How to Set Up and Light a Home Studio
By Kendall Plant – I’m a designer, content creator, and associate art director at Adobe who loves to incorporate nature, street photography, and even skulls into my work.
Once you set up your home studio, your own photos are good candidates for these editing techniques. I also provided one of my unedited photos if you’d like to try fixing it up in Lightroom.
Find a space with enough natural light to brighten your scene. Sometimes it’s the room with the largest window. In my case, opening the door to the garage let in plenty of afternoon sunlight. Next, create a backdrop for the photo’s subject. If you want to get a little fancy, grab some paper, secure it, and gently slope it to make it seem like the background goes on forever. Props help me see how the lighting affects my setup. For the scene below, I like how the light comes in from the side and creates a shadow that extends from the figurine.
In the photography world, bounce cards and reflectors help light a subject by reflecting a primary light source into the scene. You can use pretty much anything rigid and reflective: a board with tin foil taped to it, a collapsible car window shade, or white poster paper. For this shot, I held a piece of white foam board on the left side of my subject to reflect the light coming in from the right. more>
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Ryan Brown Is on the Move
By Terri Stone – Ryan Brown isn’t one for sitting still. Whether he’s running a brand’s creative strategy or running marathons, the art director is always on the move. “It just feels good to learn and grow,” he says.
Brown’s diverse client roster includes everything from Chelsea Football Club to an underwriting company. He’s even been his own customer as the head of brand and creative for the Aaron Lewis Foundation. (Brown founded the charity to honor a friend killed in action in Afghanistan.)
The Londoner is well-versed in brand strategy. “It’s an area I’ve always loved,” Brown says. “If you create a brand that has purpose and is authentic, then you create a believable, trustworthy brand, and there’s something so rewarding about that.” While at Chelsea Football Club, his role expanded from senior designer to being involved in the club’s repositioning worldwide. “It gave me a front row seat on how to create and implement a strategic positioning of a brand on a global scale.”
But Brown takes care not to lose touch with the hands-on work. “One of my skills is that I can support my team by jumping in at any phase of a project if need be, from ideation through artwork,” he says. “I think it helps keep the lines of communications open with the team.” more>
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Finding Beauty in the Details
By Charles Purdy – Based in Stuttgart, Germany, photographer Johannes Bauer focuses his camera on details that other people might overlook. Approaching still-life, product, and architecture photography with the sensibility of an abstract artist, he uses his camera and a strong graphic-design sensibility to change a viewer’s perspective on everyday objects.
“Often, people describe my work as looking like something between photography and a 3D render,” says Bauer. “They think they’re looking at a computer-generated image—which isn’t true; there’s no 3D render involved. But I play with this sort of aesthetic.”
Bauer came to his love of capturing textures early in his photography career—he was studying graphic design when he had his “first contact” with photography, while working on a class project that involved capturing varied types of materials. “It was interesting to find these ‘micro landscapes’ within a texture,” he says, “to see these deep details you can’t really see with your eye or don’t see if you’re focusing on an entire object.”
This fascination led Bauer to a master’s program in photography at Écal in Lausanne, Switzerland (which he completed just a couple of years ago), and then on to a successful commercial photography career that capitalizes on his fascination with minutiae. As a medium, photography allows him to quickly generate appealing, interesting images—which he says keeps his process inspirational and exciting.
Only two years into his professional career, Bauer says that he’s seen a lot of benefit from creating distinctive work and sharing it on his portfolio site and on Instagram. When he was starting out, he would create projects, by himself or with his friends, and then post the results—as a way to define his style for potential clients: which these days include furniture and houseware companies, jewelry companies, magazines, and more. “It’s really broad,” says Bauer. “It’s sometimes funny—you do one job, and then people approach you because they want similar stuff.” more>
On the Edge of Failure
By Alejandro Chavetta – I’m in Hollywood to meet photographer Joe Pugliese. I walk past star-studded sidewalks and restaurants you’ve seen a million times on movies and TV, but there are no celebrity sightings, just regular Angelenos going about their business. It’s a fitting match for Joe’s photographs, which bridge the gap between stars and civilians by normalizing the celebrity and elevating the rest of us to a hero expression of ourselves.
Today, Joe is known for celebrity portraits of Jennifer Lopez, President Obama, Jamie Lee Curtis, and many others that appear in such publications as Wired, Variety, and Texas Monthly, but what most folks don’t know is that Joe got his start putting out a BMX zine using his mom’s Xerox machine, a starting point rooted in graphic design that continues to inform his practice even now.
In high school, I made a Xerox zine of me and my BMX friends. I was having a lot of fun with the graphic design and realized that I needed to take some photos for it, so I picked up a yard-sale camera.
I was still more interested in graphic design as I started shooting. And it was a little clumsy because I would shoot and then I would take it to the processing lab, wait a day or two, get back a print that would get messed up, or I wanted it to be bigger or smaller. Photography didn’t click for me until I set up a darkroom. My parents let me black out the window in my bedroom, and I had another yard sale find of an enlarger and trays and caustic chemicals. It was the most rudimentary set-up.
I had a book that showed me how to develop in a dark room. The first time I put that print into the developer and nothing happened, I thought, “Total failure. Why did I bother with this?” And as I’m thinking about the failure, the print comes up, the image appears, and it was absolute magic. I wasn’t a failure. I could shoot and be in control of the output from start to finish. more>
Hitting the Right Notes in Illustration
By Joe Shepter – At some point in their lives, everyone draws,” says illustrator Gabriel Silveira. “Some people continue to draw, but most stop.”
That’s the humble way the 35-year-old Brazilian describes his path to becoming a highly sought-after professional illustrator. Silveira’s futuristic and intensely graphical creations have graced the pages of magazines like ESPN, Wired, and the Harvard Business Review, and enhanced brands and events like Loot Crate and the MCM London Comic Con.
He admits that as he was growing up, he was much more of a fan than a prodigy. Early on, he discovered the Brazilian cartoonists Laerte and Angeli, as well as Franco-Belgian bandes dessinées, becoming fascinated with artists like Hergé and Moebius. From there, he moved on to American titles and developed a particular affinity for the X-Men. Along the way, he noticed that the comic books didn’t merely have an author; they also credited an illustrator.
This sparked an idea that emerged when he graduated from design school in 2005. After struggling to find a design job in Sao Paulo’s competitive advertising scene, Silveira landed a position as an assistant for noted Brazilian illustrator Carlo Giovanni, with whom he trained diligently for nine months. When Giovanni decided to take his practice in the new direction, he generously shared his editorial contacts with Silveira, who quickly established himself as a talented freelancer. more>
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