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Bokeh Filters, bringing back ’09.



Bokeh filters were a popular photography trend in 2009, they aren’t as commonly seen in every day photography use and so the effect has kind of fallen to the side.  Those who remembered it forgot about it and with the members of team photography growing; so grows the amount of people who know nothing about it.

So I’m bringing it back and I want to share with you how to enjoy them cost efficiently.  Though picking up a set of bokeh fitlers or a bokeh filter kit is always a plus.

DIY Bokeh Filters

First let me start out by saying that the cardboard option depicted above is much more difficult to perfect than the thick black paper method.

  • Trace your 50mm filter ring or end of lens onto thick black paper or cardboard.
  • Cut circle out.
  • Draw a shape onto the cut out circle, preferably in the center.  Free hand is awesome if you can achieve it, I wanted a more reliable shape so I used a stencil I printed off the internet.  If you use a stencil I suggest taping it down to the cut out circle so it doesn’t slide on you as you cut your shape out.
  • Use an exacto blade to remove the shape from your circle.
  • fit circle paper at the end of your lens.  With the paper it should fit inside the filter ring with a little trimming.  If you used cardboard use scotch tape to fit the filter to the end of your lens.  Make sure there is no light leaking to the lens from the edges of the filter.

Shooting Tips

Find a far away light source.  The farther away the more break off shapes you will have from one light source.  Bring light source out of focus, making your focal point closest to the end of your lens.  Find large light sources or large clusters of light sources.

If you tried this out because of this blog or on your own accord please reply with links to your own creative images using bokeh filters!  I would love to see them.

The bokeh image featured in this blog was my first shot, hand held from my car.  I suggest a tri-pod for ultimate results.  Thank you for your time, please stay tuned.

Clone Tips with MSP

Clone Tips #2

If you are just tuning into this series and haven’t read the first post on Clone tips, please redirect yourself here before continuing.

Lets dive into some simple tips to make your clone shots more eye catching with interactive flow.

  • As previously mentioned, capture your background shot first.  Whether that be a single focus shot or an HDR compilation.  Remember if you chose HDR you want to be a little quicker with timing between frames if you’re relying on natural lighting settings.  Your background shot(s) will be the solid background for your final clone shot image.  
  • Make sure its DOF is set appropriately for how you plan to place your clones.  (Example:  If you want your clones at different DOF points, foreground, background and mid ground, then you want a clear full focus if you plan to make all said clones in focus.  If you want the background clone maybe standing by a tree to be out of focus then make sure that area in your background frame is of matching focus.)
  • Are you doing a photo series to tell a story w/ these clones?  Consider using different lighting techniques between frames.  Adds eye catching variety while displaying various skills in one series.  The first two photo’s are of the same series, both shot w/ a single unit strobist lighting, any bouncing of light was done using the environment.  A fun challenge.  

In the next clone tips post we will address fantasy style effects and animals as slightly used in the last clone shot.

Stay tuned for shooting & editing tips.  As always thank you for your time and attention.

Psychology for Photographers

Scott Kelby has been my guiding light for learning the photo part of my trade but he doesn’t really touch down on how to run your business.

There are plenty of resources online for photographers just starting out, but as I’ve said before and will continue to say, Psychology for Photographers is the best / most helpful blog around!

You can snap photo’s like the one above all day long, but if you don’t have some business savvy or marketing tricks under your sleeve your business won’t get very far.  While you’re waiting for the next semester to start to pick up that business class at a local community college or online, check yourself in at Psychology for Photographers.  I promise you will never regret book marking her blog or subscribing to email updates.  This is the most valuable tool I can pass on for the business aspect of photography, so cherish it, stalk it and absorb her lessons.  Stay tuned for more helpful tips, education, hot leads and more!

New Clones & Hints.

People love clone shots.  I hear more feedback about my clones than any of my other images.  I don’t mind however my clones are some of my favorite work.  Lately I’ve been getting back into the craft, expanding on my previously explored basics.

This has drawn more attention to my work and people have been asking about the process.

Well I’ve already wrote an entire “how to: clones series” in my old blog.  One person liked it…. that took a long time to put together.  So this time I’m not going to isolate so much of my time on something that I wont know if anyone benefits from.  This time I will just keep posting hints / tips about the process through out my blog entries.  Now and then I will just release a clone shot and some how to know how / great tips to make yours stand apart from others, for those of you who already know how to make them.

Let’s begin.  With tips on shooting.  I wont give them out all at once.  After we go over all the little things I can remember about shooting them, I’ll start the second part of the series, the editing process.

Clone Tip #1 

  • Get a sturdy tri-pod.  I personally use a Vanguard with a ball-head built for my camera weight class.  You want absolutely no shake or wiggle in the head / connection area between tri-pod and camera.
  • You want your frame fixed and the support sturdy.
  • Take different articles of clothing.  Doesn’t have to be entire outfits though the effect is spectacular, just minor changes to an outfit or something that can easily be changed multiple ways in photoshop.  Such as an accessory that the color of could be changed easily.  A plain t-shirt of a solid color that could also be changed easily.
  • Consider a theme if any.  Do you want to see how many people you can fit into a frame?  Do you want to tell a story?  Both?  Props are good for interaction between clones but you don’t want too many to clutter up your frame.
  • Take a photo of your scene without your subject first.
  • Think about how much detail contrast you want between your b/g and your subjects.  Before you start placing subjects you should consider if you want a regular b/g or HDR.

That is enough for now as I’ve pulled another all nighter in the office and need to take a nap before I get anymore technical.  Tune in later for more.  They will come spontaneously but  you can always tag search clone in my blog to locate the posts with tips.  Get those gears going for now!

Google books

As a self taught photographer I read a lot. About photography, business, entrepreneur successes and downfalls.  I research social and marketing trends all in the same day I fullfill my office duties, graphic design jobs, schedule clients and sell my services though lately I’ve had less time for in person sales which are drastically important.  On top of this and other daily routine duties I try and find time to take fine art pictures process and post them at least once a week given the weather permits.


iBooks has been a great help in my ability to get my reading done without carrying an office with me, newsstand offered a great change in pace for me to keep up with my tech subscriptions.  I also enjoy exploring the free book sections on the app store, sometimes I actually find old favorites or something new and possibly useful to my ventures.  Depicted above in screenshots are some of my classic favorite tales including one book I’m reading that helped with my in person sales and general business socialization.

Recently I aquirred an HP touchpad tablet, for the nerds out there I’m sure you know that


this was discontinued a mere six weeks after its release in 2010.  If you’re a true nerd you know this doesnt make it useless but a great steal.  Mine is a 32g model that I got for free off a less tech savvy individual. They were bored of WebOS and its long outdated app market; what they failed to realize was the Droid hacks available for WebOS.  Having failed to realize the potential of their item they gave it away thinking it had no monetary value.

After hacking my tablet I was introduced to Play Books the online book market for Google powered phones and tablets.  Previously and still the tablet had / has the kindle app, but when I’m poor I search options.


There wasn’t much for business in the free section of play books but there were some of my favorites not in the other markets as well as some classics I’ve yet to read.  Why pay Barnes and noble seven dollars for their reprints of classics when I get them free online?  A harmless crime as the authors are all dead now, no royalties to miss out on.

I enjoy the larger screen for reading vs my iPhone, however the free samples you get from play books of books you have to pay for are weak. iBooks offers you a better free sample of a book.

Overall due to newsstand being able to hold my subscriptions my iPhone remains lead in business reading for me but hopefully Droid catches up as I do enjoy the larger screen.  If they fail it wont be skin off my back as I still plan on getting an iPad.

*Post made on HP Tablet*

Michigan Photographers Attn.

The Photo Studio Group in Ann Arbor is having a free event for portfolio sharing!  For those of you with a Facebook click here for original event post.  For those of you without it, please read the copied information below:

”  May Photo Sharing and Portfolio Review
    • Thursday, May 24, 2012
    • 5:00pm until 9:00pm
Come join us for an evening of sharing and enjoying each other’s photos!

This event is FREE and open to the public and will have light refreshments.

Duration: 5 – 9 p.m.

Your portfolio is a compilation of your best work, a representation of what you have done, and your capabilities. We would like to invite you to assemble 10-15 of your best images, put them on a drive/disk (or even print!), and bring them to the studio.

IMPORTANT: Please partition your images into two folders, One folder should have 5-7 images you would like to showcase during the group review and the other 10-15 images should be in a separate folder for the one-on-one review (if you choose to have one).

There will be two types of reviews:

* Joshua will lead an open peer review in which everyone will enjoy all the photos. No pressure and tons of positive feedback.

* Ben and Chris will be available for one-on-one reviews. Specific attention to your portfolio in a 15 minute critique focusing on strengths as well as areas for improvement.

The review we had in April was a lot of fun and we can’t wait for the May event! We’re looking forward to seeing you all there!   “

-Above copied and pasted from original FB event post by Photo Studio Group of Ann Arbor, Michigan.