Tag Archives: PhotoBlog

Link Roundup 02-23-2008

While I’ve been slacking over the last week, it seems like everybody else has been producing some amazing articles. Here are a few of the really good ones I found.

  • An Interview with Blogger and Photographer Brian Auer
    Beautiful Argentina
    One of my photoblogging buddies did an interview with me — check out what I had to say! I also gave some insight to the origin of the name “Epic Edits”, in case you were curious.
  • Homemade Bellows Lens for Nikon
    mkaz.com
    Neat little DIY project for a bellows lens. The title says it’s for Nikon, but you could do it with any SLR.
  • Build A Tilt-Shift Lens for Your SLR for Cheap
    found photography
    Neat DIY project for building a cheap Tilt-Shift lens. Of course the quality won’t be as good as a purchased lens, but it’ll still be fun to shoot with!
  • 16 Lies and half-truths in the Camera business
    Wirehead Arts
    An outline of sixteen lies that your camera gear salesperson or camera manufacturer will say to separate you from your money.
  • (Photo)Blogging Tips
    SDuffyPhotography.blog
    Some thoughts and tips on photoblogging from a photoblogging newbie — but a great discussion about the many aspects of photography blogging.
  • 6 Tips to Building your Photography Network
    digital Photography School
    Networking is key for many things in life. Here are some great tips and observations about networking as a photographer.
  • Advanced High pass sharpening
    daff’s blog
    Yet another way to sharpen photos. I like this approach because it’s slightly different from the other high-pass techniques I’ve seen. Check it out!
  • Trendy Neutral Photo Effect
    Photoshop Tutorials
    Good simple Photoshop tutorial for producing an interesting look to your photos. Vignette is optional.
  • Lenses for Photojournalism
    Beyond Phototips
    Everyone’s wanted to be a photojournalist at one time or the other… Now, take a peek into their mouth watering gear…
  • Guide to Neutral Density Filters
    Single-Serving Photo
    Your guide to Neutral Density filters: what they are, how they work, and how to use them.
  • 12 Things to Photograph Before You Die
    Photopreneur
    The perfect list of things that every photographer should strive to photograph in their lifetime!

Enjoy!

The Fine Art Photoblog is Officially Here!

Remember way back when I posed the question “Want to Sell Your Art?“, then the overwhelming response from 30 great photographers, and finally we narrowed it down to six outstanding individuals?

Well, the last you guys heard from me on this was early January. We didn’t forget about the project or drop it — not even close. We’ve been working out the kinks, improving the site, and getting the business end of this thing in order. These guys I’m working with have been staying up until 2, 3, 4AM almost every night pouring their time and energy into it. After all the hard work we’ve done, I’m very happy to announce that we’re off and running.

VISIT THE FINE ART PHOTOBLOG

SUBSCRIBE TO THE FEED

Seriously, check it out. All seven of us have different styles and backgrounds, and the photos presented are fairly diverse. We’re displaying images at (or near) 800 pixels, so they’re a treat to look at. And if you think they look good at 800 pixels on your computer screen, you ought to purchase a print — pixels do these images no justice in comparison to a high quality print job.

We’re offering up prints at two different levels: those that are affordable, and those that are collectible. The affordable prints are still very high quality, but they won’t be signed or sold as a limited edition. The collectible prints are signed by the artist and limited in number if that particular artist chooses to do so. For more info on the site, check out the press release.

Even if you’re not in the market for a print right at the moment, the site is worth a browse. So head over there, check it out, and tell your friends!

Grand Cayman Fuel Depot

Grand Cayman Fuel Depot

Ryan Goodman | 11/03/2006 | Cayman Islands | 27mm * f/22 * 1/4s * ISO100
[Project Announcement at CameraPorn.net] [See it at Flickr]

This week’s photoblog is another special edition. The photo once again isn’t mine, but it’s one that I processed. Ryan Goodman ran a project asking his readers to revisit and retouch one of his photos. I’m a little late in getting around to doing the project, but the deadline is January 25 — so you still have a bit of time to get an entry in if you’re interested in participating.

I wanted to give this one a go with black & white, and after checking the sky on the underexposed version of this image I knew I wanted it to be kind of dark and looming. So here’s how I went about it.

Grand Cayman Fuel Depot Post-Processing

To see the original files, check Ryan’s project announcement page. The RAW files were all cropped and rotated as seen in my final output.

  • 0 EV Base Layer
    Processed in ACR for overall brightness, contrast, etc. This layer serves as a base layer to build upon.
  • -2 EV Composite Layer
    Again, processed in ACR. I masked out the layer and “painted in” the areas I wanted to darken via the mask. Then I set the blending mode to Multiply in order to help darken things up even more. I darkened the sky heavily, and the water a moderate amount — leaving the rocks and the fuel depot alone.
  • +2 EV Composite Layer
    Again, processed in ACR. Just like the previous layer, I masked out this layer and started “paining in” the areas I wanted to lighten via the mask. This one was all focused down in the water and rocks. Then I set the blending mode to Linear Light at 60% fill to add an interesting contrast look to the rocks.
  • Black and White Conversion
    Photoshop CS3′s Black and White adjustment layer set to “Red Filter”.
  • Curves Adjustment
    Fairly strong “S” curve to bring out the contrast.
  • Contrast Layer Blends
    Duplicated the output thus far twice. One layer was set to a Linear Dodge layer blend with 16% opacity and 70% fill (to lighten the highlights). The other layer was set to a Multiply layer blend at 10% opacity and 100% fill (to darken the shadows).
  • Sharpen
    Unsharp mask at 100%, 2.0 pixels, and a threshold of 1.

Enjoy!

Railroad Romance

Railroad Romance

Rich Legg | 09/11/2007 | Unknown Location | 104mm * f/5.0 * 1/250s * ISO100
[See it at LeggNet’s Digital Capture] [See it at Flickr]

This week’s photoblog is a special edition. The photo isn’t mine, but it’s one that I processed. Rich Legg ran a small project by calling photoshoppers out to process one of his untouched photos. I barely squeaked my way in by being the fifth one to contact him. I won’t go into all of the details on why I processed this image the way I did, because I’ve already done so on the project results page over at Rich’s blog — so go definitely check it out!

Railroad Romance Post-Processing

  1. Original JPEG
    Here’s what the full-sized JPEG image straight out of the camera looked like.
  2. Processed RAW
    I didn’t do much processing in ACR on this one. Auto Exposure settings with slight adjustments. And I cropped it way down (for reasons mentioned on Rich’s blog). I also cloned out the rock in the bottom right corner.
  3. Curves Adjustment Layer
    I brought up the contrast a little with an “S” curve to start things off.
  4. Channel Mixer Adjustment Layer
    I ran the channel mixer with 34% red, 66% green, and the output set to Monochrome. This made a black and white image, but I then set the blend mode to Overlay and reduced the opacity to 80%.
  5. Saturation Adjustment Layer
    I reduced the saturation by bringing the level down to -35 and leaving the Hue and Lightness alone at zero.
  6. Photo Filter Adjustment Layer
    I used an LBA Warming Filter set at 35% density to warm up the image. I should have reduced this value for web output because the web browsers tend to show things slightly oversaturated, but this is how I sent the file back to Rich.

Enjoy!

Phase 1 of the Fine Art Photoblog Complete

So I’m pretty sure I have an ulcer and half a dozen mental issues now. I gave myself the task of selecting a small handful of photographers from a group of 30 to be included in the upcoming Fine Art Photoblog. This was no easy thing to do and I leaned on those 30 photographers to help me decide who gets in, but the fact remained that I had to make some hard decisions about several photographers… including a few friends.

I’ve chosen six amazing photographers and artists to be part of the initial launch of the photoblog. If you’re one of the 24 who won’t be with us for the launch and you put your best foot forward on this effort, I truly apologize and I really do feel terrible about having to exclude people — especially those of you I have personal relationships and friendships with. No hard feelings? We may actually bring on a few more photographers before the launch or sometime after the launch, depending on what this core group decides. So this is probably not the end for several of the other photographers in that list of 30.

On the bright side, we have the following six photographers plus myself to bring the site up to critical mass and get the kinks worked out. These guys are really amazing and I’m looking forward to working with them.

* UPDATE: Martin and Victor decided to part ways with the Fine Art Photoblog prior to the launch. They were for personal reasons on their part, but we’re all still on very good terms. Due to these departures, two other photographers were asked to join in their place:

So what’s next? Well, I’ll be finishing up a few things on the site while these guys test out the interface and post a few photos for practice. We’ll be fine-tuning the site until it’s ready for public consumption. After we launch, we’ll just be posting photos and working on getting the site off the ground. After we get into our groove, we’ll consider bringing on more photographers — so keep your portfolios up to date!

UPDATE: Site launch announced here!

Fine Art Photoblog Candidates

UPDATE: Six photographers have been chosen to be part of the site launch.

This is just a little teaser for the preliminary design of a single-photo post. The homepage and archives are pretty slick too — everything is done with images rather than text. The whole thing is very photo-oriented and geared for SEO. I haven’t touched the colors, fonts, or other small details, so don’t worry about those things — they’re easy to change. I’ve been working on the major items such as the layout and functionality of the front-end and back-end.

Now, the real reason I put this post together is to allow all of the photoblog candidates to come together in one place and make a few decisions as a group. I’d like to run this thing somewhat like a Democracy, so your votes and opinions do have an influence on the direction we go. When it comes to making big decisions, the group will collectively work together to provide a solution.

There are two things we need to deal with before moving on with the photoblog. The first can be hashed out in the comments of this post, while the second I’d prefer to keep semi-private via email.

1) How many photographers will be included?

I didn’t expect 30 portfolios to come rolling into my lap, but it happened. Initially, I said five photographers will be chosen for the launch, but that was only because I didn’t know how popular this idea would be. Honestly, I’m OK with more photographers… to a point. I would still expect each photographer to contribute at least one image per week, so the blog would be publishing more frequently as a whole. So think about how many photographers should be part of the blog, and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

2) Which photographers will be included?

Browse the list below, evaluate the artistic value of the photos from each photographer, and tell me via email what your top 5 picks would be. Remember, if you’re part of the photoblog you probably want to have your work displayed alongside the best photographers. It not only raises the quality and value of your own photos, but it does the same for the website. Like I said — vote for 5 — send them to me via email.

UPDATE: Here’s a lesson in photography when it comes to portfolios. I asked for a portfolio of fine art photos that would be taken into consideration by other photographers for the purpose of this project and new website. For those who spent the time to narrow down a selection of their best works, I thank you very much and your efforts are noted. For those who didn’t… that’s fine, but realize that the lack of a dedicated portfolio may have an impact on the selection process.

When somebody puts together a portfolio directed toward fine art, this tells me that they’re willing to spend the time and effort on this new website. My selections will be made not only on artistic ability, but also on the impression you give about your work and your interest level in this photoblog — and as voters, your selections should reflect the same. Feel free to regroup your portfolios and notify me of a new link. And for further enlightenment, check out this article on “Creating a Photography Portfolio.”

  1. Ariel Diacovetzky
  2. Trevor Carpenter
  3. Blake J. Nolan
  4. Andrew Gibson
  5. Martin Gommel
  6. Taylor Jackson
  7. Alexander Artemenko
  8. John Sercel
  9. Rose Bordett
  10. Joseph Szymanski
  11. Dave MacIntyre
  12. Shaun Krisher
  13. Victor Bezrukov
  14. Colin Wright
  15. Daniel Hellerman
  16. Jimmy Brown
  17. Mike Pavlov
  18. Andreas Manessinger
  19. Boris Taratutin
  20. Cody Redmon
  21. Saulius Eidukas
  22. Joel Witmeyer
  23. Jeff Mitchel
  24. Dez Santana
  25. Paul Pescitelli
  26. Andrew Bradley
  27. Ryan Dlugosz
  28. Allison Jacobsen
  29. Neil Creek
  30. David Ziser

Let’s try to get a decision on the number of photographers as soon as possible. I’ll leave the voting process open for a week, or until everybody votes if it happens sooner than that. So start looking and start talking.

Link Roundup 12-29-2007

Before we get to the list, be sure to check out my super-cool guest-post on “Going with the Grain” over at ADIDAP (we swapped posts for Christmas). I’ve always liked grainy photos, so I put together a little information on the subject and picked out some CC photos to help make my point.

Destined For Retirement

Destined For Retirement

Brian Auer | 07/11/2007 | Independence, MO | 15mm * f/6.7 * 1/30s * ISO100
[Buy Prints] [Buy Rights] [See it at Flickr]

This photo was taken at my Grandfather‘s house in Missouri while my wife and I were on our move from New Jersey to California. His brother stopped by to visit, and he happened to be driving this big ugly rusted-out beast of a truck. He’s kind of a character, so something like this wasn’t totally unexpected. He’s actually very good at restorations and building custom vehicles — he just happened to be on a “rust rod” streak at the time (I think that’s what he termed it anyways). Here are some photos of the entire thing — no joke, this is what he used as his daily-driver… though I’m not sure if he’s still using it or if he’s moved on to another project.

The photo I shot for artistic purposes was the front driver’s side corner of the vehicle. I got in there real close with my 10mm lens and got some of that neat rust and paint texture. I processed the photo to focus on some of the colors and tones while making those textures and contrasty areas stick out. All in all I’m pretty happy with this one.

Destined For Retirement Post-Processing

I actually took most of the processing steps from Jake Garn’s Tutorial Video: Everything Old is New Again — and I tweaked it a bit for this image.

  1. In-Camera JPEG
    Not really much to say about this one, but it wasn’t much to look at either.
  2. Processed RAW
    I actually processed the contrast down a bit because I knew I’d be using the technique in the next step as soon as I got in Photoshop.
  3. Hard Mix Layer Blend
    I duplicated the base image and set the blending mode to “Hard Mix” at 43% opacity and 29% fill. This boosted up my contrast and saturation while giving it a little bit of a hard look.
  4. Black and White Adjustment
    I used the Black and White adjustment layer with a green filter in Photoshop CS3. I then set the blend mode to Overlay and dropped the opacity to 65% to de-emphasize the effect.
  5. Saturation Adjustment
    To wash it out a bit more, I used a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and set the saturation to -36.
  6. Warming Filter
    I added a Photo Filter adjustment layer set with a Warming Filter (LBA) at 40% to give it the final tint.
  7. Sharpening
    I sharpened with the Unsharp Mask at 86%, 2.0 pixels, and a threshold of 0 to help make the textures more pronounced.

Enjoy!

Which Site Name is More Appealing?

OK, so I actually had a little more interest from you guys on that photoblog idea I presented yesterday. It already looks like we’ll have enough support to move forward full throttle. I’ve had 3 confirmed portfolio submissions and 3 more that were promised. I said I would take up to five, but when the time comes to choose the photographers I’ll let the photographers decide how many get to stay.

So now I need to start making some decisions on how we lay the foundation of the site. For these types of decisions, I’ll look to you folks to provide guidance. The first thing we need to decide on is a name for the site. I’ve purchased two domain names (fineartphotoblog.com and fineartphotographyblog.com) and I have yet to decide which one would be best.

Looking at this from a website name standpoint, I’d like to get some feedback on which one is most appealing, catchy, sticky, memorable, etc. Which name projects a stronger image or brand? Which one would provide better search engine traffic based on the keywords? I had two people offer feedback on yesterday’s article, but they were opposing points of view so we’re back to being stuck in the middle.

Last week’s poll (What Type of Camera Do You Shoot With?) had quite a turn-out with 416 votes! 75% went with the trusty dSLR, but we have quite a few compact, ultra-zoom, and film users too.

Want to Sell Your Art? I Have a Proposition…

UPDATE: NO MORE ENTRIES AT THIS POINT! WE’RE ALREADY UP TO 30 PORTFOLIOS FOR CONSIDERATION AND WE’RE IN THE PROCESS OF TAKING THE NEXT STEPS. STAY TUNED FOR MORE NEWS ON THE UPCOMING SITE!

I’ve been testing the waters of the fine-art marketplace, and I’m finding that it’s probably more difficult to break into than stock photography. It’s not that I’m against doing stock photography (I do have some images in the PhotoShelter Collection), but I feel that my work is more suited for artistic prints rather than magazine ads.

I’ve been trying to make way with Auer PhotoWorks, but I think I’ve gone about it in the wrong way. For one, I don’t have the time or energy to spend on the design and marketing of the site. And for two, galleries don’t attract the amount of traffic that’s needed to make sales.

WHERE AM I HEADING WITH THIS?

Well… I’m going to shut down Auer PhotoWorks at some point in the near future. But I’ll be replacing it with something else. I’m going to start a photoblog for fine art photography. Blogs naturally bring in great traffic because of their structure (and because WordPress is so awesome). The goal of the blog will be three fold: 1) To share more of my work than my once per week “how I done it” feature, 2) To motivate me to spend more time on my photography, and 3) To generate enough traffic to make sales.

I’m thinking of using fineartphotoblog.com or fineartphotographyblog.com for the domain, and the name of the site will naturally follow from the domain name. Anybody have any preferences?

The site will have a simple, neutral, and navigable design. It will run on WordPress. There will be no ads. Each photo will present the viewers the opportunity to purchase the photo. All photos can be purchased as a print. Some can also be licensed.

I’m testing out ImageKind right now as my future method for handling print sales. I have a feeling they do decent work, and I like the fact that they have so many options for papers, matting, and framing. I just ordered a couple of my own prints so I can evaluate their quality (and my color management). I only have a few images up, but I’ll be adding some on a daily basis until I have a good collection going.

THIS IS WHERE YOU STEP IN

I want to take this thing a step further. A photoblog from one person is neat, but a photoblog from a collection of artists is beyond neat. I’m looking for up to 5 other photographers that would like to be part of the photoblog as a method of selling their art. The idea is that a group of photographers should be able to drive more traffic than a single photographer. It will lighten the load on everybody by reducing the need to post a new image every single day. This will allow us to focus on our best work and prevent us from rushing our image preparation. We’ll also be able to feed on each other’s popularity and bring in a wider selection of potential art collectors. I’m saying 5 for right now just to test things out, but we may bump that number up if there’s enough interest.

Each photographer would be responsible for selling their own images — the blog is only a means of generating traffic, you won’t be able to buy anything directly from it. I’m going this route because every photographer will have different needs, and they should have full control over how their images are sold. Not only that, but bigger sites like ImageKind and RedBubble are more trusted than an independent site with a cheesy shopping cart.

QUESTIONS, CONCERNS, COMMENTS?

I don’t have all the details planned out quite yet, but it’s slowly solidifying. I’m planning on launching the site some time in January. You guys are a knowledgeable group of people, so I’d like to hear your thoughts and questions on this thing. If you have any ideas for improving this idea, I’d be more than happy to hear them. If you think it’s totally stupid, I’d like to hear that too.

WHO WANTS IN?

If you’re interested in being one of those five photographers, put together a portfolio of 10-15 of your best photos that you would want to sell as fine art. You can do this with Flickr, Zooomr, ImageKind, RedBubble, your personal gallery, or whatever means you have to present me with photos. It needs to be publicly accessible, and I have a reason for this.

I’m not going to decide who gets in and who doesn’t. The photographers who submit a portfolio will decide who gets in. I’ll ask the photographers to vote for the top three to five portfolios, depending on how many there are. I’ll tally up the results and take the top photographers. If I don’t get any takers, I guess I’ll be going it alone. If I get one or two half-hearted attempts, I guess I’ll be going it alone (I reserve the power to veto). Honestly, don’t submit a portfolio unless you’re dead serious about selling your work and helping out with the blog. And do realize that if you want to sell your images through a place like ImageKind, it will cost you a monthly fee at some point.

YOU HAVE UNTIL THE END OF DECEMBER TO CONTACT ME WITH YOUR PORTFOLIO THIS PART IS OVER FOLKS — NO MORE PORTFOLIOS. KEEP WATCHING THE BLOG FOR UPDATES ON THIS PROJECT.