Digital Innovations

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Joe Farace  |  Jan 01, 2008  |  0 comments

"The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat."--Lily Tomlin

The American Customer Satisfaction Index conducted by the University of Michigan showed consumers rated their satisfaction with their computer's maker 3 percent worse than last year. Apple leads in terms of product satisfaction but its overall ranking...

Joe Farace  |  Apr 01, 2008  |  0 comments

"Photography is a major force in explaining man to man."--Edward Steichen

Here's a less benign quote about photography from Sean Penn: "I still think photographers should be lashed out at." The ex-Mr. Madonna goes on to say, "They should be put in a cage where you can poke them with a stick for a quarter. But not in a hostile way...

Joe Farace  |  Jun 01, 2010  |  0 comments

“Mickey Mouse is, to me, a symbol of independence. He was a means to an end.”
—Walt Disney

When I was a kid I watched Disneyland being built on Walt Disney’s TV show of the same name and so Anaheim, the location of this year’s PMA (Photo Marketing Association) Show, has always held a special place in my heart. Yet during this trip, I never saw Sleeping...

Joe Farace  |  Dec 01, 2009  |  0 comments

“Open your presents at Christmastime but be thankful year round for the gifts you receive.”—Lorinda Ruth Lowen

Submitted for your Secret Santa’s approval: a list of gizmos, gadgets, and gear for the digitally-minded who “have everything” but didn’t know that they really needed lots more stuff to produce that ultimate image. Use this month’s...

Joe Farace  |  Jun 01, 2007  |  0 comments

"...for advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and all courses may run ill." --J. R. R. Tolkien

People often ask me, "What digital camera should I buy?" They then typically ignore my advice after I answer them. A person, let's call him Steve, asks me which of two cameras to purchase. Based on his needs, I suggest...

Joe Farace  |  Nov 29, 2011  |  First Published: Oct 01, 2011  |  1 comments
One of the most interesting promotional items created for my long out-of-print book The Photographer’s Digital Studio was a cartoon drawn by the brilliant artist John Grimes ( which showed trays of developer, stop, fix, and wash with floppy disks being dipped in and out of each one. The caption: “A common mistake in digital photography.” Years ago I labored many hours in a wet darkroom to produce a composite image showing what an historic statue would look like when moved to a different location. Digital imaging software would have let me do a better job in less than an hour and I wouldn’t have had to spend time working in the dark with smelly chemicals. Part of the reason some people even ask “why digital?” is that many believe that digital imaging is somehow different than traditional photography. That’s not really true. I think there is no more difference between the two methodologies than you would find when comparing photographers working with large format view cameras to those grabbing snapshots with point-and-shoot cameras. It’s just that the tools are different and this month I’ll introduce you to some new image-processing tools.
Joe Farace  |  Aug 05, 2012  |  First Published: Jun 01, 2012  |  1 comments
One of the guiding philosophies for my personal work is to “have fun with photography” and that involves using image manipulation software to create either an idealized version, as in a portrait of a subject, or an interpretation of a previously captured photograph. Retouching portraits goes back to the hand-tinting Mathew Brady added to daguerreotypes delivered to his customers but in more recent times photojournalists have been fired from newspapers for applying a bit too much Photoshop on their images. The whole question of what is “too much” is fraught with contradictions: since we see the world in color, is a black-and-white photograph manipulated? Is burning and dodging or changing an image’s contrast a manipulation? Trying to find answers that everyone will agree on is enough to make you crazy so I don’t let it bother me because all I want to do is have fun with my photography. If you agree, here are some useful tools to help you do just that.
Joe Farace  |  Oct 01, 2009  |  0 comments

“Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.”—George Eastman

Intense competition for price and market share in the photographic lighting business produces lots of copycat and me-too products, making real innovation a rare commodity. Gary Regester is perhaps...

Joe Farace  |  Apr 01, 2011  |  2 comments

“Human mechanisms are made by human hands, Robin. None of them is infallible.”—Adam West as Batman

What’s in your utility belt? This month, I’ll introduce you to some useful Mac OS and Windows imaging software that will enhance productivity, increase your creativity, and often costs just a few bucks. To add some spice I’ve included a few useful hardware accessories that will make life in...

Joe Farace  |  Oct 04, 2013  |  First Published: Sep 01, 2013  |  1 comments
As I write this controversy is swirling over Adobe Systems abandoning Creative Suite to focus on Creative Cloud. Even if this is solved by the time you read this, there will come a time when you’ll have to face a decision about whether or not to upgrade your software. There are two different schools of thought on software upgrades: one approach suggests that if a program is working, why spend money to upgrade? The reason behind this philosophy is that sometimes upgrades create more problems than they solve. A second viewpoint is to always upgrade to the latest version—no matter what. The thinking is that since change is inevitable that you should upgrade to the newer version to minimize or eliminate future problems. How Adobe has handled Camera Raw over the past few Photoshop upgrades is a testament to that theory. Over the years I’ve changed from an upgrade-regardless person to a more cautious approach. I may prefer to have the latest version of everything being used on a daily basis but now will wait weeks (months, years?) all the while listening to the drumbeat of grumbles from early adopters. That’s why I’m waiting to see what happens with Adobe’s new policy.
Joe Farace  |  Nov 28, 2012  |  First Published: Oct 01, 2012  |  0 comments
October is my favorite time of year: not only is it Mary’s birthday month, but the mornings are brisk and the aspens are turning gold. Winter is around the corner, so there’s still time to get outside and make photographs before the snow gets too deep and the temperatures get too chilly for my old bones. Shutterbug’s editorial offices are in Florida and sometimes when it’s cold and snowy I envy those lucky sun worshippers, and yet I still love October in Colorado. The crisp air gets me anxious to make new images and to capture infrared photographs before the leaves are gone with the wind. Just remember, as always, to have fun with your photography no matter what the weather is like.
Joe Farace  |  May 01, 2010  |  0 comments

“They say it’s your birthday. We’re gonna have a good time.”—John Lennon & Paul McCartney

May is National Photography Month that was originally started by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 as a week-long American Photography Celebration but now it is a full month. It’s also the former home of the “Take Your Camera to Work Day” that I...

Joe Farace  |  Mar 01, 2009  |  0 comments

“Photography is about finding out what can happen in the frame. When you put four edges around some facts, you change those facts.”—Garry Winogrand

History was made on October 11, 2008 when 200,000 people at Lowe’s Motor Speedway—167,000 in the stands, another 50,000 in the infield—stood for a moment of silence before a NASCAR race to honor the memory of...

Joe Farace  |  Nov 01, 2012  |  First Published: Sep 01, 2012  |  6 comments
At this time of year some Shutterbug readers are getting ready to go back to school while others, like me, feel they’ve already put in enough classroom seat time, but that doesn’t mean we should stop learning. One of the best ways to improve your photography is the self-assignment. Many people think they need to travel to exotic locations to do this, when chances are there are great photo ops just around the corner. For the past 30 years my personal self-assignment has been making images near my home. How close? I prefer making photographs I can easily walk to from my front door. This self-assignment wasn’t done for any commercial purpose and it’s personal projects like this that help us stretch our talents, skills, and imagination. What’s your self-assignment?
Joe Farace  |  Aug 09, 2013  |  First Published: Jul 01, 2013  |  0 comments
All You really need to take a picture is a camera and a lens, but if you decide what you really want to do is make a photograph, a few extra tools come in handy. Any one of the imaging tools in this month’s column will make creating a photograph or making a portrait easier and, in some cases, better than they would be otherwise. For the pro or aspiring professional anything that increases productivity by streamlining workflow while improving the quality of the product delivered to the client translates into making money too, not just photographs.