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January 2009 Archives

January 1, 2009

Supplement: Product Lighting Diagrams

In the January issue of Professional Photographer magazine, Stan Sholik demonstrated three different types of product shot. Each required a lighting setup that fulfilled the needs of the client, including budget and time restraints, and that suited the intended purpose of the photograph and its eventual use.

Here Sholik provides lighting diagrams for each final image in the article. Click the diagram for a larger view.

Images and diagram ©Stan Sholik

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Liquid Lamination Versus Film Lamination

Compiled by James “Jim” Tatum, VP, Drytac liquid coating division

What are the pros and cons of film lamination versus liquid lamination/coating?

200901we_drytac_liquid.jpg 200901_drytac_rolls.jpg

There are many types of laminating films with adhesives that range from pressure-sensitive (cold) to heat-activated (thermal and heatset) and base films made up of PVC vinyl, polyester (PET), polypropylene (OPP), polycarbonate, and others.

Liquid laminating systems also come in many varieties. Some liquids, such as aqueous and solvent coatings, are cured using ambient,  forced air and/or  sometimes infrared heaters, while UV curable coatings need UV lamps to cure (harden) the liquid.

When we consider the many reasons for lamination, it becomes clear that the answer to “film or liquid” is not so simple. We over-laminate an image, print, photo, poster, banner, brochure, book cover, for any of several reasons.

To protect and preserve:
Prolong the life of image to be laminated
Protect the image from fingerprints, smudges, pollution, graffiti
Protect the “message” on printed post cards from the mail system’s sorters
Protect bus wraps from weekly washes

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Canon EOS 5D Mark II wins best digital SLR in PP’s 2009 best product awards

200903we_HotOne_logo_09.jpgProfessional Photographer’s annual competition to determine the hottest products on the market has always been fierce, and its tenth installment was no different. Canon's EOS 5D Mark II, with its groundbreaking full-frame HD video capability, was the most highly anticipated camera model to be released this year, and it impressed the judges enough to secure the win the Professional Photographer’s 2009 Hot One Award in the highly contested Digital SLR, $1,000 to $3,000, category. The Nikon D90, which was the first DSLR to feature HD video, landed a tie with Canon’s EOS Rebel XSi in the Under $1,000 slot.

Every year, Professional Photographer magazine opens the Hot One Awards competition to hundreds of professional products, from cameras and software to online services and studio gear. This year 60 photographic products and services won first place in their category. The Hot One Awards received more than 325 entries from 180 companies—the largest competition in its 10-year history. Check out the 2009 Hot One Award winners now. CLICK HERE.

Supplement: RadioPopper PX

Overcoming the drawbacks of infrared wireless systems, the new RadioPopper PX can be an extension of your wireless flash, and your creativity. Mike Fulton and the crew at TriCoast Photography provided great information about how they use the RadioPoppers and what a difference they make in our January issue of Professional Photographer magazine. Here are some more examples of behind-the-scenes and the final results.

Behind the scenes:

Cody Clinton is shooting and Cindy Williams acts as the lighting assistant at this "Day After" session on a Florida beach. The sun is coming in from the left to right across the subjects’ face, so the lightstick is being used as a fill light to even out the shadows. In the final result, the very shallow depth of field is thanks to the High Speed Sync settings—something you can only get using this method and part of what makes the TriCoast photographers prefer it to PocketWizards.

Final image ©TriCoast Photography:

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Audio Interview: Anne Geddes

Some mothers of newborns photographed by Anne Geddes are tempted to call her at 3 a.m. when their infants are screaming. That’s because just as Tiger Woods makes golf look easy, Anne Geddes makes putting babies to sleep and photographing them look effortless.  Geddes may have a natural talent for working with children, but there are more than 25 years of experience and hard work behind her iconic imagery. In this excerpt from Professional Photographer magazine’s exclusive interview with writer Lorna Gentry, Geddes shares some of her methods and tips for photographing babies.

Listen to the interview. (mp3, 3 minutes, 30 seconds)

Read Geddes remarkable story in the January issue of Professional Photographer and hear her inspiring keynote speech at Imaging USA, January 11-13 in Phoenix. 

©Roy Emerson


Review: Nik Sharpener Pro 3.0

By Mark Levesque, CPP

Image sharpening is one of those things that can truly elevate an image, yet it remains a bit of a black art. Photographers who wish to enhance their ability to sharpen in an intuitive, powerful and controllable way should take a look at Nik Sharpener Pro 3.0, a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop or Apple Aperture.

This latest release of Nik Sharpener Pro improves on prior versions with a new interface (very familiar to those who own other current Nik plug-ins), as well as the incorporation of the powerful U Point Technology for selective application of sharpening. The ability to add presets means you get fast, one-click workflow options tailored to your own eye, and batch processing is a snap.

The consensus of those who study sharpening is that a two-step sharpening process with both input sharpening and device-specific output sharpening yields the optimally sharpened image. Digital capture inherently has softness due to the low-pass filter that’s typically used to fight moiré. Reversing this loss of sharpness in the capture process is one of the first tasks to perform in image processing, and Sharpener Pro 3.0 offers a RAW Presharpener to do just that. Note that this is intended for use on RAW images that have not been sharpened in-camera or with a RAW converter. JPEG images already have some sharpening applied, so they do not require this step. This input sharpening process is perfect for actions and/or batch processing, and can be easily incorporated into your workflow without adversely affecting processing time.

Nik's RAW Presharpener is designed to reverse the loss of sharpness at capture due to the low-pass filter that's typically used to fight moiré. (Click for larger view; image ©Mark Levesque)

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Tutorial: High Dynamic Range, Even With Moving Subjects

By Gavin Phillips

High Dynamic Range Imaging  (HDR) enables you to capture stunning images that display all the vivid color and contrast that is usually only visible to the human eye. You cannot duplicate HDR by manipulating a single RAW image in Photoshop.

©Gavin Phillips

Business Applications

Contrary to popular belief, you can photograph people and moving objects using HDR. It requires more editing time in Photoshop, but not as much as you might think.

This significantly broadens the commercial applications for you in your business. You can offer your wedding clients unique images of the church and select outdoor locations. Your commercial clients will see the enormous differences between HDR and regular digital images.

Offering HDR also separates you from the competition, but more importantly, places you far ahead of the ever-growing amateur photography crowd.

©Gavin Phillips

How to take an HDR Photograph

HDR images are created by taking 3, 5, 7 or more photographs at 1 to 2-stop exposure increments per photo. The photographs are then merged into a single image.

I shoot sets of 5 or 7 images at 1-stop increments. I generally shoot in sets of 5 for outdoor locations during the day and sets of 7 for indoor settings, like churches or hotels. The darker the scene, the larger the set of images. Ideally, you want shadows blown out in the overexposed image and highlights made dark in the underexposed image.

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First Look: Imagenomic Portraiture 2.0

By Don Chick, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, D.C.Ph.

Imagenomic Portraiture 2.0 has arrived, and with the new version comes some exciting improvements. For those who’ve been using v. 1 of  Portraiture, the upgrade will be exciting for at least two reasons. First, registered users of Portraiture 1 will receive a free upgrade to v. 2. Second, new enhancements to the software give the portrait photographer even greater control and creative possibilities. If you’re not a current user, now’s a good time to give the program an honest evaluation. Imagenomic extends a 15-day, fully functional trial use period. The final image will bear a watermark, but that won’t prevent you from seeing the results this software can achieve.

One nice feature of Portraiture 2 is the new history control. Users now have access to an unlimited number of history states, along with resizable thumbnails. Users will also appreciate the capabilities in the Enhancements section. Sharpness, softness, warmth, tint, brightness and contrast all have sliders for independent adjustments. Using theses controls enables you to enhance the look of an image beyond the initial capture.

Image ©Don Chick

In the example above, I have increased contrast and added a few points of brightness. The result is a much higher contrast image than the capture. When there’s a check in the Use Mask box, the enhancements are applied only to those areas selected by the skin tones mask. With this box unselected, the enhancements are applied to the entire image.

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January 19, 2009

Lighting a Space Effectively and Efficiently

By Jim Benest

The following is partially excerpted from Andrew Darlow’s "301 Inkjet Tips and Techniques: An Essential Printing Resource for Photographers" (Course Technology, PTR).

There are many ways to light artwork. You can choose different types of light (traditional halogen, fluorescent, LED and others), and many different strengths and focus types (direct, indirect, spot, flood, etc.). These tips offer some suggestions for lighting a commercial gallery, but the suggestions can be used for any location where artwork will be displayed, such as a doctor’s office, home or office building.

TIP 229
Determine how many pieces you will put on each wall.

Depending upon whether you will have one piece in the center of a wall or three or more stacked (like in our gallery), your lighting will be different. Also consider the mood you want to have in the space. You can choose from dark ambient lighting with dramatic spotlights on every piece of art, or you can select a more broadly lit effect, as we use in our gallery.

A view of one side of The Collective Fine Art Gallery, with multiple types of lighting shown in the track lighting system. Photo ©Andrew Darlow

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Using Technology to Take the Edge Off Recession

Video products, image repair, press books and unique output and display options

By Sara Frances, M.Photog.Cr.

How can you break even in this economy and even be profitable? Now’s the time to apply technology to the task. You already have an advantage with your devotion to high-quality posing and lighting and attentive customer service. Your allies? New pro camera technology, unbelievable software, sleek lay-flat press books and many other innovative digital products that consumers haven’t seen before and don’t have access to. Pick products and equipment that boost your capabilities into the must-have category. Be bold, and make this downturn your opportunity to re-tool your studio and master cutting-edge skills.

The idea that photography and videography will overlap and eventually merge changes the role of photographers as imagers. We’re looking at the possibility of capturing images for stills, video, prints, publication, signage, Web publication and electronic media. The future lies in cameras that take both still images and video, such as the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. The Canon 5D has been an event and portrait industry workhorse, and with the new 5D Mark II, we’ll be able to provide an outstanding array of new services thanks to the video capture. Think news reporting, public relations, forensics, medical, surveillance, product demos. Think of markets far broader than you’re accustomed to. Think of exciting 30-second shorts for YouTube and Facebook, not to mention commercial Web sites.

Wedding and event photographers are already getting into cooperative ventures with videographers to provide seamless, one-stop coverage. Be very choosey about who you pair your name with; look for a professional video company with skills that match your own. The shaky-cam stigma of amateur video will do your reputation no good.

Proficiency in the latest Apple Final Cut Pro video editing software with its added motion and color modules will catapult your video into Hollywood status, but it does takes time to learn. We’re finding significant interest in video, and very affordable DVD instruction and presentation by all sorts of small businesses. The trend is very much toward motion picture PR rather than stills, and not just because companies have opted to choose one or the other for economic reasons.

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January 20, 2009

Tutorial: New Adjustment Panel in Adobe Photoshop CS4

By Ellis Vener

Modern raw processing software is very capable. You can use it to manipulate both global and local tone and color; remove some image defects; and create Web galleries, Web-ready JPEGs, and prints. What does Adobe Photoshop CS4 (PsCS4) still have to offer the busy working photographer that these products—particularly Adobe Photoshop Lightroom—do not?

fabulous parties! It ALL begins in January, join
This tutorial covers the update of one of the more powerful Photoshop tools—layers—in conjunction with the new Adjustments panel (what we used to call a palette). If you do not already use layers in your way of working with photos, then you should, and PsCS4 makes working with layers and masks far more user friendly than before. Working in layers gives you the power to make progressive changes to an image without losing track of where and when you did what, which in turn makes it far easier to fine tune the photo and, as necessary, revisit a step. If you follow the strategy advocated by R. Mac Holbert of Nash Editions—work on global processing first before solving localized problems—and keep the layer stack tidy, you can substantially shorten your image processing time. The new Adjustments panel is a great boon in this respect.


There are 13 Adjustments panel options—Brightness/Contrast, Levels, Curves, Hue/Saturation/Lightness, Color Balance, Black and White, Photo Filter, Channel Mixer, Invert, Posterize, Threshold, Gradient Map, and Selective Color.

Access each option through the icons in the Adjustments panel. Clicking on any of the icons creates a new adjustment layer for that effect, including a built-in mask, and converts the Adjustments panel into the menu pane for each. To return to the main Adjustments view click on the arrow in the lower left corner of the pane.  

Starting with a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II raw file made by former PPA president Jack Reznicki, the photo was opened in Lightroom 2.2. White balance was set to Flash and capture sharpening was done in Lightroom. The image was then exported as a 16-bit per channel TIFF using Adobe RGB (1998) as the color space, and opened in PsCS4, as seen below.

Image ©Jack Reznicki

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January 21, 2009

Rev. Joseph E. Lowery as Captured by the Nikon D700

©Ellis Vener

On the day after the 2008 presidential election, Professional Photographer magazine technical editor Ellis Vener photographed Reverend Joseph E. Lowery using the Nikon D700. Reverend Lowery delivered the benediction at the Jan. 20, 2009, inauguration of President Barack Obama. You'll find Vener's review of the Nikon D700 as compared to the Nikon D3 and D300 in the February issue of Professional Photographer magazine.

Review: Tamron SP AF10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di-II LD Aspherical [IF] Lens

If you can live with a few limitations, Tamron’s new 10-24mm can fulfill your wide-angle needs, big time.

By Ellis Vener

Sometimes you find yourself in need of an ultra-wide zoom. The Tamron SP AF10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di-II LD Aspherical [IF] is a really good, not quite great lens that fits the bill for landscape, corporate and perhaps some architectural photography. Although designed for formats smaller than 24x36mm, from 13.75mm to 24mm, without the included lens hood, it covers the full 24x36mm (Nikon FX)—for a price around $499.

The optical path consists of 12 elements, three of them molded aspheric glass designs, two others hybrid aspheric designs. There are two LD elements, similar to Nikon’s ED elements. Internal flare and reflection are well controlled, even when there are light sources in the frame. I tested this lens with FX-format Nikon D3 and D700 camera bodies and a DX-format D300 body; with the exception of some slight purple fringes, or blooming, around light sources, chromatic aberrations are virtually non-existent.

©Ellis Vener

Size comparison: Left, AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED; center, AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G IF-ED; right, Tamron SP AF10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di-II LD Aspherical [IF] lens.

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About January 2009

This page contains all entries posted to Professional Photographer Magazine Web Exclusives in January 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

December 2008 is the previous archive.

February 2009 is the next archive.

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

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