Getting the Most from a Digital Capture

Raw format, 16-bit workflow are key
written by: Paul Schranz

One of the problems with working in an analytical art is that we are forced to deal with the real-time element and the actual lighting of the space we are in at the moment. Merely making an accurate reproduction of the subject seldom reflects what we perceive about it. While a large part of expression comes from the content, a greater portion of its overall impact results from how we enhance the image, how we make an image more about the way we see its subject. The image, Catwalk, New Mexico 2006, was captured in Raw format on a Canon Read more »


Pre-visualizing Tone Placement in a Digital Print

written by: Paul Schranz

One of the most important tasks in creating a rich print is controlling the highlight and shadow detail. In my film days, I worried about Zone II and Zone VIII. When working with digital imagery we set white and black points with a similar goal. In the process I’m going to describe, I actually set two different points: one for a dark gray above black, and another for a light gray below white (yes, Zone II and Zone VIII again). The process starts with printing an assessment target to determine the RGB values that produce these highlight and shadow values Read more »


High Dynamic Range Scanning

Better scans using SilverFast Ai Studio software and the Microtek ArtixScan M1 scanner
written by: Paul Schranz

The secret to quality scanning is getting the most data possible from the original. The dynamic range, even from high-end scanners, usually requires a compromise with either the highlights or the shadows. A low-end scanner simply lowers the dynamic range so that neither are reproduced adequately. If you make adjustments to retain those light highlights, you end up severely blocking the shadows. When attempting to open them in Photoshop curves, all you accomplish is intensifying shadow noise. Now, however, there is a sensible solution that allows you to use multiple exposure scans in much the same way that HDR capture works Read more »


The Non-Mainstream Powerhouse of Raw: DxO Optics Pro

written by: Paul Schranz

In the realm of quality Raw-conversion software, I believe DxO Optics Pro deserves far more attention than it gets. This is a powerful program that offers more accuracy than general converters and some unique qualities that make it a truly worthwhile investment. The three major strengths of DxO Optics Pro are its specific camera/lens combination analysis, its pre-conversion geometry corrections, and its excellent demosaicizing algorithm. DxO ( is based on modules. In translating a Raw file, it considers all of the characteristics of a specif ic camera body, the unique qualities of a specif ic lens attached to that body, and Read more »


Changing Focus and Luminescence Post-Capture

written by: Paul Schranz

I just took my first trip to Point Lobos on California’s west coast since I transitioned to digital several years ago. Before that I had always shot with a medium- or large-format camera. With digital tools at my disposal, I decided to produce a photograph using the extended depth-of-field capability of Photoshop CS4. I selected a relatively small image, with sufficient distance between the rocks in the foreground and the wet glossy plateau on the rock at the back of the image. I made three exposures, each focused differently, and imported the resulting images into Lightroom, which I use as my initial Read more »


Realty and Realities

An Interview with Ed Freeman
written by: Ed Freeman, Paul Schranz

Today the old adage,“You only get to go around once in life” is often irrelevant, as a number of highly accomplished photographers came through a doorway into a second career. This observation led to the first of a series of questions we recently asked Ed Freeman, whose earlier incarnation was musician, arranger and producer named on some pretty famous record albums. PS: From a successful career in the field of music, how did you move to photography? EF: I’ve been playing instruments since age six and taking pictures since age ten. Both have been central to my life ever since, Read more »


Small Worlds Possible

An Interview with Maggie Taylor
written by: Maggie Taylor, Paul Schranz

Maggie Taylor is a digital artist who lives amid the moss and live oaks at the edge of a small swamp on the outskirts of Gainesville, FL. She explains that most of her childhood in Cleveland, OH, was spent watching countless hours of television. She received a philosophy degree from Yale University and later an MFA in photography from the University of Florida. Luckily, advances in computer science have enabled Maggie to move beyond making strange little color still-life images with a camera and film, she says. Now her digital composites of scans, drawings and photographs are exhibited around the Read more »


Fish-Work: An Interview with Corey Arnold

written by: Corey Arnold, Paul Schranz

Corey Arnold came across our radar when he was named one of 30 emerging photographers to watch in 2009. His understanding of the real world elements of involvement in a project both photographic and interactive gives Arnold a unique perspective. In between seasons, we were able to pose some questions to him: PS: Which came first—fishing or photography? When and why did you decide to combine them? How comfortable are you with leading this “double life?” CA: I was wearing diapers, no shirt and pair of awesome red Ray-Ban looking sunglasses in the earliest picture of me fishing. So, I’d Read more »


An Interview with Julieanne Kost

written by: Julieanne Kost, Paul Schranz

When it comes to aesthetic digital collage and technical expertise with Photoshop, few can equal Julieanne Kost. Professionally a Digital Imaging Evangelist for Adobe, Kost not only knows her tools, but she incorporates her skill into some of the most sensitive narrative collages exhibited today. I recently had the opportunity to spend time with Julieanne, and she answered some pertinent questions and offered insights into her artwork and her life at Adobe. PS: You were originally a psychology major. Tell me how you went from earning that degree into a career in photography. JK: I have always been interested in Read more »


Corporate Photography on Location

The Stetson Campaign: An Interview with Tyler Stableford
written by: Tyler Stableford, Paul Schranz

Everyone likes to think that when they do a commercial assignment, the photographer will have an enormous amount of control over what gets photographed and how it will be done. In corporate assignments, the team involved is similar to what you would image working on a movie set, and this doesn’t even begin to account for the number of corporate people on hand to supervise production. Tyler Stableford is among the leading location photographers who worked on an ad campaign for Stetson. This interview with him sheds light on the complexities and nuances of doing a corporate shoot of this Read more »