Monthly Archives: May 2009

PhotoDump 05-10-2009

More great stuff from the Epic Edits Flickr Pool! This selection of photos is from those entered in the pool between 4/26 and 5/10 — We’re finally starting to catch up to the current photos.

For any new readers who don’t know the routine, we have a Flickr pool that you can place photos into. The most recent photos show on the sidebar of the blog, but each week I’ll go through the pool and select my own favorites for these “PhotoDump” posts on Sunday. You’re allowed to post 1 photo per day (and we prefer it to be a recent upload), so choose your best work!

III by amathadPoolaroid by Brian Auerwish... by *ojoyous1*... by Tony MantovaniSmall but Cozy by RussHeathReborning in Spring by A. Marqueshere they come by {tribal} photographyThe Lonesome Tunnel Musician by Belpo - off the net on a small green island.Scarbourough Bluffs by rh89boy it's cold in here by Zach SternSpreading the joy of Spring by Jason Paluck.eighteen. by Blessed Road PhotographyMan Is A Dog's Best Friend by Vincent J. Brown87 - square crop by mistymemoriesphotographysacked by lifeography®Three Salty Pillars by Brian AuerGenerations Ride by Alvaro's PixGolden silence, serenity at its finest by dedge555My Life Rocks by cabbit by skinjesterquadratlatschen by David NoelteGates Pass by brdavidsBE DIFFERENT and MAKE A DIFFERENCE by robinn. by vandyll.netHarpman Hatter by Blush Response by the_wolf_brigadeThe Stand by KJ (?????)still by Victor Bezrukovsmile for the camera by smiles4angelsDam by bestgrampsOnce Upon a Time by Brian AuerNanaimo reflection by Arlo Bates[F} by ? Mathias Pastwa ?The Cross by photineDéfi à relever by Guillaume LemoineShane 140/365 by Crashmaster007

PhotoDump 04-26-2009

More great stuff from the Epic Edits Flickr Pool! This selection of photos is from those entered in the pool between 4/05 and 4/26 — so this is a 3-week roundup of photos… I was feeling particularly selective, so I figured I’d catch up on an extra week of submissions.

Openair Toilet by JonathanRobsonPhotography.comSpring by JanneMtrees and the angry clouds by rcolamecoBMX II 1 by dneez by vandyll.netMailboxes by i_shoot_minoltaProfile 3 by Angry SaladDrying by brdavidsField of Dreams by Mike WiacekDesperate for Attention by Brian AuerPink in the blue (flickr colors) by Salvatore FalconeEva by cabbitCavalry @ Cobra Lounge by Tasha {Redwall Photo}Enter The Salton Sea by Brian AuerWind Power by Jonathan Ennsmalin by bildterapiVue sur l'Océan by Guillaume LemoineIt's A Shame We're All Dying by Colour VoidUnfocused by Belpo24BW by mistymemoriesphotographyup and down by dasarOn Ice by From 10 to 300mmBoston Bay by CharleneCollins.JamaicaThe Cyclist 131/365 by Crashmaster007and will we ever by twin wire hang overs.© Rex Lisman_5843 by Rex Lisman PhotographyPeople on the rocks by Håkan Dahlströmcellblock by rcolamecoEnd of the Tunnel by Android9Avo - Vocals, Nothnegal by sharafflittle Devil by robinn.Old City Coffee by Ed_ZLoch Raven by cliff2nThe Ride by theprintmono by mandybleWalk-5066 by rlketcham

Making Fine Art Prints: Preparing

Making Fine Art Prints

With fine art prints, preparation is probably the most important step in the process. So many things are dependent on other things, it’s imperative that you have a clear path defined. The end product is your goal, but the process is the path you must take. If that path is ill-defined, your final product will be something less than fine art.

In this article, we’ll simply talk about the preparation that must take place before producing your final work. Taking the photo is only the seed. Producing a high quality print for display is the fruit of your efforts. Read on, and keep these things in mind as we explore the rest of this discussion.


Creative Commons License photo credit: ViaMoi

Often times, you’ll be making a print for a specific customer or event. Maybe it’s a private buyer, or maybe it’s for an exhibition or show. Whatever the case, you’ll likely have a set of requirements to fulfill. These requirements, or boundaries, should be the foundation of your print making. If you don’t meet the basic requirements, the print is practically worthless to the final recipient.

These requirements may include things like size, paper, mounting, matting, etc. If you start your planning around these boundaries, you’ll find that you often have some degree of freedom in the other aspects of the print.


If you’re new to making fine art prints, this will make more sense to you at the end of the series. But the main takeaway from this tip is to have a perfect vision of what your final print will look like. This includes paper selection, print size, signing, borders, matting, mounting, framing, shipping, and hanging. The final display should appear exactly as you envisioned — no exceptions.


Creative Commons License photo credit: striatic

For the aspects of the print that you have creative freedom, you’ll need to think about the reasons behind your decisions. You may have complete freedom, or you may have strict boundaries — but chances are, you’ll be somewhere in the middle.

If you do have some freedom, you’ll need to keep in mind things like print size vs. display size, how you’ll sign it and how that affects the print size and matting, whether or not you’ll be providing a matted and mounted print, and how you’ll get that print to the final destination. At the end of the day, you want to produce a quality product to the exact specifications you first envisioned. Having a well defined plan of attack will make things move much more smoothly.

As with many things, the old saying holds true: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”


This is mainly a lead-in to the next topic in the series, but it bleeds into this topic too. When working with digital photos, you’ll need to spend extra time getting them ready for print — even if you’ve already processed the image. Printing can really bring out the beauty of a photo, but it can bring out the ugly little things too. Dust spots, noise, poor sharpening, etc. All of these things can look fine on your monitor, but a print will reveal them instantly.

We’ll get into this stuff in the next article. If you have any specific questions about printing, be sure to ask here! And if you have any tips for preparing, also chime in!!!


Link Roundup 05-23-2009

As always, more awesome photography stuff from around the web. Here’s a selection from the last couple weeks.

Making Fine Art Prints: Preface

Making Fine Art Prints: PREFACE

Before we dive into the main topics for this series, I wanted to mention a few things to set the tone. These are things that should hold true for the length of the series, and I don’t want to waste precious real estate on repeating myself with each article (plus, it’s really boring to hear over and over).

If you’re planning on following and participating in the “Making Fine Art Prints” series, be sure to read through this stuff at least once. I’m just trying to lay the groundwork for what’s to come so there’s less confusion and more interaction.


First and foremost: this is a discussion, not a lecture. I’m planning on learning a few things from the rest of you, so participation both ways will be key. With that said, keep in mind that we all have different opinions and different ways of doing things. This group has always been awesome at keeping things civil and educational, so I’m sure we won’t have any issues.


Throughout the series, there will be one common message: Do what you want. We won’t be getting into the legal complexities of “limited edition” fine art prints, and there’s really not a standard set of methods out there for producing fine art outside of that scope. The downside to this — there also aren’t a lot of guidelines or suggestions documented. The upside — you can pretty much do what you want and it won’t be wrong.

The final test for a fine art print is that it passes your criteria for approval. This means that you have to think about your standards of quality and how you want to present yourself as an artist. It doesn’t take long to gain a bad reputation if others perceive your presentation of work as “low quality” — so do what you want when making fine art prints, but remember that your reputation is on the line.


We will talk about each of the topics to whatever depth the community wants. The articles I write will start the discussion with basic overviews and generalities, and the comments can be a forum for specific discussion and sharing of knowledge. The more discussion, the deeper we go — so be sure to participate. Ask questions if you don’t know something, and answer questions if you do.


Before we jump into the content, I want to make sure that I’m not giving a heightened expectation of what will be discussed in the articles. For example: I listed one of the main topics as “Printing”. Yes, we’ll be talking about printing. But I won’t be talking about specific hardware, software settings, darkroom methods, etc. Same type of thing with signing. I’m not going to tell you how to hold the pen ;) . Again, if the community wants to dive into those things within the comments — let’s go for it.


Let’s have fun with this! I’ve written a few series in the past (Adobe Bridge and Photo Backups), but this one is shaping up to be a bit different. I’m hoping that we have even more discussion among the community, and I’m even planning on incorporating some of that discussion back into the articles (and possibly another eBook at the end).

We’ll officially kick-off the series on May 26 because of the holiday on Monday. I’m hoping to get through one or two of the topics each week, depending on the level of discussion immediately after I post the article. So stay tuned!


Digital WakeUp Call… Is AWESOME!

Digital WakeUp Call

So I finally got the chance to meet with David Ziser in-person last night. His Digital WakeUp Call tour was here in San Diego for the evening, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go hang out with him and learn a few things from a true professional.

Some time ago, I mentioned David’s upcoming tour and offered a discount code (which is still ok to use). At that point, I hadn’t experienced the seminar first-hand, but I knew it would be very good based on David’s level of experience.

Well now I can say for sure that this is an event 100% worth going to. David managed to pack probably 15 hours of lessons into a 4 or 5 hour session — he’s very high energy. The main focus of his discussion is on-location lighting and wedding/portrait photography, but much of what he speaks about can be applied to any type of photography and photography business (LOTS of business ideas and tips). He also touches on some software and workflow tips, giving great insight to how he gets his work done.

At any rate, I just wanted to let everybody know that you still have a chance to register and attend the seminar if it hasn’t happened yet in your town. Highly recommended. Have any of you attended yet? What did you guys think?


And a big thanks to David for taking the time to chat with me and have a beer after the event! And thanks for the mentions at the event and on the blog today (see here)!

Making Fine Art Prints: Introductions

Making Fine Art Prints: INTRODUCTIONS

Making prints sounds simple at first — just hit the print button, right? Well… yes and no. Prints can actually be quite involved depending on how far you want to go with them. Once you cross the line of producing a signed print, you’re basically putting your integrity on the line. A signature is a “seal of approval” when it comes to prints, and this is something you shouldn’t take lightly.

UPDATE: I’ve changed the title of the series from “Making Prints for Display” to “Making Fine Art Prints”. I think it’s more fitting for the topics we’ll be discussing.

Signing prints seems to be a “hidden secret” for those who haven’t done it yet. Nobody really talks about it! In addition, signed prints tend to go beyond just a signature: prep, print, frame, ship, etc. But don’t get overwhelmed — there’s a common theme among all of this: “the photographer is in-charge of the final product.” Whatever you decide to do, there’s no wrong answer. The discussions that follow are not intended to be hard-set rules, only suggestions and guidelines.

DISCLAIMER: Let me get this out of the way right up front… I’m not a professional artist, I don’t do this every day, and I don’t know all the answers. I’m going to rely on the audience to help fill in some of the blanks along the way. I’m also not a lawyer, and the discussions in this series may or may not apply to things like “limited editions” from a legal sense.

I also have to give credit to Justin Korn for instigating this discussion. He asked a question about signing prints via FriendFeed, and the discussion exploded (see here). I quickly realized that the topic was of value to more than just one person, so I figured we could open things up here on the blog.

Since the subject of producing prints for display covers many aspects, I thought that a series would be in order. Here’s what I had in mind for a few upcoming blog articles:

  1. PREPARING – Making decisions prior to making the print and how those decisions will effect subsequent steps.
  2. PRINTING – How to produce the best quality work and how to handle the finished product.
  3. SIGNING – Placing your “seal of approval” on the print and a discussion of the various methods for doing so.
  4. FRAMING – Mounting, matting, and framing of prints as an optional step in the process.
  5. SHIPPING – Once everything is done, we’ll talk about how to get the print packaged and shipped to avoid damage.

This whole series of articles will be quite open to discussion, suggestion, and modification. Right now, I’m asking you to provide feedback on the main topics and the subtopics contained within. Are those 5 main topics enough to cover all of your questions? And what specific things would you like to see discussed in each one?

As we dive into each topic, I’ll present material based on what I know. Then, I’ll ask all of you to provide feedback and additional knowledge on the subject. After posting each article, I’ll let the comments run wild for a few days and then I’ll take some of the better comments and place them back in the main article (with attribution, of course). In the end, we should be able to produce a good resource for the topic of producing prints for display… maybe even another eBook.


Why Are We So Compelled?

Today’s typical photographer is a curious being. Cameras are cheap, computers are easy to use, and the Internet makes sharing photos so incredibly easy. So many people are into photography, but I’m willing to bet that over half of us don’t know why we do it or what we’re after.

Seriously, take a step back and look at yourself. How much time do you spend doing photography-related activities? Shooting, processing, posting, reading, participating, drooling, etc.

And why do you do it? Are you making a living from photography? Are you making anything from it? Do you truly enjoy the whole process? Do you actually print your pictures and hang them on your walls? Or do they sit on your hard drive while you tell yourself that you’ll need them someday? Why do you do it???

I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer with all of this. I’m just contemplating what it is that compels us to pursue the art of photography so enthusiastically. As I sit here in front of a computer screen most nights scanning film, processing photos, reading blogs, and writing articles… I’m curious to hear what all of you have to say about this topic.

What compels you?

PhotoDump 04-05-2009

More great stuff from the Epic Edits Flickr Pool! This selection of photos is from those entered in the pool between 3/22 and 4/05 — so this is a 2-week roundup of photos. I think I’ll do this for the next few weeks until I get caught up with the pool.

Company of Thieves "Pressure" Shoot by Tasha {Redwall Photo}Roundtrip by topfloor by MerkinzAssistedSuicide by Ian MearsLa Jolla Pier by Brian AuerSan Clemente Pier by Brian AuerC-c-crossing by JanneMi'm_a_little_teapot by ebreidyThe Umbrella by Brian Auerplace for you by Victor Bezrukovwindow by xgrayEstació Passeig de Gracia by Bandal by melinda.beeOh Darling by Guillaume LemoineREXPRINT-090323-04 by Rex AuerThe Reprimand by cliff2n.twelve. by Blessed Road Photography"Bricks" by Ed_ZIMGP4857 copy by I Take Faux ToesCasa Batlló - Interior Arches by cabbitAll The Way Through by nathanielperales**--** by javiy_DSC3636-20090301 by Ian MearsMarche à l'ombre by pawoli

Center Your Subject for Action Shots

Porsche Battle

We hear a lot about things such as the rule of thirds and not centering your subject for better composition. But there are times when you should actually center your subject to ensure that you get the shot. Action shots are typically a one chance situation. This can include sports, racing, performances, etc.

The problem with these action scenarios is that the main subject is usually moving quite fast and you only have one opportunity to capture a given moment. Spend too much time thinking about composition rules will ultimately result in missed shots. Here are a few reasons why you should think about centering your subject (and some tips for action shots):

  • It’s easier for your AF camera to focus on the subject when centered — nothing worse than a sharp background and blurry subject. The caveat to this is if you have your camera set to spot focus somewhere other than the center.
  • Most manual focus screens have additional feedback at the center of the frame — use it!
  • Center your subject and you won’t miss a shot due to over-thinking the composition.
  • Leave a bit of extra room around the main subject so that you can crop for better composition later.
  • Use continuous AF to track the action — especially when the subject is moving toward or away from you.
  • Get the dang shot!

What do you guys think? Good advice? Bad advice? What would you add to this?