tuesday painterly photo art – chinn

Tuesday Painterly Photo Art

Heather Michelle Chinn – AKA “Heather the Painter” Corel Painter Master Elite, Corel Certified Painter Educator, Golden Artist Educator, M.Photog, M.Artist, CR.

Completely captivated!

Came across the first image in this post when I was judging an imaging competition for Professional Photographers of America (PPA). It was obviously in the Artist category, but it was such a fantastic portrait that contained an incredible personality. I loved it! Great skill was needed to make this fantasy piece believable.

I have since been exposed to more of Heather’s work, and she shows why there are so many credentials following her name. Another image, in an entirely different style, cemented the fact I wanted Heather to be featured in this blog about Painterly Photo Art. I won’t tell you which image, but know that “Leo” is one of my all-time heroes in the art world. Here’s Heather.

Learning Corel Painter

Creatives wanting to learn Corel Painter, and traditional oil/acrylic painting often ask what they can study to learn how to produce stronger paintings. Studying traditional artwork in a style that moves you is the key! Look at the same elements used to judge the International Print Competition** and you can see how it translates into a more PAINTING-focused list:

Here we go!

Impact – Does this grab the viewer/collector for a long time and stir emotions by using the following elements?

Technical Excellence – Are your brush strokes varied to a degree where not everything looks like mush, or “matchy-matchy?” How are your shadow/highlight transitions accomplished in blending or laying varying levels of colors next to each other? Is the texture interesting and supportive? Are the brush SIZES supporting and appropriate? Are objects correctly proportionate?

© heather chinn photograph“Letters to Penelope” © Heather Chinn Photography

Creativity – Is this something “new” that viewers/collectors haven’t experienced before? Is it a different take on a theme?

Style – Does your heart and soul show through your art? Is it an accurate expression of the real you? People can tell. If it’s you, it shows.

© heather chinn photograph“Defiant” before/after © Heather Chinn Photography

Composition – Does the layout of choices such as value range, lines, subject shape weights, etc. support your story? Does it keep the interest of the viewer without them knowing why?

Presentation – Is it presented in a way that best supports the painting? IE: Frame choice? Hanging height with lighting choice? I rarely use thin frames, and try to find frames that are at least 4″ in width or matches the subject’s face size. Is it best presented on paper or canvas? Watercolors, pastels, charcoals, and more modern interpretations read beautifully on papers. I’ve found traditional paintings are best received on canvas. It’s up to your style and taste. Is it hung at eye level? Is it well lit?

© Heather Chinn Photography “Elysium” © Heather Chinn Photography Original photograph Tammy Bevins

Color Balance – I believe this is crucial to a painting being successful. If you look at well-known pieces by the Masters such as Monet’s waterlilies, John Singer Sargent’s portraits, or the brilliant works by Vermeer, you’ll see not every color in the spectrum was used. That can be overkill unless it aligns with your style (more modern). The aspect of BALANCE is of paramount importance. Are the colors overall easy to view for a long period, or does the saturation scream at you? Does the harmony and balance of colors playing together work to support the message? If you look at a Sargent portrait and take it into Photoshop and look at the colors used, you’ll find very few super saturated colors are used. Saturated colors were reserved for pops of “surprise.” Limit your “aha!” color moments for a more pleasing, easy-to-look-at-for-a-long-while masterpiece.

This links to an excellent post on color theory: http://www.oil-painting-techniques.com/color-theory.html
© Heather Chinn Photography “Culvarious” before/after marketing piece – © Heather Chinn Photography

Center of Interest – This absolutely has to support your story. What are you trying to say to the viewer? Is it about the portrait of the face, or maybe a secret message about the surrounding props? Leading lines, lighting choices, highlight placement/shadow placement can all subconsciously lead the viewer here. Brushwork can also lead to the center of interest by refining your strokes and intensity of detail into the area you want the viewer to “land” and stay awhile.

Lighting – This absolutely must support your story, again (seeing a pattern here?).  Dramatic lighting on a fresh newborn baby speaks of ominous tones or dramatic backstory. If you study the popular Old Masters paintings, you may notice two things: direction lighting (versus flat lighting), and an element of backlighting make for STUNNING paintings. Flat lighting is harder to paint, in my opinion. There is no clear definition of highlight placement. It works for some artists. For me, I tend to love clear, defined highlights that come with direction lighting, and a backlit/hair lit portrait. Is the lighting the most flattering to your subject?

© Heather Chinn Photography “Divinely DaVinci” – © Heather Chinn Photography (This image ROCKS! ED.)

Subject Matter & Story Telling – These are pretty self-explanatory! What the heck are you trying to convey in your artwork? Is it clear?

Technique – Balance your colors. Balance your brush texture. Varying degrees of blending/hard edges will make for a very interesting painting. There must be some tension of contrast between your elements.

© Heather Chinn Photography “Oil Interpretation Marketing Piece – © Heather Chinn Photography

Heather’s Extra Tips

I would recommend getting lost in art museums, gallery showings, Pinterest, Behance, and playing with paint! Take screenshots of images that move you. Put them in a single folder, and then go through this list trying to find similar elements between your favorite artwork? Do you find you’re drawn to more monochromatic paintings? More bold colors? Flat lit? Directionally lit? Strong lines, or soft, blended, peaceful scenes? Is there similar brushwork? Is there a dominant color family consistently used? Is there a consistent subject matter?

Maybe if you can find similarities, you can apply those to your masterpieces! Even if you don’t paint in your studio, when applied, these elements will grow your portraiture.

© Heather Chinn Photography Heather’s Headshot – © Heather Chinn Photography

Happy painting, Heather


Heather Michelle Chinn was born with a paintbrush. From early on she would paint anything with any medium within reach from food to nail polish. Her earlier masterpieces were painted inside closet walls and eventually translated into professional murals in Fredericksburg, Virginia. For several years, Heather painted whimsical watercolors for the international stationary company Mon Petite Chou.

Heather is an experienced presenter in live and recorded demonstrations. She has been teaching Corel Painter and mixed media at multi-day workshops, live seminars and webinars, and PPA affiliate schools all across the country for the last eight years. Known for what is consistently called her “calming” manner of speaking, being graceful under pressure, concise and thorough, with easy-to-follow Corel Painter tutorials. Heather is a natural educator across multiple platforms.

Two of her ethereal paintings of children, “Little Miss” and “Not A Girl, Not Yet a Woman,” were featured among 135 artist’s work out of thousands of entries in Ballistic Publishing’s first Painter book. Heather’s masterpieces are consistently featured in the prestigious, annual PPA Loan Collections where only a small percentage of the world’s best photographic artwork is selected among thousands of entries. Interviews and artwork have been featured in multiple Showcase Collections, French Photography Magazine, Digital Photo Pro UK, After Capture and the Official Corel Painter Magazine. Recently, Heather’s work and collaborative efforts have been published in Painter Showcase, a collection of several worldwide digital artists’ masterpieces available at Amazon.com. Her belief that anyone can easily use Corel Painter to create their own keepsakes led her to a speaking platform at the beautiful Phoenix Symphony Hall for the Professional Photographers of America’s International Convention in Phoenix, Arizona in January 2014. Heather made her television debut on Lifetime Television’s “The Balancing Act” in April of 2014.

When Heather isn’t creating oils and mixed media paintings for her photographer clients, or retail collectors on the easel, she travels the country inspiring and mentoring the budding or professional creatives in mixed media and figurative expression. Her time is devoted and divided between painted commissions, and education. It is said that Heather’s “soul” is often very clearly seen in her work. Her elegant brushwork and transcendent color harmonies capture the ethereal essence of the subject and evoke an emotional dialogue between viewer and painting.

To learn Corel Painter, please visit Corel’s vast library of free tutorials at www.Youtube.com/PainterTutorials

Please subscribe to my Youtube channel at www.Youtube.com/HeatherThePainter

Be sure to subscribe to the newsletter at www.HeatherThePainterStore.com for updates on webinars and workshops! There are in-depth tutorials of step by step training on www.HeatherThePainterStore.com. Heather is available for digital painting and acrylic/oil embellishing private and group workshops, private online training, and speaking.

The top two tutorials that help people who have never used Corel Painter, or have never PAINTED before are the “Intro to Painter” and “Portrait Box Set” available for immediate digital download at www.HeatherThePainterStore.com

Deals for Successful-Photographer readers from Heather until September 1st, 2016

“save25” saves $25 off the new Classical Remixed Backgrounds Collection (even if it’s on sale)
“successful” saves you 20% off any tutorial training (even if it’s on sale)

www.HeatherThePainterStore.com  and www.HeatherThePainter.com

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob

** PS – Heather’s post comes at a great time and talks about the twelve elements as used in International Photographic Competition (IPC) Judging starts this Sunday and you can watch the process live. Fabulous education even if you haven’t entered images this time around.
International Photographic Competition
Welcome to IPC Live, streaming July 31 – August 4, 2016. Everyone is welcome to watch! If you are a PPA member, login with your username and password. If you are not a member, create an account below, and enjoy the show! Here are the showtimes:

IPC Judging Live Stream: Sunday, July 31, 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm EST; Monday, August 1 – Thursday, August 4, 8:00 am -6:00 pm EST

IPC Live hosted by Booray Perry, Cr.Photog., CPP: Monday, August 1-Thursday, August 4, 10:15 am & 2:15 pm EST






sunday photo/art quote – close

Sunday PhotoArt Quote – Chuck Close

Some people know how to smack you upside the head in just a few words.

I often find that the fewer the words often, the higher the impact.

chuck close art quote“Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work.” Chuck Close

Pretty sure I have used this quote here before but I believe it bears repetition. If you wait for inspiration to strike you could well be standing on the platform when the train travels past leaving you behind. In my study of artists of all types in looking for inspiration I find that in almost all genres including writing, painting, sculpting and photography, the advice most offered to becoming a stronger artist is just to do it. Of course, you want to practice well but just getting in there and producing whether making mistakes or masterpieces will move you down the road to becoming more proficient at your craft.

Daguerretype – Chuck CloseDaguerreotype – Self-portrait © Chuck Close

Chuck Close was one of the photographic artists who inspired me with a larger than life portraits printed on various strata. Even though he suffered a spinal artery collapse that left him paralyzed he kept working and painting creating photo-realistic work that continues to inspire me today.

Time to get to work. I still need more practice.

How about you?

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob


musician photography – black market trust

Photography of Musicians at Sound Bites Grill

The Black Market Trust

Photographing musicians during a live performance can be a bit of a challenge.

But I dig it!

If you follow this blog you know I am charged with creating the marketing images for bands who play at Sound Bites Grill in Sedona. Also, the ‘Wall of Fame’ is a record of performers who have graced the stage and is becoming a history of entertainment at the restaurant. To date, there are over eighty art pieces presented on the wall.

Here is the latest.

coates photo black market trustThe Black Market Trust Band

Bob Coates Photography photo Black Market TrustHere is the finished piece as presented on the ‘Wall of Fame.’

While the band is performing, I isolate each member and extract them from the scene and then blend them back together while creating the art piece for the wall. These were captured with the Lumix GX7 and the 35-100mm f2.8 Vario lens. After each member is placed on the new canvas layers of texture, drop shadows, and lighting effects are added to create depth and dimension.

While the musicians are on site, I gather their ‘message to the house’ and autographs for inclusion in the final art piece. These are signed in black Sharpie on white paper. After scanning, using Adobe Photoshop they are imported to the final image, sized and inverted to white text. The Blend Mode of the Layer is changed to Screen. This makes the inverted paper, which is now black disappear with no further selections necessary.

Images for the newspaper are also prepped. I shoot in color but do the prep to black and white for the best printing results. Many times a color image is just changed to greyscale by the paper and using NIK Silver FX Pro 2 makes for better contrast and tones. These were captured with the Lumix GH4 and the 12-35 f2.8 Vario lens.

coates photo black market trustBlack & White photo The Black Market Trust Band

black market trust photo by bob coates photographyColor image of the BMT Band

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob


infamous infrared photography

Infrared Photography – Some Members
of Infamous Mopar AZ Chapter Car Club in Sedona

You never know who you might run into when you are out photographing clouds. While I was catching some infrared photos at Bell Rock Vista in the Village of Oak Creek in Sedona, three pretty cool cars started backing into spaces right behind me. When I realized they were lining up to take photos of their cars I moved out of their frame.

We started to chat, and it turns out we have a lot in common. They are members of the Infamous AZ Chapter Mopar Car Club, and I once had a cat I named Mopar because of the way she purred. OK, I have a weird sense of humor, but you get used to it I think. I believe all people are connected in one way or another.

Since the cars were lined up, I captured some photos with my infrared set-up. (see this post on processing infrared files from this session)

Here are a couple of captures.

infamous car club in sedona photoThree couples from the INfamous Mopar AZ Chapter

 The three couples I met while photographing with my infrared Lumix G6 camera at Bell Rock Vista. This image was processed in the same way as was described in the other post.

infrared car photoCars from the Infamous Mopar Car Club AZ Chapter in front of Courthouse Butte in the VOC, Sedona

raw file from cameraStraight out of Camera (SOOC)

This image was processed in a different manner from the on above. I started with the RAW file. In infrared converted cameras, the RAW image will have a severe magenta cast.

Adobe Camera Raw Palette imageACR Palette with settings

First stop was into Adobe Camera RAW for initial processing. Settings were to move the Temperature Slider all the way to Blue. The Tint Slider all the way to Green. Exposure boosted 1/3 stop. Contrast increased. Highlights were lowered, and Shadows raised. Whites bumped up a bit, and Blacks brought down. A small amount of Clarity was added, and Vibrance was lowered. Adobe Photoshop Layers palette image

Adobe Photoshop Layers Palette

The Background Layer shows how the image comes out of Adobe Camera RAW with the processing shown. It is quite a Sepia tone which cold be OK but not the look for which I was going Above that is a Black & White Adjustment Layer. Next up, is the Layer generated by a trip to NIK Silver FX Pro 2. (available free of charge from Google) It created the full black & white conversion. I added some structure, grain, and controlled the intensity of the black and white. There’s a Layer Mask to allow some of the original image to show through without the processing from NIK. Above that is a Layer in Soft Light Mode for dodging and burning. The top Layer is a Curves Layer to allow some selective lightening of the image to bring some extra attention to the cars.

I think these infrared images would look great printed on metal.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob




tuesday painterly photo art -hartman

Tuesday Painterly Photo Art

John Hartman, M.Photog.Cr, CPP, A-ASP, EA-ASP


If I have one word to share about John that would be it. I am jealous of his ability to absorb information and ideas about photography and photographic arts and then find a way to earn income from it. John has been sharing his photography and business knowledge for over thirty years and he’s still breaking new ground on a regular basis.

Throughout his 42-year professional career, this Wisconsin-based photographer has made it his life and business mission to find out what everyone is doing and then doing something different. One of his recent personal projects has been mastering the art, science, and business of the technique of painting with light. Exposing dozens or sometimes hundreds of separate shots with continuous LED lights and then blending them together in Photoshop, a light painted photograph simply looks like no other image.

image © john hartmanAll images in this post are © John Hartman. Light painted art.

image © john hartmanBefore Light painting

Once the process was mastered, he began testing the commercial viability of this new product. Clients have responded enthusiastically, resulting in commissions that include images up to 10 feet long and sales that often reach into five figures. Subjects include automobiles, jewelry, food, architecture, motorcycles, musical instruments, farm tractors and aircraft. His clients include corporations, collectors, hobbyists, enthusiasts and others who own and appreciate the finer things of life.

image © john hartmanLight Painted Fire Truck in station  imageSingle Capture of firehouse

One of his light paintings of a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta was chosen as a Grand Imaging Award finalist at Imaging USA in 2015, and was also included in the 2015 World Cup Photographic Competition.

Interestingly, nearly 100% of John’s light painting clients are males, who are proud of their ‘babies’ and are willing to invest whatever it takes for a unique image for their office, home, garage or man cave.

image © john hartmanMotorcycle Garage Light Painting image © john hartmanYou got it. This is before!

“The process of painting with light is neither simple nor intuitive,” says Hartman. “The high skill level required ensures the look will remain unique and will not be bastardized or diluted by a set of actions or plug-ins. The photographer willing to invest the time and effort required to become proficient in light painting can develop and retain 100% of that lucrative business in their market area.”

image © john hartmanViolin & case Light Paintingimage © john hartmanThe violin looks just a wee bit different in the before image

John is currently experimenting with an unmanned aircraft vehicle (a drone) using a mounted LED to light paint larger subjects such as buildings, landscapes and large vehicles such as farm implements and fire trucks.

You can see a short video showing him light painting a 1957 Lincoln Continental Mark II here.

Photographers have taken notice of John’s work, and requests to learn his process have resulted in a four-city tour titled The John Hartman Light Painting Workshop, to be held in his hometown of Stevens Point, WI, as well as in Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Sedona, AZ (hosted by Bob Coates). Click here for more information.

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob




infrared panorama photo

Infrared Photography Panorama Style

“The sailing clouds went by, like ships upon the sea.” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Clouds scudding across the azure skies. Words can take you to some beautiful places but as the Chinese say, a picture is worth a thousand words. That’s why I keep an eye peeled on the sky. When the clouds start racing, or even lumbering through the red-rock country of Sedona I grab a camera because interest is added to the scene.

Even if it’s mid-day, I grab a camera and head outdoors. My camera of choice for these times is infrared. I enjoy the high contrast black and white rendering of clouds rendered against a deep dark sky. A Lumix G6 was converted by LifePixel and it has expanded my shooting times as infrared shines when it’s time to put the camera up for regular color photography. I used the Kit lens that came with the camera and was pleasantly surprised at the solid quality of the captures. (G Vario 14-42mm  f3.5-5.6) It makes for a super light-weight combo.

bell rock with courthouse butte ir panoramic photoBell Rock Vista in Sedona – Infrared Panoramic image with Courthouse Butte

I tend to try to push the envelope and experiment when I’m on self-assignment. In yesterday’s adventure, it was to add panorama to infrared. It took quite a bit more work. I’ll let you be the judge to see if it was worth it.

Five images overlapping by about 40% were captured. With the camera set to black & white, three exposures one stop apart were saved in jpeg format to ensure detail in highlight and shadow areas once they were processed. Each set of three images were treated in Aurora HDR software.

screenshot of images in panoScreenshot of images used before processing

Each of the final five images was loaded into Adobe Photoshop to process the panorama. Whoops! That was an unusual fail. Could be the handheld capture caused some extra deformity in the files. Usually, I can depend on Photoshop to render a solid panorama but with this set of images, there was way too much distortion in the resulting output. (I’ll experiment with these files again when I have some more time and see if different rendering intent might be of help) I couldn’t find my AutoPano Pro software on this computer so I resorted to having Photoshop load all the files into Layers and added my own Masks blending the images together by hand. It’s good to remember the ‘Old School’ methods when the automatic software options aren’t there for you.

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob


PS – Another cloud description I enjoy. “Clouds hastening like messengers through heaven.” —John Hall Wheelock

PPS – Cloud quotes referenced in this post were found in The Free Dictionary by Farlex. I’m book-marking that page for future reference!




sunday photo/art quote – berra

Sunday Photo/Art Quote – Yogi Berra

A major league baseball manager, Yogi Berra, was a font of excellent one-liners that more than stated the obvious.

The one I wish to share with you today can easily be applied to the arts. Yes, while it’s obvious, sometimes we need reminders of just that. And Yogi was a pro at that!

yogi berra quote“You can observe a lot by watching.”  Yogi Berra

The reason I bring this up today is the quote jumped out at me after returning from a guitar concert under the stars last night by Anthony Mazella at The Collective in Sedona. Anthony is a world class musician who creates magical times with his guitar.

As always I carry my camera. Lately, I’ve been trying to follow Yogi’s advice although I didn’t realize it was coming from him. I’ve been trying to be more aware of light. Paying attention to it. And trying to capture more of it in challenging situations.

I used the Lumix GX8 with a 35-100mm f2.8 Vario lens. While Anthony filled my head with his music, I kept myself aware of the changing light as the sun dropped below the horizon. The lights in the area began their illuminating dance through the venue. And I recorded.

Here are a few of those captures.

shadowplay photoShadow, color, composition, shape, and form were the things that caught my eye

silhouette photoA glance up and this silhouette appeared. I watched for a few moments, and the little girl was moving in and out of the frame I waited until she was moving out to capture this. The play of the complementary colors was a bonus.

anthony mazella gutarist at the collectiveOf course, the star of the show couldn’t be left out. The blue, purple and magenta lights added some serious color to the warm toned brickwork.

Had I not been aware and keeping my eyes peeled for an opportunity to see I might have missed these little vignettes of light and color. So remember Yogi’s advice, “You can observe a lot by watching.”

Yours in creative Photography,       Bob

PS – Here are 50 Yogisms gathered in an article by USA Today. It’s a fun read.






photography play

Playing with Images

What do you do for fun?

I find myself playing with my photography images in Photoshop.

This is where I test out new ideas, explore possibilities, and have a bit of a romp through Adobe Photoshop’s Blending Modes just to see what I might discover.

A Juniper tree was the subject. Depth, dimension, and color were the objectives.

Here are some results.

juniper saturated imageHere’s one that’s good fun but a bit over the top of in saturation. If you don’t push the boundaries, you don’t know how far to go.

juniperEasing up the saturation through changing blend modes makes this an entirely different image.

juniper and moon photoAdding the moon changes things once again

juniper moon imageHere’re a few tweaks to the moon addition. Gives it a bit more life.

If I were doing this as more than an exercise or decided that I wanted to make this into an art piece for printing, I would have spent much more time on making selections and blending the various textures and layers together. Play doesn’t always have to have a pay-off more than a new feel for the tools with which you are working.

Lessons learned in this session. Be careful with selections from the beginning of the process. Verify before moving too far along in the project. Once a mask is made and reused throughout the process any mistakes will be magnified. Ultimately, having had this session I will save time and frustration in the future.

Initial image was captured with the Lumix G7 with a 20mm f1.7 lens. The moon photograph was created with the Lumix GH2 handheld with a 100-300mm lens extended to 600mm equivalent. I keep lots of reference files of textures and various elements on hand to help in the art process. I think of my texture images as an artist would their paint & set of brushes.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob



black & white photography

Processing Black & White Photography

Ansel said it.

He likened great photography to a concert. The Print is the performance. The capture is merely the score.

OK. Maybe I paraphrased a little bit but the idea is there. And the word ‘merely’ is undercutting the value of the capture. But, by virtue of the camera only having one opening it can only see so much density in a single exposure. How we process the image is a huge part of the success or failure of the photo.

We now have some technological advantages over Adams with software that allows up to combine multiple images t different exposures to expand the amount of information we can have in a single file. We can build up density and exposure in a picture without resorting to chemistry changes as Adams did. In addition to Curves and Levels, we now have the ability to add luminance masks to target very specific tones within the photo. Sharpening can be selectively applied throughout the image to help move a viewer’s attention through the image. And more. We are in a golden age of photography should we choose to follow the possibilities.

I was attending a little courtyard guitar concert at Tlaqapaque in Sedona and just happened to have a camera with me. (imagine that!) Here are a couple grabs where the image definitely has more power in black and white.

tlaqapaque wall and vine photoTlaqapaque detail. Mexican shopping Village in Sedona, AZ
Images processed in Adobe Camera RAW & Nik Silver FX Pro 2 (You can get this software plugin for free)

color tlaqapaque imageOriginal capture
Images captured with Lumix GX8 with 14-140mm f3.5-5.8 lens

tlaqapaque portalsPortals within portals within portals add depth and dimension to an image

talqapaque portals color imageOriginal capture

I’ll be doing a more in-depth blog post on black and white processing on LifePixel’s website. You can look for it early next week.

Yours in Creative Photography,         Bob




tuesday painterly photo art – chandler

Tuesday Painterly Photo Art
John Chandler, CPP & Teresa Chandler

I first saw some of Chandler’s images while judging for Professional Photographers of America. I was not aware of them at the time bu the imagery stayed with me. When I saw a Facebook post, I tracked down the website and saw more interesting imagery so I asked John if he would share some thoughts and ideas on photographic art.

I turn today’s post over to the Chandlers.

The Start

John and Teresa Chandler established Chandler Studios in 2002. Their concept was to combine John’s skills in Photography with Teresa’s skills in Oil and Pastel painting. This came at the same time Photography, as a profession, was in the “Chrysalis” phase transitioning from film to digital. Their transition was not difficult. The digital revolution kicked their business forward. This is a result of John shooting transparency film underwater for 35 years. For them to get his transparencies into a print market they had to become proficient at slide scanning and preparing the image for printing in a very young, and rapidly advancing world of Photoshop. In the 90’s Teresa had the same challenge with her oil and pastel portraits. John would photograph her portraits with transparency film and she would then color-correct each scan until she was satisfied that it was a near exact copy before printing. This early experience in Photoshop, experience with transparencies and their collective ability to review, correct, prepare and produce a printed image using Photoshop prepared them well for the digital revolution. And all of this had to be done while they were living in Japan!

dabcing with degas © chandler“Dancing with Degas” © Teresa Chandler Accepted into the IPC 2015 Loan Collection.

In this image, Teresa took an image captured in the Studio during a High School Senior’s session. Using both Photoshop and Corel Teresa created this image. Her experience with painting in oils gives her a superior ability to “feel” light and textures needed to make an image like this. Corel gives her capacity to interpret the electronic brushes and then make the strokes necessary for the image to succeed.

The Team

John is the Photographer and Teresa is the finisher, and together they are Chandler Studios. They have been married for 39 years. John is a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP).   Both are driven by the annual Print Competitions in their State Affiliate as well as the International Print Competition of PPA. Teresa has had three of her images in the PPA Loan Collection while John has only enjoyed one image in the General Collection. But both are avid competitors, and both are working toward Masters in Photography and Art.

Thoughts on progressing

Education is the KEY TO SUCCESS. This digital world is simply not something that will suddenly dawn on most people. You cannot “Fake it, till you Make it.”   Anyone who wants to move forward in terms of sales, creativity and ability must take the time and resources necessary to get a first class education in Photography. We work in Portraits so most of our education comes from Photographers who are not only at the peak of their career but are also proven teachers. Passion is simply NOT ENOUGH. Passion plus education equals ability.   We learned early in our careers that Passion does not make an artist.  While passion may drive you (and drive you crazy) it does not give you ability. Education and the experience that comes with it will gives the ability to create the images that are driven by passion.

steampunk rockers © chandler studios“Steampunk Rocker” © Teresa Chandler. This composite began in the Studio and then was transformed in the computer by Teresa who used Photoshop to composite and Corel to finish giving the image its texture and contrast.


Can YouTube and Creative Live do this for you? Well, we think that videos can be an element, but not the only element. We feel you need to have “Hands On” kinetic learning to make the leaps needed to compete in today’s fast-changing market(s). Video learning combined with a mentor can be powerful tools needed to improve your ability. There are more workshops available today than ever before so that means that photographers have to choose wisely and ensure the workshop will move them forward and not just be a social event. We recommend a new photographer actively seek a mentor who can recommend workshops for them and guide them. This will certainly save that photographer a significant amount of money. We chose workshops with Joseph and Louise Simone, Richard Sturdivant, Tim Kelly, and most recently John Gladman. These workshops are not inexpensive. We consider them an investment in our Studio. We have also learned that cutting corners is just a waste of money.

Focus on your product.

Focus on what you are wanting to produce and then produce it. Practice your skills daily. If we could say that a hundred times in this short discussion we would. Practice every day! We are in the process of re-branding our efforts in Chandler Studios by developing two new products. One is called Vintage Couture that focuses on retro PINUP. This is our approach to producing a product akin to boudoir (sexy) but still something our client can show their mom!

© john chandlerThis is image was selected to be in the 2015 General Collection. This is titled simply “Oops!” It was produced for a client who loved it.

© john chandler sandlot imageSandlot is our most recent image and shows another product that we are producing for our clients. We call these “Illustrative” Portraits our SANDLOT collection. This product is focused on the youth sector providing our clients a retro look in the Rockwell genre. © John Chandler


So that’s it. We have had a focus on Family Photography but we are now giving that a bit of a twist to give our products just a bit more. We firmly believe that education and professional affiliation is a path to success in this vocation we enjoy so much.

Our website is Chandler-Studios.com Our Vintage Couture can be on our website and at https://www.facebook.com/ChandlerVintagePINUP  Our SANDLOT products are featured on our website and at: https://www.facebook.com/Sandlot-Portraits-1095078590564124

Hope you got as much out of the Chandlers sharing how they are pushing the digital envelope in their business as I have.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob