Hallelujah! I just learned that I passed the CPP (certified professional photographer) exam. Took it a couple of weeks ago at ImageFest USA ...
No boundaries Originally uploaded by William Porter This photo is one I took as a test of a wireless...
This photo is one I took as a test of a wireless "tethered" shooting set-up I have going here. The ingredients are: my DSLR (in this case a Sony A550) with an Eye-Fi wireless SD card inside; and an iPad running the PhotoSnitch app.
Once it's launched on the iPad, PhotoSnitch communicates with the Eye-Fi card and vice versa, so that I take a photo, and a few seconds later, the photo appears on the iPad's screen (inside PhotoSnitch) where I can review it on the iPad's nice and relatively large screen rather than using the high-res but tiny screen on the camera.
I had a wee bit of trouble setting PhotoSnitch up initially. If you have previously configured your Eye-Fi card to send photos to your computer, you have to mount the card on the computer first, open the Eye-Fi Center software and basically follow the instructions to break that link. Only then do you put the card into the camera, launch PhotoSnitch on the iPad, and finish up the connection from there. It was this part that I had a little trouble with, but somehow—to be honest, I'm not sure how—it worked itself out and now it works terrifically.
For studio portraits, this can be really nice. It lets the client-subject see the photo right away. Whether it's so useful for the photographer, I'm not sure. I do not generally "chimp" my photos, at least not excessively. I can usually wait to get the photos on to the computer for review.
NOTE that ShutterSnitch and Eye-Fi require a Wi-Fi network. The camera isn't talking directly to the iPad; they are both talking over the network. Too bad the Eye-Fi card doesn't support Bluetooth. Anyway, I understand that you can buy a small portable router that would let you create a not very "Wi" Wi-fi network anywhere. Sweet.
A final point. This isn't "tethered" shooting, at least not in the traditional sense. It's called "tethered" shooting because in the past, you connected the camera to the computer via a cable (the "tether"). I suspect cable would be faster, but it comes with the risk that you'll trip over the cord and pull your computer on to the floor.
One of the big reasons I have decided to move my entire web site to Wordpress, is to make my site mo...
Well, this is cool. Actor Jeff Bridges is also a photographer , and a pretty good one; this much I knew. He likes to use a very special pano...
So I was tickled today when I launched the App Store on my iPad and discovered that there's a True Grit app, and it's free. Even better than free, it's rather cool.
|Cover of Jeff Bridges' True Grit album for the iPad|
What I want to know is, how was this done? I guess I could try writing Mr Bridges and asking but I expect some clever programmer associated with the Coen Brothers's marketing staff is responsible for it. Anyway, it's pretty neat. If you have an iPad, check it out. If you like photography, well, some of the photos are rather nice. And of course, if you love movies, see True Grit.
|Jeff Bridges' photo of the Bear Man from True Grit.|
If you've seen the movie, you will absolutely remember this character!
Like it or not, it's a fact that most photos are now viewed on computer screens or on cell phones. I admit, I think it's really cool...
But there's a down side to digital delivery, as well, and the higher quality the photograph, the greater the likelihood that digital viewing will diminish your experience. Viewing good photos on your computer screen (or, heaven forbid! on your cell phone) is like listening to Mozart through bad speakers. You may think that a person's face looks orange when it shouldn't. Or you might not see detail where you think you should.
Sometimes, the problem you see might actually belong to the photo. But quite often, there's nothing wrong with the photo. The problem is with your display. You should be aware that viewing photos on your computer screen is less than ideal, and depending on your computer's display, it may be a lot less than ideal.
For starters, it is often the case that you are viewing an image at a resolution considerably lower than the resolution at which the photo was originally taken. Proofs uploaded by professional photographers to their web sites are often downsized to decrease upload times.
But it's also possible that your computer screen may have one or more of the these problems:
- It may not display colors correctly.
- It may be darker (or, less often, brighter) than it should be.
- It almost certainly shows fine contrast and detail less well than a high-quality print.
- The color, contrast and other properties of your computer display may be adversely affected by the light in the room.
Seeing high-quality photos well on a computer screen requires, first, a high-quality display, and second, careful calibration of your display (usually with the help of a calibrating device). For much more info, go here, and/or here.
You should also be aware that, just as a photo printed with a matte finish doesn't look like a photo with a glossy finish, it's even more true that a photo viewed on a computer screen—even a very high-quality screen that is well calibrated—will never look the same as it does in a well-made print.
Note that prints can display a number of problems, too, especially problems with color. High-quality professional print labs offer color correction as part of the normal service when they make prints. Your local drugstore probably does not. If a print comes back from the drugstore and Aunt Lucy's face is green, well, it's possible she wasn't feeling well that day, or perhaps the white balance setting in the camera was wrong and she looks green on your computer screen, too; but if neither of those is the case, then the fault probably lies with your printing service.
A professionally made, high-quality, color corrected print almost always provides the best viewing experience of a good photo. After that, it's possible that the next best option is to view a high-res version of the photo on a high-quality, properly calibrated computer display. A bad print (say, made at your drugstore) may be marginally better than viewing the photo on a badly calibrated computer display, although it's easier to say what's best than to say what's worst.
I photograph a lot of different types of portraits, and what you should wear for yours to a large degree depends on what kind of portrait it...
The following tips are mainly for folks who are having a more informal portrait done, such as an engagement portrait or a family portrait.
We photographers often start by telling clients to wear something they are comfortable in, both physically comfortable (i.e. don't wear pants that are too tight) and personally, mentally comfortable (i.e. if you haven't worn a suit since your grandfather died five years ago, don't wear a suit for your portrait). Wear something that is you, but do be aware that the camera can be unforgiving and while casual is okay, careless probably is not . "Dressy casual" sums it up nicely most of the time. For engagement portraits, consider wearing what you might wear on a casual date. We live in a very casual age, and blue jeans, khakis or chinos are fine. Wear comfortable shoes. Women, be aware that I may or may not get your feet into personal portraits, and for engagement portraits, we may walk around a bit. If you plan to wear heels, be sure to bring some flats to walk in as well.
Avoid flashy clothes, patterns, and very strong primary colors
This is standard advice you'll find everywhere. Avoid wearing clothing—shirts, hats, sweaters, pants—that draws attention to itself and distracts from your face. Stripes (like rugby jerseys) and shirts with striking patterns (Hawaiian shirts) are generally no-nos. And strong colors (yellow, green and especially solid red) can also be difficult to deal with photographically, unless you know we're going to do a black and white portrait. It's an old photographer's guideline that darker or subdued colors are slimming and also easier to deal with than bright colors or whites, but don't feel bound by it. If you have a white linen dress that you love, by all means, wear it.
Avoid "short": short sleeves, and especially short pants and short skirts. Bare skin can be distracting.
Makeup and grooming
Hair and makeup are difficult subjects. Give your hair some thought and at least bring a hair brush with you. Men, ask your women about your hair. A haircut a week before your portrait is often a good idea. As for makeup, if dramatic makeup is your style, that's fine with me. But I suggest to most women that they try to tone down their makeup for their portrait. Less is more. Don't worry terribly about tiny blemishes: I can remove them after the shoot. (You may want to apply a little makeup over a blemish simply so you feel more comfortable and less self-conscious during the shoot.)
Groups: Dress alike, but not too alike
Couples posing for an engagement portrait and families posing together should make an effort to dress so that everybody harmonizes with everybody else—but I generally don't suggest wearing a uniform. If the woman is going to wear a nice dress, the man clean up, too. But this is a difficult issue and hardly a rule. If you have identical twins, for example, and want to dress them identically, that's perfectly fine.
There are no rules
In spite of the very traditional tips above, I want you to know that I know that there are really no hard and fast rules. If the woman feels comfortable in a sleek DKNY number with gorgeous pumps and loop earrings, and the man feels comfortable in jeans, tee shirt and tennis shoes, that's cool with me. These days, heaven knows, anything goes. However, it would be a good idea for the man to bring a blazer and perhaps a pair of leather shoes in a paper bag, just in case.
Choices are good
Final note: It's good to have choices. If you dress in layers, we can easily take something off if it looks better. So men, bring a blazer, just in case we want it. If you would really like to have choices, bring a change of clothing.
And remember to bring your sense of humor and have a good time!
By the way: the tips above are pretty standard. You will find more advice of the same type by searching on the Web for "what to wear for a portrait" or "how to dress for an engagement portrait".
I went out on a little photo-reconnaissance lately in near East Dallas and my daughter Catherine cam...
I'm not unhappy with it. Actually I rather like it.
But i like my daughter's photo even better.
As I write this late at night, Catherine has not seen her photos yet. She went to bed a while ago and I just finished processing the photos from the shoot. But she told me at the time that she had tried to take a photo that made it look as if the statue was striding across downtown. She succeeded. And it's a nice photo. I simply looked at the statue until I saw an angle that caught my eye. Catherine on the other hand imagined the photo she wanted, and then took it. Imagination trumps everything.
Old house Originally uploaded by William Porter Perfection is unattainable but we strive for it anyw...
Perfection is unattainable but we strive for it anyway. I actually took my time and tried hard to center this photo dead on. And I failed. You might not notice it if you just glance at the photo and move on, which is what most people do. But if you look, you'll see that there is slightly more space between the column and the front door on the left side of the door than on the right; and slightly more space between the inner column and the window on the right than on the left. Blast.
Perspectival distortion (in this case, the keystone effect) was corrected in Lightroom 3. DxO Optics Pro is even better than Lightroom for this kind of thing but I was able to do well enough in Lightroom. The correction didn't introduce those slight variances that I talked about above. Those were simply a mistake at the moment of capture.
I really wanted to stand about six feet closer, but that would have put me into the middle of traffic.
For several years (roughly 2007-2009 and into 2010), I used an excellent Dell laptop (Latitude D820) as my primary computer for editing phot...
The time came in the late summer when my laptop started showing its age. I very nearly purchased a desktop running Windows 7 and I'm sure that would have been fine. But because I write regularly for Macworld, it made more sense for me to buy a new computer running the Mac OS. So I bought an iMac. I've been happy with my purchase, and I'm even happier with it now that I also have an iPad.
Today I ran across an article by guest-blogger Ctein over at The Online Photographer that lays out precisely the thought process that I myself went through and comes to precisely the same conclusion. I didn't need any reassurance but it's nice to have anyway.
We made it to Fort Worth's marvelous Amon Carter Museum just in time. Today was the last day of the American Moderns exhibit, featuring ...
Of the three I knew Evans the best already, having some books about him and also having read Now Let Us Praise Famous Men, his great collaborative project with writer James Agee. There's something a bit, I dunno, hard about Evans that accounts for my never quite feeling as comfortable with him as I do with Kertesz or Cartier-Bresson. Still he was a very great photographer and it was a major treat to see real, full-size prints of his photos rather than reproductions in a book.
I have never made an effort to acquire a general acquaintance with either Abbott or Bourke-White. I knew Abbott more through her important work on Eugene Atget; I have her book on Atget. I was pleased to see so many famous photos in the exhibit by the two women, like this photo of the Flatiron Building in New York by Abbott (1938):
If you live anywhere near north Texas and love photography, you should be familiar with the Amon Carter Museum. They have had one great exhibit of photographers after another recently, including the mind-bending exhibit of Curtis's photos of American Indians last year. The museum is free, as in completely free. They gave my wife and daughter iPods containing exhibit notes. For free.