Fully Integrated Workflow

By Mark

I recently was asked “how often these days do I still actually work in Photoshop?”  It took me a while to think about that, and realized that the question itself focuses on the wrong thing.  I’ve written several times that I do more than 90% of my editing in Lightroom, but I do 100% of my creative work in Photoshop, or Illustrator, or even on my iPhone and iPad.   

Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa

Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa

I really started looking at the question and thought about something said at last year’s Photoshop World, and came to the realization that Adobe really saw the future and moved to embrace it. I now believe that the question itself is really wrong.   We now want access to all of our photos and digital life; wherever we are and expect the tools we need to just be there.  Lots of people complained bitterly when Adobe shifted to their Creative Cloud subscription model.  https://www.adobe.com/creativecloud.html

People were used to paying every 18 months or so for a major release of new features for their desktop applications.  By the time you figured out what all the new features were, it was time for a new release.  Now they update the apps all of the time, and send out easy to digest tutorials on the new features.  

Two years ago they released LR mobile for the iPad and iPhone, then a flood of other mobile apps, including Photoshop express.  Most of them for free.  

Last year they introduced the cloud portfolio and it has all come together.  You take an image on your phone, tag it, and it updates to your synchronized LR portfolio, automatically.  You see some colors and patterns you like and snap them with Adobe Color and Adobe Brush and you have them available as a palette for your next project when you get home and sit down on your multi-monitor workstation.  

You can shoot tethered into your laptop and have your clients see the results almost instantly via their tablets wherever they are and they can provide you feedback.  http://scottkelby.com/2014/my-first-studio-shoot-using-lightroom-mobile/

Getting back to why the original question of how often I work in Photoshop was the wrong question.  Thanks to Adobe, I don’t really think of what program I am using, but rather what function am I trying to accomplish.  Since all of the Apps are linked through the cloud, I can just pick the tool I need, do whatever I need done, and move on.  I know when I save the changes I’ve made that my LR catalog is updated and that I can get to those images and those changes wherever and whenever I want.  It’s a very cool and very new world.  I believe we are still just on the edge of exploring what it means.  

It's Snowing

By Roger (2 March 2015)

So, it snowed, again, this weekend. It wasn't much this time. This year, in northern Virginia, we've had a decent amount of snow – for our area. We can't compete with New England's totals, but we've had a couple storms that put down enough to cause some havoc with traffic and the school schedule. (My wife is a teacher, so I know the impact, first hand.) Many of my fellow citizens are tired of it and wishing for Spring to arrive quickly.

Me? I like the snow. During my travels with Uncle Sam, I lived in Alaska and Bavaria, so I have lots of experience with it. We have, even, used vacation time to go visit snow.

Kenai Fjords, Alaska

Kenai Fjords, Alaska

This is a scan of a slide from 1989, in Kenai Fjords, Alaska, and the boat is 80' long. This was a 50mm, the “normal” lens for a SLR film camera. I didn't have a wide angle lens, so I couldn't get the top of the glacier into the frame. The blue color of glaciers is caused by the compression of the snow creating such a density that the red wavelengths of light are filtered out; only the blues are passed through. That's a lot of snow.

The world looks different when the white stuff starts flying. This weekend, I went out before our snow started to melt. The cold temperatures had kept the latest snowfall light and fluffy (as opposed to wet and slushy), but the sun and wind had were beginning to do their work. Although I was out early, another photographer beat me to the scene. He had crossed the ice to get onto a little island in the creek for a shot that most people would never get of the snowy bridge across the creek.

Another crazy photographer

Another crazy photographer

You can use the snow to for inspiration to get outside and find those photographs that no one else will go out for. You might have to dig around to find some extra clothing to put on. You will need adjust your exposure meter to compensate for the brightness. You have to be careful because it's slippery. Are you going to let these trivial things keep you from making photos? Am I beginning to sound like I'm channeling Matt Foley? Sorry, I watched the re-union show and got carried away.

Old Town Manassas

Old Town Manassas

The point is to take advantage of opportunities to add variety to your photographs. The snow and ice will give a new look to the familiar places you've photographed many times. For those complaining that there is nothing new to photograph, this stuff is made for you. Go get it.

An early freeze

An early freeze

I use the snow to try new things. I own a 105mm lens for portraits; however, it is also a macro lens. I rarely use it for that because my main interest is people. I've always liked the photos that macro photographers produce, but I have problems creating anything that knocks my socks off. The snow and ice give me opportunities to keep plugging away.

Sometimes the new things are photo concepts that, again, I rarely employ. The photo below has lots of “negative space.” Like everything in photography, there are variations in the definition of negative space. We'll do a more complete description in a future blog. Here the negative space is the all the snow around the plant.

Negative space can create moods and change a viewer's approach to your photo. Imagine a photo of this plant in May, with all the grass and weeds around it. The plant would be lost in all the other noise. Here the negative space simplifies the photo and demands the viewer's attention. Again, these are not the types of photos I usually take, so I enjoy the variety.

Negative space

Negative space

I hope I've convinced you to get out and take advantage of any snow you've been suffering through. The white stuff can present you with some variety and fun in your photography. If you think I'm just crazy for going outside in these conditions, that's alright, too.

___________Follow-up from last week______

My last blog wasn't so much a rant about amateurs versus professionals, but the fact that, in so many areas of our photography world (and the “real” world, too), labels are a two-edged sword. We've all seen non-paid photographers with work that is breath-taking and paid photographers with work that is sub-standard (at least, in our opinion). The labels are imperfect because they are so subjective.

I guess, I could have written that I don't think labels are useful or accurate, but, then, I'd have needed to come up with a different blog topic. As you can tell, I'm passionate about this one. :-)

Just a Photographer

By Roger (16 February 2015)

In the dictionary, the word “amateur” has several definitions; the primary definition is: “a person who engages in a study or other activity for pleasure, rather than for financial benefit or professional reasons.” Yet, as we journey down the other uses of the word, we find the one many seem to think is the first meaning: “a person inexperienced or unskilled in a particular activity.” I hope you'll embrace the primary definition and the “correct” use of amateur.

Most people who love photography will never make a living from it. You may get a little money, now and then, when someone offers to hire you or buy one of your prints, but you probably aren't going to recoup the expense of your gear or post-processing software. (Don't even get me started on the value of your time.) However, “Amateur Photographer” seems to be a less-than-glorious title for what most of us do.

I'd love to lead all the (Hobby?) photographers in a great movement to recapture the true meaning of amateur and give it back the respect it deserves in the language. Will you agree to join me? Can we get everyone together, say next weekend, and start this international movement? Hello??? Yeah, probably not. ;-)

Do we need a title that embraces our love for photography and let's the world know we are serious about our work? You can find lots of them out there, but do they fit you? Visual artist seems a bit pretentious. Part-time photographer doesn't seem to effectively convey the dedication with which we pursue our passion. Freelance photographer sounds dashing and mysterious, but most freelancers, actually, are trying to make a living, so it doesn't really fit.

This drive to differentiate serious, but mostly unpaid, photographers from “professionals” seems pretty silly when you write it down in words. We've all seen plenty of amateurs who consistently demonstrate their professionalism in techniques and quality photography.

Yet, for some people – many who own and use camera gear – this matters. Too often, these are the same people who are serious when they bad-mouth any camera equipment that doesn't match their own. My recommendation is to avoid this whole scene. Why waste your time arguing about this stuff when you should be out pushing the shutter button?

As always, I'm into photography for enjoyment and to improve my techniques. I am a photographer. Period. Come on out, and shoot with us. We don't care about whether you're an amateur or beginning a new career, as long as we're all having fun.

Just a regular photographer

Just a regular photographer