January 16, 2018

By Gary Hughes

photoshop tutorial on burning and dodging

One of the most powerful techniques for adding depth and drama to photographs is also one of the oldest. Burning (making darker) and dodging (making lighter) have been around since the beginning of film photography. Although we use a digital version of it today, the principle is the same. If you are a photographer or aspiring Photoshop expert, this is a great tutorial for you to learn an easy way to control light and shadow in post-production. If you aren’t, you might still like to get a look behind the scenes at how we work some of our magic. Enjoy!

January 2, 2018

By Andrew Harper

picking colors for your skin tone

Are you having trouble picking out the best outfit for your headshot session? Or maybe you just need a little spark of creative inspiration to add the right pop to your look? You’re not the only one – one of the most time consuming parts of preparing to be photographed is deciding on the outfit you want to be captured in, so we’ve outlined how to get the process started with the most important part: picking out your colors.

 

We’ll start by identifying which category you fit into – warm, neutral, or cool.

First,

Take this quiz!

 

Then,

The vein test

Around your wrist and palm area, check your veins. If they appear greenish, then you have a warm skin tone. If they are clearly blue then you have a cool skin tone. If you can’t necessarily tell one way or the other, you likely are more of a neutral skin tone.

 

Also,

Another quick way to tell is by recalling the way your skin reacts to the sun:

Pick whichever most closely applies to you:

Tan easily: warm

Able to tan or burn: neutral

Burn easily: cool

 

 

Warm Skin Tone Color Options:

Orange, Honey, Amber, Gold, Olive, Turquoise, Cream.

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Avoid:

Vibrant tones like deep red and indigo

 

 

 

Neutral Skin Tone Options:

Light and soft colors like rose, jade, gray, sky blue

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Avoid:

Neons, yellows, reds

 

 

Cool Skin Tone Color Options:

Emerald, Ocean Blue, Purple, Lavender, and brighter warm colors like Cherry Red

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Avoid:

Orange and Yellow

December 18, 2017

 

By Andrew Harper

Adobe Spark (1)

It’s easy to become overwhelmed in the workplace, and sometimes we wish we had an extra set of hands. I’ve gone ahead and gathered our favorite office management tools, identifying the productive benefits of each one so you can pick which will help you most in better handling your work tasks, whether they be unread emails, or a big sales pitch, or anything in-between.

 

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SaneBox

SaneBox is an email app that will scan through all of  your emails and sort them into smart folders, such as important, reply later, spam, etc. Basically everything you would love to do with your email account but done for you. It works best for people who receive a large amount of emails daily and have trouble managing which ones are most important or who they’ve already emailed. PC Mag raves about the service in this review  and offers a more in-depth view of the various subscriptions ranging from $7-36 a month. I did a free trial and it took my unread emails down from 32,000 (yes…. I know) to 9,000 (I know, I know). Sanebox uses an algorithm to even detect timelines within emails, like tomorrow vs next week. It’s genius.

 

 

 

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Google Sheets

I cannot say enough good things about this free spreadsheet service through Google. I personally use it to chart the growth and changes of the various social media accounts that I’m in control of, both for work and personally, in terms of number of likes, comments, impressions, reach etc. I can then select certain ranges or sets of data and import them into smart charts that suggest different types of graphs for the information you’ve chosen. If you’re familiar with spreadsheets then you know they’re a godsend for monitoring things like budgets or hours (read below for something interesting about that one). It’s like excel but much more user friendly… and free.

 

 

 

 

ifttt-bannerIFTTT

Standing for “if this then that,” this takes two services and connects them for you through commands. You can set it to automatically save photos you’re tagged in on Facebook to an IOS folder, or automatically save videos on YouTube that you “like” to a playlist on Spotify. My favorite is a button you can install on your phone that tracks your hours into…you guessed it… Google Sheets. That is incredibly handy if you are freelance or work from home frequently. There are even some odd ones, like a command that transcribes your phone calls and saves them to Google Drive. You can even create your own commands. Check out this review for more in-depth reading.

 

 

WunderlistWunderlist – Gary’s Favorite!

Another great free service, this application is all about list making. What I love about Wunderlist is that it organizes your lists by category and time, meaning you can create notifications for yourself that will alert you to deadlines. I have mine set to remind me through my calendar on both my mac and my phone. This is also good for sharing and collaborating on lists – for instance, you could create a wishlist and manage the privacy settings so that only certain people you send it to can see it. We use it at the studio for task management or images that we might need for certain projects and then set the list to be collaborative meaning anyone in the office can edit or check off tasks.

 

 

232620asana

Last, but certainly not least, is the project management powerhouse asana. If Pinterest, Wunderlist, and Google Drive had a baby it would be this program. I love it. You can create project boards and email them out as collaborations which is exceptionally useful in a creative work environment such as a marketing agency or PR firm. I used it in school for group projects, and even sometimes as a running list of self-directed projects. I can create tasks, deadlines, locations, contact info, and add images for inspiration or reference. There’s also a separate messaging service between collaborators so that you can still communicate within the program without having to do so through notes on the actual project itself, which can become cluttered. I discovered asana through recommendation of friends who work in marketing, internet security, and social media. If you need any further evidence, like I usually do, here’s a link to the reviews of 2,000+ people who rated it 4.5/5.

December 11, 2017

by Andrew Harper

Adobe Spark

 

If you’ve ever had your headshot taken, you’ve probably asked the photographer “You’re going to work your photoshop magic, right?” And usually the answer is something along the lines of “We do light retouching.” While that may make some people nervous, the truth is that there are a lot of steps you can take before your appointment to get your skin looking its best. We’ve organized a list of preparations you can make when you’ve scheduled your session and broken it into three key categories: Diet, Products, and Overall Wellness. 

 

Diet

It’s an age old saying: “You are what you eat!” And it’s true. Your body takes nutrients from food to build and sustain itself on a molecular level, and with your skin being your largest organ, it only makes sense that our first tip is to pay attention to your diet leading up to your headshot session.

  • Cut Dairy (if you haven’t already). Most people become lactose intolerant as they get older, and with good reason. Dairy increases inflammation in the body, leading to uneven skin-tone (or splotchiness) and sometimes a puffy appearance, particularly around the eyes.
  • Increase your Omega 3s – these can be found in foods like salmon, walnuts, and chia. They do the exact opposite as dairy – reducing puffiness and inflammation. Worth noting, the anti-inflammatory affects are not just limited to your skin, they’re also excellent for people with high cholesterol and blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Incorporate Vitamin C daily – Vitamin C increases the production of collagen and fights free radical damage from sun exposure.
  • Water Water Water! - Try doubling your water intake – unless you already drink a lot. Make sure to sip, not gulp, so that your body has ample time to absorb it – not just flush it out. Here’s a link outlining the benefits of proper water consumption.

Tip from the writer: My favorite summertime drink is a homemade juice from apples, lemons, and spinach. All three ingredients promote healthy skin cell production and fight the negative affects of sun exposure which is key when you live in the Sunshine State like we do!

 

Products

Everyone has their own skincare regiment. When you need results fast, however, don’t be afraid to add a couple steps, especially at night time when your face and body are restoring themselves.

  • Exfoliate  - exfoliating removes the dead skin on the top layer, leaving your face fresh and bright. It’s also helpful in aiding the process of new skin cell development.
  • Moisturize - we recommend any product that has hyaluronic acid. It’s an ingredient that can hold and supply a massive amount of moisture which when applied can lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Caffeine Scrub or Mask - you can find these in stores, but we personally recommend you make your own.  You can either gently rub this on your eyelids (carefully) or apply it and let it sit. Massaging the skin encourages circulation and has immediate visible benefits to reducing puffiness.

 

Overall Wellness

This category can be the easiest if you let yourself breathe for a moment…

  • Relax - if there’s anything I’ve learned from watching my skin, it’s that stress is the number one factor in blemishes. It’s hard not to be stressed, but if you pay attention to things that let your mind wander it can help you unwind. Read a book, watch a movie you haven’t seen in your favorite genre, go for a walk in the evening when the weather is nice. Self-guided meditation apps are everywhere nowadays and are perfect for just before bed. Here’s a link to some really good (and free) ones.
  • Stay Active - sweating not only has mental benefits, it also flushes toxins from your body through the pores of your skin. Just be sure to wash your face after!

 

December 4, 2017

By Andrew Harper

 

Adobe Spark

 

The holiday season is upon us and chances are someone you know wants a new camera this year. We have searched all over the web looking for the cameras that stand out, picked out the features we like the best about each one, and sorted them by price. Here is the official list of cameras that we recommend as holiday gifts this season for the photographer in your life. Happy hunting!

 

<$400 Range

 

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Fujifilm Instax Mini 9$59

  • Instant print of image
  • different body color options
  • film can be bought at camera stores, amazon, and even some retailers like Urban Outfitters
  • Perfect gift for younger audience

 

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Canon Powershot SX420$229 

  • Long zoom at 30x
  • Accurate color range and superior white balancing
  • great for travel due to its zoom focus

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Nikon D3400  – $396.95 on Amazon or $496.95 with 70-300mm lens on Adorama

  • superior battery life
  • lighter than its predecessors
  • Guide Mode feature for novice users
  • affordable and high quality entry-level DSLR

 

$400-700 Range

 

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Canon EOS Rebel SL2 WiFi Enabled$599

  • one of canon’s most compact DSLRs
  • 24.2 MP
  • ISO 100-25,600
  • 3 inch touchscreen with variable angles
  • WiFi and Bluetooth enabled

 

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Sony Alpha a6000 – $498 on Adorama or $698 with 55-210mm zoom lens (same prices and bundles on Amazon)

  • 24.3 MP Sensor
  • 179 autofocus points
  • fastest autofocus in its class of cameras
  • Bionz X processor which is 3x faster than its immediate predecessor
  • max ISO of 25,600

 

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 – $647.99

  • Micro Four Thirds sensor found in larger DSLR cameras
  • ISO 200-25,600
  • f/1.7-2.8 lens
  • WiFi enabled with QR code reading capabilities

 

$700-1000+ Range

icam5k1

Canon EOS M5$929-1199 (Gary’s Choice for 2017!)

  • 3.2 tilting touchscreen with same resolution as the top of the line 5D Mark IV
  • electronic viewfinder with 2.36 million-dot resolution
  • WiFi and Bluetooth enabled

ifjxt20sk2

Fujifilm X-T20 – $899

  • 24.3 MP
  • ISO 200-12,800
  • allows you to shoot in RAW format
  • 3.0 inch touchscreen

lcvlux

Leica V-Lux (type 114)$1195

  • Comes with Lightroom 5 and 3 Year warrantee
  • Great for the camera enthusiast (Leica Brand)
  • A classic brand’s take on a modern point and shoot
  • 4k video
  • Max aperture of f/4
  • ISO range of 80-12,500