The Art of Photography YouTube Channel

The Art of Photography is a channel on youtube that highlights different aspects of photography on an episodic basis.  I recently stumbled on this via a video entitled, Darkroom Prints vs. Digital Prints.  I think the video was very insightful to those that may not know the differences in quality and feel between the two styles of printing.  Check it out here or watch it below.  Let me know what you think in the comments section. Keep it snappy!



Bring Your Photos Home: Instagram through Instaport

Today I felt like making a digital book of a series of images I had going through instagram called Avedon Plants.  Basically a series of plants, flowers, and the like shot as though Avedon shot them. Fun right!  But before I could even begin, I had an issue that never bugged me until today.  I want my Instagram photos on my computer.  Well is an awesome free solution (through you can donate some dollars to the developer).  All you do is go to their website, here, and login using your instagram credentials.  Then decide if you want them to you to your facebook/flickr, or download them as a zip.  I have thousands of instagram images and it took less than 5 minutes to bring those stranded pups home.  Highly recommend it! KPF - Keep Photography Fun


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Printed Project: Joaquim Paiva Portfolio

“The negative is the score, and the print the performance.” - Ansel Adams I recently completed printing an edition of 24 images, 50cm x50cm, prints for longtime photographer and artist Joaquim Paiva.  I'm honored to have taken the project from scan, to retouch, to color correct, to print. He is very pleased with the digital representation and output of this great work.  To see more of his work, visit his site at:



Class Completed: Digital Negative to Silver Gelatin

Just finished teaching a group of enthusiastic students how to take their digital images and print them as traditional darkroom silver gelatin prints.  It was a lot of fun! It will be offered again at Rayko Photo Center, San Francisco.  Look out for it!  On a related note, I am now working on a compensation curve that will allow crazy people like me to print Mural Size silver gelatin prints from low res digital capture or really dense negs. Currently trouble shooting it with Luis Mendoza (his image below). Oh possibilities.



You down with QPT, yeah you know me!

Ok, some of you out there don't know what a QPT is.  A QPT is a new series of postings that will give you Quick Photoshop Tips.  Get it.  So lets get rolling. 1. For beginners who cant read the small font that photoshop presents us with (tiny tiny panels), you can make the font size bigger.  This is also a major comfort necessity if you are on a laptop.

Go to General > Preferences >  Interface, and the bottom you have the choice of Small (default), Medium, and Big.  When you make the change, you have to restart photoshop to see it in action.

Here is what they look like small to big:


Clearly, everyone should just choose big!  I know, where is the wow factor in this tip. But you know what they say, "it's the little things in life."

- C -

RAM Explanation (CNET) and How to Upgrade Your Mac!

RAM (random access memory) is crucial to making all your programs run fast, especially if you design, do photoshop, or video edit.  CNET is a staple for technology news and guidance, and I found this great article on RAM  and what apple machines are upgradeable to top tier performance.  By that I mean, the  brand new precious is the Mac Pro with Retina Display.

Sure the display is really nice, but something to drool over other than pretty pixels is the capability to put 16gb of RAM into a laptop to make it really fast.  Yes, true beauty is on the inside.  On Apple's site, you can only upgrade the Retina Mac to 16 gb, all other models are only allowed to 8 gb (retina mac upgrade screen  below)

However, as you will learn in the CNET article, there are a lot of Mac laptops that can be boosted to 16gb. If your interested, then the start of the article is below, and just click on the image or link to go to read the rest of the article.  Below that is a link on where to buy the RAM and not pay $600, but $160 instead, finally ending with an install video from Other Worldly Computing which shows you scaredy cats how easy it is to do.  FYI, I'm also available to do it for you for $400, New York trip money, but come on, it's more fun if you do it yourself.

Your Welcome,

- C -

Click above or go here for the rest of the article and to see which Mac Laptops are Compatible: CNET

LINK on where to buy the 16gb or at least upgrade from 4gb to 8gb of RAM:

Tutorial Video on installation

Have a different Mac other than than the 13"mac pro, then go here:

Your iPhone's Auto Focusing is Fast, Accurate, & Uses Face Detection. Now Apple Owns All Of That!

Apple insider has a great article outlining the patent Apple owns for object recognition focusing and face detection metering.

"Apple's U.S. Patent No. 8,233,789 for "Dynamic exposure metering based on face detection" describes a system and method of automatically changing a digital camera's exposure settings based on a subject's face while U.S. Patent No. 8,233,078 for "Auto focus speed enhancement using object recognition and resolution" uses similar object-detection software to hasten focus speed."

Read More Here: Apple Insider

- C -


Free Instagram Actions for Photoshop! - Thanks Daniel Box

So I'm late to the whole adding instagram effects to pro res images party because I felt that instagram is meant for iPhone shooting so why make those same retro effects on the computer?  Right? Nope, wrong.  People love love love these effects and there is no slowing down of this love in sight.

Because I'm fashionably late, I've brought party favors!  A student of mine recently asked me how to get these effects, and it actually takes a lot of Photoshop knowledge to get them.  Luckily, Daniel Box of dbox has created them as actions and gives them away for free on his website. Here is how you insert them into your Photoshop CS5 or 6.

1.  Download the actions here:

2. Go to your applications folder on your computer, and find the Adobe Photoshop folder  which has a presets folder.  In that folder there is an actions folder.  Place your downloaded folder from Daniel Box there.

3.  Launch Photoshop with an image.

4. Go to your Actions Panel.  If it is not open, go to window at the top of the screen and drop down to actions to bring it up.

5. Find the Instagram Set.  Single click your Instagram effect.

6.  With it highlighted (due to the single click you just did), hit the little triangle at the bottom of the actions panel.  It looks like a play button, which is for playing or running actions.

7.  Notice that there are even actions for the retro boarders as well.

8. Don't forget to thank Daniel at his blog for the retro mayhem you are about throw out into the world.

There you have it folks.  As if there weren't enough instagram retro photo styled images out there, now we can make even more of them!

Insta - Party!- Carlos


Creative Cloud CS6!

Adobe unleashed CS6 today which has upgrades for all the beloved Adobe programs like Photoshop, In Design, Illustrator, and my new love Premiere Pro (to happily replace Apple's Final Cut Pro X).  But they also fully released the Creative Cloud, which is a subscription based pay as you go service from Adobe.  For $49.99 per month, you have all the adobe programs as up-to-date versions. That is right.  For that low cost, you basically have access to the Master Collection which retails for $2599.00.  Since you don't have a calculator in front of you, it would take you 52 months at $50 to reach that retail price.  So what is the deal . . . well Adobe is finally catching on that their software is super over priced and they are losing customers because of it.  Ah, but the real reason is to stop piracy.  With such cheap access to the suite, isn't better to pay $50, and have legit full fledged design access with no problems, crashing, or viruses, than try and get a bootleg copy that doesn't work right, crashes, and causes viruses to spread like the computer apocalypse.  Good move Adobe, well played.  Here is a video link on what this is all about. . .


One more thing, Lightroom is not included in this . . . yet.

Photoshop CS6 Beta Released

The new dawn is about to be upon us.  Draw your swords and get ready for some battle with the the new Adobe Photoshop CS6.  Challenges you will face include, a darker, PS Elements inspired interface, a new crop tool (snooze), and the ability to have more editing features for video within photoshop (double snooze).  If you choose to accept, you can download the beta version for free at the link below.  The video below is the infamous Russell Brown, Photoshop Guru, walking us through the "exciting" new features.

My overall first impressions of CS6 is that content aware move and the new features in the Raw convertor are where the winning new options are.  Other than that, all the other new features are nothing to boast about.  For example, the new blur features that mimic a tilt shift lens are nothing to wow about since you can buy an app that does it for $0.99. Besides, if you really wanted to do that, you always could have if you know how to use photoshop.  I think Adobe is running out of ideas and it really shows in this release.  Please, please do yourselves a favor Adobe, price this Photoshop to actually be affordable so that you will gain more new users rather than deter.   Currently, I'm not interested in upgrading.

Download CS6 Beta:



Color Correction Recommendation: X-Rite's Color Munki

X-Rite recently updated its product line for the color munki display and i1 display pro, for gaining accurate color representation in your digital images.  This is really important because you cannot accurately adjust color, if you are not sure you are even looking at your image's true initial color projection.  For example, if the image looks cold and blue to you, how do you know the image is actually blue, or if your monitor is adding a blue color cast?  You don't know unless you calibrate.  I love love love the color munki display, and at Rayko Photo Center, we just got the i1 display and have been getting amazing results.  The Munki is $189.00 and the i1 is $269.00.  Which to get?  If you are making a living off of photography you should have the i1, but if you are a prosumer to occasional photo money maker the Munki still works fantastic.  I would say it is about a 10% improvement for perfection between the two.  Click on the image below to see the Munki sales pitch video.  You should take a shot of tequila or espresso every time she says variations on the word "perfection." If that is too easy, try a shot every time she blinks.  Yes this is how I have fun. -  Carlos

Best Refine Edge Video I've Seen.

Hey Gang, I always get this question on how to fix hair masking and selections in photographs.  As of late I'm moving and making some big changes in my life so I cannot take the time to make a video on the subject (yet).  But here is the best video I have found on the good ol' internet about how this is done. The best part of the video, smudging masks!  Now thats something you don't see everyday. You do need CS4 but it is even better in CS5.  Enjoy it. [youtube=]

Soap Box thoughts on DSLR Video + Reality Check = Funny Video

I always get people asking me if I shoot video on my Canon 5d Mark II , and people are always surprised when I say . . . Super Rarely/ No.  I'm not a director, I'm a photographer.  I'm comfortable saying that and most people should be too.  If your not, and think simply getting the camera is all it takes, this video is a splash of cold water. [vimeo]

Here is the video he's speaking of in case you missed this excitement about 2years ago


Here is the Behind the Scenes Helicopter Capture


Here is an image that shows what you would need to do it right (thanks to DSLRvideorigs blog).  Uh . . . Like another $10,000.00 worth of gear, easy.

Here is a great resource if you are still crazy enough to want to do this:


How to Pick the Right Camera? Gizmodo Knows (kinda), plus Steve Jobs old interview

Tech blog slash webinites Gizmodo has this interesting article on choosing the right camera for you particular needs.  All digital beginners should read this, but my favorite part was, "Of course you've also got the Nikon D3X and Canon 1Ds Mark III if you really want to break the bank, but if you can or want to drop that much on a camera you probably don't need to be reading this guide."  Even those that own those camera should read this in my opinion.  The Article is Here

They also have this awesome article on a young Steve Jobs talking about the future of computers imagery from a 1980's perspective.  Here is that:  Gizmodo- Steve Jobs

Should I Drum Scan My Film? Or is an Imacon or Film Scanner good enough?

I get this question all the time.  "I have film positives or negatives, and I want to get the best quality scans, but drum scanning is so expensive.  Is it worth it?" Things to consider:

1. What does quality mean to you?  If it means sharper scans, drum scanning is thee best. Imacon scans run second, dedicated film scanners run third, and flatbed scanners are dead last. Within each category, there are different levels of involvement and cost, but that is the simple breakdown.

2.  If a large file size is what you are looking for, then you need to consider why that might be?  The only reasons to have a denser file size are a. Post processing capabilities (photoshop more before tone degradation appears) b. To make bigger prints.  Again, the ordering scale is just as above in (1.).  Drum, Imacon, Film Scanner, Flat Bed from sharpest to blurred.

3.  How large a print are you making from the scan? If you want a big 20x30 - 40x50 digital print, then you would benefit in having a drum scan as the sharper image blown up will yield little quality loss. So, even though you may get a 500mb file from a drum and 500mb file from an Imacon, if you are making a large print, the drums scan will look better due to its sharper quality.  However, if you are willing to make sharpness less of a priority, you can get away with an Imacon file (and most people do).  If you are making 20x30 or smaller, then drum scanning is really over kill, unless you are going to post process the file heavily in photoshop.  You can also sharpen the file (if you do it correctly) to get close to what you can yield off the drum scanner with an Imacon file.  Again, you can save a lot of money and do an Imacon scan, not as sharp, but great file size which you can then sharpen in photoshop to look really great.  So great, most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

4. Do you just want to archive you negatives because you fear they may or are getting damaged?  If this is your concern, you should just get a dedicated film scanner, Nikon 4000, 5000, 8000, or 9000 will do a great job at archiving your images to print up to 16x24.  Again, not as sharp as the Imacon and surely not as sharp as a drum scan, but really a professional, and affordable solution.  You can also get these scans done at many service labs for fairly reasonable prices and fast turnaround times. (see: Rayko or Dickerman Prints).

5. What if I just want to see what is on my contact sheet, or put stuff on the web from my film shots?  A consumer level flat bed scanner will do just fine for just figuring out what you may want to scan and print later on, or simply to put on the low resolution living environment of the web (72 ppi).

BOTTOM LINE: A great digital print comes from a great digital file.  The more you can do for your image in its translation from film to digital, the better it will be.  This means knowing what you actually need.  Print Size and Sharpness vs. Cost and Post Processing abilities is all it really comes down to.

Below are examples of an Imacon scan vs. Heidelberg Drum Scan I did at Rayko.

yellow light detail zoom: (Imacon on the top, Drum on the Bottom)

full image (zoomed out): Imacon on the left, Drum on the right (has subtle tone transitions).

Rocks Detail (Imacon on the top, drum on the bottom)

Fence and Road Detail (Imacon on top, Drum on bottom)

Funny Photo Site!

Recently I was called a military drill instructor in terms of how hard I push my students in my classes.  In my defense, that is exactly what I was going for so I'm glad I'm coming off clearly.  Tough love, to push people out of their comfort zone to get them to develop as artist and take them to a next level.  I never claimed my classes or my teaching style was "feel good," but more technically driven to give to give people their money's worth.  So, in response, I am now going to be teaching much more loosely, and my aim is now to create photos similar to the images found here.  They speak for themselves as being all kinds of awesome.  Enjoy.

This is not easy to do.