I have been selected to be Director of Photography for UFOria TV.    So far the rehearsals have been hysterically funny.   Luckily the show is not live, because cast and crew sometimes laugh out loud and we have to re-shoot.  The show should be coming to one of your favorite networks soon.  And if you don’t watch them, they may start watching you.  You didn’t hear it from me.

UFOria TV is the ongoing saga of a paranormal investigation team, woefully inept and socially challenged.  The group is lead by an equally dsyfunctional producer, Linda Wright, who spends a lot of time and money chasing everything from werewolves to witches,  anomalies to aliens and vikings (yes, we said vikings) to vampires.    This is the show that debunks the debunkers,  out paranormals the paranormals and actually makes you wish there was something under your bed.



Don’t look behind you, because they’re really good at hiding.   If everything you see on this show isn’t true, then may Bigfoot never be found.


Photoshop World

Well it is just a month away until Photoshop World in Las Vegas.   I’ll be there for sure.

I find this event to be a great place to network and learn new techniques.   Every retoucher has their own way of doing things.  Ask five retouchers to create a result, and they will do it in 5 different ways.

My goals is to always learn two things.  One is how to create a higher quality result.  The other is how to streamline my workflow.   I am sure I will learn things for both.

I find that attending every 2-3 years is perfect for me.  Some go every year, but I find that I get more out of it if I don’t go as often.

Some people complain about the use of Photoshop on photos today.  And yes there is plenty of bad Photoshop to be seen.  But a lot of what is done, is what was done before in the darkroom.  Most people had no idea how much some photos were changed.  Skin polish, wrinkles gone and more.  Now it is just easier to do digitally.

And of course the vendors will be there.  A chance to see products first hand and ask all those questions.  And if you are thinking of buying some, wait until the show, as they almost all have show specials where you can save a lot.

On more than one occasion I have discovered a new product of interest.   Now people who know me, know I am not a fan of relying on lots of plug-ins.  But I do own a select few, mainly to save time.   Which is why I am always excited to see what is new.

And of course plug-ins won’t be the only things vendors will be showing.  Right now you can get an exhibits only pass for free, so don’t miss out.

Hope to see some of you there.  Maybe we’ll run into each other.

B&W to Color

One of my favorite techniques to create a unique look is to hand color photographs.  What I do is start with a B&W photo such as this.

Original in B&W

Original in B&W

Then I add solid color layers.  I set the blending mode to color and then simply paint the mask to show the color where I want it.  I use a separate color layer for each element allowing me to change the color of each as needed.  I will also adjust the opacity to fine tune the color.

The end result is something like this:

Hand Painted Ballerina

Hand Painted Ballerina

To save time I will invert the masks to black first before I paint in the color.  I find a soft edge brush works  best.  It can be very time consuming as you work on small details.  This example wasn’t too bad.  The eyes and lips were a bit tougher, but nothing I wasn’t used to doing.

Typically it takes a few hours to create this look, but I find it to be worth the effort.

Dean Farrell – Orcatek.com

1 Hour Photoshoot?

So you come in for you 1 hour photo session and wonder about the cost.

Let’s just look at the time to create your photos for now.

Schedule your photo shoot and follow-up. 15 mintues
Prepare studio for your shoot, check batteries, get memory cards ready, general set-up and take down. 15 minutes
Photoshoot 60 minutes
Prepare proofs for your review 15 minutes
Retouch 3 photos 90 minutes
180 minutes
Send prints to lab and get them back, check quality etc. 15 minutes
Deliver your prints 15 minutes

3.75 – 5.25 hours

Now this doesn’t include any costs, time for marketing, time spent talking with potential clients who do not book.   So it may seem like a lot for that “1 hour” photoshoot, but there is a lot of time involved that you may not consider.

Now add to that the long list of cost for equipment, studio rent, insurance, utilities etc, you will see why photographers have to really love what they do.

Dance in the Studio

Photographing a dancer in the studio can be a challenge when you want to show some action.  This type of work requires plenty of room for the safety of the dancer.

Photographer captures dancer's leap in studio

Leaps require room

A leaping shot such as this is best done when the dancer has plenty of room to get the height and proper form.  Depending on your studio floor you may also want to consider having a padded surface for the to land upon.  Typically you will be having them jump over and over, and hard studio floors can be tiring.  I like interlocking padded tiles which are just soft enough to take the jarring out of landing.

Of course there are lots of other styles when creating dance photos in studio.  Another style which I like to work in is the simulated stage view or performance view.   The effect is created by simulating a spotlight.   High ceilings  really help as they allow the placement of the light to really bring this look home.

Ballet dancer in studio

In the Spotlight

And if you are lucky enough to have a really large studio you can create shots with lots of negative space to really highlight the dancer.

Ballerina shows off negative space

Negative Space

Have some fun with your dance photos in studio.

Orcatek Photography, Phoenix

How to get rich as a Photographer

Everyone seems to ask how to make money as a photographer, but what they really want to know is how to get rich as a photographer.  It can be done, it just requires you follow the proper steps.

1.  Be Famous!  If you are famous already and become a photographer, you will have the connections to get you to the high dollar jobs.

2. Have the Best Equipment!  How can you expect to make the big money using your $2000 camera and $500 lights.  Are you kidding.  You need to spend at least $75000+ on your camera and lights need to cost at least $30000.  This type of equipment really impresses and let’s you charge more.

3. Talk about yourself in third person!   Instead of saying, “We can do that shoot at the beach next Tuesday” say “Orcatek will be shooting on the beach Tuesday.”   Only someone of importance would dare to do that, so they must be worth a lot.

4. Have a HUGE ego!   Key phrases are “If you need to know how much, you can’t afford me”, “That photographer is a hack compared to me”, “If you are lucky, I may find time to shoot you”,  and of course “Do it my way or no way!”  Clients know anyone who behaves like that must be good.

5. Buy Photoshop and all the plug-ins you can find!   Those plug-ins will take your crappy photos look really cool and trendy.  The more effects you apply the better.  Use enough and they will know you are a Photoshop master and be ready to fork over those huge fees.

6. Dress Strange!  Wear outlandish outfits.  The wilder the better.  This lets clients know you are creative and a true artist.   You don’t follow trends you create them.  Clients eat this up and open their checkbooks to just to be seen with you.

7. Offend a Group!  Post something in your twitter feed that will get a group mad at you.  This will create a buzz.  And when people know your name the pay more.  Good groups to pick on are ones that are vocal, but people really don’t care about.  We all know who they are.

8. Art Galleries!  Put your artwork in galleries in high rent districts.   Then put stupidly high prices on them like $25,000+    People will buy it because it must be good if it is that expensive.  And once one person buys one, then everyone will want one.

9. Publish a Book!  People love photography books.   They look great on their coffee tables.  Key to this is to use really odd photos, poorly exposed, out of focus and every other way you can think of to mess them up.  You will sell a million of these as it must be great art, they just don’t understand it.

10. Have talent and work really hard!   This is the best way.  It takes a long time, but it is a great journey.   Still on my way – but maybe someday.


WPPI in Vegas

This past week I managed to squeeze some time in at WPPI in Las Vegas.  Many more vendor this time than last time I attended, which I took as a good sign that business is hopeful.

Found several new book printers that had some products I will be testing soon.  May be switching out some of my current providers.

Probably my favorite thing was actually in the Canon CPS lounge.  I got a chance to test at a 1Dx.  Did some shots at 25000 iso and all I can say is WOW! This camera is pretty amazing.   Lots of other great features too, but I really wanted to see the low light use and it is impressive.

No one would say anything about the next generation 5D other than to give a knowing smirk when asked about.  It looks like Canon is going down the right path and working on image quality over pixel count.

I also found a few companies to sponsor my photography workshops, so that will definitely be good for my students.

All in all it was a great trip, wish I could have spent more time.