A visit to Pineapple Studios

I visited Pineapple Studios last night with Mallow Camera Club. Jessica Jones and Tina showed us around and it was an eye opener for me. Jessica is rightly proud of the lighting in her studio and went over each system answering questions as she went. A shooting session followed and I was roped in to model for a couple of shoots but unsurprisingly the guys seemed more interested in shots of Jessica and Tina!

Tina then showed us their lab and went through the process of working a photo in Photoshop. They have two large printers and plenty of facilities for printing all sorts of size images. Tina printed off an 8×10 and 8×12 explaining that they calibrate their printers several times a day to cope with changes in temperature as the day gets warmer from morning to evening.

The visit was great fun and very interesting. If, like me, you’re not very familiar with portrait photography, you’ll be shocked at how complicated it is and all the skills the photographer has to call on. As Jessica said, “if you don’t like people then don’t photograph them.” A huge part of the job is getting people relaxed and forgetting that it’s a photoshoot. She spends an hour making a portrait so the customer relaxes and the shot looks natural. She took a group portrait of us and hopefully she’ll send the image on to me soon. I asked everyone if they minded having their photo on the web and thankfully nobody dissented. I’ll update this post with the photo when I get it!

Thanks Jessica and Tina for showing us around!

Jessica has already sent me on the photo. Thanks, nice job!

Mallow Camera Club

Moo Magnets

What will you do with those hundreds of Moo mini cards? You can’t possibly give them all out. Why not make cute little magnets out of them? Meg Pickard explains how using magnetic tape. It’s so simple but I can imagine that this would be a nice birthday card filler especially with a personal photo (along with the obligatory gift of lottery tickets or money of course!)

I’m going to make a few and stick them on the fridge!

What else can we do with the moo mini cards? (Thanks Damien)

A coven of halloween photo tips

It’s not long now before witches, goblins and fairies will be abroad and children will be out looking for treats and even the occasional trick! All these people dressed up in costume, the decorations and accessories that go along with Halloween are perfect fodder for the hungry photographer!

If you are shooting photos this season these tips will come in useful:

Finally, Ireland, the land of the banshee has a wealth of Halloween traditions. Makes for a good read!

Airbrushed to beautiful

What is beauty? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is skin deep. Beauty is …

Dean Sherwood is the first photoblogger I’ve come across who linked to the campaign for real beauty video by Dove. He says he feels slightly hypocritical for posting it because it deals with the process of creating the image of a beautiful woman from make-up to photoshop trickery.

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I understand how he feels but I have never felt bad about enhancing a photo. I don’t have the skill to do as good a job as they did in that video! Artists throughout the ages have made their subjects more beautiful. We get hot and bothered about it now because what they do is so much more accessible to the masses.

This video is manipulating you and making you think in a certain way. At the beginning of the video the woman’s face is in shadow. Bright lights are turned on one at a time, she’s not smiling, her hair isn’t even combed in a flattering manner. If she smiled I’m sure that face would glow with radiance.

Long before marketing and the fashion industry created the size 0 model men and women have made themselves up. Nature loves beauty. Does the peacock not display his feathers to attract a mate?

If you wonder if photos should be processed, read Who’s in Charge? You or the Camera? The camera rarely gets it right so you have to adjust the image until it matches what you saw in your mind’s eye. You should be in control.

Do I agree with Dove’s campaign? Yes, of course I do.

fountain-of-youth-thumb.jpg Here’s a very dramatic example of what can be done with a computer and some time and patience: Fountain of youth. It’s kind of scary what can be done!

The Dove advert is on YouTube now so I can embed it here:

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Tripods, monopods and bits of string

Digital Photography School have finished their series on tripods and monopods by listing some alternative products and ideas. I have three tripods, two are bulky, one of those is fairly heavy and the other is a small 6 inch high one that fits in my camera bag. The small one gets the most use as the other two are either at home or in the car when I need more stability.

He forgot one alternative, the string tripod which is assembled from a length of string and a bolt small enough to fit the tripod mount socket on a camera. It’s also called a chain tripod. Simply screw the bolt into your camera, stand on the other end of the string and hold the camera to your eye making sure the string is taut. Sources say you’ll get 2 stops extra or shoot at 1/8 sec which is quite impressive. What’s more, it’s a lot more portable than any other tripod or monopod. I really must do some testing and see just how well it works.

Further reading

  • String tripod – extend it with two strings to each foot for extra stability.
  • Close up shots of the nuts and bolts of the string tripod.

The rest of the DPS tripod series is worth a read too: