I’m very excited to officially announce the launch of my new digital online store through Gumroad. There are so many options for digital store platforms now it was kind of difficult to choose one over another but I was really just looking for something to help me share content with other artists. I haven’t planned out exactly what I want the store to be but I know I have a lot to offer. To start I’ve uploaded a few packs of images I’ve shot- skies, rocks, smoke- that hopefully other artists will find helpful in their own projects.

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 1.35.14 AM

I’d like to take a second to put some emphasis on image quality. I’ve found a lot of good stock image websites (which I’ll make a post about later) but there’s nothing better than shooting something myself. I hate it when I find a stock image I like but the resolution is too low or the image quality is poor because the photographer has no idea what they’re doing. Honestly, I find that there’s still too many low-quality images on the web to choose from and I’d like to change that. However, I don’t feel like I need to completely reinvent the wheel here, there isn’t much I’m offering yet that’s really unique to my store other than all the images are shot by me personally so you can rest assured they’re not garbage. Right now, I’d just like to try and use my new online store to increase the number high-quality images available on the web for artists to use. If you can find something that works for you in my store, great, if not then I’m still sad to see you go. Bear in mind that I just started this store and I’ll be adding new content as regularly as possible.

My point is that I want to live in a world where image quality and resolution is a nonfactor when deciding what images or digital products to download and use. I’d like to raise the image quality level of artists’ work to a higher standard. I’m sick of seeing new artists online create a cool concept that falls apart because low-quality images were used and I want to help make a difference there if I can.

Again, I’m not sure exactly what the future of the store will be but I’ll gladly take suggestions. Check it out HERE.



Hi again, it’s been a while. I’ve added some new content to my website you might be interested in viewing. I created a retouching page to feature some of the editing work I’ve been doing the past few months.

Check it out here:

The format of this page is different from the others on my website because I wanted it to be more interactive. Each image on the page has a slider in the middle of it that you can drag back and forth to see the image before my editing and after.

There’s also a small description above each image where I talk a little bit about what needed to be done to each image that should help you to understand what you’re looking at in terms of edits and changes. Let me know what you think! I’ll be adding more content there as it gets completed.

Hello again, I’m back to blow the dust off the blog and get things moving again. I’ve been very busy and very sick the past few months, it’s quite the long story but I’m happy to say I’m feeling like myself again. Let’s look at 10 things I accomplished in 2015.

Finished On-Campus Schoolwork at College

I’m officially off campus for good. I am on course to graduate from school in May 2016 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications Media with a double concentration in Photography and Professional Communication. This last semester I had to assemble a printed portfolio of my work for the required Comm-Media internship this spring. Your professors review your work and try to place you at an internship site to help you hit the ground running. I didn’t have too much trouble with any of that stuff but I’m just a Nervous Nellie. I’ll be starting my internship soon and I am very excited. Senioritis was starting to set in this semester, I’m definitely sick of sitting in a classroom learning as fast as the slowest person in the room. The classroom setting has its place, but I find I can learn a lot faster on my own my own. Everyone is different.

Shot over 8,000 Images for the Theater Program

I was the company photographer for my college theater program this past semester. I shot over 8,000 images across a 6-week production period for our play Noises Off. The stage manager and I also organized a weekend of headshot sessions with the entire cast of the play of over a dozen members. It was a ton of photographing and looking back it was more than I probably should have done given the circumstances so this is a big accomplishment. I added some of the new headshots to my headshot gallery on my website.

Mastered the Print Room

In 2015, I had my work-study position with the photo department moved from the photo lab to the print room. The print room at school is regarded by many as a mysterious and frustrating space because there isn’t a class you can take that includes a good introduction to the print room and all its digital machines. So, unless you have a photo you need to print for an exhibition or a portfolio, you may never actually need to set foot in the print room to learn how to use it. Unfortunately, for most students, the print room is intimidating and difficult to use when it shouldn’t be. That’s where I come in.

The work-study student is supposed to maintain the print room and help students print. I learned, by necessity and because I’m a perfectionist, how to maintain and operate all the printers in the print room. It doesn’t actually sound like I did a lot but you would be surprised how many students don’t have a clue where to begin. I’m glad I could be there to alleviate some of the stress that comes with walking into a room you know nothing about. I learned a lot about digital printing this semester and I found Jeff Schewe’s book The Digital Print to be of some use as well.

Survived My Ulcerative Colitis Flare

I’ve had Ulcerative Colitis since 2014 and this past semester I had the worst flare-up I’ve ever had. I lost 35lbs in just a couple of months, landed myself in the hospital and had to finish school from home. I’ve been back and forth to the doctor’s a lot the past few months and I’m now almost completely back to normal. I can’t overstate how ridiculously insane and slow the process has been but I’m just happy that I feel fine now. I made a new blog just for talking about Ulcerative Colitis where I’m going to retell my saga if you’d like to sign up for that.

Had My First Kidney Stone

I had my first kidney stone the other day on 12/30/15. Yikes. I wanted to put this on the list of accomplishments because I had just gotten over the whole thing with UC. It would be just my luck to get slammed by a kidney stone. Really? Come on. Glad that’s over.

Started Eating Healthy

Now that I’m home from school I’ve been able to control exactly what ingredients get put into my food. I can make all-natural everything from scratch. This has been a very necessary change for me in 2015 and it’s not that difficult to do. Although, after being on a clear liquid diet for 8 days through Thanksgiving and after only eating toast and rice for two weeks I can’t say I had a lot of desire to go back to eating fried foods. Get yourself a rice cooker. If mine broke tomorrow I would buy another one, they’re that good.

New Writing Projects

in 2015, I started a new blog called The Film Castle where I review films and stuff like that. I’ll be blowing the dust off of that blog in a few days. I also started my UC blog and I’m brainstorming up some ideas for a book or two.


Lately, I’ve been drawing like mad. I recently realized the value of drawing for a person like me who is already into photography. Being able to draw out an image before picking up the camera is going to be worth its weight in gold because it will eliminate so much guesswork. There are a million other reasons why drawing is great but I’ll put them in another post soon.

Cinema 4D

I bought Maxon’s Cinema 4D software this past summer and it has opened up a whole new world of exploring for me. There is so much that goes into the CG work you see in motion pictures today and I spent much of my time last summer learning about that. Learning 3D software also gives me another avenue to a sustainable career outside of photography in some ways. For instance, I made a post a few months ago about IKEA and how their catalog is now 75% CG and that really moved me to start learning 3D software. I don’t think 3D will ever completely replace photography but it certainly has become more efficient and cost-effective in some areas of work.

My First Published Photoshop Tutorial

I wrote my first tutorial for a few weeks ago and it is set to publish on their site on January 7th. I’ve written a lot of explanations and tutorials here on my blog but I thought this would be of significance because it’ll be published on a website other than mine that gets a good amount of traffic. I’ll let you know how it goes.


Thanks for reading.


Hi again, it’s been quite a while since my last blog post.  For about the past month and a half or so I’ve been working on getting some new product shots together for my portfolio. Yesterday was the last day of finalizing edits and uploading my favorites to the website. Check out my Product Shots page for some new images, I’ll also link a few here in the post.

Product Shot- Belt
Today I’ll be reviewing this project and talking about the process I went through to get from my planning stages all the way to the final product shots. I have a feeling this post might be kind of a long one.

Back in early April/May I was starting to think about what I wanted to try and accomplish for myself this summer. Usually what I find happens when I have a large block of free time is I’ve really only planned my schedule a week or two out. The summer then just becomes more and more of waste of time and then at the end of it I wonder what happened.

What I’ve learned about myself is that I work best with lists and calendars. For short term goals my head usually magically fills up with stuff I want to do right before going to bed so I write them down in my phone and look at them first thing in the morning to remind myself what I have to do. Some people can just wake up and think “okay I have to do this, this, and this” I can’t really do that. If I try to get up and just think of something to do I draw a blank, my head doesn’t work like that in the morning.

Doing this long project with product shots was interesting because I’ve never really had to habituate on one mindset for so long. I’m used to doing one or two conceptual images and calling it a day and moving onto a different idea. I think the most time I’ve ever spent on one picture was about a week off and on. I knew going into this first project that I wanted to do three projects and conveniently I had all of June, July and August to do it (Minus time for portraits/headshots/client projects). I mapped out each week of summer in word document so there were 15 weeks with two product shots and two conceptual images a week. This format worked really well for figuring out what I needed to buy/borrow for supplies and products before I even started shooting.

The shot list looks like this: Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 11.26.22 AM

You can add more or less information depending on what you’re trying to do. For me, having any type of list or outline is a huge help compared to having nothing.

I shot the first eight or ten product shots in the first week and decided that since I was in that zone it would just be faster for me to shoot all the products first and get into a groove doing that before shooting or editing anything else. It seemed easier to me at the time to do it that way all at once especially since I don’t have the largest studio space to work with.

I photographed every product on this little product table from Amazon. Despite a lot of the negative reviews it has worked amazingly for me, I’m also not trying to break it down and set it up every single day on-location somewhere. I can imagine the difficulty of trying to make this table portable but for sixty bucks it is nice to have your own designated product table.

Towards the end of shooting 30 product shots it definitely got kind of monotonous. It’s also important for me to differentiate here that if I wanted to do 30 product shots I could’ve easily done them in a day if I wanted them all to look the same, with the same lighting and backdrop but I don’t think that looks good for a portfolio. For portfolio pieces (and unfortunately pretty much everything I photograph) I like to take the time to make it as perfect as possible. To me it’s sort of stupid to go through all the trouble of shooting something only to go halfway with it. You might as well take your time shooting. Take your time editing. Obviously if you never finish anything then you’re taking too much time but still, take a reasonable amount of time and put the effort in. A lot of people will disagree with me but my argument is that it’s your photograph, it’s your work, other people are going to judge your skill level based on your work so go ahead and make the best work you can. I cringe when people ask me to send them “all the photos” or say “you don’t even have to edit them” don’t give in to those people, make them wait for the finished product.

Product Shot- Lamp
I finished shooting all 30 products around June 10th and started editing the following weekend. The reason I was able to acquire so many products is largely because I love going to thrift stores and buying a million things for five bucks. The caveat to my method here at the beginning of the project was that I knew I was going to have to edit a lot more on thrifted items as opposed to buying something brand new. If you have a ton of money you can go ahead and spend all sorts of money on stuff just to shoot it but I decided to throw a little more time towards the backend of this project and save a little money upfront.

I did end up spending a significant amount of time editing. I was planning on it but just me being the way I am I always go a little nuts with the healing and clone stamp tools on things like dust and scratches. Most people would probably have never even seen a lot of the dust and stuff if I left them in there because of things like image resolution and viewing sizes on the web. Unless I give you the option somewhere on my website or on Flickr you’d probably never otherwise be able to get up close and look at every little detail. However, editing all that little stuff gives me peace of mind because it would’ve bugged me if I left dust in my pictures. I also plan on printing a lot of these images out in a printed portfolio and I’d rather not realize while I’m clicking print that, “gee, I probably should’ve edited all these little tiny things out.” So I guess the amount of time spent on editing would’ve happened sooner or later anyway and I hate going back and changing an image months after I’ve called it finished.

The reason I liked doing all the shooting first and all the editing second was that I got to establish a rhythm setting up and breaking down all my equipment. I can do it now almost without thinking about it. I also got to edit all the images together at the same time and make sure they didn’t all look identical. I think if I had finalized each image one by one without looking at them all together I could’ve just made them look too similar without realizing it. Doing things this way allowed me to choose between all 30 images and decide which ones would look better together and not waste as much time editing images I was never going to use. You’ll notice I didn’t actually upload 30 new product shots to my website and that’s because I narrowed down the 30 I shot to my favorite dozen or so images. In the future, on the next project, I’m not going to shoot everything and then edit everything. Now that I’ve tried that method it’s a little extreme. Taking a happy medium would’ve been better. Shooting a few things and making some edits sooner, like within the same week, before finishing the shooting period would’ve given me more of an opportunity to go back and reshoot or shoot something else entirely. Starting the editing earlier would’ve helped make the daunting task of “okay now I have to edit 30 product shots” a little less daunting.

Product Shot- Wine Bottle

I would’ve liked to finish 30 product shots and upload 30 product shots but you can always kind of tell when you’re going through things that some images stick out more than others. Some products get cut because I shot two of the same type of product and picked the better of the two. Some stuff just clearly doesn’t look that good. I don’t think shooting a stapler was the best idea because it’s still just a boring old stapler no matter how I light it. At the end of the day when I’m looking at my work I’d rather have quality over quantity, that’s why I didn’t put nearly half of the products I shot in my portfolio. Still though, I ended up tripling the amount of product shots on my website. I feel much more comfortable now saying, “Yes, I do product photography” and I do stand behind my work, that’s the point of doing a project like this.

It’s more important for me to feel confident in my work than it is to have a million pictures online. I like that I don’t have many images from class assignments on my website. I try to show that I do spend most of my time trying to improve my work by doing things on my own and creating my own projects set with my own goals.

As for the next project I don’t really want to talk about it too much right now but I am excited to finally have some closure on this first set of images and move on to something else. After a month and a half of working on a bunch of product shots I definitely got obsessive about it, which initially is kind of a good thing. I wanted to make sure I picked a project that would be challenging while still pulling some great work out of it and I think I did that.

Until next time


Hi again and thanks for all the birthday wishes, I appreciate it. I don’t have too much planned for celebrations this year other than maybe cranking the iTunes library a little bit louder than usual and eating a few more peanut M&Ms at my desk.

Taylor Swift- Blank Space

Back when I was in elementary school around about 4th grade we had an assembly. At the assembly there was a couple of people with a whole bunch of music equipment. The purpose of the assembly was to get kids from my grade interested in the band program because this was, for whatever reason, when they wanted to start to teach kids a musical instrument. I signed up for the percussion section of the school band.

My brother had already been playing guitar for a while at this point and I can confidently say that I was present for each and every one of his performances (whether I wanted to or not). He played in various music ensembles for what I remember as the majority of my childhood under the direction of man named Bill Egan from the Bill Egan’s CD Workshop program. The bands would practice every week up in a room behind the South Shore Music corner store and after a few months they had a final sort of Battle of The Bands-type performance. This was great because we got to see what the other bands had been practicing over the past few months, some were better than others but it was fun to watch nonetheless.

I don’t think there are any recordings of it anywhere but at one of these performances a group of kids did a very STOMP-esque performance like this:

I remember being in awe the entire time and afterwards I knew I wanted to play drums.

I started taking private drums lessons not soon after and once the music program was offered at school I took advantage of it. I had fun but It was a lot for a kid in the 4th grade, I had to carry around this extremely heavy xylophone bag to an in-school band practice at 1 o’clock in the afternoon every Wednesday. Then I came back to class and would get to do all the work I missed in that hour for homework that night. This hour got moved to an after school event after a while from 3 to 4pm. Every Thursday night from 6-8pm I would bring my own snare drum to the high school to practice in the concert band again. At the same time, my private drum lessons down at South Shore Music were on Tuesday evenings at 5pm for a half hour before being moved to Wednesday and I think even Mondays at one point.

Once middle school came I was able to drum in the marching band and the jazz band so I did. In middle school we didn’t have a band seminar period yet so one of the art or music classes would be replaced with a band practice on a rotating schedule from C days to E days. Then I would go back to the classes I missed on the off days and pickup any work I missed and do it for homework. Jazz band practiced on Thursday nights at the middle school after the middle school concert band practiced. Every time there was a parade that the middle school marching band could march in we did.

I debated playing drums in high school for a little bit but ultimately I ended up doing it. I didn’t know if I would be able to swing taking high school classes and also handle all the stuff going on with band. The high school band schedule was even a little more hectic than before except now we had a band seminar period designated for the concert band practices so no one had to be pulled out of class. Every Thursday from 6-8pm we would don the marching band equipment yet again but this time practice a field show to play during halftime at all the home games for the Football season. I still don’t think I’ve been to a high school football game where I wasn’t also playing drums in the stands and in the field show. I spent a lot of time in the cold with my band friends. We would march in every parade often two or three miles at a time in full uniform with drum harnesses on.

I stopped playing in the jazz band because I was late for being early to a concert one night and I was told I couldn’t play. It was kind of upsetting at the time but I really wasn’t that into jazz band anyway and I had a full plate with everything else. I also stopped taking private drums lessons because I was so busy. I took drum lessons for about six years, with three teachers, and did four ensembles. Not soon after this I became part of a blues band with my friends called Blue RevivalWe played a few gigs here and there including opening for the high school talent show my sophomore year and did an interview on the radio once. Now jazz and blues was never really my thing, I didn’t mind playing it but this was right around the time I bought my first DSLR and was getting heavy into photography. My friend Bryan Counter played bass in the blues band at the time but I knew he would rather play drums. Since I wanted to take pictures I decided he could take my place, someone else would rotate to bass guitar and everything worked itself out.

From there I spent almost all of my free time in marching band or taking pictures. Marching band got kind of monotonous after a while. Every field show and every parade, every thursday practice for four years. By the time college rolled around I didn’t want to do marching band anymore but I did see to it that I completed all the band stuff I was doing in high school and ended up getting a scholarship.

That was almost three years ago now. I took a lot of time away from drums and did other things. For the most part it’s been nice to have the time away from drums and the often busy schedule I associate with the high school concert and marching bands. I think after a while it’s easy to get sick of playing the same things all the time and reading sheet music, especially when what had originally inspired me to play were things like STOMP and Blue Man Group which have a very different feel, a very different groove separate from the rigidity of concert band music. I think sometimes it was very boring because I somehow ended up playing triangle and crash cymbals in concerts on more than one occasion. Also not to mention when I was playing drums for the show choir pit band and we crashed the car on the way home in the rain. When I was asked back to play another year for the pit band I said no.

I never really played much of what I wanted to play on drums, it was always sheet music that I felt like I had to practice because I had a lesson or there was a performance coming up at school. Once I started college I was free to pursue music on my own terms which largely involved computer programs. It’s been a sort of pet project of mine to fiddle and experiment with music inside of computers in the last few years and unfortunately I think a lot of my drumming skill has atrophied because of it.

In the last week or two I’ve been trying to think of what I wanted for my birthday. It used to be so easy to point and say, “I want that thing right there. That’s what’s going to make me happy,” but lately it’s proven very difficult. I’ve already got a lot of the photography gear I wanted and while buying another camera is nice it’s not like it’s going to make me a better photographer. It’s not like my camera needs to be replaced, it works just fine. I noticed that for most of the things I buy I try to think of at least two reasons to justify the purchase. If I can’t think of two reasons then it’s not worth buying.

Since I’ve become an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop I’ve found myself branching out and wanting to be more skilled at a variety of things like 3D modeling and Electronics. In the midst of all that I thought of playing drums again. Drums are still my favorite instrument and I love listening to songs with lots of percussion and nice sizzley hi hats. This one time I wore my high school band sweatshirt to my friend’s dorm on campus once and all of my friends went,”You play drums?” and I thought how strange it was that I had finally found a group of people that knew me only as Alex-The Photographer and nothing else and how I should probably change that soon.

So for my 21st birthday I took about a hundred dollars and bought some drum supplies, a drum dial, and some dampening materials to help me tune and sculpt the sound of my drums. My attitude has changed a lot since I’ve been focused on photography. I feel like I’ve developed an almost surgical precision towards photography and I’m looking to bring this new perspective back towards drumming and back towards making music. When I started playing drums I didn’t even really listen to music apart from Avril Lavigne’s 2002 smash album Let Go and I was quoted by my first drum teacher as wanting to be “like Steve Vai” in my first drum lesson, which is dumb because Steve Vai doesn’t even play drums- he plays guitar.

I think I’ve matured enough to take another honest crack at playing drums, not start over, but do things the way I would do them now and do them right. A lot of people like to start their kids on music early and I’m grateful that I did start early but I think there’s a lot to drumming that was beyond my comprehension for a long time. I never really attempted to tune my drums or play with a metronome on a practice pad. I never tried to play along with any of my favorite songs because I didn’t listen to a lot of music when I was younger.

I don’t think I could really appreciate the art of it. It’s not because I didn’t like drums though, it’s not that at all. I sort of equate my situation to those times when you sit down and watch an old childhood movie and you suddenly find so many more things that you missed the first time around. It’s like that.

I’m excited to see what new things I can learn and just how far I can go with drums and music now.

Give something a second go today for me.


Hi again,

It’s certainly been a while since I’ve written here on the blog and I sincerely apologize. That being said I’d like to review what I’ve accomplished in 2014:

Finished up the photo track at school with Photo III and Large Format 

This year I was able to finish up the photo track at my college a semester earlier than usual because I became an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop. Last spring I was in my Photo III class which is predominantly studio work (which I LOVE) and a lot of Photoshop (which I LOVE). This was the class I had wanted to take since I started college and I had the most fun in that course out of any of my other photo courses. Here’s some of my work from that semester:

How I Became Art

Audiotechnica Headphones

The iPhone


Product Shot- Wacom Tablet

Me The Machine

White on White



Creative Portrait 1

Imitation Shot

I still find myself doing things in the studio very often because I have so much control over my images there.

I also did Large Format this past semester which I was a little reluctant to do at first. The class consisted of about a dozen or so students. Each student had a partner in the class who they would share a large format camera with for the duration of the course. It made things a little more tricky at least in terms of logistics and 4-5 other courses to take into account but it was not impossible. Shooting the camera was, by far, the most cumbersome part of the photographic process this semester. If you have never seen a large format camera it’s very a classic Ansel Adams accordion-style camera. Or, at least it’s what I think of when I think of Ansel Adams. The 4×5 camera looks like this:


IMG_2858  IMG_2842

It certainly got a bit overwhelming walking around and setting up shots after a while but I found the rest of the process (developing and printing) pretty laid back this semester. Now that I’ve shot, 35mm, medium and large format I think I enjoy medium format the most out of three. Because, if I really had to shoot film, I’d want a completely different experience from what you get shooting DSLRs and I think I get that more between medium and even large format. Again, I still find that large format is a bit too much to lug around to make it fun for me long-term. Still I’m glad I finished the large format course. I posted some scans of my negatives to my Flickr account:

Large Format Nature 2

Large Format Nature 1

Large Format Architecture 2

Large Format Architecture

Large Format Closeup 2

Launched my website

I finally started up my own online website where you can find me and some of my work. This is a big deal for me because now I have business cards with one URL on them which makes it much easier for clients to find me online. It used to be that I would have to give them my number and my flickr URL and my email address. Now everything is in one place, nice and easy. I upload new work every so often. I may change the design around from time to time but for now, is where you can find me. It has my bio and a running list of awards and publications which is getting on the long side (not complaining).

Started getting into CGI

This year my interest in CGI work started growing after I became an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop and started to branch out a bit. I think CGI is a very obvious next step up from Photoshop/image manipulation and it’s been exciting to learn about it so far. I started a CGI blog over at: a few months ago and I very quickly realized that there’s an almost endless amount of information to grasp onto when learning about CG work. In 2015 I want to take this interest of mine even further, so we’ll see how it goes.

Have a happy New Year my friends!


The other day I got an email from the good people over at Phlearn explaining a new affiliate program they’re starting up. What they’re doing is letting people like myself use a special link that essentially gives me a commission off of sales generated from that link. I immediately signed up and now you’ll find a “Learn Photoshop!” link here on the blog as well as on my website.

Normally, I’d feel a little bit like a sell-out or something from getting a commission for doing almost nothing but I feel like Phlearn really is “The Place” to learn photoshop. I’ve plugged their site a lot here on the blog and referred a number of my friends over there to learn how to do some insane PS edits.

I don’t know how many people actually have ended up on Phlearn because of me. The response I usually get when I rave about Phlearn and Aaron Nace’s work is something like “oh okay, ya I’ll check it out” and then it probably never happens but of course it’s their loss. I know I personally have found myself snooping around the PRO tutorials a number of times now and have never been let down or lead astray by anything that I purchased.

I think what happens with a lot of Photoshop videos and tutorial websites is that they all say the same thing but few deliver. It’s hard for a genuine and selfless Photoshop master like Aaron to break through the noise when so many other websites say “COME HERE FOR THE BEST TUTORIALS,” but I think Phlearn is slowly breaking through and I’m always glad to hear about them in more and more places online.

I’m super stoked to be amongst the first to know or to test new programs for Phlearn. I remember when they followed me on Twitter and Instagram and I thought that was the coolest thing in the world. I’ll definitely post here if anything changes. Use THIS LINK if you feel like buying some tutorials and have a great weekend!


Hello again, it’s been a while.

You’ll have to excuse my absence over the past month or so from the blog. I’m happy to say that I posted a new blog every week for just about a year which is a big accomplishment for me. That being said I’m probably not going to continue making weekly postings for a while.

When I was posting every week I had pre-planned posts ready to go with a concept in mind. I haven’t run out of posts for the blog but I think in order to keep weekly “filler” posts from showing up I’ll just go back to writing here whenever I feel the need. This way, the blog stays fun for me, while also letting me get on with my schoolwork and not have the “what am I going to write for my blog tomorrow” thought in my head every Thursday night. I guess we’ll see how it goes. When I find something worth sharing you’ll be the first to know here on the blog.

Also I’m happy to announce my new sneaky website is up at, I’m still finishing up a few more things but if I didn’t start putting work up this summer it wasn’t going to get done at all. As an artist it’s very easy to say, “No, I don’t want to launch my website yet because I haven’t made all the photographs I wanted to make,” when really I’ll probably never make all the photographs I want to make. I realize it’s better for me to do a more progressive approach to my website, launch it, and add work as it gets completed. If you feel like giving me some feedback send me an email or comment on this post.

I’m starting in on my Junior year of college this month studying Photography and Professional Communication so wish me luck.


As I have already mentioned on the blog a few times now, I’ve been getting more into 3D and CGI work as of late. It’s been interesting to see what the CGI social media feeds post from time to time and I found this one article particularly interesting. Apparently, IKEA has been working on computer generating more and more parts of their catalogs since the earlier 2000s. You can read the full article over HERE on CGSociety.

The short version of the story is that, before CGI work was done for IKEA, a product prototype would have to be made, shipped and photographed, and then shipped back for production. If any changes were made after the product was photographed it would have to be photographed again. Using CGI allows IKEA to make that end of their business a little tighter and more efficient although it is cutting out the costs and logistics of professional photography unfortunately. I did begin to wonder how in the world IKEA has gotten all their interior shots to look so beautiful and of course, now we have the answer.

While it should be disconcerting news for me to hear that photography is being ousted from the IKEA workflow, I’m also amazed and intrigued at just how realistic their CG images look. I would not have known for sure that they weren’t real unless I read the article. I’m the type of person that doesn’t mind reading really dry technical text in order to learn something I think will help me creatively. I can almost guarantee right now that I’ll be incorporating CGI into my creative process very soon. Just looking at IKEA’s interiors, the possibilities are endless. You really can make anything you can think of with CGI and I would love to have that skill set in my arsenal sooner than later.

Now a lot of photographers are opposed to digital photography because it’s not technically real. With film, light from the scene is physically changing the particles in the roll each time you take a photo. At the end of a cross-country travel you’d end up with a roll that’s been to each place that you’ve been and has experienced and been physically changed by the light there. A digital camera digitally interprets light as ones and zeros on the sensor which is then saved into an image file with all that data before it is wiped clean for the next photograph. There is no bi-product that is permanently changed by the photographs you take, there are only the files you end up with.

I don’t really buy into all that crap. I think there is some definite science behind what I’ve just briefly explained buy I think it’s stupid to discount a beautiful image because it’s digital. I just want to make images in whatever way is the best way for me to have the most impact and control over the end product. I don’t discount Photoshopped files or CGI because it’s the artist’s choice to use those approaches and they can do art however they see fit. If IKEA thinks that making their catalogs in CGI is good for them, and it certainly looks amazing, then great.

CGI gets a bad wrap sometimes especially with things like this and obviously also in major blockbuster movies. I think it is partly because a lot of movies currently focus on leveling entire cities to the ground instead of good script writing (Pacific Rim *cough cough*). When just because you can annihilate an entire town doesn’t always mean you should. At the same time though, I feel that a lot of the destruction we see in CGI today is really just to showcase how far we’ve come with it. CGI and movies especially are probably one of the fastest advancing industries, always with new “cutting-edge” technological innovations. That being said I guess I really wouldn’t mind having to get a job in CGI if and when the world mainly uses that instead of traditional photography. A lot of the same concepts still apply with lighting and composition but again will occur in the computer instead of the camera or photography studio. When I really get to thinking about it, it’s not totally shocking or unheard of for IKEA to go totally computerized and it’s probably something we’ll only see more of in the future.

I’m excited to delve into CGI, for me there is all to gain and nothing to lose.


Back again today for another blog post, a bit late but I have some exciting news. This afternoon I took my Adobe Photoshop ACE exam at a local Pearson VUE testing center and passed! Woohoo!

The ACE exam stands for Adobe Certified Expert and comes in handy for multitude of different situations. An Adobe Certification helps me to stand out amongst amateurs and professionals who all think they are “really good” at Photoshop stuff. In reality, most of those people have very little knowledge of image editing and unless they have an immaculate portfolio I seriously doubt they know what they’re talking about. It sounds mean but there are literally TONS of people like this and it gets obnoxious arguing with them if you’re trying to orchestrate image preparation for printing or something like that. So now that I have an Adobe Certification I can say, “Yes I am qualified to do what you’re asking, I’m certified by Adobe…..(and you’re not HAHAHA)” instead of having people take my word for it or have to convince them otherwise.

In terms of the actual ACE exam itself it was much easier than I anticipated. I downloaded test prep materials from Adobe’s online store and studied for a month in advance. All the questions on the Mock-Up exam were very technical and wordy. Then I get to the real test at the Pearson VUE testing center and most of the questions are very straightforward scenarios with logical responses. I felt as if the test gave me the benefit of the doubt and I probably could have passed it years ago.

For me personally this is a HUGE accomplishment although I only wish I had done it sooner. I remember in 2008-09 getting interested Photoshop and finally setting out to try it for myself. I have always thought Photoshop was like the coolest thing ever and I am still fascinated by the work that artists can make with it. Even now that I know a lot of the techniques that people use for compositing and retouching it still feels like magic to me.

I think the reason I’ve gotten to my current skill level is that I have always enjoyed my postproduction work. There’s something I’ve found very therapeutic when editing an image digitally that I don’t quite get with anything else. At first I mainly used Photoshop as a part of my workflow to fix issues with the images I had captured. This is certainly still a part of my editing process but as my skills with photography have increased there have been fewer instances of “fixing” bad photos and simply making great ones better. For my personal work Photoshop has played an integral part in my image making from beginning to end. Now I conceptualize an image knowing from the beginning how I have to shoot it in order for things to come together cleanly during editing later on.

Photoshop has definitely enabled me to make images that go far beyond what I could have captured in the camera. There are people who think that “Photoshop is bad” and “it’s not as good as editing in darkroom on film”. I don’t want to point any fingers but that’s completely incorrect. You can do basic compositing in a darkroom but not anywhere near what you can accomplish inside of a computer. Already I feel as if there are very few things I can’t create with the proper planning and postproduction. It’s been crazy to experience first-hand the Photoshop interface becoming more and more transparent as I continue to play God with my images and close the gap between my skillset and my imagination. I’m looking forward to integrating more applications into my workflow until I can make anything I want.

If you’re looking to get into Photoshop there’s a lot of books you can buy that I would recommend but Phlearn is probably my favorite online resource. All the PRO tutorials are top notch and worth every penny. If I really had to account for my Photoshop skills apart from an obvious over-the-top talent and lack of modesty today I’d say about 50% of my skills come from Aaron Nace at Phlearn. Aaron is an amazing teacher with a good attitude and consistent, in depth teaching style that leaves no stone unturned. After this I should probably head over there and write a beaming testimonial on his website.

Anyway, so much for keeping this post short. All my ACE certification info should clear and be visible in the ACE Finder on Adobe’s website in about 4-6 weeks. High fives all around guys, drinks on me, let’s do brunch. Cool, sounds good, I’m awesome.