Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Essential Websites for the Photographer

There are a multitude of resources dedicate to photography and post processing of images. As expected, the internet contains thousands of sites dedicated to the subject. You can find websites providing all you need to know about Holga Cameras to others on infrared photography. There are a few though that I visit almost daily and highly recommend to any photographer or digital artist for the quality of their instructional content, inspiring images, and occasional freebies. For those that have been around for awhile, I’m sure that these are already in your bookmarks but if not, definitely mark them (or in the case of blogs – subscribe) for future reference. You will not be disappointed.

Digital Pro Talk
David Ziser is a very accomplished and well respected wedding and portrait photographer; however, his abilities are not limited simply to people. He seems to have mastered that art of capturing any subject. Digital Pro Talk is David’s blog and it contains an unprecedented wealth of information for the both the aspiring photographer and the advanced hobbyist. David will often follow up a written entry on specific techniques with a very thorough and well produced video on how to apply the technique. Anyone that has seen David’s bridal portraits has probably had to pick their jaw off of the ground. The great thing is that the same techniques used for bridal images can be applied to everyday portraits. For those in the business, David provides weekly valuable insights into how to operate and market a successful business. Lastly, the site also contains a wealth of links to other related sites for inspiration, equipment reviews, and post processing tutorials. This should be your first stop each day!

Iso 200, f/9.o, 1/125 sec, 32mm

Lightroom Killer Tips
Matt Kloskowski is one of the original “Photoshop Guys” from the Photoshop User TV and in addition to still doing episodes for the show and managing his Photoshop Killer Tips site; he has devoted a lot of time and effort to his Lightroom site. I am finding more and more that I am doing the majority of my post processing in Adobe Lightroom and very seldom pulling images into Adobe Photoshop unless there is something that I must truly customize. Lightroom 2.0 has made this especially true with its new adjustment tools. By relying on Lightroom for most of the processing, my workflow has sped up dramatically, a real time saver when processing hundreds of photos from an event shoot like a surfing contest. I’ve gotten to the point that I now recommend Lightroom 2.0 as a first purchase before getting Photoshop CS4. Anyway, I got off-track so more about the site. Matt provides a wealth of information, tutorials, and even downloadable presets that you can apply to your own images. Like David, he also posts regular links to inspiring sites and product recommendations. He has a casual, laid back style and regularly replies to emails and comments on his postings. Even if you do not own Lightroom yet (I’m sure you eventually will), this is a great site to visit on a regular basis.

The Strobist blog can be described as everything that you need to know about lighting while on a budget. A few years ago, several photographers discovered that with a bit of creativeness and a good understanding of light and subject, they could create amazing images using portable hot shoe flashes that rivaled those created with high-end studio strobes. The Strobist site walks you through the courses Lighting 101 and Lighting 102, which provide easy to understand explanations on lighting gear and techniques from the beginner to the advanced user level. There is even an associated Flickr gallery where you can post your results as well as view the images created by others. In addition to the lessons, there are many informative posts on everything from advanced lighting techniques to do-it-yourself lighting equipment projects. Regardless if you have an unlimited budget and the greatest lighting gadgets, the Strobist site can still provide you with some valuable information.

Iso 200, f/11.o, 1/250 sec, 62mm

Photoshop User
Opening disclaimer is that to view the majority of content on Photoshop User, you have to join the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP). It costs approximately $100 a year but in addition to the site access, you get a subscription to Photoshop User as well as technical support and discounts to most of the major photographic equipment and software suppliers. The site contains hundreds of tutorials and videos as well as portfolios of other users. It is worth the cost to sign up. If you choose not too, though, you can still access Photoshop User TV, a weekly half-hour show lead by the likes of Scott Kelby, Dave Cross, and Matt Kloskowski in addition to several others. The shows are part tutorial, part news, and part product review. There is a little corny humor but it is all in lighthearted fun.

Well as previously mentioned, there many more sites out there, definitely some that I will feature in future posts; however if you were to check only 4 sites a day, I’d make these a priority.

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