Welcome to the blog! twcdm.blogspot.com is all about sharing tips, tricks and tutorials all having to do with photography, Photoshop and getting into the stock photo industry.

Travis Manley

My bio is here.
My Stock Photography portfolio is here.
My personal blog is here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Photos

Here are some photos from my most recent shoot.

These were all shot using three off-camera flashes. Two on the model and one on the backdrop. I used Photoshop to isolate the image.

You can see more images in my Shuttterstock portfolio here

Saturday, November 7, 2009

New Photos

I haven't posted anything new in awhile so I thought I would share some of my new photos. The model is my sister in-law. We started out in the studio, then moved outside when the weather cleared up a little.

It was the first time I had the chance to play with using gels to change the background color. It worked great. I used one off-camera flash (w/gel) for the backdrop and one for my main light and a reflector for fill for the indoor shots. For the outdoor shots I used one off-camera flash and a reflector.

To see more photos check out my Shutterstock portfolio here

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

iStockphoto: Model Release Update

Just when you thought uploading your photos to iStockphoto.com couldn't be any more tedious...

Microstock giant iStockphoto recently announced that they were stepping up their standards for model releases (those little permission slips for models). The change that is going to make the most difference for my fellow photographers (myself included) is iStockphoto now requires a model release for every session with a model. No more universal releases for the same model for different shoots.

I have a hard time keeping track of releases for the 5-10 models I work with. The one that is really going to give me a lot of trouble is my son. I take photos of him almost everyday, most of those photos are ones I will sell. I can only imagine how many model releases I will have to fill out for him before he turns eighteen...lets say 2 a week for the next 17 years = 1,768! Oh, shoot me now!

All jokes aside, iStockphoto is one of my top earning sites. I can stop uploading new photos anytime, I choose to keep uploading because they are a great site and represent my work well.

Read the article at iStockphoto.com here

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Make Money with Google Ads!

I recently added ads to my blog using Google's AdSence program. The thought of making less than a dollar (in most cases) for each click your ads receive might send you running to the hills, but it doesn't scare me. Being a microstock photographer, most of my sales are right around the one dollar mark. This might sound like chump change, but those small sales start to add up quick. I think Google ads are right up my alley.

If you are a microstock photographer like me you probably already have a website. Chances are even if you are a stay at home mom you probably have a website too. There are many ways to set up free websites and blogs. Blogger and Wordpress, to name a few. All you need to do is set up an AdSense account and you can start making money from your free website! If you have a Blogger page adding Google ads is as easy as a couple of right-clicks. Before you know it you will have ads that blend seamlessly into the background of your site.

Now hold on fella, I'm not telling you to run out and quit your day job just yet. Like I said earlier, you will probably only get around a dollar or so per person that clicks on one of your ads (generally). If your blog is truly awesome and you are seeing some serious traffic, you might be surprised how often those checks from Google start showing up in the mail.

Good luck and happy blogging!

Cutcaster Pricing Strategy Help

Cutcaster.com is one of the few stock photo sites that allow the photographer to choose the price that they want their photos to be sold for. This is a great opportunity for contributors, but some might be uncertain about how to pick a price that will get their images sold.

Here are some tips from a Cutcaster contributor on the Cutcaster blog:

"From a Cutcaster contributor in an emai to our support-

How I price my images on high paying sites? At Cutcaster, we can price our own images. So how do I go about picking a price for my images out of mid-air?? I find the best way to price them is based off of the prices at other agencies (non-subscription – ppd).

Once I have gotten an average of the other agencies pay-per-download prices for my images size, I then undercut the price. I cut the price because Cutcaster pays 40% (non-exclusive) or 50% (exclusive) royalty, as opposed to 20%-35% that other agencies payout. So, not only am I giving a lower price to buyers, but I am also taking in a high income in most cases. I can even take a few of my extras and submit them exclusively to Cutcaster for 50%, which is great.

Since Cutcaster does not have a subscription, I do not have to worry about comparing the prices to other sites that do have subscriptions, as obviously, Cutcaster is not targeting subscription buyers.”

Test it out yourself and see how the strategy works. Let us know what other strategies you have been trying out for selling your images and stock photography. What’s your strategy for your portfolio and how you sell?"

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Updates at Mostphotos.com

Just got an email about some upcoming updates to Mostphotos.com that I thought I would pass along.

Announcement from Mostphotos:

"Hello everyone,

I just wanted to let you know that we are still on
schedule for a early September release of
Mostphotos 3.0. All the hard work we have put in
over the last year has really paid off and we are
really excited to show off the new site.

We have also decided to drop support for Internet
explorer 6 on the new version simply because IE6
lacks support of many of the new features that we
wanted to implement. So if you are still using
Internet explorer 6, please upgrade to a latest
version (IE8) or download a even better browser
like www.google.com/chrome, www.getfirefox.com,
www.apple.com/safari. This will greatly enhance
your browsing
You can read more about it here:

We will also have some downtime this Saturday
because of server upgrades. The site will be
down for at least a few hours. We will upgrade
all the servers so we would recommend you to
not use the FTP upload on Saturday to prevent
any canceled uploads.

Don't forget to check out the development blog
(http://devblog.mostphotos.com) if you want to
read about some of the new features in 3.0.
And follow us on http://www.facebook.com/mostphotos
or http://www.twitter.com/mostphotos for the latest

Best regards

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dreamstime News

Dreamstime.com News for 8-19-2009

Announcement from Dreamstime:

"Scheduled maintenance is to be performed in the following hours. Services may be interrupted temporarily. We're doing our best to minimize the downtime (if any). Please email/call support if you experience any issues."

New Photo Assignment and a chance to win $1,000!

Announcement from Dreamstime:

"If you have not taken your summer holiday yet, the new assignment is the perfect opportunity. We want to see tropical getaways, white sand beaches, palm trees and clear blue oceans or seas. Moreover, we want to see all the fun you have in such locations. Show us the perfect shores with people lazing in hammocks, sipping exotic cocktails or wading in the surf. Capture the tropical holiday fun: water sports, yachts sailing on calm waters, splashes with friends in the ocean, people playing beach volley, building sand castles or scuba diving. Catch the sunny days or the seaside sunset as you're warming with your partner under the blanket near the camp fire. Don't pack your bags as the holiday ends because your vacation may be prolonged. Prizes for this assignment are again sponsored by Payoneer, our online payment partner so keep your swimming suits on. The winners will be rewarded electronic money on their Dreamstime branded MasterCard cards to continue holiday. First place winner will receive $1,000, second place $400 and third place $200 which can be used for summer fun payments or cashed from the card. In addition, all three winners receive the Dreamstime designer T-shirt to wear during next sea, sun and fun escapade. To learn more about the Dreamstime Prepaid MasterCard payment option, click here Good luck and have fun!"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Stock photo site Shutterstock.com recently added a new feature that promotes your portfolio on Twitter.

Here is the announcement from Shutterstock:

"If you’re on Twitter, we just made it easier for you to tweet about all the cool work you’re showcasing on Shutterstock, and if you haven’t taken the plunge into the Twittersphere – we invite you to join us.

Shuttertweet gives you the ability to instantly send out tweets regarding new images added to your portfolio. Shuttertweet will also update the Twitter community with your download count each day.

Plus, we added your referral ID to the Twitter urls so if someone makes a purchase after clicking the link, you’ll make a referral commission!

Here’s how the tweets will look:

- I sold 10 images today through @shutterstock! My gallery is here:
http://www.shutterstock.com (link to your gallery will be provided in tweet)

- I just got 10 images accepted to @shutterstock! Check out my gallery
here: http://www.shutterstock.com (link to your gallery will be provided in tweet)

To sign up, login to the submit site and click the option under "Make Money" (or click here: https://submit.shutterstock.com/admin.mhtml#shuttertweet ) and then connect your Shutterstock account to your Twitter account, which will approve us to send the tweets on your behalf. You can deactivate Shuttertweet at any time.

We look forward to seeing you at: http://twitter.com/shutterstock

Tweet you later!
Your Friends @Shutterstock"

Im looking forward to seeing how this works.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cutcaster Announces its "Betta than Vetta" collection of premium photos

Here is the press release:

August 4, 2009 - San Francisco, California

From their new headquarters in foggy San Francisco, Cutcaster is proud to introduce its much-ballyhooed “Betta than Vetta” (BTV) photo and vector collection to creative professionals today. Take a sneak peak at Betta than Vettaby going to www.cutcaster.com/Betta-Than-Vetta.

“Creative professionals deserve a better experience when searching for and purchasing content. What Cutcaster provides is better search, better results, better rights offering and all at better market prices,” Cutcaster founder John Griffin explained. “We introduced ‘Betta than Vetta,’ our first premium collection, to highlight the amazing quality of work in our marketplace and show buyers how easy the website is to use.”

The best of the best included in the BTV photo and vector collection were hand-picked by our highly-caffeinated reviewers and industry professionals for their uniqueness, execution and overall quality. The diverse collection will have graphic designers, creative professionals and photo buyers singing from the top of the closest mountain peaks.

‘Betta than Vetta’, Irish for “mountaintop,” gives creative professionals looking for exceptional imagery a new and untapped source of photos and illustrations priced by the free market. Inclusive of both exclusive and non-exclusive contributors, the BTV collection will expand over time. Contributors may also request a file be added to the collection but every file included must pass an intense inspection process and meet the collection’s strict acceptance criteria. "The Cutcaster flexible pricing model provides a unique and hard-data insight into the market value of stock photos,” Lee Torrens, a stock photography insider observed. “Betta than Vetta is a welcome opportunity for all stock photography and illustrators to see our higher value images lifted to another level."

Prices range from $1 for small sizes up to $35 USD for XXL. Sellers set the price for the BTV files. If a buyer wanted to name their price, they are always free to bid on any of the images if they have more time or are working with a smaller budget.

“We haven’t even come close to hitting our peak yet but I’m excited by the growth of sales, which have been doubling every month and also by the number of great photographers we are fortunate enough to be working with and trust us to represent their work. Our diverse collection is on the verge of breaking 400,000 royalty free images and illustrations and the ‘Betta than Vetta’ collection will be one more way we can promote our great library to buyers,” Griffin added.

In other news, Cutcaster announced that the increase in revenues has been re-invested into advertising and marketing and more customer service help, which continues to be an industry leader. The number of Corporate Accounts and buyer sign-ups has been growing faster over the last 6 months because buyers like the flexible payment options, easy to use search and invoicing capabilities. Cutcaster released figures that buyers bid on content around 6% of the time and on average bid 40% less than the listed price for the largest file size. The time it takes for a typical seller’s response to a proposed bid has averaged 81 minutes and buyers have accepted the final price 43% of the time.

In addition, Cutcaster released new features that include scaled pricing for different file sizes so buyers now have a choice over what image size they want. Also Cutcaster improved its search functionality and introduced a new suggestive search tool that shows buyers as they type in a keyword what other keyword options are available.

For more information on the Betta than Vetta collection see www.cutcaster.com/Betta-Than-Vetta or email info@cutcaster.com.

About Cutcaster
Cutcaster has tapped into a new and unique source of photo and vector illustrations that can be purchased for any kind of publishing, web design project, printing brochures, advertising, annual reports or electronic usage on websites and presentations. Cutcaster created the first model that adds structure to support licensing user-generated photography and vectors when you don't have the budget to create it yourself. Sellers can set their prices or those new to the world of licensing can use the Cutcaster Algorithm to find the fair market price.

Visit www.cutcaster.com for more information.

Here is a link to my photos at Cutcaster.com

New Photo Studio III: The Saga Concluded

Well, if you are wondering what I have been up to lately I have been working my butt off getting this project finished. We started this project back in April and are just now wrapping it up four months later. As fun as it has been I'm really looking forward to being able to spend a couple weekends not worrying about the next phase of construction and maybe do a little camping and hiking with my family.In the first two blog posts in this set I talked about how we built a shed to store most of what used to be in the garage, in part two I talked about how we took down the garage door and framed in the opening. The final phase was a whopper and consisted of adding electrical outlets and lights, adding insulation, adding drywall, painting, staining the concrete floor and adding baseboard and trim. It makes me tired just writing this all down, luckily I had a lot of help from my family and friends.

There was only one light in the garage, a crummy looking exterior light fixture in the middle of the ceiling that wasn't powerful enough to light the space. There was also only two outlets, not really a great setup for what I was going to need. I did a lot of research and decided on can lights for lighting. I didn't want something that hung from the ceiling and might get in the way of me taking photos later.

Installing can lights

My father in-law helped me install the 12 lights and five new outlets. It was another really long day. It was great to actually get a good look at the room with the new lights, it wasn't looking so much like a cave anymore. We also added a couple of exterior lights to the front of the studio on either side of the french doors.

With that done it was insulation time. We had talked about trying to do it ourselves, but thought we might actually save a little money and get it done better/faster by hiring a company to come out and do it. Because a insulation company buys in bulk they can get a better deal on material. We had a couple insulators come out and give us quotes and it looked like it was going to be a little more to pay someone else to do it (about $100) but we thought it would save us some time and they would probably do a better job...Long story short I wish we would have just done it ourselves. The guys who came out to do the insulation made a bunch of mistakes and ended up holding up the drywall because we had to wait for them to finish.

Insulation going in

Lucky me my dad is a drywall master and was able to get all the drywall done over a weekend. After the drywall was done the guy he works for was nice enough to make a few trips out to spray two coats of primer and texture on the walls for free!

Drywall finished

With the walls ready to go we got started painting. I had a really hard time picking colors for the studio, I think I about drove my wife crazy obsessing about it. Here are a few things I found when researching what colors are good for a studio. White is good if you want your walls to bounce light back onto your subject. Black does the opposite and absorbs light. Bright colors aren't good because they can cast color onto your subject.

Primer and paint

If this studio was strictly going to be used for photography and nothing else I would have whitewashed floor to ceiling, however the room is also going to be an office for my wife and I so stark white would be a little too "clinical" for us. Other options would have been to use curtains in the area I'm going to be shooting.

I chose to go with white on the ceiling so I could bounce light off it if I wanted and 18% grey for the walls and painted one wall that I wont be shooting around a little darker grey. 18% grey is a great neutral color and pretty close to the color I had in mind for the studio in the first place.

The floor was another hard choice. We originally were going to go with a wood laminate but, decided to stain the concrete floor that was already there. We had been wanting to try concrete stain for awhile but didn't have a good spot for it. Concrete stain looks great and is much cheaper than laminate.

One problem we ran into was the concrete footings around the floor, they stuck out a few inches and got gradually deeper from the back of the room to the front. My father in-law came to the rescue again and made some custom baseboard that could fit over the top of this.

Two coats of concrete stain and sealer

Here is what the studio looks like pretty much finished. There is still some work to be done, but the bulk of it is finished. I plan on posting some new photos after a month or so once I'm settled in.

(little messy, sorry)

My assistant's (wife's) desk

My desk

Here is a rundown of some of the expenses for this part of the remodel. (approx)

Flooring (stain, sealer) = $200
Paint = $100
Insulation = $500
Drywall = $300

Originally we had estimated somewhere between $1,500-$2,000 for this project and it ended up costing around $3,000. Keep in mind $3,000 was pretty much just material, most of the labor was done by friends and family.

I strongly encourage all you photographers out there working in cramped little corners of your houses to build, or convert an existing room into a studio. Having a designated work space is very important to a efficient work-flow. Rather than spending twenty+ minutes setting up all my gear for every shoot everything is ready to go when I need it.

This is the third and final post about the process of converting my garage into a photo studio/office. Here are the links to the first two parts.

Part #1
Part #2

If you have any questions about this post
please email me at

Friday, July 24, 2009

New Blog Post at Dreamstime.com

Just wrote a post over at my Dreamstime blog about reaching 3,000 photos in my
portfolio. If you would like to read it here is the link

Interested in buying or selling photos at Dreamstime.com?
Click here

Friday, June 26, 2009

Purple Fringing Quick Fixes

Purple Fringing, AKA: Chromatic Aberrations (sounds like something you would hear on an episode of X-Files), AKA: Lens Fringing. Even with the best lenses you will occasionally find these little buggers lurking amongst the edges of your photos. Purple fringing usually shows up as purple halo's around objects in the edges of your photos. Luckily there are a few easy Photoshop fixes you can do to get rid of them.

Lens Correction - Fire up Photoshop and go to the Filter menu, Distort, Lens Correction. This will open your image in the Lens Correction editor. Under the Chromatic Aberrations slider there are two options, depending on what kind of fringing you have use the appropriate slider. Hit OK when your done and goodbye chromatic aberrations.

Hue/Saturation layer - Here is an easy one. Open your fringing image...snicker, snicker... in Photoshop and click the Add Adjustment Layer button, select the Hue/Saturation option and where is says "Edit Master" change it to the color you want to get rid of, magenta for example. Then with the eyedropper tool click on the area of fringe you want to get rid of then slide the saturation slider to the left to desaturate that area.

Sponge Tool - Here is an even easier but, not always the most efetive way of removing chromatic aberrations. With your image open in Photoshop select the Sponge tool from the tool bar (it is hiding in the Dodge/Burn button if your not familiar, just right-click and hold and you will see it pop up). With the Sponge tool simply paint over the areas of purple fringing you want to get rid of. I find this helpful in landscapes or areas of foliage.

While these tricks are fine and dandy the best way to fix purple fringing to is avoid it in the first place. You can prevent purple fringing by using high quality lenses, stopping down your lens (shooting at an aperature of f8-f22), and if you are using a zoom lens avoid using the maximum and minimum focal range. A lenses "sweet spot" is usually somewhere in the middle focal lengths.

Hope these tips help.

If you have any questions email me at

*photo from my Shutterstock portfolio

Thursday, June 18, 2009

5 Simple Photoshop Fixes

Here are a five simple Photoshop fixes you can to to most of your photos that will really make them shine.

1. Levels - Check your levels. There are a couple ways to do this here is one of them. Click on "Add new adjustment layer" in the layers window and find "Levels." Levels is a tool for moving and stretching the brightness in a histogram. There are three points you can adjust on a slider, on the left the black point, on the right the white and in the middle the midtones. Generally you want to grab the two point on either end of the slider and slide them toward the middle in order to reduce areas of absolute black and absolute white. Then you can adjust the midtone slider to adjust the brightness.

2. Level Horizons - Nothing screams SNAPSHOT like a crooked horizon line (unless it was done purposefully). Luckily crooked horizon lines are easy to fix. Open your photo in Photoshop, make a copy of your layer to work with (like one of my teachers told me about a million times "If you pervert the original that makes you a ...?" lol. Make sure you have guides turned on (View menu - Show - check "Guides") click on the ruler at the top of the widow and drag a guide to where the horizon line should be in your photo. If that horizon line isnt straight hit Ctrl+T and grab one of the corners and rotate it until its where you want it. Presto your done.

Also a quick note if your horizon line curves as a result of using a wide angle lens you can straighten it out by going to the Filter menu - Distort - Lens Correction and tweak the Remove Distortion.

3. Great Skies - Want great looking skies but, dont want to mess with Polarizing filters? Its easy, this works best on photos with a good chunk of sky with no trees, mountains, etc intruding into them. Open your photo in Photoshop and create a new layer, select the Gradient tool and set it to foreground to transparent, make sure your foreground is set to black and create a gradient in the sky. What...you dont want a black sky? Now head over to the layer option and select Soft Light this should give you a nice blue gradient in your sky. You can play with opacity settings and even duplicate the layer for a darker sky as well as trying other layer options.

4. Clone Stamp and Patch Tool - Both of these tools are a "must use" for us stock photographers. Whether its cloning out those pesky sensor spots in your skies, editing out logos or covering up unsightly blemishes etc. I use both these tools on a daily basis. To use the Clone Stamp tool select it from the tool bar and hold down Alt+left click to take a sample of an area to stamp over the area you want to cover up, with that done paint out the unwanted areas. You might have to do this a couple times sampling from different areas to get it right. To use the Patch tool select it from the tool bar and draw a line around the area you want to cover up, with that done click and drag the selection over a similar area to replace the selection. The Patch tool will then combine the two areas.

5. Contrast - Want to make those dull photos pop? Here is an easy one, open your image in Photoshop, duplicate the layer and select overlay as the layer mode then adjust the opacity to your liking.

Hope these quick tips help

Any questions hit me up at travismanley@hotmail.com


*Photo from my Shutterstock.com portfolio

Thursday, June 11, 2009

New Studio: Quick Update

Hey guys,

Just a quick update to let you know what is going on. The studio is very close to being finished and we are starting to move equipment in there today. I have been so busy with getting the studio finished it hasnt left time for much else. There are just a few small finishing details to be completed but, it might be another week or two before I can get the help I need to do them. Once everything is done I will post photos of the finished studio and details about what was involved in getting it to that point.

I have also held off on any new POTD's until the studio is done because I just dont have the time but, there will be more again soon.


Here are links to part one and two of this project


Friday, June 5, 2009

My Photos on Google Earth

Hey all, just postn' to let you know next time your surfing Google Earth in the Sequim, WA area you might see some of my photos.

Here are a few of my photos that appear on Google Earth.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Photo Studio II: The Saga Continues

If you dont already know I am in the process of converting my garage into a photo studio/office. Here is a link to part #1 of this post http://twcdm.blogspot.com/2009/04/new-photo-studio.html

Here is the latest update.

In phase one we moved everything we could out of the garage and built a shed to store it in along with buying a canopy to park our car under.

Phase two was all about getting that garage door down and framing in the hole.

Here is the garage before we took the door down

I have pulled down all the trim around the door

Halfway done

A quick shot of the door, opener and rails off

The material for framing in the door and the new french doors

The opener and torsion spring

We got studs!

Speaking of studs, lol

My father in-law was a big help in getting this done

All done, just need paint

And were done!

Im really excited to have this part of the conversion done. So much of the work leading up to this point was just to get everything out of the garage and demo work. Its really nice to see the project coming together.

All this work was done by my father in-law and myself. I paid a professional to take down the torsion spring that helps open the door because I read it can be pretty dangerous. It took the guy about five minutes to release the tension in the spring and he said its really not too dangerous if you know what your doing. I figured $45 for the peace of mind of not having to stress out about ripping my hand off while taking it down myself was worth it.

I was surprised how easy it was to take the garage door down, It took my wife and I maybe twenty minutes.

Farming in the door opening, installing the french doors and putting up the siding was a pretty big project. It took most of the day to finish this project. My wife and I painted the day after.

We are going to install some exterior lights on either side of the french doors and eventually maybe a window on the left side of the doors.

This project has really been a great experience so far. It has been a lot of work, but it is very rewarding to sit back at the end of the day and think about how its all going to look when its finished.

If anyone out there is considering converting their garage into a studio, office, bedroom, bonus room, etc I highly recommend it. Remodeling your garage is probably one of the easiest most cost effective way of adding square feet to your home and increasing the value of your house.

I thought it might be interesting to keep a running total on the price of this project so far if anyone is curious.

8x8' Storage Shed = $650
10x20' Canopy for our car = $150
French doors = $400
Material for framing in the garage door and siding = $200
Torsion spring removal = $45

Total so far = $1,445

So the next few stages of this projects will be installing lights and electrical outlets, insulation, drywall, painting, staining the concrete floor, and baseboard and trim.

Keep checking in for updates.

Want to buy my old garage door?

Link to part #1 of this post http://twcdm.blogspot.com/2009/04/new-photo-studio.html
Link to part #3 of this post http://twcdm.blogspot.com/2009/08/new-photo-studio-iii-saga-concluded.html

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

POTD #22

Photo of the Day
Took this shot at an equipment rental shop while on a walk with my family.

The Breakdown:
This is another one of those shots where the light was really bright and contrasty. I got a few good stock shots with the sun at my back but, I thought it might be cool to flip around and put the sun right behind my subject for some backlighting and this is what I got.

After taking the photo I boosted the contrast and the blacks to get a good silhouette and then tweaked the color to get the sky the way I wanted.

Canon EOS 5d
0.003 sec (1/400)
Focal Length:
105 mm
ISO Speed:
Exposure Bias:
-1/3 EV

Here are links to some of the equipment I used to get this shot. If the equipment I used is no longer available I have listed either the newer version or a similar substitute. I no longer use some of the items on this list.

Photoshop CS4

Canon EOS 5d

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens

B + W 77mm UV (Ultra Violet) Haze Multi Coated (2C) Glass Filter #010

My Photography Workflow:

I shoot in raw,
organize and review shots in Adobe Bridge,
process raw files in Adobe Camera Raw
and export as .jpeg if im done,

if I need to do more work in Photoshop I export as .tiff,
make final touches in Photoshop,
I add titles, descriptions and keywords in Bridge when im done editing.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Great Photography Podcast!

Just finished listening to the first podcast at studiolighting.net, it is a few years old but there is still a lot of great info in there about setting up a home photo studio and also and interview with the great Paul Buff founder of White Lightning and Alien Bees lighting equipment.

The whole podcast is great, but if your not going to listen to the full hour I recommend fast forwarding to the last 20 minutes or so. Paul Buff goes into detail about what makes Alien Bees so awesome and some useful info about hot light (mainly how not useful they are).

Here is the link http://www.studiolighting.net/studio-photography-podcast-lightsource-episode-1/

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.

POTD #21

Photo of the Day
This is a shot of Mt Shuksan as seen from the Mt Baker Ski Lodge. This is the first shot after I got out of the car. My wife and I had planned on making the drive (a good three hours from where we were living north of Seattle) to do some hiking. It is a really nice drive out there, but it was a long one.

We had got an early start but by the time we were getting close to the trail head it was already noon. The road to get to the trail head was at the end of a road the split off from the main road. It was just a bumpy dirt road that followed the Nooksack River. We had to take it really slow because we were in my 2WD sedan and there was a lot of debris on the road from a storm from a few months before.

We drove for about half and hour (at least) only to come to a pile of fallen trees across the road. We could have parked, climbed over them and hiked to the trail head, but we were not sure how much further we had to go. We decided to turn back and drive to the Mt Baker ski lodge at the end of the main road and see if we found any promising trials.

We didnt find any trials and didnt do any hiking but, when we got to the end of the road I snapped this shot of Mt Shuksan. We walked around the ski lodge for a bit to strecth our legs and feeling a bit uncomfortable beeing the only people in the joint in jeans and hiking shoes. Talk about dirty looks!

We were bummed we didnt get to hike the trail we drove out to hike, but it was a really nice drive and I got this great photo.

The Breakdown: Nothing tricky here, just a standard landscape shot.

Olympus E-500
0.013 sec (1/80)
Focal Length:
34 mm
ISO Speed:
Exposure Bias:
0 EV

Here are links to some of the equipment I was using on Adorama.com (if the equipment I used is no longer available I have listed either the newer version or a similar substitute).

Olympus E-520 - Replacement for the E-500

Photoshop CS4

My Photography Workflow:

I shoot in raw,
organize and review shots in Adobe Bridge,
process raw files in Adobe Camera Raw and export as .jpeg if im done,
if I need to do more work in Photoshop I export as .tiff,
make final touches in Photoshop,
I add titles, descriptions and keywords in Bridge when im done editing.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

POTD #20

Photo of the Day
Took this one overlooking the water near the Dungeness Spit in my hometown (Sequim, WA). I know sunsets are cliche and have been done a million times, but I havent done them a million times and I felt like it was something I wanted to play around with and see what my version of a great sunset looked like.

It was alot of fun actually. I did this sunset series last summer, I would check out what time the sun was supposed to set online and drive out to a location I either had a feeling would be a good spot or I had scouted earlier. Summer twilight has got to be my favorite time, when its just getting dark, but it is still nice and warm out.

The Breakdown: The two most important pieces of equipment when taking sunset photos are a sturdy tripod and a remote trigger or timer. Its all about keeping your camera steady for those long exposures.

As far as camera settings go most cameras have a sunset setting (if this doesnt tell you that sunsets are overdone I dont know what will). I used the Spot metering mode on my camera and set it to expose for the sky not the dark foreground. I was more interested in what was going on in the clouds and if I tried using an automatic metering mode it would have taken a longer exposure to properly expose the foreground and would have blown out the sky.

I was playing around with different f-stops to see what I liked best and f10 was giving me the best results. I dont think there is any one perfect aperature setting for sunsets/sunrises. I wanted a very sharp image and I wanted to stop down my lens to avaid Chromatic Abberations (purple fringing). I found the wider I set may apature the softer the image, the more I stopped it down the sharper and if I stopped it down too far the sky got really grainy.

This is one of the lasts shots I took with my cheapo Quantaray QSX 6601 tripod. It didnt occure to me to check the maximum weight load for this tripod when I upgraded to the Canon 5d and the extra couple pounds stripped out the plastic gears. I have upgraded to the Manfrotto 190XPROB with the 484RC2 ball head, awesome tripod! (review coming soon)

After taking the shot I really tweaked the white balance in Photoshop and boosted the blues and reds to get the look I was going for.

Canon EOS 5d
0.25 sec (1/4)
Focal Length:
24 mm
ISO Speed:
Exposure Bias:
0 EV

Here are links to some of the equipment I used to get this shot. If the equipment I used is no longer available I have listed either the newer version or a similar substitute. I no longer use some of the items on this list.

Photoshop CS4

Canon EOS 5d

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens

Sunpak 6601TM Tri-Monopod - This one is pretty close to what I was using at the time. Dont underestimate the importance of a tripod, even if you are using a cheap one it is the only way to guarantee tack sharp photos every time.

Manfrotto 190XPROB Black Tripod Kit with 484RC2 Mini Ball Head - This is the tripod I use now.

Canon Wireless Remote

My Photography Workflow:

I shoot in raw,
organize and review shots in Adobe Bridge,
process raw files in Adobe Camera Raw
and export as .jpeg if im done,

if I need to do more work in Photoshop I export as .tiff,
make final touches in Photoshop,
I add titles, descriptions and keywords in Bridge when im done editing.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.