Review: Jared Platt & Lightoom Workshop

Photography education is a difficult subject to teach; Jared Platt does it well, very well.

For a photograph, there is no map or formula for what is correct. In music the “G” chord is agreed upon that either play it correctly or you don’t. In writing, usage of grammar is agreed upon.

In photography there is no agreed upon definition of what makes a correct exposure. The correct exposure is the exposure that you want to create. A poorly exposed photograph is easily agreed upon, but the correct exposure is subjective to the photographer and the viewer.

This is why photography concepts and photography education is a hard subject to communicate; limitless outcome, no agreed upon map.

In creating a photograph there is one concept that we share. That levels the playing field, no matter what equipment or time spent behind the lens. What is that concept? The frame. Jared Platt taught me that.

In a world where thinking outside the box is praised, photographers have to share the four walls that frame the subject. We must think inside the box.

In a Jared Platt workshop you will learn Lightroom 3, more than that you will understand the concepts of the “why “ of your workflow. These lessons of the “why” of your workflow are priceless in themselves, not to mention all the tips, shortcuts and time saving information that Platt educates on.

Platt educates. Not in a follow-my-lead type of workshop. He educates about how to think inside the box, be it the frame in the camera or the square box of your computer that houses Lightroom.

Platt delivers his workshop from the mindset that only great photos get to live. A photograph is only truly a photograph when you purposefully select it.

“Be a harsh editor, your clients deserve only your best work. You were hired to make decisions, make them.” ~ Platt (Survey mode in Lightroom will become your friend after this workshop.)

I am a good photographer; I have been honing my craft for nearly twenty years. After attending Platt’s workshop I now feel like a “complete photographer” and that is limitless.


Books & Stuff

Getting ready to take some time off next week. Before I go I want to leave you with a book I started reading yesterday. "You Are Not a Gadget" by Jaron Lanier, so far this is a must read for the creative thinker who works in a digital medium.

Couple other things that I have been enjoying as of late.
Little Moon by Grant Lee Phillips
Guinness and Harp Lager
The Wells Point


Photo of the Week

Exposure: 0.017 sec (1/60)
Aperture: f/3.5
Focal Length: 20 mm
ISO Speed: 2000
Exposure Bias: 0 EV
Flash: No Flash


Insanely Useful Photo-Biz Tips

Ok, This post should be titled:

“Insanely Useful Human Centered Photography Business Tips”...
but that is just way too long to be a working title. The following list of tips has nothing to do with picking up your camera or turning on your computer.

- Fail often to succeed sooner

- “Acts of discovery consists not in finding new land, but in seeing with new eyes.” ~ Proust

- Create new experiences, not objects

- Write down your insights, be a dedicated notetaker.

- Seek out diverse side projects

- The karma of giving is powerful; what can you give away?

- Do more with less; what monthly services do you pay for that you barley use? Scrap it, or them.

- Do not be afraid to slow down.

- “Those who learned to collaborate have prevailed”. ~ Darwin

- Your business is constantly telling a story, do you know what your story is?

As always, I’d love to hear what you think...add to the list.



Current Reading: The Ten Faces of Innovation by Tom Kelley
Current Music: November by Dominic Miller
Mood: Full, see smells...
Smells: Homemade (by me) spaghetti sauce
Sounds: Music, air conditioner & a panting dog
Temperature: 84 degrees
Thought: I discovered "The Wells Point"...your turn (HERE)


VOTE for Elizabeth

Do a Wedding Photographer a Favor, Would Ya??

Hi Everybody! This is Elizabeth (John's better half ;-)) chiming in:PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE...if you follow my blog and like it, think about following the link below and voting for me on The Knot's website. All you have to do is click the button next to Craig Photography and voila! You're done.

GO HERE TO VOTE FOR US!Thanks for all the support!


Creative in the Park

I am just now discovering Pittsburgh, which is odd to say because I grew up in this city. “In the city” is not the right words; I grew up outside of the city, literally right outside of the city about a half hour from downtown. PGH suffers from an “edge” culture in which people work in the city and live on the outside edge of the city. Suburbs to the city and back to the burbs, repeat this daily. This is life for most Pittsburghers.

In the past two years I have started discovering and enjoying this city. Mainly due to creative need (a lot of options in one place). PGH has been the backdrop to many projects that I have worked on. Waterfront is my meeting place for my “Photo Walks”, the parks have provided background to portrait shoots and the city skyline has provided me with countless nights to sit on top of the overlooks shooting night photography.

I am thinking about pitching an idea to the parks conservancy, “Creative in the Park”. The idea would be to have local artists discuss and teach their craft in the parks. For me, I could hold my photo walks. I could see writing groups using the landscape for creative non-fiction, between the nature and the people there would always be something interesting to write. Or maybe a painter teaching watercolors or oil painting, to the community. The parks blend the grounds so well with the city skyline. This is one of my favorite things about sitting in a park; to be seated on a vast lawn while the city architecturally surrounds me in the not so far distance.

What do you think? “Creative in the Park”; be outside, breathe fresh air, exercise and create something new. Let me know???

Tonight I went to Highland Park for a “Walk in the Woods”, an ongoing outing that is free and open to all. It is held every Wednesday evening in a different city park. More info can be found (here).

The tour guide gave a history of the park and introduction to what the park will evolve into. For me my part was to sit back and observe the walkers enjoying the landscape. What I enjoyed was seeing older couples holding hands while walking. It always gives me hope to see people holding hands, not enough of couples do that anymore. The only thing nicer than seeing an older couple holding hands is a father and daughter holding hands while walking in the woods. This little girl walking with her father has a future job working for Mother Nature. She loved the woods and the flora, she would stop to study leaves and petals never removing them from the plant, simple enjoying them.

You can see a slide show of my photos (here).


Sunday Morning Walk to the Park

This past Sunday morning I started a side project for PGH Parks Conservatory. It has taken me longer to get this project off the ground due to bad weather but I'm so glad I stuck with it. Hopefully, weather permitting, I will be shooting “Walk in the Woods” this upcoming Wednesday evening. Info about that event can be found (here).

On this hot humid Sunday morning after shooting a late night wedding I got out of bed and drove to Mellon Park, which is located on the corner of 5th and Shady Ave.

The streets were packed with patrons attending this event. I had to park about a half mile away on the far end of Shady Ave. just to find a parking spot. The walk to the park gave me a glance into the future of Pittsburgh or the present of what the city has turned into. The streets were line with hybrid vehicles, every other car seemed either to be a hybrid, flex fuel or clean diesel. The sidewalk was lined with bikers and families who just left church and young couples walking their pets.

Upon entering the park you could quickly see this is an event for the community; family friendly, age friendly and first date friendly. The park was crowded, it was the perfect blend for an outdoor event with enough room to lay down your blanket or set up your lawn chair but packed to the point that you were glad you came out to be part of the crowd.

One thing that I am starting to notice about PGH citizens is that they’re nice, very nice. Nice does not seem like something to brag about, but when you see yourself starting to notice the niceness of the community you live in, it’s a good feeling.

Walking through the crowd with a camera in hand, if I accidentally knocked into to someone I would turn around to apologize, they would quickly respond with a good morning and a pat on the back, nice isn’t?

Pittsburgh is growing in a new direction that embraces community, local economies and neighborly kindness. I am glad to be part of it. It's the reason I am writing this post today.

Cello Fury” was performing as part of this ongoing classical music series, “Bach, Beethoven, and Brunch” that is held on Sunday mornings. Additional info about the series can be found here.

Three cellists, one drummer and I am interested…. You can see some of the photos that I took (here).

If you see a guy walking around with a camera with a long lens stop and say hi.

Photo Biz, Soil & Space

It has been to long time since last I sat down to write. Simply to write, without a defined purpose, a release to what has been on my mind. I do not completely understand it, but there is a sense of a cleansing when I sit down to write out my thoughts. Someday I'll have the dream of becoming diarist and essayist. Today I write, release and cleanse my psyche.

There has been so much to write about, sometimes too much for me to formulate the words, ideas and thoughts into a non-random pattern. What’s new?

New direction and opportunity in the photo biz have opened their door to us. It is a strange thing every time “E” and I discuss moving the biz in a new direction it never feels right. We do not want to force a new business venture, that never works out for the client or us. We continue to build our portfolio, picking and choosing side-project that interest us, in turn the right client finds their way to our door.

Another new direction is that this autumn I am partnering with various Pittsburgh Carnegie Libraries to teach workshops. You can see all dates on my event page (here) or also at the link at top of the page. If you are reading this on an RSS feed and have not stopped over at the blog in a while go check it out (HERE). I added new pages: Events, Who I am, and a Say Hi page.

Current life is a blend, better yet a balancing act of family, photography, keeping hydrated, running the biz, all the while doing our best to stay on top of the “all-of-everything” which is “E” and I taking care of each other, she is better at it than I am…

During conversations with working artists I like to discuss lifestyle economics. I am interested in the how, what, why and why not of managing their professional lives.

For us we enjoy life, not professional or personal but a life of deliberate living. Our home working space is designed more like a coffeehouse or a den than an office space. The sofa and the sound system are just as important as the desk and the computer. The space is purposefully laid out to be a place of creativity, work, quiet reading and play with our daughter (not all at the same time).

Mobile has also been part of our latest workflow. With the purchase of two smart phones and the iPad, life on the go can now be go, go, go or stop and pause whenever we want (or need). I am late to the game on mobile tools but there has never been a wanting to be "that" connected. In the home or out of the house, downtime from the digital connectedness of today's world is needed, if not required, to be a creative, clear thinker.

p.s. the phone is not an iphone, it’s a droid...judge me, its OK. Worse than not having an iphone is loving the droid. Steve Jobs please return my phone calls, I love your products, let's be friends again…I am in your cult, koolaid for me, please.

The droid is good tool and having Google as the operating system makes the jump to mobile seamless. Forgive me Steve, I bought the iPad and love that more than the phone. Friends? Tell Al Gore I said hi…

Today I finished my first e-book on the iPad, I loved it…both the book (The Girl Who Played With Fire by Steig Larrson) and reading it on the iPad. How quickly I am converted, a purist for the physical book I thought I would always be. Before starting to write this post I started reading a new book by Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go. The first chapter gives me the feeling that I have discovered a new favorite writer. Holding the book in my hands has me yearning for the comfort and back-light of the iPad (call me Steve, hugs).

More and more I find myself falling in love with the screen. I miss music on vinyl albums; I will forever write in my moleskin journal, six strings and a piece of wood will remain an endless mystery (my acoustic guitar) but the screen is evolving into a mistress.

Watching an oil painter move to the pixel screen for their palette of colors interests me. The still image has greater opportunity to be seen on the screen. I enjoy the openness that Creative Commons Licenses offers me on the screen, otherwise it would not be much of a marketable idea if it was not for art moving into the medium of distribution over the screen. The book, the novel, something that seemed so personal and private as sitting in a favorite chair curled up with a good book has gone the way of the screen. Will I miss the smell of a book, yes, will I miss the feel of holding a book in my hands, no.

With the change of medium comes the change of venue; I miss browsing in a record store. Even though I can listen to music before I buy it online (iTunes..a.k.a. Steve Jobs’s jukebox...wink, wink). The independent bookstore has become a dinosaur in my hometown, but every opportunity I get to browse a small bookstore, I take, even though I can read first chapters online.

In the end it is about keeping my feet rooted in the soil and my head in the clouds; never would I have though the clouds would have been in cyberspace.


Do a Wedding Photographer a Favor, Would Ya??

Hi Everybody! This is Elizabeth (John's better half ;-)) chiming in:

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE...if you follow my blog and like it, think about following the link below and voting for me on The Knot's website. All you have to do is click the button next to Craig Photography and voila! You're done.


Thanks for all the support!



2 Days

2 days & 146 gigs of photos taken

2 days & 6 bottles of Gatorade down the hatch

2 days & 4 hours of sleep

2 days & I can now see Jesus in my coffee cup


Learn the very best workflow practices for your photography studio from professional photographer and instructor Jared Platt. Cut your workflow in half, increase the quality of your work and raise your brand to a new level.

FREE Q&A/Create-Connect-n-Grow

Topic: Meet Jared Platt and hear him speak on Lightroom workflow.
When: 7/20/10
Where: 502 W. North Ave. Pgh 15212
Time: 7pm – 9pm
RSVP: craigphotography@mac.com

Workshops Details: Jared Platt – Lightroom Workflow Workshop

This seminar is a one day class room seminar. You will work on your own images throughout the day. Come ready to work and to learn.

Place: Pittsburgh, PA
Date: Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Address: 502 W. North Ave. Pgh 15212
Time: 9 AM - 5 PM
Seats Available: 30
Price: $300 (lunch included)
Register by clicking (HERE)


Commercial Shoot

Our recent commercial shoot for Susan Nichole Handbags has made it to Alicia Silverstone’s blog: The Kind Life

Susan Nichole was kind enough to give us a shout out. How kind of her to make mention of us on The Kind Life blog.

PS. Be sure to check out the right side bar of Alicia's blog under "Our Kind Sponsors" to see more of our work.

Have a great holiday weekend....see you on Monday.

Peace ~ John