Photography & Digital Image Manipulation
A fashion shot for a maker of women’s hats.
Many photographers excel at producing effective imagery, but don’t have the computer skills necessary to create a digitally enhanced final product.
On the other hand, many computer artists are incapable of generating high quality original photographic imagery through traditional means.
Both traditional and computer expertise are required for a modern photographic work flow. Styling, lighting, and capturing an image is just the beginning. Retouching, masking, compositing, and grading are critical skills for a photographer today.
Detail from a poster of mammal skulls created for the San Francisco Zoo.
Photos for an elementary school science activity that uses Alka-Seltzer tablets as rocket fuel.
Above: a leaf of a carnivorous plant—the sundew (Drosera binata). Bottom left: a sea anemone (Anthopleura xanthogrammica). And, bottom right, some mushrooms in our garden (Mushroomus unknownus).
Pipsqueak combines traditional photographic technique with state of the art digital photographic manipulation. We’re adept at Photoshop—we’ve been using it daily since version 2.0 (back when it came on floppies), and we use After Effects for compositing. Since we’re skilled at both photography and digital image manipulation, we can craft our photographic images so they work well when combined with each other or with digital imagery. And since we’re photographers, our digital work doesn’t have that computer-generated look.
In capturing digital images, we work in Raw format shooting mainly with a 21.1 megapixel full frame Canon 5D Mark II camera and a variety of high quality lenses.
In capturing images on film, we work primarily in medium format (Mamiya RZ67) with prime lenses to acquire crisp high resolution photographic images. The “ideal” format negative we use (6×7cm) has about 5 times the area of a standard 35mm negative.
The image on the left, After the Party, was shot on medium format Provia film and then scanned. The image on the right, Paris O'Connell, was acquired digitally. Both were enhanced.
For lighting, we use a Dynalite strobe lighting system for our still work and a tungsten lighting package (Lowell, Arri, Mole Richardson, and Dedolight) for our film and video work.
Our studio includes a large translucent shooting table and a Cambo camera stand. A powerful Apple workstation, two 30” HD Cinema Displays, a Wacom Cintiq 21” retouching station, and Aperture are part of our photographic equipment.
For these product shots for Capellino Pasta, Dynalite strobes were positioned underneath our large translucent shooting table.
Switch elements from BLADE Network Technologies are photographed so that the background disappears. Then they are composited against another graphic element.
Below we feature some “before and after” image manipulation comparisons in several styles, from traditional touch-ups and flaw erasure to more extravagant photo manipulation.