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Social Media & My iPhone Camera

This last year I found myself on the road a lot.  I use some social media like face book to keep up with friends and interests.  Don’t share a lot of images or post my location because it leads to more targeted ads.  I also find it had to take my camera on the road with me.  I already have to take 2 laptops so to pack in a DSLR in my carry on gets to be a bit much.

IMG_1140.jpg

Still I want to take images on the road.  I decided to make some social media changes.  I changed my Facebook account to only my hobby interest.  I removed most of my personal information.  Deleted post that were not related to my hobbies.  Moved most of my professional contacts to Linkedin.   I decided to use Instagram for my photos.  Since the images I get are mostly from my iPhone I thought this was a good compromise

 

Now I take my photo and edit it in tIMG_1019.jpghe instagram app.  It actually does an OK job.  I use it mainly for snapshots to document where I’ve been or for goofy images.  I do try to post on a regular basis and I also use the instal reel app on my MAC.  I don’t use it for anything other than travel snaps while I am on the road for work.  If I’m working on a photo project of course I use my DSLR and Photoshop.

IMG_1304.jpgThe biggest disadvantage of my iPhone is the limitations of the lens.  The overall camera is actually decent for a phone.  To give myself a few more options I got the olloclip.  It’s a snap-on lens device that gives me 4 options.  Wide angle, fish-eye and 2 Macro lenses in one small package.  I can easily place this in my backpack and when I have time outside of work to site see I grab it and go.

IMG_1070.jpgThis little system will never take the place of my DSLR but it will give me some options when it comes to sharing my travel with my friends and family and instagram followers.  There are times I really wish I had my DSLR but when it is just not possible I have my olloclip and iPhone.  The images here are some of my instagram photos.  I haven’t had the account long but I hope to keep adding images from my travels.  Thanks for the read, follow me on instagram @PD_Images

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ToonCamera – Cartoon Movies on your iPhone

If you have seen those TV commercials that have cartoon like people and wondered how they created those realistic looking toons then this is your lucky day! There’s an app for that! The ToonCamera app for your iPhone does a good job creating cartoon like images or video without the need for expensive editing programs. There are several modes from color to line (pen & ink) style. This app is easy to use then import into your iMovie for editing. This fun little app has many possibilities and turns the everyday into a bit more fun and exciting. This app has simple controls and does have its limits but for less than $1 (USD) you really can’t go wrong. Go ahead you know you want to be a cartoon character!!
Thanks for reading!

The following movie was shot using ToonCamera and iMovie both on the iPhone 4S

iPhone App 8mm – Fun and Simple!

I found a fun little iPhone app and wanted to share. This app lets you take video and make it vintage. You can import or film straight from the app. It allows you to choose different types of vintage film. You can change the lighting to include center light, outer boarder, lens flare and others. The controls are simple to use just swipe to change. I think it has many fun uses. I took it to the zoo for a fun walk around safari. The only real issue I had was the control for shutter/flare is easy to touch and change while filming if you are not careful. But if you want to have some fun this is an app I really like and had a lot of fun making the video part of this post. Hope you enjoy my zoo safari!!

Thanks for reading!!

8mm Test Video

iStopMotion – Still images in Motion

I embark now on a new bit of photographic fun. Not only photo’s but video as well. I decided to play with iStopMotion. This was a very fun tool to use. The interface is simple and takes very little time to learn. Like those Claymation holiday movies this program creates a video from still frames. You position your character/object then snap an image. The program imports the file (if you have a web Camera/live view video camera you can see the image preview) then you move your character/object a little and take a picture. Repeat this process and your character comes to life.

The program has several tools to assist you like color correction and tilt shift controls. You can use a grid layout to help track motion. The program can also be use to capture time lapse photography. Additional tools like onion skin lets you overlay the current image over the previous on to insure you movement is fluid and not off. One of the other useful tools is the robo sync. You can for instance record an actor then use the footage to mimic the actors motion with the character/object. The program also comes with some preset foregrounds and backgrounds. Over all I say if you enjoy those old Claymation movies and want to create your own then you need to try iStopMotion.

Below is my first sample movie. I used iStopMotion then imported the project in After Effects to give it that night look and create the ghost. It was fun to make, hope to make another one soon! Thanks for reading!

The iPad is a great tool not just a fun new toy!

So I recently bought an IPad.  I thought it would be fun and I haven’t bought “new” technology when it was first released in a LONG time.  I usually wait a while until everyone else has one.  For example IPhone came out and everyone rushed out to get one what did I get… a blackberry.  For some reason this was different.  I saw the ad read the hype and just decided I think I’d use that!

As a photographer I already found it useful.  I uploaded samples of my images, my calendar, email and of course music.  I was at a workshop that I will be reviewing in a couple weeks (when I have time to finish a few more images) and a photographer took out his IPhone to show some samples.  So I took out my IPad to do the same.  The Model said and I quote “No way! You didn’t just whip out an IPad”.  It was a hit, everyone stopped to look at the thing.  I have since used it for another client to see samples.

You don’t have to have big files, smaller 600X800 72dpi files look great.  The only issue I have with the picture manager is that you can’t arrange your folders the way you want them.   I really see this as more than just an organization tool.  I can see this as being a stepping stone to a new breed of electronic portfolio.  Sleek look, lots of great apps and easy to use the IPad gets a gold star!!

Grunge Motel Workshop Review

Danny's Grunge Motel Workshop Review

Before I start the review let me just say workshops and training are different for each person.  You get out of them what you put into them.  That being said please use your own judgment on how the content best fits your needs.

The “Grunge Motel” workshop is unique for a workshop.  Many times workshops are all about portraits, glamour, products or fashion.  This theme was one I just wanted to do.  It doesn’t fall into the everyday images we tend to shoot.  So let’s set the stage for this experience as it is.  Start with a rundown motel that, when you see it, the last thing on your mind is stopping.  You walk in and you really don’t want to even touch ANYTHING!!  Imagine stained carpet, curtains that are painted to the walls…  furniture that is just falling apart in fact there was one room condemned by the city.  Now add a beautiful semi-nude/nude model to the mix and…

Jessica Vaugn

Well, before I get ahead of myself lets talk shop!  The workshop is done by Danny Griffin and is semi-private with only 2 participants per workshop.  You can see his work at www.dannygriffin.net.  We start with a handout going over the basics of the type of lighting, the mood, what we want to accomplish.  Then it is how to set your camera for this style of imagery.  Then we are introduced to model Jessica Vaugn.  You can see her portfolio at www.jessicavaugn.com or find her on several modeling sites.  She brings a variety of lingere’ and lets you pick the looks you want to shoot her in.  To top it off all of the items have a photo of her on the front so you can see exactly what she looks like wearing the item.

We began the shoot by setting our white balance.  A good idea for any shoot however most people tend to rely on “auto” white balance.  If you don’t know how to set this on your camera I suggest reading up on it and getting a grey-card.  The shoot lasted about 2.5 hours with several changes.  Between changes lighting modifications were made.  Most images are done with a single mono-light but we did add in a reflector as needed.  We( I ) also shot a few images using natural light.

Danny used a very experienced model as Jessica needed little direction to give us incredible images.  We used every aspect of the room, all the furniture, rather Jessica was on the bed or standing on the night stand. (luckily some of it was nailed to the wall!)  Safety was a concern as it should be in any shoot, but there was no stopping her from climbing on things to give us something different.  It helps to have a model that is experienced and willing to give her all!  We were not disappointed, she delivers.

Upon completion of the shoot we went back to the studio to edit time images.  Danny looked over our images and helped us pick out a few for editing.  He gave us a mini critique of our shots and some pointers on how to improve them.  He provides a layer file and gave step by step instructions on how to finish an image.  It took roughly 30 – 40 minutes to edit the first one and I was able to complete a second one while watching the other participant work on his.  Some of the others have taken even less time to do now that I know the steps and have the provided sample file.  I did learn some KB shortcuts (THANK YOU!) and how to use some tools I’ve never tried before.  My weakest area is photo finishing so this was a very useful learning tool for me.

Danny did allow us the freedom to try new things, we were not tied to a set agenda.  I was able to pop out the “Lens Baby” for a few.  In fact Danny barrowed it for a couple shots himself.  Towards the end while the other participant was shooting I put on my 35mm F/1.8 and got some nice natural light shots.  This was very different for me to shoot as I normally shoot commercial type images, 90% of them on white.  I wanted to do this workshop because it is so different in style and creativity.  It is not the everyday images I am use to.  Think outside the box, be creative and look at what you can accomplish.

Ok, now for the wrap-up… I don’t put a rating on my reviews because training and learning are different for each person.  If you are looking for something creative and different then this workshop is for you.  Don’t sign up thinking you are going to be in a controlled studio environment because you won’t!  Be ready to step outside the box and have fun.  The price for this workshop… we shot for 2.5 hours (shared time) so model fees alone would be at least the cost of this workshop.  Top that off with the instruction and a lesson in photo editing (Damn I need to learn those CS keyboard shortcuts!!) and you have a very reasonable price.  Total time was about 4.5 to 5 hours.  Workshop is highly recommended.

Still not sure… After posting some of the images I have been contacted by 3 different models wanting to do a similar shoot.  I have 2 of them scheduled in 2 weeks from this posting.  Lesson…the door to the studio lets you out if you just walk through it.  Take the chance and let it payoff in the end!!

VVS Workshop Review

VVS Workshop - Bobby Deal, students and model Kiti Kobain

Before I start the review let me just say workshops and training are different for each person.  You get out of them what you put into them.  That being said please use your own judgment on how the content best fits your needs. 

Vegas Vision Studio Lighting Workshops.  I first saw the promotion for this on a stock photography site in the forum.  I sent several questions to owner Bobby Deal and then check out his website http://vegasvisionstudios.com or on meetup.com.  The studio is a 6000 square foot commercial studio located in, as the name suggests Las Vegas Nevada.

They have 3 main photography studios an array of lighting and modifiers.  Photographers can shoot Hi-Key, Low-Key and also use the daylight studio as the situation calls.  There are lounges and makeup rooms for models.  Make up artists are provided for workshops or can be arranged for other projects.  Members of the meetup group can rent the studio setup with lights for $50 per hour.

I took 2 workshops over a weekend.  The first workshop was a non-instructional stock shoot out.  There were 3 models with multiple clothing changes.  Like I mentioned earlier makeup was provide by the staff MUA.  Even though it was non-instructional Bobby did assist when asked.  There was one person that bought his DSLR the day before the workshop.  Bobby spent quite a bit of time giving basic instructions and posing tips to make the experience good for a new photographer.

VVS Workshop - Jolene Hexx

The models for the day were great.  We kept them going the full day.  Each going from studio to studio always going us great shots.  I was able to get 400+ stock images and a few fashion type images.  All in all a full day of shooting.  I liked this type of shoot for stock because I was able to work with different models, try new things and could do some small group shots.

VVS - Sydney

Day 2 was a bit different.  We met at the studio but the workshop took place in Nelson Nevada.  A very interesting place to say the least.  In fact the main picture in this article is of Bobby Deal taking a shot of Kity Kobain (model) while being assisted by other workshop participants.  This workshop featured 6 models both male and female.  It was more of a fashion themed workshop again non-instructional.

Even though it was non-instructional we worked in teams and Bobby again assisted us as needed.  If you are a studio shooter this defiantly got you out in natural light.  Back to nature so to speak.  What a great location, so much to take in I think I could have spent several days there and still found new things to shoot.  Just when we thought we had seen it all Bobby loaded us up took us about a half mile down the road.  There we shot in old gold mines.   I also have some images from that shoot on my creative lighting article.
The second day shoot was just incredible for me.  I like trying new things and getting out of the studio, not having as much control was an eye opener.  The fun does not stop with the workshops.  After we finished and wrapped up the night life was great as well.  You know it is Vegas so there is a lot to do and no shortage of great dining places! 

I would highly recommend VVS Workshops.  The cost is very reasonable, the studio is setup well and the people are fantastic.  They offer a variety of workshops so check the meetup site often.  I’m not going to rate my review because I think each workshop or training is what you make of it.  Even though it works for me only you can say if it works for you.  I really don’t think you can go wrong here. 

Hope you enjoyed, thanks for reading!!