Saturday, July 24, 2010

Readers perspective of Joe McNally’s One-Day Lighting Workshops

The photography club which I co-lead is made up of 2300+ members around the world, and just by coincidence two of our members recently attended Joe McNally’s One-Day Lighting Workshops and shared their experiences with the group. Now if you know anything about the photography industry, you know that Joe McNally (who’s on my Top Photographers list) is like a god of lighting that even the most respected Top Photographers in the industry bow down to his amazing body of work and quick thinking. It’s probably on the bucket list of many of them (and definitely mine) to attend one of Joe’s workshops to learn from the grand pooh bah of Speedlights, so I thought you’d enjoy hearing these club members perspective on his class.

Perspective #1 by Ken Moore

Last week I attended one of Joe McNally’s One Day Basic Lighting workshops and Ron invited me to share my experience with, you, his readers. If you’re interested in attending one of his workshops and wondering whether you should attend the Basic or Advanced workshop, you probably want to start with the Basic one. He’s been a pro for over thirty years and the class moves along at a pretty fast pace, so what’s “basic” to Joe seemed fairly advanced to me.

Roughly half the fifteen attendees were working professional photographers. The other half was serious amateurs, with day jobs outside the photography industry. Every attendee brought some kind of full-frame camera. Although Joe uses Nikon cameras (and his wife works for Nikon), he kept the class camera-neutral. 4 of the 15 attendees were Canon shooters and everyone else had a D700, D3, or D3s.

Joe started the class with a slide show of some of his work, commenting on how he lit each one (“big lights - outside,” “small lights with bounce fill”). He polled the group for whether we had a preference for working the small lights or big lights and the group’s preference was for small lights. So, we used SB-900s for most of the day. He then described most of the items in the studio (umbrellas, soft boxes, tri-grip diffusers), explaining why and when he uses each one.

The next three hours had Joe going through various shooting situations, explaining how he deals with various combinations of lighting situations and natural light problems. He started by discussing situations in which TTL metering is fooled and how to compensate. If you look at this blog entry, in which the last two photos were taken in my class, the last photo was taken during that part of the class. The reason I’m not in the picture is Joe asked me to be the “model,” because I was the only person wearing a white shirt and he wanted to show how TTL would underexpose in that situation. (I’m in the picture above that one, the fourth person from the left. That was taken during a break when Drew, one of Joe’s assistants, explained how he preps Joe’s cameras and does sensor cleaning.)

One of my big takeaways from this part of the class was that there is still a lot of trial and error, even for really experienced professionals. It’s just that Joe makes fewer mistakes and converges really fast on a good image. The picture below was taken during one of those situations, as Joe was checking the monitor while working through a backlighting scenario.

After a few situations, it’s clear he works pretty much the same way with every scene and model:

  1. Evaluate a picture taken with available light. Adjust the composition and expose to get all those elements as intended. (He always starts in Aperture priority, AWB, and maximum flash sync shutter speed (1/250 for D3s). The lens he used most of the time was the 70-200 f2.8 zoom).
  2. Add the main light(s) and adjust as necessary, always starting with TTL metering. In Nikon’s CLS system, main lights are always in Group A, fill lights in Group B, and background lights in Group C. Don’t add fill (lights or bounce) until the main light is set correctly.
  3. Add the fill light(s) and make adjustments.
  4. Add the background lights and make adjustments.
  5. Work with the model and take enough pictures until getting the one that “hits.”

After lunch, Joe worked through a few more complicated situations, including one that used big lights (Elinchrom Rotalux “Deep Throat” Octa 39″ Softbox) combined with SB-900s in SU-4 remote mode. In the picture below, which was taken during that scenario, Joe is using the Nikkor 200mm F2 on his D3s.

After that, he split the group into 4 teams, each with a model, and sent us off to take pictures anywhere inside or outside the building using just one SB-900, but any combination of modifiers and reflectors we wanted. (One team was all the Canon shooters.) This was difficult, but a really great learning experience. It was the first time for me working with a team of assistants and a professional model, but the hard part was communicating what I was trying to shoot and coordinating all of them. It was also educational being an assistant for someone else, while trying to help them get the shot they were looking for. Periodically, Joe would check each team and ask how it was going. It’s one thing to look over his shoulder while he’s working, but having him looking over mine added to the pressure. It’s probably what working pros have to deal with when their art director or client wants to see how it’s going, so I guess it added to the experience. I can’t say I got results anywhere close to what Joe did, but I tried some new things are below are a couple of pictures that I shot:

At the end of the day, while we were uploading files for the models, Joe answered our remaining questions. I got more out of the day than I expected and really learned a lot. Mostly, I’ve got some new ideas and experiments to run, so I’m looking forward to shooting them. Joe’s a great instructor and he always kept the group engaged, often with his celebrity anecdotes and wacky sense of humor.I really enjoyed the workshop and highly recommend it.

Perspective #2 – John DuBois

There are a good number of great, enthusiastic shooters where Ken and Ron work, I count myself lucky enough (thankful really) to be part of that group. Ron also asked me to write some comments about my experiences. It was the luck of a timely business trip for me that created the opportunity to attend one of Joe McNally’s Lighting Workshops. A rare treat! I attended an advanced workshop later in the week.

As Joe would say I’m a repeat offender having had a prior experience through his work with the Digital Landscape Workshop Series folks. In DLWS there are several lighting sessions where Joe discusses and demonstrates lighting and using small flash during “class” time or out in the field. The fast pace that Ken mentioned is definitely an ingredient of the lighting segments in that program and I think just a natural result of Joe’s teaching by doing style using real world examples. I talked with attendees that also attended on earlier days and they shared that those workshops were similar in content to ours that day with the pace juiced a little bit more.

He asked the group as we went through the day what we wanted to do next (“would you like to work that big light example we just did only with small flash or would you…”) and the day just played from there – a question asked, some class feedback, a problem to light emerges and then we dive in and get it sorted out. If you’ve read “The Moment It Clicks” or “Hot Shoe Diaries” or viewed Joe’s online training via Kelby Training, this approach will be immediately familiar. A lot of the technique is covered in “Hot Shoe Diaries”. What a live class with a small group adds is a much more direct and intimate experience with the process - the dynamic of going from start to finish while also directly observing 30 years of pro experience working through a problem in real time (you don’t realize until the end when it’s your turn to shoot with a team how much that experience counts). That dynamic also includes some overlooked aspects of studio work such as working with, talking to, caring for the people involved especially the model. Much of the success of the final image also comes from someone who is secure in front of the camera surrounded by all of the commotion of setting up the shot - that is also the photographer’s responsibility.

We ran into lighting snags (flashes wouldn’t fire, drifted up into high speed sync, too much ambient, not enough flash) to work out along the way and that was part of the fun. Ken described a good bit of the process in his post. One consistent area of Joe’s comments stuck with me and it all had to do about light – “quality of light”, “wrapping around”, “light draping the subject’s face”, “lovely, soft” etc etc. He’s thinking of those elements as it builds the shot. Consistency also helps keep things simple in what can get very complicated (and confusing) very fast and when things didn’t stay simple often the best recourse was to reset from a good starting point and work forward again, we did that enough for me to see the value in that approach, something I had to apply myself later in the workshop. We also were able to step into the shots ourselves after they were mostly setup and try a handful of captures individually. If I had Joe McNally to setup and light a scene and then just step in and shoot... was I dreaming?

I came away with wanting to add one inexpensive piece of gear to my kit and that was the Ray Flash ring flash that Ron has mentioned on his blog (which includes a discount!!!!). The Ray Flash produces a direct, shadow-less light source that surprised me in its simplicity and amazed me with the final images. We used it for several lighting problems and several images appear on Joe’s blog from the workshops.

Ken outlined the way Joe breaks down a problem and builds up a solution in his post and Joe followed that path during the workshop that I attended to. I thought I would share how that was done for an image that was posted on Joe’s blog that was shot in the workshop that I attended and then show an example from my time with one of the models during the workshop.

We went into one of the “unique” spaces that the Dobbs Ferry Building offered with a model and the first thing he does is size up the overall feel of the ambient light and finds an exposure value that gives more control of that ambient when used with flash. Below is an available light shot of the raw material of the shoot.

Next setting the lights – this would be shot with a single overhead light through an umbrella.

Add some interest to the shot – Joe experiments with the white balance of the shot and goes to a tungsten in camera setting to change the mode of the ambient to a much cooler value and then gels the flash with a full cut and a half CTO (color temperature orange) counter the white balance change and bring the light first to a neutral level and then warmer (this is the light hitting the subject). A bunch of shots follow…

You can see on the monitor where the shot headed – the background is pushed back, the feel of the room is a cooler blue and yet the model radiates a warmer tone with a nice balance of light. One light, camera left, one reflector for a little fill. He also has the model orient himself to the light so that the line through the shoulders is on the focus plane of the camera. A final version of this is posted on Joe’s blog from that day. Fun to watch and learned a lot along the way.

My model shots from the end of the day were also part of the fun, all done as with Ken with a team sharing time together over roughly 90 minutes. It was a very intense experience; mostly with one with one off-camera flash and some diffusers/reflectors. If there’s a lesson I took away – it is practice, practice and… wait for it… practice (stuff just has to become automatic so it stays out of the way). Keep things simple and have a repeatable process that can be reset to a baseline when things don’t work out.

Like the previous example, I did a background test shot to see where the ambient was and get an exposure for the camera that gave me control of the background light – I wanted it to go dark with a hint of the light and shadow from the windows hitting the backdrop and then found a starting value for the flash which was camera right through a Tri-Grip diffuser panel held by an assistant.

Once those were set, it was a matter of posing the model, adjusting camera exposure, flash output, flash placement and the placement of a reflector below the model to balance out the lighting. There’s a lot going on even with just one flash and a reflector – you learn the practical reasons for keeping things simple – it helps you to remain sane.

I experimented with different light placements – keeping the flash (and panel) just out of view on the right to get a nice glow of light on the model with some hint of background and shadow from the windows to the left. Later with more experience and practice adding more variation and lighting can come along. But there’s a lot that can be accomplished with just one (ok, maybe two) small flashes. Hard to believe it was shot in the same brightly lit space that Ken illustrated in his shots of the studio space.

It was a great experience, a chance to learn a lot. The first thing I did when I got home (and rested) was dig out those books to re-read.

Click here to see more of John’s images from the workshop.


Okay now that didn’t help matters one bit as I’m ready to take a vacation from work and go to Joe’s next workshop! It definitely sounds like some fun stuff that I’ll have to check out one day after I win the lottery <g>. Joe’s rates are dirt cheap (about 10% of what some people of his caliber charge) and appear to be very hands on, so I’d encourage you to check out his workshop schedule and sign up for one today if your schedule permits!

I’d like to thank Ken and John for taking the time to clean up their emails for your viewing pleasure on this blog. I’d also like to thank Joe McNally for giving us the permission we needed to repost some of these images for this editorial piece on his workshops.


Ken and John volunteered for the content in this article and were not compensated in any way for this content. All images are used with their consent and permission as well as Joe McNally’s. None of us get any commission or benefit in any way if you take Joe’s workshops, so I’m doing this strictly as a community service write up and as a favor to Joe who has been very kind to me in the past. I will get a tiny commission if you purchase a product using the product links in the article that go to Adorama or B&H, so thanks for supporting this blog!

If you are featured in any of the images in this editorial article and have any concerns in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me at so we can address your concerns immediately.

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The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

Friday, July 23, 2010

Epson Printing Series: Dano’s Dictionary of Fine Art and Photography Printing Terms (Concise Edition)

The following “dictionary” comes directly from Dan 'Dano' Steinhardt’s, an Epson Professional Imaging Division’s Marketing Manager, personal Dictionary of Fine Art and Photography Printing Terms. He has collected these terms as he’s learned them from others over the years. For the sake of trying to reduced the volume of information in this list, I have removed some definitions (hence the Concise Edition) which I’m sure at some point I’ll find myself adding back in.

Dano is a humble guy who acknowledges others who have educated him along the way. However, he is a true technical master of fine art printing that many photography legends (i.e., Greg Gorman, Douglas Dubler, Vincent Versace, etc…) all turn to when they need help getting the best possible results out of their Epson printers and papers.


Abrasion Resistance

The resistance to scratching of a surface of paper by other paper surfaces or other materials.


The ability of a material to take up moisture.

Acid Free

(Neutral pH of 7.0) During paper production, treatment employed with a mild base is employed to neutralize the natural acids occurring in wood pulp.  Buffering may also be used to prevent the formation of additional acids. If prepared properly, papers made from any fiber can be acid free.


Black, white and greys. Artwork that is executed without color. Also called monochromatic.


Abbreviation for artist's proof.


Term with no definitive scientific meaning.

Artist's Proof

Traditionally, proofs pulled by the artist over and beyond the regular numbered edition, reserved for the artist's use. Now often used to designate any proofs pulled over and beyond the regular edition, whether printed by the artist or by his printer, but reserved for the artist's use.

Basis Weight

In the United States and Canada, the weight, in pounds, of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to the basic size. Also called ream weight and substance weight (sub weight). In countries using ISO paper sizes, the weight, in grams, of one square meter of paper. Also called grammage and ream weight.


To extend the print image to the edges of the paper.


Brightness is a measurement originally developed to monitor pulp bleaching. There are two predominant scales for conveying brightness: GE and European. Whiteness is a measurement taken by shining a bright light source onto a sample of paper. An electronic sensor takes a reading of the color of the reflected light—or whiteness.


The effect of seeing a flash of bronze color reflecting off pigment inks. Sometimes confused with gloss differential.


The process of smoothing the surface of the paper by pressing it between rollers. Uncalendered papers — those not made smooth by calendering — have a less smooth texture.


The measurement of thickness of paper expressed in thousandths of an inch or mils (millimeters).

Carbon black

A pigment made of elemental carbon and ash.

Cast-coated Paper

High gloss, coated paper made by pressing the paper against a polished, hot, metal drum while the coating is still wet.

Certificate Of Authenticity

The "cert", as it is called, is a statement issued originally by the publisher stating the total edition size, the edition number of the piece being sold, the year published, the fine art printer and the medium.


A printed or stamped symbol used by the printers and print workshop (and sometimes by artists and collectors) as a mark of identification. The chop may be inked or merely embossed.

Cold-pressed paper

A more textured watercolor paper. Cold-pressed paper offers more "tooth".


A printers' or publishers' identifying symbol or emblem.


Materials used to produce color, such as dyes, inks, pigments, toners, or phosphors.

Colorfast (Lightfast)

A paper color that is resistant to fading due to aging, or the action from external agents such as light, acids, heat, chemicals and other adverse conditions. Lightfast and sunfast are variations of the term.


All photographs and those illustrations having a range of shades not made up of dots, as compared to line copy or halftones. Abbreviated contone.

Deckle Edge

The irregular edge of handmade paper formed in a deckle by tearing.   After tearing, a bone knife is used to smooth the edge and create the deckle edge look.

Dot gain

Term used to describe the difference between the requested and the actual printed dot size. In inkjet printing, causes are dust on the surface of the paper that causes the ink to spread, and ink bleeding. On presses, a whole slew of mechanical, optical, and chemical factors can cause the dot size to increase, and in print manufacturing, the term "dot gain" is slowly being deprecated in favor of the term "Tone Value Increase" or TVI.

Double Bump

To print a single image twice so it has two layers of ink.

Dull Finish

Any matte finished paper.


Simulation of the final product. Also called mockup.


Any deckle edged paper, originally produced in the Netherlands.


In visual arts, an edition is a set of duplicate prints or casts of a particular image. The types of reproduction that the term edition refers to can be offset-lithography, lithographs, serigraphs, etchings, offset-lithography or cast sculpture. If the number of prints to be produced is unlimited, the edition is usually referred to as an open edition, whereas, if the number if prints is predetermined and limited, the edition is then preferred to as a limited edition.

Edition Size

The size of an edition is the TOTAL number of pieces printed by the publisher and includes all artist proofs (AP), printer's proofs (PP), "Roman numeral" pieces and all other pieces signed and numbered of that image. Therefore, though your piece may have an edition number of 150/295, the TOTAL edition size may be substantially higher than 295, depending on the number of AP's, PP's, etc.


To press an image into paper so it lies above the surface. Also called cameo and tool.

English Finish

Smooth finish on uncoated book paper; smoother than eggshell, rougher than smooth.

Equivalent Paper

Paper that is not the brand specified, but looks, prints and may cost the same. Also called comparable stock.

Facsimile Reproduction

Making an exact copy of a work of art

Felt Finish

Soft woven pattern in paper.

Film Laminate

Thin sheet of plastic bonded to a printed product for protection or increased gloss.

Fine Art

A term used to refer to fields traditionally considered to be artistic. "Fine art" is a distinction referring to its aim to be purely aesthetic, having only the purpose of inspiring or stimulating the viewer's emotions. Crafts, on the other hand, are more commonly used as simple decorations or made to serve a practical purpose.

Fine Papers

Papers made specifically for writing or commercial printing, as compared to coarse papers and industrial papers. Also called cultural papers and graphic papers.


(1) Surface characteristics of paper. (2) General term for trimming, folding, binding and all other post printing operations.

Finished Size

Size of product after production is completed, as compared to flat size. Also called trimmed size.


A term for the fibers that project from the paper surface.


A building, an institution, a room or a website used for the exhibition/display and or sale of artistic work.

Gallery Proof

A print set aside for a Gallery's use; usually for display purposes.


A French word which loosely translates to "little squirt" or "to spray".   Its a marketing term with no definitive meaning.

Grain Direction

Predominant direction in which fibers in paper become aligned during manufacturing. Also called machine direction.

Grain Long Paper

Paper whose fibers run parallel to the long dimension of the sheet. Also called long grain paper and narrow web paper.

Grain Short Paper

Paper whose fibers run parallel to the short dimension of the sheet. Also called short grain paper and wide web paper.


Basis weight of paper in grams per square meter (gsm).


(Gram per square meter) The gram weight of a hypothetical square meter of a particular type of paper, a good comparative measurement because it does not vary with sheet size.


See Unique.


A term used to describe the effect that occurs when a spec of dust or debris adheres to the printing plate and creates a spot or imperfection in the printing.

Hor commerce proof

(French, "not offered for sale") A proof of a completed print (aside from the edition) that is not intended for sale and is marked "hors commerc" or "h.c." such proofs are sometimes retained as archival impressions by the artist or the publisher, or are used as demonstration proofs in marketing the edition.

Hot Pressed

A paper surface that is smooth, produced by pressing a finished sheet through hot cylinders.

Ink holdout

A quality of paper to be resistant to ink absorption, allowing the ink to dry on the paper surface.

Laid finish

A parallel lined paper that has a handmade look. Laid lines are close together and run against the grain; chain lines are farther apart and run with the grain.


Bonding one product to another by pressure for protection or appearance.


Artistic style in which width is greater than height. (Portrait is opposite.)

Lay Edge

The edge of a sheet of paper feeding into a printer.


Substance in trees that holds cellulose fibers together. Lignin causes papers to yellow if not removed.

Limited Edition Print

An edition of identical prints, numbered sequentially and individually signed by the artist, having a stated limit to the quantity in the edition.


A paper that emulates the look and texture of linen cloth.

Linting and Surface Contamination

Problems occurring when lint, paper fibers or other surface contamination causes spots or uneven inking when printing.


A printing process in which the image to be printed is rendered on a flat surface, as on sheet zinc or aluminum, and treated to retain ink while the non image areas are treated to repel ink. Also see Offset

Machine finish

A paper finish that results from the interaction of the paper with the Fourdrinier process as opposed to post machine embossing.

Matte finish

A coated paper finish that goes through minimal calendaring.

Machine Glazed (MG)

Paper holding a high-gloss finish only on one side.


Imprinted space around the edge of the printed material.


Primary or underlying material on which other materials (such as ink, coating, paint, or treatment) are applied, or from which other materials are made. Also called Substrate


Often confused with metameric failure, metamerism is the phenomenon that makes all color matches possible. Sample metamerism is a psychophysical phenomenon commonly defined as the situation when two samples with different spectral reflectance curves produce a visual color match under one light source but fail to do so under another. Observer metamerism describes the phenomenon where two observers see the same sample as having a different color: comparisons of the difference between the way our eyes see a color and the way a camera sees color are examples of observer metamerism.

Metameric Failure

The inability of color samples to maintain a color match under different light sources. Often, when people talk of metamerism, they’re really describing metameric failure. Metameric failure is often seen with pigment ink prints where the ink pigment, often yellow, appears green under daylight or magenta/red under tungsten light.

Mock Up

A reproduction of the original printed matter possibly containing instructions or direction.

Modern Art

The general period from 1905 to 1955, when Pop Art ushered in the postmodern period in art.

Mouldmade Paper

Paper made by a slowly rotating machine called a cylinder-mould that simulates the hand paper-making process. Fibers become more randomly intertwined in machinemade papers, producing a stronger, more flexible sheet or roll.


A term used to describe spotty or uneven ink absorption. Also called sinkage. A mottled image may be called mealy.

M Weight

Weight of 1,000 sheets of paper in any specific size.


A building, place, or institution devoted to the acquisition, conservation, study, exhibition, and educational interpretation of objects having scientific, historical, or artistic value.

Nominal Weight

When the basis weight of paper differs from the actual weight, the term nominal weight is used.


A term to describe papers that have a color similar to that of wood; also called cream, off-white or ivory.


In commercial printing, a widely used technique in which the inked image on a printing plate is imprinted on a rubber cylinder and then transferred (offset) to paper or other material.


Quality of papers that defines its opaqueness or ability to prevent two-sided printing from showing through.


A quality of paper that allows relatively little light to pass through.

Open Edition

An edition issued without limit, individual number, or artist's signature.


A phenomenon where the humecitant or anti-drying agents in inks come out of the print and are deposited on a surface such as the glass in front of a framed print.


Layer of material taped to a mechanical, photo or proof. Acetate overlays are used to separate colors by having some type or art on them instead of on the mounting board. Tissue overlays are used to carry instructions about the underlying copy and to protect the base art.


To print one image over a previously printed image, such as printing type over a screen tint. Also called surprint.

Pigment Print

A print made using inks based on pigment instead of dyes. Pigment prints are considered longer lasting.


A unit of measure in the printing industry. A pica is approximately 0.166 in. There are 12 points to a pica.


Phenomenon of ink pulling bits of coating or fiber away from the surface of paper as it travels through the printer, thus leaving unprinted spots in the image area.

Plate Finish

Any bond, cover or bristol stock with an extremely smooth finish achieved by calendaring.

Pleasing Color

Color that the customer considers satisfactory even though it may not precisely match original samples, scenes or objects.


(1) Regarding paper, a unit of thickness equating 1/1000 inch. (2) Regarding type, a unit of measure equaling 1/12 pica and .013875 inch (.351mm).

Pop Art

A school of art that emerged in the United Kingdom in the 1950s and became prevalent in the United States and the United Kingdom in the 1960s; it imitated the techniques of commercial art and the styles of popular culture and the mass media


An art design in which the height is greater than the width. (Opposite of Landscape.)


An artistic work, often a reproduction of an original painting or photograph, printed on a large sheet of paper that carries limited value. Can also be a reproduction from an original commercial painting or drawing.


Late-twentieth-century critical, literary, and performance movement that reacts to modern art and literature; postmodernists suggest that truth is no longer verifiable, and that new art forms are best created by freely mixing previous styles and themes.

Preferred Portfolio Edition

Print editions designated by the artist and intended to be presented and contained in a portfolio or folio collection of prints.

Presentation proof

Proofs pulled over and beyond the regular numbered edition which are distributed at the artist's discretion.

Principal Portfolio Edition

See notation above for Preferred Portfolio Edition.


Any type of analog or digital output used in any art form. Graphic Print used to connote collectable works of art that have been reproduced vs “Print” which tends to mean a photograph.

Print Permanence

Print permanence refers to the longevity of printed materials, especially photographs, and preservation Issues. Over time, the density, color balance, luster and other qualities of a print will degrade. The rate at which deterioration occurs depends primarily on two main factors: the print itself, that is, the colorants used to form the image and the medium on which image resides, and the type of environment the print is exposed to. For ink jet prints, dye-based inks generally last longest when used with specific paper types, whereas pigment-based inks can be optimal on more types of paper. Ink jet paper types include swellable paper, porous paper, and cotton fiber paper. Environmental factors that hasten the deterioration of a print include exposure to heat, ozone and other pollutants, water or humidity, and high levels of light. Though light-induced fade often gets the most publicity, greater than 90 per cent of consumer prints are stored in the dark where the effects of heat, humidity, and/or pollutants can dominate. While ISO (International Organization for Standardization has developed standards for the testing of image permanence, those standards have yet to be extended to digital print output, though the organization has signaled its intent to provide such standards.


Test sheet made to reveal errors or flaws, predict results from the printer and record how a printing job is intended to appear when finished.


In the fine art world the publisher is the company who contracts with an artist to print an edition. The publisher is usually responsible for the printing and the marketing of the artist's work. By printing an edition, many art collectors are able to enjoy the same image, and at a greatly reduced price from the original painting.

Published Edition

This is the regular edition of each print, numbered in arabic numerals.


(1) Sheet folded twice, making pages one-fourth the size of the original sheet. A quarto makes an 8-page signature. (2) Book made from quarto sheets, traditionally measuring about 9' x 12'.

Rag paper

Papers with a complete or partial content of cotton fibers.

Replacement Proofs

These proofs, pulled over and above the published edition, are unnumbered duplicates intended to replace prints which may become damaged in shipment, handling, etc.


The term used to refer to the copy of a fine art piece. A reproduction could be in the form of a print, like an offset-lithographic print, an inkjet print on different substrates or even reproduced in the same medium as the original, as in an oil painting.


To place printing properly with regard to the edges of paper and other printing on the same sheet. Such printing is said to be in register.

Register Marks

Cross-hair lines on mechanicals and film that help keep flats, plates, and printing in register. Also called crossmarks and position marks.

Satin Finish

Alternate term for dull finish on coated paper.


To compress paper along a straight line so it folds more easily and accurately. Also called crease.

Screen Printing

Printing technology that is used to print everything from t-shirts and short-run posters, to novelties like coffee mugs and decals. Screen printing is most valued for its ability to print on a wide variety of materials with flexibility. Also known as Serigraphy.

Secondary Market

A market, largely operated by retail galleries, where limited edition prints are bought and sold by collectors after the edition is sold out at the publisher. Generally prints offered for sale on the secondary market are at values above the original published price.


Print made using a stencil process in which an image or design is superimposed on a very fine mesh screen and printing ink is squeegeed onto the printing surface through the area of the screen that is not covered by the stencil. Also called Screen Printing.


Undesirable transfer of wet ink from the top of one sheet to the underside of another as they lie in the delivery stack of a printer. Also called offset.

Show Through

A problem that occurs when the printing on one side of a sheet is seen from the other side.

Size (Sizing)

Compound mixed with paper or fabric to make it stiffer and less able to absorb moisture.

Slip Sheets

Separate sheets (stock) independent from the original run positioned between the "printed run" for a variety of reasons such as eliminating out-gassing.


That quality of paper defined by its levelness that allows for pressure consistency in printing, assuring uniformity of print.

Sold-Out Prints

Where a print is shown as "sold out", this means sold-out at the publisher. "Sold-out" prints are sometimes available from galleries at the original publisher's price, depending upon the length of time elapsed following publication.


Paper that, due to mistakes or accidents, must be thrown away instead of delivered printed to the customer, as compared to waste.


The quality of paper to maintain its original size when it undergoes pressure and moisture changes.


The material on which an image is printed, usually paper but can be any substance for which a method of adhering ink can be achieved.

Super calendaring

A machine procedure that produces a high finished paper surface that is extremely smooth and exceptional for printing.

Swellable Paper

Paper whose surface absorbs inks to allow quicker drying and somewhat longer display life. However, swellable papers remain sensitive to water and moisture and prints can be ruined by even small amounts of moisture.

Tone Compression

Reduction in the tonal range from the original scene to the printed reproduction.


The rough surfaced finish of papers.

Total Numbers of Prints

It is often difficult to determine the total number of existing impressions of any single print unless the edition is carefully controlled and the documentation made public. Because of the complexity of the various trial and state proof series of work, absolute numerical accuracy cannot be assured though every effort has been made to achieve this end.

Trial proof

Trial proofs are taken for various reasons, such as to test various inks, papers, make-ready, and the press. Often they are discarded if the test produces unsatisfactory results.


Decorative design or illustration.

Vintage Print

An image printed around the same time as the negative (or original capture) was made.


To Unique or Enhance an image on a print --usually by painting over, or "highlighting", the focal points of the image with original paint, thus giving the print "texture", "dimension" and added "distinction". (Also known as "Hand Enhance" or "Hand Highlight")


Papers that are not smoothed by going through the calendering process.


Translucent logo in paper created during manufacturing by slight embossing from a dandy roll while paper is still approximately 90 percent water.


The ability of a material to withstand the effects of exposure to weather conditions, significant change in physical or chemical properties.

With the Grain

Parallel to the grain direction of the paper being used, as compared to against the grain. See also Grain Direction.

Woodfree Paper

Made with chemical pulp only. Paper usually classified as calendered or supercalendered.

Working Proof

A trial proof bearing the artist's printer's notes and corrections.


A smooth paper made on finely textured wire that gives the paper a gentle patterned finish.

Enjoy more of Dano’s work

I encourage you to enjoy more of Dano’s articles and videos on Epson’s “Inside Epson” and “Focal Points”.

I highly recommend enjoying his Signature Worthy Series videos where photography industry legends discuss their (and my) favorite Epson papers. It’s an inspirational and enjoyable series that truly captures the joy of using Epson’s wonderful Signature Worthy Papers (which I will discuss in an upcoming article).

Dano has also been featured on Scott Kelby’s Blog and in Rangefinder & DoubleExposure. Check them out to learn more about this legend of photography printing.


The origin of these words are not from a single source or individual, and in many cases are unknown. This is merely a collection of terminology which is provided to offer a common language and understanding of the following terms when used in a discussion of Fine Art Printing. When used outside the context of a Fine Art Printing discussion, these terms may have entirely different meanings which is true of many words in the English language.

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If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Welcome to (Best of the Blog List)

This page has moved. Please use the READ THIS FIRST tab at the top of this site.

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If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

Friday, July 16, 2010

onOne Software offering $150 off Plug-In Suite 5

Photoshop Plug-Ins You Can't Live Without!

In an offer that won’t be found on onOne Software’s site, they are offering readers of this blog $150 off Plug-In Suite 5. I’ll be talking about the goodness of Genuine Fractals (included in this package) in my current printing series, and I have already recommended PhotoTools and PhotoFrame in past articles, so now is a good time to stock up and save. Keep in mind that this suite also has full 64-bit support and is compatible with Photoshop CS5, so those wishing to bid adieu to 32-bit Photoshop should at least install the trial version of this suite.  Click here for more details, videos and more.

NOTE: For early users of Plug-In Suite 5, if you have hit the nasty bug where you get a solid black display – that issue has been resolved! Simply download the latest update and everything works smoothly now.

NOTE: This site requires cookies and uses affiliate linking to sites that use cookies.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

REVIEW: Photo Recipes Live: Behind the Scenes by Scott Kelby

Photo Recipes Live: Behind the Scenes by Scott Kelbyis another great resource by my favorite photography and Photoshop book author, Scott Kelby (who also is one of my top photographers) . This book is really a video with a transcript-style book to accompany it, and what he does in this video is recreate some of the popular photo recipes you’ve seen in his The Digital Photography Book series (found in my highly popular Which books should I read? article). In this video you get to see the behind-the-scenes look at the lighting and environment where he shoots these shots as well as the misses that require adjustments to get the perfect shot. Scott is very interactive and discusses equipment, camera settings, environment conditions and much more to help you understand how to successfully capture the image shown at the beginning of each chapter.

There’s a little something for everyone in this video, so let me do a quick rundown of what to expect:

  1. Window Light Portrait – Here Scott shows how to use a window and a diffuser with a long lens to create a nice portrait that some might thing was done using studio lighting.
  2. Couples Portrait – In the same environment as the first shot, but now using a soft box, Scott demonstrates how to capture a nice couples portrait.
  3. 3 Light Setup – In this chapter Scott demonstrates a nice three light setup on a simple black Westcott background.
  4. Clamshell Lighting, Part 1 – For this setup, Scott uses a Westcott reflector to fill in the shadows under the eyes and a studio light above to create a common portrait technique that’s great for women.
  5. Clamshell Lighting, Part 2 – Here Scott does the same as above but also includes another soft box to clamshell the soft boxes and uses the Westcott reflector to fill in remaining shadows. This is a little different from how I do clamshell lighting of this type as I use the two soft boxes like a clamshell and then no reflector is required, whereas Scott puts the soft box behind the model which acts as a bright white background – which is useful, but a little different. The net result here is a nice effect that works well.
  6. Shooting Food – This is a neat little video that shows how to pull off a cool food shot (like Scott’s food photography idol, Lou Manna), and includes a little trick with a vanity  mirror that some will really enjoy. I know I thought it was a pretty neat one!
  7. Shooting Flowers – This one is funny because it is a bit of outtake reel that shows that not all goes perfectly even for the great Scott Kelby. I think this was great to include because so many of my students and readers get upset when things aren’t working, but Scott shows what every good photographer knows – sometimes you just need some gaffers tape to make things go right!
  8. Location Shooting – This is a good one that shows you can be in the crappiest location and less than ideal weather conditions still get a great shot.
  9. One Light Overhead – The shot this section is modeled after is one of my favorite photos from Scott Kelby’s portfolio, so I was excited to see how it was done. Unfortunately I think in this chapter he fails to pull off a successful recreation of the original. Perhaps it was the colors and skin tones of the original model that made it so powerful, but this chapter left me highly disappointed.
  10. Hard Lighting – This is good stuff if you are photographing men where you need a good strong shot, and it shows that you don’t really need to be in absolute darkness to get one of these types of images.
  11. Landscapes – This was a chapter that I think doesn’t work in this series. Scott is indoors and while he talks about some important landscape shooting concepts, I think this chapter will confuse more than it helps some viewers.
  12. Ring Flash Adapter – Here Scott demonstrates my favorite studio prop – the Ray Flash Ring Flash Adapter for your on-camera flash.
  13. Pano Shots – Again, Scott talks about concepts in the studio that would have been better discussed outdoors. I think a day outdoors shooting this and chapter 11 would have been a better call (or at least on the roof of the building).
  14. Portrait Lighting – This is really just a series of tips than a real portrait session. I’m guessing this one was shot at the end of the day.
  15. Dramatic Portrait Look – Now this is a very cool demonstration on how to get a nice portrait that is different from what you’ll get from your local Sears Photography Studio! Pay attention on this one – good stuff here.
  16. Product Shots – In this last one Scott discusses the all important product shot that nearly everyone finds themselves doing at some point for one reason or another. This is nice elegant solution that doesn’t require fancy product studio lighting tents or anything and realistically can be pulled off with an on-camera flash as I did in my book review of On-Camera Flash Techniques.


Going into this DVD I was very excited because I thought it was going to be a deep behind the scenes look at a bunch of great lighting scenarios. In the end I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more depth, and I felt that chapters 11, 13 & 14 felt totally out of place with the rest of them. With that said, it was still a solid series that I commend Scott Kelby for taking the time to produce. A picture is worth a thousand words, but a video is worth a billion so for many you’ll have a few “ah, ha” moments that help you to pull of shots that you have been struggling with for quite some time. I therefore can easily recommend this book for the beginner to intermediate photographer who is looking to see what happens behind the scenes to pull of the great shots from Scott’s books.


I was provided a free copy of this book for review and I will get a commission if you purchase using select links in this article, so thank you for supporting this blog!

NOTE: This site requires cookies and uses affiliate linking to sites that use cookies.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

Monday, July 12, 2010

REVIEW: Top 10 Mistakes in HDR Processing and How to Fix Them – Trey Ratcliff


Trey Ratcliff of Stuck In Customs fame has released a new eBook called Top 10 Mistakes in HDR Processing and How to Fix Them . Of course, we’ve all seen HDR mistakes and some would even argue that some of Trey’s past work was an HDR mistake. The funny thing is that so does he!  In this short 35+ page eBook he goes over the lessons he’s learned both in imaging his own HDR work as well as critiquing many others. In this book he provides some basic tips on how to solve these problems as well examples of his past “mistakes” and current work that represents a correction of these problems.

If you’ve already purchased Trey Ratcliff's Digital Workflow for Photographers then you’ll find a similar format here. It’s easy reading without a ton of depth or step-by-step instructions like you would find in a Scott Kelby book (i.e,. 7 Point System), so I found it to be a little too generalized for my taste. However, the book is very well done and for those that have a good understanding of Photoshop will probably find the high level tips enough to get them off and running to address these common issues. For the rest of us, it’s more about raising awareness of what is bad HDR and what can be done to solve it (i.e., Mistake #10 – Too Many Colors, Fix: Don’t saturate more than one color).


If you are a big fan of HDR, then for $9.95 it’s hard to go wrong with picking this one up. There’s some practical tips that will set you straight so that you aren’t looking at the mistake images he discusses and think “hey, that’s pretty cool” (as I did with a couple). It’s more like cluing you in to what you might be clueless on right now! However, I should caution those that are looking for instructive solutions that you aren’t going to find that here, so if detail and depth are your thing this this probably isn’t the best solution for you.

Useful Software for HDR Fans

For those doing HDR, Trey and I both still recommend HDRSoft Photomatix, Topaz Adjust 4, Nik Software’s Viveza 2, and Nik Software’s Color Efex for the best results. If you are interested in the Nik Software products, I strongly encourage you to consider getting the bundle as it offers the best value.

Other Trey Ratcliff products

In addition to those already mentioned, here are some other products Trey offers on his site:


I was given a free copy of this book to review and if you purchase it from the links in this article I will get a small commission.

NOTE: This site requires cookies and uses affiliate linking to sites that use cookies.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Canon printing series is under way…

Today, I received the all-new Canon iPF6300 24” wide format printer (B&H and Adorama) from Canon. This printer is so fast and fun to use that I’ve already burned through my first roll of paper that comes with the printer and have done 10 prints, including two huge 24x51” prints! This wouldn’t have been possible without the assistance of JVH Technical LLC, as they volunteered to come by my house and carry this 200 pound beast up to my studio! I’d love to say that they had a reason for doing this, but the reality is that these guys help anyone in the metro area with printing issues – even if they haven’t purchased anything from JVH! However, if you ever take the time to meet John and Ryan you’ll understand why they’ll be my preferred source for printing supplies and equipment moving forward.

Stay tuned for some really cool stuff in the printing series. A LOT is  happening behind the scenes, so I’m eager to get some articles released to you as soon as I have all the data I need.

Thanks for supporting the blog!


P.S. Here’s more info on my favorite local digital imaging solutions company…

Attention Northwest Shoppers – JVH Technical – A GREAT Place to buy local


Talk to anyone in the Northwest who is serious about printing, and odds are they’ve come across the path of John Harrington (no, not this one) and his company JVH Technical, LLC. When you do, the first words out of their mouth are always “John is a great guy”, and after meeting him myself I have to agree. John and his son Ryan are a big volume printer sales and supplies company with home grown service – literally – they run the business out of their really cool classic Northwest home!

Now, I know to some this “home run” business might be a turn off, but the reality is that when John talks about printing people listen. Industry greats like Greg Gorman (featured on my Top Photographers list) and Bambi Cantrell have been in attendance to his past open houses (sponsored by Epson and Canon) and his printer sales blow away even local big shots like Glazers and Kenmore Camera. Not only that, but this July the Sr. VP of Imaging from Canon USA, Rich Reamer, along with other top brass from Canon and Epson will be in attendance at his Demo Day on July 8th. In fact, as I was leaving John’s house in preparation of this article an ex-CEO of Hasselblad just happened to drop in to John’s to catch up on old times! Yeah, this isn’t some ordinary mom and pop home business!

This is no small mom and pop shop either, as John carries an inventory of over $400,000 in fine art papers and a huge selection of the latest printers from Epson and Canon that are available for immediate delivery. Not only that, they’ll deliver and install them for you at no charge! In fact, even if you didn’t buy your printer from John, if you have questions or are having problems odds are they’ll come out to your house and help make things right again – usually at no charge! In addition, John’s always happy to provide free samples of the papers you’ve wanted to try, but are wondering if they are worth the expense! This is the kind of customer service that simply doesn’t exist very much in the world today, but it is also why everyone loves JVH! I can’t recommend them enough as a great local resource for printers and supplies, and if you do go visit John as a result of this article (or series) be sure to tell him that I sent you. He may just have something special for you for doing so - <wink/> <wink/>

Here’s more in John’s own words as to why you should buy from JVH.

NOTE: This site requires cookies and uses affiliate linking to sites that use cookies.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

Thursday, July 8, 2010 has a new address –

ronmartblog-LogoEffective now, I have added a new domain name for this blog that hopefully will be a little easier for people to remember (and for me to say). The new web address for this blog is The old address, will still exist, but it will forward to the new name so there’s no need to update your existing bookmarks.


Well ronmart has historical meaning for me as it was my first email name ( – but this doesn’t refer to me anymore). I eventually used the same email at my current employer, so I picked up the  nickname ronmart. It’s short, easy to say and pronounce and unlike my last name people will rarely misspell it! The blog part after that is pretty easy, so I thought this was a good combo.

I considered, but that domain already points to my SiteWelder site so there ya go.

Why not

Well because that already exists and it’s the place where my professional portfolio exists. Besides, most people misspell my last name so I figured that the blog name should be short and easier to remember.

What’s coming up

This blog is growing fast and lots of great articles are on the way. I know that content updates have been a little slow over the last few months but that’s about to change as a slew of articles are in the works behind the scenes. I’ve also contracted an assistant to help me to get more time on focusing on creating content for you rather than administrative tasks. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the upcoming printing series as well as other great product reviews that are in the works.

Thanks for your support!

Ron Martinsen

NOTE: This site requires cookies and uses affiliate linking to sites that use cookies.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity