Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Q/A Location Workshop versus Business Workshop

Desert Black

Q: I like the topics covered in your business workshop. But I would like to do a private location workshop (with the Desert Black photo). My question is, can we combine the topics from the business workshop with the material from the location workshop? Or would this be too much?

A: I designed the 9-hour (DESERT BLACK) location private workshop to alleviate all fears of shooting outdoors. Whether it's with the sun or against the sun, with or without reflectors, with or without strobes, cloudy or sunny, we cover the fundamentals of shooting outdoors so you can confidently shoots on location on your own.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Q/A Modeling Agencies and Fashion Nudes

This particular fashion nudes test was booked via the modeling agent/agency

Q: How you deliver the photos to the agency and the models? You just email them, or do you have a web site where they download?

I have gallery shows of some of my work, and then I would have to look at paying as the artwork would be sold. I am wondering if you can give me a ballpark what standard rates might be for this sort of thing. I saw previously that you have had agency models for workshops. What types of rates were you looking at for models for this type of work? I just want to get a general idea of prices I may be looking at.

Do you think fashion nudes are more acceptable in LA than NY? Of the blogging photographers, I see you and Kesler doing a ton, and none of the east coast blogging photographers (Billy Kidd, Michael Donnovan) seem to be putting out the volume of fashion nudes that you west coast guys are ... unless I am missing someone. Other thoughts on NY vs LA?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Q/A Skin Techniques and Frequency Separation

Q: I tried to read the whole thread on high pass sucks, and its very long winded. The most of what I got was that the technique is called frequency seperation. Am I right?

I've tried it a few times. Maybe I'm trying on a basic level as I always have issues on the low frequency side trying to even out colour. I find clone stamping not all that good. Is this the technique you use for skin smoothing?

A: Yes, this is the technique that I use for skin smoothing when it is necessary. For the low frequency side of things, I wouldn't use clone stamp. For luminosity unevenness you need to dodge and burn the skin tones out. For color unevenness I often use a brush on color blend mode to "paint" in the proper color. What's the proper color? I sample from nearby tones.

The overall action is very good but it requires a lot of "fine-tuning" and other manipulation in order to get it to work correctly. I have used it with great success on over 1,000 images. I have also developed a good pre-workflow to skin smoothing that works in conjunction with frequency separation. By itself the frequency separation tool is just another average tool. But knowing the proper pixel parameters and providing the right "pre-treatment" produces the best results. After all you know the saying, "Garbage in, garbage out".

Friday, January 18, 2013

Q/A Suggestions for Actions/Presets

Or you could always experiment with different mediums. iPhone of D3 camera back.

Q: Hope you are keeping well. Still enjoy so many of your images.

My photoshop skills are improving a lot, but still finding I'm missing an edge. I use the curves a lot I got from your workshop, the velvesqia, proviaesque and so on. I find they are very useful. I really like a cleaned up image but then with the look of film or a colour over the top. Still playing around with photoshop for this but keen to see effects already out here.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Focusing on Results

Old school D&B

While I was editing this morning, I heard Amy Dresser in my head. In a webinar I watched years ago, a viewer asked Amy about the dodge & burn tool and why she used this tool over a non-destructive alternative (such as curves + masking).

Her response lingers my head,

"If you didn't want to alter the pixels you wouldn't be (re)touching them in the first place"

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Less is More? or More is More?

Well it depends.

Sometimes less is more. Other times more is more.


A long time ago when I started retouching, I'd often take things too far. Whether it was the overcooked colors or the plasticizing skin treatment, I'd often wind up too far in one direction or another.

Fast forward about 4 years.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Constant State of Change

Wayne Brady on The Chappelle Show.

It's been weeks since I've been able to sit in front of a computer and write a post. Blogging takes a lot more time than you'd think. I spend 1-2 hours per post. A full-figured post takes me well over 2 and sometimes 3 hours to write.

To complicate matters, I've been in Asia for nearly 3 weeks. I have a lot of family and friends there. In fact I have no blood relatives here in the US. I spent 1/2 my life from the time I was born until I was 18 in Taipei, Taiwan. So I travel there about once a year.

This year we took our daughter to Taiwan for the first time. She's now 7+ months and it has been a huge process bringing her back to Taiwan. Actually it's been a huge process just having her around. Life with a baby is different. Hell, let me just say it bluntly. Life with a baby is hard. Lots of you have kids so you understand. Some of you don't so you have no clue how trying the process can be. As an example, I haven't slept since Saturday night. The kid is still on Taiwan time and went to bed at 6AM this morning after torturing us all night.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Q/A Pricing Clients Using High-End Cameras

Straight off the back off the Hasselblad

Q: I hope you're having a great New Year! I wanted to ask you about how you price your services when you're using high end equipment.

I recently purchased a Red Epic (I have a lot of friends in production who work on projects with shooters operating Epics, I had the cash to invest, Epics came down in cost, and I thought it'd be a good investment moving forward). I've been running tests with models and trying to come up with a workflow that's robust, reliable, and consistent so I can bring my services to market responsibly and with confidence.

I recall a previous post of yours where you talked about working with the Hasselblad. I couldn't find the exact post, but if I remember correctly, you said that you don't give the client a choice as to what equipment you use because you didn't want to create different price points based on that. I get offers to shoot fashion films and various other kinds of video for clients, and while I'm not currently ready to shoot paid work on the Epic just yet, when I am, I'm not sure if I should still make shooting video on the 5D MKII/7D an option or not. I feel like if I shoot on the Epic, it's much easier to justify higher price points, and I'd like to shoot more work on the Epic, but at the same time, I don't want to miss out on job opportunities with the 5DMKII with clients who don't have the budget to support a Red (and I feel like I'd be undercutting myself if I went to the trouble of shooting and handling Red footage under market value--assuming it's a client that isn't really offering any alternative value like experience, exposure, etc.) I'm sure in some shape or form I'll continue to use both cameras for different projects, but I'm just trying to figure out what kind of balance I should reach between my regular equipment and the really high end stuff.