Friday, June 27, 2014

San Diego and the West Coast School

San Diego at Night from Seaport Village
I spent a glorious week in June 2014 with the West Coast School of Professional Photography on the campus of the University of San Diego.  The West Coast School is affiliated with the Professional Photographers of California


I worked with instructor/photographer and pretty darn good quad-copter pilot Eddie Tapp.  I want to be Eddie when I grow up.  Go ahead and click his link and look at his work.  Eddie’s assignment for me during the week was to concentrate on my backgrounds.  So I shot a few goofy pictures of palm trees sticking out of models heads, haha.  It actually helped me. 

We worked with a great group of volunteers that quickly made me, an outsider from Arizona, feel very welcome.  Lorenzo, Art, Adale, and everybody with the school made me feel a part of their group. 
The Amazing Clare posing as Betty Grable

The models were terrific and very easy to work with.  Clare was a natural model, 16 and going to be a high school junior, which is hard to believe because she acted like a professional and was a very nice young lady.  I had a running chat with her during the shoot about life and college.  I guess I must have used my teacher voice, ha!  She didn’t need much direction, but one I did ask her to pose was what I called a “Betty Grable” which is what I call a pinup pose made famous in World War II.  She said, “who’s that?”  Yup, she is 16.  Anyway, I showed her… then she did this ===à  NOT BAD!!!
Zoe Marie

After the school ended on Friday, Marni came out and we spent the next few days as photographing tourists.  We hit Seaport Village, SeaWorld, Old Town, and Little Italy before returning to Phoenix. 
Sea Lions in the harbor

As typical desert rats, any chance on the water is welcome and the sea lions didn’t mind.

Until My Next Adventure, 

See You On Down The Road!

Dolphins and friends at Sea World

See all of my photos from this adventure on Flickr!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Making Photo Movies

I had some free time the last few days so I decided to turn some of my photo collections into movies.  Clients, heck EVERYBODY, love these photo movies.  I’ve done them before using a few different kinds of software and services. 

I am a complete Mac-a-holic, so of course I had to try iMovie.  iMovie is cheap.  The newer version doesn’t seem quite as intuitive as earlier versions, however.  And after doing a few, they all seem to look the same.  Still, I was fond of the output.  You can do basic linear editing, add a music track, and include narration. 

Pummelvision was a way of creating very fast-paced short photo videos in a snap.  Sadly, they are no longer around.  I was smart enough to save one video I did with them and upload to You Tube.

A quick check of the web will show many other so called “Animoto Killers.”  One that I'm going to play with is ProShow Web.  I see it can directly take photos off of Flickr, Zenfolio, Instagram, Dropbox, and Facebook, etc…  What's the catch?  The free version limits you to 15 photos and produces a low resolution video.  There are a lot of style choices here.  But if you want to include more photos and high resolution, you have to pay.  UPDATE:  Since I published this blog, the folks from who make ProShow upgraded me to a "premium" account so I could make a longer movie.  Without any instruction, I was able to pull in photos from an album I had on Flickr, made a few adjustments including syncing the music to the photos, and out popped a photo video.  It was pretty fast.  

Animoto is another service that many photographers love.  Hey, it’s quick, that’s for sure.  But if you want ANY additional services, like royalty free music and more style options, you will pay and it isn’t cheap.  This version produces videos that are 360p, which is not high definition!  I use the educational version of this online program, which is free.  So for free, I won’t complain.  I just want more options!

Here are three Animoto videos I recently produced.  The key benefit?  SPEED.  I did these videos in about ten minutes, from exporting photo from Lightroom to Animoto.

I created my latest photo video with a program called FotoMagico.  After watching a video tutorial, I was set to work on my first video.  It seems a bit more powerful than iMovie.  I like having an output that shows high definition photos.  With Animoto, for instance, you will pay for high definition output.  There are a ton of royalty-free and FREE musical beds for your video.  And, as a former radio broadcaster, I like narrating my videos too.  A feature FotoMagico has is the ability to narrate while your slide show is rolling.  If you make a mistake, stop, and delete that narration track and start over again.  You can also stack photos in interesting ways.  Go to their website and see some other examples. 

More of my photo videos are at

Next up for me is my first photo book with Blurb.  Some nice features include being able to get an ISBN number and sell on Amazon!  Also, you can work directly through Lightroom to Blurb or use their software.  Their software is a bit more powerful, so I’m going to use that. 

Until My Next Adventure, 

See You On Down The Road!