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October 2008 Archives

October 1, 2008

Review: Epson P-7000 Multimedia Photo Viewer

By Joan T. Sherwood, Senior Editor

The new Epson P-7000 Multimedia Photo Viewer takes the same basic package of the P-5000, puts in a new screen (Epson Photo Fine Premia Technology), adds 80 more gigabytes of storage (160GB total), and includes a travel pack (case, viewing stand, car adapter, dual battery charger, cleaning cloth and a bit of clear film to protect the LCD). A new jog dial under the four-way navigator also adds convenience in menu navigation and browsing through large sets of images.  This review is based on a pre-launch sample unit.

By far the biggest viewer assets are the 4-inch, 720x480-pixel screen, large storage capacity and the ability to backup direct from media cards. The viewer is compatible with UDMA CF cards and Secure Digital/SDHC cards. Epson boasts a 35-percent increase in transfer speed over previous models, but Epson doesn't provide any actual transfer rates based on card types. The new model also offers a wider viewing angle, and display color that covers 94 percent of Adobe RGB.

The colors are, indeed, beautiful on the display, and there’s even an Enhanced Photo Display Mode that is supposed to optimize color based on the image content, but it seems more trouble than it’s worth—I couldn’t really see a difference. It may be more obvious if you’ve got a set of images that aren’t popping the way you’d like.

For pro photographers, the slideshow capability may be the feature that could make the viewer pay for itself in terms of potential on-location marketing. At events, meetings or civic functions—wherever there may be a dull moment—you can take advantage of the opportunity to draw a crowd and show off some images.

To create a quick-pick slideshow, use the star button to rate your favorites, filter to show one star or more, and choose slideshow from the menu.


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October 2, 2008

Review: DYMO DiscPainter CD/DVD Printer

By Joan T. Sherwood, Senior Editor

If you deliver CDs or DVDs as part of your product package, and you send them out the door labeled with a Sharpie or an adhesive paper label, you need to rethink what that’s doing to your professional image. The DYMO DiscPainter is an affordable option for imprinting CDs and DVDs in-house with your own design, even custom designs for individual clients and marketing materials geared to specific groups of prospects.

The DYMO DiscPainter is strictly a printer; it will not burn CDs or DVDs. The printer uses RadialPrint Technology, spinning the disc and moving it laterally under an inkjet print head that moves in one direction along the radius of the disk. It takes around 1 to 3 minutes to print a disc, depending on the complexity of the design.  

It comes with Discus for DYMO software, an extremely versatile and easy-to-use design application. It offers very smart automation features for design elements like arced text and photo windows. Most controls are simple sliders or drag-and-drop functions on the disc layout. You can choose colors from a palette, or opt/alt-click on a color in your photo to select the closest color from the palette.

You can choose to start a disc design from scratch or from a set of readymade designs in the Canvas tab. Add photos, text, symbols, shapes, freehand painting, gradients, patterns. You really have a practically infinite  design options. The software can import logos saved as transparent PNG files to overlay images or other elements. DYMO has excellent video tutorials online that show how easy it is.

Image ©Cheryl Pearson

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October 9, 2008

Book Review: A Digital Photographer's Guide to Model Releases

“A Digital Photographer's Guide to Model Releases:
An Important Reference Book for Understanding the Legalities of Selling and Using Photographs,”
by Dan Heller (Wiley, $29.99)

By Ron Eggers

Successful professional photographers need to not only be good at photography and have business sense, they also need a basic understanding of the laws involved in using their pictures. Whether shooting editorial, commercial or stock photos, photographers should know the legalities concerning the people in their compositions, as well as recognizable property.

That’s what Dan Heller covers in his book, “A Digital Photographer's Guide to Model Releases: Making the Best Business Decisions with Your Photos of People, Places and Things” (Wiley, $29.99).

As he says, it's important to understand the rationale behind the model release requirements in order to protect yourself from potential litigation. It's also important to understand what you can and can't take pictures of, as well as where you can and can't use those pictures.

Most people think that releases are simply for the photographer’s protection. That's not how Heller sees it. "The main objective of getting a release is not to protect yourself; it's to make the image more marketable to a broader range of clients."

He makes a recommendation regarding your thinking about model releases: “Adjust your way of looking at legal matters. They are not a series of rules, but a series of concepts." And while there are laws dealing with photo usage and release requirements, he says, "The legal realm of when model releases are required is hazy at best, as the principles are based on the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which [itself] is the source of many disagreements."

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October 13, 2008

Ted Kawalerski: The lure of the river

Making a 20-year passion flow to profit

By Martha Blanchfield

Photographer Ted Kawalerski’s new 60-image exhibit at the Beacon Institute in Upstate New York showcases his 20-year love affair with the Hudson River and life among the people who live along its shores.

When he began to photograph the river in the late 1980s, Kawalerski viewed the it as a personal project rather than a commercial endeavor. “As a resident of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., on the Hudson River 25 miles north of Manhattan, photographing the water and its surroundings was a natural,” says Kawalerski. “I would shoot whatever inspired me, and work on this project as much as my schedule allowed. There would be days, even weeks, when I could not break from my clients to pursue the river project, but I would always return. The pursuit became a creative escape where I could explore my photographic interests without boundaries.”

Navigating Kawalerski’s river
The Hudson River extends from Lake Tear of the Clouds in the Adirondacks to Lower Manhattan, a distance of 315 miles. Kawalerski’s collection of images, a 50-50 mix of landscapes and portraits, captures the essence of life in such river towns as Croton-On-Hudson and Tarrytown in New York and Jersey City, N.J.

“The images are gritty and show life the real way, which is not always beautiful. Each captures the essence of being in the moment at the site. The  Hudson River area is most often portrayed in a romantic and pastoral genre, and even though this is the pervasive context, there is a parallel reality of industrial and often decrepit shoreline,” comments the photographer.

Kawalerski often visited with each subject several times before lifting the camera. The result is a collection of stories told through the eyes of those who invited him into their lives. An important feature of this body of work is that it’s portrayed only in black and white. “I did not want to replicate any romantic painterly styles; after researching the photographs that had already been made, I discovered that there were very few collections of  black and white images. On a very basic and intuitive level, this approach always seemed right,” says the photographer.

©Ted Kawalerski

"Halloween Boxer" was made during a Halloween parade in Tarrytown, N.Y., where, along with Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., is the Halloween capitol of the world.

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Book Review: "Photoshop CS3 RAW," by Mikkel Aaland

Essential information for the working photographer

By Ron Eggers

There are more than 100 graphic file formats, but none as important to professional photographers as the RAW format. It's in a class by itself. Unlike the other image file formats, RAW files comprise pure captured digital data that has not been manipulated, optimized, processed or modified. Almost all high-end commercial work is done in RAW format.

“Photoshop CS3 RAW” By Mikkel Aaland explains and simplifies working with the RAW file format. RAW captures are a combination of the camera’s sensor data and the camera settings data needed to decode the sensor data into actual color images. With RAW, most of the settings and adjustments that are essential—such as white balance, color space, contrast and sharpening—are applied after the image is captured.

As Aaland points out, "RAW is often described as a digital negative. The negative in traditional photography is considered the underlying source from which any number of prints (or interpretations) can be produced." All the optimization and modification options available in the darkroom are possible with most image file formats, but the optimization of a digital image for print is limited by the quality and characteristics of the JPEG or TIFF file, just as it would be with a poor quality negative.

More precisely, the RAW file format is comparable to a latent image captured on unprocessed film—the image is there on the film, but until the film is properly processed with chemicals, there's nothing you can do with the image. Likewise, with RAW the captured image is there, but there's not much you can do with it until you apply digital processing to it to bring it out.

Continue reading "Book Review: "Photoshop CS3 RAW," by Mikkel Aaland" »

How to ... beat a fall season slowdown

Editor's note: The November issue of Professional Photographer magazine contains a super special "How To Do Everything Better" section. While you're waiting for that to arrive in the mail, here's one that couldn't wait until November.

The Halloween season is a perfect opportunity to do pure marketing in children and family portraiture. The kids dress up in their Halloween costumes and mom and dad are so proud! Seize the opportunity to market your studio to perhaps hundreds of families in a few days.

• Invite parents to bring in their children the day before Halloween for a “complimentary”—never “free”—portrait.

• Advertise in the newspaper, hand out flyers, put up posters. For the cost of a 4x5-inch print and a few hours, you can launch a successful marketing promotion.

• Don’t even attempt to sell additional prints unless asked. The goal is to give clients a sample of the quality and service your studio offers. Do use this opportunity to promote your holiday portraiture and build your client base.

• Arrange a promotion at a nearby shopping mall. Managers of large malls like hosting promotions that cost them nothing. You can even team with a third party, such as a children’s clothing store.

• Ask the manager for space to put up a portrait display on days your clients come to pick up their prints. You could even suggest they sell portrait sessions themselves at a special rate—you get the client, the store keeps the session proceeds as a finder’s fee.

• Include a certificate good for a family portrait during January in the Halloween print package. We call our promotion the January White Sale.

• Ask community-spirited local radio stations about doing a three-way promotion with their largest advertiser. The advertiser could add a 10-second tag to their usual radio spot to promote your portrait event, and the station could air a few free-standing spots as well. You could set up an on-site portrait studio at the advertiser’s business, which would bring them more traffic. When the prints are ready, customers could come to the site yet again to pick up the prints. Some people can’t make it that day? Then they can pick up the prints at your studio. More traffic for you!

—Bill Keane, “Beat the Fall Seasonal Slowdown: Marketing Children & Family Portraiture”
(First appeared in Professional Photographer, August, 2001)

About October 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Professional Photographer Magazine Web Exclusives in October 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

September 2008 is the previous archive.

November 2008 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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