The Re-Imagining of Rich Meade

never too late to begin again…

I’ve MOVED!!! To another service…

Pack your shit!
Re-Imagining will be moving to a different host very soon.

The reason for this move is to hopefully gain easier functionality and customization from the blog. Making it both easier to navigate and more pleasant to look at.

This URL will remain active for the next month while I test out the new system, but no guarantees after that.

Here is the URL to my new blog: http://www.richmeadeblog.com

Thanks for reading!

September 24, 2010 Posted by | business, gear, honesty | Leave a comment

The Evolution of a Retoucher

How does one become a skilled image editor (retoucher/editor)?

For me, there was an evolution. The so-called learning curve that all photographers (in this digital age) must progress, to some degree or another.

Most of us start out with a book…Most of the time, its a waste of time.
How are we supposed to know what to look for? How do we know we are being taught what we want to learn?

Ah…Tutorials!
Every retoucher goes through this stage. It’s where we scour the internet and the book shelves looking for that ONE tutorial to solve all of our problems!
“Found it!….problem solved…”
“But wait…my image doesn’t look like the one in the book! What do I do now?”
What most people don’t realize is those tutorials/books are written with very specific examples, that tend to work wonders on the image used in the tutorial, but the steps outlined have little or no application to what you want to work on.

Back to scouring the internet.

It finally dawns upon us…
“hey, Maybe if I try this part of that technique, and combine it with that….”
“EUREKA!!!”
Now we are solving our own problems.

ah… but we find that it takes a loooooong time to retouch those 20 images we promised that young model from Model Mayhem.
“There has to be a quicker way!”

This is the dreaded BLUR stage. This stage includes such catastrophes as:
Third party actions
Third party plugins
and Skin Blurring

This stage isn’t all bad, but most people never progress beyond this stage.
It’s a necessary step if for nothing else to learn what NOT to do.
Too impatient to take the time to do things properly, we look for ways to just make post-production go as fast as possible, with “ok” results.
We get stuck in the swamp of mediocrity. Reinforced by the positive comments of the ill informed around us.
But if we can climb out the other side, we not only have an eye for the good, but we can definitely spot the bad!

“but how do we get to the otherside?”
First…comes patience…
Then…

We practice.
practice….
and
practice….

Only with practice do we learn,
Only with practice do we get faster,
Only with practice does our work get better…

“That’s funny…I’ve heard that somewhere before”

Only with practice can we get to a point where retouching/editing is just another step in the process.
No different than setting up a backdrop, booking a model, or finding the perfect location.

Only then does post-production become a tool to enhance our work.

———————————–

I’ve been retouching for the better part of 7 years…. and just to prove I’m not blowing smoke…I’ve posted a gallery of my “evolution”.

The evolution never stops…there is always something new to discover.
I strive each and every day to be better and more efficient at what I do…

Don’t settle.

August 3, 2010 Posted by | business, fashion, fine art, honesty | Leave a comment

Some things… you just shouldn’t do…

You gotta love how my blog is turning into one big rant space…

So last night, while milling around Facebook… I noticed a “Friend” posted some new images to an album.
One of the images was mine that we (the friend and I) shot a few weeks back for an editorial, but something was off.
The proportions were off, so I investigated further.
Not only was my watermark removed…but this friend had put their own in it’s place.

As you can see in the image.. I expressed my displeasure. I proceded to email this person and request that they take down EVERY image of mine, from Facebook, or anywhere else they may have been posted by her, and that her rights to use my images have been taken away.
The offenses aren’t limited to just Facebook… On her website…images have been cropped, and watermarked by her… but they have also been “edited” beyond what I provided.
This is absolutely unacceptable without my permission.

The following is her response to that email:

“The Only reason they are cropped is because you put your “phone number”
so big in every single picture. I’ve never had a photographer give me
unedited photos with their phone number on the picture. It’s not
professional and I put my own watermark on them to ensure no one would
take the pic…my site is in flash.
I work too hard to take those pictures down so if you want a copyright
watermark that I’ve seen on your facebook photos that’s fine send me
those. You had your name and number too big on the picture it was
distracting.
You can be upset but Im a stylist with a professional site and I’m not
going be advertising photographers..so u can send me those with a
proportional watermark that’s not giantic distracting viewers from your
work.”

Now… She has a point… The images I send out have a fairly big watermark that stretches across the entire bottom of the image… but it serves a very important purpose… It “inspires” people to contact me for an un-watermarked version to which I ask where its going to be placed. Those too lazy to ask, have to deal with a big obnoxious watermark.
But, its a simple matter of asking me for another copy.. and I am happy to oblige.

However… she has no inherent rights to my images. As far as the LAW is concerned those images wouldn’t exist if I wasn’t there to hit the shutter. Of course there are all kinds of moral conundrums associated with this… but the bottom line is that the Photographer and ONLY the photographer has the absolute right to do with the images what he/she wants.
The one exception is a person’s likeness…(hence the need for model releases)

Here is my response to that email:

“I understand your concern about the watermark ..
But you are missing the point…

You modified my images without my permission… Had you asked before making changes I would have provided you unwatermarked images.

You also are missing the fact that you edited the images beyond what I did… That changes MY work…

At the end of the day April… those images are my property, and I have the absolute right to say and do with them as I please.

I want you to remove every image from your website, and anywhere else you have them.
You right to use my artwork has been revoked, and nothing is going to change that.
This goes for your blog as well (even tho nothing was changed about those images).

So you can take them down yourself… Or I can send a DMCA to Godaddy and they will do it for you.

If you aren’t familiar with a DMCA take down notice… you should read up on it.”

Her response:

“I took them down..but you wouldn’t of given me images with just your copyright if that was the case you would have done it in the first place. Your whole purpose was to advertise. I know about DMCA and you are missing the point that I’m not out trying to steal your credit or claim someone else did the work that you did. I get that its your work, but I’m glad that this happen so in the future I know what to put in a written contract to ensure that if a photographer wants to work for free with me he won’t be able to put anything other than his copyright name..and not send me pics for me to use….advertising his work.”

Moral of the story children…
The images you collaborate on…belong only to ONE person…
The Photographer…
Don’t assume you have any right to alter or use images you worked on. They are NOT your property.
99.9% of photographers…Including me… are more than happy to accomodate any reasonable requests you may have with regards to images produced. Removing a watermark, or editing an image for you is not a big deal, and is a totally legitimate request (in most cases).
But NEVER assume that it’s ok to alter another persons artwork without their permission.

If she would have only asked… all of this would have been avoided.

UPDATE: After sending a DMCA notice via Facebook… the offending image has been removed.

July 16, 2010 Posted by | business, fashion, honesty, rant | 4 Comments

Quoted for truth…

Originality

July 6, 2010 Posted by | business, inspiration, life, quote | Leave a comment

Show your money maker!

Every visual artist with a portfolio has one piece that makes up a client’s mind as to whether or not to book them.

Their entire portfolio may be exceptional…but there will always be that one image, clip, or layout that strikes a cord with the audience.
Originality

But how do you know which pieces are “the ones”?
I can tell you that from experience… my most “successful” images have been the ones that I did because I felt them. I felt so strongly about the images, either while shooting or editing, that I just knew that I had made something I was proud of.

My portfolio is a collection of images that I like. Of course I’m careful about what I show, but ultimately if I don’t like it, I’m not going to show it.
But am I limiting my potential work?
Maybe…
However…what I’m showing is me.

I can spend hours shooting, editing, and retouching images, in hopes that a particular client or magazine will love them and want use them.
But what if they don’t?
If it wasn’t something I had my heart in…what is the value of that work now that no one else likes?

I used to worry about shooting for other people…I loved hearing feedback (still do), but that’s what I was shooting for…Validation.
At the end of the day when the ticker tape parade stopped, and the excitement over the latest greatest shoot was over… I was still stuck with images I didn’t truly think represented me as a photographer or as an artist.

The point is…we can tweek our ideas, concepts, and art towards clients…but ultimately the client hires an artist for their unique perspective. I doubt most clients want some cookie cutter remake of something they’ve done before.

Produce work for you… and FIND the clients that want your work.

Of course bills and rent don’t always allow for this mentality…but at the end of the day, when it’s time to be creative and have fun doing what you love…

Why do it for someone other than yourself?

June 8, 2010 Posted by | business, honesty, inspiration, life | Leave a comment

Open your doors and light some candles!

For the most part I consider my self a very independent photographer.
I rarely ask for favors or even have an assistant (most days).
I’ve learned to make due with what I have, and If I don’t have something I need I go and get it.

I think most of the shooters here in Atlanta are like that. And proud of it.
But on some level I think there is a sense of paranoia when it comes to helping a fellow shooter out.
Most shooters here in Atlanta tend to keep to themselves for some fear opening up will allow someone to take what they have.
Not stealing equipment, or food, but techniques and possibly clients.

For me this paranoia is one of the reasons why Atlanta isn’t progressive as far as its photography goes.

When I worked in New York, there was a sense of generosity…there were various communities of artists that not only competed with each other, but supported each other. If you were in need of a great stylists…your buddies would suggest one to you. Or If you wanted to work with a particular agency, they’d hook you up with a contact. People would invite you on set, just to hang out, not expecting anything more than your company and occasional opinion.

Back in the late 80’s early 90’s, there was a cluster of up and coming photographers, stylists, and makeup artists in England that all knew each other via assisting and various connections in the business. Most were just doing their own thing, having fun, and shooting what ever motivated them.
They would run into each other in the photo labs while developing their boss’s film. They’d shoot the shit about what they were working on and critique each others work. They’d suggest their friends for shoots, and gladly open up their shooting spaces and locations to help out a fellow shooter.
This group made up of all different styles of visual artist, went on to influence one of the largest movements in fashion (that is still prevalent today).

With each other’s help they were able to break into the American market, and take the world by storm, even discovering who is arguably the greatest model ever. They pushed each other’s work, not only competitively, but gave support when it was needed. To them it was about the art…not the individual.

Who was in this group?
Nick Knight, Rankin, Edward Enninful, Corrinne Day, Pat McGrath, Craig McDean, Juergen Teller, and David Sims, just to name a few.

So next time a fellow shooter asks for a hand…remember that you may be in their situation on day.
If you feel jealousy towards another photographer for using your technique, shooting your Muse, or working with your favorite makeup artist just know that: “You can light many candles with one flame without shortening the life of your own.” -Buddha

We are all a part of the same community. If we keep cutting each others legs out just to get a buck, we (as a group of artists) can’t move past our own borders.

By the way…if you hadn’t guessed, the model was Kate Moss.

by Corinne Day

First shoot by Corinne Day

June 7, 2010 Posted by | business, fashion, honesty, life | 1 Comment

I’m fat…and happy…are you? [rant]

I make deprecating fat jokes all the time about myself. People invariably give me the same reaction…”Aww you’re not fat…your perfect the way you are”.

Thanks!… But I’m fat…tape

The statement, “no you are perfect” tells me that that person is being nice, and really does care about appearances.

But in my mind being “fat” has only one meaning… “I am medically overweight, and that carries some serious risks”.

I could give two shits about what people think, of me…Really. I used to…but was never motivated enough to “get in shape” to look better.

Now my choice to lose some weight is driven by the simple fact that I will live longer if I lose some of this extra poundage.
Not by Vanity.

I didn’t mean this to be some sappy personal statement, but getting back into the fashion “industry” is putting me in touch with people who are just so superficial it hurts me to even speak to them. Maybe I don’t have what it takes be in this industry.
Those of you who know me, know that I don’t pull many punches, and I speak my mind anytime I feel the need, and given the opportunity (Clearly).

In an industry that is all about image, and style, and hinges on what other people think…I stick out (Now) as someone who really doesn’t care about all of that. Not only because I’m overweight, I don’t own any “designer” pieces, I don’t go to Socialite parties, but because…
I’m here to be me, shoot what I want, how I want, and if people like it…Great!

If they don’t… Fuck’em

This city is full of followers, and people who just “do”, because someone else told them to.

Not me!
And that makes me happy!

May 22, 2010 Posted by | business, fashion, honesty, life, personal, rant | Leave a comment

Are you “good” at email?

Now who would have thought that this would be a logical question? I know I didn’t.
mailbox

But in the last few days I have realized that I am truly BAD at email.
Not bad in the sense I don’t know how to send, read, forward, things like that… but I’m bad at being efficient with my emailing.

I receive on average 30 emails a day, mostly newsletters, and stuff of that nature, with about 5-10 truly important emails in the middle. I know some of you receive WAY more… I’ve heard of stories where people get 500+ a day, and they are all from real people!

This blows my mind! I can’t even wrap my brain around that number of emails…especially that over the last 2 days the influx of an additional 30 (real people) emails has thrown me into a tizzy.

There is a guy named Merlin Mann…he’s a writer and speaker, but I consider him a guru on efficiency. I’ve listened to a few of his podcasts and he mentions being good at email a lot. Most of the time, it was in the context of an office setting (cubicles), where you have a lot of work to get done, but people expect you to respond to their emails. He’s even writing a book on email… called Inbox Zero.
Some of the points he makes in his talks, is to time manage your emailing, combine emails (don’t send an essentially meaningless email that can either wait, or be combined with more important info), things like this. Now a lot of it seems to hinge on other people hopping on board as well, but I’m curious enough now to want to check out the book.

Between, reading, forwarding, CC’ing, Replying, Reply All’ing, I hit a wall where it occurred to me that there has to be a more efficient way to do this. Which there is… I’m sure it’s already built into my email program, but I just need to learn to use it better.
Even though my email load is pathetic compared to some people, I hope that one day (and will probably regret saying this) that I have 100 meaningful emails a day to deal with.

Then again I’ll just hire an intern…meueawhahahahah!

So are you “good” at email?

May 19, 2010 Posted by | business, gear, honesty, personal | , | Leave a comment

The Re-Edit (May), Stephanie

Yeah I know… “What happened to April?”

I have no idea… but its May, and it would be silly to do a re-edit and title it April now wouldn’t it?

This time around I am fortunate to have some old school stuff I thought was lost forever!
You know how hard drive crashes go…
But recently a buddy of mine hooked me up and got one of my trashed HDD’s working again, so I chose an old New York shoot for this months Re-Edit Project.

Stephanie

Stephanie was awesome! She was one cool chick, laid back, and up for virtually anything.
Unfortunately she hadn’t done a whole lot of “Testing”, for all tense and purposes she was a new model. You see she was on a TV show called Make Me a Supermodel and hadn’t done much modeling before the show (they had just wrapped the last show a week before this shoot). She didn’t win, but ended up signing with New York Models anyway.
So she comes out to our test with nothing really. No “model bag” of clothes, makeup, nothing, just strolls in with her purse. It was funny because I remember saying to her…”well, I don’t think I would change what you are wearing anyway!”. In her defense tho, she did have a paid gig scheduled after our test, which didn’t require her to bring anything.

We shot for an hour or so in the stairwell of a friend’s apartment building. We got some amazing stuff…simple…yet amazing.
Original Edit

http://vimeo.com/11824816
Once again I recommend clicking the “Vimeo” button and viewing the full screen HD version.

Looking back at these images, I once again found more that I liked the second time around. Obviously my tastes are changing somewhat, but one thing stands out to me. I was consciously or unconsciously composing my images in these weird ways, and throwing the focus off here and there (ok.. the focus thing is bullshit), but what I found was images I had marked as throwaways are now grabbing my attention as visually pleasing pieces.

I think of all the little projects I do, the Re-Edits are the most fun, because I am able to simultaneously see my past “vision” and also see what I captured…but didn’t SEE the first time!
Steph

May 18, 2010 Posted by | beauty, fashion, fine art, personal, Re-Edit, video | , , | Leave a comment

Rebel T2i VS. 5D Mark II (pt.3)

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls! It’s time for the final round!

If you’ve missed the last 2 parts of this showdown, take a minute and check them out!
Part 1
Part 2

To sum up… I haven’t found much to distinguish these two cameras apart when looking only at the images they produce.
Both have amazing high ISO performance, and both are fairly even when it comes to color rendition and dynamic range.
Round one went to the Rebel T2i, mainly because the results didn’t provide a clear winner, and I defaulted to price as a tiebreaker.
Round two went to the 5D Mark II, again, the results didn’t provide a clear winner, but the 5D provided a more visually “pleasing” image straight out of the camera. Not to mention I’m only doing 3 rounds, and needed to keep you all on the line for a 3rd installment!

So now I’m going to break down some of the notable features of the two cameras, and see if we can’t find a clear winner in this race.

To start… I am not going to cover the video qualities of these cameras. Frankly because I know very little about video. But for the sake of thoroughness I will point out the statistical similarities of both cameras video production, and other features (well, the ones I feel are important enough to note)

I used Canon’s website for reference, feel free to compare the numbers yourself at http://www.usa.canon.com.
————————————————————————————————————
Differences:

Autofocus
This is a crucial area for a lot of photographers, and with each and every passing year we photographers get more and more dependent on autofocus. Don’t tell me the first time you tried doing video with a “hybrid” SLR you didn’t get frustrated with having to manual focus!
Both Cameras AF systems work off a 9-point AF system, with identical features. However, the 5D has 6 more points that Canon calls “assist points”. For all tense and purposes these are just more spots to focus with. The speed of which a camera focuses actually has to do with the lens, so speed isn’t a factor here besides the time it takes for the photographer to put the highlighted AF point on the subject.

Metering
This one surprised me!
The 5d uses a 35-zone TTL metering system, the Rebel… a whopping 63-Zone! (same as the 1D Mark IV). Whats that mean to you professionals out there? Well if you use a handheld light meter… absolutely nothing. But if you’re a Program mode shooter (P,Tv,Av,GB), then the Rebel is taking more information into account when it looks at a scene, and could give you a better exposure because of it.

Video
Well this isn’t my strong suit, but here goes.
Both cameras can do Full HD (1920×1080), and with 5D getting a recent firmware update, they also can capture video the same (as far as frame rates). The difference comes in the file format. The Rebel uses H.264 which from my understanding is the most “web” friendly. The 5d uses MOV. Can I tell you the technical differences between the two? No… Do I care? Not really. They both can do Full HD, they both have Mic ins, and both have HDMI outputs. So I’m going to generalize this and call it even as far as video goes.

Frames Per Second
Same (essentially)… Rebel’s = 3.7…. the 5D’s = 3.9….. OH DAMN! (disappointing in both cases)

File Size/Megapixels
5d has 21.1 Megapixels whereas the Rebel only has 17.9…
Consider this. When you add megapixels to an image, they get added around the outside….(think wrapping a gift). It takes more to make the file bigger… as the file gets bigger. So all you pixel peepers out there wanna guess what that extra 3.2 megapixels amounts to?
1.3 megabytes in file size. 1.8 inches on the long side at 240dpi, and 1.2 inches on the short side. On an image that is already 22″ long how much you really going to miss that extra 2 inches? (minds out of the gutter you pervs!)
But more is better right?

LCD Screen (Monitor)
Surprisingly enough.. the Rebel wins again. Their LCD’s are exactly the same size (3in), but the Rebel has 1,040,000 dots, and the 5D has 920,000. Making the Rebel’s screen slightly higher resolution.

Accessories
Both Cameras offer an additional Vertical Grip. Both grips allow for the use of AA batteries, or 2 proprietary batteries. Both have controls for vertical shooting. Neither increases any of the qualities of the camera its attached to… such as increased FPS. The difference here is price. 5D’s =$250, the Rebel’s =$160. Oh.. but the 5D’s is slightly bigger…(if size really matters…)

Sensor
This is the big one.
Both sensors are CMOS, that capture 14bit native RAW files.
The 5d’s sensor is a full frame 35mm sensor, whereas the Rebels is an APS-C size sensor, with roughly a 1.4x magnification factor when used with 35mm lenses.
For some people the smaller sensor is an advantage, sports shooters in particular. But it comes with problems. You lose wide angle capability, and can produce some unwanted side effects when using native 35mm glass.
For example:
Cropped sensors have more depth of field, that is to say its harder to throw things out of focus with a cropped sensor. This has to do with physics and ray tracing which I won’t get into here. It also can cause the Bokeh of a lens to change, this relates back to the depth of field issue. Another side effect is a tendency for more Chromatic Aberration (color fringing)… again, this relates to the physics of the position of the sensor with relation to how the light rays pass through the lens and where they strike the sensor.
Unlike Nikon, Canon has not committed to producing lenses for its cropped sensor cameras. The most it has done is produce “kit” lenses to accompany these cameras at purchase. It has been brought to my attention that in fact Canon does produce a line of lenses for the APS-C sized sensor… the EF-S series (Thanks Kimani!).

————————————————————————————————————–
Conclusion

For me… its clear that neither camera is “Superior” to the other. Both are exceptional cameras, that produce exceptional files. Very few technical aspects separate these two. The most notable is the size of the sensor. And to be honest, is the sole reason I envy the 5D owners. But for the most part, these cameras are interchangeable, particularly when you strip away all the bells and whistles and get down to the bare bones important stuff… which is the file they produce.

Personally, I’ve always believed it’s the photographer not the camera that makes great images. Will these cameras help you make better images? Depends on who you ask. They are tools. Is one screwdriver better than another? Thats how I look at cameras.

When all is said and done, and everything is taken into account. We have the price.
5D comes in at roughly $2750 (including the battery grip, no lens)
Rebel comes in at $960 (including Grip, no lens)
For me the clear winner (taking into account all the factors) is the Rebel T2i.

If you can manage to live without a full frame sensor, and are like me and like to re-check their focus points before firing, then put that extra $1790 into an 85mm 1.2L Lens.

When I start raking in the dough then I will upgrade my camera body to match my stellar collection of glass!
Until then, I’ll keep using the Rebel.

If you can win the race in a Pinto, why buy a Ferarri?

May 15, 2010 Posted by | business, funny, gear, personal, review | , | Leave a comment

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