A quick lighting lesson for outdoor portrait sessions.
Devin is an amazing young woman and full of life. Her senior portrait session was a blast for us all. At one point, we were walking from one spot to another (shade to shade – we are in Arizona, after all) and I fell in love with the idea of Devin with her ukulele in this corn field. Cute right? Also very difficult to light naturally, because we are in direct sunlight.
So, I am going to give you the quick recipe for a bright sunlit scenario:
1. Turn your subject away from the sun. This give you a nice rim light to separate her from the background and it keeps her from squinting into the sun. And it keeps her face in her own shadow.
2. Light her with a powerful flash, but NOT from the camera. Our flash is coming from off the left side of the frame, as close to the frame as possible. Lighting her from the side keeps the subject full of volume, rather than flattening her out and looking like an obvious flash. On camera flash is the worst kind of flash.
3. To match the power of the sun, you will need a lot of light from your flash. Whatever flash you have (mine was a Profoto B2) you can increase its power and size by using a deep silver umbrella (on any flash) which will magnify the light by nearly double. So, even if you have a speedlight… you can double its power by using a Profoto Deep Silver Umbrella. Make sure to push the flash all the way into the umbrella.
4. Play with the power of your flash until you have the right mix of ambient light from the sun and flash light from the flash. Notice that we did not lover the ambient light so that everything was dark and rich blue, because it was a bright sunny day. We let it feel that way in the shot and then simply added light on her face to fill in the shadows under the hat and on the entire camera side of her body. But not so bright that we lost the feel of he being in her own shadow.
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Lighting with one light is simple, if you pay attention to and use the light you already have and just use your one additional light to augment the light that already exists. Don’t fight the light, work with it. Let God do 90% of the work and you just do the other 10%.
P.S. Contrary to her look in the behind the scenes photo, Devin was having a good time. But I think there may have been a bee flying around.
Album Design is Intense
Designing albums and books is a intense chore for photographers and requires time, love and skill… and great tools. Well, you can do it without great tools, but then it takes more time, tests your love and tries your skills. With that in mind, I thought I would share my thoughts with you on the latest releases of what I think are the two best album design programs out today.
Keep in mind, there are plenty of album companies (like KISS, Leather Craftsmen and Queensbury) who will design your albums for you, and a few independent designers (Align Album Design), who will take this task off your plate for you, if you are willing to let go of it. For those of you who are not, take a few minutes to watch the following set of videos to get my take on the chief differences between Fundy Designer and Smart Albums. Both album design programs are excellent programs, I have decided on a winner, and if you don’t already know which one I choose to use, you will at the end of this blog post.
I am not being paid or compensated by either of the companies for this review, but I have spoken at Smart Albums booth at trade shows. I am also using my own purchased copy of both programs… no freebies. I wanted to run them through their paces, so I bought both of them. I only plan on using one of them for my production. So this is just my honest and independent take on two impressive album design tools.
Starting with Lightroom
Building Album Spreads
Manipulating Album Spreads
Ordering the Album
This blog post is meant to provide you with a few things to think about before you start comparing album software for yourself. You may want to add other album production software in the mix, like several online designers that are available. Hopefully, the items I have discussed here will get you thinking critically about the programs your are considering. It really does matter what software you choose! It needs to work with you and not against you. Whether you enjoy the process will depend on your choice. So choose well…
Find and Test the Software
Now here is your assignment: go make an album with both pieces of software, think about the items I have discussed and watch for even more differences. Prioritize the good and bad and decide which tool makes you faster, which gives you the most artistic freedom and which lets you enjoy the process. The one you choose should have a good score on all three of those requirements. Then buy the winner and start making albums and books!
We spent the morning with Madison in Gilbert, Arizona, photographing her senior portraits. Here are my favorites from the shoot.
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This is a BIG DEAL!
Over thirty photographers and photography companies have come together to give you the BIG DEAL! Look at this list of contributors and items and tell me that $99 isn’t a great price for this. My item alone is worth $110. You will be getting your $99 back over and over again… and you will be helping a good cause at the same time.
20% of your purchase will go to charities like Team Jessie.
Take a look at this list! It is unbelievable… and yet, it is true! Even if you already have my presets, its worth it for all the other goodies you will get.
Lindsay Adler – Designing an Image & Studio Lighting Guide, Subscription to NEW website
Jared Platt – Comprehensive Collection of 400 Lightroom Presets & Lightroom Webinar
Mylio – 1 Year Subscription
Dave Cross – 1 Year Subscription
Tony Sweet – 13 Videos Covering Macro Photography, Texturing, Infrared, Mirroring plus more
Rick Sammon – Master the Art and Craft of Bird Photography Video
Simply Color – Simply Cash
PhotoshopCafe – Photoshop Destination CC LIVE
Lee Varis – Online Course in Mastering Image Creation & Photo Illustration in Photoshop
Bobbi Lane – Posing & Directing Video
Craig Minielly – Retouch Toolkit & BeautyBar Pro set of Actions for Lightroom/Photoshop
Phlearn – PhlearnMethod Bundle, Photoshop 101 & 201, Beginners Guide to Levitation
SharkPixel – Landscape Photography Presets for Lightroom
Lesa Snider – The Skinny Ebooks Series
Scott Wyden Kivowitz – E-Book: Time Is On Your Side: Exploring Long Exposure Photography
Lance Sullivan – Architecture Power Pack of Presets
Tyler Meade – 73 Sports and Commercial Photography Lightroom Presets
Sean Duggan – Photoshop CC Essentials: Selections, Masking & Compositing Video
Nik Pekridis – Video Training Course: Wedding Photography in Action
Gavin Gough – Photographers Workflow: Ebook & Videos
Perfectly Clear – Photoshop and Lightroom Plugins
Cris Duncan – Photography Business Starter Set: Ebooks & Video
Dane Sanders – Fast Track Photographer Audiobook
Andrew S Gibson – Mastering Photography & Understanding EOS Ebooks
ViewBug – 1 Year Membership
Eyefi – 1 Year Cloud Subscription
Peter Eastway – Subscription to Better Digital Photography & Photoshop Layers Class
David Ziser – Ebooks and Training Videos
Stephanie Cotta – Mastering the Art of Newborn Photography
KelbyOne LLC. – KelbyOne Photoshop and Lightroom Creativity Bundle
Richard Sturdevant – SturDaVinci Art Tools Photoshop & Corel Painting Bundle
Photofocus – Develop Great Images in Lightroom & 72 Essays On Photography EbooksRead More
It was sucha pleasure to photograph this wedding in Ripe, England. I loved the village, I loved the wedding and most importantly, I loved my clients and their family.
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Photography by Jared Platt
Wedding location: England
Music by Mindy Gledhill
I teach destination workshop around the world each year with www.MZed.com that are the most incredible experiences. Photographers of all skill levels come together to learn and to enjoy the art of photography. Professionals and amatures alike, spend time together, learning, traveling, talking, eating and going on little adventures. It is the highlight of the year. This year we will be in Krakow Poland. To join us, sign up with MZed now!
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Adobe Lightroom CC
It’s official! Lightroom has joined Adobe Creative Cloud. To this point, Photoshop, Indesign, Premier, Illustrator, and others have been a part of the Creative Cloud and enjoyed the constant and simple updates and the inter app connectivity of the cloud. But Lightroom has always felt like the outcast from the group.
Today, though, it’s official; with Adobe’s release of Lightroom CC today, Lightroom is now a legitimate part of the family, and that means the future is very bright for Lightroom.
With the designation CC, comes more frequent and automated updates to the program, which will be a welcome change. It also means we can expect greater inter app connectivity in the future. Some apps are already taking advantage of the Lightroom Mobile sharing, like Adobe Slate, which can draw from any of Lightroom’s mobile shared images. I think the CC designation was long over due, so I am glad Lightroom has finally gained its spot on the Creative Cloud.
Here is a list of the most notable new features and upgrades to Lightroom CC:
Import, export and general computing speed has been increased by allowing Lightroom access to the graphics processor with GPU Acceleration. This is not a toy kind of feature that people get to play with, so I suspect it won’t get the face time it deserves. It is no small feature and will improve the entire experience of using Lightroom.
Import Directly to a Collection
A simple little feature like this one, makes a lot of difference in simple speed of organization.
Auto Size Standard Previews
Previews based on the size and need of your monitor.
Small Adjustments in the Quick Develop Panel
The quick develop buttons have finally been given a dose of subtlety.
True RAW HDR and Panorama Editing
This one is revolutionary! No more going to Photoshop to merge TIF versions of your RAW images and round tripping back to Lightroom. Lightroom CC will now merge your RAW images into Panoramic and HDR images and maintain the images for true RAW manipulation. This will open up new worlds of possibility for photographers everywhere. It means I will actually start to use HDR and Panoramic techniques in my work.
Movable Brush Pins
I have been waiting for this one for a long time, and it is finally here. Brush pins can now be moved, which allows for far greater synchronization of the local adjustments between images.
Refinement of the Local Adjustment Tools
Now, with the introduction of a modification brush tool inside the radial and gradient filter tools, working on images feels a lot more masking in photoshop. Now I can make broad strokes with the gradient and radial filters and then erase back the areas that have over stepped their bounds.
The People View in the Library Module
This is one of my favorite features. Lightroom CC has facial recognition built in! Imagine the ramifications of this for event photographers who need to identify the people in their images for more accurate and faster image tagging. Suddenly massive amounts of key-wording is something that can be done literally in ones’ sleep.
The slideshow module also gained a few new features, including the Ken Burns effect and synchronizing slides to the music.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. Matt Kloskowski and I will be reviewing these and more features today on creativelive.com and I will be going into incredible depth on these tools and more during my new CreativeLive course, Lightroom Crash Course, featuring Lightroom CC. During this course we will not only show you what is new in Lightroom CC and how to use it, but also how how it fits into the overall post-production workflow.
I am truly excited about the release of Lightroom CC with its list of new features and all that the CC designation offers now portends for the future of Lightroom. Lightroom’s future looks bright.
Here are the images from Chrystal and Richard’s Grand Canyon Wedding.
The Bride and Groom came down from North Dakota where they serve in the military (I love you military folk, thank you). Now a wedding in the spring at the Grand Canyon can be warm, cold or perfect. Crystal and I talked a lot about this topic as she was planning the wedding. But no matter how cold it could have gotten, it still would have been warmed that Minot, ND. So we were prepared for anything. And as fate would have it, the weather was absolutely perfect, and so was the wedding.
My first interest at this wedding was the flowers and the dress. The dress, by Vera Wang, has beautiful beaded flowers all over it, and I found myself comparing the wedding flowers to the dress. So… I shot a lot of flowers that day.
Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography
Wedding Location: The Grand Canyon
Slideshow Music by Kevin Burdick, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music
Wedding Design by My Arizona Guide
Image Post Production by Shoot Dot Edit
Happy Birthday to Photoshop this month as it hits its 25th Birthday! While I was at creativeLIVE for Photoshop Week 2015, a number of instructors (including me) had the opportunity to travel back in time and use Photoshop 1.0.
This was something I used as a sophomore in college in the early 1990s. That’s right, LAST CENTURY!
When people talk about how things were built better back in the day, or that life was better way back when, they are obviously not considering the explosive chemistry in a 19th century darkroom, the weight and fragility of glass plate negatives, covered wagons or Photoshop 1.0. I for one, would like to say thank you to all those inventors and smart people who have improved our lives over the past 150 years. I don’t miss the darkroom, I don’t miss polyester pants and I don’t miss Photoshop 1.0.