Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten
From the Battery to the top of Manhattan
Asian, Middle-Eastern and Latin
Black, White, New York you make it happen
Brownstones, water towers, trees, skyscrapers
Writers, prize fighters and Wall Street traders
We come together on the subway cars
Diversity unified, whoever you are
We’re doing fine on the One and Nine line
On the L we’re doin’ swell
On the number Ten bus we fight and fuss
‘Cause we’re thorough in the boroughs
And that’s a must
:- Beastie Boys | An Open Letter to NYC.
Shot in September & August in NYC – This is a photography set of some of my memories in NYC. There are many elements to New York but even with a thousand images you would only begin to scratch the surface of what truly is one of the worlds great cities.
These images were created using all natural lighting and with Fuji, Nikon and Canon cameras. Sigma Lenses for the DSLR’s. Thank you to Sam Krisch, Think Tank, Fuji & Sigma USA.
Photography: Dave Kai Piper
Hair & Beauty: Nic J
Model: Ivy Timlin
Stlying: Lesley DeFreitas
With Many thanks to Sam Krisch
Starring – New York City
Fuji , they make the “best camera ever made” according to Zack Arias.
Is Fuji just another camera company? A camera with some well constructed PR and planning? Can a Fuji Camera REALLY make you a better photographer ? At the end of the day, as any photographer worth anything will tell you, the brand of camera you use is really not going to make you a better photographer. Or a worse one for that matter. Photography is a craft, the camera is a tool. A tool is only as useful as the person holding it. Forget all the techy articles, forget all the crap about how sharp is this and the blah blah blah.. You want the truth about photography ? You want the secret that unlocks it all ?
Well, you’re screwed. The truth is, there is no magic bullet, there is no magic camera and no magic lens. It should be wise at this point to point out that this blog and every other blog is only one point of view and should be read and considered as such. I wanted to use this article to unearth some of these rumours that Fuji make the BEST camera in the world. It’s impossible they do, just as point of logic. Anyway who defines best ?
X-Pro + 18-55 lens
So when it comes to the “new Leica” or the “best camera ever made” you have to understand that just because Zack Arias proudly said it, its does not make it true, nor does it mean that you should run out and buy one, even if he is right, and to be honest, he is right.. it IS one of the better camera systems ever made. Still, just because I utterly adore the cameras it DOES not mean that you should agree blindly without challenging. Just because we say that they are some of the best cameras ever made, it does not make it true. It is just a point of view.
There’s a distinguished looking ol’ fellow sitting at the bar. He has silver hair and laugh lines around his eyes. He’s well dressed. Well groomed. Well traveled. You can tell he’s seen a lot in his time. His classic Morgan is parked outside. There’s a pretty young girl on his arm listening to his stories of being a globe trotting documentary photographer. He sips his 50 year old Chivas Regal. His name is Leica. Yeah, he’s the world’s most interesting man.
*note, I happen to think that Roger Rabbit it the coolest guy EVER, hence his inclusion into Zacks’s diagram*
But in every sense of the word, this is just more than ‘just’ a new camera emanating from Fuji HQ. As our dear American friend Zack pointed out in his blog, which personified Fuji into a cool hipster-esque kid.
“Tattered 501?s. Grease stained tee. Three days of scruff…..The young girl that was sitting with Leica heads out the door but not before slipping her number into Fuji’s back pocket. Fuji sips his beer and quietly tucks it deeper into his pocket so he doesn’t lose it.”
Clever use of the stereotypes indeed, depicting the “other” camera manufacturers as needs and old men bickering amongst them themselves. Interestingly Leica was the first to offer friendship to Fuji in this imagery bar. I do wonder what Leica think of this new found praise being given to Fuji ? One does think they would like to have a friend at the top and really welcome the companies company. I wonder how long it really is before the next Chanel advert to feature an X-Pro appears. I think Lecia are still the very top of the pecking order on so many levels. (I am the only to of watched The new CHANEL N°5 film and saw nothing but the M8 ??) Do you think we will see an X-Pro in the next Chanel advert ? I don’t. There still is a difference in chic and style. The Leica brand just oozes style and class. While Fuji still make £79.00 cameras they will never be stylish to be cool like is Leica cool. I promise you Hermès are not about to make a Hermès X-Pro anytime soon. Anyway.. who says Fuji want that crown ?
Fuji are interesting. They are on the verge of creating something very amazing. So why has the geeky company somehow made photography interesting across the levels again? Let’s for a moment imagine a world where Photographers are paid for their services. This makes them a Professional Photographer. Some people have Photography as a hobby, and I would guess that this where most professional photographers start. From here photographers undergo a metamorphosis into the coffee swilling, self aware artists who sleep all day and work all night. During the curation of this process, the element that made the hobby fun are lost. The business takes over removing most of the random fun elements and rightly so. As things are scaled up, the costs are too. Things escalate to a point where a photographer is only shooting when paid and shooting things in a democratic way working with teams of people all giving input. On many occasions, the fun elements are dangerous and bad for business, they have to be forgotten. When you have clients paying big money, its not a laugh and a joke anymore. You have to deliver no excuses. In a blink of an eye, the reason you love photography is nothing to do with the business you now run and shapes your life. In the world of the pro photographer, clients can care very little about the fun element during the creation process and only really care about the delivery and end result.
Combining this weight of responsibility to your studio staff and agents and clients and your family together is no laughing matter. Then, when you start to also add on the fact that a photographer today can deal with more criticism and taunting in a day than most people take in a year (see my article about being a Social Photographer). Keeping in a joyful headspace is not easy. Many a great photographer loses their hobby to the business and also loses an outlet from the business. This ends up a something many photographers call, ‘stuck in a rut’. Keeping this great mental positivity is hard work. It seems all people want to do is moan about things. Never has a photographer had to deal with such blunt, crushing comments from such a un-educated group of people before. Being plugged into the social media as an image maker is somewhat of a double edged sword. Facebook,Twitter, Pintrest, Deviant Art, Flickr and so on and so on. One moment people love us and our work, 100 ‘likes’ a photo then.. bang.. people cutting in barbarians. As we all know.. the public are crushing at times and uplifting the next. Sharing work on all these social platforms is not a fun process unless you have the thickest of skins. Then came the iPhone…..
To sum up, if a photographer is only as good as their worst photo, taking photos for a bit of fun is quite a daunting for a pro photographer.. “what if a client sees it ” is a common thought of mine, “they will think I am crap!” “Are people going to think I have given up Fashion photography if I take a few photos on holiday and some photos of my Grandma? People are going to think my model selection is not up to much ?” Trust me, you may laugh.. but it happens and I am quite sick of people commenting on my personal life and personal photos that I take during the house of a day when I revert back to being a hobbyist. I really don’t want to have to worry about perfect light ALL the time. Sometimes I like taking photos…
Well, Apple gave us the way forward. They gave us the platform for the Hipstamatic App, which gave way to Instagram, which gave the rise to being socially connective though images. The key here though, that these forms of photography were in way connected with the professional world of image created. It gave a level platform and everyone had the same tools. The skill was in the creation and use of the tool. Pro Photographers could once again take photos in a world where they are not judged on skill or money or production. People understood the media and that it was only there for sharing moments thus, not to be taken seriously. It’s not a real photo, its just Instagram. A snapshot a moment, a bit of fun. But then, something interesting started to happen. People who understood light and the complexity of image making started to create some amazing stuff on this fun format and pushed the industry for better cameras while still only just being fun. As a progression of time happens, more fun products came out to fill the need for this new breed of converse wearing geek chic photographer. Vitally, the idea of using images to document day to day life and sharing them was kept as fun and chic. There was no pressure to have perfect images, and the viewer of these images were viewing them in the context to what they are. In a nutshell, we have ended up creating a culture that has some context of what they they a looking at when it comes to images and how to react to them. I can make two images and the style of the image with change the way people look at it due to the crop or style. People still don’t see social media images as real photography and thus…. photographers can use it to have fun again.
Fuji X-pro + 35mm /60mm
Enter the X100 and X-Pro. These cameras carry on that aspect of fun and deliver it into the hands of a photographer with all the power and quality of the tool they use at work with all the kudos and chic of the Instgramming world. When I first got the X-pro. I edited most of the images on my phone from the camera. Apps like Pixlr Express and Snapseed as well as Instagram are the intended direction of most of my X-Pro images. But.. then.. that client phones you and wants a 20×30 of the park you instagramed last night. Boom.. get the raw file , into Photoshop, to the printer and you have a fine art print good enough for any gallery or any wall in the world. For me, the X-Pro is my best friend that also is a kickboxer and lawyer rolled into one. Never leave home without it and feel totally prepared for any shoot with it.
During the move from Film to Digital we have had loss and gain in the need for Image Quality and the need for Social photography. After some time the we get the X-pro which both satisfy the need for image quality and the social need for photography. Or Work and Play.
Photographers are dull when working, but Photographers are crazy fun when playing, this is the duality that Fuji have caught so well.
Its like having Porsche 911 as a taxi cab, but being able to seat 6 plus all the luggage. I mean, even David Beckham has one….
So, what are we saying here. Fuji have got on the bandwagon. People are image aware more than ever, people expect things to look good and work better. Style and substance are needed and more importantly, people are willing to pay to have it. Apple have built a behemoth of a company based on the concept of premium. Create the demand and people will buy. The Fuji looks good, and makes me feel good. I feel good even when it is in the camera bag, I love that I feel good, I love that it’s retro and people think I know more than I do because it looks like film. “gosh he MUST be good if he is using film”. I love that it looks good AND is good. I love that there is a range of good cameras that look good. I love that there is a little cute red version and the black metal X-pro. I love that Fuji have made me Love a tool which has made me fall back in love with shooting for fun. I think the reason Zack says it is the best camera in the world ( talking about the X100s) is mostly due to the how it makes him feel when he is using it. This is then in turn making him more confident and push his own creative ideas and its a fantastic thing. Would you want that ?
The funny thing here is that we have not even mentioned how the cameras actually work, and nor am I going to. I think you should find a store, and have a look yourself.
So I will leave you with a parting thank you from me to all the guys at Fuji. From the PR guys & gals to the chaps who make the teas in Japan, thank you, thank you,thank you. You made photography fun again.
I maybe wrong about a few things, but, if I am not very mistaken,a few countries in the world are seriously looking at forcing advertising that uses image manipulation during the creation process of it’s advertising to carry a warning or a statement to say as such. Our French neighbors seem to be the leading voice here. But I understand that the there is a growing American contingent also. Quite an odd things considering some magazines actually make a whole trade in showing “shocking celeb” photos of people looking normal. So what is going on. I get the feeling this is just people needing to shout about something. It’s like vegans telling us bacon is bad for you every day. Why do we need a warning if we know that photos are manipulated? Is there a problem that I really just am missing. Is the work we produce really that bad harmful.
So what is post production, and what are people so worried about. For a start, people have been “Photoshoping” photos way before Photoshop. It’s just that it was never called Photoshop. Developing, it was called. Skilful developers could do wonders with film. All sorts of amazing things could be done with a few chemicals and practice. The doctoring of images has been going since the very first photograph, the sheer act alone requires the image creator to work to predefine the context, and therefore trying to direct the reaction of the viewer. Images are a media of communication, there is no point in creating something if you have nothing to communicate.
After the capture stage, the refining of the direction that producer wants to direct the viewer is call Post-Production. It is a means to refine the contextual narrative. Even if you don’t edit, touch, change alter your images, you are STILL manipulating and creating contextual direction for the viewer. People who say they don’t agree with post-production just have no idea of what they are talking about in my view. In layman’s terms, Post-Production is what you after the production stage. I find it very hard that people want to put a health warning on this stage of the creation process. One day will they also have to make a warning to say that the lighting used to create shape and tone was created in a studio setting? What about painters? Should Joris Hoefnagel’s painting of King Henry viii also carry a health warning, as this was also in no question an altered versions of the exact truth. What do people want ? If the new Gucci campaign with Anja Rubik has to carry one, I put the reason that most of Rembrandts should too. But then the other side says that, the reason for the conception of the images are different and it is that the Gucci advert is designed to sell and make money etc. I would then say, but many of Rembrandts must of inspired the future fashions and lifestyles regarding body image and such. My point is this, there is nothing new here what so ever. People are educated enough to know that just because it is an image they know that it is not an exact copy of truth. The sheer creation process prevents this. Having health warnings to state the obvious is just dull and obnoxious quite frankly. What next, “this light bulb will glow when in use”.
Within the photographic community, seeing all sides from newbie starters to the top elite. Everyone at some point will use a program at the very heart of this all. Adobe Photoshop was created 24 years ago (1989) and is the industry standard editing manipulation tool today. It gives the user total ability to directly alter the pixels used to create the image. When people refer to airbrushing photos – This is a rough, naïve attempt to explain someone using such program to remove elements such as spots and skin blemishes at a pixel level on an image. The overall result looking like the model or person in the image having perfect skin. Some people want this practice, when carried out to make sure the image carries a warning saying so. But, if the make up artist was to really use and Airbrush to produce such an effect for real, this would be fine and not need to carry any warning at all. One a simple level I guess this is what is being suggested. Over the years Photoshop has got far easier to use and more advanced offering greater access and greater ability to doctor images. The major boom in electronic image manipulation was the introduction of the cheap digital camera. This gave people chance to edit holiday photos and family photographs. The developing stage had gone digital when the cameras went digital too. This meant that now people had far greater access to change the images they were creating as less skill was needed to doctor an image. These days you can take a snap on your phone, edit using a funky app and post on Facebook in a shorter time than it would take you to read this single paragraph. Back years ago, far more time went into the pre-production stages, and less Post was needed as a result. The digital ages has reversed this.
A couple of days ago, an interesting post was placed on my forum. It was questioning how much control could or should be place in the hands of the re-toucher. (Photoshop guy/gal). The power of Photoshop is just incredible today. Many working professionals put so much faith that work can be rescued and polished in Photoshop that the creation of the image is second in importance to the digital enhancement stage. I am not saying this is right, but I am saying that it is done. These days, if you are a working professional, you need to have your editing skills up to scratch or have someone working for you who does. This is not new though. Pre-digital, having a good developer of your film was vital. Lets just remind our-self, that the concept of post-production is to refine the context of the image. Not using all the skills and tools available to you to help your images is just lazy and unprofessional. Choosing to move the stages of the creation process about is whole other thing though. Spending time on make up before a shoot thus not having to correct in Photoshop as an example. This should be encouraged.
G.Sandy is not far wrong I think with this summing up of the different stages.
I think whatever it takes to make the photo all that you want it to be is fair game. personally though and maybe because I am old and brought up with film, there are 3 levels rather than 2.
1. Developing (curves, sharpening, fixing colour castes and white balance)
2. Enhancing (a bit of D&B on the blemishes and maybe some “carving”)
3. Retouching (things that change the actual subject beyond blemishes such as liquify, moving eyebrows etc)
Everyone Develops, everyone enhances, but not everyone retouches. Also as a side note, you really do not need Photoshop for any of these things. Many of these things you can do inside a phone application these days.
Personally, I use Photoshop to style and enhance my photography in a way that in camera is just not practical or achievable. I really do not think that is a problem and should not carry a health warning. Working as re-toucher for other people, it is key to understand what message they are trying to convey to the viewer before starting to enhance that message. 90% of images in the professional arena will have been though all three stages under skillful guidance. This being a way to refine the context of the image to a degree is says just what you need it to.
Many hobbyist photographers really do not need such control over the direction of the images, thus less production is common. Photographers working in a commercial environment will use as many tools to make sure the images created are doing exactly what the client has asked for. Outsourcing images is a very common practice in the professional world. Many Clients working with advertising agencies have their own re-touchers who as very familiar with the branding and can shape just the right message from the images created by a freelance photographer.
Full set here - http://www.davepiper.org.uk/blog/from-munich-with-love
Some time ago…..
Well, let me introduce myself what I do. I am Dave Kai Piper, 29 almost 30, and I take photos and coach other people who take photos too. Art + Fashion one might say. I come from the UK and shoot with my own take on Fashion and contemporary Portraits. I have a saying I like to use: “Photography is not about photos, it’s about people” and for me this project fully proves that point. It’s about getting people together, it’s about sharing the world, the paths we take in it and the things we have learnt. It’s about real people doing real things, meaning, this is something that can really help. It’s not about super high end glossy photos taken on a super sexy Hasselblad with a world class creative team shooting for Prada, it’s about you in your park taking photos of a duck. It’s about being relevant to the wider photographic community. There is nothing wrong about high end photography, I am guilty of chasing my next cover for a magazine too, but there is more to this world . Fabulous ! Fashion to Food, Medium Format to Mobile Phone. Photography is never still, it moves and we must move with it. Photography has something for everyone here and everyone can learn from it.
Anyway.. I wanted to share something. This is a guide to getting a set of images into and out of the post pro stage looking like a body of work. The shoot which we are going to have a look at was shot in Munich just before Christmas 2011. I was one of my personal favourite shoots of the year. It was also where I shoot , one of two photos, that made it into the shortlist for Photographer of the Year 2011.
Here goes. Because it was shot in kitchen, we are going to pretend we are making a cake.
• One Camera D700 in this case)
• One Super amazing model
• One Tripod (I used a 3 legged thing)
• One Speedlight (SB900)
• One Orbis Flash Adapter
• One fast wide prime lense (I used an old 85mm 1.4 nikkor)
Mix it up !!
The key with photography, as with cooking, is the ingredients and the prep time. Keep things simple and use the best quality produce. In my case , I had the amazingly talented Diana Zwarthoed as my Make Up artist and the very beautiful Chloe-Jasmine Whichello as my Model. We shoot this shoot during a trip to Munich, in a Kitchen of all places in fact, so please excuse the cooking puns. This little shoot has an interesting background story. The short version is that I was challenged to shoot in someone apartment in Germany. As I am from the UK this meant a couple of things, I had to travel light and I was shooting in unknown environment. I needed to have some ideas and lighting set ups that would work in pretty much all conditions and spaces. I went for the single speed light approach, I love the SB900 for its power, but does have a heating issue at times, never the less, its what we had and used. We placed the Orbis Flash adapter on to spread the light out and give us that lovely Orbis glow. Eddie (www.3leggedthing.com) was perfect for this trip due to the super low weight of the tripod. After Diana and I had picked out some make up styles and hairstyles we liked I began to set up my lighting and Diana got to work on the make up.
I had another good look at my pre-made mood idea’s sheet that I had made back in the UK and scouted around the room looking for a space that would suit. I found a wall next to a huge window that had net curtains, It was about noon and the sun was coming though in a wonderful way. I placed a chair about a meter from the back wall and about a meter from the window, which was now on the left side, parallel to where my model was going to sit. The Orbis was rigged up and mounted with a Frio cold shoe on to the tripod. I had Herb sit for me while I adjusted the lighting for my test shot. I set the camera to my usual starting settings. All the 2′s f2.2 @ 200 iso, 1/200th and adjusted the curtains and ? ash to get the right exposure.
I love shooting tethered to a computer. Here, I was shooting using a D700 into Lightroom 3. I had pre-designed some developing styles that gave me a high-res, quick preview of what I was I am doing and lets me track the good shots and most importantly can give direct feedback to my model. The make up artist can watch the photos come in and make adjustments based on the colours of an edited photo. I love attention to detail, and shooting like this stops you from coming trigger happy. It really makes you focus on the job at hand. Because my lighting was a mixture of strobe and ambient, being able to track really fine lighting changes was great too. After a short while Chloe-Jasmine was ready and we started shooting. The idea was to shoot a short set of photos in an editorial way. A mix of beauty and portrait. We wanted 8 photos in my set, so we aimed for 4 sets of 2 , changing the makeup and bra every set. This made things a little harder as we now had a race against the sun to get all the shots done with the make up changes. This is where shooting tethered really helped as I could track progress and not over shoot.
Because I had pre-made my developing preview I could be very confident that I ‘had the shots’ as we went along.
These are some screenshots of the photos as they looked coming into Lightroom.
The actually shoot was fast and simple. I just kept in close with the 85mm and did all my cropping in camera. As you will notice in this edit guide, there is no cropping. I like to work with the Spot focus mode, ensuring it was on the eye every shot. I prefer to move the focus point in camera, rather and focus & recompose. I find this is far better for ensuring a good focus when at low DOP (depth of field). I used the split toning and the vignette adjustments in the preset as shown. I also used the graduated filters to enhance the vintage look. Some minor adjustment were also made with the lens correction presets. So, we had our photos As you can see above, I was marking the photos as they came in. Red is something I like and then the stars mean they are worth a closer look. This is down as I was shooting. From this stage its all digital and a combination of Lightroom, Photoshop and Bridge. Many of you will know my affection for Bridge over Lightroom for the content management of photos and editing processes. I wont go into it so here much, but, I will say that Bridge is very powerful program and under used by a lot of people. In fact, if you do you use it in your core workflow, mail in and let us know. I want to show you the what happened next in a little more detail. Once we have selected out 10 photographs, we take them into the Photoshop editing process.
Cakes… or Cookies I think they are called in the US. Baking one tasty cookie is easy, you don’t really have to think how much of what you are putting in and you can make it up as you go. This is great, but its when it comes to making another, then another or making a whole batch, you need a plan to follow. You need a recipe. This is the same with Photoshop, as we go though photo by photo we make each one on its own and thus they all look a little different after. I wanted to show you a way to solve this and its just like making a recipe for a cake/cookie. We aim to take all 10 photos from my set and process them one by one but make them look like a body of work, edited to a style. We shall do it in a clean simple and quick way. We shall use pre-saved Filters, Duotones and Layer masks.
Import the files into Photoshop as the Tiff just by right clicking from Lightroom. It has a little vignette added and colour tweak. I do this in Lightroom as it is FAR easier to apply the same effect of all 10 photos
Step Two And Step Three.
Duplicate the background layer. This is good working practice.
Get to work on cleaning up the clean up the skin and keeping touching up throughout the whole ten steps. Work slowly. I use a combination of the Spot heal tool, the Stamp / Clone tool, Patch Tool and the Spot healing tool. Find what works best for you. However, use a small brush and zoom in. You should be in at 100% or closer for doing skin work.
Take your time and don’t rush.
This step should be 60% of the editing time.
Next I used a plug-in to get a nice glow on the skin. Portraiture from Imagenomics is great, but can murder a photograph when used badly. Use it softly and gently. I have seen some lovely photos get wrecked at the use of this plug-in.
BE GENTLE and combine with a layer mask to only affect the areas needed. Avoid eyes, jaw lines, lips, hair, eyebrows. I have brought mine down to 42% Opacity and left it in Normal Blending mode. I have use a Channel Mask to let control the areas on the Layer mask that I am affecting with the plug in. If you need tips on how the plug in works, mail me and if I get enough people asking, I shall do a ‘How to’ use the plug in.
Merge all visible layer and create a new layer. This is Ctrl+alt+E on the PC. If you only take away one thing from this… let it be this key cut.
The Duotone filter The Secret Ingredient. Duplicate the top layer in your layer stack into a NEW document, and convert into a funky colour. I have used my preset New Blue range of colours. This is a Quadtone, made up of Blue, Yellow, Gray and Cyan, which each colour having its own curves applied to create a unique tonal range. This can then be saved and applied to the new layer. Drag the new duotone layer onto the top of the main documents layer stack. I have then applied the Screen Blending mode and brought the Opacity to 25%. Simple! The trick is finding a nice tonal range for your photo.
O+25% would be the bit to remember here
I have then added a Yellow Filter using the normal photoshop photo filters (new adjustment layer > photo filters ).
The interesting bit here is this, you can not save filters in Photoshop, but you can use the Hexadecimal numbers en-sure you get the same colour each time. I have used ffff00, which is yellow. I save the 6 digit code in the name of the layer on the layers panel. I also note the Density adjustments. This will be clear in a moment why.
So – ffff00 D18% is the layer name
Google: Hexadecimal Colours – Tip . . .
Things in Pink are linked for refence….
H+0 L+0 S+9 the next adjustment layer has a complicated name but is very simple. It is nothing more than a Hue & Saturation layer. Each letter denotes an adjustment setting change. So here.
The Saturation layer has been increased by 9 and everything else is left at zero.
Ctrl+alt+E to merge all layers and give a new layer while keeping the layer stack. This layer has the name Overlay 25%, which means I have applied the Overlay blending mode to the layer and reduced the Opacity to 25%
USM a55 r1.8 t0. This stands for UnSharp Mask. The following numbers are to denote the setting applied for each setting. I have then applied the mask using a Layer mask tool, which means using Ctrl+alt+E to create the layer first. And done ! As you can see, there was nothing else to do on this photograph. So.. when I move on to the next photo I have a recipe to tell me in what order and how much of what to add to the next photograph. Just taking the extra care during the shooting, photo selections and editing will make your life much easier when it comes to editing.
One Camera (D700 in this case)
One super amazing Model
One tripod (I used a 3 legged thing)
One Speedlight (SB900 )
One Orbis Flash Adapter
One fast wide prime lens
1. Get ideas sorted and shoot
2. Import Photos from Lightroom
3. New Layer
5. Full+0 O42%
6. N Blue 2011screen 25%
7. ffff00 D18%
8. H+0 L+0 S+9
9. overlay 25%
10. USM a55 r1.8 t0
All the photos on the page across are edited in the same why just with different numbers, but in the same editing order.It is a quick simple edit plan to work to, feel free to make your own using this guide and mail in the photos !
Full set here - http://www.davepiper.org.uk/blog/from-munich-with-love
Can all photographers teach, or Should all photographers teach. These could of all been other names for this blog.
Being creative for a living is tantamount to being paid for being a bit ‘off center’ or different shall we say. We are paid to think unlike other people think. People have a stereotype and place us in genres of different descriptions. Being a ‘creative’ is going though a shift in the hierarchy of social ladder. Nerdism and Geekism combined with the creative spark is pretty much near the social equivalent of having blue blood these days. It is funny how times change. This new ‘power’ geek owes much of the rise due to companies like Apple and Google. The reason I mention this is that there seems to be a new shift of photographer too. Long gone are the days of getting it right, it is now a race of how fast you can deliver your content not, how good the content is. The problem is that the new ‘power geeks’ are able to do both leaving some photographers still worrying about the quality of digital. Come’th the day where we are using app based editing in your X-pro camera and streaming content to a website. Instagram app built into your X-pro anyone? 35mm sensor in your iphone? FUCK YES! Sign me up for that. The clock is ticking and the camera companies are very well aware of the direction we want to go. Remember they only make what they think we want.
So, where do we need to look to be ahead of the game. Well, recently I have been thinking about this and I ask you, what would you do if you could make your own camera? Do try and forget that today’s cameras are built on an ageing idea of what a camera is. Lets embrace the future and shape it how we want it.
So, I would have a camera that could give me an analog based shutter dial and an sliding continuous f-stop with a continuous ISO value. Give me a shutter speed of 1/120 not 1/125 , give me an f-stop of f2.9 not force me to have f2.8 and an ISO of 325. I want to have more choice and let me take control. I just still do not know why we have to limit the way we use cameras in the old style of film based cameras. Give me a wireless connection and a proper OS that we can have third party apps for. Give me a set of cameras I can sync wireless for proper remote shooting. Also, while we are at it, let start to have the focus systems that really work. The next generation of cameras should be about useability not mega pixels.
What about the idea of inbuilt grad filters or color filters ?? Lets have some cameras that have inbuilt filters that can click down and really let the creative power of the photographer rock and roll. I am sure additions like these over touch screen gimmicks is a far better use of R&D money. But we have to show the camera companies that we don’t want gimmicks.
I have this book by Paul Arden and it is my little book of wonder, I want to share a favourite paragraph (book is called ‘Whatever you think, Think the opposite’)
When I was creative director at Saatchi’s I gave a young man a grilling for producing am under whelming piece of work.
Later in the day somebody told me he was in his office crying.
I went to console him.
I said `Don’t worry, I was useless at your age too.`
Just priceless advice in my eyes. It reminds me of the idea of don’t be kind, be constructively honest. In the same book there is a little tale how he used to commission work, it goes as follows:
I used to commission a lot of photography. Consequently, people were keen to show me their work 99% of the portfolios I saw were of a very high standard. But 98 percent of them contained pictures I had seen before. Obviously not the same subject or compositions, but I had the general impression that I was not seeing anything new. They didn’t have a point of view. If they did, it was that the viewer of their pictures ( me) should like their work.
Very occasionally , I saw the work of someone who did have a point of view, whose work was like no one else’s.
These were often difficult people, almost unemployable because you couldn’t tell them what to do.
Sometimes it went wrong.
Sometimes it didn’t.
When it didn’t go wrong, it more that made up for the times it did.
I love this little book of pick ups and inspirational wisdom. The idea that we don’t peak at the same age and it’s OK to not be where we need to be. We all have our own path and don’t freak out that you are not doing the same as the person next to you. It’s OK to fail. Just don’t make a life long habit. My idea is this. Fail young, fail often but make sure you learn why you did. Be new, try things when you have the time and space to. Document your failure it is what makes you different. We should not be worried about being adventurous or bold. If you ever need to see why I have this idea just Google Abraham Lincoln’s past. The man was an utter failure, until he was in office that is.
Another way to look at this is… Who inspires you and what really inspires you about them. When asked about this I tend to say the same thing again and again. I quote people like Sir Cecil Beaton and Tim Burton. Helmut Newton and Tim Walker. But, why, I don’t know these people and I have never met them. I am only inspired the things they have been successful at or the things that other people have told me. Mostly I am inspired because other people tell me that is what I should be, and that way I am cool via proxy. Personally, I think this is a much harder question than most people think and when tasked with having to answer the question do so in the easiest way they can whilst avoiding follow up questions. We all love to sound educated about the arts and come up with these names to look as such, but, really… Could you really answer the question and not try and sound like a failed art student? The truth is this. Beaton doesn’t inspire me half as much or if he does he really does not shape my actions as much I think. But there are people who do. My brother does. My Mum and Dad do. People who actively, day to day challenge and contribute to me as a person. People who shape my world. People who pick me up when I need to be helped, and encourage and push me when I need to be pushed,and trust me that is often. People like Chloe-Jasmine who pretty much single handed, built my portfolio you see today. It is easy to be cool to pull superstar names down and use them to empower our self but Tim Burton has done nothing more than show me what he can do when empowered by the people around him. Maybe we should not be so dismissive about the people who do the same for us. Using Rock start idols as a source of inspiration can be very damaging indeed. If you combine this idea of inspiration and what Paul Arden was saying when talking about looking at people’s portfolios there is a very interesting idea that comes into view. If everyone is looking in the same way for inspiration everyone work, no matter how good, is going to be the same. Maybe we should look closer to home and in a more individual basis. So next time someone asks who inspire you, try and answer in an honest way, even if it makes you look like a dork.
Not that is this a rant in any at all, but I would like like to ask why photographers do not seem to play nice with each other, stupid question I know. But why, we only hold each other back with silly comments. So the teaching thing was brought up the other day. Part of the DKP brand we offer bespoke teaching and educational days. As with the whole industry there seems to be this Professional Over the last four years I have been working on 3 core ideas and moulding them over the years. I am am forever reading old books and talking to new photographers and camera companies to find and gain as much info as I can before stuffing into my brain and creating the teaching plans. Anyway, the problem seems to be price. How much should these courses cost and are they really worth it? Well no matter if you are paying top dollar for a bespoke one to one workshop or a meet up and shoot day, you will only get out what you put in and this means really looking at why you are spending any money at and and who are you are spending it with. Just blindly chucking money are great photographers and thinking that will bring you success in your own line just will not work. Investing your time and being super aware of what you need to learn and chucking money will. Some people can afford to do both and some can not. I was never in the place to afford to pay someone to teach me, so I have had to work and graft while staying aware and putting in the hours on my own. I guess back then I was time rich and cash poor. There are people who just need a guiding hand to ensure that the investments in camera gear and time are not being wasted. These people just need a nice safe and comforting environment from time to time and have will to spend thousands on the long windy road of being a professional photographer. Educational methods on creative subjects is always going to be a contentions issue. I for one think have many problems with many people who do teach. Not the teachers them self, but the things they are asked to teach and the way they have to grade students. I feel you can not teach the arts, but only help craft them. People in this area should only ever act to enable not to lead. This is one of the core ideas behind the Book Project. Each person that take on the project is choosing to actively push there own ideas and fuelling there own path. There are not rights or wrongs, its a method to promote self learning. Which is the ONLY way any creative art can be taught. Give a man a fish and he can eat but teach him to fish and he will be selling fish fingers in no time at all.
If you do decide that paying someone to help you on your journey to help relight that fire inside, pick someone who will let you be you only enable you to channel that you already have inside. Pick some one that will make sure to understand your goals and keep that in mind. Try and be clear about what you want and do not be worried about voicing this. Above all, if you aspire to be a professional photographer, you probably don’t need to be on any creative courses at all. It is all business and can be a nasty one at that. Avoiding getting lost in the creative side and be a talent in its self, I for one know that I spend more time worrying about my portfolio and that I am not good enough than I should. Trying to focus more on bringing business in is the hard work and seems to be put to the back of the mind while we focus on the fun side of the job. Shooting Stunning models is always going to be beat working on tax and marketing. Much of this is all personal choice and who you turn to for advice and help can really make such a difference. I guess the best way is to be open about things when you can and spread your net far and wide when looking for information and keep in mind that at the end of the day, anything you do is totally your choice. There is nothing wrong with being different, but on the same note, there can be better ways to get to the same places. One key skill I like to work on with people his helping them be able to ask the right questions in order so that they can get in right information when they need it. But I could be totally wrong and we should be chucking more people into University and the Professional photographer should stick to taking photos. I shall leave you with this thought, Do failed photographers turn to teaching to provide an income?
Almost a year ago, I found myself in Roanoke County, Virginia, which is in the random place of America, which is over the water and far far away. This year I have headed back in search of photographing the stunning Blue Ridge Parkway, New York, Washington and much much more.
I thought we might start with the first photo of the trip which actually was taken on the forth day here, but is still the first ‘proper’ photo.
Click photo for a larger image view
After my trip to the US last year, I was lucky to be following up with a trip this year also. I spoke to to my very good friend and fine art photographer Sam Krisch and over a couple of weeks we set about planning out our little road trip and landscape adventure. As most people know, I am mostly a “people” based photographer, staying into the realms of landscapes and other genres from time to time, so this trip was a a chance to really break the mould, head out into the wide world and get some shooting done. Since this is the first blog of many regarding this trip, we shall be brief and not jump into to much camera geekyness. On the return home from this trip I do hope to have a enough new wonderful content for a new book and to create the much needed Fine Art section on my website.
About five days before writing this blog my trip had started with a short cab ride to Coombe Abbey which is a stunning building just north of Coventry. Iit seemed like the perfect place to spend the day before my flights began fromm Birmingham airport the following day
Paul Mckelvie saved the day as normal when I forgot my memory cards at home and rescued me by dropping them to me. Chloe-Jasmine and I had a wonderful dinner, enjoyed the stunning building and attempted settled in for the night. 5.30 our alarms sounded, the taxi had arrived and at 9:30 the joint forces of Chloe-Jasmine and KLM had me en-route to Holland for a quick change of planes before what was a most pleasant plane ride to Washington Dulles Airport. On the way over there was lots of time to get some funky photos out the window of the plane. I did ask to open the open to get a better shot, but the staff politely declined.
About to board at Amsterdam – Shot on the Fuji
For this trip I have decided on a two camera set up. As this is a mostly a landscape trip, the D800 was just about the most sensible camera. I had thought about the Pentax 645d, but the size of the camera was a bit too large when looking at overall flight limits and overall usability. I was happy to hear that Sigma UK had very kindly arranged via Sigma USA for the use of some of the rather amazing glass they have. (Both Sam and I love the 120-300mm 2.8 APO lens). Sigma did save the day as bringing the heavier lenses over from the UK would of been a hassle with the extra weight for the flights, so thank you very much Sigma !! The second camera being used on the trip is the infamous Fuji Film X-Pro 1. It is just the most perfect camera to have on a trip like this. Sam is using the Canon 5d Mark 3 and a couple of other of the pro Canons along side his trusty iPhone.
Here is my generic airplane window photograph – Shot on the D800
The plan is to spend a few days in Virginia, drive to Washington, then up to New York and fly home again. Hopefully seeing many amazing sites and meeting wonderful people along the way.
With this being only the second trip to the US, there was and is still a tremendous fascination with all things new and different. In the UK we tend to think of American food to be pretty bad, but the actual reality is that the food is pretty amazing, it is just that they give you so much of it. Yes, there is the major chain stores selling cheap awful food and Spray-on cheese, but, there no one forces people to choose it. The food in the restaurants and dinners has never be less than amazing, different I might add, but full of life and flavour. A highlight for breakfast has to be The Roanoker which serves up just the most amazing country ham and gravy.
The band playing in Floyd – Shot on the Fuji
To get back on point, Sam and I are here to take photos and plan out our Photographic adventure. While I was getting over my jetlag and waiting on some more kit to arrive from Think Tank Photo for the trip. We did explore some of the local area. We went to see Sam’s artwork on display at the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke. Sam Krisch’s work from Iceland and Antarctica is currently on display at an installation at the Taubman Museum, Roanoke, VA entitled “State Of The Art: Virginia Crossroads.”
This image, “Dissolving Monument,” was captured on the coast of Iceland on a black sand, volcanic beach. It is a six image stitch that has been carefully processed to match the stark beauty and mysterious mood of the day. The adjacent cliffs have been carved out over eons by the tides, leaving only the imposing majesty of the mesa-like monolithic rock.
Roanoke itself is quite a lovely place with a nice character and feel. While walking about the town with the X-Pro at hand I caught maybe one of my favorite snaps of the trip so far. Many of the adverts are painted on the walls, very much in a old fashion style. One such advert was for Coca Cola, as I was about to take the shot the Coke truck just parks up next to the sign and I got this delightful shot.
One of the main reasons I was super excited to be coming to Virginia was the stunning sunsets that I did not have time to capture last year. Sam and I will no doubt endever to capture as many of them this year as we can. It should be worth a note that all the photos on this blog , but the very first panorama of the Blue Ridge Parkway are edited and uploaded via an app called Pixlr-o-Matic. I am just loving the combination of shooting on the Fuji and editing direct on the Tablet and uploading. Trying to work out a fast and effective work flow for the road was pretty simple. The X- Pro for the every day lifestyle shots and the D800 for the big shots.
The very stunning and iconic landscape of the Blue Ridge Parkway was one of the many great reasons to start this trip in Virginia. As you can see, it is has some of the most amazing views and truly an area of outstanding natural beauty. This photo was a stitch of 7 photos all shot on the Nikon D800 using the 70 -200mm Sigma 2.8 lense. Photoshop CS6 was used to create the photograph. One of the areas I feel my work lack is a real sense of proper photography when it comes to landscapes, so this is a real challenge for me.
Click photo for a larger image view
The below image was captured by Sam on his iPhone - processed in the iPhone with AutoForge, Snapseed, Photo Forge and Blender. Very impressive indeed.
Over the next few weeks, there shall be a few more blogs and many more photos to come. please do add your e-mail to the blog to subscribe, below is a full gallery of the photos so far. For more info on the trip do follow me on Twitter and Facebook, also do check out Sam Krisch’s website
For most people who know me, they will know, or soon will know how much I love the Fuji X-Pro1. This Newton inspired shoot with Sarah Beaufoy was shot using the X-pro and just the light in the room.
We had a spare day and thought we should have a little shoot using the house. Sarah had this wonderful set ( Coco de Mer (www.coco-de-mer.com) so we thought we should shoot !
As all photographers grow we change our style and change the inspirations behind the work, at the moment I do seem drawn to the powerful iconic photos of the Newtons and Baileys. One of the things about Newtons work I love is the way he keeps away from normal angles and lighting. Something we was keen to try with this shoot. The Black and white conversion was done in camera using the Fuji Film Simulation modes. Some extra dodge and burning was added in Photoshop after. I used the technique of making a new 50% Gray layer and converting this into soft light then painting on the layer with large soft brushes. Trying to preserve the noise from the camera was an important detail. Shooting at High ISO on the Fuji is great as you can use it to creative effect in a nice way, especially with B&W. These were shot using the Red Filter.
We shot with the 18mm, 35mm and 60mm Fuji Fujinon lenses,
Thank you to Sarah for the cookies also !!
On the 1st of September we had N-Photo Magazine pop down to Stoneleigh for a wonderful shoot. One lucky reader had the chance to come and along and shoot too ! Make sure you pick up a copy in next months N-Photo Magazine !
Full Blog coming soon when the magazine is out with BTS shots and the guides to the editing processes used, ( if you was wondering that is ) !!
Photography: Dave Kai Piper
Assistant Photographer: Paul McKelvie
Hair & Beauty: Roseanna Velin
Lingerie: Lucile & Co
Model: Kasia Bober
Stoneleigh Abbey | Warwickshire
My very own Book Project !
Order your book here -
Self Publishing is a concept that is to old to be new, but young enough that people on mass are not really aware. Many photographers have books, it seems a right of passage as time passes and photographers grow. Getting published is the goal for many photographers, young and old. We make our best works in the hope to be ‘published’. A few years ago, taking things into your hands and self publishing was seen as a: a weak way out as no one else would publish you, or b: on a personal quest for glory. These days, this is very different world and the concept of self publishing is very much alive and kicking.
A number of years ago, getting your work printed in a hard back edition was going to be very expensive indeed. One of the only ways was to speak to a wonderful high end company like Album Epoca (who I do use and love) for a one of bespoke album of the highest grade. These books lived at home with us and never got shown or shared. Along came Blurb and gave us another route. The book below is my first leap in to the world of Blurb, a 14o page telling the one view of my last two years..
A collection of portraiture and landscape photography from 2010 – 2012, Shot by Dave Kai Piper. Locations such as London, Italy, and America combined with stunning art photography and beautiful portraiture. This book is has many of my favourite images including the “Flying Horse” and the “Ice Queen” photograph as well as many new UNSEEN images. - Book Link on Blurb: http://www.blurb.co.uk/books/3443818
Book Link on Blurb: http://www.blurb.co.uk/books/3443818
Over at DKP educational, we run this thing called `The Book Project`. The aim of this program is to help inspire and channel a photographers vision into a curated, hard copy of there visual imaginings.
I love being able to say to people, I am a ‘photographer’, this is what I do, and pass them a finely printed body of work that is only viewed in context, designed from cover to cover to provide all the answers to the questions the viewer will have. When creating a project such as a self publishing project, it really will draw out the wider questions. What are you photographing, why are you photographing it, what are you trying to say? It is only when you step back and look at the wider picture you can see how you are going to begin to answer these questions.
In many ways, the need to record my personal journey was the reason behind the `Book Project`, but once you have your stunning work, loving laid out and printed, it does let you step up and show the world who you are and what you do. Again, paper and ink will do this in a way that digital files will never do. Photography is as tactile as visual.
So what would you print? What would your book be about ? Another joy of creating a project like this is that you begin to create ideas that mould into visions and plans. We begin to create stories and drama. We begin to create photography, not photos. Getting deep into a project can bring out wonderful personal challenges and push your self in new creative directions. New challenges will present them self just as fast as new skills are learnt. If you want to come and enrole in the Book Project, head over to DKP EDUCATIONAL.
This particular book was made using Lightroom 4 and Blurb. The whole layout was done using the Book Module in Lightroom. The Main title page was created in Photoshop and added in. Editing was all done using Photoshop.
Over the next few weeks there will be a couple of blogs explaining how this book was shot and created. If you would like to know more about this book or any of the photography inside the book,
please contact on Dave@davepiper.org.uk
Photo taken Chloe-Jasmine Whichello.
Order your book here -
I have a question, well, not a direct question more a concept idea statement or rhetorical question if you will. Over the the last couple of months (years) I have been writing my about ‘What Photography is’. Breaking it down into bitesize chunks and keeping things really simple, I set about creating trying to explain the art of photography in my view. In the main this has been pretty much easy, When explaining what a speed light is, there are defined limits to what ‘it’ is. When explaining what low light photography ‘is’, again there are defined areas and concepts that things fall nicely into. If I may, I would like to explain the problem then ask you the question that is troubling me. Art, Photography is a craft, a thought, a way to measure feeling and energy using the given environment before us. We can interact, react, communicate, change, ignore, challenge, connect, disconnect or embrace the word around by just using a still moment in time. A powerful concept indeed. How these elements are bound together, compacted and interpreted by the photographer is, in many ways the craft that usually coined by the ‘non-creative’ as ‘having a ‘great eye’. Being aware of the world around you should be normal and not praised. I digress, my point is this. Photography is a name used for a chemical reaction that was used to transcribe an image thought the media of light. Photography is a physical event, where as photographers are not. Just being aware of the world around you does not a photographer make.
I think being a ‘photographer’ is a very strange way to introduce yourself, maybe there should be a new term. Why ? Well, the term is to board and really does not say anything about what you do. If you ask a lady what she does and she says a Dentist, you pretty much know what she does. Ask another person and they say bus driver, you can be assured they have something to do with buses. Ask a security officer what they do and they would pretty much say they look at CCTV all day. Ask a Photographer what they spend 90% of there time doing, bet it is not camera related, maybe image related, but the process of photography ? Not a chance. My question is this, What is a Photographer ?
I guess, one would say, a Photographer is someone who takes photos. Just like a Baker is someone who bakes, ish. Are you still a Baker if you are making cookies for the kids to take to school ? no.. you are just making cookies. Being a Baker implies you are paid for said activities. A strange thought I know, but the idea of a level of professionalism coming into play changes the game. Most successful photographers are better business people than photographers. Maybe they should be businessmen that deal in Photography, not Photographers. Digital Artists that work within Photography? Salesmen that sell Photography? Social Media guru’s that specialize in photography ? Enterprises that focus on imaging services? Teachers that teach creative media? You can be many things to do with photography these days, but there are very, very few photographers. The next problem is, what am I ? Well, I think, that from now on, I am going to have, ‘sometimes’ a Photographer on my business cards.
Being a Photographer in 2012 is a complicated thing. There are many challenges and flights of fancy that one must endure to even survive. The photography aspect is the least of your worries if you are planning on, or thinking about Photography as a job prospect. As a good advice as any working (sometimes working) Photographer will tell you, get your business in order first, this is a business world and it takes no prisoners. You will need to roll up up your sleeves and get down in the mud.
So the what ever you do, however you approach your photography, be mindful and aware. These are interesting and changing times for image makers of all kinds.