Calibrating your Monitor: Using the ColorMunki

Calibrating your Monitor: Using the ColorMunki

So often I hear of photographers, both pros and hobbyists , whose pictures live only on hard drives and online. If this is you, it’s time to get printing! As photographers we spend countless hours in front of our computers editing our work to create dynamic imagery that reflects us as artists. Every level adjustment and brush stroke is an artistic choice made to emphasize our vision. For this reason, it is vital to work with a color calibrated system which produces accurate color and contrast during printing and instills confidence when transferring images off-site. Here is an abbreviated lesson on how to painlessly calibrate your monitor and printer in under an hour. Step 1: Download the ColorMunki Software. Step 2: Plug in the ColorMunki and open the software if it doesn’t open automatically. Step 3: For accurate precision profiling, measure the ambient light of the room by turning the rotary dial on the side of the unit to position C (third notch from the top). Place the ColorMunki next to your display and choose ‘calibrate’ on screen or by clicking the measure button on the side of the unit (the only button that can be clicked). It should take less than 1 minute to optimize the luminance of the display. Tip: Computer monitors display colors best in low light. Keep it low while judging color and eliminate any illuminating objects that may surround the monitor. Step 4: Once the software tells you the ambient light has been measured, choose ‘Match My Printer to My Display’. Turn the dial of the unit to position D (fourth and last notch at...
Illuminating the Face, by Peter Hurley: A Review

Illuminating the Face, by Peter Hurley: A Review

Back in 2011, photographer Peter Hurley teamed up with our friends over at FStoppers to create a tutorial video called The Art Behind The Headshot. That 4+ hour video more or less became required watching here at BL for anyone shooting any kind of portraiture, not just headshots. In fact, I still refer to it from time to time to prep for a new client; it was equal parts motivational video and coaching tutorial. Now, three years later, Peter Hurley returns with another tutorial called Illuminating The Face. This is the next logical release after The Art Behind The Headshot, and Peter sent us a copy for review. Here’s the one-sentence review: This is yet another home run for Peter Hurley, and if you happen to photograph the human face, regardless of your genre, this needs to be on your “must watch” list of tutorials. What came before… Let’s talk for a moment how Illuminating The Face differs from The Art Behind The Headshot. The Art… was very much a non-technical tutorial. It was a lot like having Peter Hurley coach you on how to interact with your subject, how to direct them, what to look for when pressing that shutter button. That’s not to say that there was nothing technical in that video; Peter did cover his trademark square box lighting technique that had turned heads on the internet and spawned a slew of  copycats and admirers — including, I’m not ashamed to admit, yours truly right here on this blog. Yet The Art… wasn’t a technical tutorial. It was very much a “human” tutorial, and was gloriously welcome at a time when...
Writing an Effective Artist Statement

Writing an Effective Artist Statement

Standing consensus says that great art speaks for itself and needs no explanation but a simple and genuine statement has a way to reach out and welcome people to your art. When I attend a curated show or see an installation around town that grabs my attention, I will make sure to read the artists’ statements or biography. Taking the time to better read the intention of the artist will open the work up to broader interpretations and understanding. There are many instances when as an artist you will be asked to provide such a statement. Here are a few key points to consider while writing.  Just Write! Some of the simplest and most impactful advice I have been given was to “just write”. Write without the expectation of anyone reading your words. Expel your thoughts onto paper the same you would your art. GET IT OUT! With the abundance of technology that surrounds us on any given day – go somewhere unplugged and start formulating your ideas by hand. Give yourself time and space to understand your thoughts, to fail, to have revelations.  Scribble, cross things out, make a mess.  This time is all about you. Perception is Key Artist statements are for people who want to know more. This is your opportunity to briefly explain why you are as an artist, your inspirations, and how you create what you do. What message are you trying to express and what would you like the viewer to take away from their experience? Understanding your audience is key to the language that you choose.  Try using simple and clear sentences and...
Stock Photography that Gives Back: Winners of the Call to Action Contest

Stock Photography that Gives Back: Winners of the Call to Action Contest

StudentStock isn’t your average stock photography site. It’s populated by imagery created by students of all ages and a certain percentage of the proceeds goes towards scholarships. Started by a couple of photography teachers, StudentStock is a launchpad for students who are creating great work but need a platform for selling. It helps beginning photographers grow their skills, develop a sense of what sells, and, ultimately, be a part of the stock photography marketplace that is often so hard to find success in. The following photographers are on that path to success. They recently won the Call to Action photo contest, put on by StudentStock with support from BorrowLenses. See their winning entries below! 1st Place: Kirk Yarnell – California State University, East Bay Taken in Bend, Oregon during a roundup, Yarnell captured this back in 1994 so, yes kids, this was taken on film! Yarnell has been shooting since 1980 and currently lives in Mt. Shasta, California. 2nd Place: Shannon Fuller – Butte College Fuller tried to get this shot with 4 different dogs before getting the exact one she was looking for. She used a Nikon 70-200mm to capture this moment from a distance to avoid getting soaked herself! She froze the action at 1/1600th of a second. 3rd Place: Ben Meester – Butte College After a storm, Meester set out to one of his favorite back-country spots in Tahoe to get this shot. He used a Canon 14mm for an effective vista of the first run of the day. Runner Up: Aaron Alvarez – Santa Ann College Taken at Newport Beach, CA with a Canon 5D...
The Beginner Videographer’s Guide to Frequency Blocks

The Beginner Videographer’s Guide to Frequency Blocks

Wireless mics are an essential part of documentary filmmaking. The mics are small and easily hidden from view and the wires are minimal. If you’ve seen a reality show (if so, my condolences), sometimes you get a peek at the metal mound protruding out of the backs of people’s clothes. Those are lavaliers and they are handy. They are used often by wedding videographers since shotgun mics aren’t super awesome at picking up the vows from clear across a church. You don’t see them as often in movies because people have to actually wear them (and that is distracting) but for sit-down interviews, or most TV applications, they’re great. If you’re just starting to get into any of these fields, read up on frequency blocks – you’ll impress (if mildly) your sound tech. What are Frequency Blocks? There are a finite number of frequencies that are allowed to be used in different parts of the world. The frequencies are a range of hertz units that are divided into “blocks” and certain countries cover certain blocks and not others. For a quick refresher, hertz measurement is the number of waves that pass/vibrate per second. So different blocks cover different ranges of frequencies. For example, Block 22 is universally understood to cover 563200000Hz – 588700000Hz (or, more commonly denoted in MHz: 563.200 – 588.700). Why Do Frequency Blocks Matter? There are a lot of people out there trying to use wireless systems. There has to be a certain amount of organization and regulation to keep everything from interfering with each other all of the time. So a certain number of blocks have...