Articles and Opinions on Photography

I've been wielding a camera for about 20 years, now, with mixed results. It seems that the more I learn about photography, the more confused I become. I'm really happy with some of my images, and unhappy with others. But even I don't understand why. In fact, if I try to talk with another photographer about anything non-technical regarding art, I quickly get confused. Basically, discussions about art boil down to "well, I like..." and "I feel..." which makes it pretty much impossible to discuss things because it's just about emotions and personal tastes.

So, I won't apologise further but let's proceed with the understanding that everything I say about photography is just about my opinions and what I like. Your mileage may vary. I've used this space to collect any thoughts I have that I think others might enjoy, or find interesting, or provocative.

If you see something technically wrong, or have a suggestion to make, I'd love to hear it!

Workshop Notes

Workshop notes for my "photography for couples" (June 24, 2012) studio workshop (PDF) .


A Different Way of Seeing - Slow motion video of pretty girls being pretty.

Technical articles

Review of Edgertronic slow-motion camera - buy it.

Constructing an inexpensive sweep background - using $200 worth of wood to save a bundle on roll paper

How to shoot stock - some suggestions for a few of my stock users on DA

Deepening your Blacks - Using a black overlay layer.

Helping your Blends - Using adjustment layers to help figure out where your blend-lines need work.

Hollywood Glamour - Converting a modern digital photo into a black-and-white "Hollywood Golden Age" portrait.

"Mooding up" a photograph -A walk-through of some experiments with adjustment layers.

Painting with Contrast - When I finally figured out adjustment layers and how they worked, it was like a light-bulb going on in my head. This simple walk-through shows you how they work.

Happy Histograms - Exploring histograms in photoshop and on the camera's LCD, including some ideas for how to compute exposure when your light-meter is broken.

Generating a "flyaround" composite animation - Animated .GIFs offer creative potential nobody expected, when combined with a nude model and a lazy susan!

Compositing pseudo-3D images - using a slider bar and photoshop to make an eye-catching 3D nude

Altering Lighting using Layers - a simple example of post-work using layers to control lighting effects..

RC - Women on Pedestals : Shooting a Glamour Photo - a complete walkthrough of a glamour photo from setup, exposure, clean-up, and post-processing.

Lanie - Evil Nursie : Shooting a Glamour Photo - a complete walkthrough of a glamour photo from setup, exposure, clean-up, and post-processing.

Annja: Shooting a Glamour Photo - a complete walkthrough of a glamour photo from setup, exposure, clean-up, and post-processing.

Lossy compression or non-lossy? Everyone's got an opinion but I know relatively few people who have actually tested their ability to discern compression quality. Take my little test and see if you can tell the difference between lossy JPEGs and lossless PNGs.

99% of the secret to photography is knowing what you like. Because, fundamentally, the way to get your best work is to work on something you're interested in.

Film Kicks Ass - If you look at the digital revolution from the perspective of a computer expert and network/system administrator, film looks a whole lot better.

Digital Infrared and Red #25 filters for the infrared nude - tutorial on side-effects of using strong near-infrared and opaque filters on a digital camera.

Enlarger Diffusion for the Digital Photographer - tutorial on how to emulate one of my favorite black-and-white darkroom effects in Photoshop.

Jessica: Shooting a Glamour Photo - a complete walkthrough of a glamour photo from location, lighting setup, exposure, image selection, and post-processing. (Lots of images, may take time to load)

Analysis of a Simple Glamour Photo - a mini-tutorial about the creation of one image. Touches on lighting and minor Photoshop post-work.

Editorials and commentary

Love Doll - The Love Doll series. Fun with body image.

The Pussy and the PhotoSIG - Ramblings and opinons on popular attitudes toward erotica on PhotoSIG


Interview With Marcus Ranum - Louco por Fotografia website interviews Marcus on various photographic topics.

Liliana Sanchez interviews Marcus Ranum - on Deviantart

Helwidis interviews Marcus Ranum - on Deviantart

Online Workshop

I've pulled the plug on the online workshop. It was interesting but I found that very few of the participants were committed enough to really think about the assignments and actually do them. That's one of the disadvantages of online education. I think that someday I may offer this class as a 2-day workshop/retreat someplace.