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Interview with Martin Evening – Photoshop and Lightroom expert

Martin Evening - Photoshop and Lightroom expert
What is your title, and can you explain what your daily responsibilities are?
These days I primarily describe myself as an author and Photoshop/Lightroom expert. I still take photographs, but do so more for pleasure these days rather than for commissions. I have recently been shooting a number of interesting self-commissioned assignments as part of the equipment review work I have been shooting for photographic magazines. Later today I am heading off to meet with the Wizard of Milton Keynes to discuss a Wikka ceremony shoot for nest weekend.

What inspired you most to become a Photographer and Photoshop & Lightroom Educator? Why did you pursue this as a career?
I started out as a professional photographer in the early eighties when everything was all analogue of course. My first encounter with digital imaging was seeing the Quantel Paintbox in action. This was around 1986. I had one of my photographs retouched on this system and it was a complete eye-opener. When I first heard about Photoshop I desperately wanted to get setup with my own digital system. It took a while for me to be able to afford to do so, but once I did it was a career changing move. Back then I was most inspired by Deke McClelland’s Photoshop Bible, plus Russell Brown’s and Julieanne Kost’s movie tutorials. I have also learned a lot from Photoshop experts such as Bruce Fraser, Katrin Eismann, Rod Wynne-Powell and Jeff Schewe

What do you think is the biggest obstacle to pursuing a career in the creative fields?
The popularity of photography and digital imaging is a good thing of course, but the democratisation of photography has also had a deep effect on the professional market. I’m not saying if this is a good or bad thing. It is a fact of life that any would be professionals have to take into account. Therefore, if you want to succeed these days you have to specialise in an area of photography that is unique and requires specialist skills, such as working with CGI, or high-end portraiture. In other words, go beyond the ordinary, or shoot/create stuff most people don’t have access to.

With all the new versions of Photoshop and Lightroom what changes do you personally feel are the most exciting or brilliant?
Undoubtedly the work done on Adobe Camera Raw, which was initiated by Photoshop creator, Thomas Knoll, who got Adobe to support developing it and still works on the Camera Raw team till this day. This has had brought the biggest benefits to image processing in Photoshop and Lightroom. The most recent Photoshop feature to have got me excited is the Adaptive Wide Angle filter. I use this all the time on architectural, landscape and Photomerge images and love the control it gives the user.

What Photographers & Photoshop artists  do you follow, and why do they stand out from others in your opinion?
I like anything that is original and exciting to look at. There are so many talented people out there and all are worthy of acknowledgement. Some of the photographers I admire most are fashion photographer Nick Knight, who is currently doing really interesting moving image work on his showstudio website and collaborating and supporting others to do the same. Tim Walker’s work is amazing and portrays a quintessentially, quirky British look. Similar in style is Julia Fullerton-Batten. If I was to nominate a Photoshop artist I would say Swedish photographer, Erik Johansson, who combines great Photoshop artistry with wit and style.

It so happens I have also been working on a new book, this time it’s going to be about professional photography and titled ‘Photographers at Work’. Basically it is about the core things you need to do when setting up in business as a photographer and mainly consists of interviews with working photographers, done as both text and video interviews. It is has been a great experience to concentrate on the work of other professionals, whose work I admire.

What social networks do you like most? Which present good examples of Photography the best?
I have various social media accounts, such as Flickr, Twitter, LinedIn, Google+, but I am not particularly  active on any of them apart from my  ‘MartinEveningPhotoshopAndPhotography’ business Facebook page. These days there is so little time to get work done that social media is a low priority, especially when there is so much work that needs to be taken care of first. I am also cautious about terms of service, which is why I would never use Instagram and for sites like Facebook always embed a watermark. I urge others to do the same and clearly assert their copyright.

What is your prediction of the evolution of social networks? How do you think these networks will showcase artists and Photographers better in the future?
I may not have the time to get involved much myself, but I acknowledge it is important if you career is primarily involved with producing creative work and making a living from that. It is the new way to promote yourself, to build an online community and drive people to your website. At the same time, as I just mentioned, photographers and artists have to educate themselves about the importance of copyright, which is the lifeblood of any creative career. It’s all very well blithely sharing what you do, but do keep a tabs on how changing terms of service may affect your creative assets.

What predictions do you have for the future of Photoshop and Lightroom?
Photoshop has pretty much got to the stage where most of the big development has been done and it is more a case of fine-tuning as new features evolve. The same is kind of true for Lightroom, though I feel there are a lot more things we will want to see added to this program. I also think creative users of these programs will use these tools in a more matter of fact way, where we will see a resurgence of more classic styles of image making and the Photoshop/Lightroom element is more incidental, rather than a notable feature. Take for example the backlash against the obvious HDR image processing look. A few years from now I reckon we’ll see a more subdued approach to HDR photography.

Follow Martin here!   Photoshop for Photographers
The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom book  & on Facebook

Interview with Colin Smith – Photographer & Photoshop Trainer

 Colin Smith - Photographer & Photoshop Trainer
What is your title, and can you explain what your daily responsibilities are?
This is a funny one, I really don’t have a title and I’m not sure what I do anymore. I just follow my passions in digital art and see what happens. I’ve been lucky that this journey has lasted 20 years so far, and still going. Part of my passion caused me to found 14 years ago. This is my baby, or my home base, however you want to look at it. I create art and then I create tutorials on the techniques used. I post these tutorials for free on the CAFE and have been doing that for over a decade.  I also started recording videos 10 years ago because I want to teach people that way that I wanted to learn, all the training at the time was dry, intellectual  and devoid of inspiration. Today, I still record full length training videos and have opened up PhotoshopCAFE to some of my talented friends, this provides a platform for us to keep it real, and produce training that is inspired and rooted in the real world. None of us are motivated by money, we are an independent publisher and are driven by our passion, not corporate greed. A lot of other things spring out of this, and these are the things that fill my day: making photos, digital art, flying quadcopters, experimenting and always learning. Out of these experiments have come 19 books and 3 national tours as well as invitations to speak at conferences and events on a regular basis.   I don’t work, I live my passion and consider myself very fortunate.

What inspired you most to become a Photographer  & Photoshop educator? Why did you pursue this as a career?
I think the passion was always there, the desire, no, the need to create. Since I remember as a child I was always drawn to the visual arts (and audio, Im also a musician) I always enjoyed painting, drawing and making things like scale models. I worked as a graphic designer, then moved more into interactive for a while. This just became a huge mix of everything, design, illustration, animation, 3D video and yes, photography. I considered myself one of the luckiest people alive to be able to work in the creative industry for a living. I worked for a couple of companies, became a creative director and then struck out on my own as a freelancer.  I don’t know that i call myself a photographer. I have been making photographs for a number of years, own some nice equipment, understand lighting and composition and have been paid to make images. I have been fortunate to work with great clients that include Sattchi and Sattchi, Toyo Tires, Microsoft and some Hollywood entertainment companies for both Design and photography. This still makes me reluctant to call myself a designer or a photographer. I feel that titles put restrictions on people, sure, they also provide definitions where you can get work, but I’ve been fortunate that I have been able to make a living without having to wear titles. The funny thing is I have rarely shared any of my commercial work, that’s for clients and it’s their property as far as I’m concerned. I’m fascinated with art and technology, so when the 2 converge, I just play and have fun.

As far as an educator, that’s also funny. I never set out to be an educator, in fact I was happy that I wasn’t. I just have a burning desire to share what I discover with other people. I love experimenting, exploring and then sharing what I discovered. Then suddenly I wake up and realize that I have become an educator, I panic, and realize I need to create more art. I want to keep everything in balance and I have a fear of being stuck in one thing and becoming stagnant, comfortable and ultimately obsolete.

What do you think is the biggest obstacle to pursuing a career in the creative fields?
Permission and confidence. People it seems, are walking around in a state of stasis, always waiting for someone to give them permission to follow their crazy idea. (I left my home New Zealand almost 20 years ago to pursue my dream, to follow my path and see where it goes). Don’t wait for permission, give yourself permission to follow your dream, take a chance, get started on whatever it is that you want to do. The second part is confidence, many artists, especially the talented ones are afraid that their work isn’t good enough, so they hide it away and no one sees it. They don’t step up and promote themselves because they are afraid they aren’t good enough. I also want to add one more, worried about the opinions of others: Many people don’t understand what it is to be a creative and discourage people from following that path and to “get a real job”. I used to work as a telecommunications  technician in NZ. I used to draw pictures all day, and “Sandy” my supervisor at the time said “stop doodling, there is no future in it”, all I can say is “look at me now Sandy”.

With all the new versions of Photoshop & Lightroom what changes do you personally feel are the most exciting or brilliant?
Oh boy you would ask this. I don’t know, I get excited about all the new features except for the dumb ones. I shouldn’t say this, but occasionally a feature or direction is put into the software because  a committee of executives thought it would be a good idea to.. because such and such a company are doing.. and therefore it would be good for our … to do it too. Fortunately that doesn’t seem to happen too often with Adobe, but you know the features because they stay in for a couple of versions and then get dropped. Recently I have been very excited about the content aware tools in Photoshop. I also love all the GPU enabled features because they are fast, as well as the direction with non destructive and 32 bit workflows. I really love the synergy between Lightroom and Photoshop’s Camera RAW. Being able to go back and forth is huge, although I normally do the big adjustments in Lightroom and them move to Photoshop for fine tuning, retouching and compositing. It’s a great time to be a photographer!

What Photographers & Photoshop artists  do you follow, and why do they stand out from others in your opinion?
I know this sounds terrible, but I have never really followed other artists much, I know I should. I see stuff that really inspires me, but it’s more genre driven. I like big, cinematic and epic imagery as well as clever simplistic concepts. I have never been much of a fan of impressionism, always favoring ultra realistic styles. I do admire the work of Dylan Cole, who is a Hollywood matte painter and appreciate the work of anyone who is skilled in their craft.

What social networks do you like most? Which present good examples of Photoshop and Photography the best?
The social network I spend most of my time on is Facebook, (kiwicolin) because everyone is there. I think 500px presents the best photography and I also have a account there (I go by kiwicolin, but don’t post much). Google + are trying hard to be the social network for Photographers and I also have an account these as ColinSmith1. I am starting to post more there. The social network that I post the most to as far as training is youtube, I post a new tutorial every week on the  PhotoshopCAFE channel. I also engage with Flickr and deviant art.

What is your prediction of the evolution of social networks? How do you think these networks will showcase artists and Photographers better in the future?
My advice is to post on Social Networks but make sure you build your own entity. You can’t depend on Social Networks for your brand. 2 examples are the recent change to Facebook pages, where they now encourage you to pay to reach your fans and also the attempt of Instagram to take ownership of your photographs. So, post on them , enjoy them, engage with other users, which I love to do, but don’t fully depend on them.

What predictions do you have for the future of Photoshop and Lightroom?
I see them becoming faster and easier to use.When I say easier to use, I mean that more tools like content aware will come along where anyone can do task that used to be very difficult in the past. This is great because the user can concentrate on their creativity and not be always thinking about the technology or the tool. I also think that the learning curve will get steeper though because of the sheer amount of features available. However, If you think that Photoshop is complex, try opening Maya.I think the future is looking very bright of Photoshop, Lightroom and the people who have the courage to follow their creative dreams.

Follow Colin Here! on Facebook  on Twitter on Google+ & on YouTube

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