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Saturday, November 17, 2012

National Adoption Day

     Recently my wife learned that Adoption Resources of Wisconsin was looking for volunteer photographers to help with picture needs in Wisconsin. While I was excited, I did not know what to expect.
     Looking back, I count it a great privilege to have photographed the National Adoption Day at the Juvenile Justice Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This was a special day in a number of families’ hearts which will change their lives forever for the better.
     While standing in the court room with my camera, I was moved by the love and sacrifice of a young couple’s desire to adopt an African American young boy and girl. The family had around fifty friends and family in the court room to support the judge’s decision. To finalize the legal process, the judge allowed both children on the platform to strike the gavel. 

     In the future I hope to use this opportunity and others like it as a great photography experience for my students at Maranatha Baptist Bible College.
    More pictures from the gallery can be seen here.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Chose Your Wedding Photographer Carefully

A couple summers ago I was privileged to photograph a couple named James and Heather (names changed for privacy) getting married in Minnesota. The families were pleased with the photography and the brother of the groom, Brad, contacted me to do the wedding this summer for he and his bride Serena.

I quoted Brad and Serena a wedding photography package that fit their photography needs. After discussing all their options and the terms of the contract, I was saddened to hear a few days later they decided my package was too expensive for their budget. I kindly thanked wished them a wonderful wedding and forgot about the missed opportunity.

About a month after the wedding day, I received an email from a lady named Mary Ann. She was heart broken by the self-proclaim professional photographer who had taken her son Brad’s wedding photography. The mother was frustrated with the quality of his photography. She said that in the outside pictures the faces were too bright and the pictures in the church were so dark you can hardly see the people.

Mary Ann went on to say that many of the poses were also poor having the large chandelier in the auditorium appear like a fishbowl behind many of the people’s heads. Mary Ann’s favorite photo from James’ wedding, was the expression of James’ face when he saw his bride. During the ceremony, the same photographer requested to be the only person allowed to take pictures. Yet the photographer forgot to get a picture of Brad’s face when he saw Serena coming down the isle. The photographer also did not take pictures of the musicians performing and several other key moments of the day.    

Make sure you hire a professional photographer who is experienced and has a strong portfolio to capture the memories for years to come. Here are some questions to ask:

  • What backup equipment do you bring to the wedding?
  • What photography training or education have you completed?
  • How do you decide what pictures are important?
  • How quickly do you promise the photographs edited and delivered?
  • Can I contact some satisfied wedding photography customers?
While the wedding events will quickly end, you will never get a second chance at taking your wedding photographs. After all the sweat and tears (and money) have been spent, what will be left to remember your special day? I trust you chose your wedding photography carefully.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Elements of Photography Online

I am looking forward to teaching Maranatha's Elements of Photography course online this summer. Learn how to use your camera's manual and automatic settings and how to develop your photographic eye. I will also be covering the bare essentials of Photoshop.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How a Light Meter Works

A light meter sees the entire world as gray. Reflected light meters, which are in all cameras, can easily be fooled to create an exposure that is too dark or too light. Incident light meters accurately record the light in the scene.

Creative Commons License
Better Pixs in 90 Clicks by Timothy Mielke is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at milkywayphotos.blogspot.com.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Going on the Digital Diet

Listen to a 90 Second Companion Podcast

     If you could study every magazine cover and advertisement you would be amazed at the editing done to make the models look attractive. Almost every major magazine cover and advertisement uses post-production effects to minimize unattractive features. There is a good chance that the photo editing digitally helped many of the attractive models lose a few extra pounds. The Adobe Photoshop program can quickly and easily give anyone a digital diet in minutes using the Liquify tool.
Digital Diet with Photoshop Liquify Tool
     First you should use the Freeze Mask Tool to paint a temporary red mask around the inside and background area of the diet candidate. Once the red mask is in place you will not be able to change those portions. Next use a large Pucker Tool brush that fills most of the area you wish to shrink. Begin removing the pounds using short mouse clicks with the center of the brush inside the body region. At times you may have to change your Freeze Mask to edit different portions of the body.

Before Weight Loss Liquify Diet
     While the Liquify tool is a perfect for losing weight in a photo, it can also be useful for fixing squinted eyes or protruding ears and even creating comical caricatures that are sure to evoke a smile. With some practice you can change most body types into an attractive model for any magazine cover.

Dramatic Editing Techniques

Listen to a 90 Second Companion Podcast

     Have you ever stared at a fine art photograph and wondered just how they could create such a dramatic and compelling photograph? Even the best photographs can benefit from subtle and sometimes bold post-production work. While the importance of capturing a good composition with proper exposure cannot be minimized, photo editing is essential to creating a dramatic, cinematic look.
Edited with Levels, Saturation, and Gradient Adjustment Layers
     Adobe Photoshop is the industry leader in photo editing software. The use of layers and masks are the foundation of Photoshop’s editing powers. Learning to use them may at first seem a little daunting but using layers and masks will make your work easier and better quality. The first step to a dramatic photo is deciding what to emphasize in the scene. In the early days of photography, burning and dodging techniques were used to deemphasize or emphasize portions of an exposure. Burning is selectively darkening the exposure while dodging is selectively lightening the exposure. While Photoshop has burn and dodge brush tools, using adjustment layers employs more control while emphasizing or deemphasizing portions of a scene.

From the Camera with no Editing
     Usually the first step is to burn a vignette or at least several corners of the picture by creating a darkened levels adjustment layer. The human eye is naturally drawn to the brightest objects. By darkening the edges, the viewer’s eye is guided naturally into the scene which creates a more dynamic composition. All of the 18 adjustment layer effects automatically create a mask. A mask allows you to add or subtract portions of the adjustment layer effect. If nothing is selected previously, the mask will be completely white. A white mask allows the effect chosen to be visible. If you want to hide a portion of the effect, you paint it a black color with a paint brush. An easy way to remember which color hides the effect is to remember you can hide in the blackness of night.

Actual Adjustment Layers Used
     Many photos can use the same adjustment layer method to enhance other features like saturation, color tones, patterns, or a host of other options. The beauty of using an adjustment layer with a mask is that you can quickly modify the visibility of the effect by painting black or white brush strokes on the mask. As long as you save the file as a Photoshop document (.psd), you will even be able to modify the selections days or even years later. Try for yourself and see the power of adjustment layers in creating dramatic photographs. It will also make your Photoshop work more efficient and professional.