sunday photo/art quote 9/28

From the Biography page of Jay Maisel… After studying painting and graphic design at Cooper Union and Yale, Jay Maisel began his career in photography in 1954. While his portfolio includes the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Miles Davis, he is perhaps best known for capturing the light, color, and gesture found in every day life.

I grabbed a quote from Jay today because many times I talk with photographers who are not making the images they would like. I feel part of the reason is they don’t have their camera in their hand making images. They are not studying light. They are not studying shadows. They are, however, afraid to make mistakes. And that is the biggest mistake. That is where learning comes from. Jay is a big proponent of having a camera in your hand and trying many different things. Oh! And getting off your butt and out shooting!

jay maisel quote

“If you are out there shooting things will happen for you. If you’re not out there, you’ll only hear about it.” Jay Maisel

Making excellent images is a skill. Skills take practice. If you keep looking, firing frames, studying, learning AND have your camera with you will recognize more often the gifts that are in front of us in the name of a beautiful photograph.

Since becoming a Lumix Luminary I’ve had a camera with me almost constantly (working on getting the almost adjective out of there) and I’m finding I see more opportunities for making interesting images because I’m training my brain to always look. It’s become easy to have a camera with me all the time because the micro 4/3rds mirrorless cameras are so lite but the files are so robust. I often left my DSLR camera and lenses behind because of the weight and PIA factor. Now my entire everyday kit has more range and weighs less than a DSLR body equipped with a single zoom lens.

I salute technology and the freedom it is giving me to become a better photographer.

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

Here a link to some more Jay Maisel quotes written by Derrick Story… You’ll see such things as “On preparing for a shoot… “Try to go out empty and let your images fill you up.” “When finding the right angle for a shot… “Move your ass.”” Check it out.

Don Q art piece wizard academy

When I was at the business, thinking and art campus of Wizard Academy in Austin, Texas I was interested in all the art dedicated to the campus mascot Don Quixote. Full size sculptures, small sculptures, paintings, drawings posters and more… Not even sure why I was doing it I found myself compelled to capture images of all the different Quixote renderings. When I returned to my studio I started messing about and created this piece.

don q print 600 pix  don q art

Not even sure I know how many images are combined in this image titled ‘Don Q’.

It was a great exercise and practice in an art form I am constantly pushing to a new level. Just for fun I sent it to the Academy and they asked to print it as a large canvas and to make post cards for promoting education there.

The techniques I used on creating this image are the same that I teach in my ‘Photo-Synthesis’ seminar. (get a description here) Photoshop is the major software. Layers, masks, opacity, selections and Blend Modes play a big role in bringing it all together.

In a photography group? Want me to come speak? It’s possible Panasonic will cover most of my expenses as I am a Lumix Luminary. Call me to chat. Dates are filling up pretty quickly.

Yours in creative Photography,      Bob

busy photographer

Read a post on Bryan Caporicci’s ‘Sprouting Photographer’ web site that reminded me of something I should share with you.

There is a tendency to get so wrapped up in our photography business that we forget to take care of many things that are really important.

I found myself in the same trap Bryan talks of of thinking I was accomplishing more than I actually was… My wife was constantly saying, “He works 24-7.” and I did. But I thought I was getting somewhere when all I was doing was wasting a lot of the time you were talking about thinking I was kicking ass.

We went to a photography seminar and the last speaker was taking about her life in photography with her husband and how busy they were. I’ll take the long story and shorten it quite a bit as this woman was quite the fabulous storyteller. Near the end she said, “And there was a knock on the door! I went to answer it, threw open the door and the person knocking was there to tell me my husband was dead in an accident…” You could have heard a pin drop on carpet in this room of 1500 people. She finished by sharing how she changed her life, and suggested all photographers trade family photos ASAP as because they were both in the photo biz she had no photos of her with her husband.

I immediately turned to my wife and said, “Every Wednesday is now a ‘Holly Day’. You tell me what you would like to do and I’m yours. Schedule a two week vacation and some weekend side trips and we’ll start doing them.” I also gave myself a half-day off each week to just spend time doing stuff for me…

Result of taking time away from the business? I actually started accomplishing more in less time because I was refreshed, ready to go and HAD to get stuff done in a timely manner. My wife was a much happier camper and life improved many, many times.

Check out Bryan’s post HERE. I can attest for a fact that they everything he talks about is true and will make your work and personal life better if you follow through.

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob


proofing client photos zenfolio

When it’s time to show my out of town clients images for proofing I’ve found Zenfolio to be a very solid platform. (use this referral code to get a 10 % discount - 5F5-S3Q-SAS)

I photograph ‘Elopements’ for the Creekside Inn Bed and Breakfast here in Sedona. The clients are pre-paid for the capture and are given a print credit. Then they have options to upgrade or ,additionally, purchase printable files. They are visitors from out of town and there’s no way to have their images ready for viewing and ordering before they leave for home so an online viewing and ordering system is mandatory.

Zenfolio allows you to work your price lists in many different ways. You can have the image order fulfilled through various partner labs choosing which labs and products to make available and adding your markup. You can also build your own product and price list for self fufillment.

zenfolio proof page

Initial proof page. Notice that it is branded with my look colors and logos.

proof page from zenfolio

Ordering page from Zenfolio.

There are lots of features including slideshows, sharing and more. The web sites you can build from the Zenfolio system are pretty nice too. You can Take a peek here to see the wedding proof live. The password is 091814. If you have questions give me a shout.

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

PS – I got permission from my bride and groom before giving you access to this wedding…


competition images slideshow

Was taking a cruise through some of my competition images through the years and it was very interesting to find I had a style when I reviewed the images as a body of work verses seeing them individually. I’ve found that competing at the Professional Photographers of America level has done more to improve my photography than almost anything else. Now with a little review from you I’d like to learn more.

This question came up on a PPA forum, “What is your style?”

It was actually difficult to answer… So here’s a pile of pictures, so to speak, and I’m going to ask you to take a few minutes and share with me your ideas of what my style is… Thanks in advance for your feedback!

I put these images together in slideshow format with ProShow Web. I’ve only just started using it but I’m really liking the interface. Upload the images and it does most of the heavy lifting of building the slideshow by you picking a template that you want to use. You can upload your own music if you have permission too. Cool part is you can watch what it turns out and then go back in and edit it. Very cool! (there’s no video in here but it takes vid clips too!)

These images were gathered from approximately 2005 to present from my digital competition files from
Arizona PPA, Professional Photographers of America and others….
Thanks again for your help.
Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob

fiilex led light kit

Had the opportunity to test out the Fiilex LED light kit model FLX302 which includes three P360EX lights, stands and barn doors in a watertight rolling case. I used this kit on a real estate shoot a couple weeks ago You can see some of those results here.

I thought I’d give these bad boys a workout in the studio with a still life project. Again the ability to see the lighting exactly as it will appear in camera allows me to get a bunch of different looks in a very short period of time. Having the ability to change brightness and the white balance of the lights from the golden tungsten color temp of xxx  to the brighter blue of xxxx adds to the creativity.

Here’s a quick animated GIF to show many different looks using just the three lights, a shoot through umbrella and a piece white of foam core as a reflector.

still life photographed with fiilex led lights

Many different lighting versions using the Fiilex LED’s

Once I have the initial image captured in studio it’s time to put Photoshop to work. Using multiple images of tectures, layer masks and blend modes I take the image to my artistic place. Here are a few versions…

studio still life fine art photo

From the initial image captures above it’s time to experiment with various textures and color palettes.

studio still life fine art photograph

I’ve found many people like warm golden tones.

studio still life fine art photo image

As they say variety is the spice of life. So more colors! More texture. Play! Experiment!

Images were photographed with the Lumix GH4 and the 35-100 f2.8 Lumix Vario Lens ISO 200 1/6 sec @ f4.5

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

PS – Making purchases at Amazon through the links on this site help support the information. Like what you read? Click a link! Thanks!

sunday photo/art quote 9/21

Today we reach out to the writing world for today’s theme in the Sunday Photo/Art Quote here on Successful-Photographer. Some of the best work I have created was inspired by or because of taking on personal projects…

I believe that if you don’t explore what your heart tells you is important or a subject that you haven’t tackled before you will take a long time to grow as a photographer.

When pursuing an impressionistic art look for my work I had no idea that it would morph into a paying project creating work for a nightclub. The techniques have become one of my most requested teaching programs called ‘Photo-Sythesis’. I also believe that the artistic techniques I am now using as a result of advancing personal projects to create art images led to my being named a Lumix Luminary by Panasonic. (of course it didn’t hurt that I was already yelling to all my photographer friends how much I liked the new format! But I digress…)

If I see an interesting face with character on the street I will engage that person and then ask if I might make their portrait. Making a total stranger comfortable in front of your camera makes it much easier to pose and photograph people you know or have come to you for a portrait.

That brings us around to today’s quote from Jack London.

jack london quote image

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go meet it.” Jack London
Update… 9/22 I found another version of Jack’s quote, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” I like it!

Go get it! What are you waiting for?

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

PS – I can’t remember the full story of one of the first books that grabbed my attention but I have a memory of being scared reading London’s ‘Call of the Wild’ What’s wild about you? go meet and embrace your inspiration

ppa imaging competition revisit

The wonderfully amazing surprising results from this year’s Professional Photographers of America International imaging Competition caused me to take a peek back at some of my older Loan Collection images. Here is a Loan print from my first print case, one of my first successes in competition.

study in orange and blue photograph

‘Study in Orange and Blue’ Earned PPA’s Loan Collection designation

For those that aren’t familiar with the PPA imaging competition an image will be reviewed by six jurors for the image to be included into PPA’s General Collection and be awarded a Merit. A Merit designation essentially means that the panel of judges felt that the image produced is above average work for a photographer with above average skills.

Once and image is awarded a Merit it is then reviewed by a different and larger panel of judges for inclusion into PPA’s Loan Collection. This is considered the best of the best and the work must be exemplary according to a majority of the panel. Usually less than 10 percent of the images entered into a competition will make it to the Loan Collection. It is an honor and I am proud to say that I now have 17 images in PPA’s Loan Collection.

I would have to say that participation in imaging competition has been one of the driving forces to make me a better photographer. Placing your images in front of your peers for review is nerve wracking indeed. It makes you look at your work critically and go over it with a fine toothed comb. This has been really good for my clients over the years because this attention to detail and pushing the creative envelope has made my client’s images stand out and help their businesses look better than good. My portrait clients have received more flattering portraits as well e cause lighting, posing and finishing of the portraits makes a huge difference in how people are perceived by the camera.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

PS – Next years competition cycle is getting ready to begin… Are you going to become a better photographer and participate? Start setting your best work aside in a folder so you don’t have to scramble when it’s time to start prepping your images. You’ll be glad you did. And so will your customers.

wonderful musicians

Man I gotta tell you I had a great night last night. Dinner with my wife Holly at Sound Bites Grill while listening to the music of Eric Miller and Ralf Illenberger. We ended up staying for all three sets because the music was soooo good.

We’ve heard Eric play in many different configurations with all kinds of musicians. I’m beginning to think he’s the ultimate musical chameleon. I’ve seen Eric playing in a rock and roll band, with a symphony, doing stage shows, a bit of opera, flamenco, composing and playing almost all the parts on a CD and much more. He has been collaborating with Ralf on a new album and they were debuting some of the new songs. I can’t wait for it to be released! They both bring lots to the project. Ralf was a pioneer in creating a unique guitar sound to the world back in the 70′s. Kind of a new age, fusion and fingerstyle all wrapped up in one sweet package. Eric brings his guitar skills and a voice that sounds remarkably like Sting – only better. Add the new lyrics and this is going to be a fantastic album. Watch for it!

eric miller with ralf illenberger photographed live in Sedona

Eric and Ralf live on stage at Sound Bites Grill. Both excellent musicians but the sum of the parts is much greater in collaboration!

Image captured with the Panasonic Lumix GH4 with the 35-100 f2.8 Lumix Vario Lens. Table in the foreground adds the reflection.

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob

Please remember purchases made through links help support this site and the information shared here.

macro macro photography

No I didn’t stutter in naming this photo blog post it just seems that way…

Macro macro was exactly what I was trying to say. I thought I’d take the macro photography to another place and see what happens. I used the Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f2.8 Aspherical mounted on the Lumix GH4 with a set of Vello Extension tubes (10mm + 16mm stacked) to see what would happen. Since I was trying to keep Weight down on the trail I used a MeFoto Backpaker Travel Tripod.

Some serious detail comes forward with this setup. I photographed this Yellow Desert Flower bud and love the detail I was able to bring to the image. Almost looks hyper-real.

yellow desert flower bud photo

I’d love to be able to tell you the specific name of this desert flower in the photo but there are so many varieties that look similar to each other… Ah what the heck let’s go with Yellow desert daisy bud.

yellow desert flower photo

Here is what our bud will turn into short of being eaten by wildlife or beaten into submission by rainy weather.

On the first image I added some sharpening using NIK Silver FX Pro2 and adding Structure and Fine Structure to the preset #4 High Contrast (smooth). Then I changed the Photoshop Layer Mode to Luminosity. Since I was shooting at a very high ISO 3200 because of the low light the sharpening also sharpened the overall noise in the image so I added a Layer Mask to allow the background to be soft while the flower bud was sharp.

Mix and match your photo tools, add a little post production to see what happens…

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

PS – Please remember using links to products from this page helps support the information being presented and shared