I recently decided to give a new lab a chance of taking my photo work. Currently I use the website Zenfolio that utilizes MPix for its prints. I did like MPix, but sometimes you have to try something new. So I sent a few prints to Miller’s Professional Imaging after downloading their software and ordered some business cards in linen paper, then some 5×7’s and then 8×10’s and 11×14’s. I was so impressed that I wanted to see how a 20×30 canvas print would look. WOW!! Not only do all the prints look amazing, the service was fast and super!! Prints are sent overnite! I recvd my canvas in 2 days!! You have to join to check prices. Now I must rethink my photo printing process!!! It was great to get bunches of prints sent. These days we all know we have all these digital files and we rarely print them. If you are a photographer and have any pics you want printed…I would def give Miller’s a try!! I give them 10 out of 10. Kudos Miller’s!!
Category Archives: REVIEWS
Review: Photoshop Compositing Secrets – by Matt Kloskowski
This past week I picked up a copy of Matt Klowskowski’s “Photoshop Compositing Secrets” – Unlocking the Key to Perfect Selections and Amazing Photoshop Effects for Totally Realistic Composites. I have been learning to shoot portraits more and more these days. I love composite sports portraits and in the past year found an artist/photographer called Joel Grimes. I truly love his work. I have been trying to accomplish such portraits, but have come up short without the proper tutorial. I picked up bits and pieces…more info was needed.
A month or ago I heard that Matt Kloskowski (@mattkloskowski) was coming out with a compositing book. I was excited to finally get some super inside scoops! I picked up the book and after reading through it was amazed! Wonderful book Matt!!! I would call this my favorite photo tutorial book to date!! The book contains 16 fantastic Chapters and a whopping total of 381 pages filled with tons of great secrets:
1. Selection Secrets
2. Basic Composite
3. Creating Motion
4. Senior Portrait
5. Professional Office
6. Family Group Portrait
7. Studio Sports Portrait
8. Live Concert
9. Multiple-Exposure Action Photo
10. Movie Poster
11. Ultra-Gungg/Edgy HDR Background
12. Sports Template
13. Single Photo Composite
14. One Person-Mulitple Poses
15. Adding Illustration
16. Advanced Commercial Compositing
Matt gives you all the details from lighting, photo set up and photoshop settings. All done in an easy and simple picture filled way…so you can create your own art and fantastic composites. Here you can see some of the shots used in the tutorials…great work!
Now my skill level for composites if very very low…I did a quick attempt after reading Matt’s Chapter 13 – Single Photo Composite I learned how to do this in 5 minutes!
If this style is of interest to you and you want to learn compositing…go pick up Matt’s book! I will give it 10 Selections out of 10 Selections! Kudos Matt!! You can also find lots of great photography tutorials over at Kelby Training
REVIEWS: 100 Cameras in 1 / Instagram
With the advent of better cameras on on mobile devices, photo apps are key! I am amazed at the pics my IPhone takes. Not sure it will ever replace my DSLR, but still great for easy walk on by type pics!
I have an IPhone and IPad and truly love my friend Trey Ratcliff’s app called “100 Cameras in 1“. I just have the IPhone version and do have an IPad…but not IPad 2 with the camera. The phone version is so cool! IPad 2 version is also available. I love textures and this app will give you some great effects on your phone pics! Trey has come up with some cool names and sweet effects. Your pics become instant art! So many choices to choose from. Check out the link here “review” to get all the details you want. For $0.99 on your phone…thats tough to beat!! Kudos Trey!!
After I create art with Trey’s app…I have found a cool up and coming photo app site called “Instagram” (thanks to Leo Laporte and Sarah Lane). Its free and very cool. Kinda like a Flickr for your phone without the “Awards” and “Bling” that makes Flickr kinda blah to me. When you add or take a pic…you can also make a simple color/effect change to it in the app. Download and you are off!
You can find me at “Talkephotography”. You can add friends and follow others. But what is cool about the pics is that they are phone versions (or at least most of them). I take some phone pics and they are basically my everyday views. A different style for me. Fun to post em! So my flow is take a pic…use 100 Cameras in 1 then add it into Instagram. Here are a few of my recent posts below.
For those camera phone photographers…go have fun! I know I do!!
REVIEWS: Blueslr (control your DSLR w/your i-device)
I have always had gear lust for one of these new style camera controls. On the market you can find Blueslr and onOne’s DSLR Camera Remote. Both have pros and cons. But my choice in the field is Blueslr! onOne must be connected to a computer…so only for studio shooting. Blueslr can be used anywhere…thanks to Bluetooth! But only for Nikon cameras at this time. Cost: $149.00
For a great video review…click the Real Estate Photography Podcast’s link. This is where I found this cool product was available. Mike Miriello does a great job breaking it down in detail.
Pros (my thoughts)
*Use your phone/IPad to release your shutter (so cool!)
*GPS tagging of photos (if you want)
*Small size & easy to install and use!
*Great for HDR bracketing!
*Use up to 300 feet away!
Cons (my thoughts)
*Only certain supported devices (check the site for details)
*No picture review on you i-device (but I hear Version 2 will have this?)
*No ability to change camera settings (A, S, ISO, etc..)
I have heard on forums beforehand that it does not fit with an “L Bracket” on your camera due to the design. It is flexible and I had no problems with my bracket. Pic of my camera is above with the bracket on. This is one cool gadget! We all carry our phones with us everywhere…to have an app to take pics is awesome! Blueslr just needs to add pic review and camera setting adjustment to the next version and it will be perfect! At this stage of Blueslr…I’d give it a 7 out of 10.
REVIEW: onOne Software Perfect Photo Suite 5.5
Per my post yesterday of Hacklebarney – Infrared…I post processed the shot and used my new software onOne Software Perfect Photo Suite 5.5. I have now had it for almost a week now and must say I love this software. It opens so many more processing options to me…which is a great thing to us photographers!!
I love photos that have that soft tone to them and thanks to Photo Tools 2.6…I processed the shot above using a preset! What comes in the suite:
1) Perfect Resize 7: powered by Genuine Fractals—is the industry standard for image resizing. It is renowned across the photographic and printing industries for its ability to increase image size well over 1000% without the loss of sharpness or detail that you would normally expect. The patented, fractal based interpolation algorithms works like nothing else and the results speak for themselves. Perfect Resize works as a plug-in to Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture and as a standalone application.
2) Photo Tools 2.6: is the fastest and easiest way to add a professional look to your photos in Photoshop. You get hundreds of professional-grade photographic effects, all wrapped up in an easy-to-use Photoshop plug-in making this the fastest and easiest way to make your photos stand out from the crowd. PhotoTools works only as a Photoshop plug-in.
3) Perfect Layers: is the fast and easy way to bring a layered workflow to Photoshop Lightroom. With Perfect Layers you can create and edit multi-layered Photoshop files directly within Photoshop Lightroom or Apple Aperture. Use it to change skies, composite images and even create layouts. Perfect Layers works as a plug-in to Lightroom, Aperture or as a standalone application.
4) Photo Frame 4.6: Add the perfect finishing touch to your images with PhotoFrame 4.6. It features hundreds of design elements like film edges, borders, textures, backgrounds and adornments. It even has complete layouts where you just drop your image in and you are done. It’s the perfect way to add a realistic darkroom touch with a film edge or to create beautiful album or scrapbook pages. It includes all the tools you need to find the perfect design elements, add them to your image and control things like size, color and opacity. You can even stack multiple elements to create your own designs and save them as a preset you can use in a single-click inside of Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture.
5) Focal Point 2: You control the focus with FocalPoint 2. Create realistic selective focus, depth-of-field and vignette effects that tell your viewers right where to look. With the intuitive FocusBug controller it is just like using a tilt-shift or selective focus lens right inside of Adobe Photoshop. Set your area of focus and then select a lens to simulate or create your own by controlling the amount and kind of blur, even in 3D. With the new FocusBrush tool you can paint sharpness or blur right where you want it. Finish things off with an elegant vignette. It has never been easier or faster to focus your viewer’s eye and minimize distractions. FocalPoint works as a plug-in to Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture and as a standalone application.
6) Mask Pro 6: Removing backgrounds or making complex selections has never been easier. With Mask Pro 4 you can select the tough stuff that you never thought was possible like hair, smoke and glass and maintain all the detail and transparency. Mask Pro works based on color; You select colors to keep and colors to drop and then just paint away backgrounds to keep only what you are interested in. Mask Pro works only as a Photoshop plug-in.
7) Photo Tune 3: optimizes the dynamic range, color and sharpness of your image without the need to know all the complicated controls in Photoshop like levels and curves. If you photograph people you can also tune your images by clicking on skin tones to guarantee accurate skin color. Pro users get access to all the controls for tone, color and sharpening. Better images are just a few clicks away with PhotoTune 3. PhotoTune works as a plug-in to Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture and as a standalone application.
Those are some super plug-ins!!!! The whole package is available for $499.00 or you can buy them individually if you like. Check the onOne website for prices.
Some of my thoughts….I use Photo Tools 2.6 and Photo Frame 4.6 the most. Photo Tools has soooo many presets! Check this link out for more info…Photo Tools 2.6. There is this sharpening preset that is awesome! It actually blows away my NIK Sharpener . Great for portrait and landscape photographers!!! The Photo Frame 4.6 is awesome! I made this fun shot for a BDay party recently…just in one click!!
Such great stuff to work with here! So enlarge images to any size, make professional photo effects, add layers, frames, instant bokeh, replace backgrounds and improve the color of your images! You can do it all with the amazing suite!! I will give it a 10 out of 10! Kudos onOne!!! I love this software!!!! My landscapes and portraits will now have some extra kick!!!! Check it out….try the trial for free and see how you like it!!
Review: LightTrac (app for IPad)
About a month ago I told you about a great app for the iPhone/iPad called “The Photographers Ephemeris”. This app gives you the suns location outdoors. Perfect for planning photo shoots! I found another similar, and possibly slightly better app. This is called LightTrac. It just arrived onto iTunes and if you go quickly…it is only $0.99!!! Great price! I downloaded it yesterday and it works great! I love the slider at the bottom of the screen that allows you to change the time of day. The angle of the the sun rotates with your selection! I’d give it a 10 out of 10!! Kudos LightTrac!!
REVIEW: Photovision – Portrait Photography DVD’s
This past year in my yearning to learn more about Portrait Photography I have subscribed to a service provided by Photovision. I must say it is wonderful!!! Every other month I get a 2 hour DVD with tons of great material on portrait photography. I truly love these DVD’s! A must have if you are planning on shooting portraits. I’ll give Photovision a 9 out of 10! (10 out of 10 if it was every month! …LOL) Use this code “PVFAN” and the typical $149/year cost will be only $39!!! Save $110.00!!
Here is info from the web site: In its 12th successful year, PhotoVision currently has over 22,000 participating studios. PhotoVision consists of 6 2-hour video DVDs a year, 1 mailed every other month, featuring leading photographers bringing you the latest and greatest things happening in the photographic industry. You’ll see photographic styles and techniques, digital workflow, lighting and posing, Photoshop tips and tricks, hear innovative marketing and sales strategies, output alternatives, new hardware and software reviews and much, much more. You’ll go into the studios and see photographers during actual sessions working with real clients and go on location to experience entire weddings.
REVIEW: IPad (a Photographers Tool)
I purchased the IPad 64GB 3G version and now have had it for about a month. I must say it is one great powerful tool to have! I can just imagine future generations will be even better. I know it does not support flash and does have its drawbacks. And in my opinion is is not a laptop. I still bring my laptop for above and beyond work that they IPad cannot handle. What the IPad is to me is a super fast instant on for (no particular order)…
1) Email 2) Internet 3) Movies 4) TV Shows 5) Podcasts 6) Games 7) Files 8)Music-Music Videos 9) Apps 10) Photographs!!!
I am an Apple fan and really enjoy my IPhone…now the apps never get played on my phone…IPad is the choice! I think if you can afford it..get the largest available IPad. Storage space goes fast! I have a ton of stuff on it and still have 16 GB remaining. So thinking as a photographer…the photos look amazing on the IPad! Like HD!! I have many shots on there. For an example of usage..I brought my IPad the other day to a Real Estate shoot…I whipped out the IPad and gave a slideshow of my previous Real Estate HDR’s to the sales person…he was impressed! A picture is worth 1000 words indeed! A great platform to show your photos! The IPad is small enough to fit in my photo backpack…nice!
Another big benefit is the available “Camera Connection Kit” from Apple. For $29.00 you get 2 connectors to your IPad (USB and SD). As I shoot with Nikon…no problem at all downloading Jpegs or NEF files! So now you can download your shots on location and then view them in a beautiful format in minutes! I find myself downloading my shots on my MAC and then putting them also on my IPad. I grab the IPad and sit on the coach (or anywhere in the house) and view my shots. A nice mobile photo viewer.
On a glad I didn’t moment..I was thinking of buying an EPSON photo viewers for the same reason a few months ago ($600)….now it is not even necessary! I can assume that in time as the storage gets larger for the IPad…these photo viewers will be obsolete. I also enjoy video Podcasts like DTown TV, Photoshop TV, Geek Brief TV…and now they are large and wonderful to view! I even now have a subscription to “Digital Photographer UK” magazine on my IPad and can read the current or back issues any time! I’d say if you are a photographer and have some extra cash…the IPad is a must!! An unreal tool that has already changed life as I know it. Technology is amazing!
As for some negative comments, yes, the IPad is not equal to a laptop yet (as I stated above), but will be in my opinion in about 2 years. I am not a big fan of the very reflective screen. It also is a fingerprint magnet! So I tried a film cover and that helped. I was still not happy about the reflective screen with the std film cover. I then found another film that reduces glare…Screen Guardz. Works awesome, but of course reduces brightness/quality just a tad. But I will accept that in order to have less glare.
The IPad is revolutionary. If you own one, I am certain you are extremely happy!!! Kudos Apple! Keep making our lives easier!!
REVIEWS: Book – Best Business Practices for Photographers
If you are taking photos and plan to ever sell these pictures or are currently selling photos, then you are a business! The Best Business Practices for Photographers – John Harrington. This book can be found here on Amazon.
I purchased this book a few months back. As you may have read on my previous posts, my plan is to continue always taking landscape and travel photos for as long as I am a photographer…but my future is in portrait photography when I retire from my current job. Future plans are to have studio and office for Talke Photography. I am always reading and learning everyday. For anyone that plans to use photography as a business…this book is wonderful!!!!!
This fantastic book (500+ pages) offers such in depth info on all aspects of business for photographers….its is a must buy! Some great chapters; 1) You are a Business! 2) Setting Your Photographer Fees 3) Accounting 4) Contracts 5) Protecting Your Work…etc… It covers it all! To me its a textbook on photography as a business! On Amazon its about $20! A great deal for such fantastic information! I give this book a 10 out of 10! John Harrington has it covered!
REVIEWS: Photography Podcasts
I am always trying to learn more about photography everyday. Not sure if a day passes that I am am not reading, web viewing, taking photos, post processing or listening to podcasts about photography. In order to grow and improve… all of these are helpful! While at the office, I often listen to Podcasts. Here are a few podcasts I listen to – with my ranking…
1) D-Town TV: Scott Kelby & Matt Kloskowski – A video podcast for Nikon users. 24 episodes completed…new eps coming soon!
2) Image Doctors – Nikonians – Rick Walker and Jason Odell issue a great podcast on Nikon products and general photography.
3) TWIP – This Week in Photography – Alex Lindsay, Frederick Van Johnson, Steve Simon and Ron Brinkmann give a wonderful podcast on all aspects of photography
4) Photofocus – Scott Bourne & Rick Sammon have a solid podcast where all they do is answer photography questions by listeners.
I am sure there are many many more podcasts…if you know of any good ones…post them in the comments! These are the few I enjoy listening to.