8 Reasons to Take a Customized Fine Art Photography Tutorial Class

1. Teaching Approach

The teaching approach is to work together in a patient, engaging way; be supportive; and to learn by doing, usually by criticizing work or through learning Photoshop side-by-side.

2. Work with Interested Photographers

Passionate photographers at any level, from beginners, students to advanced professionals, are welcome.

3. Crafting Goals

After working together to craft a path—ranging from technical, creative, or just supportive—specific goals will be worked out.

4. Individualized Classes

Photoshop and photography lessons are individualized and customized.

5. Class Types

There are three types of classes: standard ones that cover a particular subject, such as landscape photography or Photoshop, and last for about ten sessions; those focused on one issue, such as how to put together a portfolio, and could last a few sessions; or just one individual extended meeting to help with one targeted challenge.

6. NYC or Virtual

I work from my East Village location; in-person “house calls” in the New York City area; or virtually, via Skype.

7. Background

I’ve over twenty-five years as a fine art photographer, and have exhibited my work in museums and galleries in New York, London, Italy, Spain, , the Netherlands, Canada, and South Korea. I have an MFA from Yale University and have been working with a range of clients over the years.

8. Passion for Teaching

I love teaching photography. It’s my passion.

 

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Artspace: List of Affordable Places for Artists to Live and Work

Artspace is non-profit organization offering affordable places for artists to live and work. There are headquarters in Minneapolis and offices in Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Seattle and Washington D.C., as well as spaces listed below across the country.

Santa Cruz, CA
Digital Media and Creative Arts Center

CA- Santa Cruz
Artspace Tannery Lofts

CT- Bridgeport
Read’s Artspace

DC- Washington
Brookland Artspace Lofts

FL- Fort Lauderdale
Sailboat Bend Artist Lofts/Historic West Side School

IA- Council Bluffs
Harvester Artspace Lofts

IL- Chicago
Switching Station Artist Lofts

IL- Elgin
Elgin Artspace Lofts

IL- Waukegan
Karcher Artspace Lofts

MD- Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier Artist Lofts

MN- Brainerd
Franklin Arts Center

MN- Duluth
Washington Studios

MN- Fergus Falls
Kaddatz Artist Lofts

MN- Minneapolis
Artspace Jackson Flats

MN- Minneapolis
Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center

MN- Minneapolis
Grain Belt Studios

MN- Minneapolis
The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts

MN- Minneapolis
Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art

MN- St. Paul
653 Artist Lofts (formerly Frogtown Family Lofts)

MN- St. Paul
Tilsner Artists’ Cooperative

MN- St. Paul
Northern Warehouse Artists’ Cooperative

ND- Minot
Minot Artspace Lofts

NV- Reno
Riverside Artist Lofts

NY- Buffalo
Artspace Buffalo Lofts

NY- Patchogue
Artspace Patchogue Lofts

OR- Portland
Everett Station Lofts

PA- Pittsburgh
Spinning Plate Artist Lofts

From New Cars to New Art

TX- Galveston
National Hotel Artist Lofts

TX- Houston
Elder Street Artist Lofts

WA- Everett
Artspace Everett Lofts

WA- Seattle
Tashiro Kaplan Artist Lofts/Tashiro Arts Building

WA- Seattle
Artspace Hiawatha Lofts

 

How to Color Correct and Edit Fine Art Photographs

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Creative Color Correcting Fine Art Photographs

A final step in creating a fine art photography portfolio is careful color correction of the photographs.

Selecting the right color is crucial for the meaning of the image.  But what is “right?”

This approach to color correcting is not completely technical but is about determining the essence of the photograph and bringing this out through color, contrast, density, and sharpness. This can be a very time consuming process and can be agonizing, for me at least.

Start with Adobe Camera Raw

My first step is to start by opening the image in Adobe Camera Raw, which is a great tool, and make some basic color, density, and sharpness adjustments. I play with the settings until it feels right, and try to be open to all possibilities during this process. Start with temperature and tint settings, then go on to Exposure, then the Sharpness tab.

What Is the Feeling?

Look at the color.  What is the emotional feel?  How does color contribute to the overall meaning of the image?

For example, is the sand on the beach at twilight more a warm yellow tint, or is it slightly cyan in the shadows; or should I stick with a realistic red tone of a woman’s face in sunlight, or make it more drastically more yellow to bring out a feeling of something mysterious? These are all starting points. Note there are many approaches to the proper color correcting workflow but the goal here is to just start and see what it looks and feels like.

Then, I try to put aside the initial impetus of what made me intuitively take the photograph in the first place, but connect to it, recall it, and simultaneously be open to what it should be by letting go of that original thought.

Because its at a different stage, the goal here is not to slavishly reproduce what something really looked like, but to instead let the photo tell me what it should be. I don’t have to follow a typical reddish flesh tone, for example, but I can let it go more green to add mystery, feeling, and emotion.

Sit With the Image

So, its important to first try to get a general idea of the photo. Usually, I sit with the photograph after the initial color corrections for several hours over several days. Its important to look to the photograph, and see what is there, and think about what its trying to tell me or be, and bring that out.

What is the photograph about, really? (Each photo is different, even if its taken at around the same time.) Well, I don’t really know usuall, but I need to figure it out somewhat before I can create a final print. Is it about how color and density shifts across the plane, drawing the eye from edge to edge? Is it about pausing in the center of the image, but moving to the dark and light of the corners? Is it about subtilly revealing a figure or detail in shadow area? Or is it about the general tone and beauty of a color?

Discover Creative Narrative Of the Photo

Then I focus on discovering the creative narrative within the photograph. This process cannot be forced. Let go of predetermined ideas and be open to all the possibilities, and just continue to look at the image, and watch for what its trying to say.

I sit with what I’ve done. I usually work in two hour blocks, taking a longer break every hour and minor ones every fifteen minutes or so to maintain fresh eyes. I usually only work on a few images at a time because any more would get distracting. I like to start with one image and work for a while or until I get stuck and begin to start on another towards the end of the color correcting session.

The Editing Process

The process might go something like this:
On day one, I might work for about an hour on the first image, then take a break. I then might go back to the image with fresher eyes, and work on it for another thirty minutes or so. Then I could switch to the second image, and briefly make some initial adjustments.

On day two, I would go back to the first image, and work on it for an hour. After a small break, I could then go back to the second image and look at that for forty-five minutes or an hour. I might then go back to the first image, or, if feeling ambitious, I might start work on a third image. And so on, usually working on two images on a time per day.

Look at Other Work

At this stage, it’s sometimes helpful to look at photo books, museums or galleries for inspiration and to see how other artists handle their images. How does William Eggleson, Stephen Shore, Jeff Wall, etc., render color, and to what effect? Visiting MoMA or the Metropolitan Museum is helpful (or even looking online at their websites, especially if you don’t live in New York). But be careful not to copy others because each photograph, and the approach to it, is unique.

Once things are close, I go to Photoshop for final corrections, tweaks, and the making of layers and masks. Here, I should have a pretty good idea about what needs to be done, but again, I try to remain open. I might go back to the original image in Adobe Camera Raw to make additional changes, thinking the initial approach was wrong. I then might even reverse that, and go back to the original.

Contemplate Test Prints

Then, create test prints to and pin them to the wall. Contemplate them for some time–a few days or even a week, if possible, always thinking about color and how it serves the meaning of the image. I could wake up and think I’ve got it all wrong and want to trash the prints and start over, but I try not to, and pause–maybe I just am having a bad day, or maybe all that’s needed is a subtle change in tone. As always, I try to be open and let it-the photo–naturally drive the process, not forcing a solution based on my preconceived notion of what the final print should be.

Color Correcting Takes Time

In the end, color correcting a fine art photograph could take weeks or even months. But I’ve found color correcting to me more about discovering the essence of the photograph rather than a technical process, and this takes time.

Follow These 8 Tips When Appling For NYFA Grants for Photographers and Visual Artists

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Grants for fine art photography are few and far between these days but the New York Foundation for the Arts/NYFA for New York State based artists, photographers, writers, dancers and filmmakers is one of the few remaining resources.

Here are a few tips that might be helpful when applying.

1. Read Grant Requirements Carefully

Reading all the requirements for NYFA, or any other grant, may seem obvious, but it’s important to go over everything thoroughly. 

Start by making sure you know the deadline. For photography, the it’s usually January 14 or so, rotating every other year. To keep tray, try entering grant deadlines in a calendar program such as Outlook so it’s easy to follow. I usually check my list about twice a month to stay on top of all upcoming due dates.

Next, make sure you meet all the requirements. You need to be a resident of New York State, over 25 and have not won the grant recently.

Be sure to follow other requirements such as image size, format, the work statement length, and anything else.

FOLLOW THESE CAREFULLY.

Any grant organization such as NYFA or others look for ways to immediately reject an application, so spend an hour or so reading everything on the website before starting.

2. Plan Weeks or Months in Advance

Planning ahead is key to a successful application.  Waiting to the last minute makes the process more difficult than it needs to be.  Instead, plan at least one month in advance to allow enough time to organize photographs, think about the work statement, and plan other tasks.  Being rushed and submitting the application just before the deadline can result in errors or sloppy work. 

If the photographs have been color corrected and edited, and the statement is written, the whole process might take between 2 and 5 hours to complete; if not, it could take several days of preparation.

3. Research Previous NYFA Winners and Jurors

While the jurors for NYFA change for each grant cycle, it can be useful to review previous winners and jurors.  The information can be found on the NFYA web site or by conducting a Google search. Seeing who won helps understand more about what NYFA is generally looking for; you might actually know some of the winners and jurors.

4. View Additional Information

There is other helpful information online.

Be sure to read the FAQ section on the site carefully. There it stresss that the award is based solely on the work sample—the photographs—and not on a specific project.

I also came across a previously published tidbit:

“The review panelists are not thinking about how much money a filmmaker needs to make a film or a painter needs to create a painting, but to reward you for having what they consider to be a compelling vision as represented in the work you are showing them in your application.”

5. Prepare Images Carefully

  • Images must be in JPG format with .JPG extension.

  • The maximum size for each file is 4.0 MB

  • Each image cannot be no more than 1240 pixels by x 1240. 

  • DPI should be 72.

  • Images should be set as sRGB color profile.

  • Do not use any punctuation, symbols or spaces in the file names.

6. Order Photographs

Photographs are viewed four at a time; each juror sees the images on a screen in front of them. As a result, curating the first images is important, so place the strongest work first.  Also, present a very cohesive body of work.

7. Write Work Statement

The Work Statement needs to be only 200 words, so brevity and clarity is important.  As always, use descriptive language that is jargon-free.  Try modifying a previously used or existing statement as way to start.

8. Upload Images and Other Items

Upload all the images, Work Statement and Resume/Bio.  Be careful to review each image and fill out the required fields such as Title, Medium, Date, Size.

Review again all the submitted work for errors.  Remember that the jurors are looking at thousands of images and hundreds of applications, so be perfect.