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What Is An Editorial Nude?

As I transition more to authoring new books, blogging and participating more on GarageGlamour.com, many photographers have noticed that as part of my “Farewell Photo Workshop Tour,” that we’ve included our editorial nude photography workshops in some locations. This has brought a few emails asking for some clarification.

Simply put, there are various forms (genres) of nude photography, including fine-art nudes (which others fall into also), implied nudes, glamour nude, Playboy nudes, editorial nudes, and just about anything you can add the word “nude” to at the end of it.  You name it, someone is teaching it—the problem lies not in nude photography, but many so-called glamour and nude photography workshops are just gang-bang shooting of cheesecake nude photos—and you wonder why there are some photographers labeled GWC’s, guys with cameras?

Unfortunately nude photography is being diluted daily, so I decided that I’d add editorial nude photography years ago as a different workshop than my “Glamour, Beauty and the Nude” themed workshops—and after conducting almost 500 photography workshops, seminars and lectures around the world in the past 12-years, I think I’ve got a good hand on what is what when it comes to photography.

In the case of editorial nude photography, it’s basically nude images that help convey some meaning, not sex, not porn, but true meaning including sometimes the mood of the subject.  These types of images often tell a story, and sometimes have a great story behind them. It’s about mood, emotion, storytelling, lighting, shadows, and sometimes even controversial, though I tend to avoid the latter.

At my Editorial Nude photography workshops, we work with simple lighting modified normally with 7-inch metal reflectors and metal grids.  The concept is to use shadows in your favor, tell the story, and to get away from marking the treasure map “X” on the floor—in other words, we don’t want you just standing there, we want you moving around the subject so you can see how the “Angle of Incidence Equals the Angle of Reflection” physics law come to play in photography.  We also ask you to turn your camera, not just plain horizontal or vertical images.

These types of images you could sell in art galleries, these are not cheesecake glamour nudes, these photos help you create are artistic but more important, solid and worthy of hanging in art galleries.

Now when we do your “Glamour, Beauty and the Nude” themed workshops, we use larger light modifiers, like 7-foot Chimera Octaboxes, 4-foot by 6-foot softboxes, beauty dishes, ringflash, California Sunbounce Pro reflectors and the list goes on—normally lighting used for editorial nudes is not the type we’d use in glamour photography.  Still not sure, well please visit EditorialNudes.com, my editorial nude photoblog that I just launched—it’s expanding with more images, so please be patient.  For now, since we don’t want to upset Google advertising, we can’t post images here, but you can find them at EditorialNudes.com.  Thanks, Rolando

LensDiaries.com, Let the Stories Be Told

In today’s world of being anyone, including a photographer, we have to constantly evaluate our situation and adapt to the changing times, so I’ve launched LensDiaries.com, my new hybrid photoblog created to spread the gospel of photography as I transition away from an exhaustive, 11-plus years of conducting over 450 photography workshops and seminars to thousands of people around the world. At LensDiaries.com you’ll find the stories and technical specifications of photos I choose for your insight in my photography. This photoblog is an extension of the five photography books I’ve published–so please help me spread the passion of photography.

With your support I will add photography tips and multimedia content along with photo critiques. For the inquiring minds that want to know, I will continue to conduct workshops and seminars, but on a very limited basis starting in the Fall of 2010. This will allow me more time to continue with my writings, future books and my photography. My focus is aimed at smaller, more exotic workshops to provide a more semi-private and a more intimate environment that you sometimes lose in a larger workshop environment. I’m always available for private photography instruction, just contact me here with your contact information and best time to call.

I will still blog on this site and inform you of my schedule and other items that I feel are better left on here, on my personal blog. On occasion, you will see a replication of content on both blogs, but remember, this site is a more personal blog and LensDiaries.com is a hybrid of a photoblog and blog, so both sites will have unique content too. I will also shift my focus from workshops to concentrate on Photographic Therapy, as a concept and the website, PhotographicTherapy.com. I hope you’ll visit all three sites.

Overtime, with your support, LensDiaries.com will transform into a more established photoblog–-this is a photographic journey we can accomplish together. Finally, I close by saying that I need your help to spread the gospel of photography by tweeting all the blog entries both here and on LensDiaries.com. Please tell all your friends and colleagues through all the social media networks—there are Facebook “like” and Twitter “retweet” buttons, please utilize them, every tweet and mention helps. Let’s spread the knowledge together. Let the stories be told! Thanks, Rolando

Photo Workshop and Party at the Palms!

Photo of Mari, art direction, Playboy photographer Arny Freytag.  Photo taken after the Phoenix Mansion photography workshop.

Photo of Mari, art direction, Playboy photographer Arny Freytag. Photo taken after the Phoenix Mansion photography workshop.

Note: Just announced, next Phoenix Mansion Shoot with Arny Freytag. (info here)

I just returned from a fabulous photography, semi-private instructional workshop featuring Playboy’s top photographer, Arny Freytag.  On occasion, Arny comes out and guest instructs at some of our photography workshops, most recently the Las Vegas and Los Angeles photography workshops.  Next month he’ll join us for a day as a guest instructor at the Los Angeles (workshop info here) photography workshop held at a 6,000 sq.ft. studio location with six gorgeous models including Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough and American Idol star, Amy Davis.

Arny also indicated he’ll make an appearance at our Las Vegas workshop and birthday bash celebration this August at the Palms Casino where we’re alway treated well from the owner and staff. This will be our third photography workshop at the Palms Casino and at our Dec. 2009 glamour photography workshop, Arny spent two days instructing our attendees as we photographed models in the luxurious, 6,200 sq.ft., Sky Villa Penthouse suite—in fact, some of those images are in my new photography lighting book, Rolando Gomez’s Lighting for Glamour Photography: Techniques for Digital Photographers.

The Palms Casino and Palms Place always provide for some great shooting and touring of the clubs for all the attendees, and this photography workshop will be the best as Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough and I will be celebrating our birthdays on Saturday evening throughout the casino along with a few other Leos who have their birthdays very close to ours.  The workshop is on Friday and Saturday, then more fun begins Saturday evening as we head out to tour the clubs at the Palms like the Rain, The Lounge, Moon, Ghost Bar, Satellite Bar, and even the Playboy Club.

Playboy photographer Arny Freytag, Palms Casino Owner Gavin Maloof, Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough and I at Gavin's house.

Playboy photographer Arny Freytag, Palms Casino Owner Gavin Maloof, Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough and I at Gavin's house.

We’ve got a few slots left, so we hope to see you there, so far the guest list is looking great and our models Holley, Amy, Mari, Candice, Eleya and Heather are looking forward to pose for all those digital cameras.  We might even add a few more models to make it fun and exciting for everyone! We’ll even have our top make-up artist, Stephanie Dawn. All attendees get special room rates, so there will be no need to leave the Palms Casino during this weekend workshop and celebration.

Hopefully you’ve signed up before we run out of spaces, but regardless, don’t forget our men and women in uniform who make all our freedoms possible along with the sacrifices of their families and friends, God Bless! Rolando

RAW verses JPG is Not The Problem

Fourth photography book, available for order at Amazon.com. 

 

Fourth photography book, available for order at Amazon.com.

Like most photography forums, the questions always arises, “RAW or JPG?”  Problem is, many participating in the forum threads don’t understand the “RAW” concept itself—but the arguments follow like MAC verses Windows (Notice I didn’t say PC, PC stands for Personal Computer, every home computer is a PC).  If people would first familiarize themselves with what RAW really is, as there is no “single” or “standard” RAW format, (See Wiki def.) then they would understand, RAW has it’s pros and cons.  One of those cons is that there are hundreds of RAW formats, even within camera models made by the same camera company, not all RAW formats are created equal–most use compression, encryption and almost all are proprietary to the camera manufacturer.

I personally shoot what is appropriate for what I’m doing–it all goes back to using the right tool for the right job.  While I’ll shoot the RAW format on my Canon 5D Mark II, most of the time, I shoot JPG, unless the client needs RAW or I feel the image has “evergreen” value.  You only run into problems with JPG’s if you open the original file, make a change, then save it, then open it again, make a change then save it.  That is why workflow is so important.  So if you shoot JPG, it’s always best to open the file and save out as a TIFF original, make your back-ups, then make your working copy as a TIFF too, then you can final out into the format your client prefers. Heck, most people don’t even understand the difference between the “save as JPG” and “save for web JPG” in Adobe Photoshop.

Let’s not forget that the acronym JPEG means Joint Photographic “Experts” Group and it’s a “standard” format that has been around long before RAW. RAW has no standard format, though many have been trying to adopt the DNG (Digital Negative) RAW format, but most camera companies, since they like to sell their own RAW “converter” software ($$$), don’t want to adopt this standard. My advice, do not get caught up in the marketing hype when it comes to RAW.  JPG will be around, just like TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) for a long, long time, though RAW formats change everyday and some RAW formats, may not be supported in the future. I can name at least three camera companies long gone, Minolta, Contax, Bronica and I’m sure others will follow along with their “proprietary” RAW formats.  FYI–a few companies, like Leica, use DNG and DNG is what was started, supported and still pushed by Adobe.  Problem is, camera companies cannot make money off the DNG format anymore than the JPG or TIFF formats.  RAW formats are derivatives of the old workhorse TIFF format.

I’ve been fortunate enough to work with private clients at Playboy Studio West this year with their top photographer Arny Freytag (Ken Marcus’s former assistant) and when Arny pulls out “perfect” 8×10 transparencies, not retouched, and shows them to our clients, that says it all.  (Read more here.)  And today, Arny shoots with the Canon 5D Mark II while the 1DS and the HD-39 sits on the shelf along with his wooden 8×10 camera. And for the record he shoots tethered and the files are dropped into Phase One, Capture One software instantly, for minimal post-production–because it’s done right with lighting! (Make-up, styling, posing, the angle of incidence to reflection and a great model help too!)

I recently conducted a glamour photography workshop in Las Vegas (Dec.) and in Los Angeles (Feb.) and Arny was our guest instructor and he demonstrated some great “over and under lighting” to keep the face clean, the eyes bright, but more important, in the LA workshop, we tethered the attendees camera into his assistant’s laptop.  Arny proved to the attendees how to get it right in the camera, RAW vs JPG was not the issue. Getting it right in the camera was the focal point. (Arny will join us at the Phoenix Mansion workshop if you want the experience.)

Bottom line–Get it done right at the shoot, capture it in the right format for your needs (right tool for the right job) with the right white balance, lighting, lens, pose, model, make-up, etc., but more important, it doesn’t matter how you capture it if you can’t capture it correctly the first time.  Don’t use formats, Photoshop, Lightroom, Capture One, or whatever as your crutch–get it right the first time and “spraying and praying” in RAW or JPG is not the answer. Well that’s it, don’t forget our military men and women, their families and friends–God Bless them all!  Thanks, Rolando

Adobe Photoshop Hits 20!

Rhonda, photographed almost 20 years ago!

Rhonda, photographed almost 20 years ago!

 

While many photographers of today were just infants in diapers twenty years ago when Adobe Photoshop version 1.0 was introduce, I still remember, back in my military days, when there were no bells and whistles with Photoshop,, it was merely a software tool targeted more for the graphics crowd.  Today however it’s evolved more toward photographers and with the advent of other Adobe products like Lightroom, and photographers are in hog heaven now that it’s synergized with the evolution of digital photography.

 

Knowing how to use Photoshop today is more of a skill then back in the simplistic days of mere cropping, dodging and burning than anything.  Now we have smart objects, layers, adjustment layers, masks, the magic wand and even the healing brush—but has that made some photographers become more than photographers?  Are we photographers or image makers?  While I’m a big fan of Photoshop and especially Lightroom and I enjoy my Nik Software filters for Photoshop, I’ve seen too many photographers, especially those that are about as old as Photoshop, use Photoshop as a crutch, when in fact, Photoshop for photographers should be more like the old days of a darkroom, which literally means a “room of corrections” in Latin.

Photoshop should be used to tweak an image, for photographers that is, not the ultimate savior, for a photo shoot gone wrong.  In the past six months I’ve been fortunate to work with Playboy’s number one photographer, Arny Freytag, whose resume records a Brooks Institute of Photography degree, former assistant to the famed Playboy photographer Ken Marcus, and 34 years at the big bunny studios amongst numerous other credits.

Eva, photographed 11 years ago, on slide film, no Photoshop!

Eva, photographed 11 years ago, on slide film, no Photoshop!

I’ve been fortunate to have Arny as our guest at the past glamour photography workshops held at the Palms Casino, Sky Villa Penthouse and the Los Angeles Hollywood Castle and there is always a recurring theme with Arny—do it right in the camera.  Use your wih lighting, intermixing of shadows, proper posing, great makeup and styling, and you’ll limit any Photoshop post-production to the bare minimum just like in the old days of Photoshop version 1.0.  It’s not that Arny doesn’t believe in digital photography, it’s just that he’s proven at my workshops and with recent private instruction clients that if a photographer knows what they’re doing, then it’ll be captured in the camera correctly.

I’ve been helping Arny with private instruction clients, for the first time ever offered, where we worked with his crew at Playboy Studio West and it’s an amazing experience. Arny pulls out old 8 x x10-inch transparencies and proves to the client that without retouching or airbrushing, perfection can be achieved in the camera.  There was no Photoshop back in the non-digital days and especially with large format slide film, if there were any imperfections, you’d surely see them but, Arny proves with the right photographic tools, little if any post-production needs to be applied after the shoot.

While some of those secrets, especially with lighting, I’ll reveal in my upcoming lighting book, you can still learn them hands-on, but you have to be at least two years younger than Adobe Photoshop or older.  If you’re ready to tackle this intense training, feel free to contact me for private instruction with Playboy’s top photographer.  While this is no cheap experience, if your budget can’t cope with the world’s finest photographer in glamour and nude photography, we’ll have Arny as our guest for the first part of the Phoenix Mansion workshop later this year. 

While Adobe Photoshop celebrates it’s 20th birthday, one can only tell what Adobe Lightroom will be like on it’s twentieth birthday as it’s beyond the diaper stage but still in it’s infancy as it looks at big brother Photoshop to help it mature for digital photographers today.  Thanks, and don’t forget our military service members, their families, and friends, without them, we’d have no freedom to manipulate any images in Adobe Photoshop.  God Bless, Rolando.

The Need to Release, Models

Tess in the Virgin Islands during photography workshop.

Tess in the Virgin Islands during photography workshop.

The need for model releases are often brought up in Internet forums, and unfortunately information on model releases on the Internet are often misleading, especially on model and photographer Internet forums.  This often makes me wonder, how some photographers and models enter into shooting sessions clueless about the truth when it comes to their professions? And it’s not limited to the amateurs, professionals alike often fall into this category due to their own misconceptions.

Many photographers and models, in addition to other creatives, fall into the trap of confusing releases with copyright law—when in fact copyright laws are designed to protect the publication or misuse of someone’s images, normally a photographer’s photos, by others without the original creator’s (normally the photographer’s) permission.

Model releases are generally designed to protect the photographer, not the unauthorized publication of a photo without the photographer’s consent.  A photographer needs the release from a model because the release grants the photographer rights to use the “likeness’ of the identifiable subject/model.  Model release requirements vary from state to state.  In reality, model releases are legal contracts allowing photographers to use the likeness of a person in the photographer’s photo for commercial gain—it’s a binding contract between two parties.

Commercial gain doesn’t have to be specifically a monetary gain, and this is one area photographers fail to understand.  If a photograph is posted of a model on a photographer’s public portfolio on the Internet, or even a print of that same image hung in the photographer’s studio, a model release is generally required because the photographer tends to make some type of gain, including the gain of a new client, a new subject, or the viewing pleasure of a potential client—an advertisement of that photographer’s skills.

When in doubt, always secure a model release.  There are a few times were a model release is not required, such as editorial use for publication in a news feature or news story—provided there is no invasion of privacy.  However, once an image is used to promote anything for value, it then becomes commercial use and the photographer needs to secure a release from the model in the photos for their own protection., sometimes a more specific use release is more appropriate too.

In a nutshell, a photographer owns the image as soon as the shutter is released from their camera (copyright law) but the person in the image owns their likeness (civil law).  And even some states have specific requirements on ages that a model can legally sign a release, especially if nudity is involved.  Not every state requires that a model be a minimum of 18-years of age to sign a release, some states require higher ages for a release to be valid in that state of jurisdiction.

As a rule of thumb, always get a model to sign a release before a shoot if you feel your images have some commercial value or future commercial use.  If there is any nudity involved, always have two forms of your subject’s identification, at least one in color and government issued, and photograph the subject holding those two ID’s, crop tight so the ID’s are next to your subject’s face and are readable.  Print one copy of that image and staple it to the model release.  Save a digital copy in your folder/directory of images for that model.  When in doubt, always consult a lawyer.  Never settle for “promotional” releases, these are about as good as toilet paper.

Back to the Ranch, A Great Success!

Back to the Ranch was a great success! With a support staff of almost 30 people composed of models, assistants, make-up artists, VIP instructors and myself, it was one of the largest events I’ve ever handled and we’re going to do it again. Many thanks to everyone that made it such a great event. An event like no other ever held before that will leave memories burned in people’s minds, in addition to great friendships and photographs.

It began around 2 a.m., Thursday morning, as I drove out to Canton, Texas in my packed Suburban. About 45-minutes down the road on Interstate 35 North, I made a decision that almost sent BTTR into a whirlwind of uncertainty as I opened the sunroof directly above me for some fresh air. First there was that rushing air sound, as I was driving at 70 mph, then a sucking vacuum cleaner sound like something had just flown out the roof.

That something was not planned. After a few seconds, still traveling at a high-rate of speed down the inside lane, I realized, it was the cashier’s check to pay for our lodging for the entire group of photographer attendees, my models, make-up artists, assistants and VIP’s. [Read more…]

Workshops that Don’t Pay Models–BLAH!

Will we’re getting ready to for our main event, "Back to the Ranch" (BTTR) next week, featuring some top, top photographers as guest instructors, so I’m running like a chicken with my head cutoff right now! Whew! As we line everything up for what promises to be the best event of the year, 30 photographers, 15 models, 5 VIP photographer instructors, 5 mentor/assistants, 4 make-up artists and an outstanding location, we’re actually updating the website for the ranch event, though it’s basically sold-out! It sold-out before we could even finish the website and it was just announced after the 4th of July holiday! Imagine that?

That’s what happens when you get some great models, though only a few were mentioned. Why are we able to get some great models for all our events? The answer is not hard and I took an excerpt from the BTTR website and put it here for you to see below. Often I see other workshops "poking" fun at my "releases," implying that we suprises our photography workshop attendees–not so, it’s on every photography workshop web page, and the release are always voluntary, though encouraged. Besides, other workshops provide, very questionable promotional releases.
[Read more…]

Still a Red Bull Drinker–Headed to Hangar-7!

Still exhausted from the Virgin Islands with only about 350 emails to answer and I’m headed to Houston for this weekend’s one-day workshop, home for a few days, then off to the Chicago Workshop next weekend. (Yes, the DVD’s are on the way, see below.) While my life is exhausting at times, it can also be exhilarating as last week I received permission, personally from Red Bull Billionaire and founder, Mr. Dietrich Mateschitz to utilize his famous Hanger-7 in Salzburg, Austria for a photo shoot.

This is rare permission that came direct from Austria. [Read more…]

Back From Chicago

Well we had another wonderful workshop in Chicago, this time at a new location in the Saint Charles area and though like most workshops a few glitches can arise when dealing with weather and other elements, this workshop was one of the best ever. Many thanks to the talent and the attendees for making a smooth operation along with Stereo and Ken and the staff at Studio 3 Productions for their help and support! As always they are great hosts.

We’re already looking at new dates for the next workshop in Chicago and soon we’ll add Dallas and a new Philadelphia date, as Philly is already sold-out. Other locations were you can still sign-up if you missed out are the Virgin Islands, Maui, McAllen (TX) and Atlanta. We’re exploring Miami, Portland, Los Angeles and more, so keep coming back to our workshop pages for dates and the ability to sign-up. [Read more…]