Photo Talk

Photoshop World 2011 (Part 1)

It has been one hectic week! I've been lucky enough to chaperone a trip for Ashland University to Photoshop World 2011 in Orlando, Florida. I haven't been to this conference in a few years, and I can't tell you how nice it is to surround yourself with tons of people who are addicted to creativity and learning cool new tricks of the trade. I was explaining to my four students who came down here that this conference is one of the best opportunities they will have to take classes from world-renowned instructors. The courses range from web design, to photography, to digital copyright and all offer the unique perspectives of seasoned professionals. If you haven't gone to PSW before, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Here are a few photos that I've shot thus far!


The first three images were shot on my iPhone. The next shot is the view out of my hotel window, and the final two are model shoots.

More to come!

35,000 Shots + Tilt Shift Lens = AWESOME

As I was perusing the internet the other day I found this really awesome video by a VFX artist named Sam O'Hare. The video that he produced was simply amazing. It's a time-lapse video using a Nikon D3 with a tilt-shift lens. The effect that he achieved makes the video look like a city of "miniatures". It's not quite the same as shooting straight video with the D3, but the time-lapse turned out great and achieved a unique look.

The article of how he did it is here.

Check out his awesome work. Very cool.


(Watch it in HD for the best look)

The Sandpit from Sam O'Hare on Vimeo.

A Trip to Bowling Green...

We got a hold of our photography professor, Jeff Hall, from Bowling Green State University the other day and he thought it would be a cool idea to come back and lecture to a group of up and coming Visual Communication students. Chris and I being alumni, we jumped at the chance to talk about what we love to do. I think this was also a great opportunity for Brad to talk about his creative side. (We usually keep his head buried in the everyday business stuff...)

Our presentation was focused primarily on what it takes to start a creative business, finding your inspiration / creative style, and lessons we've learned along the way. It was very humbling and a fantastic experience for us, and one that I don't think any of us will forget. I think it's through sharing ideas, insights, and inspiration (ha... alliteration!) that you gain a sense of where you've come from... and the experiences you've had.

Chris, Brad and I really enjoyed presenting at BGSU, and I hope that we get a chance to do it again. It was also very flattering that so many people stayed to chat with us afterward. I think we'll be doing some photo-walks soon so hopefully we'll get a chance to work with some of the great students we met.

I wanted to share a couple videos that we showed during the presentation, as well as some video clips of our lecture. (Thank you Rebecca for snagging those for us!)

This video is of an old Kodak Commercial that we LOVE. It's so well done, and its fun to watch! If you need some inspiration to shoot photography, this is a must see.

This video has the reel that we showed as well as clips from our presentation. Enjoy, and thanks again to all the VCT majors who came out to see us!


Our Clients Deserve the Best.

Hey everyone. I wanted to share a really cool video we saw at Imaging USA that Graphistudio, our wonderful album printer, put together. The video really showcases the time, craftsmanship and detail that goes into each album. It's amazing to see how many people work together on creating something that is truly beautiful, especially when there is an ocean between us.

Graphi has been renovating an old castle in Italy that will serve as the company's education headquarters. There will be workshops, tours, etc... for photographers to learn about the process of creating one-of-kind albums. The amount of investment they have in their clients really showcases their commitment to not just being an album printer, but a partner in the storytelling process.

Near the end of the video, one of the gentlemen says that this could be the century of forgotten images, where everyone has photography that just sits on a hard drive. We want to do our part to help those images come to life for our get them off the cd and into a book that is truly a work of art.

Our clients deserve and expect the best... and Graphistudio helps us deliver to that expectation.

Hope you guys like the video! (I'll try and talk Brad into sending us to Italy...)


Need some Inspiration?

It's cold outside! I've been spending a great deal more time inside (more than I want to) working on some business stuff. I'm definitely in the mood for summer, but until then, I like to stay inspired by checking out some of my favorite photographers. Now, I'm often asked by other photographers, or sometimes even clients, as to who inspires or motivates me? I think it's safe to say that most photographers draw their inspiration from other photographers strengths, at least initially. When I started to shoot weddings I had an idea in my head of what I thought wedding photography should be, so I went out to search for it.

I immediately identified that I loved the "California" style of photography. Now, what do I mean by "California"? I'm talking about bright colors, amazing locations, lots of contrast, shallow depth of field, all that stuff... Now, I know we're in Ohio (most of the time) and to produce that kind of look takes a bit more effort. But, that's what I like, so that's what I seek to produce on shoots.

Here are some examples of photographers I continue to check out on a regular basis:

Mike Colon

Jessica Claire

Now, I have to mention up front that I do not advocate copying another persons work. That's not cool at all, and it shows that you can't think outside the box. However, I do think it is very important for a photographer to identify what they like about certain types of photography and more importantly, why they like it. It's through the industry as a whole that I developed my sense of style and what I think looks good. I tell brides all the time, "if you see something in a magazine that you love, rip it out, send me a link, etc...". Knowing what your client thinks is great photography only serves to help you raise your personal bar even higher. Get inspired! Read blogs, check out magazines, network with other photographers, whatever it takes. You'd be surprised how much your photography improves when you can truly establish your personal definition of amazing.

I think some of the best photographs I've taken have been in situations where I hadn't been to the location before and something happened unexpectedly. It's my formula for awesome photography. Take a great couple, add a new location, and make uncertainty your friend. Great stuff, every time.

We've been talking about video on our blog for quite some time now, and I always like to share some video work that inspires me. We have some photographers that follow our blog, so hopefully these videos inspire you as well. The more I see Canon 5d and 7d dSLR footage the more I want one. I've been looking for some Nikon D3S footage, and Chris sent me a great link that showcases the Nikon D3S in action. (Gotta give some praise to Nikon after all...)

Check out the Nikon D3S video here:

Here are some additional Canon videos that I really like:

Roger and Hayley - Short eShoot Clip - 5D Mark II from Matt E on Vimeo.

Vera & Aleksander - the highlights from Catch The Motion on Vimeo.

Again, I think this kind of stuff is going to revolutionize videography. I can't wait for us to get our first video dSLR!

Hope you like the vids. Definitely check out the photogs who produced them. Very good stuff.


The 'Best Camera' is the one that's with you.

Hey everyone! I've been working on some 'behind the scenes' stuff all day and thought I'd take a break to peruse some blogs. One that I've started to check out is They recently did a story on Chase Jarvis, a photographer that we have been following for a few years now.

Chase created an iPhone app called "Best Camera" that allows people to share their photos seamlessly with Facebook, Twitter, email, etc... without having to use 4-5 different apps. Now, I don't have an iPhone yet (still waiting for some other network to pick them up) but I think Chase's message was good. Just take photos.

The video I linked to really showcases how the app is used to free you up to focus on the image. Chase says, "The Best Camera is the one you have with you...Photography is becoming a huge part of our culture... incidentally, because the capture devices are getting so cheap and so available and the opportunities and the means by which we share that material is so at our fingertips. I love it. I think it's amazing."

His message is great because he talks about how important it is to capture moments, which is the entire focus and driving force behind our photography. I thought you would get a kick out of this video. Perhaps it will inspire those of you out there with nothing more than a cell phone camera to start shooting. ;)


Downtown HDR's (Part 2)

When I'm walking around looking for things to shoot, especially for HDRs, I am looking for architecture that stands out against the skyline. I love lines, color, and contrast, so if I can find all three in a particular scene, I'm going to try and see what I can come up with. 0004

When processing HDR's you have to be careful not to over-process the image. Now, on my HDR's I am intentionally going for a more surrealistic look, since that's what I like. However, if for example you are being paid to shoot interiors of a building, and you want to expose the inside of a room versus the windows facing outside, the surreal look just won't work. In this case, you have to be very careful to make sure your shots are well-exposed and merged properly. If you look at good real estate photography, you'll notice that when you're standing in a room and looking outside, you can always see the room clearly and the outside area clearly. HDR's are perfect for that kind of thing, and certainly much easier than hours upon hours masking in Photoshop.

If you notice in the image below, while it is a cool HDR, it's slightly over-processed because of the "ghosting" around the buildings. Sometimes it looks cool, but in this case it's a bit much, so I would bring this back through my editing process to eliminate how extreme that looks.


On this image, I love how the HDR brought out the detail under the archway. You can see all of the wood rafters, as well as into the building.


Here's an example of how lines can create an interesting graphic element within the scene. The tall building in the background looks like a grouping of emerald crystals when standing far away. I thought it was cool to show it as a part of the block in downtown San Diego. Compared to much of the South-Western look of the downtown area, this building it seems to grow out of the ground and makes a striking addition to the San Diego skyline.


Hope you like this set of photos! More to come!


Wedding Videography: An Industry in Flux

If you've been keeping up with our blog, you'll remember that we have been documenting an ongoing conversation as to the state of the wedding videography industry. Specifically, we have been discussing how the Canon 5D Mark II is a game-changer not only in terms of production quality, but also in how it opens up the creative possibilities for photographers and videographers alike. Chris found a great video the other day that I wanted to share on our blog. Now, please note, this is not our video... we haven't gotten into videography...yet (wink) but I thought that this was a great example of how a videographer named Jeff Wood took his 5D to the extremes. In this video, pay attention to the depth of field control, variable frame rate, and selective focus. There are also great examples of bright daylight and dark reception footage and how the camera handles both extremes. I also have to note that this video was VERY well edited and the post effects are top notch. Hands down, this is where the industry is going, and those who have an eye for it are certainly going to benefit greatly from the flexibility and affordability of video dSLR technology.

Check it out.

5d from Jeff Wood on Vimeo.

As always, we welcome to discussion on our blog, so if you have some insights, or links you would like to post, comment at the bottom! We've heard some great feedback on this series and we hope to keep the discussion rolling. :)