Thursday, August 14, 2014

The New DMD Photography Video Has Arrived!

The demand for it has been amazing, and although it's taken awhile we now have our training video up and ready!

While the actual in-the-clinic experience is great, we've always recognized that the time and expense can be out of reach for some. We've put that program in a fun 40-minute video that will change the way you use your camera and flash -- helping make intraoral, portrait, and shade-matching photography simple, affordable, and consistently perfect!

Here's the link that will get you there:

Plus, I'm always available on Thursdays (when I'm not on the road) at my studio in Portland Oregon for FaceTime chat (or Skype), answer questions by phone, or answer your email. 10am to 4pm PT:

We're developing webinars and other media services, too -- so stay in touch!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Passion for Production ~

....which is a fancy way of saying I love taking pictures. I've spent 40+ years practicing one form or another of photography as a profession: product work, portraits and weddings, medical and technical imaging. The one thread that runs through all that is my desire to keep making pictures. So I'm going to step away from the totally-technical topics I usually post on this blog and, from time to time, will talk about photography in general. Most of my dental clients enjoy photography outside of the office as well, so I hope this will have a broader and more enjoyable appeal.

The advent of digital photography had made the job of dental imaging so much simpler. The same can be said for photography in general. The pathways to creativity have never been so widely accessible, and this is due in no small part to the greatly expanded architecture of imaging devices.  Along with the incredible quality of digital SLR cameras and lenses (and I'm a long-time Canon devotee) there are so many other great devices that produce amazing results while being easy to use and very affordable, such as compact point-and-shoots, digital rangefinders, and new mirrorless cameras. Oh, and smartphones. I confess to being a devoted user of my iPhone. The 5s has an incredible camera.

I recently returned from an engagement in San Diego, one of my favorite places to visit. I was able to spend a few days sightseeing and looking up old friends. I usually walked about with only my iPhone, but was able to see and capture some really beautiful images.

The really great thing about using the iPhone was that I could manipulate the photos right on the spot -- I use some terrific photography apps -- and even send them right out to my friends to see via email or messaging (you know, so I could gloat over my good fortune and lovely weather with my siblings who live in cold climates!)

The two images above -- the egret and the pink clematis -- were both made on the iPhone. I did, however, take my Canon 7D with me when I could, as I still love the incredible pixel-depth and lens selection this camera provides me. The photo on the left is of the stairway in the Cabrillo lighthouse, and was made with that camera and the 10-22mm wide-angle lens.
In the clinic, yes, the appropriate tool is the digital SLR with a macro lens and ring flash.  The requirements for that kind of imaging are very precise.

But when you want to pay attention to that creative voice inside you? I can only defer to the great Steve Jobs, who, when asked what in his opinion was the best camera, answered "the one you have with you".
So here's a simple challenge for you: go somewhere, anywhere; near your home or someplace far away. Just stop, look around, and find something beautiful right there to photograph. You'd be amazed how easy that is.

Just have a camera with you.

Later, amigos.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

A (Very) Short Discourse On Monitor Calibration ~

One of the many issues we talk about in our workshops is how best to send your shade-matching photos to your dental lab. What I always stress NOT to do is to send a color print, or to manipulate the photo on your computer (making it lighter or darker, or tweaking the color, for example) before emailing it on. Why not?
You may have already experienced the problem first-hand. Have you ever tried to make a color print on your own printer, and found, much to your frustration, that the print you got looked nothing like the beautiful image you saw on your screen? It's because your monitor needs to be calibrated to ICC (International Color Consortium) standards. Your printer is already a calibrated device, but your computer monitor is not. It's not sending accurate color information to your printer.

It's the same way that those HDMI TV's at the department store all look a little different from each other, even though the same video is being shown on them. They're not calibrated to a common standard. So imagine then if you open your images on your computer and prior to sending them off, you make a series of adjustments that make them look better on your monitor. Your lab, which very likely maintains well-calibrated systems, sees something entirely different from what you see, making accurate color determinations all but impossible. And there's no profit in re-makes.

It's not that you necessarily need to perform this task on the monitors in your clinic, but rather, you need to be aware of the way in which you send color information to your lab. They may prefer you to email them, which is a fairly common practice, but to do so without opening them up and adjusting them beforehand.  (Re-sizing them is fine; that doesn't affect color information). Other labs I've worked with prefer receiving the actual memory card from the camera, which they will then open and adjust on their computers, returning those cards afterwards. Your camera is also a calibrated device, so this method ensures a very high level of color accuracy.

If you've taken some great shots with your DSLR camera and would like to begin making display prints, then by all means you should incorporate good calibration practices. It's not hard to do, and there's a number of good products out there to use. I'd recommend a trip to a good professional photography supplier for information and some tips. I personally use X-Rite software, but there are others. Load the software, follow the instructions as to setting recommended white point, gamma, and so on, place the calibration tool directly on the screen and let 'er rip. Modern LCD and retina screens hold a calibration much longer than the old CRT screens did; my habit is to check it once a month. Macs have a built-in calibrating program, but I haven't had as good experience with that as I have with the specialized software.

It's all about the color!

Later amigos!