Posts by Larry

Off The Record: Cris Joel

Off The Record For this cover, I took on the album cover of one of my all-time favorite albums:  Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits Vol 1 and 2.  When photographer Cris Duncan suggested the cover, I knew it was one that I wanted to work on! How It Happened Cris is located in Lubbock, Texas – which would have normally made things kind of difficult.  However, we both spent this past weekend in Richmond, Virginia – speaking and judging at the VPPA Annual Convention (which was a BLAST by the way!).  Although the days were pretty busy, we managed to find some time to squeeze in a quick photo shoot for the cover. The Cover The original cover featured Billy leaning on a piano.  Since Cris plays guitar, we decided that substituting the guitar for the piano made sense.  We found a blank wall in hotel and setup a single monolight to try and emulate the look of the original image.  Unfortunately, we setup right outside an elevator and had a constant parade of hotel guest passing through.  However, Cris was a trooper and we managed to capture a great image.  I thought it was a very nice shot – similar
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Off The Record: Beauty and the Beach

They Got The Beat Time for another slice of delicious 80s goodness! The Off The Record Project rolls on this week with another beloved album.  This time around, it is the GoGo’s double-platinum debut album from 1981:  Beauty and the Beat.  I had several requests from people to pose for this album cover, but these gals got their request in first! The Story These five friends travel to Mexico every year so we wanted to work in the Mexico angle somehow.  We finally settled on The Amigo-Go’s!  For the album title, the obvious substitution was to change “Beat” to “Beach”.  Everything really came together for the concept on this one! As I started studying the album cover, the first thing I noticed was how it has a very low-res feel to it.  It almost looks like someone ran a cheap effects filter on it or something.  Since the album came out almost 10 years before Photoshop, I’ve got no idea how they actually came up with the image.  Even though I was trying to duplicate the look of the original, I wasn’t crazy about turning out something that looked so blocked up and pixellated. I decided to compromise and give
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Photo Project: Off The Record

Anyone Remember Records? The era of the vinyl LP is pretty much behind us.  Sure, there are a few die-hard collectors and DJs who still covet records, but by-and-large, the music industry has left them behind. Remember when you were a kid and you got a cool new album for Christmas?  It was always obvious what it was from the unusual, flat shape.  You would put the record on the turntable and hear a second or two of “crackle and pop” then the music would kick in.  You just don’t get that with a CD. The Art Another aspect that is lost on modern music is the album cover.  Many albums are downloaded or at best, printed to CD.  The once great 12×12 album cover is now a small 5×5 CD – or even a one inch square image on a computer screen. I thought it would be great to bring back the album cover with a new photographic project this year. Introducing the “Off The Record” Project The project will consist of a series of portraits, done in the style of iconic album covers.  It may not be your favorite album or even your favorite band, but you will
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6 Days of Free Photography Education

I am excited to be a part of the PROSPER eConference Summit January 14-23. This summit brings together 15 of the brightest minds in the industry — leading photography experts who will share proven strategies, real-world techniques, and hands-on tools designed to help you: • Attract, close, and thrill your ideal clients • Price your work smartly for both profit and growth • Learn to recapture your valuable time • Create true financial freedom for you and your family  Join us for 6 days and 15 interviews to learn: -How to book yourself solid -Find new clients through social media and email campaigns -Use SEO to attract new clients -Roll out promotions that will keep you busy through the slow season -How to price yourself appropriately -How outsourcing can free up your life AND make you more money -How branding can help you stand out in a crowded market -Understand how you’re self-sabotaging your own business And the best part?!? PROSPER is absolutely FREE! There is NO COST to join us for this LIVE virtual eConference! Worried you can’t make it to the live event?? Once registered, you have the option to purchase ALL 15 INTERVIEWS for ONLY $39!! This is an incredible deal, valued at over $1500!!
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The Wonders of Technology

Don’t get me wrong- there are certainly days when I long for the “good old days” – when we used film and people didn’t stare at their phones all day.  Technology can certainly be a nuisance.  However, sometimes it comes in pretty darn handy! OFF TO THE ARCTIC This week I was scheduled to speak in Minnesota to the Twin Cities Professional Photographers Association.  I was doing a 5 hour program on photography and looking forward to visiting my friends up north.  However, things got a bit dicey with the weather.  Wind chills were getting really low – like 40 degrees BELOW ZERO kind of low.  The day before the program, I found out that Southwest cancelled my flight and I had no way to get there in time for the program.  I’ve been speaking for several years and never missed a program due to weather.  Such a bummer. THE SHOW MUST GO ON This is where technology came to the rescue.  Rather than disappoint a room full of education-hungry photographers, we decided to attempt something rather adventurous:  doing the program via Skype.  As with any sort of long-distance venture, there were a million things that could go wrong.  However,
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Holiday Inspiration

Back Where It Started Fifteen years ago, I joined the Dallas Professional Photographers Association.  I didn’t really  know anyone there and was just learning the ropes of photography.  I knew so little, that I didn’t realize how far I had to go – if that makes sense. In hindsight, it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made.  I eventually joined the Board of Directors, met several life-long friends, and even served a year as president of the organization. Last night, I was asked to give the keynote speech at their Holiday Party.  It was quite an honor to stand up in front of a group of such talented photographers and give them my two cents on life in the photography world.  I hope that I left them with a little bit of inspiration to launch them into an awesome 2014. Thought To Take Away I ended my talk with a quote from the great Dr. Seuss- and I think they are words that all photographers should live by: “If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good.”  
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Blast from the Past

Every year, I teach a darkroom class to 8th graders at The Westwood School in Dallas. Although it is truly a dying art, I think there is still a lot to be learned from the whole development process. You have to work to get a nice image and can’t just shoot 1000 shots and hope to get a good one.  While there are many things I love about digital photography, there is just no substitute for that feeling when you watch an image materialize in the developer tray. We spent the entire day in the darkroom Monday to make sure everyone had their final prints ready to turn in next week and it was one of the most enjoyable days I have had in a long time.  Technology is great- sometimes Old School is pretty nice as well!
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My Favorite Photoshop Filters

I get a lot of emails asking which Photoshop filter plugins I use on my images.  By far, my favorites are the Topaz filters.  I like the fact that they offer easy-t0-use presets, but also allow you to go in and fine tune the look as much as you want. I don’t really endorse too many photography items, but this one is must-have in my opinion. I thought I would post a few videos from my YouTube channel that show the ones I use most often.  At the end of the post, I’ll even tell you how to get them a discounted price! Adjust First off is Topaz Adjust – by far, my favorite.  It is perfect for giving images a little bit of extra snap and impact.  This video is from a few years back, but still gives a good idea of what the program does. BW Effects 2 Another favorite is Topaz BW Effects 2. As the name implies, this one specializes in black and white images. It even has some nice sepia-toned, stylized ones as well.  Presets galore!!! Of course, they have plenty of other products- those are just my two favorites. Save some money! Want to
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Social Media and its Impact on the Entertainment Industry

Guest Post by Brian Testa From a Renewed Bingo Setting to Instant Photo Sharing Capabilities Social media has already made its presence felt in the photo industry with more technologies that cater to portability and ease of access. Although the DSLRs are still a must for professional shutterbugs, casual camera users are leaning more on tiny devices with simple settings and instant sharing capabilities. And of course, given the scope of social media’s presence, photography is not the only field affected. Much like photographers, bingo enthusiasts are also influenced by social media. In fact, social media allowed the present generation to enjoy the iconic pastime. Before the present bingo industry found its rebirth online, it enjoyed little to no audience at all. Most of the hobby’s devotees were from Europe. But outside the continent, you’ll barely find a country where bingo halls are frequently visited. In the past, bingo thrived in a maternal setting. This is arguably one reason why the game remains tied to stereotypes of women as bingo’s target audience. As far as the current setting is involved however, a women-centric audience is no longer the case. A renewed online platform acts as a substitute for anyone who
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Have Phone Makers Gone Crazy?

Last year I wrote a post about the Death of the Point and Shoot where I talked about how the Point-and-Shoot camera was going the way of the dinosaur. I mean, really- when was the last time you saw someone shooting with one? It makes sense really. Why carry along an extra camera when you can just use your phone? Nokia Goes Crazy Recently, Nokia has decided to take this concept to the extreme.  They have come out with a 41 megapixel camera on their Lumia 1020 phone. Really?  41 megapixels? Well, lets start with the obvious:  I don’t care if a camera is 100 megapixels, if it is shooting through a lens that is 8mm wide.  It just doesn’t work that way.  Even if it did, do you really need a 10MP image of your kid blowing out candles at their birthday party? Camera vs Phone Whether or not it takes good pictures is not my point.  I’m sure it does just fine.  My question is, how far will it go?  How long do we have until someone comes out with a DSLR body that has a phone attached to it.  I mean is that REALLY that far-fetched?  In
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