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Monday, June 25, 2007

Photocast Network

A number of podcasting photography gurus have banded together, by the magic of technology and a willingness to ignore timezones, to bring us "Focus Ring" a roundtable discussion of all thing photographic.

I think the podcast is even stronger than those of the individual participants - one gets to hear differing perspectives on the same subject and the banter makes for a more entertaining show. If you only have enough time to listen to one photography podcast, this one is a good candidate.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

YouTube as information mine

Its come to my attention recently that YouTube is becoming a interesting resource for photographers and models. Whether its tips on photoshop, equipment reviews or advice for models, there are a number of people who are uploading informative video clips.

I recently cleared out my YouTube bookmarks. All the LonelyGirl15 and MarkDayComedy stuff is gone, to be replaced purely with stuff I have found that is relevent to models or photographers. Have a look - and if you also YouTube, add me as a friend or subscribe:

Jack Veight's YouTube page

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Photoshop Resources

Someone was asking me about Photoshop resources recently.

Digital post-production is a huge subject and one I could devote an entire blog too. Fortunately there are others who already have and theres lots of online material written about the subject online already, so I get to be lazy and point the reader at some of the better resources I have found.

Photoshopcafe has a decent selection of tutorials. Photoshoproadmap also has a tutorial section. Pslover, tries to index the various tutorial pages that are out there on other peoples sites into one searchable directory.

For the podcast literate there's the wonderful photowalkthrough, done by fellow briton John Arnold, which provides tutorials in movie version. Similar tutorials are showing up on youtube.

Finally, most popular photography websites (photo.net, photozo, tipsfromthetopfloor to name a few) have forums dedicated to either photoshop or digital post-production.

In fact, there's such a wealth of free resources available, I would probably hesitate to buy an e-book on the subject, even though I see them on ebay frequently. For paper books there's a wide selection and I hesitate to mention particular volumes. The best paper books are ones that teach by example, give you the before and after images, plus intermediate stages. In the UK, several magazine publishers produce supplements in this way.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

"Skin" by Lee Varis

I haven't blogged about books in a while so I thought I would do a write up on a great new book I have been poring over recently. Lee Varis has written an excellent book called "Skin" and subtitled - "The complete guide to digitally lighting, photographing and retouching faces and bodies."

Over nine chapters and around 400 pages, Varis reveals his techniques for producing great images of people. He has structured his book on the steps in the workflow process, so he starts not with the picture taking, but with a discussion on configuring photoshop software, colour management and calibration, important beginning steps that others would miss or stick in an appendix somewhere.

Although there is an excellent chapter on studio lighting, with example images and lighting plans, the major focus of the book is digital workflow using photoshop, so readers using film or 'lesser' software packages are not catered for. Particular emphasis on the kinds of edits one does when one is photographing people. Skin tone, smoothing and beautifying are covered in some detail and there are some more sophisticated topics too, such has how to fake a tattoo.

The book finishes with a discussion on rendering digital images to print and some parting speculation on future trends in photography.

The book is illustrated with full colour photographs throughout, helpful when Varis is using them to illustrate some relatively subtle corrections. The book comes with a helpful CD with tutorial files and sample images, with the edits applied in layers, so one can witness electronically and deconstruct the effects described in the paper book.

It is a good book for digital photographers who know their basics but want to really push themselves creatively and technically when taking photographs of people. I certainly used this book to help navigate me into areas of photoshop I have not really used before and it has been a creative source of inspiration as well. I would love to see a second edition with even more examples, but at $25 street price, its a worthy addition to the bookshelf.