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February, 2011:

Meetups, Models, and Photo Retouching

Meetup Model Photo

Click to enlarge

Last week I participated in a “Models and Photographers” Meetup event where I took the photo at left. If you’re an aspiring photographer, or even a pro looking to meet new models or experiment with new techniques, I highly recommend using Meetups ( as a low-cost, low-stress way to get out in the field and work with like-minded people.

In my city there are at least a dozen photography Meetup groups, many of which hold events at least once per week. Some Meetups charge a small fee to help cover administrative costs, but usually everyone involved is working for trade to build their portfolios (called TFP).  At last week’s meetup I found half-a-dozen would-be models and a similar number of photographers all working hard to create great images together with no financial pressure, and no expectations except that any good photos would be provided to the model afterward.

My photo above got some attention from the group, because other photographers who shot the same model in the same location did not get equally good results. They asked me to explain how I made the shot, and I happily obliged (sharing our techniques is one purpose of this group).  I thought you might enjoy the explanation as well. (more…)

Before and After: Photo Post-Production

Sculpture after editing

CLICK TO ENLARGE --- Bliss Dance, sculpture by Lloyd Taylor

Some people think of photographic post-production (especially if the word “Photoshop” is used) as synonymous with trickery—as an underhanded way of creating something fake, of “doctoring” a photo, like some supermarket tabloid cover featuring Gary Coleman partying in a hot tub with an extra-terrestrial. Sure, you can do that with Photoshop.

But for most of us photographers, post-production is not some diabolical plot to create something fake, but a useful tool to help us re-create what we saw in reality but were unable to capture in the camera.  Or sometimes what we saw in our mind’s eye as the potential shot, if not for the unfortunate accidents of poor weather, bad lighting, or fat tourists.

It’s a tool to help re-create the shot that should have been. (more…)

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