Selfie Fun With Capital Metro

Did you know that one of the earliest references to the word ‘selfie’ was in 2005? I was surprised it was that early; I would have guessed around 2009 or 2010. 

Although I’ll do my fair-share of self portraits with DSLRs, I hardly ever take them with my phone. I would guess this is because my wife doesn’t like the face I make when I take one (which borders somewhere between confusion and extreme indifference). Needless to say, the selfie culture is now a huge. part. of society. 

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to jump into the selfie pool with Capital Metro. They were launching a brand new mobile app and wanted to show that you could now use your phone for more than just selfies. Door Number 3 was the agency tasked with developing hilarious selfie scenarios which would be used in both print ads and video commercials.

We narrowed down our scenarios and did the whole shoot in one day, spread over three different locations. Once we were done taking stills, Aaron and his video team from Onion Creek Productions filmed a short video segment. The video would become the story leading up to the creating of the selfie, and all of our selfie models did a great job playing the part. Later in post, we made an extra effort to make these look like phone images by adding a lot of noise, strong contrast, color casts, etc. 

I love how all of these came out. We could have easily shot another 10 scenarios as we had a ton of great ideas! Thanks to everyone involved for helping make 2014 start off with a bunch of laughs.

Capital Metro Selfies

 

Here’s the fun commercial that Onion Creek Productions put together:

 

And here are some BTS shots:

karate selfie

Cat Selfie

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20140326-selfie-bts4

 

 

Client: Capital Metro
Agency: Door Number 3
Video: Onion Creek Productions

2011 Christmas Card

I have a deep affection for fun holiday cards. In fact, I’m usually pretty busy this time of year creating holiday images for my clients. I love the whole process – discussing ideas, doing the shoot, and the post work. My goal every year is to create something that will stay on the refrigerator past New Year’s day.

This year, we went with a CSI theme. Specifically, CSI: Miami. That show is so over-the-top. Extra credit goes to Horatio Caine (played by David Caruso), as he somehow manages to open each show with a ridiculous one-liner. This video on YouTube, showing over 7 minutes of his poetic dialogue, will probably have you in stitches. It inspired us this year. Here’s the front of the card:

Some people might not get the CSI reference right away, so we included an image/tag line on the back:

We had a great time producing this year’s card, and are already thinking of ideas for next year. In the meantime, I’ve posted new work that I’ve done for my holiday clients at austinchristmascards.com.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and an incredible New Year!

 

Using Silver Efex Pro 2 To Hype Your Contrast

Have you ever been interested in pumping up the contrast in your work beyond the standard tone-curve adjustments that all of the books teach? After hanging with my friend Douglas Sonders at Photoshop World in Vegas and mentioning my technique to him, I decided to put together this video tutorial on how I do it.

For me, I enjoy walking a line between real and not real. I tend to use HDR, for example, on certain parts of background images but never the whole image. With this effect it’s the same idea. In the past I would use a plug in called Lucis Art to get a similar effect. It’s a very popular plug in and has a very distinctive look. One of those ‘you know it when you see it‘ looks. Unfortunately, the company that makes it has stopped further development on the Mac platform. This is a shame, really, because Lucis Art was creating a look that no one else could do. Enter Silver Efex Pro 2 by Nik Software.

I picked up Silver Efex Pro 2 on a whim. It was totally an impulse purchase during a conference last year (I think it was Photoshop World Orlando). Silver Efex Pro is designed to do one thing well – make black and white images. It excels at it, to say the the least. After using the plug in for 2 minutes, I completely ditched my older methods for creating black and white conversions. It really is that good. However, while messing around with it I came across a way to use it to give my color images a Lucis feel. Check out the video below to see how I used it for the cover shoot of the first issue of Austin Man Magazine:

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHUDijEGE9c']

So there you have it – pretty straightforward. If you liked this tip, you my want to subscribe to the feed as I’ll be posting more soon. Also, be sure to add me on Google Plus if you are there, as I’m planning on doing a hangout to show this in action.

By |September 13th, 2011|Photography|4 Comments

Building a Portfolio Book

I recently finished putting together my portfolio book, and I’d like to share a little walkthrough of it.

The process of putting this together was longer than I had originally planned. It all started by going through images from the last few years and figuring out what worked. A lot of this process was with Natalie Ogura, who has a very strong background as a producer as well as a set stylist. I’ve brought her on for commercial shoots before and was excited to to work together again. We culled images for the website, and then I used those images as a starting point for the book.

When it comes to book printing you have a ton of options. While it would have been easy to go to the companies I’ve used before for weddings, the problem with those books is that they are permanent: no changing out pages without sending the books in (and paying a nice change fee.) Ultimately I decided to go with Lost Luggage. While they do high-end custom work for clients, they also produce a series of standard portfolio books that allow you to trade out pages easily. They had just the look I wanted.

I also had to make some decisions when it came to printing. Lost Luggage sells matte paper that is pre-drilled and works perfectly with their books. I did a test run with their paper, but in the end wasn’t happy. I felt that paper with a slight gloss would work better since my images had a more contemporary, commercial look to them. Lost Luggage didn’t sell any paper like that, so I went on a paper hunt.

I was immediately drawn to Hahnemuhle. I just loved how the prints looked with their paper! It had enough of a sheen but wasn’t glossy. My first round with that paper was Photo Rag Pearl. The paper was rated as 320 gsm (which is a measure of its thickness). That paper was incredible, but once I printed the book, I noticed that the paper was too thick. The book couldn’t lay flat, and became unwieldy. Fortunately, Hahnemuhle makes a version of the same paper at 285 gsm, and it was much better.

Here’s a video walkthrough of the book:

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_p2W9beI1U8']

Regarding the video, creating it was pretty straight-forward. I put a 5d Mark 2 on a c-stand (held by a Manfrotto magic arm). The camera was running tethered to a laptop. On the laptop, I was using the Live View feature of Canon’s EOS Utility. This allowed me to watch it while recording to make sure the book was straight and the pacing was good. For lighting, I used a single ring flash behind the desk. Here’s a setup shot:

Overall, I am really happy with the book, and the response by those that have seen has been great!

 

New Website Intro Video!

I’m excited to show you my new website intro video! It gives a little insight into how I approach shoots and what I enjoy the most about my work:

Austin Man Magazine Launch Party

Last night was the launch party for Austin Man Magazine. I had the honor of photographing Roy Spence for the cover of the first issue, and it was a blast. You can check out the spreads below, but let’s start with a short behind-the-scenes video from the shoot:

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8qliuKJMVI

The ATX Man team asked me to provide a quick bio for this issue’s contributor section:

Last night was the launch party in downtown Austin. It was great to see everyone together again who had worked on the magazine, as well as past cover women from Austin Woman Magazine. Here are some point-and-shoot shots from the event, starting with me and Roy:

Here’s Christopher Garvey, the co-founder and publisher.

On the left is Deborah Hamilton-Lynne, the executive editor, and Jenny Lin, who handled all the makeup at the shoot.

Ketan Patel, the Art Director, and Michelle Valles, who was the cover woman we photographed for Austin Woman Magazine back in July 2010.

I am really excited for Austin Man Magazine and their brand new launch! I hope to do more shoots with them in the future. A big shout out to everyone who was part of the shoot, including Jenny Lin, Eric Kotara, Dave McLaughlin, Deb Hamilton-Lynne, Christopher Garvey, plus Roy and the great people at GSD&M.