Tag Archives: photojournalism

Putting glasses on your fisheye lens!

Aahh the love of wide-angle lenses is strong, but the disdain for cone-heads and straight lines that bend is even stronger. PhotoShop CS 5 allows you to correct lens distortion automatically. You no longer need a tilt shift lens to correct building convergence.  This hidden gem tutorial shows you how to correct the distortion, vignetting and coloration variations instantly. Shooting banners and panoramic images just got a lot easier. You can even save and share the presets for your camera and lenses to automatically correct. Love this hidden gem!

Editing video in PhotoShop extended

Ever want to add the same cool filters you add to still photos to an entire video file? You could apply a hand drawn effect to a video clip or liquefy a fan blade in motion you can. Video editing in PhotoShop extended gives you options to tone portions of your videos or entire video the same way you tone your photos. This Adobe.tv episode shows you how.  The best part is this feature has been around since Photoshop CS3 so no need to rush out and upgrade!

A new feature! Guest blogger Al Diaz

I had the wonderful opportunity to work alongside a fabulous talent during my stint in Miami, Al Diaz. Here is a brief Bio of Al who I hope will share content here with us on a regular basis. Following his bio is a wonderful Q&A featured on Al’s blog AL Diaz Photo. You can also find his link in my blogroll. Thanks Al, welcome to the HSSC blog! – Hill

 Miami photojournalist Al Diaz is a member of The Miami Herald news team that won the Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for the newspaper’s coverage of Hurricane Andrew and the McClatchy President’s Award for Journalism Excellence for coverage of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. In 2010 he was awarded a Green Eye Shade Award for sports and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for portraits of disadvantaged families during the holidays in 2003. Over the years, Diaz has received numerous honors from various journalism organizations.

Back in the day, when shooting on film for the Miami Herald, photographers often made film runs for each other to meet deadline. The photographer would continue shooting while the first batch of Tri-X would get processed in our lab. On this day I made a run for Brian Smith at a late night press conference. There was Brian all set up with light stands and his portable Norman 200B’s on either side of the makeshift platform assembled for the speaker. I was amazed at how he would go through so much trouble to light up such a mundane event. No one else was doing it.

Q. Brian, what motivates you to strive for the extraordinary in your work?

A.It’s probably just my mid-western work ethic showing through. If you’re going to do something – do it well.

Q.Who influenced you most in your career?

There are a lot of photographers who I look up to for different reasons. Gregory Heisler was a mentor for his expertise in lighting and the thought he puts into his portraits. George Hurrell and Irving Penn were two of my favorite portrait photographers. No one has ever captured Hollywood glamour better than Hurrell and Penn’s portraiture continued to evolve through his remarkable career. Elliott Erwitt’s photographs prove that photography is a great way to share a smile. Elliott loves what he does and it shows in every photograph he takes.

Q; You travel for days at a time and work long hours including weekends. So often that puts a strain on a marriage. How do you balance your busy schedule and family life with Fazia?

A.I’ve been extremely lucky to be able to work and travel with my wife Fazia for the past 20 years. You really need a crew on most portrait shoots and she’s so versatile that she can do anything from hair & make-up to styling to production on our shoots allowing us to work and travel together as we collaborate on everything.

Q. What is your relationship with Sony and why?

A. I’m one of seven photographers in Sony’s Artisans of Imagery program. We speak at schools and trade shows around the country. Sony approached me when they were developing their pro a900 camera. They gave me their previous camera and asked for feedback. I was blown away by the quality of their Zeiss lenses, so I gave them a list of what I thought should be included in the new camera. When the new camera came out with all the stuff I asked for I was even more impressed that they asked what they should do next.

Q. You have a talent for impersonations, has that ever helped you put a subject at ease?

A.Getting your subjects to laugh can really help the mood of a shoot, but since many of the people I shoot make people laugh for a living, I never try to upstage a professional. Of course it’s a huge compliment when you make a comedian crack up.

Q. How did you begin to conceptualize the ART & SOUL book project?

A.Kayla Lindquist of Sony approached me with the idea for ART & SOUL which was to partner with The Creative Coalition to photograph stars during Oscars Week 2009 and get them to write in a journal something about what the arts means to them. From our very first shoot of Tim Daly we realized we’d struck gold. So we just kept shooting and building upon the idea. When an incredible great project gets dropped in your lap, you’ve simply got to take it all the way.

Q. Start to finish, how long did it take you to complete the book?

A.The book was shot in 20 days over a 15 month period. It then took another 6 months to get our publisher to green-light the book and then production took another 6 months for me to edit, retouch and lay the book out.

Q. Did all your photo sessions for the book go as planned? Better than I could have possibly imagined. There was something really special about this project from the very start. Because the project was about the arts, so we naturally focused upon that first defining moment when the arts clicked for them. Even the most celebrated star were transported back to their first school play when their biggest stage was shared with school assemblies and their entourage and stretch limo were their friends in the back of mom’s minivan.

Q. Regarding photography equipment used for ART & SOUL, what’s in the bag?

ASony a900 camera Sony Zeiss 24-70/2.8 lens Sony Zeiss 85/1.4 lens Sony Zeiss 135/1.8 lens Sony 100/2.8 Macro lens PocketWizard Transceivers

Q. What’s your advice for a young photographer?

A. Learn to work with people. If you’re going to be a photographer you have to know how to work with people. The best advice I was ever given was to go out and shoot portraits of 50 strangers that reveled something about who they were. It’s an exercise that I’ve done throughout my career.

Q. Do you always hang out at nudist colonies?

A. Just for work…the true joy of portrait photography is meeting all types of people and finding a way to tell their stories. Sports Illustrated called with the best words a photographer can ever hear are “We have a shoot that is perfect for you..” the only way that gets better is if their next words are “Nudist Golf…”

Art & Soul: Stars Unite to Celebrate and Support the Arts By Brian Smith, Robin Bronk ART & SOUL is a large-format glossy coffee-table book, featuring intimate portraits of celebrities from the entertainment industry including film, television, music and stage. The stunning images, shot by Pulitzer prize-winning photographer Brian Smith, are accompanied by personal testimonials from each artist expressing the importance of the arts in our culture and the positive impact it has on our lives. The notes – in each artist’s own handwriting – range from whimsical to weighty, but all offer insight into the individuals background and how their lives were shaped by art. Celebrities photographed for the book include such luminaries as: Anne Hathaway, Samuel L. Jackson, Adrien Brody, Adrian Grenier, Kelsey Grammer, Joe Mantegna, Alyssa Milano, Harry Belafonte, Amanda Peet, John Turturro, Kerry Washington, Zooey Deschanel and many more. The book is created in partnership with The Creative Coalition, the premier public advocacy charity, founded by prominent figures in the entertainment industry. It is an important part of a campaign to focus national attention on the need to ensure that arts in America thrive and flourish. A terrific gift, ART & SOUL helps to support the arts, inspiring future generations of creative artists.

Moving forward in time.

Today’s tutorial is a really neat age progression tutorial.  This one takes a bit of time but what  cool tutorial if you want to create a wicked witch! Have fun!

 

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From J-School to the private sector in 30 days

From J-school to the private sector in 30 days

While commercial work is considerably different from journalism, there are fair amounts of similarities in the art departments. Quality production is a mutual goal as well as the need for technological savvy.  The tools used are the same but most photojournalists PhotoShop skills are limited by an ethical  wall that keeps them at a rudimentary level. My challenge to photojournalists and newspaper photo editors is to venture over the wall to boost your skills. I’m not saying throw ethics out the window!

I am saying make yourself marketable to other industries. The needs of the private sector dictates another set of goals for the images you produce. No longer are you solely charged with producing accurate creative representations of news events. This new landscape depends on your ability to create moods and feelings to promote an idea. That is not always possible with just your camera. It means venturing onto the manipulation side of the PhotoShop tool palette. The world beyond burning, dodging, cropping and toning is rich. Everything I teach my visual communications students, I taught myself through useful and creative tutorials.

Over the next 30 days I will share my favorite over the line tutorials. I will use the tag J-P30 so you can catch up on the tutorials when you have time by visiting the tag cloud and clicking on it.

So here’s today’s the face shattering effect. This is from 10steps.sg a great tutorial site to add to your bookmarks!

Learning is a great way to lead

One of the things I enjoy as a manager is learning from the people I work for, my staff. Servant Leadership is a whole other post. What I mean is I approach every relationship from the point of view of information sharing to make the business better.  That said I have to do my part, bring something to the table to share. The only way I could do that as a Photo manager, was to keep my skills sharp. Reading articles practicing tutorials and staying up on the latest innovations of our creative craft.

One of the things I believe made me a credible manager in their eyes was that throughout my career I had done every job I asked of them. I knew what it was to freeze your butt off on stake out. I knew how hard it was to carry a ton of expensive gear and keep it safe in the most precarious of situations. I knew how frustrating it was to have done all of this and not get one image into the paper or online.  I honestly felt their pain, for lack of a better Clintonian phrase.

So at 33 years old when I took the helm of the department, there was a certain amount of trust given and respect earned, from my earlier years in the business.  My new task was to keep that respect in my new role. As a personal goal, I committed to learning each skill, even if only in a rudimentary fashion, that I asked my staff to learn. Often I allowed them to learn and then teach me.  This step down from the lectern to put on my student cap accomplished two things. First, it made me understand their work style better. Secondly, it gave them  more casual access to me as a person not a manager.

The conversations we had during these sessions were priceless. They were able to share inefficiencies with me in a way that was not seen as complaining. Slow computers, designers wanting images to be resized for every possible use in the future and unsearchable archive databases that crashed on deadline were all revealed to me in these personable interactions. In return, I offered software tips and shortcuts, best practices and support. I also, most importantly, took notes on their frustrations that I actually investigated, followed up on and in many cases fixed. Sometimes finding a way to buy a faster computer, with no capital budget requests being accepted, can change an employees’ whole outlook toward their work and the company.  My advice is to step away from the desk from time to time, go learn from your staff and keep your ears open when you do.

Keep your first-born when renting equipment!

In this era of tight budgets creative directors are challenged with how to get projects photographed on a budget. There is always stock art but that doesn’t work if you need your own products or people photographed. Local freelancers are a great way to get agency quality photography without paying for the agency overhead and someone’s Christmas bonus. There are downsides to hiring a freelancer. The first of course is hiring a good one for your needs. I can help with that, as I have an extensive list of contacts all across the country. That’s a perk of having been an AP photographer. The second is the astronomical cost of photo and studio equipment for photographers, who are great but don’t have all the gear they need for your job.

“Well, I’m here to tell you, there’s something else”…. A  place that will help recreate the light of the sun. No not the after world, but I do love that Prince Song! Lensprotogo.  Gone are the days of having to give up your first-born and a huge deposit to rent gear! You only pay for your rental and the rates are extremely reasonable. I rented a new d7000 for 6 days for 137.00 dollars. It arrived on time in a pelican case for protection and even included a Tootsie roll pop! The only issue I had was they sent one lollipop and I have two little girls. Apart from the sibling wars. I couldn’t ask for any better customer service or pricing.

Yes, photojournalism is great training for business!

In his book, “A Whole New Mind,” Daniel H. Pink makes a great case for the artistic mind in today’s business world, I agree. I am often asked “How relevant are your photojournalism skills in business and new media?” I refrain from the puzzled look then respond, “Extremely!” You need to be analytical, social, open to change, part geek, part therapist and part artist. I am a trained photojournalist, experienced manager, MBA and professor. The first career trained me for all the other accomplishments.

Photojournalists are typically the gadget geeks in the newsroom. This lends itself to ease of learning when faced with new equipment and software. We have also navigated a series of industry changes. The transition from dark rooms to PhotoShop, the near death of the film camera and learning to shoot and edit video all while producing quality audio required a lot of flexibility. The photographer in me has learned to be a Jack-Of-All-Trades and master of many! Simply put, successful photojournalists are fast creative problem solvers with technological savvy and people skills.

Photojournalists have to deal with an awful lot on an assignment. We need to document the news visually and be artistic about it. We meet and relate to new people every day.  Often we deal with people at the single worst moment of their lives, so empathy is a given. Building relationships quickly gains us the trust needed to photograph naturally apprehensive subjects. The deadline pressure is often insane, so the fast pace of new media suites us just fine.  Did I mention you need to find ways to get into places that are not necessarily safe for the general public, and avoid injury or equipment loss?  I’m not going on the record about how useful these skill are! Suffice it to say I’ve been hit by a NASCAR  and still made the picture. We are professional, behaving appropriately on Air Force One.  Photogs are natural competitors, comparing our photo play daily in news outlets across the country.

Photojournalists do much more than this. We have breadth and depth of experience that easily translates into today’s tech heavy business world. New media, no problem.  With the trials of the newspaper industry, it is worth it for photogs to consider a new path. So colleagues, while this is a trying time for photojournalists across the country, have no fear there is a place for your training in the private sector! Employers, it may just be time to start hiring “A Whole New Mind.