30 April 2011

Shooting that 8x10 format on your 7D

Ever thought how much easier it would be if you could just have a sensor shaped like a 8x10 or similar format? Well not really, but if you are shooting images which you plan to crop for a 8x10 print, take the time to use the provided grid in your 7D's viewfinder.  It will help get your images, so you won't lose information on the cropping end. If you are using Lightroom, and you want to crop a bunch of images to 8x10, and you use this grid to line up you composed shot, then you can synchronize the Crop throughout your images.

 In the image shown, we have Charlie centered just in between the top Black line and bottom black line of the grid you would see in your viewfinder. If you can keep your composition within those lines you will have a little extra for the top and bottom for crop adjustment. This would hold true to be left and right in a landscape shot. The red lines represent the 8x10 format.  This set up will also help you get formats such as 4x5, and 16x20. If you are like me and like to frame with Mats on the cheap, you need to crop your images to standard sizes. You can have your mat cut to any shape you want. However, to save yourself time and money,  just take advantage of the grid in the 7D. Before, I really thought about how the grid in my viewfinder related to an 8x10 shot, I ended up cropping out stuff I wanted, or had to remove things I didn't want in post production. Keep life simple. Get it right in the shot the first time.

Any other Cameras with the Grid? My 40D which was the camera I had before my current Canon 7D does not have the grid. Not sure which other Canons have this feature, and not sure about other Brands that do. If people have a Nikon, Sony or whatever with this feature, how does your grid relate to an 8x10 image? We would love you to post, if your camera has this feature and how it works for you.

29 April 2011

Foundations of a Working Photographer with Zack Arias - Another great CreativeLive Webinar.

I have now watched most of the first of three days of this great webinar. I have been shooting for 10 years and never really had any Photo classes.  Yes, self taught. However, as a self taught, we get selective on what we read and sometimes miss those important technical aspects that they may cover in a College Photography class, but really don't know if they do. Zack brings all your fuzziness around most aspects of Photography into a focused view. Day one is knowing your Camera, your Lens and Subject. I have clarified things I was a bit unsure of, but you don't think about until you are in the moment.  

If you have a chance catch the next two days. If you miss the free webinar, they offer a download after it's complete for $149.00. However, if you wanted to know all the important aspects of Photography, and you didn't want to sit through a whole semester of classes, then this is for you. And it would be cheaper than that class at the local university. Check it out and if not check out the next Free CreativeLive Webinar!

He really doesn't come across like he does in this Video Trailer. Actually very down to Earth. 

Zack's Blog: http://www.zarias.com/
Zack's Website: http://zackarias.com/

CreativeLIVE Webinar (FREE): tomorrow 10-5 (Saturday April 30 & Sunday May 1 )

28 April 2011

Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers using Photoshop

Scott Kelby has come out with another book for Photoshop - yet this is probably his best for Portrait Photographers and Retouching. This book covers everything you need to make your images stellar. If you are looking to do any one thing in retouching your portraits, this book is laid out to find a solution and to do it quickly. If you want to brighten the eyes, see Chapter 1 pg 24. Each chapter is a portion of your portraits: Chapter 1 -Eyes, Chapter 2- skin, chapter 3 Face (sculpting) Chapter 4 - Hair, Chapter 5 Lips, Chapter 6 Body shaping.  You can find it all quickly. And the final Chapter is how to set up 5, 15, and 30 minutes retouch sessions to move through many images quickly, depending on what you need to get done.  

Being a NAPP member (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) I got to catch the hour webinar on the book and some of the techniques in the book. This clued me into some things to go further with my images without spending the time. The book retails for 49.99, but as a NAPP member it was only $28. I have seen it online for 30 something. I say this is the best book I have purchased in my library of Photoshop books. If you are not Photographing people, then don't get this book, but if you are and want people to look their best, do!  
Though not required, they recommend using a tablet. I have had a tablet for years, and use it on and off. I have been recently been doing a lot of  corporate photo sessions and find myself using most of the time., as you have so much more control. They recommend a Wacom Intuos 4 Medium for photographers. This is a great unit with quick buttons to get through tools you use a lot.  

Another great thing is they give some great tips in this book that are so true. Like just the fact that we often tend to tune things out when we photograph, but they all pop out when we look at the images back on our computer. Makes me take a little more time to set up shots. And also tell how you never show people their before picture, after you retouch their image and why. (I have experienced this first hand)

So I recommend checking out the book. If you are not a NAPP member, I recommend becoming one, as it's a wealth of information. As a member you get a subscription to Photoshop User, and I believe they are giving this book to people joining NAPP for free, for the time being. Use promo code RETOUCHBK online or by phone. Click on the NAPP link on the right to get your subscription.

The Photographer - A Snap Shot of David McCourt

I came across David McCourt's work while reading about his Slow Photography Camera on another website. After doing a little research, I found David's photo work and liked his  style. I thought people should get to know a little more about the man behind the Slow Photography Camera, which he is starting to make a name for himself. So I decided to contact David to let him know I was posting another blog on his Slow Photography Camera, but to also point out his photography work.  He had a number of images that drew me in with his ominous style. After chatting back and forth with this Scotland based photographer, he was happy to give me a little more insight into his work, back ground and the equipment he uses. I see a lot of talent out there, but most you just see the end product. I like to get into the person behind the camera. 

TZ:  David I know you are making a name of yourself through your Slow Photography Camera, but you are a talented photographer too. Did you go to school for design or photography, and where did you go?

DM: I have studied product design for the past 5 years, first of all at The Glasgow Metropolitan College for 2 years and then at Duncan of Jordanston College of Art and Design, University of Dundee. I never picked up a 'real' camera until about 2 years ago, but it just seems like photography and product design go hand in hand with one another, so I bought my first camera and taught myself everything I know.

TZ:     What influenced moved you into your career field?:

DM: I've always been a total gadget geek, with a tip of the cap to art and design. Studying product design, first at school and then higher education felt like the right move. As for that first influential 'spark', I can honestly say I've no idea where it came from. I just had a knack for concept development. If anything, I've been more influenced to STAY in the field as the years of education have gone by. I always work closely with other great designers in my class, bouncing ideas off of one another. I've had several brilliant lecturers and some esteemed mentors to boot. Dr. Jon Rogers, head of Product Design and Pete Thomas my year head at Dundee are possibly the smartest men I've ever met.

TZ: In your photography, what excites you or what do you gravitate in photographing?

DM: I get a lot of influence from books that I've read or movies that I have seen. I done a whole photography project based on 'American Psycho' by Brett Easton Ellis. I love picking movies or photo-set ups apart and figuring out just how they done it.
You might notice that the majority of my work is quite dark, and if not dark, very moody and ominous. I'm a bit of a horror fanboy, so keep your eyes peeled for even more dark shoots!

TZ: Is there a type of photography you wouldn’t do and why?

DM: One of my best friends is a very talented lifestyle photographer who visits families and takes lovely family photos; candid shots of parent's children etc. I just don't see myself in his shoes, but I appreciate the fact that he has the patience to do those kind of shots. Maybe he's just more friendly than I am.

TZ: How would you describe your own style?

DM: I've been asked this a lot lately... it's hard not to sound like a pretentious moron when answering, but I don't think that is avoidable. I like to think I incite a lot of drama and ominous overtones in my photography: I'm an ominous photographer. Don't mess with me, I have a big heavy Manfrotto!

TZ:  How does your design influence your Photography and vice versa?

DM: Having trained as a Product Designer, I think I take in to consideration all the little details more than your average photographer would. I was a designer before I was a photographer, and taught myself how to use Photoshop (my earliest package was Photoshop 6, those were the days!). This aids both my design and my photography obviously. As for photography influencing my design work, it's quite apparent: I love photography, therefore I design for the art. It gives me the most pleasure being able to use my design outcomes in something that I am very passionate about.

TZ:    What type of Camera(s) do use, what are your favorite lenses to use, What do you use for lighting when you do a shoot?

DM: I do things on the cheap. I have a second hand Canon 30D which has served me very well. I use Canon's 50mm f/1.8 MKII for the majority of things along with Sigma's 10-20 f/4-5.6. The Sigma is my newest lens and I can't wait to use it more often. It's a monster of a thing and sharp as a pin (something that the 30D can sometimes struggle with).
As for lighting, like I said, I do things on the cheap. I have two Yongnuo YN640 Speedlites which I trigger with YN CTR-301Ps. I know guys who own Canon 430/580 Speedlites and have no idea how to use them correctly. The good thing about the Yongnuo brand is that they are pretty much fully manual. You need to teach yourself metering and all the little nuances that come with portable lighting.
When lighting a shoot on location, I'll use beauty dishes, shoot through/bounce umbrellas and softboxes, all of which have been modded to fit my speedlites.

TZ: Since you are a Designer are you a DIY’er with some of your photo equipment and what have you built for yourself.

DM: This is possibly my favourite part of lighting set up; making your own kit. It's very easy to buy all the equipment you need off of eBay, but from my experience, it doesn't bloody fit!
I've made two beauty dishes that work great even at nighttime. On top of that, as I mentioned I've modded pretty much all of my lighting kit to my own specification. I've even created new kit for certain shoots because I knew that I would have had to. Lighting is so important when shooting bands or artists, and no two band shoot will be the same or even similar. That's why customisation is important. You wouldn't keep your camera setting the same for every photoshoot you do, so why keep your lighting rig the same?

TZ: How did the Slow Photography project come about and what are your intentions for it?

DM: I was exploring the relationship between analogue and digital photography in our modern digital climate. At first, I thought that analogue was a dying art that only the purists payed heed to. But after extensive research, talking to photographers from all corners of the world and immersing myself in darkroom photography, I soon found out how much joy analogue photography has to offer.
With this in mind, I took in to consideration the processes and methods that analogue photography birthed, that digital photography has adopted. Composition, framing, the film output, aligning shots in TLR camera format, gauging light... all of these things could be applied to digital photography. All of these methods can be applied to digital photography on your mobile phone. Why not?

People, especially young people, are being exposed to the world of photography via the camera built in to their mobile phone. While this is not a bad thing (the iPhone has become the second most used camera in the community of Flickr), the traditional processes and practice are being forgotten in lieu of applications such as 'Hipstamatic' doing them all for you.
The point I raise with my Slow Photography camera is that there is a definite mid-point between taking photographs on your iPhone or mobile phone (and calling yourself a photographer) and using a professional grade DSLR. The Slow Photography camera fits that mid-point to let people experience the processes and choices they will have to make once they buy their first DSLR.

I think David's work is something to keep an eye on, whether it's his photography or Design. More can be found at his website www.dmccourt.com.The images in this article are the property of David McCourt and were used only with his expressed permission.

We are always looking for new and upcoming photographers to write a feature story on. Please send us a link to your website, a friend, or someone whose work you admire. If they are selected, they must be willing to allow us to post their images on our site with credit to them and agree to a short interview. Please email to tony@photzeh.com.

22 April 2011

Slow Photography Camera

Slow Photography - David McCourt - www.dmccourt.com.

Another great concept for Photography Junkies. I was surfing forums and Blogs and came across this cool design by David McCourt for a Mobile camera Mod. I collect old cameras, but have a passion for new technology. This grabbed my eye. You just drop in your mobile phone and give it that medium format camera feel. Not sure if this is something that would hit the market, but if it does, I would be so tempted on snatching one of these just for fun. I would take it out, walking around taking pictures on an art walk or some other event. This is the type of thing that would actually draw subjects in, due to pure curiosity. Check out more at David's Website at: www.dmccourt.com


Beyond David's design for a cool camera box, he is a talented photographer with some nice edgy images. David is a UK based photographer in Scotland. I really dig his Portraits and band photos with their rather dark ominous feel.  So if you are looking for a portrait photographer or a Wedding Photographer in the UK, check him out. Don't worry his dark ominous feel doesn't cross over to his wedding images. Also check out this video by David of one of his earlier designs.

So cool. Reminds me of my art school days. See more of David's behind the scenes videos Here.