S) and its crummy sensor. And I survived! So what is the difference really between a camera-phone and a dSLR?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Gry Garness Retouching e-book

Some of my workshop photographers have asked me where else they could learn advanced retouching. Coincidentally, Kevin from PhotoWhoa partnered with me to offer you guys the Gry Garness retouch e-book. Click the image below for the jump:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Processes and Meta-Processes

Processes are a funny thing.

1. Without learning basic processes, you don't have the fundamental building blocks with which to construct more complex processes.

2. However, if you limit yourself to simply learning processes, you might never learn to construct more complex processes.

3. I believe that with a strong "top-down view" you can learn how to create better processes.

So, what's a process and what the hell am I talking about?

Several months back, Model Mayhem started their EDU section designed to provide more educational material for their members. One of the admins found my blog and asked if he could reblog some of my existing material. I obliged.

Well lo and behold, some of the things I said got people worked up. Posts like Blondes do have more fun... in B&W and The Baggage of Film made people hysterical. And not in a haha kind of way. I mean they were upset.

Podcast: "Free Work", Your Market Value, Complaining on Social Media

Back with podcasting! Will be uploading a few more episodes shortly!

Monday, November 5, 2012

New Contributors

Since I've been slacking on the content, I've decided to bring in new contributors to beef up the blog. You've all heard Rodney on the podcasts and now you can read about his adventures, thoughts, philosophies and whatever I prod him to write about ;)

This is a wonderful way for me to expand my own perspectives as I get to read about another photographer's journey. As I have mentioned before, I don't get out much. Actually I think the exact words are, "I live in a cave". As a tidbit of trivia, if you search "I live in a cave" on this blog you'll find (now) 4 posts spaced roughly 1 year apart dating back to 2010.

Hopefully this is a permanent arrangement and we can hear more from Rodney soon!

California Sun

So Charles invited me to be a guest blogger.  While I could of rehashed some of my old content from my own blog that would be too easy.  I like to be challenged.  Sometimes. 

Let's start off with a quick introduction.  My name is Rodney Alan.  I like to shoot rocks, unicorns and the occasional double rainbow.  However I specialize in fashion and beauty photography.  You've either heard my voice in Charles' podcast, seen me briefly in one of his Fashion Video productions or maybe even met at one of his Fashion Photography or DSLR Video workshops.  

For the life of me I couldn't find something intriguing or relevant to write about until it popped into my head while editing my latest shoot. Why not talk about my recent desert adventure in regards to lighting and how I addressed it.

Modeling Agencies Q/A

Q: I was in NY testing with models with my buddy who got an agency to send us 3 models and I got another agency to send us 4 models. And so I took photos of his models from the other agency I don't know, and they just called me and asked if I can send them the hi-res pictures of their models because they love them and want to use them for portfolio.

I don't know if you've shot for agencies for testing with their models, but would you charge them? Or just hand them over since it's a "test"?

A: The answer is "It depends..." Because it's really all just a game.

If you say, "Pay up" you run the risk of offending the other agency and getting black listed. After all, you didn't have their permission to shoot their models and you took pictures anyway. Furthermore, unless you're a really famous photographer, chances are the agency has never heard of you so you have no clout or pull over them.

I would instead use this opportunity to form a relationship with said new agency and let this be an "introduction". Get to know the agent/agency and allow the conversation to flow into the requirements for paid testing (your ultimate goal). Find out what you need to do to become a paid tester and give them the opportunity to see what you can with these first pictures.

This gets the relationship off on the right foot and leaves the agency with a good impression of you. Win-win for everyone and hopefully they'll eventually let you shoot paid tests if you are good enough! :)