Chromasia Training: Blog

Digiarte 2012 (9th edition)
Posted by Dave in News & Announcements on Oct 11, 2012 comments and reactions

Earlier this year I was invited to take part in Digiarte 2012 (9th edition), an exhibition of smart phone photography in Sesto Fiorentino and Florence, Italy. The exhibition featured a range of my images, alongside ones from Zack Arias, Dave Hill, Seymour Templar, Misho Baranovic, Martino Pietropoli, Simone "brahmino" Bramante, Agnese Morganti, and Corrado Nuccini.

I don't know what devices, apps and software anyone else used, but most of mine were shot with an iPhone 4 and Hipstamatic, with a some additional editing in Filterstorm.

Here's how the project was described:

"The starting idea is: of course anyone can take a photo with a mobile device, but how can an expert photographer optimize his workflow using a smartphone?

Eye, Culture, Sense of Composition, Knowledge of Photography History and Aesthetic principles, the use of filters: How can these element affect the quality of a "mobile" photo?

Our aim is to exhibit mobile photos by famous (and non-famous) great photographers that sometimes drop the heavy stuff (but nevertheless do not drop their creativity, their sense of art and style) and take some good shoots using a mobile phone camera.

We invited artists who are active in any mobile photo communities, with both individual projects and works displayed within the big communities (e.g. Instagram, Hipstamatic, picplz, to name a few)."

If you'd like to find out a bit more about the exhibition, including a recent video, read on ...

Digital Workflow: 101 (What do you want to learn?)
Posted by Dave in News & Announcements on Sep 5, 2012 comments and reactions

I'm planning two series of short articles for this blog: one will cover digital workflow and post-production, the other, shooting (e.g. composition, depth-of-field, and so on). These aren't going to be complex, or exhaustive – anything that warrants a more detailed discussion will become a tutorial – but I do want them to be interesting, informative and useful.

I'll write another post about the Shooting: 101 series soon, but it's the Digital Workflow series I want to talk about here as I'd like your help to pick the topics. Here's an initial list: some are my own ideas, while others were suggested on Facebook earlier today.

  • Sharpening for the web.
  • Setting up a Photoshop workspace.
  • Configuring Camera Raw.
  • Using 'Blend If'.
  • 16 bit versus 8 bit editing.
  • Understanding the Apply Image command.
  • Using the Info Palette effectively.
  • Noise reduction techniques.
  • How to create and use Actions and Droplets in Photoshop.
  • Dodging and Burning.

Read on to find out how you can help to pick the topics ...

Which images should you convert to black and white?

I've spent a lot of time over the last few months concentrating on black and white photography, mostly because I was developing and recording my new course for Udemy: The Art of Black and White Photography, partly because I'll be running a one-day black and white photography and postproduction workshop during the GPP Fotoweekend training event in Dubai in November, but also because it's a form of photography I find enduringly fascinating.

For my Udemy course I cover a whole range of topics: how to use Photoshop to best convert an image to black and white, what makes some images easier to convert than others, how to make a range of selective adjustments using curves and masks, and so on. And I suspect it will be much the same for my GPP workshop.

The question I don't cover in much detail is the one I've used for the title of this post: which images should you convert to black and white? In other words, I don't want to talk about how to convert an image to black and white, I want to focus on why you should consider doing so.

So, why is it that some images look great in colour, but bland and uninteresting in black and white, while others are considerably more striking?

It's that question I want to focus on here.

How not to produce a promo video :)

On a good day – when I've planned exactly what I'm going to cover in a video, have rehearsed the order and phrasing in my head, and have all the images prepped and ready to go (and there's a strong following wind), I can record somewhere up to about an hour of video.

For my new Udemy course – The Art of Black & White Photography – things went a lot more slowly, mostly because I knew I'd be talking to a partly new audience. When I'm recording a video for our tutorials I don't always explain something I've covered in a previous video or tutorial, I take it for granted that either people will know it already, or, if they don't, I can refer them to the relevant source.

For my Udemy course then I tried to make sure that I explained everything, and explained it in a way that made sense in the context of the course as a whole. Now it's finished I'm fairly sure I managed to do that, but it took me twice as long as usual – I only managed about 30 minutes a day – and then only because I was working at least ten hours a day.

And the promo video took even longer!

Read on to find out why ...

The 'Spirited Community': Competition update

The 'Spirited Community' competition I mentioned in my last blog post, organised by the Isle of Jura, is now half way through.

The first four weekly winners (selected from almost 500 entries) have been announced, and have each won:

If you would like to take part, you have just another four weeks to upload your images.

Read on to see the four winning entries and find out how to take part.

The 'Spirited Community': with Jura, Olympus & Chromasia

If you enter just one photography competition this year, make sure it's the 'Spirited Community' competition organised by the by the Isle of Jura (one of the Southern Inner Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland).

All you need to do is submit a photograph and 50 word description of why it captures a sense of community spirit.

For the next eight weeks, the photo that gets the most public votes during that week will win the photographer:

At the end of the competition the three overall winners (one from the UK, one from the US, and one from the rest of the world) will win:

  • A week's all-expenses trip to the Isle of Jura, including a stay in the exclusive Jura Lodge and a VIP tour of the Jura distillery and island.
  • An Olympus PEN E-PL3 camera.
  • A one-day photography workshop on the island provided by David.

You can jump straight to the competition website below, or read on for the full press release.

If you do submit an image, please leave a comment to let us know.

The GPP Shoot-out, 2012
Posted by Dave in Workshops & Events on Mar 30, 2012 comments and reactions

Every year Gulf Photo Plus – the premier photography training company in Dubai and the Middle East – runs two major international events: one in March, the other in November. I've been lucky enough to be an instructor at every one since 2007 and have run workshops on various aspects of post-production (e.g. Creating Dramatic Images, Understanding the Curves tool, and Enhancing Portraits), a Landscape Photography workshop on the shooting and post-production of desert and urban landscapes, how to shoot the architecture of Dubai, a crash course in HDR photography, and a whole range of other workshops and seminars.

The November 'FotoWeekend' events are relatively small scale – around four of five instructors – but the March event brings together a much bigger group. This year there were 13 of us – me, Zack Arias, David Burnett, Greg Heisler, David Hobby, Chris Hurtt, Bobbi Lane, Joe McNally, Louis Pang, Martin Prihoda, Claire Rosen, Steve Simon and David Tejada – and, as always, it was a delight to meet up with those I know well and a pleasure to meet those who were attending GPP for the first time.

I could spend a long time writing nice things about GPP, including how well it's run by Mohamed and Hala and the rest of the GPP team, and could spend an equal amount of time writing about how much I enjoy taking part, how great it is to work with capable and enthusiastic students, and how much I enjoy taking photographs in and around Dubai ... but I won't, at least not now, because what I want to talk about in this post is one specific aspect of the March event: the shoot-out.

Read on to find out why ...

Critique Slot Screencast #7

If you're a subscriber to our photography and post-production tutorials you'll be familiar with our Critique Slot Screencasts. These are critiques of our subscribers' images, normally about an hour long, and split into two sections. In the first part I work through and critique the edit supplied by one of our subscribers – explaining the changes that were made, offering alternative solutions, and so on – while in the second I re-edit the image from the original RAW file.

For this image, supplied by Doug Stroud, the processing centred around Doug's creative aims. Specifically, whether it was possible to create an increased tension between the foreground and background: the happy/innocent children at play, offset against a moody and ominous background.

If you'd be interested in taking a look at a low-res version (730px wide rather than 1280px), and finding out how I would process this image, read on …

Welcome to our new blog!
Posted by Dave in News & Announcements on Jan 15, 2012 comments and reactions

Does the world need another photography blog? Probably not, but I'm going to create one anyway. Read on to find out why …