Of smoke: smoke photography field guide, abridged

The good people of PHOTIGY are kind enough to continue publishing my random photographic musing, with the latest one being smoke photography field guide. Not really a field guide, rather a studio inspirational piece but I like the title anyways… For the curious, this is how it begins:

Of all the subjects I get to photograph in my studio, a few could rival the graceful beauty of smoke; also true that not many subjects are as capricious and temperamental as smoke.
While smoke is used as an important element in many advertising images, it is also fun to work with and, if everything works out to your benefit, you will be rewarded with the most beautiful abstract images that are virtually guaranteed to wow your audience…
 
Read the rest of the article:
http://www.photigy.com/photographing-smoke/

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DIY Lights and Sony speakers – it all comes together on PHOTIGY

A few weeks ago, I was invited to write a lighting tutorial for PHOTIGY (www.photigy.com), a new educational resource, which primarily focuses on studio photography and all the technical and post-production aspects of it. Many thanks to Alex Koloskov, the creator and mastermind behind PHOTIGY, who invited me – I had never done anything of the sort before and had no slightest idea how much fun I was missing!

The tutorial itself could be found here: http://www.photigy.com/do-it-yourself-sony-speakers/

Cheers!
Alex Stepanov

Fighting with the book

Have you seen that commercial where some guy tries to eat chicken wing but the wing is not about to be eaten and slaps him all over the face? That’s how I fill trying to fit the latest round of the abstracts into my book. The book fights me back. The black and white austere majority rebels. I wish they had a pill for improving editing skills…

On the state of creative union

Recently, I ran an ad on Craigslist looking for some help with designing printed promos and other minutiae of that sort. So I placed an ad for graphics designer and left off to attend to some other errands of the moment. Deep down, I was hoping to get a few replies form the undegrad students and was bracing for working with kids who just learned Photoshop in the last semester class.

Little did I know.

In about six hours, my mailbox was ready to bust in seams. Amongst over forty submissions, the majority were from the people who I wold consider the “black belt” level – people who have been there and done that, who worked for the who is who in the field and had been on the billboards, posters, CA annuals and so forth. People who managed marketing teams for well known companies; people who directed branding efforts for movies; people who designed the web sites we see every day… The list can go on. At this point, I had to pull the ad down and take a deep breath.

This exercise opened my eyes in many ways – it showed me how it feels to be on the other side of the email chain. Face it, it’s not every day that we get to be in the buyer seat so every glimpse of experience is golden. Now I know how my emails appear to the potential buyers – a great lesson I would not have otherwise.

It also was quite discomforting to see that despite all the years of experience and great work to show, these people have to bask on Craigslist and the like… And I thought photographers were the last ones on the food chain…