Tim Kelly
A Master Of Medium Format Goes Digital

Tim Kelly

Tim Kelly is known for his simple yet elegant portraits, his technical mastery of his chosen medium, and for catering to a sophisticated clientele willing and able to afford the very finest. Now you can add digital expertise to that list.

Kelly follows a simple yet rigorous routine when it comes to making equipment decisions that will affect his finished work
--test, test, test. He had been shooting with a variety of different equipment and brands but when Kodak produced the DCS Pro Back for medium format cameras, it was the match Kelly had been waiting for--uncompromised quality and portability. At last, the benefits of digital photography (speed, no material cost, unlimited shooting) were married to the features that had previously been available in film only (print quality, longevity).

Kelly started with a Hasselblad camera mated to the Kodak back but now shoots with a Contax 645 system because it offers the benefits of autofocus, a boon to many of us photographers over 40.

When Kelly started his first business, it included a professional photo lab. He opened it because he and many other photographers desired a better product than was available. Always on the cutting edge, he has been involved in digital photography since CDs cost $15 instead of 30 cents! He has become one of the nation's premiere portrait photographers, enjoying both an income and lifestyle most would envy. His total reliance on digital capture and production should provide a resounding vote of confidence to those waiting to jump on the digital bandwagon.

Is digital there yet? According to Kelly, the answer is definitely yes!

The Digital Workflow
The big question in all photographers' minds lately is how do I get from digital capture to finished print. With all that in mind, let's follow the path that images take in Tim Kelly's studio.

Using the Kodak 645 Pro Back, all images are saved in the "raw" format. This format allows the most information and data from the files to be saved and minor and major image correction is possible without harm to the original file. After the shoot, the raw images are dropped into a server all at once. All the Mac computers are networked, so that while JPEG proofs are being created and edited on one computer, they are being archived to CD on another. The edited JPEG proofs are then sent to the preview room. The clients view the results almost immediately on a 32" monitor. Sales presentations are accomplished using iView software from Roxio. This permits viewing as a slide show, seeing different images side by side and zooming in on images to see greater detail.

The files that are purchased are sent for retouching as a TIFF file. His expert staff uses Photoshop and does the retouching using Layers, saving as a PSD file so Kelly can easily make any changes if needed. Regardless of the print size purchased, the file is saved as a full-sized file. This is in case a 5x7 is ordered the first time and perhaps a 16x20 print is reordered at a later date. A dupe file is flattened and then sent to the printer.

Kelly has an in-house lab that features a Kodak LED II printer. Any final enhancements are then performed before delivery to the client. Kelly and company are able to perform all operations from capture to finishing in house. A new Epson 9600 printer that can handle widths up to 44" has been added to the workflow. This means that both color and black and white prints can be printed directly onto canvas paper instead of making a conventional print and then mounting on canvas. Fine art papers are used with special inks for printing gallery grade black and white prints. A bank of HP ink jet printers are available for greeting cards, art prints, and newsletters. All computers are networked to aid in a smooth transition from one department to another.

For more information about Kelly and products to help you improve your photography and business skills, visit www.timkellyportraits.com.