Archives for Favorites

How The Photography World Is Like The Gym

I managed to drag myself to the gym this morning to try and get in a little cardio.  I absolutely hate doing it- but it has to be done.  While I was there, I noticed a few things that were not too different from the photography world.  The people at the gym were having the same problems and making the same mistakes as photographers.  Sound far-fetched?  Let me give you a few examples. No matter where you work out, there is undoubtedly at least one Talker.  The Talkers are the guys who spend about two hours at the gym, but only work out for about 10 total minutes.  The rest of the time they are standing around talking to the other people who are working out.  This is like the people who go to the photography conventions, but don’t sit in on any of the classes.  Working out your brain isn’t always fun or easy, but if you want to grow your business, you need to pick up a few new tricks.  If you are just going to conventions to socialize, you are missing out on a great deal of potential education. The next character you are likely to encounter
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The Trick To Becoming A Better Photographer

It doesn’t matter where you are in your photographic journey – at the beginning or well down the road – we all want to get better. While there are so many ways to improve your skills, I’m a firm believer that nothing will help you to grow faster than entering print competitions. When you compete with your images, your competitiveness will force you to grow. If you stick with it, your photography skill will grow – without a doubt. The big question that people seem to have is WHERE to enter. There are many different contests out there and most of them cost money. The trick is to choose the ones that aren’t just scams trying to make money off of photographers. Because of this, I tend to enter competitions that are affiliated with major photography associations. There are basically two of these organizations, The Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI). Both are excellent organizations, but most of my experience is with PPA. Within PPA, there are a few different levels of print competition. The best place to start is usually at the local level. Most major cities have a PPA chapter and many
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Feeling Blue?

If you are looking for a book to peruse this weekend – something a little off the beaten path- you might consider “Blue” by Michael Pastoureau.  I came across this book a while back and started reading it out of curiosity.  It was nothing like I expected! The book is basically an Art History book, but with a focus on the color blue.  I guess I had never given it much thought, but colors have quite an interesting history.   Blue has gone from being considered “inferior” during the time of the Roman, all the way to being THE color of colors.  In fact, most paintings used blue to identify the Virgin Mary.  I found it very interesting how many elements contribute to a color going in and out of fashion. The book is loaded with great illustrations as well. Pastoureau also touches on things like symbolism and iconography as well.  As an artist, you can’t help but find this stuff interesting.  It might even give you a few ideas that you can incorporate into your next fine art piece! If you think learning about color is something for painters and not photographers, you couldn’t be more wrong. I hope you
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New Way To Enhance Contrast

Last month, I came across a cool new tool for Photoshop called ALCE2.  I thought it might interest some of you so I did a quick video tutorial on it… (VIDEO) ALCE2 is a deceptively easy tool that enhances the contrast of an image to really give it some punch.  Unlike some filters that have hundreds of options and boxes to click – this one is simple:  just one slider.  You dial in the amount of effect you want and off it goes.  Best of all, it records the setting you used – right in the layer name – so you can actually recreate the look later.  This was a huge plus for me! If you would like to learn more about ALCE2, you can check out their homepage: ALCE2 Homepage Give it a try and let me know what you think!
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A Must-Read Book

Recently, I stumbled across a blog entry somewhere about this guy who supposedly traded a paperclip for a house.  It seemed crazy, so I researched it a little more.  I eventually ended up at the website and realized I HAD to have this book. After Amazon dropped it at my doorstep, I started into it right away.  Next thing I knew, several hours had past and I was 3/4 of the way through the book.  Its one of those kinds of books. Basically, it chronicles the quest of a guy named Kyle MacDonald in his attempt to “trade up” from a paperclip – all the way to a house.  Like most things in life, the trades themselves are not the most interesting part – but rather the people he meets along the way and how the whole incredible project unfolds.  It is a great, uplifting book and well-worth adding to your holiday reading list. If you’d like to read if for yourself, here is the LINK to Amazon.  Enjoy! I’ve also added it to my list of recommended reading on the website.
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5 Ways to Become a Better Painter

Unlike a Photoshop filter that simply applies a fake effect all over the image, a painting created with actual brushstrokes has the feel of a real oil and canvas painting. The downside is that there is a kind of steep learning curve to doing it right. If you are serious about getting good at Painter (or even traditional oil painting), here are a few of the best things you can do to improve your skills
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