Making Not Taking Photographs

Backstage views on making photographs professionally

Archive for the ‘Advertising Photography’ Category

The Wide angle telephoto…

Posted by Mike on August 12, 2014

You need one of these… you have one of these… whether you know it or not…

The secret is in the photoshop “Photomerge” panorama machine…  Figure it out you will love the results…

Here we have a photo which would normally be made with a 35mm wide angle lens (on a full frame 35mm digital camera). But instead I have pieced together 75 photos taken with a 200mm lens…

Mt. Rainier

Because this is a 2 gigabyte file (or more) you can zoom in and see people climbing the mountain from 5 1/2 to 6 miles away (Canon 70 to 200mm L lens 1/640th at f10)pano jpg b pano jpg dHere are some other multi shot panoramas made with telephoto lenses (mostly an 85mm f1.8 Canon which I think is the perfect panorama lens).


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Getting Fired by the Associated Press

Posted by Mike on January 30, 2014

January 2014:

I am an ex UPI employee so I don’t care much for AP (they act too much like a monopoly and helped kill UPI for one thing)… I would never work for them because of their “work for hire” “rights grabbing” contract anyway.

But it is bugging me… this last thing when they fired one of their well thought of photographers for spotting out a distracting element in a photo. For the record… I have never produced a photograph for newspaper or magazine that wasn’t painstakingly burned, dodged, spotted for dirt, treated with potassium ferricyanide, cropped, selected over another photo for artistic or informational rationale, or had the color or tone shifted to make it a “better” photograph capable of conveying the situation in the best way possible to the end reader.

That’s what we all want is for the photo to be transcendent… (not in the way of the information).

AP cut ties with Contreras publicly after the photographer informed the wire service that he had removed a video camera from a corner of an image of a Syrian rebel soldier taking cover during a fire fight. Contreras says he knew it could end his relationship with AP, but that he didn’t expect to be shut out of the process.

AP-photoshopWas this firing really necessary? Was the picture compromised? I doubt it. Really, the picture doesn’t tell you much anyway so that presents another problem where the cutline writer can spin it anyway he/she wants. (In the old days Pravda was humorously famous for making up cutlines that were just  amazingly fake.)

Here are two examples of my own work which would probably get me fired I guess. When it comes to the scenic of the boat which photo is fake? As far as I am concerned the retouched one is actually more accurate than the dead looking one from the unprocessed RAW image the camera produced.  Under AP rules are we supposed to be stuck looking at dead, automaton generated purely “documentary” crap a camera produces. Then I guess you don;t need photographers to interpret the RAW file because there is no need for “artistic” or “explanatory” efforts in news photography, right? What a load of crap IMHO.

023sunset-2 023sunsetIn another example I worked on a food shoot yesterday. And I am always looking for a better way to enthusiastically promote my client’s efforts to produce a quality product and sell more stuff (so they can afford to pay me help them sell more stuff).  But back to “accuracy” Which photo is more accurate?

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Posted in Advertising Photography, Concept Photography, fine art photography, Food Photography, Photojournalism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

No retouching…. trying to be on a budget?

Posted by Mike on November 3, 2012


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1300 HP Mitsubishi engine

Posted by Mike on January 5, 2012


Camera lens, flash light, and colored gels in a dark room for 90 minutes

1) 93 20 second exposures… throw more than 1/2 away…

2) pick 10 best shots where your light painting accomplished it’s particular goal.

3) use lightroom to adjust color where you want it (or acr if you like)

4) photoshop layers, blend modes, adjustment layers, grouping certain layers, layer masks, etc until it looks

the way you want it….

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Commercial and Editorial Photography Portfolio

Posted by Mike on January 15, 2011

My new brochure (january 2011).

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Posted in Advertising Photography, Annual Report Photography, Architectural Photography, Food Photography, Photojournalism, Yacht Photography | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

When is it enough already?

Posted by Mike on April 7, 2010

Here is a tough product… reflections everywhere… all goofy…. polished stainless so it;s supposed to look like chrome…

We shot it with the regular lighting setup and again later with a plexiglass soup bowl over the top  (just a small hole for the camera lens (which i then retouched out).

Which one should go in the catalog?

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How good is photography?

Posted by Mike on March 25, 2010

How good is photography at conveying the intended message?

Good enough!

A wild coyote goose chaser… but he’s pretty tame…. fools Sam.

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Rent a Kimono

Posted by Mike on July 19, 2009

As part of a Shinto wedding at the North american Shrine we did some photos for

See wedding photos here:



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Chaos to order in product photography.

Posted by Mike on June 29, 2009

This one photo should be self explanatory. We needed a full sized trade show print for this 16 foot kayak…. A single exposure, even on 4×5 film, wasn’t going to get the results I wanted since  we just didn’t have enough head room in the studio to get it without using a wide angle lens and making the pointed ends even pointier than they should be. So multiple shots with a normal lens did the job.

16 foot kayack

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Adventure Yachts, Seattle

Posted by Mike on February 5, 2009

Adventure Yachts, Seattle

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Stills from the photo shoot:


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