How to Create a Photoshop Action
by James Kern
by James Kern
The Beauty of the Pour
Freezing the movement of liquid will always captivate the viewer. Each snap of the shutter creates a unique image. Take a moment to think about the multitude of variables involved in the simple act of pouring a wine into a glass; they are numerous, complex and compound. It’s this random element that fascinates me… the angle and flow of the pour, the timing of the shot, the curve of the glass and a whole lot more result in a diversity of shapes and swirls of varying translucence as the liquid glances off the surfaces. The usually unseen or barely glimpsed turmoil becomes visible and a natural beauty is captured in an instant that can never be exactly repeated again.
David Travis is a Project 52 member, and a quite wonderful photographer. For the Still Life Class, the assignment was to create powerful images using a “point source” light which would create a powerful shadow.
In fact, the shadow should define the subject in many ways/
Quitting the day job for a life as a freelancer?
OK… but here is something to think about.
You can quit that soul-sucking cubicle job, but can you let it go?
I think that is going to be the toughest challenge you face.
Corporate life and the life of a freelancer are so different that they are polar opposites in the mindset of humans. To approach your entrepreneurial freelance career as you would a corporate career will doom you to instant, painful, and ugly death (business wise).
In corporate world:
You have a set time for nearly everything. Go in at 9, go home at 5. Monday through Friday. Two weeks of vacation – SCHEDULED. Sick pay (numbered). A boss that tells you what to do, for every hour you work. Someone is watching and monitoring and measuring what you do. You earn the same amount of money per week whether you fucked up the Jones account, or helped land a new, even bigger account. You get the same money for the hours you work as the person in the cubicle next to you, the same benefits, the same job description, the same parking pass, the same “permission”.
Permission to do a limited, company defined, corporate defined set of actions.
And the good news for corporate folks is that they get used to it.
And the terrible news for corporate folks wanting to become freelancers is they got used to it.
In ‘freelance’ world, none of that exists.
No set time for in or out, no vacations scheduled. No rules on what you have to do, when you have to do it, who you have to report to, when you have to report it, or whether the report was good or not. You do not have the same ‘perks’ as anyone, nor do you make the same amount of money for the same amount of hours worked as a competitor, and you may actually go weeks without making any money at all. You do not have a manager standing over you telling you what to do, and whether or not you did it correctly.
You do not need permission from anyone else, because you are the only one able to grant it.
And if you fuck up the Jones account, YOU take the hit.
And if you bring in a bigger account, YOU accept the gig.
In a corporate world it is them first, you second. In a freelance world it is you first, the world second.
Working corporate means going home at 5, having dinner, watching some “Game of Thrones” then off to read for an hour before going to sleep. You have some balance of life and work. Sixteen hours of life, 8 hours of work.
Freelance means you are working most every moment of that time, and building/making/creating your business.
There is no fucking “work-life balance”. There is work, and more work.
Then if you have done all that work well, you get a job that is work.
Eight hours of life, 16 hours of work.
Does that sound impossible? Does it sound harsh?
if it does, perhaps the corporate world still lives in your head and you are trying to bend a freelance world into what you know… the corporate world.
Stop right now.
They do not mix. They have never mixed. They will never mix.
If you are recently corporate, and struggling with the freelance, you may need to do a mental reorganization. A ‘reboot’. Start over with your life.
Try a freelance retreat, or meditation. Read books by entrepreneurs. Stop watching TV, or playing video games.
Success is only granted to those that demand it, not ask for permission to chase it.
— Don Giannatti
“A square image that screams chocolate, with a bit of an editorial look if possible.”
How to create a background for table top photography by McGunn Media.
By Alex Baker
I was asked by a local string quintet to create some images to be used for their debut cd which they recorded in December. I’ve made a few album covers before and although you can go in pretty much any direction, there are a few things to keep in mind in the process. There are three routes you can take in general:
1. Portraits or group portraits of the musicians. This is very appropriate for a new or starting out musician or ensemble, an individual artist, or one which is establishing a strong brand or identity.
2. Images inspired by the mood of the music, the composer or period of time the music was composed in. This could be a landscape image or piece of art contemporary to the time of composition and is a very common approach with classical music.
3. A more conceptual approach. This is also common in pop or rock music, or contemporary classical and jazz. You can pretty much go anywhere with this one, let the music or lyrics inspire you.
We chose a conceptual approach that would represent the 5 string players through still life images of parts of partially made string instruments and wood (see the bus video below).
The technicalities were very simple: one strobe, shoot through umbrella, a myriad of reflectors and flags. I used a shallow depth of field (f2.8) on a 50mm lens.
The post processing was also very simple as we wanted to retain a very raw natural quality: a small amount of healing out any impurities that were distracting, color correction, slight desaturation and contrast added.
We weren’t given the final dimensions of the cd so I submitted Tiff files to the record label of both a square crop and the uncropped image. The record label has the final decision on which images will be used.
An introduction to the basics of Lightroom by Brian Miller:
By James Kern
By Tammy Bogestrand – www.tammybogestrand.com
The assignment (Assignment 27) was to create a shot with a fork (or forks) for a company dealing in ”change”. Food as props were to be avoided. Other props were fine, as long as the Fork was the star.
Originally I was going to shoot the fork in front of a small mirror. I had made a quick sketch on a bit of paper (which I cannot find) with a fork in front of a square mirror looking at its reflection. I would shoot it outside, and there would be grass and clouds…according to my sketch. Due to the weather here in Denmark…I decided for a simpler shot indoors.
by Craig Ferguson www.craigfergusonimages.com
With summer coming up a lot of you are probably busy making plans to get away for a well-deserved vacation somewhere. I thought it would be useful to look at a few ways you can plan ahead of time to give yourself a greater chance of capturing some wonderful photos and great memories.It could be said that great travel photographs start long before the airplane is boarded or the camera picked up. What you do at home before you leave goes a long way to ensuring the success of your photography trip. One of the first things to decide is where to go. It sounds simple but it isn’t always. If you have family to consider, you need to choose a place that will appeal to them just as much as it does to you. What do you do when your wife wants to explore museums, daughter wants to go shopping, son wants to go scuba-diving and you want to photograph mountain landscapes? Are there any places that offer all those in the same location? (more…)
“A color, vertical (portrait) oriented still life image with ordinary objects, diffuse main light source, that must contain at least one flower, but the flower(s) must not be the subject of the image. The objects must be simple and not shiny (no chrome or glossy black). The objects should fit within a 20 inch by 20 inch table top space.”
Photograph some high heel shoes? How hard can that be? I immediately called my fashion-conscious daughter to provide a selection of her favourite heels. I soon realised the design and construction of shoes present a far more complex subject than I had anticipated. The intricate combination of shape, line, curves, and material pose a demanding but ultimately fascinating challenge.
Photographed January 2016
Years ago, some friends and I were messing around, experimenting if you will, with some concept photographic sketches and some writing. We got onto the idea of an extended piratical adventure and ran with it. It was all in fun, and purely expressions of art, and the art of the written word, for our own humor and amusement. For my part, I made a pirate flag out of a violin and two crossed bows. I put them on the ground just so, stood over it, and pressed the button. Bam. Done. We had a laugh over the idea, and moved on.
Every photographer needs a simple portable backdrop for portraits, headshots, product photography. If we had the budget of Annie Liebowitz then we’d all have Handpainted Oliphant Canvas Backgrounds, only the finest backdrop available to photographers. But when we’re just starting out or would rather spend the money elsewhere then a simple backdrop can be had for very little money using window shades from Ikea. Besides being inexpensive, they have a great linen fabric texture and look professional to clients. You can easily add a texture to look like a handpainted background or as I did for an 70’s yearbook inspired annual report, add a chalkboard background.
The assignment was to use one very large light source for the shot. Bring it in close, and use the magic of soft, diffused light to present the subject.
The students in the still life workshop also photographed their setups for us. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Take a look at the photo created, and study the setup for a ‘thousand words’ on how it was done.
Cover image by Catherine Vibert.
Tutorial by James Kern