Flickr Photo of the Quarter

The time has finally come. Yes friends, I’m pleased to unveil the winner of the first Alien Skin Photo of the Quarter competition. We would like to thank each of you for sharing such incredible images. Our Flickr group pool has developed into an impressive collection of beautiful photos because of you. There were thousands of gorgeous photos shared throughout the competition. Congratulations to all.

In the end, we have to choose one winner from the masses of awesome pics. In my opinion, this was the hardest part of the competition. We pulled out the big guns and had Finley Lee, our CEO, make the call.

The Winning Shot

Image © Marco

Under The Bridge by Marco takes the winning spot. This photo is technically spot-on in terms of composition and toning. The juxtaposition of the bright, clear sky and dark horizon line capture and direct the viewers eye deep into the recursion at the center. The highlights in the bridge shadow have enough detail to give an extra level of texture to the shot, which strengthens the image overall.

Congratulations, Marco. You’re the winner. I hate to use the “N” or the “C” words in mixed company, but Marco is a Canon shooter. He went with a Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8L II over the 85 f/1.2L. His fancy new glass is on the way to him right now.

 

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Exposure Workflow with Bobbie Goodrich

Bobbie Goodrich is known for her fine art imagery. She prefers to focus (no pun intended) on wildlife, and so she often travels around the globe in search of exotic beasts to photograph. Her mesmerizing images are honed in post processing. Bobbie has developed her own unique style for making transformations happen in post. Below is her workflow for a recent image she made using Exposure.

Avid readers of the blog may recall a couple of posts about Bobbie and her work.

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On a recent safari through Namibia, I took a self-driven tour through Etosha National park in search of the ‘big five.’ I snapped off a shot of a couple Burchell’s zebras affectionately smooching. I instantly knew that the shot would translate into an endearing portrait, especially after I had my way with it in post. Read on to see what I did.

Image © Bobbie Goodrich

I wanted to focus the image on the loving gesture between the creatures. What better way to do this than with a simple crop. Next, I replaced the background as it didn’t significantly add to the image. A gradient fill adjustment layer in Photoshop did the trick.

Being an artist at heart, I’m excited when I open up Exposure. It’s quickly become my go-to program for creative B&W conversions. It’s easy to scroll through the presets and I’m always amazed by the choices at my fingertips. This image could drastically be transformed in so many ways.

For this shot, under B&W Focus, I used Sharpen Moderate – Radius 50. It made the image really pop.

Image © Bobbie Goodrich

Adjustments can easily be made on the right-hand pane. I spend a lot of time over there. I never apply the effect without a little experimentation first. Whether it’s just basic tweaks or using a preset effect from the pick-box drop down that I couldn’t dream up on my own, I’m always delighted by the results of my efforts. :-) On Tone Curve panel, I adjusted the contrast to enhance the zebra stripes.

From the Vignette drop down I chose ‘Rounded, Hard Edge’ and spent some time adjusting sliders until I liked the shape. I knew I had the look I was after. Exposure helped nail my vision for this shot.

Image © Bobbie Goodrich

Saving the best for last, I applied effects from the Borders & Textures. These adjustments seldom disappoint when I’m looking for a unique effect. I swapped back out of B&W mode to shake things up. This gave me a nice warm light leak.

As a final step, I ran Exposure again to add a border and another light leak. Now I’m in wow mode!

Image © Bobbie Goodrich

Alien Skin’s Exposure and Snap Art provide innovative effects in easy-to-understand interfaces. I am absolutely in love with the effects I can get from these programs.

Bobbie Goodrich--Shooting in Africa—-

Great stuff, Bobbie. Thanks for sharing.

Bobbie leads inspirational workshops that teach on artistic post processing. Head over to her website and blog for more info. While there, check out more of her work, too.

Posted in Exposure, Photography, Tutorials | 2 Comments

Flickr Friday

There is a remarkable pile of great photos in the Flickr group, folks. Below are this week’s selections. These shots tell a unique story from a unique angle, at a unique moment. Such beautiful diversity within photography.

Almost forgot–Happy Friday!!

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Alien Skin & Fundy Software Webinar

Yesterday, we presented a joint webinar with the great people over at Fundy Software showcasing the seamless integration between their Album Builder v6 and Exposure 5.

Check out the video to see how you can use Album Builder v6 to build beautiful albums in minutes and leverage its external editor feature to quickly edit your spreads in Exposure.

YouTube Preview Image

The coupon code mentioned in the webinar is FUNDY30. You can use this through Friday to get 30% off all items in the Alien Skin store.

Thanks to the extremely talented Frank Salas for providing the beautiful images and the Fundy team for their help in putting together such a successful tutorial.

 

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Derek Zoebelein — March’s Flickr Photo Of The Month

Blog, meet Derek Zoebelein, March’s Flickr winner.

Derek_Z_3Derek started growing his love for photography at a young age. His family’s appreciation for the art strengthened his own. A European aunt taught him the joys of travel photography, which solidified his interest. His close family’s influence played a big role in his development and passion too. Ever since his first Minolta, he’s always had a camera within arm’s reach.

Derek_Z_7

Derek grew up in the age of computers. Even though he loved the look and feel of film, he waited for the change to digital with bated breath. When digital cameras started to gain ground, he made the plunge. Even though he works in a digital workflow, Derek prefers manual focus glass. His reasoning is that he’s forced to slow down and work to get the right shot the first time.

Derek_Z_4

Derek really likes to photograph. He’s shot plenty of different subjects from architecture, or landscapes, to macro, or portraiture. Regardless of the type of photography he’s shooting, he keeps his style. Isolated subjects are his thing. He doesn’t want the subject to get lost by other distractions in the photo.

Derek_Z_1

He loves digital photography but is a purist at heart. His eyes still prefer the look of film. For him, Exposure is the perfect solution to his problem. With it, he gets the best parts of analog and digital.

Derek_Z_5

Derek said, “Exposure is much more than just a film emulation software. Use it to adjust curves, sharpen, or even add blur effects. It’s easy to make your image look like it was shot on film or just take it up a notch. I use presets as a starting point, then I’ll add a custom mix-and-match and turn a regular photo into something special. The magnitude of possible combinations makes Exposure a lot of fun to use, too. The best part is the speed and simplicity of the tool.”

Derek_Z_2

This shot was part of a series of photos that Derek took during a snowstorm in Ontario, Canada a few years ago. It’s a favorite location of his. He’s recently started processing some of his older photos with Exposure, and he’s really happy with the results. On the winning shot, he used ‘B&W Films – Agfa APX 25’ preset and brightened the image with a simple curve.

Derek_Z_6

Great story, Derek. Thanks for sharing!

Check out more photos from Derek on Flickr.

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Flickr Friday

Let’s welcome this Friday with open arms. Yes, friends, it’s almost time for the weekend. My fav way to start it off? Choice shots from the Alien Skin Flickr group, of course. Check out these babies!

ElBoubou

SaraKByrne

wanda abbing

AprilMilani

DustinAbbott

Patric Shaw

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The Three Look Rule

One of the most powerful lessons I learned in design school was the Three Look Rule. Thanks, Julie! It applies to everything involving design. I’ve had it rolling around in the back of my head for a few years now. I consider it a pivotal lesson in terms of design, theory, expression, and craft.

The basic premise is there are three distinct opportunities that you, the designer/artist/photographer, have to engage an audience. Each one of them come with their own criteria. Use them to evaluate each move you make.

The below applications of these rules are illustrated with commentary and images from Brian Mullins. Thanks, B!

Look #1: The First Impression

http://www.brianmullinsphotography.com/

An eye-catching photo is more the just the sum of it’s parts. This shot has nice lighting, composition, and the subjects look relaxed, but there’s more to it. Once the trust between subject and photographer is built. The subjects look natural, which makes the best first impression.

Time: Less than 2 seconds

Jimmy: This is the most crucial aspect of your work. You have to engage the user immediately and make them continue to look. Shock won’t work, you have to intrigue them. This is the toughest to get right. If you don’t instantly grab the audience’s attention, you’ve lost them.

Brian: This rule also applies when you’re working as a photographer with new clients. You usually get about one or two shots to make your “first impression.” If you play your cards right, it can happen immediately, but it can also happen as you work with them. There is almost always a “defining” moment when photographing people when they know they trust you. After that, you get the genuine expressions that you’re after.

Look #2: The Second Glance

sarah_banks_esession-0023

Discreet color casts can add various undertones to any image. Gold, speaking strictly in terms of color theory, evokes a sense of prestige, quality, wisdom, and wealth. Consciously adding a gold tone to this shot emphasizes the pricelessness of the moment. How did I add it? Exposure, of course.

Time: 30 seconds

Jimmy: In architecture, this happens when a user approaches a building you designed. Whether it be the front door or the parking entrance, you need to clearly define what happens where. Tell the user to look at what’s important. Don’t use labels, use design.

Brian: This is where being deliberate in photography comes in. Whether it be moving the clutter out of a shot or working twice as long to insure the photo has “that important thing” you are trying to communicate to the viewer. Make sure the image has a clear voice.

Look #3: The Study

sbg_beach_styled-0131

Nothing can compete with capturing the details. In this shot, you can clearly see the wedding dress’ layers as well as detail in the grooms tuxedo. The extremes of white and black are tough to capture. When done correctly, they pop. Now the couple has a beautiful shot to hang on the wall that won’t get stale or boring. Why? The details. I slightly desaturated the midtones for a vintage feel. Again, Exposure was used.

All the time in the world

Jimmy: This is where designers shine; it’s all about details. This is where 50 iterations of a single aspect of your shot does you justice. Keep going. Make sure that everything is just right.

Brian: Whether it be a hair out of place, relocating individual sesame seeds, or agonizing over every facet of the shot. We get caught up in the photo because it captured something great, but we overlook the small things that, once the emotion and glow of those initial two looks wear off, will stand out.

In addition to all of the other amazing photography stuff that Brian is involved in, he recently launched an educational website for those interested in learning some new tricks.

Posted in Fun, Philosophy, Photography, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Flickr Friday

High fives, everyone! You’ve made it through another week of fun and excitement with a smile on your face. You may be tired and haggard, or you’re heading out early for some weekend fun. Whatever your plans might be, check out these clutch shots from our Flickr group. It’s a great way to kick off the weekend.

 

milani_april

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Eric Fischer — February’s Flickr Photo Of The Month

Meet Eric Fischer, February’s Flickr winner. One of his awesome shots grabbed our attention. Turns out, eye-catching photography is just his style. As we emailed back and forth, I discovered Eric has quite an impressive story. Below is a little bit from the hand of the master himself. Thanks for sharing, Eric.

JasmineSanders_546_2I studied photography at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. My school years were spent shooting film and printing in the darkroom. While there, I learned the importance of film and paper choice when combined processing and printing techniques. Each of these components had a major impact on the look and feel of the final image. I was fond of alternative printing techniques like platinum and palladium printing on hand coated paper, and custom toning.

VioletBudd_000359_3In 2004, I was chosen for PDN’s 30 (emerging photographers to watch). The award package I received included a Canon 10D. It was my first “professional” digital camera. The switch to digital introduced some new challenges.  Particularly, the need for my digital and film images to be indistinguishable from each other.

TheEchoFriendly2_441BW_4The critical element lacking in a digital workflow is grain, so I needed a good solution. Grain in Photoshop was pretty disappointing, from what I remember. My next stop was (the now defunct) Grain Surgery, but it came with it’s own set of issues. The breakthrough moment was when I discovered Exposure in ’06-’07. Been using it ever since!

Toni_ColletteThe product that Exposure has matured into is incredible. I absolutely love all of the starting points–the traditional film presets. Now we can get great vintage processes with the click of a button, and even polaroids, too!

MichelleMichalko2_352BWI don’t use the factory presets straight out of the box. My trick is to customize them and make them my own. The factory presets are a great springboard for ideas and inspiration. The beautiful grain, the new light leaks, toning… the possibilities are endless. Even the most subtle effects can have brilliant results.

KateElson_0411toned_1I consider myself a purist. Meaning I prefer to shoot everything possible in camera, or at least plan what an image is going to look like in advance. I don’t like the idea of throwing filters on an image to make it good, but I do believe that every image should have grain.

alien skin photo of the monthThe Image chosen was part of a larger session with model and actress Jasmine Sanders. My greatest influence in lighting has always been George Hurrell, and the hair and makeup (by Lizzie Arneson and Ashley Meyers) reminded me of his classic hollywood portraits. I was inspired to apply one of my custom Split Toning and grain blends. It opened up the shadows in an amazing way. I couldn’t be more pleased.

Check out more of Eric’s work at the following links: Blog | Facebook | Flickr | Twitter | Website

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Flickr Friday

You made it! As another taxing, unbearable week winds down, you’ve done all you can just to keep trudging along. Who am I kidding? Forget all of that–it’s Friday! Any reason to celebrate is a good one. Take a look at our Flickr group selections for the week and get inspired to make some fun weekend plans.

Don’t forget about the Photo of the Quarter competition! There are only a few days left to submit your best work. Fancy new lenses await the winner. Check out the article for details.

 

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