Selling the Fake / Right of Wrong ?


Example of substituting one background for another

Example of substituting one background for another


Selling the fake is a term coined by a fantastic photographer named Joel Grimes.  Google that name and see some of his work.  He is a commercial photographer working in the advertising field and is known for his multi layered sports photos. He very often will separate the subject from its background and then place it on another background to complete the image.  Selling the fake is what he calls making the photo look real to the viewer.

This technique brings up the age old discussion of ethics.  Already critics say it is impossible to believe a published photograph is real and that you can no longer be sure that what you are looking at has not be altered in some way.  Photoshop has been blamed for much of this manipulation but there are new techniques and other software and hardware available  which make altering a photo quite simple and available to even the most novice of photographers.

Well, this is what this Moorestown New Jersey Portrait Photographer thinks about all this.  Photos have been manipulated from the beginning of wet plates.  The very act of taking a photo is subjective.  Darkroom techniques were used to crop, and chemically alter images forever.  Digital photography makes all those alterations and many more a very easy reality. It is my feeling that the photographic image must remain true to the subject being photographed.  The end product photo has to depict an honest interpretation of what was seen at the time of exposure.  This is quite subjective and the responsibility remains with the photographer.  When the photographer makes the image he or she must have a pre visualized  concept in mind that will truly represent what is being photographed.  A news photo must tell an accurate story of the event.  Does it matter that the sky was darkened or dodging make the eye more easily see the essence of the photo.  Probably not.  In advertising is it wrong to enhance a product to bring out its best characteristic.  Probably not.  In portraiture is it wrong to now be able to place a subject on a different background.  I think it is probably ok.

What do you think?









Just back from covering a dance class featuring an amazing choreographer and dance instructor Renee Liciaga and new talent Nathan Kassas.  It is alway great working with Renee and seeing her amazing students progress.  Here are a couple of photos from today’s shoot.  Sometimes it is just fun.


“Younger Next Year”

It’s Sunday evening and I’m just finishing up a retouch of six portraits for a new client.  My desk is clear for a change and all my paperwork is completed.  I’m ready for another new week.  I’ve not allowed myself the time lately to be active on my blog or website but hopefully I can spend a little more time on this aspect of my business.  There are a bunch of photo projects on my plate but tonight I’ll be talking about keeping healthy.

If there is one thing I’ve learned during this past few months is that without good health nothing else matters.  As I age, I have come to realize that the loss of a healthy body can be devastating.  Its hard to make great pictures when you are tied to an IV drip.  That is why I wanted to talk a little about the secret of staying young and active long into old age.

I know…You are all too young to worry about learning about this.  But – I have the secret and I will share it with you.  It all boils down to this.

“Stop Eating Crap”  You all know what I’m talking about.  Eat natural foods, stay away from refined sugar and watch the carbs.  Good lean meat, chicken and fish and lots of green veggies. Don’t eat for fun…eat to stay alive.  And eat a little less and a little more often.Younger-Next-Year

“Vigorous Exercise Six Days a Week”  I’m talking about breaking a sweat.  You don’t have to give yourself a heart attack but you have got to move it every day.  Rest one day a week if you must.

And, it goes without saying that you must stop the smoking and excess drinking.  Does anyone really have to tell you that these things are bad for you?

Read:  Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley and Henry Lodge.

OK – Enough lecturing for the night.  Get your butt to the gym and throw the twinkies in the trash can before it is too late.

MTC – Bob L



Day into night

Years ago when film makers needed to shoot a night scene for a movie they used a technique which has long ago been forgotten by most.  Film was slow back then night scenes were quite difficult due to the lack of technology that we have today.  Back then if you wanted to create a night scene you would simply place a blue filter over the lens and under expose by about two f-stops of light.  Viola – instant night scene.  The sunlight became moonlight as if by magic. 

A short time ago I was asked to photograph a campus scene at night to illustrate a story about evening students.  The problem was that the students to be photographed could not stick around until night time.  I had to shoot this in the late afternoon under bright sunlight.  Here is what I did.  I changed my white balance to tungsten which gave a early evening timbre to the existing light.  I then under exposed by about two f stops and places a CTO filter on a speed light flash to give the correct white balance to the subjects and create the illusion of a street lamp illumination.  I have mixed emotions about the outcome so will leave it up to the viewer to tell me if the fake works.  Hopefully I’ll get to do this over at a later date as dusk or later when the light will be a little more realistic. Image

Restarting Your Engine

From time to time I think it is good to venture outside of my comfort zone and push the envelope a little from that which I am accustomed.  So, each year I like to take a photo trip and engage in a different type of photography from my day to day corporate work.

This year I traveled to Page Arizona and produced what some might call fine art travel photos.  A sampling is shown hear with more available at my newly created Fine Art Gallery on my website.  Just go to and click on my gallery menu.  You will see my fine art gallery listed there.  I hope you will enjoy this work.  I’ll post more from this trip from time to time.FineArtWeb

Cost over quality: Chicago Sun-Times fires its photo staff, and journalism’s death spiral continues

Progressive Culture | Scholars & Rogues

That crashing sound you just heard from the Upper Midwest was the Chicago Sun-Times throwing its photography staff out the window. All 28 of them. Pulitzers and everything. The paper explained thusly:

The Sun-Times business is changing rapidly and our audiences are consistently seeking more video content with their news. We have made great progress in meeting this demand and are focused on bolstering our reporting capabilities with video and other multimedia elements. The Chicago Sun-Times continues to evolve with our digitally savvy customers, and as a result, we have had to restructure the way we manage multimedia, including photography, across the network.

This seems a clear and official acquiescence to the idea that the Sun-Times presence has now crossed the tipping point, that it is more about online than it is the traditional daily paper channel. And the logic about the value of video content in the online…

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Great Photo Resource and More about Pixels

Last week I blogged about understanding pixels and their relationship to photo usage.  I’m continuing that today but first I want to call your attention to a great local photo store right here in the Philadelphia area.

 Allen’s Camera has been a family owned business since 1977. They cater to pros and amatures alike and have as complete a stock of cameras, lenses and accessories as anyone could hope for.  Prices are usually as good or better than the big New York stores like  B&H and Adaroma and their personal service and knowledge is outstanding. I can’t tell you how many times they have gotten me out of jams when I needed some obscure piece of equipment or supply at the last minute.  Allen, Brandon, Rob and Marlena are always ready to explain and show the latest equipment and techniques.  If you are an amateur you will love their personal service and photo knowledge. If you are a pro you will be amazed at how much high end equipment is in stock ready to go.  It is really just a treat to visit the store and I highly recommend that you do.  

Their address:  Allen’s Camera and Video, 4401 New Falls Road, Levittown PA 19056 / Telephone them at 215-547-2841 / Visit their web page at


More about pixels.

Last week I wrote about the proper way to size photos using pixel dimensions.  For Newspaper printing – 200 pixels per inch at 10 inches, Magazines – 300 pixels per inch at 10 inches and for viewing on a computer screen – 72 pixels per inch by 7 inches or less.  These were guide lines only but are good starting places.  The big lesson here is that you need to know the finished printed size as well as the number of pixels per inch to determine the proper file size to deliver.

Digital Photos are Pixel Based.  I often here people referring to the size of a digital file using the term dots per inch or lines per inch.  Dots and LInes are printing terms and have no relevance to digital photos except that when printed they must be the correct size to satisfy the needs of the press.  Let me explain. A black and white photo in a newspaper is usually printed using a 65-line screen when making the halftone.  The halftone is what actually places the ink on the paper using a series of dots.  Examine a newspaper photo with a loop and you will see black dots and white dots.  The closer the black dots are the darker the photo.  The more white space between the black dots the lighter the photo.  In color printing the screen used is usually up around 150 lines per inch and the halftone is made up of cyan, magenta, yellow and black dots.  Complicated, yes but all you have to remember is to refer to digital files as being made up of pixels.

Enough Said.  Next blog deals with light modifiers for speed lights.