A Fall Workshop in the Canyons Announced

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The workshop is a blast.

We all pile into a large, comfortable van and head off to Northern Arizona. Our first night is in Flagstaff, then off to the reservation lands of the Navajo, Vermillion Cliffs, Marble Canyon, Kaibab Plateau and more. We spend an afternoon and a morning in Zion National Park. We are up for dawn in Zion, watching the sun creep over the incredible formations of rock is simply amazing.

Then it is off to Bryce for an afternoon view of that incredible landscape. The next morning we watch the sun rise over Bryce… delicate lines of light and shadow are mesmerizing… and it is an event that will simply never be forgotten. Later that day we head to Page, Arizona for a trip to Upper Antelope Canyon with our own guide. The slot canyons are simply breathtaking and you will love being in them. We end that day photographically at Horseshoe Bend… a much photographed part of the Colorado River. Then for some wonderful Mexican food in Page.

Our final day finds us traveling through Navajo land to the East Entrance to the Grand Canyon. If you have never seen that part of the canyon it will be a highlight. We visit the south rim stopping at all the major overlooks, then into the lodge for ice cream and coffee. That night we travel back to Flagstaff for a good nights rest before heading back to Phoenix on Friday morning.

We arrive in Phoenix at approximately 2PM. We start on Sunday afternoon and back on Friday… this ain’t no ‘learn how to use your speedlights’ workshop.

More INFO here.

“Black Angels” – An Assignment for a CD Cover

This week the Project 52 PROS for 2014 are working on an CD album cover for a faux assignment. The music is George Crumb’s “Black Angels” for Electric String Quartet.

It is very challenging music.

The students for this morning’s Friday class really knocked it out of the park. Check out these amazing images.

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Karen Kaiser photographed a 200 year old violin that must contain a fantastic story.

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Meggan Trobaugh’s Light Painting technique.

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Jean Pierre De Rycke Photographed a child’s wings with this unique Photoshop technique in mind.

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Clare Bambers visited a local cemetery in the UK to shoot the various angels. The light she created with natural and reflected gold was amazing. The then composited them into this haunting image.

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Jay Chatzkel used a page of the original score for his background while adding a touch of whimsy in the colored paper.

You can see more of what these talented photographers are doing at Project 52 Pros.

Is Giving One’s Images Away for Free a Brilliant Marketing Move?

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… or a very very bad idea?

Trey Ratcliff (Lost in Customs) has always given his images away on the Non-Commercial Creative Commons License. What is new today is his link to grab ALL of his favorite 500 images for free and download them in full high res form.

See more here: Free Download: Trey Ratcliff’s 500 Best Photos in Full Resolution

This is the new paradigm of photography that wasn’t really around in the old days. There were professionals with very expensive and exotic gear and the rest of the world was happy with a point and shoot that took 2 rolls a year.

Now photography is ubiquitous. From cell phones to big DSLR’s more people are engaged than ever before.

This has created a new source for photographers to benefit from; the teaching of the amateur photographer who wants simply to be better at that activity.

When you think about it critically, it is just another source – a channel so to speak – of revenue. The vast majority of them do not wish to become ‘professionals’, they simply want to have fun, make cool imagery, and be a part of the rich heritage of photography.

Nothing wrong with that. Lots of people take piano lessons who do not have their eye on Carnegie Hall. Lots of people go to painting workshops to learn how to do their art without designs on the Met. Ballroom dancing, Yoga, creative writing, scrapbooking, running, Pilates…. the list is pretty long.

These people want to be better at something and there are professionals out there to help them become better.

Trey’s always given his images as CC Non-Commercial, so they are not really seen as commercial anyway. His main revenue source is the amateur photographer who wants to make a ‘cool’ HDR shot on vacation. He has, to my knowledge, never pretended to be something he is not (and there are plenty of those folks who do out there) but has always maintained his amateur status as teacher and photographic vagabond. Actions/Presets/Ebooks/workshops.

Professional photographers will someday realize that the amateur and advanced amateur is as viable a market as corporations and ad agencies. And this new market carries no guilt or ‘wannabee’ status at all. It is a person wanting to know ‘how you do that’ so they can do it too.

Is that ‘pure photography’?

I am not sure I even know what ‘pure photography’ is these days… in fact: We must understand that what was once a “photographer” is now a different categorical definition. Where once non-photographers maybe shot a roll or two per year, they now shoot tens of thousands of images per year.


His market is a great swath of people who love making photographs that please them, and their own audience. We can sit on high and pass judgement, but that is sort of like telling me that nobody likes Rap music because it takes little to no musical ability.

True on what it takes, wrong on who likes it.

Photography is now a ‘participation’ hobby, with a possible nod to sports. It is no longer in the confines of the ‘professional’ with lots of exotic gear and expensive tools. It is open to the masses and they are eating it up with gusto.

Photography is no longer a narrow niche. It is no longer in the purview of the professional. It will NEVER go back. Never.

Trey (and others in that genre) are not interested in shooting for corporations or ad agencies or for magazines, he is of a newer breed of photographer who recognizes a market and fills that market with educational tools and intellectual property that it craves.

Where once we had two channels – professional photographers / the rest of the world – we now have dozens or more.

Professional photographers.
Professional photographic educators.
Semi-professional artists, semi-professional consumer photographers.
Serious amateurs who devote tens of thousands of dollars to participate.
Instagrammers and Hipstagrammers and the companies that print books.
Blurb, Artifact Uprising, MILK and more
Wedding pros / wedding amateurs…
Vigorous amateur participation that brings BILLIONS into the genre.

Why we continue to find fault with this new and widely diverse new model simply stumps me.

Pianists teach people who do not want to be professionals.
Guitar and drums and trumpet and french horn teachers do the same.
There are painting and poetry and creative writing workshops and education for people who do not want to be professional, just better at what they love.

Universities keep turning out people with sociology degrees, and early french literature degrees, and philosophy degrees (and hundred thousand dollar debt) to people who will never be able to make a living with that information.

Why is it wrong, or somehow devastating to some, that a guy like Trey comes along and says.. “Hey, I have a different approach. I don’t want to make money from my photographs, I want to teach and help and be compensated for that.”

As far as I know, he has never offered anyone the “Tips to a Six Figure Business” or the “Seven Secrets Every Photographer Should Know”… He has a loyal and fairly deep fan base that loves what he does and compensates him for doing it.

That his business model seems to worry so many “professionals” is far more troubling to me. We better learn to embrace the change or we will all be old farts sitting around bitching while the youngsters spin circles around our tired asses.

“What Should Photographers Charge in 2014?” – A Discussion with Rosh Sillars

My bud Rosh Sillars’ recent article on “What Should Photographers Charge in 2014?” really hit home with me and a lot of my Project 52 PRO’s. Pricing and figuring out what to charge is always a very difficult part of starting a photo business, and Rosh takes a very pragmatic, and value producing look at this timeless conundrum.

A significant truth:

“Here is the bottom line:  You can’t win if you play the lowest-price game. You can’t beat free and stay in business. Friends with cameras, cell phones and free stock photography are going to win every time if you don’t have something better to offer.”

Rosh makes the point that setting ourselves apart from the mediocre, and the mundane is absolutely necessary. Whether in the work we do or the way we do business, bringing value to the table for our clients is a game changer.

Another real world challenge is that the day of the ‘button pusher’ is over. Amateurs with talent can make images that are far beyond what the best shooters were able to make 20 years ago. The technical skill involved is learnable for free, and there are many, many talented people with great ‘eyes’ for imagery.

You simply cannot be “average” anymore.

“Just because your friends and family tell you that you have a good eye doesn’t mean people will pay you for your photography.  We are in the heyday of photography. Photos are everywhere. Unfortunately, being able to create an in-focus, well-exposed and nicely composed photograph is not enough for a photography career.  You need more.”

I hope you enjoy this interview and the great questions that were asked by our Project 52 PRO’s.

Thanks for watching.

Shooting a Beer with Rui Bandeira

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We have so many talented people in the Project 52 PRO group. Meet Rui Bandeira.

He shared this shot with my last night and I knew I had to share it with you all. Here is Rui:

“Hi,

I had 3 goals for this shot:
1) it had to be fresh and make the viewer desire to drink it
2) keep the bootle, the lable and the glass important
3) keep a traditional and rustic look

I made the image with a Canon 5DmKII and 100mm L MacroII

After deciding on the framing I wanted I started the shooting.

I knew I would do some compositing so I started by making the base shot. I would then build the rest of the shots i needed based on my drawn comp.

After the base shot I started doing the images needed for the comp.

I had to do a few images with a gold card for the interior of the bottle and glass, for doing this I hand moved the flash so I could get it pointing to the cards.

For doing the bottle images I removed the glass, and for the glass images I removed the bottle.

After having all the images, it was time to composit it all in Photoshop.

You can see a hi Res image here.”

Thanks Rui. Below are some shots Rui furnished for the shoot. See more of Rui’s work at his website.

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Here is a GIF that shows the process.

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Photoshop Repair: Bri in the High Desert

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I like to play around in Photoshop a lot, and when I do I am going to start sharing what I do with my Project 52 Pros. And anyone else who wants to know what I do.

I am not putting myself out there as a Photoshop Guru by any stretch of the imagination. I am simply sharing what I do for those who have asked.

Here is the original, terrible photo I took out there on that desert morning.

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The Photoshop work is here.