Yayoi Kusama’s Kaleidoscopic Infinity Rooms Arrive at the Broad Museum
Ever since debuting her single Infinity Room at the Broad Museum, lines have wrapped around the Los Angeles block just for the 45-second timed entry to Yayoi Kusama’s fantastical room. Finally, the museum is dedicating an entire exhibition to the Japanese artist, featuring six of her famed infinity rooms, alongside other large-scale installations and a selection of her paintings.
“My desire was to predict and measure the infinity of the unbounded universe, from my own position in it, with do…
Phase One’s Film Styles Pack Features Analog Photo Filters for Pros
As the growth of VSCO has shown, analog photo filters are a big business these days, and Phase One wants to get in more on the action. They’ve just announced a new Film Styles Pack with analog photo filters designed for photographers using Capture One.
“This newest Styles Pack is designed for photographers who long to create the feel and texture from the days of analog photography,” Phase One says. “For artistic visions attracted to the colors, contrast and grain of these analog images, Capture One Film Styles help photographers get one step closer to creating this special atmosphere in their images.”
This new pack, which comes just a few months after Phase One’s first style packs, contains 15 different film looks, each of which can be applied at 3 different strengths. So, what you get is 45 possible styles, 33 of which are color looks and 12 are black and white.
Here’s a selection of before-and-after examples showing what the styles can do:
Phase One says these new filters can serve as a springboard for photographers who wish to speed up their workflow.
“Capture One Film Styles give photographers a head start in the editing process, providing a solid foundation of adjustments for a faster workflow,” the company says. “Styles function as inspiration, providing a quick view of images, with a variety of editing options.”
Here’s a short video intro to the new Film Styles pack:
Drone Footage of a Mailman Delivering Mail After California Wildfires
Earlier this month, aerial photographer Douglas Thron captured this apocalyptic footage of a mailman delivering mail in a Santa Rosa, California, neighborhood that had gotten burned to the ground by raging wildfires.
“Hours after the fires in Santa Rosa I filmed this postal worker still delivering the mail,” Thron writes.
Many of the mailboxes that remained were standing in front of houses that had completely been reduced to ashes and rubble, but mail was still faithfully delivered to them.
Beware the ‘Scam’ of Vanity Galleries, Photographer Warns
If your dream as a photographer has always been to have your work exhibited in a big city gallery, you might want to be aware of “vanity galleries.” Here’s a 6-minute video in which photographer Mathieu Stern warns this type of gallery, which he calls a “scam.”
Stern was recently contacted by a gallery in London that offered him the change to have his photos exhibited in their space. But instead of taking commissions on sold artwork, the gallery is purely fee-based. In other words, photographers pay a hefty sum to have their work displayed.
After some initial excitement, Stern visited the gallery’s website and noticed that it was filled with low-quality work. He then dug deeper and found many reviews online by disappointed photographers who feel cheated by the gallery (and who also call it a “scam”).
The problem is that since these vanity galleries make their money directly from the photographers and artists up front, they have no incentive to select high-quality work that will sell. They also have no incentive to help promote the photographer’s work and sell it, since they would simply be spending additional time, money, and resources.
“Commercial art galleries derive their profit from sales of artwork, and thus take great care to select art and artists that they believe will sell, and will enhance their gallery’s reputation,” Wikipedia states. “They spend time and money cultivating collectors. If the artwork sells, the gallery makes a profit and the artist is then paid.
“Vanity galleries have no incentive to sell art, as they have already been paid by the artist.”
What’s more, due to the pay-to-play nature of vanity galleries, the exhibitions are usually avoided by the influential critics you hope the work will be seen by.
Stern says he saved himself from losing around $1,000 by doing his research and not handing his money over to the vanity gallery, and now he’s trying to caution other photographers about this type of offer.
If your sole goal is to be able to say your photos have been shown in cities like London, Paris, and New York, then perhaps vanity galleries are for you. But otherwise, you may find that you’ll end up receiving a lot less than you paid for.
British Fashion Council’s Nominees for 2017 Fashion Awards
The annual Fashion Awards will take place on December 4th at the iconic Royal Albert Hall in London to celebrate exceptional designers for their contributions to the global fashion industry. At an early press event today, Natalie Massenet, chairwoman of the British Fashion Council, and Nadja Swarovski, partner of the event, revealed the awards’ nominees. A board of more than 2,000 fashion industry experts chose the nominees.
“These designers and brands were chosen from hundreds of interna…
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Adobe is pushing further into the world of cloud-based software, and this week it rebranded Lightroom as Lightroom Classic CC so that the company’s new cloud-oriented app could be called Lightroom CC. But if your loyalties lie with the desktop app formerly known as Lightroom, don’t worry: Adobe says it will continue developing that app into the future.
One of the questions asks, “Is Lightroom Classic being phased out? How long will it be until Adobe kills Lightroom Classic?”
“No, we’re not phasing out Lightroom Classic and remain committed to investing in Lightroom Classic in the future,” Hogarty answers. “We know that for many of you, Lightroom Classic, is a tool you know and love and so it has an exciting roadmap of improvements well into the future.
“But please hold us accountable as we make updates in the following months and years to let us know if we’re meeting your expectations.”
Lightroom Classic has a huge and loyal following among professional photographers, though, so we’re guessing Adobe is much more committed to keeping the app itself alive than it was keeping the app’s perpetual license alive.
And if you have some deeper questions into the new Lightroom landscape, Dan Watson of Learning Cameras just did a great interview with Hogarty and Lightroom product manager Sharad Mangalick about the future of Lightroom and the current state of things.
Hogarty says that there are two separate teams working on Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC now. However, there’s a connectedness between Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, and Lightroom CC because all of them handle photo edits using Adobe’s Camera RAW — any edits done in one program has all edits preserved when opened in the others.
The Pixentu Photo Jacket Turns You Into a Walking Camera Bag
Pixentu is a new wearable photography jacket that’s designed to allow photographers to leave their camera bags at home — it’s essentially a wearable camera bag.
Coming in three different styles (street, outdoor, or a neat travel blazer), this jacket has an answer for different types of photographers.
The Pixentu jacket features waterproof pockets with lens-friendly fabric inside that you can use to wipe and clean your lens’ glass.
There’s an inner pocket for a small travel tripod or selfie stick, and a handy money pocket tucked away in the sleeve.
There are two “secure” lens pockets that fit 2 small lenses in each and are isolated from the rest of the jacket. There’s also an inner pocket that will keep your camera safe and accessible without having to unzip the jacket.
Want to bring something to read while traveling? No problem: there’s also a tablet-dedicated pocket. On top of that, there’s a headphone holder, extendable hood for the rain (only on the street version), a glasses pocket, another for your phone, a key holder, and more individual pockets for memory cards, batteries, and film canisters.
Pretty much all the features are available in each style, but this handy table breaks down the specs of each style:
Pixentu has already reached its £10,000 (about $13,000) funding goal, so the jackets look like they’re on track toward the estimated delivery date of February 2018 (if the project is successful).
They jackets are available from £100 (about $130) on Kickstarter for just over a month longer, after which they’ll retail at £200 (about $260).
Adobe Scene Stitch is Like Content-Aware Fill with an Imagination
In addition to its Cloak and Scribbler projects, Adobe also used its MAX 2017 conference to offer a sneak peek of a technology called Scene Stitch. It’s like Content-Aware Fill on steroids: instead of guessing the fill content with details from the photo, Scene Stitch uses AI and a database of images to find content to fill the hole.
“Remember content-aware fill? Scene Stitch is like that, but more,” Adobe says. “Instead of just searching the image you are editing for content, and updating that image with what it finds, Scene Stitch looks through other images (like you would find on Adobe Stock) to find all new graphic elements.
“Scene Stitch isn’t just matching image types, it’s looking for what would fit the image well.”
One of the examples given in the demo is this photo that contains a road that needs to be removed:
Using standard Content-Aware Fill results in this not-so-ideal result that contains obvious cloned sections:
But run Scene Stitch, and the software will search through Adobe’s gigantic library of stock photos for images with sections that may fit well into the hole. What you get returned is a selection of options to choose from:
Many of them are much cleaner fills than the Content-Aware Fill (except the fills are from other photos):
Here are a couple more before-and-after examples:
“This is doing more than just filling the hole in the image,” says Adobe’s Brian Price in the demo. “This is really allowing you to reimagine the image, to try new things, to remix in new content.”
As with many of Adobe’s latest technologies, Scene Stitch is powered by Adobe Sensei, the company’s powerful artificial intelligence system.
No word yet on if or when we’ll be seeing Scene Stitch arrive in the real world as a feature photographers and photo editors can actually use.
I’ve been photographing families for seven years. Let me tell you; it’s been a long slog. I’ve learned so many things through the years that make my work consistent and creates happy clients, I’ve also learned that I work in a community of other independent photographers and we have also come to help, rely on and yes, compete with one another and still be friends at the end of the day.
Minted, I’m not so sure we can be friends. Friends work to understand one another’s backgrounds and the difficulties we face and we tend to value one another, not use one another or pull our friends into schemes that don’t work to their advantage based on false promises. We also like our friends to earn living wages.
How are photographers paid? You are paying your contract photographers $50 per session. On paper it sounds like $100 per hour for the photographer, which, to just about anyone, sounds awesome. But it’s not. In any case when you account for travel time/parking, culling the session (selecting the 50 best images) and a buffer for uncooperative clients each session should probably be at least 1.5 hours apart. Let’s do the math:
5 sessions per day with 30 minute lunch break: $250
Parking or Uber: -$50
Tax rate for self-employed (35%) $70
Total take-home for 8-hour day: $130 or $16.25 per hour.
Just at living wage for San Francisco and also without gear or business or health insurance costs taken into account. Once you add those in you are looking at a wage below the living wage calculator.
Cities are a total b**ch to work in. Traditionally, people charge/pay for that. Have you all driven around San Francisco and tried to find a place to park? We’re talking about sessions in people’s homes, not one park where multiple clients can travel back-to-back for minis. It’s an extra 20-30 minutes to be sure to park at each destination. And allow 30-60 minutes to get from location to location on top of that. It won’t be free.
Parking really isn’t free in most areas of SF. Many people opt to Uber instead, but course that costs money too.… Also, there has been a rise in gear theft in San Francisco. It’s risky to carry $10,000+ worth of gear. Many Bay Area photographers are simply opting not to work in San Francisco or charge a premium to reflect the risk and time spent getting around.
Let’s do the math for a minimum kit:
Full frame camera: $2000-$3500 x2 (always carry a backup)
600RT Flash: $450×2 (when it’s just too danged dark)
Professional liability and equipment insurance: Now what happens when your photographer bumps into a family heirloom and it crashes into oblivion or Dallas dumps his juice into your photographer’s Kelly Moore bag? Will you be liable for those occurrences? Probably not. No photographer who wants to stay in business and keep their car, house or the shirt on her back is going to work without spending at least $600 a year on liability and equipment insurance. I’m sure with independent contractors it’s all on them.
Total: $8,199-$11,949. And continued hard use at sessions contributes to an overall depreciation of equipment value of 25% per annum for cameras and 10% for lenses.
Now that I’ve bored you with numbers and statistics let’s talk about logistics. Shooting in a home requires a certain amount of know-how. A pro-photographer is going to want to turn off all of the artificial lights. He/she is going to need to make the right lens choices. They may need to don their rubber gloves and help declutter while mom is wrangling the kid who doesn’t want to wear pants—or any clothes at all.
30 minutes, huh?
Sure… make sure you tell the two-year-old who is obsessed with trains that he needs to stop ramming his caboose into the dog’s tail for a posed session with a person he’s never met and doesn’t have time to warm up to (stranger danger is real, y’all). Before I pick up my camera I spend time with the children, playing and getting to know them. I am all up IN the dollhouse. Hand me a Barbie. Any one will do. I’ll be the baby, the mom or Barbie dog. Whatever it takes to make a new little friend!
I also connect with the parents and I make sure that everyone feels comfortable around me — this is outside of the actual time spent on the session itself.
I mean, it’s expensive to hire a pro to get consistent photos in a home. Those dreamy in-home photos like the one in Martha Stewart Living are shot with gear and know-how that lets us go into the unknown. Those shots can take hours to produce (how long did it take for you to make that ad photo?). Not every home is filled with light, styled minimalistically or is magazine ready. Most homes are spaghetti-ceilinged low light clutter bombs and require professional-level lenses, cameras and sometimes when there is no natural light, flashes.
Listen, Minted. I know this sounds great to you. I know that you are justifying this as a service to Minted customers. But you are doing a disservice to them. With your pretty in-magazine ad you are selling them on a quick, painless, convenient experience; in your words “easy, beautiful in-home photography for the holidays.”
Do you have realistic expectations about how that’s achieved? Do you understand that a pro can’t actually afford to work this business model and that you’re setting your customer up for disappointment because a pro is required to meet the expectation of “easy” and “beautiful” given the limitations of in-home photography? Your message to customers regarding a custom in-home session’s worth is that it should only be $100 when a good session is worth so much more.
Inviting a stranger into a customer’s home for $100 may sound like a great option but it just may be a waste of their time and money. There is a disconnect between what you’re promising and what is possible. And that can create badwill and someone who will complain about Minted far and wide. If the customer is someone who is new to personal photography they may also decide that it’s not for them based on this experience.
Minted. Oh Minted. This is not a healthy relationship. I’m going to set some boundaries here. Do your research. Find out what the market rate is for in-home minis. For example: I charge $300 for my 30-minute in-home session and I get to keep all of the money (after expenses and Uncle Sam). I also get to keep my copyrights and I leave room for the up-sell. This gives me a living wage, affords me a decent salary and residual income should a client decide they’d like to purchase more images at a later date.
Pay your photographers enough money to cover their costs and earn a comfortable wage. Give them an incentive to sell more and make more. Maybe take that money you spent on that Martha Stewart Living full page ad ($206,400, according to the media kit?) and invest in valuing photographers.
This program may seem on the surface just a loss-leader for sales of your cards but in reality, it’s a vampiric program sipping from the lifeblood of small businesses. It hurts our artistic community. It hurts the people who make content for your cards.
Just stick with making freaking adorable cards. I quit doing that once you cornered the market. Do you need to try and swoop up the rest of our livelihoods by changing perceived value? Do your clients and your business partners a favor (hint: photographers are your business partners — and as a friend recently advised “don’t s**t where you eat”) — refer reputable, vetted photographers to clients and we’ll work your affiliate program. For now, I’ll be sending my clients to Paperless Post (they do make things with paper).
Update: I got a nice email from a Minted employee stating that they are accelerating a referral program for “established professional photographers” based on the feedback they’ve been getting. I’m curious as to how they’ll differentiate the categories.
Minted also claims that the entry level aspect of their program is a way for photographers to get in front of people who have typically used cell phone shots in their holiday cards, for newer photographers to “further build their experience” and for established photographers to backfill their schedules.
Look. Everyone starts somewhere. There are those photographers who charge $20 for a mini-session that you find all over treasure sites on Facebook. Those photographers may be served by a program such as this because I would assume that there are certain legal requirements these photographers would need to fill that they may have ignored up until that point. However, it must be noted that Minted recruitment programs have been actively pursuing established, skilled photographers. Whether they change the entry level market or not–and whether their new customers see value in choosing an “referral program” photographer after conversion from iPhone photography remains to be seen. I would guess that if those customers are happy with entry level photography they’ll continue with it.