Tutorial: HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography

HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography is a fairly new trend in digital photography. It’s also one of the most exploited and poorly used techniques when placed in the wrong hands. The positives of HDR certainly outweigh the negatives. It can elevate a photo to an entirely new level with added clarity and detail. Two things we can all appreciate in a photo.

This video will show you some of the steps taken to transform a nice photo of Jackie into a really nice photo of Jackie. She made Paradise Bikini look great down in Negril, Jamaica. Thinking of Jamaica makes me hungry for some jerked chicken. I really have to get my hands on that food again. So. damned. tasty.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkUgND3PEu8[/youtube]

Photography workshop in warehouse

Photography workshop in warehouse

dunellen_models_warehouse_IMG_1624_2011_06_16-Edit.jpgThe five of us (Eric Gautier, Kelly Formus, Richard Flores, and Andrea Figueredo) got together in June 2011 for another photography workshop. This time it was in an abandoned warehouse. Vacant warehouse. We had two models named Aamira and Heather. Andrea handled makeup duties and did a fantastic job!

I try to keep my equipment bags as light as possible, so I once again shot with Canon Speedlites. Since I shoot in full manual mode, even with flashes, I have total control over each exposure. I can appreciate Canon’s E-TTL function, but I still prefer manually setting all of my equipment when I have the luxury of time.dunellen_models_warehouse_IMG_1863_2011_06_16.jpg

The warehouse was massive, so each of us could should wherever we wanted without getting  cramped. Toward the rear of the building stood a huge brick wall which turned out to be one of the best backgrounds.

We kept things moving throughout the night sharing each other’s setups and eventually it was time to break out my favorite piece of equipment; THE FOG MACHINE! I don’t like to overuse it, but it’s definitely great for adding a little extra something to a scene.dunellen_models_warehouse_IMG_1803_2011_06_16-Edit.jpg I will usually manipulate it a bit in post-processing, but having it there in the actual scene helps keep the effect grounded in reality.

Thanks to our fantastic and professional models Aamira Garba and Heather Dorian. Special thanks to Pablo for providing us with a motorcycle and modeling for a few shots.

To view more examples of product photography, please visit the gallery.

 

Laser Xpressions photo shoot

Laser Xpressions photo shoot

laser_xpressions_products_IMG_1262_2011_05_25.jpgA while back I was asked to photograph products for Laser Xpressions in Freehold, NJ. This project was done on site and I got to see behind-the-scenes of how these laser engraved products are created. Very impressive process! There is a large piece of equipment that very carefully beams light into a piece of glass creating a small air bubble. One beam after another. Thousands of them! Put enough of those bubbles next to one another and you have an amazing piece of artwork.

To view more examples of product photography, please visit the gallery.

More information about Laser Xpressions:

“Laser Xpressions is your source for quality personalized gifts utilizing state-of-the-art laser engraving. Perfect for corporate gifts, or any gift-giving occasion, engraved gifts will be treasured and remembered for years to come.

We start you off with a wide selection from the most wanted gift categories and then add your personalized greeting or message using our high tech laser engraving technology.laser_xpressions_products_IMG_1247_2011_05_25.jpg

laser_xpressions_products_IMG_1211_2011_05_25.jpgWhether it’s a crystal figurine, personalized desk accessory, marble or granite photo, or any other of our unique gift items, you’ll find the perfect personalized and corporate gift ideas right here at LaserXpressions.com.

For a unique, one-of-a-kind gift that you no one else could possibly give, consider having your favorite photo transferred to crystal, granite or wood and finished off with a personalized laser engraved message.

Looking for more personalized and corporate gift ideas? Browse through our engraved gifts categories or use the search box at the top of the page to find the perfect engraved gifts that are sure to please everyone on your gift list no matter what your budget is.”

Jersey Shore Roller Girls poster concept

Jersey Shore Roller Girls poster concept

Concept poster for Jersey Shore Roller Girls

JSRG poster concept

The Rocketeer movie poster

Earlier in 2010 I designed a concept poster for the Jersey Shore Roller Girls. Instead of using team photos, I went with a hand drawn art deco theme. The sport of roller derby goes back to the time of the 1930s and one of my favorite things from that era is “The Rocketeer” by Dave Stevens. It was important to have that hand drawn and airbrushed technique and less of a “Photoshopped” look. I let highlights and glows fly and oversprayed areas to keep things unrefined. Less time spent on details and more time spent on overall feeling.

One of the elements I enjoy the most is the track below all of the pieces that are in your face. It helps keep everything bundled together. In a future revision, I might consider adding streaks of light, representing each team, racing around the track. The extra line work would help keep the bottom portion of the poster as interesting as the top.

Up close

I would love to revisit this design one day, but for now it will remain in this stage. For more information on the best roller derby league going, please visit the Jersey Shore Roller Girls. They play almost every month and it’s a guaranteed good time. I suggest hitting up the beaches and boardwalk before the bout to get the full experience of a true day at the Jersey shore. Summer will be here again before you know it.

Retouching a group panorama

Retouching a group panorama

Retouched bridal party panorama

Before & After

This particular series of photos was taken by Kelly Formus. I was asked to work my magic bringing two images together and blending them into one long panorama. I also wanted to bring in a lot of the tones that were missing on the original exposure. I have a particular process I use involving Lightroom, Photomatix, and Photoshop. I tend to not overcrank the settings in Photomatix, which gives the image a nice even tone and not the harsh garbage that 90% of people churn out with their HDR software. Moderation, people.

Look at everyone having a great time and letting themselves play off one another. (MVP goes to the dude doing the handstand.) The lighting is absolutely perfect. Natural and neutral. That is key to creating a lovely image.

The final image took approximately two hours to complete.