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Constructive Plagiarism?

Posted by Greg Blue on Monday, November 16th, 2015

This post looks at copying other photographer’s images for the purpose of learning a technique, or refining your understanding of lighting. There’s been an interesting debate on the topic at the school where I teach – some instructors feel that it is a really valuable exercise, while others feel that it is a dangerous approach as it can easily be abused. I’m of the opinion that it is a really helpful technique for learning, but I absolutely understand the concerns of those apposed to the approach.

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Storyboarding a Portfolio

Posted by Greg Blue on Monday, November 9th, 2015

Portfolio development is a major topic of course, so I will be doing a series of full free tutorials on the subject, but here is a condensed version until that time. Also, my opinion about portfolio development is just one amongst many different photographers, agents and clients. If you are new to this, you should seek out opinions from as many industry leaders as possible so that you can decide which ones will work best for you.

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Anne Geddes inspired image

Posted by Greg Blue on Monday, November 2nd, 2015

This image was actually shot entirely in-camera on an 8X10 view camera – no Photoshop involved. The shot was originally created for stock when my agency made a request for images representing “evolution.” This one got rejected for looking too demonic. I argued that evolution isn’t always pretty. They didn’t buy it.

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Terry Border – Bent Photographer

Posted by Greg Blue on Monday, October 26th, 2015

Every now and then I like to showcase a particularly brilliant photographer whose work is so exceptional it makes me think admiringly, “God dammit! Why didn’t I think of that?! That work should be mine!” Terry Border of Bent Objects fame is just such a photographer.

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There’s no junkie like gear junkies

Posted by Greg Blue on Monday, October 19th, 2015

Ok, I’m here to warn you about the dangers of becoming obsessed by owning the latest and greatest in photo gear. The only problem is that a lot of this new fangled gear is just too cool for words and I don’t blame you in the least for drooling over it! Every time I get on my podium and state that, “Back in my day, when we were hungry, we ate our film!” somebody waves their latest gadget in front of me and I think “Well shit – I have to have that.”

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Why I still love view cameras

Posted by Greg Blue on Monday, October 12th, 2015

My 8X10 large format camera now sits on its Gizzo tripod in a corner of my living room more as a cherished monument to the past than a brilliantly versatile photographic tool. I’ve had that camera since the 1980s and have shot many of my most important images on it, so at least it’s had a good life. Like most photographers, I’d say 98% of my work is now shot digitally (and I love digital photography), but I still do pull out my large format cameras and shoot film on very important shots.

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1st Guitarist

Posted by Greg Blue on Monday, October 5th, 2015

I’m discovering the great thing about a blog is it allows me to think out loud (great for me anyway). I shot this image a while back and it is the first in a series I have been considering doing. The series pairs historical cultures with the appropriate guitar – you can imagine the social importance of getting this right. Right? 1st Nations was the first culture to be tackled and, of course, no other guitar would do except for the iconic and venerable Stratocaster. If any culture deserved the most soulful and crunchy blues guitar, it was 1st Nations. Well, African American would obviously deserve it seeing they actually invented the blues, but there are already so many iconic images of legends like Muddy Waters that I didn’t think it needed my interpretation.

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Metering Vs. Chimping

Posted by Greg Blue on Monday, September 28th, 2015

I first saw the term “chimping” while browsing through the Strobist blog (a very good blog on studio lighting that I recommend checking out – it’s at www.strobist.com). At first I was baffled and then worried that I was unaware of some critical lighting procedure called chimping. I asked a photojournalist friend of mine, Christopher Morris, he just laughed and explained it’s a term sometimes used by sports photographers who are often in a position where they cannot control the lighting and environment. So they keep adjusting their cameras until they find the sweet spot – the term “chimping” describes their expressions as they get progressively more excited by the results. For a day or two, chimping became my favourite term ever – that said, I will never chimp in front of another person (or on my own for that matter).

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Defeating Creative Block

Posted by Greg Blue on Monday, September 21st, 2015

“Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and get to work.” – Chuck Close. The words of a veteran! I love this quote, but I certainly don’t adhere to it – inspiration is important to me and I always keep my eyes open for work that I love.

I’ve decided to make this post on both the creative process and artistic blocks as the two are intertwined. Where do we get our ideas from and what do we do when ideas seem few and far between? This is an enormously important topic for photographers as well as other artists. I’ll be giving a condensed discussion of the ideation process in this blog post, but I will soon be doing a much more in-depth free business tutorial on the subject in the near future.

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Try a free members tutorial!

Posted by Greg Blue on Monday, September 14th, 2015

The Image Tutorials are for the “members only” section of Bluesky. These tutorials break down exactly how an image was created from concept development, to lighting & production and finally to post-production. Where the Lighting Theory section looks at the physics of lighting in a holistic manner, and the lighting techniques section takes a broad look at lighting, the Image Tutorials are an inch wide and a mile deep. These tutorials look at both lighting theory and lighting techniques from an entirely applied perspective – for photographers, each image is a whole new ballgame! You can view the tutorial here.

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Lighting to stump other photographers

Posted by Greg Blue on Monday, September 7th, 2015

I love it when photographers shoot for other photographers by subtly altering a shot in a way that makes you do a double take. If you’re like me, the first thing I do when I look at another photographer’s shot is decide whether I like it or not – the second thing I do is try to figure out how I think the shot was lit. In order to do this, I look for all the usual clues 1) the size, shape and intensity of a specular highlight 2) the sharpness and quality of a cast shadow 3) light fall off on the subject 4) direction(s) of the lighting, etc. But sometimes photographers can manipulate a shot in a subtle way that no longer follows the rules of physics. The shot I took below of Billy is an example of this.

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