Introduction To Compositing With Peachpit Press

Introduction To Compositing Book Image 1

I am very excited to announce the launch of my first collaboration with Peachpit Press. We’ve been talking off and on over the last year or two about doing a project together. We’d hash out ideas, and then we’d decide to wait a little while and revisit the possibilities later. When they called recently saying that they were releasing a brand-new series of e-books, I thought it was a great opportunity to put something together.

We’d decided on an introduction-to-compositing book. To me, compositing is the last, ultimate expression of a still image. Photographers today are very good at natural light shooting, using flash, etc. But how many do you know that design a shoot in their mind, photograph all the elements, and then bring it together in Photoshop later? That’s what this e-book teaches.

You’ll learn how I created the above image, step-by-step. You’ll get all of the files I used, and I’ll walk you through such topics as:

  • Why I specifically shot in open shade for this image.
  • The pitfalls to watch out for when photographing elements.
  • The importance of matching angles.
  • Which background paper to use, and why.
  • How to mask hair and the insides of water bottles.
  • How to match colors in your scene so the elements look right.

Plus a lot more. In fact, over 50 pages of more:

Introduction To Compositing Book Image 2

Introduction To Compositing Book Image 3

And the best part? The e-book is available for just $5. I know that I could easily trick out a mocha and spend $5 on it (especially if I’m in a state that starts with CA). It’s also $2 cheaper than Minecraft.

If you are interested in compositing, but don’t know where to start, give this book a try. More details are at www.CompositingBook.com. And if you have any questions along the way, feel free to reach out to me!

*** As part of the launch, I’m giving away 2 free download codes. Just leave a comment on my Facebook page here in the next 24 hours (ending 8/20/13). I’ll pick two people at random. ***

can you still be creative in today’s world?


photo sketchI’ve been thinking about this the last few days. It’s a challenge, to say the least, and it’s not just limited to photography. Think of every creative service industry that’s been affected by a transition to digital: photography, music, art, advertising, etc. They’ve all been inundated with new talent that’s able to learn and produce at a rapid pace. If you can see the results of your work right away, you can progress through those 10,000 hours much quicker. The baseline for what is considered acceptable work changes as well. As an example, look at audio. When the digital revolution started, audio professionals slammed MP3 for it’s crappy compression and frequency response. And where are we now? The pros still slam MP3. And MP3 is the dominant audio format. Not “cd quality” files. Not HD audio. This kind of market ‘attitude’ adjustment has happened in every field affected by digital. And it’s not completely a bad thing. It’s great, for example, to be able to get a beautiful print out of today’s printers without worrying about CMYK or color separations or any of that stuff.  So how can you stand out in your field among all this change?

mel parker for black enterprise magazine

Mel is an executive for Dell, so we photographed him at their headquarters in Round Rock, Texas.

Black-Enterprise-Magazine-Image-1

Although it didn’t run in the story, I love this other photograph we took:

Black-Enterprise-Magazine-Image-2

Monica Cunningham for American University Magazine

Photographed at the Hilton in downtown Austin.

American-University-Magazine-Image-1

A Live Studio Audience

I had the honor last night of taking part in something special. If you are on Google Plus, you probably know that the first-ever Google Plus Photography Conference is going on right now. This conference is being run by the Scott Kelby’s crew (the same one that runs Photoshop World), along with Google.

I wasn’t able to make it to San Francisco, but I was asked and excited to be a part of it (albeit remotely). For a lot of the presentations, the conference team ran live hangouts and displayed the video on a large screen. This brought a unique element to the presentation (which already was in front of a large crowd). For the first time, a presenter could give a talk and also field questions/input from the hangout members.

I was happy to be one of those hangout members for Jeremy Cowart’s presentation last night. During the event I kept thinking “Cheers is filmed before a live, studio audience.” That’s what it felt like. I was an observer, and also a participant. I was far away, but close, because I could ask a question at any point. If I did speak, my face was immediately shown on the huge screen in the conference hall. I’m glad I brushed my hair.

If you’d like to watch Jeremy’s presentation (which is awesome btw), I’ve included it below. It will leave you, like me, feeling both inspired and unproductive! Dang you, Jeremy. I’ve also included some stills that my friend Frederick Van Johnson sent me from ‘behind the curtain’. Literally, behind the giant projection screen.

Congrats to Google and Scott Kelby and his team for pulling off this new conference, and congrats to Jeremy Cowart for a great presentation!

 [yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xmLgqjzju90#!']

TWiP Interview

It’s been about a month since the last post. In some many ways, the holiday season is my busiest time. In addition to my commercial/editorial work, I pick up a fair bit of Christmas card work as well. I’m looking forward to wrapping things up over this week so I can get to some Christmas shopping and baked-goods gluttony.

In the meantime, I had the great fortune to do an interview with Frederick Van Johnson of This Week In Photo. It’s my hands-down favorite podcast and, to borrow a phrase from co-host Alex Lindsay, ‘you should definitely check it out’.

You can find the entire interview here. We talk about my work prior to photography (including a stint at the Pentagon, web design, and a little film music scoring too).

I hope your holidays are off to a great start!

By |December 12th, 2011|Photography|0 Comments