Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Workflows and Actions

I've been asked how I get my images to look the way I do. Most of it is in taking the image. It's easier to take an image correctly than it is to try to correct it. Get your white balance, ISO and exposure correct first. Get things the way you want and take the image.

Digital images if not simple snapshots look better processed. They often have a "haze" to them and the colors may not be rich. Processing or "workflow" is what you do to an image to clean it a little. It involves cropping, color correction, skin or item correction (think removing blemishes or leaves or anything distracting) and then any artistic additions.

Here is a video I did for the process.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Advanced Rule of Thirds or The Fibonacci Ratio

We've spoken a little about the Rule of Thirds and how to use it to make your pictures look better. The rule of thirds, to re-state, says if you divide your image into thirds both horizontally and vertically, you will get 9 equal squares on your image. Placing a subject at the intersection of those lines is pleasing, specifically, the upper right zone is the most pleasing.

There is another rule or ratio that is pleasing to the eye. It's the "God Ratio" or Fibonacci Ratio/Spiral. Whether you are familiar with it or not, you have seen this spiral. The sea shell is an example of this spiral.

It's a spiral of specific proportion. Most people don't like math, so I won't get into it, but that spiral, when applied to a photograph is very pleasing.

Let's take this picture for example. It typifies both the rule of thirds and the Fibonacci Ratio.

When we overlay the Fibonacci Spiral as well as the Rule of thirds, we get the intersections at the subject's face.

What does this have to do with pictures?

When editing an image, try to do a couple of things. First, when shooting try to place the subject in an area of the frame that will accentuate one of the two rules.

Second, when editing, overlay the image with one of these two rules and try to place the subject at the critical points either in the grid or in the spiral. This creates a very pleasing image to your client as well as your art.

I found these images with a simple Google search.

Rule of Thirds
Fibonacci Spiral

Monday, September 13, 2010

Lots Going On

It's been a while since I posted. PBJ has moved into the Event photography and fund raising service.

It works out to be a really good deal for everyone. I take pictures and donate a portion of the proceeds to your organization. All you have to do is let me in to the venue and encourage people to buy digital downloads. Very simple.

Here is a composite photo I shot a few weeks ago for a senior portrait. I really enjoy doing these although the concept is sometimes really hard to get across.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New Location and Price Page

We've updated our prices to make it easier and more affordable for you. We've crunched the numbers ( read - we used Excel and asked the family accountant ) and come up with the best quality for the best prices.

Our packages are still only $100, $150 and $200, but ... here's the good part ... we've increased the number of prints you get per session.

General Session

$100 + location fees

  • 2 8x10's
  • 2 5x7's

Extended Session

$150 + location fees
  • 2 8 x 10's
  • 3 5 x 7's

Premier Session

$200 + location fees
  • 3 8 x 10's
  • 6 5 x 7's


  • 5x7's - $10
  • 8x10's - $15
  • 1 Sheet Wallets (24) - $15
  • Collage of Images (8x10) - $20
  • 11x14 - $30
  • 16x20 - $45
  • 16x24 - $60
  • 20x24 - $75


  • CD's - $20 each
    2 CD's - $25 (CD comes with one letter of copyright)
  • CD comes with all approved shots from session
  • Replacement CD - $35 (replacements come with a replacement letter of copyright)


We've also added some pictures in our locations page with examples of some of the beautiful places we shoot. We get asked a lot about good places to shoot. Can't decide? We've also included pictures of actual customers at the locations. We still go other places, but these are some of the more popular venues.

Dallas Baptist University

Ft. Worth Botanic Gardens

Ft. Worth Stockyards
Gaylord Texan Resort ( Grapevine, Texas )

Kimbell Art Museum ( Ft. Worth, Texas )

River Legacy Park ( Arlington, Texas )

Texas Christian University ( Ft. Worth, Texas )

West End ( Dallas, Texas )

Friday, May 28, 2010

How Much Of What You See In Photography Is Real

I've been a PhotoShop expert ( and I use that term loosely ) longer than I have been a photographer ( and I REALLY use that term loosely).

I had an excellent teacher in one Conway Norwood. He introduced me to the wonders of PhotoShop and passed on some sage advice. His words were to the effect, "I can send you to PhotoShop class, but it will take you years to learn it all." He was absolutely correct. Eleven years later and I feel like I am scratching the surface of this tool.

After marrying my photography with PhotoShop, because, let's face it, I made a lot of mistakes and still do in photography, I learned PhotoShop is a handy tool for mopping up messes. I did make a commitment to not make any major changes to any client unless requested. I will remove zits and scars, whiten teeth and eyes and enhance, but not change, eye color. At the client's request I can remove tattoos or anything else, within reason, they wish, except ex-husbands or boyfriends.

The ethical dilemma comes to weight. When should I make someone a tad thinner? When do I need to modify the body so that the image is more appealing? I think the answer is to take the 10 pounds off the camera adds.

Take for example this photo. Is this the original?

The answer is yes and no. The client needed a picture of her daughter to turn in later in the year for another purpose. However, the original photo, is not this one. It's this one.

The ethical dilemma is not something as simple as a family portrait. No, the dilemma is what newspapers and magazines show you. Modifying the news is a heinous crime and some agencies have been caught doing it. Film was difficult to manipulate. Cropping was about the most you could effectively get away with. Digital opens new doors that may need to stay shut.

Outside of that, I did a good bit of PS work, if I do say so myself.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Some Myths About Photography

I'm finding there are people who believe a few myths about photography.

1. The best light can only be found during the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset.

Although the light at this time can be amazing, it's no reason to totally rule out shooting any time of day. Shoot, just shoot! With the right training and a few tricks you can turn the day to night and the night to day. Simply knowing that Shutter speed controls ambient (read, daylight if outside) and the aperture controls the light from your flash, you can adjust the settings on your camera to get some amazing results.

2. There's no good place to shoot besides indoors in the winter.

Nothing could be further from the truth in my opinion. So the trees aren't green, big deal. Move to a more urban setting/ Bricks don't ever fall off buildings. Well, they do, but don't shoot where they do.

Urban settings are great for winter photography. Shooting at night is also an option. I'm lucky enough to get some fairly decent days even in the dead of winter. It's cold in other parts of the country, but that shouldn't stop you.

I believe if you are good, and I'm working on it, you can really control the light in an image just by knowing and controlling your camera.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Sometimes It Works Out Better Than Expected

I was scheduled to shoot a session indoors on December 30th, 2009. However, a few minutes before I got to the location house, I got a text that basically was a profuse apology. My subject was apologizing for some unwelcome guests in her house that would have interfered with the shoot. So, as time was running out, we decided to just cancel what we had planned and do a shoot outdoors about a mile from her house at a local lake.

I don't generally like this location because it's a half finished lake. What?!?!?! Yes, when this lake was being built., there was a rather large rain storm that came and lasted for days as I am told. It rained so much there are still bulldozers at the bottom of the lake. So you can't water ski or really fish effectively. No scenery. It's really just a lake that people go to to hang out and build houses around.

But, I got some of the most amazing shots I have ever captured because we went with what we had. The light and my subject were AMAZING. I'm looking forward to doing other shoots with her.