#PhotoSchool – Learn photography from the cool guys

There are so many ways to learn photography, with the plethora of online schools making study at home a pretty easy choice to make.

You should want to learn from those who make their living at it, though, then you’ll get methods that truly “get the money”
Famed photographer Michael Muller, and Patrick Hoelck have joined forces to create PHOTOSCHOOL They bring you, currently, over 60 teaching vids, with subject ranging from Fundementals, Natural Lighting, Studio Lighting, and Photoshop teaching sessions with the retouchers these guys use to deliver their assignments.

How many of you have met with the retouchers you need to finalize your work? exactly. here they are.

There is true gold here, and if you want to improve your commercial photography game, you should start mining that gold now.

They have also brought in some of their friends to give even more expanded insight.
Estevan Oriol, and Brian Bowen Smith bring you anothr perspective with their unique visions. Gotta be honest, I went to Estevans site and may make a purchase or 2.

When I say the cool guys, what does that mean? It’s not the clothes, or the hair. Nope. It’s the vision that is current and consistent with each one. Their style that is in shown in the work, makes them the cool kids.

These are the people that are shooting the magazine covers and movie posters today. This is who you want to learn from.
After going through a variety of lessons, I will say that the production value is a bit rough. No question.
Did they shoot it with an Alexa? nope.
You may be saying “why am I learning from these guys who aren’t lighting the lessons like a Hollywood movie?”
Because we are lucky they are revealing their secrets and tools, for only $25. a month. That’s why.
How about the Triple Key Lighting? Yeah, you didn’t know about that. Either did I.
Now you are going to learn about that and a ton more, just in the Studio lighting section.

When I started in the business I was an assistant photographer, working in a commercial studio. Then I went to university and studied photography, film and fine art.
What I learned from a working pro, I still use today. These lessons have already been schooling me in a very good way.

AND with each lighting lesson, you get to see the final shots, usually multiple models, with the tech data.Plus, if you have questions about something within the lesson, they will respond by email.

Here’s what you get, from the site:
Interviews
A great place to start; Our teachers share their about experience learning photography, and how they turned it into a career. Topic also include their creative process’, with plenty do’s and dont’s along the way.
Fundamentals
Our guest teacher Brian Bowen Smith apprenticed for legendary Photographer Herb Ritts for many years and has become one of busiest celebrity photographers in the business. We are honored to have him kick things off with some fundamentals.
Natural Light
Shooting with natural / available light is the most important skill to master when learning photography. Learn these looks and you’ll be able to get a great look in any location.
Studio Lighting
Studio lighting is about having complete control. From a cheap strip of halogen lighting form the hardware store to 15 strobes in a studio, you are responsible for every highlight, shadow, and reflection in your models eyes.
Note: Occasionally you’ll see a light or two set up, but not in use – don’t worry – our teachers will point out every light they’re using in each lesson.
Photoshop
Photo processing and retouching is an enormous part of creating an image, and unfortunately Photoshop is the most miss-understood, and miss-used tool available to young photographers. Jess & Andi are Michale and Patrick’s Photoshop guru’s. In these lessons, they will show you the exact techniques they use daily for movie posers and magazine covers.

Check out the preview above, see if it’s right for you google these guys and check out their work.
I’m telling you though, no matter how you shoot, you are going to learn some valuable lessons, that you’ll never forget.
I already have.
Check out PhotoSchool.com

Battery Life: It’s the worst!

I’m mainly talking about the smartphones.

You know these things filled with apps that have taken the place of your point & shoot cameras.
Snapseed, Camera+, PS, Lightroom Mobile, ProCamera, Hipstamatic, the Classic CameraBag, and of course VSCO. YOU probably have your favorite go-to’s.
And then there is the Instagram behemoth to post to.
Love me some Vine, especially now that we can shoot on a real camera, edit and post.
A little Candy Crush while we wait, FaceTime while we are away, and Hamster On Piano. Plus the cloud.
And the phone part. Love the phone part.
So… why the heck does my device start going into the red zone at about 2:00 PM????
Sure, years ago, my Motorola StarTac had a piggy back batt and didn’t do nearly what these handheld computers do.That grey ;ump on the back,is the extra battery.
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But when I want to shoot that concert photo,Instagram it AND call my friends for a meet up after the concert, that dreaded white spinning gear on a black background is inevitable. Power done. Phone shutting off. Shot about 230 photos and 4 vids at this event (no DSLR)
(Shot with an iPhone 5S, and Olloclip lens.)

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Yes, looking forward to the next iPhone, Samsung, Nokia,LG masterpiece, all who claim long battery life.
Really?
Check out this pile of batteries I own, and many I carry around in my messenger bag:
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Plus a cable, plug in charger, specialty charging card called Thinium. (love this thing!)

The big boy charges the phone about 2.5 times. Had it for about 3 years and yes, that’s a thunderbolt adapter on it. The tubular units like the Crayon one from Mimoco are good for maybe one full charge.There’s an Otter battery phone case, the Mophie is in the mix,even a Duracell unit that hold batteries.
Is that enough?
Not when I’m on a shoot.
So I carry a bunch.I’ll bet you do to.
Our sleek, sweet, cleanly designed smartphones just got tethered in the worst way.

What’s the solution?

The tablet. Specifically, the Mini tablet. 10 hour battery life. All of the apps, wi-fi, a larger screen to work with,and a better battery life. And if you like, no monthly fee, if you find your hotspots. Your call as to where you feel they are “secure”.
The CamRanger is a great tool when coupled with the iPad.
Or perhaps,the Apple Touch.40 hours of music or 7 hours of video playback on one charge.
The only issue is: It’s yet another device. When I see people hold up an iPad to take photo, it’s the oddest thing, but I get to see their sense of composition. It’s public as its taken.

Will the smartphone batteries get better? Hope so, but not sure how long that’ll take.

In the meantime, try these tips on saving battery life for Android, and iPhone.

And today,August 26th, Apple offered free battery replacement to certain serial # iPhones.

I know, I know. It’s a phone.
Not to me.

BigAcrylic: When Your Walls Need Some Dressing!

OK, who prints their images these days?
Not many folks, I know. It’s mainly on a screen.
But you can’t have naked walls. I can’t anyway.
So when I was in an edit suite a month ago, I noticed some very cool images,float mounted on the wall. All acrylic prints.
So I did some more research. Timing/luck prevailed and I was contacted by Mark Alper of BigAcrylic.
After discussing the process, I figured it was time to give it a try.
Not a huge landscape guy, I figured a shot of Neil Young I took at SXSW last year, would be a good first start of the test.
I sent off a 150 DPI jpeg of this image:
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What came back was pretty amazing.

a 16×24 print, made on 1/4 in acrylic, full bleed.
Perfectly packed, with frame mounting as good as some of my fine art prints, sans the brown paper wrap.
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Some things to note, however with Bigacrylic or ANY printing service: GIGO.
Know what that is? Garbage In, Garbage Out.
You have to start with a great file to get a great result. Sometimes that low res file that looks good enough on your laptop or, ugh, phone, won’t make the translation to a larger print.

Here is shot of the actual acrylic print I received. Please note that I shot this at ISO 2800 and 1/100 of a sec.
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(yes, there are reflections of objects in the print. I wanted you to know this is the actual item)

These folks do offer a pro service so you can test the files before committing to the huge print.
Honestly, what i kind of like about this company is that it seems to be a small firm doing quality work.
And of course you are going to ask: how long do these last?
According to them, Acrylic prints last 30 years in direct sunlight.
I’ll let you know.
By the way, they also print on metal.
And the owner,Mark Alper is very communicative and seems available to help.
OK, I run a website, but my gut tells me that the way he dealt with me, is the way he deals with all custy’s.
If this service is of interest to you,or your clients, he’s actually offered a 20% discount to our readers just by using the word “damon” in the coupon code section of the checkout.
Just go to BigAcrylic.com and check it out.

iKlip Puts Your Tablet Where You Need It!

Sure, the case on your iPad lets you prop it up, vertical or horizontal, but you need a surface to set it down on.
Or you get to hold it for indeterminate lengths of time.
When it’s a matter of sending txts or watching vids, checking email, or heck, even a little shopping, it’s not so bad.
But when you need to really rock the tablet to do actual work, like controlling your DSLR in a non tethered manner, using something like a CamRanger, how do you mount it?
We’ve been looking for the right solutions for awhile.
There is one out there that requires you take out your tablet out of the case and snap it into a backing, then use an expensive connecting device, which then goes to ANOTHER expensive connecting device. It does lock and load, and is very heavy.
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Then iRig entered the picture. The company makes items primarily for the musicians, but when they announced the iKlip® Xpand, it had to be checked out.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
First of all, it assembles very easily.
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Then it is heavy spring loaded adjustable, so I could even use my ancient iPad 1st gen, WITH case on, now relegated to camera control apps. Of course the new iPad air, mainly on the road with me, fits in the holder, WITH the case on.
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Made of high impact plastic, the ball joint allows for easy adjustment of angle, the rubberized back and clips insure a good, secure mounting.
I have banged it, shaken it, and bumped into it to see if there was any movement.
OK, not very scientific, but it replicated, what could happen, and all was secure.

Did NOT tip it over for a fall though. Nothing will protect the iPad then, BUT having the case on does help, as it absorbs some of the impact.
Have a look at this video for a demo.
How much for the iKlip® Xpand Universal

About $50

My other system cost me about $200+ for all the parts,and I had to get a new backing for the iPad air.
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Only thing i wish it had: a rubber cap on the end of the bolt that secures it to the light stand.
It hasn’t stripped the paint so far, but I’m always looking for non-marring connectors.

Olloclip 3-In-1 Macro: Extreme close-up photography in your hand

I love the Olloclip lenses. There. I said it.

There are so many ways to add lenses to that phone in your pocket , and I’ve tried a bunch. Forget the magnets, not a good idea to put one next to your camera. And the cases that have screw in lenses may be good (new ones coming) but a bit unwieldy when you want to get that shot, fast.

When it comes to quality glass lenses that fit easily on the camera,  have usually 2 lenses on a unit, come with a bag that can double as a lens cloth, and a full range of focal lengths from fish eye to telephoto, Olloclip is my product of choice. My shoulder bag has a compartment filled with the little lenses, ready to go anytime.

They  just come out with a lens for the iPad, but I wanted to share with you one of their products I’m having a blast with: the Macro 3-IN-1 Lens

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The beauty of this set-up is that is comes with a light diffusing tube, set to the perfect distance to get you a great shot, when used flat.

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and when the subject has a few more curves:

IMG_3719-11Basically , you just slip it over your iPhone camera lens, open the camera app, and you are good to go.

Give your Instagrams and Vine a whole new unique look with this lens, or any of the lenses in the line

And they have a case which is designed to protect your phone and easily fit the lenses on. Plus a piece swings out of the body to become a shutter release. The Olloclip Quick Flip Case

IMG_3751-32A Nikon lens detail

For $66 dollars , it’s a pretty cool solution to a fun shooting opportunity. I did find out that you really need to clean the itms you are shooting. When you get that close, you see everything. And I mean everything!

Yes, it’s only for Apple products, right now. As time marches on , I wouldn’t be surprised if the line was expanded.