Categories
Digital Lifestyles Photography Workflow

The Nikon D300 Camera at Work

My job as a Still Photographer in the motion picture industry requires me to get the best possible images for publicity purposes. This requires me to constantly update my equipment when new and better technology is developed.

Such is the case with the Nikon D300 camera which hit the market in Dec 2007 and is now available without the waiting list that it had for several months. I had been using the Nikon D2x and the Nikon D200 cameras for several years, and a Nikon D100 and D1x prior to that.

Categories
Hardware

The Scent of a New Computer

Some people think that the scent of a new automobile is the most exhilarating thing around, but I have to think that the scent of brushed aluminum, fresh electronic chips, and computer plastic beats out the automobile category.  At least it does for me.

Categories
Hardware

Wacom Cintiq

For about a week now I have been playing with my new toy…no, scratch that, rather I have been evaluating my new Wacom 12" Cintiq drawing tablet. 

Categories
Hardware Photography

Camdapter by Jim Garavuso vs Nikon SLR Hand Strap

A former student of mine dropped by to show me his new Nikon D80 camera.  He stopped in because he knew my wife had the same model and he wanted some help with a couple of menu choices.

I noticed a handstrap on the right side of his camera, into which he slipped his right hand, which left his other hand free to support its long lens. This is a feature he uses frequently shooting sports and wildlife. Having just come back into the world of pro-weight cameras, and being older than I once was, I realized this might now be for me too.

Categories
Graphics Photography Software Tutorials

ImageWell

Free is good for about anything!  A well-made, extremely usable, and still free application is incredible!  Check out Xtralean’s website and navigate to IMAGEWELL.

First of all it’s available in fifteen different languages and…but what does it do, you ask? 

Categories
Graphics

Helvetica – What’s all that Hype about?

Can we say that typography, an art in the eyes of bibliophiles and graphic designers, can now be classified as art for the masses?  In addition to the release of Gary Hustwit’s documentary film Helvetica this past year, (which by the way my typography class rated really good, and no one was caught napping) the Museum of Modern Art launched 50 years of Helvetica back in April of 2007 and will close the exhibition on March 31, 2008.

Categories
Digital Lifestyles Photography Tutorials Workflow

Green Volcano’s Photon

Green Volcano has announced Photon 1.0.2, a digital image viewing and sorting application for Mac OS X. Photon has an intuitive interface based upon a stacks analogy to allow the user to quickly scan through large sets of high-resolution images. Photon can load images either from a hard disk or from a memory card.

Categories
Graphics Photography Reviews Software

Rawker: Keeping It Simple.

A friend recently received his new Nikon D300 camera, and as soon as he had a battery charged he went out picture taking and shot his images in the RAW format as was his usual practice.  He stopped off in his travels at a another friend’s house to show off his new camera and to share some of the test pictures.  Not satisfied with the small view on the camera back he sought to transfer the images to his friend’s Mac computer.

Categories
Commerce Digital Lifestyles

Be Successful: Make Mistakes!

When I was in college I can’t tell you how many times the subject of “what makes art–art” came up. Everyone had his or her own ideas and theories some of which I agreed with and some not so much. Of course there was the occasional “non- art major” who belted out with ” How can someone call that art?” when viewing a slide of one of Jackson Pollock’s paintings or my all time favorite – Mondrian. So what does make art, art? Well I have my own theories, one of which I discovered years ago when I came across what has become my all time favorite quote. It is something I have molded my own business and design theories around. Whether it would win an argument in the war room we used to call Art History 101 or not – I don’t know. But it has proved successful in turning an overnight freelance designer into a very successful design agency.

I took a huge risk for the sake of making art six years ago. After graduating from College I worked several years in design firms, including a magazine, a recruitment advertising agency, a design/printing firm and lastly as an in-house Art Director for a very large restoration company in Fort Worth, Texas. In my years as a designer for firms, I learned a lot about what makes the industry work and what doesn’t. It was a major time for me to become more than just average with the tools used to do my job. However, one of the greatest things I learned about advertising wasn’t the applications, or how to work under great demands and crazy deadlines. The most valuable lesson I learned is how quickly the design business can become mundane and no longer fun. Even more importantly how marketing under the direction of someone else can become nothing even resembling art. While I value very much my time spent in agencies, I know that my real learning experience came once I set out on my own.

When my family was transferred back to East Texas I had two choices. I could work for a small town ad agency struggling to make the “mom and pop” businesses’ of the world seem more than just mundane. Or, I could demand more of myself by setting out on my own, and take the chance to try to be successful creating real art for advertising the way I felt it should be. I chose to utilize the contacts and relationships I had built while in the industry in Dallas and Ft. Worth and get them to take a chance on me. Of course, the first year was scary, and many times I asked myself if I had lost my mind. However, after I got into the swing of things I realized without a doubt it was the best bridge I ever jumped off.

The thing I liked least about working for an agency was that I was given a certain set of customers to focus on, or in-house I was working to market the same business with only limited ways to sell. Trying to be creative and artistic in a redundant world was very smothering. I now have a client base of over 40 companies, ranging from investment firms to high fashion couture designers–and everything in between. Although some of my customers are, what you could call, “limiting” on the creative end, those who aren’t limited open up my mind to possibilities that carry over to those who are. There are no limits now to what I can do out from under the restrictive agency thumb. I can take risks and make mistakes all day and my boss will not fire me because “she” knows that from that will come art!

It has been six years now since I set off on my own and I have almost tripled my earnings from the agency days. I now have two programmers and two print designers contracting to me to take the overflow of work. Most importantly I am the only person I know that loves to go to work every day. So with that being said, I guess the term ” works for me” is appropriate when speaking of my theories of art.

I not only took the risk of venturing out on my own, but I use this theory every day in running by business. This is how I feel my company has become as successful as it is today. The most important thing to remember when designing–whether it is for your own business or at an agency– is… MAKE MISTAKES! Be free enough in your design to venture into new areas. Try new things, from new applications to new design techniques. Don’t steal ideas- that is lame–BUT do watch and learn from other designers, especially if you are on your own.

There is nothing like a brainstorming session to bounce things off the brains of other designers. If you are on your own, you may not have this luxury, so network with other artists and designers and search the web. Scouring the sites of other great designers, you can create your own virtual brainstorm session. Again do not steal designs. That is an insult. Use their work of others to inspire and spark fresh ideas of your own. Many times over the years customers have asked me. “How do you always come up with so many new ideas – I would have run out by now.” and the answer to that is that I make mistakes. I record everything, concepts, ideas, thoughts,–even if I may look back at them one day and say, “what was I thinking?” It is worth having the other 10 thoughts that may rock. Taking risks can create the most beautiful works and brilliant concepts.

The negative to working for a large firm or growing fast in your own design business is that you don’t have enough time to be creative because you are too busy cranking out the work. Never let this happen! Then you become a production mill and not a designer – definitely not an artist! Give yourself time to give your customers the “Best” you have. How do you know what is the “Best” if you don’t take to time to have some “Worst”? Not once in the last six years have I pitched concepts to a customer that they did not choose the first design out of the box. Why? Because every time I concept, I take the most risks on the first design. First, I try something new that the customer may or may not choose, but that I would choose if I were the client.

Then there is the trick of deciding what is worthy of putting your name on, and what isn’t. Some may say, “Why spend time creating something you won’t pitch?” That is what being creative is all about. I make sure nothing leaves my “outbox” or is posted to my betasite that is not what I consider the best I could do. Now I will admit that I look back at old work periodically and question my choice at the time? But this is because I am constantly studying, researching and forcing myself to take the time to learn new techniques and software, and venturing out into new areas of design. I feel that if I looked back and loved everything I have done in the past that I would definitely NOT be following my own theory of taking risks to make art.

This brings me to the inspiration behind my madness…

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” – Scott Adams.

And for all the Mac addicts reading this – I typed this article on my Iphone while traveling from Texas to Georgia over the Holidays. I too am a Mac addict. Of course that is a whole other topic!


Wendy Arnold
Arnold Graphic Design
http://www.arnoldgraphicdesign.com
Atlanta, Georgia

Categories
Books Photography Reviews Workflow

Managing Your Photographic Workflow with Photoshop Lightroom

Rocky Nook was founded in 2006 in Santa Barbara, California, and is closely associated with dpunkt.verlag in Germany. Rocky Nook is associated with, and releases books, through O’Reilly Media Company, hence the distribution through the O’Reilly address.

Rocky Nook specializes in books on digital photography, imaging, and workflow. Their stated goal is "to support creativity, and improve the quality and efficiency of photographic work".

The writers chosen by Rocky Nook are photographers with serious experience and a thorough understanding of the technical nature of the subject matter. I must also add, their writers have an ability to communicate clearly and logically the sequences of events they wish to explore, and equally clearly explain the reasons they chose those sequences.

In the case of MANAGING YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC WORKFLOW WITH PHOTOSHOP LIGHTROOM, their authors bring serious practical experience packaged in an extremely attractive format. It is a pleasure to me to hold a book in my hands that is beautifully printed, laid out in a manner that lends itself to lying open on a table (so that I can work from it without having to nail down the corners to keep it from curling), and finally is bound in such a manner that it will survive continual handling. Combine careful packaging with good writing and quality illustrations and you receive a full service for your money.

Categories
Digital Lifestyles Reviews Tutorials

Elgato Systems’ EyeTV Hybrid

I like to watch TV in bed at night. Sometimes I like to record what I am watching, but this involves getting out of bed, putting a tape in the recorder and getting back in bed. Usually I have to open a new tape by somehow ripping off the cellophane that has been adhered to the tape pack by static electricity (a force often stronger than I am), and by the time I have the tape in the recorder I’ve missed the first few minutes of what I wanted to record anyway.

Categories
Commerce Digital Lifestyles Photography

Still Photographers & the Film Industry

Still Photographers in the Film Industry shoot stills for the publicity of a movie and to document the film, and everything connected with the production of a film. Then the finished material will be usually be turned over to the studio which will be distributing the film so they can mount a publicity campaign leading to the release of the film. This includes, but is not limited to, a Press Kit (which is now a digital Press Kit), The Poster or One Sheet as it is called in the business, and exclusive photos for a particular magazine such as Time, People, Entertainment Weekly, etc.