podcast with giulio sciorio

Giulio Sciorio & I Discuss Photography & Art

I had and in-depth chat with ‘G’ on a podcast called the Creator’s Path. It was quite interesting as we talked about many subjects including at what point a photograph becomes more than a photo? Bob Coates and I chat about intersecting photography with fine art painting, what it means to be a Certified Professional Photographer and a whole lot more…

creators path podcast logoThe Art and Craft of Photography – with Bob Coates

I hope you enjoy the thoughts shared in the Podcast. I know it got me thinking about how and what I do as a photographer and artist.

Yours in Creative Photography,    Bob

infrared photos stud horse point page arizona

Stud Horse Point Infrared Photography – Page Arizona

Infrared imaging can add interest to a scene that otherwise would be OK but rather mundane. I have a Lumix G6 that I had converted to IR by LifePixel. It’s great to take an older camera that isn’t getting much use and have it converted to Infrared. Or if you don’t have an older candidate that will work you can but up a used camera and have it repurposed.

But why is it good Bob?

Some times of day are just not conducive to solid imagery. Usually, midday is less than ideal for making photos and that is when IR photography can shine especially when there are clouds and or trees in the scene. Here was an example where I wasn’t thrilled witht the lighting. We were hoping for great color in the sunset. You know how that goes. All looks good then falls flat. Rather than come home empty handed I kinda like the outcome of these.

stud horse point page arizonaOutside Page, Arizona – Stud Horse Point

stud horse point page arizona photoHoodoos at Stud Horse Point

When capturing IR photos I tend to shoot in RAW + jpeg with the camera set to black and white. The black and white allows me to get a better sense of how the scene will render as the RAW image will come in with a magenta cast. I also bracket exposures as the camera’s meter and histogram are still ‘thinking’ in full spectrum color mode.

I picked the RAW images I wanted to process. Then output them to Photoshop and added some dodging and burning. Then took the image to NIK ColorFX Pro 4 to add some Glamour Glow and a little grain to emulate the look of film IR. As a final step, I evened out the overall color and added a light sepia tone over the image using a Hue/Saturation action.

Yours in Creative Photography,         Bob

tuesday photo art – beverly walden

Tuesday Photo Art – featuring Beverly Walden, M.Photog.Cr.

Tuesday on Successful-Photographer is now dedicated to the art of converting images beyond that of a photograph and moving the image in a more Painterly/Artistic direction. We’ll be taking to look at the artist/photographers who are forging their way forward in creating a new art form with photography at its base.

beverly walden painting finishing touchesToday’s artist is photographer Beverly Walden. Shown here adding some finishing touches to her painting.

I have been following Walden’s Photography for many years. I’m impressed with Tim & Beverly’s attention to creating fantastic portraits, as well as a ‘portrait experience’ for their clients. Their hallmark is exquisite black and white fine art images. Beverly has expanded their product line by creating the ‘Beau Visage’ line of artwork.

Let’s take a look at some of Beverly’s work.

Beverly walden photographBefore photograph. Please note that Bev is starting with a wonderfully well-lit portrait before she begins her Painter work.

bev walden close up workHere is a close-up detail along with the finished painting

beverly walden photographBev’s before photograph

beverly walden painting from photographPainted image

Let’s hear from Beverly

I first opened Corel Painter on my computer about 15 years ago and started to dabble in it without much success, but I didn’t have the courage to open it for two years prior. My goal was to make money with it if I had to spend a lot of time both learning and painting. That is when we came up with the idea of the Beau Visage paintings, knowing it would be a separate part of Walden’s, and I would paint only for those who booked a painting, not on speculation.

I ordered a set of DVDs from a dear friend, Helen Yancy, and sat in front of my computer with her DVD playing. I watched, listened and took a lot of notes. Every so often, I would hit the space bar, stopping the DVD, to sketch out her desktop area showing the brushes and their settings and any other information I could glean from the DVD. Then I would set my desktop to match hers as I followed her instructions. At that point, it was just copying what she did without understanding the reasons for it.

I started to paint some prototypes after watching her DVDs, and we sold those for several years. About 11 years ago, Helen was doing a week long class 20 miles from us, and I jumped on that opportunity to learn with her in person. During that week, I was pleasantly surprised that I was doing most of the program correctly, but I needed to make some adjustments.

After that class, I painted for clients for several years, working on perfecting my skill set and feeling I improved with each painting. I spent a couple of days with Scott Dupras and took other short classes here and there that were close while also doing tutorials I found on the websites of those painters whose work I loved.

walden photoOriginal photo

bev walden paintingPainted version

About two years ago, Heather Michelle Chinn, aka Heather the Painter, came to our studio and did a workshop here. Again, I felt I was doing most things the way they should be done, but I needed inspiration (and courage) to make my brush strokes more painterly and not so controlled-I wanted to feel more freedom with my strokes. She helped me tremendously on that and also taught how to apply paints and gels to the surface of the painting to add layers of depth and artistry not attainable through using only Corel Painter.

Today at Walden’s, the Corel Painter portion is sold as an “underpainting” only after the client has purchased the Beau Visage painting. Tim prints the underpaintings on fine art watercolor papers while the painting is printed on archival canvas and sealed with an isolation coat before any paint or gel is added.

The finished paintings now have so much more visual power with the paint and gels added PLUS they are truly “one-of-a-kind” pieces which make them more valuable. I knew the added paints and gels would make some difference, but I didn’t realize they would make such a huge difference, at least in my opinion, and they look and feel more like a free hand painting.

What I love about painting the portraits we create here in our studio is the high quality and excellence of the portrait itself that becomes the foundation of the painting. The lighting is beautiful, the contrast is just right, the pose and set are always a pleasure with which to work. Also, after I finish the underpainting, Tim takes it into Photoshop and tweaks the contrast to bring out the brush strokes and makes slight adjustments for added richness and depth before he hand prints both the underpainting and canvas for the painting here on our Epson printer.

We believe every studio should have a top of the line “product” to offer their clients and the Beau Visage Mixed Media Paintings fulfill that role for us.

Beverly’s Thoughts on Painting

Portraits of people and the challenge of catching the fleeting expressions that truly reflect their souls, that is what intrigues me and always has! From the click of the button to fulfilling my vision first with Corel Painter and then, paint and brushes, is what moves me and stirs the artist within. And always, I am in search of BEAUTY!

Entering into the photography profession under the instruction of both Robert Walden, my father-in-law and Tim, my husband, I fell in love with portraits from the very beginning. No landscapes, no flowers, no sunsets… I wanted to photograph faces, especially children! I loved capturing their innocence.

Every photographer has a vision inside of them, and I found my outlet to create what I saw with my mind’s eye when I learned how to get onto photographic paper what was in my mind.

After many years of doing portrait photography, I found Corel Painter and my path was changed from creating photographs to painting photographs, creating one-of-a-kind pieces of art.

I always paint when alone-it’s my quiet time, my thinking time, my relaxation! Some fish, some golf, but for me, painting is what I love to do.

It was and still is a perfect fit for me!

Here is a quote that Beverly loves and I’ll be adding to my collection, “The job of an Artist is to offer a sanctuary of Beauty to an ugly world.”  Jeff Goins

I gotta tell ya this has turned into quite a missive on art and business. Thanks to Beverly for the in-depth thoughts and ideas on how the Waldens have used the artistic process to expand their business.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

PS – For educational opportunities with the Waldens see this post. If you want to improve your photography business you definitely want to check it out.



waldens photographic education

Walden Photography Education

There’s a hell of a post for tomorrow’s Tuesday Photo Art blog in Successful-Photographer. I decided to give you a quick preview of our featured artist Beverly Walden, M.Photog.Cr. The Waldens have done so much for the photography industry and continue to do so. I asked Beverly about educational opportunities with regards to Painter and photographic painting, photography business and here was her reply.


We don’t have any marketing or painter classes scheduled at this time. The best way for anyone to get a notice when we do and to keep up with what is happening with the Waldens AND receive my Tuesday Tidbits (which have been very popular) is to register as a free member on our website at:


Our main teaching venue is our online community, and that is what we call the Coaching Community. That cost is 25.00 per month, and they can sign up in the same area as the Free Membership. The information inside of the Coaching Community has been compared to a college level education, and two large photographic companies have been instrumental in providing seed money to develop it. We are proud of it and what it offers in the online venues out there at this time.

We put our hearts and souls into the CC and have had great results as well. Every month, we add relevant, educational content to the already vast library and every quarter, we do a live Strategy Room, putting our heads together on a focused topic, and that is only for our CC members, and it has been a huge hit!

Here is the current Coaching Community curriculum:


Here is the link for membership:


We do private teaching as well and here is the link for that:


Our store with products link is: http://www.waldensphotography.com/store/

Beverly Walden, Master Photographer, and Craftsman
Passionate Co-Owner of Walden’s Photography
Member of International Society of XXV
Kodak Mentor and Approved Speaker

I have heard only wonderful things about the Walden Coaching services and have picked up some great thoughts and ideas from Bev’s Tuesday Tidbits.

Can’t wait to share Beverly’s art and thoughts about using artistic images in your business tomorrow!

Yours in creative Photography,     Bob

PS – Here’s a little preview of Bev’s work for the post tomorrow…

beverly walden photographBefore Photograph

walden paintingAfter Photograph – More tomorrow!



sunday photo/art quote peter gowland

Sunday Photo/Art Quote is from Peter Gowland

Peter Gowland was a glamour portrait photographer and author who left us in 2010. He was credited with creating over a thousand magazine covers ranging from Rolling Stone to Modern Photography. In addition, Peter made his own photo gear. The quote that brings him to the pages of Successful-Photographer is one that has to do with light. We often talk about ‘Painting with Light’ in photography and here are some descriptive words I feel we should think upon.

peter gowland photo/art quote on light“Light is an interpretive tool in the hands of a photographer. He can make it harsh or soft, revealing or concealing, flattering or libellous. The more he knows about the versatility of light, the easier it is to cope with any picture-taking situation he encounters.”—Peter Gowland

The language of light is one That requires study. After twenty-plus years as a photographer, I’m still finding new ways to express my thoughts on lighting. As I read these words the ones that captured my attention the most were the descrptors, flattering or libellous. I’m finding that being able to think with a deeper vocabulary makes it possible, no more probable, to create lighting situations that I would like to enhance the subjects before my camera.

Maybe I’m a slow learner, but I find as I study photography, light and color more in-depth there is so much more to learn. It is why photography has held my interest and attention over all this time. I believe that I will never totally master photography. The day that I feel I know it all it will be time for the next adventure.

How about you?

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

strawberry lesson

Lessons from a Personal Photo Project – Strawberry Lesson

“You can’t always get what you want, But if you try sometimes, you get what you need!” Rolling Stones

I am always trying new things for art, for practice or just to see if I can do it to add to my photo skill set. Yesterday I found (what I thought was) a beautiful looking strawberry and decided to see if I could create some art with it.

I was not successful in creating art.

I learned several things, so I consider the shoot a success!

strawberry photoStrawberry image after a little play in Adobe Photoshop to clean up some of the bruises that presented themselves as the shoot progressed.

Image created with Lumix GH4 and the 45mm Macro Elmerit Lens

I placed the light behind and camera left which created the highlight. The camera right side of the strawberry was lit with a reflection of my hand curved into a cup to wrap the light around the top of the fruit. (note the slightly warmer color because of the skin tone)

• When photographing food with a macro lens any, and I mean any imperfections will be revealed. Lesson learned for future – when photographing food, especially perishables examination of the object should be carried out with a magnifying glass. Even if you think you have the hero make sure there is plenty of  other possibilities cause as the set heats up with lights the fruit will reveal more and more imperfections from picking, packaging and handling.

• In a low light situation, I learned that my hand could be used as a shaped reflector.

• Playing with the white balance on the camera and the Fiilex P100 (AKA the Brick) color adjustable LED light can lead to some very interesting different rendering of the subject.

I now have more information about photographing food in case that comes my way.

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob

PS – As I was writing this post I think I may have found a way to process this strawberry into some art… Back to Photoshop for some more PLAY!



tuesday photo art thom rouse

Photo Art Tuesday – Thom Rouse – M.Photog, MEI, CR, CPP, F-ASP

Tuesday’s on Successful-Photographer, now dedicated to the art of converting images beyond that of a photograph and converting the image in a more Painterly/Artistic direction. We’ll be taking to look at the artist/photographers who are forging their way forward in creating a new art form with photography at its base.

Thom is one of my heroes!

I have been a fan of Thom’s work ever since seeing the first image in a PPA Loan Collection Book. Thom has a fresh and unique style that is unlike any other photo/art work I have seen. Every chance I get to see Thom share his thoughts through a program I’m right down there in the front row.

Interested in seeing or hearing more from Thom? Thom Rouse lectures and teaches regularly at PPA affiliates and schools. He also holds private small group workshops around the country.  Email thom@thomrouse.com or through his website: thomrouse.com

Here are a few of his works of art.

gravities consent thom rouse artGravity’s Consent

thom rouse image lilithLilith

thom rouse image symbol treeSymbol Tree

andromeda image by thom rouseAndromeda

I asked Thom to share some ideas about creating art. Here are some words that are as poignant as his images.

“Art has its own DNA. We don’t create art in a vacuum; we create art based on 40.000 years of human creativity that has preceded us. The same themes and visual concepts bounce around not only decades but centuries and millennia. The more visual experience we gather from viewing art, the better informed and inspired our creations will be. Inspiration provides the fuel for our creative engines. We need to steal the color palette of one artist, the composition of another, the subject and themes from others and transmute them and make them our own. We need to take inspiration from everyone and compare ourselves to no one. We need to both meet the expectations of our viewers and simultaneously subvert them. Art works best when it’s something that you know and something you don’t know.” – Thom Rouse

rouse book coverRouse’s book ‘After the Camera’ is scheduled for release on June seventh on Amazon. I’ve already ordered my copy and can’t wait until I can immerse myself in his words and imagery.

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

PS – All images in this post are © Thom Rouse – All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.


sunday photo/art quote herkomer magic & light

Sunday Photo/Art Quote from Sir Herkomer on Magic & Light

I’m always on the lookout for creative photography quotes & this week’s selection comes courtesy of Michael Colin Campbell. He’s a fabulous photographer and maintains an excellent photography FaceBook Group called On Photography. (check out On Photography here) Michael is a historian of photography as well, and I get great enjoyment from following his posts there. I recommend you drop by and check it out and become part of the conversation.

herkomer photo quote“It is by the management of light that we touch the true magic of our art.” Sir Hubert von Herkomer

This quote grabbed me because of its simplicity as most wonderful quotes do. It brought to mind that what we as photographers do when we do it well, is capture magic. While Herkomer is a painter, I feel many other arts inform our photography if we are open to it. When an image is created with well-executed lighting, it can bring out strong emotion in the viewer. Which leads me to the craft of what we do. Have you attempted to master your lighting skills? Do you practice and experiment pushing the boundaries of your knowledge of light? Or, are you a ‘Natural Light Photographer’?

Please don’t get me wrong. I can appreciate being able to find and see the fabulous light in any situation. But I believe we need to be able to use ‘available light’. And by that, I mean any and all lighting that is available which includes light from whatever source we can get our hands on to create the proper shadows that will make our images sing.

As if by Magic…

Here is an example of the stunning light and depth Herkomer has created.

von herkomer painting detail EventideEventide: A Scene in the Westminster Union (workhouse), 1878

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

PS – I’ve been at this as a pro for over twenty years. Maybe I’m a slow learner, but I’m still working on learning and experimenting with light. I don’t think I’ll ever master photography & lighting, but I sure enjoy trying!


photography lighting as you find it

Find Solid Lighting for Your Photography Portraits

To find a beautiful natural light for your portrait subjects I recommend looking for shadows. Shadows are the hallmark of depth and dimension in two-dimensional renditions of our subject.

First, look for porches or overhangs that will remove the overhead light. Ideally, you’ll have a bright surface like concrete or sand or bright building reflecting the overhead light into the shadowed area. This situation works well because the larger the light source, the softer the shadow edge transitions will be. There is a magical place just under the portico that will yield very flattering light patterns. One way to discover the right spot is to hold up and examine the back of your hand and examine the shadows as you move your hand through the scene. This method allows you to see how the shadow-edge transitions will play out. If you have beautiful smooth hands with no ridges and alternative is to bend the middle finger down and watch the shadow as it falls on your palm.

read shadows imageFondly referred to as the reverse salute, the middle finger can show you how the shadows will look.

Once you have decided on the proper place for your subject, you then have the opportunity to set the lighting pattern by changing her angle to the light. By rotating your subject you have the ability to create the most flattering light whether that be broad light, split light or short light. Most times I will opt for short lighting as I feel that adds the most depth and interest to a portrait.

short light patternNote The light on camera right side is less wide than the shadow camera left

split light photo demonstratedNote the light and shadow are just about even in this image

broad light imageIn this image, most of the mask of the face is lit with just a soft shadow camera left. Note the slight ‘kicker light’ on her face on the camera left side.

This particular space was a bonus in that it was more of a tunnel with an opening on the other side which added a subtle separation light which adds more dimension to the photograph.

I was photographing this session as part of a job for the Sedona Meditation Center, which is now under the guidance of Ichibuko Todd (my fabulous model!) who has relocated here from Hawaii.

Images captured with the Lumix GH4 with 35-100mm f2.8 Vario Lens. Settings ISO 200 1/400th sec. f3.5 47mm (94mm in 35mm)

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob

PS – If you want to have higher contrast with harder shadow edge transitions move your subject further away from the main light source.

radio show interview tech talk KAZM

Tech Talk with Mike Tabback on KAZM Radio

Once a month I get to chat with Mike on the air. We talk about trends & new technology in photography and new camera equipment & features. This month we talk about my travels, coaching, teaching, photo/art, Panasonic Lumix cameras and more. Listen here, about 20 minutes.

kazm tech talk logoTech Talk with Mike Tabback

mike tabback & bob coates photoMike Tabback (left) & I having a chat at the radio station live on air. Taken by traffic manager and production coordinator Josh with my Lumix FZ1000