Monday’s Video Failure

Alright, so things didn’t go quite as expected and I didn’t end up getting to post the video today. Nothing major, just a couple of technical issues but it will be live tomorrow. Really, it will.

So for today, I thought I would pass along a couple of really great deals from my friends at B&H Photo in order to hold you over until tomorrow. After all, it is Cyber Monday!

That’s it for today. Be sure to come back tomorrow and check out the video! Really, it will be here… trust me. 🙂


Black Friday Deals and Travel Madness

If you were celebrating yesterday, I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and ate way too much food. Unfortunately, it’s that time of year again. The time in which people who seemed to have lost their minds wander out into public in search of a great deal. They get up early, camp out all night, and do whatever it takes to get the best deals possible. Pushing, shoving, cussing… manners go right out the window in hopes of scoring that awesome deal on this year’s wonder gift before the person behind them gets it first. It’s madness… plain and simple. But I digress.

During the busiest travel weekend of the year, I thought I would leave you with some great photography deals that you can find from the comfort of your bath robe and slippers while leisurely sipping a cup of coffee. C’mon, who really wants to wade out into those crowds anyway? Not me!

So here’s some awesome deals on cool photo gear from my friends at B&H Photo in NYC:

I thought the photo above was fitting, given all the travel going on around the US this weekend. I captured the image with my iPhone on my flight home from Chicago a couple of weeks ago. Processed it with The Best Camera… man I love that app!

I hope you guys have a great weekend! Relax, eat lots of leftovers, and get out and make some pictures! On Monday, I’ll be back with a video tutorial on my basic photographic workflow in Lightroom! See you guys then!

Tuesday News Stuff

Good morning and Happy Tuesday! For most of us, the work week is almost over as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches. So right in theme with the short week, here’s a few news snippets from things going on around the industry.

  • Nikon has released an iPhone app for photographers called “Learn & Explore”. It’s a free app and you can download it from the App Store on iTunes. Here’s the link to Nikon’s website were you can read up on it. Check it out!
  • Speaking of Nikon, the latest issue of Nikon World Magazine features Jennifer Concepcion, wife of RC Concepcion, on the cover. She is a dancer that was photographed by Joe McNally. RC is looking for several copies, so if you happen to have one you don’t need let me know so we can get it to him. 🙂 Here’s the link to Nikon World.
  • If you’re into plug-ins, OnOne Software has released the latest version of it’s suite, Plug-In Suite 5. They have improved their already awesome plug-ins and they are sure to be a big hit with the photographer on your shopping list. Here’s the link.
  • Scott Kelby has released Part 1 of his 4th Annual Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide. Be sure to check it out because this year he added a lot of lower-priced items which is great! Of course, there are still a few on there for that brain surgeon you’re shopping for. 🙂
  • Yesterday, WordPress featured my blog on their homepage and drove a lot of traffic to my post from yesterday. Thanks to the WordPress folks for considering my post and blog worthy enough to be on their homepage. I left all the comments up – good, bad, and indifferent.

That’s it for today. I hope your day goes well as we cruise through the halfway point of the week before gorging ourselves into turkey and stuffing oblivion on Thursday. 🙂

Pinup Shoot on a Destroyer

No, I’m not joking. Earlier in the month I had gotten in touch with Dave Cross and RC Concepcion about taking a tour of the ship and doing some shooting while they were in town for the Adobe CS4 Unleashed Seminar that they taught last Friday. Dave asked me if it would be okay to bring a model on board and shoot a 40s-style pinup shoot. I thought, “Why not?!”

So I cleared the shoot with the powers that be and made sure no one would get upset. We weren’t going to take too long and we tried to be as unobtrusive as we could, but we drew a lot of attention from folks walking down the pier, other ships, etc.

The day was bright and sunny and it was about 2:30 in the afternoon, so we were going to be competing with the sun. Luckily, RC brought an SB900 with him. Those little flashes are VERY powerful and we were able to shoot mostly with just that one flash. We did have to bring in an SB800 for this shot though, because we were at f 22… yikes!

RC – VAL’ing for Dave while he shoots.

When all was said and done, everyone had a great time and we were able to capture some great images. Hope you enjoy ’em and let me know what you think in the comments!

Here’s to a short work week! Have a great Monday!

A Few Words About NAPP & Kelby Training Live

As most of you probably already know, I’m a NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) member, and have been for 2 years now. I can’t tell you in this blog post (because it would be too long) how valuable membership is, but I’ll do my best to keep it short and sweet. In a nutshell, I almost feel bad that I only pay $99.00 per year for my membership because what I get out of it is worth WAY more than that.

First of all, a NAPP membership automatically gets you a subscription to Photoshop User magazine, which is $9.99 at the cover price. You get 8 issues per year, so with just that your membership almost pays for itself. All I have to do is add in the fact that I don’t pay for shipping on my camera gear when I buy it from my favorite store in New York, and my membership has already paid for itself and does so each year.

Second, the resources available to NAPP members are incredible and the amount of training that comes with your membership via the member’s website and forums is incredible. I’ve got a one-stop resource for anything that I want to know about Photoshop and Lightroom.

Third (and last I’ll mention today), is the discounts available for NAPP members to any of the Kelby Training Live events. For most seminars, you can save $20.00 off of the already low price. And conveniently, this brings me to my next point.

Yesterday I attended my first Kelby Training Live seminar, the Adobe CS4 Unleashed Seminar and it was incredible. It was a full 5 hours worth of extremely helpful and valuable information on the entire Creative Suite. Dave Cross and Rafael “RC” Concepcion covered InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, and Flash. The price of the seminar was $39.00 (because I’m a NAPP member, $49.00 for everyone else) and again I felt like I wasn’t paying enough for what I was getting. Everyone who walked through the door received a copy of Layers or Photoshop User magazine as well as the CS4 Suite Integration DVD by Dave Cross, valued at $70.00. So right when you walk through the door you’re $30.00 ahead.

One of the other great things I liked about the event was that even though there were books and DVDs available for purchase, it was all soft-sell. By this I mean that every time you walked past their table at lunch or on a break someone was there to help answer your questions and you could make purchases, but there was no pressure at all to buy. At several seminars I have been to, companies want to sell as much product as they can and they push their people hard to do so. Definitely not the case at Kelby Training Live events.

The day before, I brought Dave and RC out to the ship to give them a tour and we did a little shooting. More on that on Monday! Dave and RC are a couple of really great guys and I enjoyed dinner with them and a few of the NAPP folks after the seminar last night.

If you’re not already a member of NAPP and you’re use Photoshop, Lightroom, or any of Adobe’s products I highly recommend that you join. You’ll certainly be glad that you did! See you guys on Monday for some rockin’ photos and some details behind ’em!

Photoshop CS4 Down & Dirty Tricks Review

Have you ever wanted to know the inner workings of Photoshop? You know, the nitty gritty tools and techniques that will let you unlock the true power of Photoshop, allowing you to create graphics and photos that you see in commercial advertising? Are you ready to move beyond Camera Raw, color correction, blemish removal, skin softening and other retouching? If you answered yes, then you should definitely check out Scott Kelby’s book, “Photoshop CS4 Down & Dirty Tricks“!

This book ruffled a few photographer’s feathers when it was first released because some had the perception that this would be down & dirty tricks for processing images. While there are some very cool photography-related tutorials in the book, it’s mostly about graphical elements and there’s even an excellent chapter on working with 3D images in Photoshop CS4 Extended.

Scott covers a lot of ground here and he breaks everything down, explaining it step by step so that you can easily follow along and learn techniques used by major design firms to produce a lot of what you see in print commercially. Speaking of following along, you can even download the images and graphics he used in the book so that you can see exactly how each step you perform affects the final product precisely as it’s done in the book. This is HUGE in my opinion. Then you can take those same techniques and apply it to your own images and graphics.

Q: So why would I want (or need) to learn this stuff anyway?
A: I don’t know about you, but I like to have as much control as possible when it comes to designing flyers, business cards, and other materials for my photography… including my website. Learning these techniques can give you the opportunity to do more for your clients as well as save you some money on graphic design services. Not to mention the fact that the techniques taught in this book open up many new doors in Photoshop and give users a better understanding of the program’s inner workings.

So if you are looking to learn more about Photoshop or if you’re a graphic designer looking to get an edge on the competition then I highly recommend this book. I know I will be putting a lot of what I learned to good use and will have a lot more fun doing it. Just a reminder, in order to work on the 3D chapter you have to have Photoshop CS4 Extended as the standard version doesn’t include the 3D options.

The price of the book is $35.99 and you can pick it up for that price over at Kelby Training. Happy reading!