Nov 1, 2012

November 2012 Cover | Las Vegas Photographer Magazine



Interview with Vladimir Zotov

Where did you study photography?
Actually nowhere. A few years ago I noticed that I am not indifferent to the photography. I visited a lot of sites dedicated to this theme, first just looking and trying to understand. Then I bought my first camera, and studied just in that course. After a couple of years, I was invited to a photo studio in my town, and I worked there for 2 years.  There was so much work, that I had no time to attend long trainings.  It was pure shooting.  Sometimes I asked questions to professional photographers through the Internet. Many responded willingly, and I am very grateful to them. Because of their example, I also always try to share my secrets and to answer any questions when I am asked.

What equipment do you use? Favorite lenses?
Actively I use three photo systems. At home Sony (a850). I dont have many expensive lenses at home, because I feel there is no need to take high-resolution photographs there. My favorite lens here is an old manual-focus Minolta Celtic 135mm f2.8.
At work I use Canon (7D and 5D Mark II) and Hasselblad (H4D-60). I won't tell you about the advantages or disadvantages of these systems, if anyone is interested in my personal opinion, please feel free to write me!

I love using my 120mm f4 on Hasselblad and 70-200mm f 2.8 on my Canon.
Generally I prefer telephoto lenses as you can see.  As far as lighting — I use the Broncolor generator system, “Scoro a4s” and “Verso 2400", some of the of the best (if not the best) equipment in the world.  I would take this opportunity to thank my chieves for it! Its really very important to use good equipment, especially in commercial photography. However, often I shoot with a film camera, worth about $100 (Minolta XG-1).  The results suit me fine.

Any tips you'd like to share?
My advice is to shoot very-very often. This is a key to understanding what you like to shoot and what you are best at. Try. Shoot everything that comes to mind. You can truly begin to appreciate the photos after thousands of shots taken in a few days. Remember... "Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst. – Henri Cartier-Bresson. And he meant film images. Multiply by 50. :) The best practice is not only to shoot what you like, but execute orders.

For any special tips please contact me personally.
site - (this is my studio)

Food Photographer Natalia Lisovskaya | Moscow Russia

EQUIPMENT:  Camera 5D Mark II + EF 70-200 mm f/2.8L IS II USM.
ABOUT: I learned to be a photographer from the masters in Moscow (Russia). I've worked as a photographer for 7 years. I use the light from an impulse lightbox. [studio pictured below]

INSPIRATION: I find inspiration in flea markets, in old textures, in beautiful ingredients.
It's very important to me that my pictures are real: real food, real dish, real ingredients, real cooking. The real mood on memory :)

Lisovskaya's Studio
To see more of her work please visit {}

Oct 1, 2012

October 2012 Cover | Las Vegas Photographer Magazine




Featured | Regina Pagles

I'm gonna keep this short, 'cause there's nothing more boring than me talking about me.

Prior to 2010, I only shot landscapes. I sucked. I'd spend hours messing up my snapshots with layer upon layer of bad Photoshop. Attempts at polishing turds became the norm.

2010 rolls around. I win a contest sponsored by Westcott. A delivery truck shows up with a bunch of lighting equipment. We have a small unoccupied rental apartment, next door. I pretend like I know what I'm doing, and I set up a studio. This is where I am today, only I've stopped pretending, and embraced the fact that I don't know what I'm doing. Oh and no more landscapes!

Every photo shoot is hit or miss. Sometimes I get lucky, sometimes not... but it's all an experience. The same when it comes to retouching. Some images are winners. Most end up in the trash can. A favorite saying... that I often forget, 'Every shot does not have to be a masterpiece'.

Early on, I worried about what others thought. Will THEY like it? I didn't even know who THEY were, but their opinions were very, very important. Thankfully, I stopped caring and that's when I started improving.

Photography and retouching is just a hobby. I do not accept paid assignments. It's nice to pursue something just for the love of it and not for the money. I've ruined many hobbies in the past, turning them into jobs. In my mind, once a person hands over money, they own your creative vision. It becomes all about the clients' wants and needs. I want it to be all about me! I'm good with no deadlines, no do-overs, no unsatisfied clients and NO STRESS!

About the retouching. Many think HDR is involved, but I do not incorporate HDR in my portraits. The dynamic range is brought out many ways, but the 'Tonal Contrast' filter in the Color Efex bundle by Nik Software does a great job. I also love the filters in Perfect Photo Effects by onOne Software. I use those a lot.

I get a few inquiries on how I retouch skin. First, I remove the imperfections with the healing brush in Photoshop. Then I will dodge the darker areas and pores and burn the lighter areas. This takes quite a bit of time and requires a lot of patience. On average, a portrait takes me about 10 hours to complete, but a lot of that time is devoted to trying out new techniques and experimenting. Lately, I have been experimenting with Imagenomics ‘Portraiture’ plugin for skin. With the right settings, I am able to get decent results, while still retaining the pore structure. But my go to skin retouching technique comes from retoucher Natalia Taffarel.

My 'style' is still in the process of being defined. I have a long way to go. Most of my techniques are derived from my idols, who include:

Calvin Hollywood - German digital artist and photographer.
I first discovered Calvin when he appeared a a guest poster on Scott Kelby's Blog.
His English DVD training 'Calvinize' is amazing and I credit a lot of my techniques to him. He includes the skin retouching technique learned from Natalia Taffarel in this ‘Calvinize’ training. You can also find his classes offered on Kelby Training as well as his YouTube Channel. Most of his videos on YouTube are in German, but there are some in English as well, and they are worth seeking out!


Guest Blog Post on Scott Kelby’s ‘Photoshop Insider’

Calvin Hollywood Photoshop Tutorial Part 1 (YouTube)

Calvin Hollywood Photoshop Tutorial Part 2 (YouTube)

Calvin Hollywood Photoshop Tutorial Part 3 (YouTube)

Calvin Hollywood Photoshop Tutorial Part 4 (YouTube)

Joel Grimes - I love Joel Grimes. I devour every word that comes from his mouth. He is such an inspiration and is so generous with his knowledge. [Framed] Network teamed up with Joel and aired weekly videos on the lighting set ups Joel uses to attain his images. There is so much information packed into those 20 minute videos. Joel also has classes offered on Kelby Training and amazing videos on YouTube.

‘Lit Up’ on the [Framed Network]

Joel Grimes - BEHIND THE SCENES - Dorion

Joel Grimes - BEHIND THE SCENES - Hope Solo

Joel Grimes - BEHIND THE SCENES - Lauren

Joel Grimes - BEHIND THE SCENES - Aimee

Peter Hurley - You have to experience Peter in action to truly appreciate him and what he has to offer. He will drill home the importance of interacting with the person in front of your camera and he is a true master, so you learn from the best. I love this guy and you will, too!

‘Art Behind The Headshot’ Trailer

Guest Blog Post on Scott Kelby’s ‘Photoshop Insider’

Natalia Taffarel - High end digital retoucher from Argentina. A real pro. I have her DVD, it’s 11.5 hours of advanced beauty retouching techniques. A little over my head, but worth it for the stuff that’s not. This is where I learned how to retouch skin. Her technique is awesome, especially at retaining pore structure.

‘Beauty and Hair Retouching High End Techniques’ DVD
Sue Bryce - What can I say about Sue Bryce. Watch her on CreativeLIVE and see for yourself. A master at posing, she transforms average Janes into supermodels before your eyes, with just a simple pose. If only I could remember to apply a fraction of the advice I’ve learned from her...

‘Glamour Photography’ course on CreativeLIVE
‘Inside The Glamour Studio’ course on CreativeLIVE

Amy Dresser - An amazing digital retoucher, famous for her retouching on images by Jill Greenberg. I learned quite a bit from watching her ‘Pointy Man’ tutorial on RetouchPRO. Worth the $15.00 if you have 2.5 hrs. to spend in front of the computer. You only have 3 days to watch it before it expires. Covers her ‘Carve’ technique that is a big part of her style.

Amy Dresser Rentals page on RetouchPro

Amy Dresser’s retouching on Jill Greenbergs’ images

And lastly, I cannot forget to mention Scott Kelby, whom I have learned so much from over the years. He has generously offered so much of his knowledge, in the form of books, tutorials, workshops, seminars, etc. Also the main force behind Photoshop World and if you’ve never been, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It was at Photoshop World that I won that contest, sponsored by Westcott, that got me started in Portraiture.

Kelby Training

NAPP - Free shipping at B&H and Adorama, if you join - SO worth it!

Photoshop World

Scott’s Blog, ‘Photoshop Insider’

Let me finish with a quote from Joel Grimes:
"Hard work will out perform talent any day of the week"

With hard work, patience and perseverance, it is possible to realize your personal or professional goals, even if you are slow, lack memory, have no imagination and possess very little natural artistic vision. I am proof. Most importantly, impress yourself... an audience will follow.

Portfolio Website

Arthur Chang | Session Share

Who: Tran and Adam - both dentists who met in school. They live in Walnut Creek, CA, and really like the outdoors and beaches.
What: Wedding preparations.

Where:  Laguna Beach, CA.

Photographer:  [] Arthur was born in South Carolina and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. His passion for photography took form in 2004 in the beauty around Santa Barbara California, where he graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a B.S. in Computer Science. When he wasn't coding, he was taking photos.​  His photography since 2004 has been very photo journalistic and he approaches any type of photography with the focus on telling a story.​  He has organized many "photo walks" (at least one a week), and started a group based around Flickr called the San Francisco Bay Area Shooters (SFBAS). Soon he branched out into the photography communities of Google+, 500px, and Instagram.  Chang says "Photography for me will be forever a learning experience, and I'm always looking for new challenges and stories to tell".