Saturday, February 2, 2013

Aiken HDR is OPEN!

My photography business is official!!! I'm moving all of my photo stuff to and will be posting from there from now on. What are you waiting for!?!?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Big News!

Getting ready to make the big move to a fully hosted domain! My Father-in-law and I will be providing the same great tips and tricks as well as software savings/reviews. Filling the site with content now, this will take a little time but I invite you to join us as we continue to grow!

Please join us at 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Unintended Hiatus Ending!

I'm back... Sorry for the lack of post the past few weeks. I had to take a little hiatus since the wife landed a NEW TEACHING JOB!!! Her getting settled in to a new routine, daddy duty was in full swing! That being said, have plenty of things in the works for the site! I'm working with my father-in-law on another upcoming HDR Workshop we are teaching in or our local area. Have a lot of things planned and some cool downloads coming too! Stay tuned, and stay social... hit me up on Twitter any time if you tweet!

Work Flow for above image: Old Mill collaboration - Photos via Steve Rich
Downloaded the 3 RAW version of the images > Photomatix Pro (tone-map using a custom setting)>Saved as 8-bit tiff > opened in PSE 10, duplicated a layer > ran Topaz DeNoise (strong jpeg), duplicated this layer > Topaz Clean 3 (Curly smooth 4) applied, duplicated this layer > Nik Complete 3.0 (very little -Glamor Glow) applied > created a new blank layer in PSE 10 to add h2o mark > saved as Med. size Jpeg. Let me know if you have any questions.   

Saturday, September 1, 2012

What's a Phonebook?

"What's a phonebook?" I have a feeling there will be generations to come that will be asking this very question. Due to the technology advancing these are phasing out. The phonebook is pretty much on your mobile device already. Anyway, I'm super excited to have a few of my Aiken, SC images published in the Yellow Pages phonebook! I was contacted a few months back about this and this years book just got published. If you live in Aiken you might have seen them... If not... here are the images they used. Thanks for looking!

The Old Aiken Post Office
The Old Aiken Post Office
Redcliffe Plantation Sunset
Redcliffe Plantaion
Hopeland Gardens
Hopeland Gardens

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Snapheal Review

Mac Only App

It's a bird.... it's a plane... it's a pretty blue sky because Snapheal came to the rescue! I've come across another great little App called Snapheal from Macphun. I've just started playing with this great little app and I can't express how much I like it already!
Everyone has taken that "perfect photo" only to find out there is something in it that destroys or at least deters from the subject. This where "would-be" expensive programs and expansive post processing knowledge come into play. Myself, like many others however, just dabble in this great hobby, or just choose not to pay a ridiculous amount of money for a program (Can you tell I'm frugal yet? Haha! ). Many can't afford $100-$1000 for the "expensive" programs that can get the pro quality they desire. That's Snapheal to the rescue (for Mac owners anyway) for ONLY $9.99 for now, was listed $19.99!  

It's a superpower of a tool! It's primary use is to erase those things that take away from your photos. It gets rid of extra/unwanted objects, fixes those skin imperfections, and heals damaged old photos. But that's just the surface of what this thing can do! There are tons of other awesome tools to make your photos look much much better but I have't had a full chance to dig that deep into the guts of this thing yet... I will! But for now... I want to share the power I've seen thus far (see below) and give it a preliminary review.


  • Cheap! Compared to other software out there and the quality... it's a steal! $9.99 - $19.00 I still can't get over how well it works for the cost.
  • Super EASY to use! Mouse hover directions/tips and dead simple navigation. 
  • Built in social sharing (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • Photo adjustment DeNoise (YEAH!!)  Sharpen, Blur, Exposure control, Hue,  etc...
  • Did I mention CHEAP! 
  • In the Mac App Store
  • They offer a FREE DEMO before you purchase!


  • Doing a large area of a photo it took a little longer than I was expecting to run the process but that happened only once or twice. No more that 30 seconds, but I don't know if that might have been a program in the background slowing it.
  • It did close one time on me while working on a photo. I reopened it, and it didn't lose my progress. It's only happened once, so I'm timid to put that as a con thus far but... still a con none the less. 
  • Only a Mac App (Sorry Windows users, they might be working on one for Windows. If they are, I will update. 
  • Would love to see some photo filter options added.

Snapheals quality, tools, ease of use, and the low cost puts it well ahead of any competitors in my opinion. I HIGHLY recommend it! Especially if you are just starting out or just don't want to put down the money for the "big programs". Why would you if this does most of the things you're looking for? This is a great tool and can be a staple for both amateurs and pros alike in their post processing tool box.  Check out some of the images I quickly did below. Also check out Snapheals website to get more details.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or hit me up on Twitter!

Snapheal Before - Note the unwanted graffiti, shirt logo, and tattered jeans.  

Snapheal Screen shot using the erase menu

Snapheal Before and After screen shot 
After Snapheal - Gone is the wall graffiti, shirt logo, and overly tattered jeans. 

Boomer and Bo playing Before Snapheal

Screen shot of before and after Snapheal

After Snapheal - Gone are the pups, grass weed, arm of chair, toad poo on the cement 
Here is what you can do with Snapheal (via App Store): 

• Remove unwanted objects 
• Delete people from the photos
• Make skin imperfections vanish 
• Erase text
• Fix old scanned photos
• Remove scratches and blemishes

The powerful image editing toolset lets you enhance photos even further:

• Clone & stamp 
• Blur
• Light levels control 
• Sharpen and noise reduction
• Highlights and shadows
• Saturation, gamma, contrast, hues, exposure
• Crop, rotate, flip and more

In addition you get:

• Support of practically all image formats, including RAW
• Resolution support up to 32 megapixels
• Built-in video tutorials 
• Intuitive user interface
• Import from Aperture and iPhoto
• Export "snaphealed" images to Aperture and iPhoto
• Integration with Lightroom and Photoshop
• Share photos via Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, E-mail
• 100% compatibility with Lion AND newly released Mountian Lion

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Snapseed Review

Finally getting a chance to review Snapseed from Nik Software. It's a post processing software available for Apple iOS and Mac devices. It's also available for Windows OS. It has not been released for Android... yet. It's in the works apparently. Below is a quick and easy cliff notes synopsis. if you want to dig a little deeper, check out the Nik Softwares - Snapseed site.


  • It's Cheap... Have you seen the price on some of the post processing software? RIDICULOUS! Snapseed- iOS $4.99  Mac & Windows OS $9.99 (ON SALE NOW) until August 16th. The retail is normally $19.99... Either way, this program is a steal at that price. 
  • It's Super Easy to use! Open a photo from the software and use/adjust any of the many tools or filters. 
  • U-Point technology makes it possible to simply point and selectively enhance objects, without the normal time-consuming and complicated tools required to make selections. With nothing more than your finger or mouse, you can make incredibly precise selections in seconds.
  • Save your own custom settings. If you have a look you like, save it! This way you can come back later and apply it to any photo without having to tweak and tweak to get the same look.
  • Layer adjustments and filters.


  • Some images can get a little noise or grain to them if you "over cook" them.
  • A good amount of filter choices, but you can get lost in the plethora. This is solved by saving your custom setting or noting the one you used. 


I think for the price and amount of control Snapseed gives you for this low price, you'd be almost crazy to pass it up. It's my "go-to" processing tool on my iPhone 4S and former iPhone 4. I also use it on my iMac. Below are a few samples that I used for Snapseed so you can see for yourself. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

 Happy shooting, and happy processing!
Before Snapseed Mac OS
After Snapseed Mac OS

Before Snapseed Mac OS
After Snapseed Mac OS

iPhone 4 - Before Snapseed iOS
iPhone 4 After Snapseed iOS
Snapseed U-Point Control on iPad iOS

Snapseed Screen shot for iOS

Screen shot of Snapseed iPad iOS with filter and frame applied
Snapseed Mac OS Center Focus
Snapseed Windows OS Tilt-Shift

Sunday, August 5, 2012

HDR Reflections!

HDR Reflections
This is a Photomatix Preset available in my Pro Collection

Took this image late one morning as we taught an HDR class. You can see the sun already getting high in the sky. Thanks to the tall tress that allowed enough shade/shadow for the image. Even got a chance to play with my watermark with the reflection into the pool!

Just a little update, I finally finished processing the images for singer-songwriter Robb Underwood! That being said, I'll have a little more free time to post some more HDR images and workflow this week. Looking to add another video by the weekend as well. Hope you are all doing well! 

Keep Shooting!