Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Medium Format Satire

I have a consultation with a private equity firm about the medium format camera industry. Lots of what I'm going to say is personal. But most of it is founded in cold hard facts. So if you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen. Here are the Q/A talking points:

Q: Key selling points – which features are most important for you as an user?

A: I preface this answer with my philosophy as far as cameras go. The camera is a tool. It's function is to facilitate in executing my vision. The more "invisible" a tool is the better. That is to say the tool should create a frictionless and seamless experience in performing its primary function.

As a professional the camera has many functions. Even serving to impress clients. However that is not its primary function. Regarding a medium format camera's primary functions I want 35mm dSLR "speed" and "usability" combined with medium format quality imaging.

Speed. A word used to describe just the speed at which a photographer can capture a scene. Often used to describe lenses with large apertures. I use this term very fluidly. It describes low light (high-ISO) performance. Frames per second. Responsiveness in operation (e.g. zooming into an image, scrolling through pictures, focus-point adjustments, etc.). Large frame buffer and ability write to disk. Rate of shooting in frames per second. Large-aperture lenses. Autofocus accuracy and acquisition...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Truth about Lightroom Develop Defaults Settings II

In response to my last post, Sehmuz wrote the following. If you guys don't know, Sehmuz is very technically sound. I would think twice before challenging his technical knowledge if I were you :)

Q: I take it that you're not using the LR5 yet, cause with that you wont even get the exclamation mark. And LR5 comes with 2012 raw processing that you have to convert to and it is really good :)

Anyways I disagree most of what you said about LR4 (it is same RAW processor is as CS6 ACR btw).

LR4 converted me back to Lightroom from Capture One, cause it actually deals with all aspects of the image histogram properly (at least in the Basic Settings). No more ambiguous Exposure vs Brightness crap, or Fill light or Recovery BS. And you can actually 0 out the settings (even though you may not like what 0 is, but they are actual 0s from the processing perspective ). And since the LR3 basic settings were overlapping and ambiguous the conversion from LR3 settings to LR4 settings are not what you want to leave to Lightroom. It does a good job in some cases but messes up in most. You need to build your new default setting manually if you want to see a specific look from LR4 rather than autoconverting the default preset. I find LR5 does a little better job in the autoconversion but any localized adjustments may be zeroed out.

If you want to achieve the same look I suggest the following:

1. Create Virtual Copy
2. Change Processing to the latest version in the Virtual Copy <-Lightroom will apply default settings 3. Zero out the settings in Basic and curves (other than the Color Balance) 4. Go up to the histogram, and match it as much as you can to the original histogram by simply moving it around, the sliders will adjust automatically 5. Fine tune the sliders, at this point should be easy because each slider directly moves one specific part of the histogram. 6. Fine tune contrast through slider or tone curve.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Q/A Paid/Unpaid Testing and Revenue Streams

Q: Hope this message finds you well. I am definitely a fan of your work, not only in your portfolio but also with your marketing. There isn't a day that goes by where I don't see your avatar here on MM. Great job!!!

I do have a question about your line of work I hope you can help me out. Like you, there are other very well known photographers who are constantly shooting with well known and beautiful models. My question is, who is making money in these shoots? Are models charging you, are you charging them? Since I consider both your models and yourself to be equal in talent and a high stage in your careers, do rates cancel each other out and you basically get together and shoot w/ no compensation? I'm really interested in where the source of income comes in from. Right now, I'm shooting friends and also booking TF shoots with models here on MM who like my concepts... but at some point either party has to make money!

Just feeling a bit confused and naive about our industry at your level. Hope you can clear things up for me.

I truly appreciate you!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Truth about Lightroom Develop Defaults Settings

If you've taken any of my fashion photography workshops then you know that I'm a big fan of the photographer making his/her own decisions. That means not allowing in-camera JPEG (or RAW) settings to affect what you see. That means making sure your camera back (and monitor) display is not set too bright or providing too much contrast. The point is to see the shot accurately represented rather than sugar-coated with enhancements. Why? Because if my tools are fooling me into believing that the shot is different from what it really is (e.g. more contrast), then I can't make proper adjustments at the time of capture.

The same thought process applies to editing.

Lightroom is a digital asset management tool that builds in many basic Photoshop adjustment functions. I understand that for most users, Lr is the "final destination" and thus Adobe makes it easy for users to batch process multiple images and even applies basic default adjustments that make 95% of users "happy".

I'm not one of those 95% and I am very unhappy with the default Develop settings.

I've always had gripes about Lightroom's default adjustments. I noticed this in Lightroom 3 but thought it more of a pet-peeve than a violation of "free-will". Upon converting to Lightroom 4, the curtains were pulled and I saw Lightroom for the puppet-master that it really was.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tip of the day: What to do when people don't like your work

Skyfall. Perhaps the most "unique" image I've shot in recent history

Usually these posts are technical in nature. How to do something specific. How to read a histogram. How to select good models. Etc. Or at least I think those are some of the posts from past ToTD. Today I want to talk about what you should do when people don't like your work.

The question stems from a Facebook message I got from a photographer asking the following:

Q: Is there any style when photographing runway? I ask for many reasons. One is that some other people tend to discredit my work, while claiming that it lacks interest. I enjoy shooting runway, and have a passion for it, yet these concerns are brought forth to my immediate attention. From your perspective, in this fashion industry, are there many other photographers trying to get or take advantage of other photographers to get ahead?

CL: Why do you think people claim that your work "lacks interest"?

Q: Well, a couple of people brought it to my attention that my work lacks sophistication. And then tore apart my magazine, saying that it has no style and that a 12th grader could have done the text. Is it just jealousy or envy?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Scalable Storage and Backup VI


I've renamed my 2 most recent posts with the "Scalable Storage and Backup" header so all 5 previous posts should be searchable if you want to read about this crazy journey.

You can also read about the original set of posts under "File Storage Upgrades" via the search bar on the right.

Let me reprise the premise. I have a lot of media that I need to access. My first and foremost concern is security and secondly speed.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Goals & My Year in Review

I wrote the blog post below with the intention of sharing it in January, but low and behold life happens and never got around to finishing this until now.
Hi, I'm back for another contribution to the LUCIMA blog!

At the start of a new year I like to look back, revisit where I've been and what I've done.  I'm constantly pushing myself to new heights and levels. I don't want to be at a point where I'm complacent with my work. I like to set goals for myself.  Goals that are attainable, but still tough enough that I have to work for it.

I'm going to bring it back to 2011 to set the tone with how my 2012 went.  I'll make some references to 2011 so bare with me.

Back in December 2011 I was talking with my wife about goals to set out for the new year.  The conversation went something like this "I want to get published in another print magazine, become an agency approved photographer for X and Y agencies and start shooting video with a DSLR."  To me those were some lofty goals.