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How to create form with light

Posted by Greg Blue on Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

At the very core of lighting theory are the three lighting tones that help us create the illusion of 3 dimensions on a 2-dimensional medium: the Diffused Highlight, the Specular Highlight and the Shadow.

There are a number of ways to show the illusion of depth in an image, such as perspective. Converging lines are powerful tools for artists to use, but what happens when you are shooting an organic subject such as a person. Perspective does play a role in a portrait – a person’s ears will appear smaller in relation to their nose, because they are further away. But we are so attuned to that relationship that it’s pretty much invisible to us. (more…)


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Using light to sculpt your model

Posted by Greg Blue on Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

There are a lot of tutorials out there showing different ways of using burning and dodging or layer blend modes in Photoshop to sculpt and shape your model. It’s pretty impressive and these are techniques that you should absolutely know. But there is also the temptation to overdo it with Photoshop – which many beginner photographers fall prey to! Shaping a subject with light however, means you can be as dramatic as you like without creating an image that looks flagrantly “Photoshopped.”

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See a photographic trend? Run like hell!

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

One of the great things about social media and the Internet is that you can spot stylistic trends very quickly. The challenging thing for many photographers is resisting the urge to jump on the bandwagon. You shouldn’t be identifying trends with the goal of following them – you should instead run like hell in the opposite direction!

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Problem liquor photographer

Posted by Greg Blue on Monday, November 30th, 2015

As soon as I saw the bottle of Buffalo Trace, I knew I was going to shoot it. I called my sponsor and told him to get over here right away. He was relieved to see I hadn’t shot it at that point, so we popped open the standby bottle, poured a couple of shots, toasted each other, and proceeded to plan on how to light the thing.

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2016 Pirelli Calendar takes a new turn!

Posted by Greg Blue on Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Don’t worry – pin up calendars won’t be a regular feature on Bluesky. But this one needs to be showcased! The venerable Pirelli Tire pin up calendar for 2016 will be showing mostly clothed women who have been chosen for their resume rather than their measurements. Yes, that was the sound of wrenches slipping out of slack hands and crashing to the oil-stained cement you just heard.
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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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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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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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The Dangers of friendly feedback!

Posted by Greg Blue on Monday, August 31st, 2015

One of the biggest problems on social media sites for photographers is excessive praise for images that simply do not warrant it. We all want to be supportive, especially to new artists (unless you happen to be a troll) – and emerging artists absolutely deserve our support and encouragement! But not receiving honest, courteous and constructive feedback (both positive and negative) can cause new photographers to lose objective sight of their own work.

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