Articles written by Robert K Baggs
Two things converged for me recently: an increase in questions sent to me regarding my commercial photography and the unexpected popularity of my bite-sized Photoshop tutorials. Both occurrences are born from the same inquiry of understanding how certain things are achieved. I used to bother people constantly with questions on how I could attain a certain look in post-processing, or how an image is so sharp, and so on. From time to time, I still do. So, I'm going to do my best to make the answers to the most common questions readily available with this mini series.
For us English folk, Spain has been the go-to summer family holiday location for decades. So much so, in fact, that I'm almost repelled by how familiar it is to me. Then, this morning, I received an email from Peter Jablonowski of FilmSpektakel informing me that he and Thomas Pöcksteiner produced a time-lapse of the Spanish island Tenerife and all my preconceived notions melted away.
One of the most obvious telltale signs of an unprofessional commercial or product image is color. The most famous and readily cited issue is color grading, but it's not the only problem and the uniformity of color is often neglected. That is, the even color of the object or two objects' colors truly matching. As always, I will couch my method in the sentiment that it may not be the optimal technique, but it works very well for me.
Generally speaking, losing detail in your image is a bad thing. However, there is a creative way to do so that is most commonly employed in cinematography, known as "crushing the blacks." I alluded to this technique in my recent article on creating your first Photoshop actions and I received a number of queries about this technique. This article will give you a brief overview of what the effect is used for, why you would use it, and how.
Everyone and their Auntie seem to sell Photoshop action sets these days, as if they're the answer to something. I'm primarily referring to action sets which create entire "looks" for your image, but there are uses for actions which are less comprehensive and arguably more useful. For example, I use an action for sharpening my images which creates a layer I can lower the opacity of or mask until it is satisfactory. Actions like these are easy to create and can result in accrued time saved. This guide will ensure even people whom have just picked up Photoshop for the first time can create actions.
I remember when I first started photography, I'd try and find out what lens and camera had been used for every photograph I liked. I was convinced that if I had that combination of glass and mirrors I would be creating masterpieces. Unfortunately, that train of thought is closer to smoke and mirrors, and I soon knew better. Curiously, however, I now think there's some truth to it, and that truth was revealed to me by a lens that is now my secret weapon.
Us photographers are bizarre creatures. It is as if holding a camera exchanges the focus of your preservation instincts from yourself to the camera and lenses. The camera's tunnel vision sometimes appears to extend to its user and all that matters is what is in that frame. Perhaps we are brave and valiant artists capturing beauty in whichever obscure corner we find it. Then again, perhaps we are idiots seeking notoriety through the capturing of the unique and the rare; the jury's out. Whichever answer -- or anywhere in between -- this common mentality among 'togs yields entertaining anecdotes.
Every year Getty Images releases their forecast for visual trends in the coming year as chosen by "visual anthropologists" who have analyzed vast quantities of data. This forecast not only predicts trends that will influence every facet of the creative industry, but the forecast itself has immeasurable impact on design, advertising, and myriad other formats of visual media. On behalf of Fstoppers, I spoke with Pam Grossman, Director of Visual Trends at Getty Images about trends and the coming year.
Ad hominem is often the type of fallacy rolled out when Trump has come under-fire for his misogynistic quotes in the past. The problem is, Trump's words about women and his political acumen are not easily separated out. This wide-spread difficulty has lead to backlash manifesting itself in a number of ways. One of the recent and most powerful ways has been Student Aria Watson's photo series.
If I'm brutally honest, I felt as if I'd become a bit numb to time-lapses. There's a sense in which the bar has been raised so high of late, that it's difficult to create anything that's likely to capture my attention (not that anyone's trying to). However, if there's one place that can deliver over and over again, it's the frozen tundra that feels as if it has been designed by a landscape photographer: Iceland.
The race to conquer new frontiers of innovation is not a new event, but it is well known. What can be learnt from history about these types of competitions, however, is that it is not always to the winner go the spoils; the lightbulb and telephone are infamous examples, but the moving picture can be added to that list.
2016 has been a year that has seen Joey L plunged in to unusual situations. His name is usually associated with is masterful lighting and portrait style of A-List celebrities. Then, in October this year Joey reached out to me about his work for the legendary Lavazza calendar which a more travel orientated series of portraiture. Now, Joey has gone one step further and taken his beautiful image style and applied it to a crisis in Qayyara in Iraq.
The arts — very much including photography — under the umbrella of expression and free speech can explore the boundaries of what is acceptable. Often these boundaries are harmless and prompt little more than a debate regarding the meta of the relevant discipline. Occasionally, however, the debate is darker in nature as the boundary being pushed is one of moral significance. The photographer and director David Hamilton was somewhat of a permanent resident of such debate and his suspected suicide recently has brought a number of questions to fruition.
The fallout from the recent election has been tantamount to a natural disaster and shows no signs of slowing down quite yet. To say that Donald Trump has had a mixed reception would be somewhat of an understatement, but as a positive person -- whose vote didn't see them on the winning side -- one might feel compelled to initiate Operation Silver Lining. In the face of adversity there is usually one opportunity for the (hardened) photographer: journalistic coverage of events.
I don't care much for Halloween; as a miserable Brit, it's all a bit odd to me. However, if Canon is going to offer a 15 percent off coupon code, I'll dress up in costume (read I'll wear a hat or non-matching socks) and celebrate with the best of you. The code is at the bottom of the page; please pretend to read my words while en route to it. I'll know if you don't.
For as long as there has been business, there has been networking. If you read any book on business or entrepreneurship it's immediately apparent that people and relationships are the cornerstone of success. It will come as no surprise, therefore, that the merit of social media is huge; this is well-trodden ground and tiresome. However, I feel compelled to promote one aspect of online networking that has separated itself from the pack for me.
Since I fell in love with portraiture I've daydreamed about traveling the world to take pictures of people. It's not a unique dream and it's not an overly farfetched dream, but it isn't a job that often comes up. One of the ways in which artists get commissioned to do something along those lines, however, is the Lavazza Calendar. It has seen the likes of Mark Seliger, Annie Leibovitz, and Steve McCurry behind the camera for them in recent years and this year, Joey L got the nod.
When LG invited me to their OLED exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London, my ears pricked up. This is for two reasons: the first is that a couple of years ago, I wrote a piece on OLED lighting and how I think it will change how photographers light their subjects in the coming years. The second is because, well, I love technology. LG's OLED 4K TVs and monitors are the epitome of digital clarity, and while I suspected that to be the case, seeing it in the flesh did more than confirm my suspicions.
Photography as a sector has been affected by shifting technology as much as – if not more than – any other industry. The biggest change is undoubtedly the availability of cameras compared to 50 years ago, with almost every human in the Western world having a camera within arm’s reach every waking second. This is met with nothing but doom and gloom by the commentators on the professional photography industry, but is all that negativity justified?