Professional Imaging 2011 Recap

Right before Photoshop World, Adobe invited me to be a keynote speaker at Professional Imaging 2011 in the Netherlands. When my wife heard about the invite, she immediately accepted ;-) (She LOVES Europe!). So we decided to make a work/play trip out of it.

I’m Amazed!
First, we stayed in Amsterdam while I spoke at Professional Imaging in the Netherlands. What a cool conference! They had about 7000 people attend in 3 days. It’s mostly geared toward the pro market but I even met some college students as well. I did a live compositing and selections class (and a little Lightroom) for the opening keynote on all 3 days for Adobe. Then later in the day, I did a layers class where I covered all kinds of things for retouching portraits. Scott told me this last year but I didn’t realize how into this stuff the Dutch are. For 3 straight days they made me feel like a total rock star (don’t worry, I didn’t let it go to my head… yet ;-) ).

Anyway, they were just so welcoming. and every one I met came up and said they watch every episode of Photoshop User TV, D-Town TV, or the Grid. I got to do some Layers book signings (the publisher had a booth too) and even stopped in to watch some presentations from photography and lighting wizard Frank Doorhof.

A Funny, Yet Slightly Embarrassing Moment
For the most part all of the classes went over great. There was one funny, yet embarrassing moment. See, I did some live shoots during my compositing class so I could show the composite from start to finish. Well, while testing the lighting before the class I put my card into my card reader. Then class started and I did the live shoot. Can you guess what happened from here? Yup, I did the whole shoot with no card in the camera (oops). Luckily, the crowd was very forgiving (they only threw small pieces of fruit at me) and we even got some laughs out of it. Some people said they liked it because they were glad to know it doesn’t just happen to them – I think they were just being nice :)

Anyway, it ate up some time so I had to quickly composite the image but (again luckily) it turned out great. Here’s the final composite (with original overlayed on top of it). The model in the composite was shot on a white seamless background and I dropped her into the crowd along with some Photoshop special effects and lighting to help pull it off.

Off to Paris (and a new friend)
After Pro Imaging was done, my wife and I headed to Paris. It was forecast to be sunny and not-so-cold. But as the day got closer the weather changed and we basically had 3 days of blah-gray skies and cold windy weather. It made being creative nearly impossible. But a friend-of-the-blog, Serge Ramelli, was kind enough to meet me for sunrise on 2 mornings and show me around. Here’s some photos and info:

WARNING: You’re about to see a lot of HDR photos. I’d love to have had some great weather with some beautiful light so I didn’t have to process the living daylights out of everything I shot, but that just wasn’t in the cards for this trip. So I made the best of it and bracketed most of my photos. I think that dramatic architecture along with some night photos make great candidates for HDR, so that’s most of what I ended up liking from the trip. So if HDR infuriates you or causes you any undue stress I encourage you to stop reading here and go try to view a Flash website on your iPad ;-)

OK, my first morning with Serge. He brought me to one of his favorite spots (this was the only time I saw the sun peak through). This is an HDR tonemapped with Photomatix and finished with some vignetting and white balance adjustments (warming) in Lightroom. It’s actually not a pano, just cropped that way.

(CLICK TO SEE ANY PHOTO LARGER)

A couple more from the same bridge. Same process as above.

I tried not to take the typical Eiffel Tower photo. I thought this one turned out pretty cool. Another HDR tonemapped in Photomatix. There was lots of flare too, so I spent a decent amount of time with the Spot Healing Brush in Photoshop.

Here’s a few from the Louvre. You’ll notice most of these are HDR. I just felt that a place like this has a surreal feel to it and HDR was the only way to bring that feeling out.

Another HDR from Notre Dame. I found out afterward that I wasn’t supposed to use a tripod. You can read more about this one here.

Here’s a few from Serge’s secret photo spots in Montmartre. I think the rain really helped here.

Most of my photos were taken with a Nikon D3 and my Nikon 28-300mm lens. The Eiffel Tower and Louvre photos were taken with the Nikon 14-24mm lens. The last two were taken with Serge’s Canon and 24-70mm lens (my battery ran out and I didn’t have an extra with me – and no, my hands did not burn when I touched a Canon). Serge was even kind enough to find a model for me to shoot some lifestyle portraits at the Eiffel Tower which is another post in itself.

All in all, I had a great trip. I expected that teaching in the Netherlands was going to be a blast, but it exceeded my expectations by far. And for all of it’s cold weather, Paris was awesome as well. I’m incredibly grateful for meeting Serge. Not only is he a great photographer but we had a really nice time just hanging out. I’ve been to Paris before (in June) so I know it can be warm too. Now I’ll just have to make another trip there when the weather is a bit nicer ;-)

Author: Matt K

Matt is a full time Education Director for the NAPP and Kelby Training. He's a best-selling author of various books on Photoshop and Photography co-hosts the live weekly photography talk show "The Grid" and is co-host of "Photoshop User TV". In his spare time he practices as a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys spending time with his family in Tampa, FL.

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49 Comments

  1. Matt, great job on those HDR shots. I know it can be overdone and people can be polarized on whether they like it or not, but the HDR shots you get? Man they make me want to do HDR so much more. And I just wanted to say that I *love* the photo in Montmartre. We were standing in that exact spot in September, so it brings back some great memories. :)

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  2. I am usually ambivalent about HDR (read: hate all the over-processing) but these are a great way to show the surreal beauty of Parisian architecture, especially in poor weather. Some great ideas for future travel shots when the miserable weather hits – will have to brush up on my HDR skills! Great shots!

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  3. Great Paris photos Matt!
    You’ve turned a gray day into some pretty colorful impressions!
    Grts from (now) sunny Belgium;-)

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  4. Hi there – just had to comment on your HDR – as a general rule, I’m not a fan, but these are very nice indeed – as you said, the rain and the evening light helped a great deal.

    I don’t know if you’re aware, but you were very lucky with your Eiffel Tower shot – if (like most people) you’d waited to see the ‘flashes’ (on the hour for a few minutes) on the Tower, you’d have been in copyright violation!! Really weird, but any photographs taken with the lights on ‘belong’ to the company that installed the lighting – luckily with the HDR this would be less obvious…

    Well done – and a big thumbs up for the blog.

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    • Hey Ian. I’m not sure I’d be in violation. I’m pretty sure they turn on the lights knowing that people will take photos. There were no “No photography when lights are on signs” around. In fact, while shooting I probably saw about 900 people taking photos with the lights on. They know those photos are going to wind up on Facebook, blogs, etc…. I think the violation part of it comes if I try to take the photo and make money from it. Not sure… I could be wrong though (it does happen at least 15 times a day for me) ;-)

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      • Matt

        Of course, you’re right – it only applies if you try to sell the resulting image!! (No one’s going to get beaten up in the middle of the night for having taken a photo of the flashes – at least I hope not – I live here so I have to be careful…)

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  5. Dear Matt,

    Yes ! I was waiting to see how the photos came out, love the one from Montmartre, Im jealous, I never got to have the one of the restaurant (the first one from the Montmartre series) with no one around !

    Hope you had a great photoshop world.

    For english speaking here is my english blog version http://www.sergeramelli.com
    and for the ones that didnt see, here is a portrait of Matt shooting the Eiffel Tower on the sun rising, I cheated a bit as the sun was playing invisible that morning :-)

    http://sergeramelli.com/?p=158

    Hope I get to do another shoot with you sometimes, I had a blast !

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  6. You’re welcome to come back to the Netherlands any time you like, Matt. :)
    Nice to meet you and follow you classes at the Professional Imaging show!

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  7. Hey, back in film days, everyone had a good no-film-in-the-camera story, so why not a no-memory-card-in-the-camera story? I knew someone who shot numerous photos (e.g., her PhD dissertation defence, photos to illustrate her husband’s latest book), only to discover several days later that there was no film in the camera! No fix, as those photos could not be recreated from their home 1000 miles away. Makes your story not quite as bad, except that so many paying guests were there. Cheers!

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  8. Hey Matt!

    Thanks for sharing your AWESOME HDR photos of Paris! Wow, what an opportunity and to have your very own tour guide, Serge! :-) Really like the way you did the Eiffel tower shot. Very impressive! I assume the wife was out shopping?:-) Glad you were able to make fun vacation out of it!

    Again, thanks for sharing!

    Dennis

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  9. Wow Matt, these are quite awesome and inspiring pictures! Makes me eager to pick up the camera ( a burn free Canon ) and start shooting. I also bought your Layers book at PI2011, so will be busy the coming months. Hope I can join another presentation in the near future.

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  10. Hey, Matt!

    Thanks for sharing these pictures and the story behind them. It always seems like you can make the most of a bad situation, whether it’s a cloudy, rainy day or memory card loss! The first shot in Montmartre is fantastic in HDR (as are all of the Paris HDR shots), but why didn’t you show what you did to it with Puppet Warp at Photoshop World? It just brought that photo to another level!

    It was great to meet you at Photoshop World during the Tweetup and getting to attend one of your classes. And thanks for signing your book for me (finally! :D ). Glad I had it with me during the PSU TV taping! ;) I had an absolute blast for the entire 4 days I was there, and I can’t wait to do it again (hopefully next year in Vegas).

    –John

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  11. I really love the way HDR works for night scenes and large interior spaces. The touch of surrealism it lends works much better there and is not as distracting. Great images!

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  12. My old beat up Nikon D90 tells me when there isn’t a memory card in place. Do new Nikons assume you can’t be that _____. I noticed the message immediately from the retailer demo model.

    Isn’t the photo of I. M. Pei’s pyramid at the Louvre taken from the same position as one of the National Geographics Best of 2010?

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  13. Make no apologies about weather, these shots are spectacular and provide motivation to get out and shoot even if the weather is not cooperating. Great job Matt and thanks for the inspiration.

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  14. Great pictures from Paris, but did you also shoot some pictures in Amsterdam?
    It may be a smaller city, but it’s at least as beautiful. :-)

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    • Thanks. Not really. I was working almost all the time when I was in Amsterdam so I didn’t get out much to shoot. Wish I did though.

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  15. Great shots as always Matt. Do you tend to use photoshop for HDR processing or Photomatix?

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  16. Hello Matt, These are great shots and the HDR you applied takes them to a great level.

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  17. The main reason why one of the first things I do is disable the “feature” allowing you to shoot without a card.

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  18. Gorgeous! I can”t say that I am a fan of everything HDR but used appropriately I love it. You certainly did that here. I am going to Paris next year and can’t wait to see these places and try this. Thanks for sharing such beauty.

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  19. Fabulous HDR! Haven’t been to Paris in years…..really must go soon.

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  20. Thanks for sharing Matt. I looked at Serge’s blog and I thought the portrait of you photographing the Eiffel Tower was excellent. I could see where you and Serge must have had fun despite the weather (or because of it).

    Your shot of the Louvre, with the pyramid reflecting is stunning and speaks to HDR. The ones of Montmartre are also beautiful.

    Now that your back, I’m looking forward to more PhotoshopUserTV, GridTV, and D-Town episodes.

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  21. Matt, these shots are exceptional. I will be watching your HDR class on Kelby Training to gain more knowledge on this type of processing.

    You noted the photos were taken with a Nikon D3. Which “traveling” tripod did you take with you to Paris? I will be going to the City of Lights later this spring and I do want to travel relatively “light”.

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  22. Matt,

    Pretty awesome HDR shots.. One question though, I have been to Paris but I could never get any of these shots without people in it. How did you manage to do ? Photoshop ? or any other trick ?

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  23. I followed your class at Tuseday morning, which was great as your pictures of Paris are, especially the Notre Dame one (and the story behind)

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  24. Matt, those HDR images are fantastic! Now I just need to learn how to use the HDR stuff in Photoshop…

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  25. OMG I cannot believe that I missed this! Matt K. was in The Netherlands, and I knew nothing about it!!!

    Be sure to come again Matt!

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  26. Now that is my kind of HDR, very nice work!
    (Now I’m off to browse flash sites on my ipad…(!))

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  27. Well… at least you didn’t need to have your notebook Fed Ex’d to you like in Tennessee. ;-)

    Paris 6 is really interesting as the lighting combined with the HDR end up causing it to look 3D… at least on my screen.

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  28. Oh. An observation on HDR… in theory, like the Parisian Privacy Laws, HDR is supposed to expand the dynamic range of an image to more closely approximate the way that human vision perceives a scene.

    In theory, I don’t have a problem with HDR, but in practice, I think the problem; maybe problem is too strong of a word, the thing that makes me uncomfortable when I view an HDR image is that I don’t see highlights that way in real life; they almost hurt to look at. It creates this inner glow which doesn’t suggest reflected light anymore.

    I am wondering if this is the result of the exposure in the bracket for the shadows, which if you think about it will have severely blown out highlights. Do you think that toning down the highlights in this frame prior to adding them to the HDR tone map might end up making the overall HDR output look more “real?”

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    • Hey man! Great to hear from you. Not sure what would happen about trying to make it look more “real”. Honestly, I’ve stopped trying to make HDR look real. I like the surreal style on certain subjects, but that’s just me. I’ve found it’s better to just do a double process in Photoshop if you’re going for a realistic look, rather than try HDR. Personally, I only apply HDR techniques to photos that I want to look surreal. I’m OK with it. Many aren’t, but hey, it’s not their photo :)

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  29. Great story and wonderful HDR photos. How did you get the starburst effect on the shot with the two street lamps in front (Paris4.jpg)? I would love to learn how to do that. Was it just the camera aperture (I imagine f22?) or a technique in LR or PS? Please let me know, thanks.

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    • Hey Roger,
      I set the Aperture to f/16. I’m using Nikon lenses with the newer nano coating on it. Sometime I can even get the starbursts at f/11. I find on the non-nano coated lenses I have to go to f/22 for it. Hope that helps.

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  30. Hey Matt! I do really like the HDR (not too overly surreal). Could you share approximately how many images you took and the range of bracketing? Tks so much for the ‘show and tell’. Love the posts.

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  31. Matt, these photos are awesome! Makes me want to go to Paris… like… now. :)

    I have a question that I think others might have and I’m not sure if you have touched on this before on your blog. But if one is getting a new computer (PC or Mac), what are some of the minimum hardware requirements that you would recommend to make Lightroom run fast and efficient. I recently tried lightroom 3 on a 15″ i5 Macbook Pro and the speed wasn’t impressive to me at all.

    And if one had a few extra hundred to spend on the computer, would you recommend putting in on the cpu upgrade or RAM upgrade? I have noticed that CPU speed makes a huge difference in how fast the photos gets exported. I’m just curious about your experience… Thanks!

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  32. Beautiful!
    My bags are packed and i’m ready to go.
    You turned a bla day into great art, it’s inspiration for the masses.

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  33. Matt, very nice HDR photos. I noticed you mostly use Photomatix for it. Could you devote a post to comparison of Photomatix and other software like HDR Efex Pro and Photoshop HDR functions. Or may be you could give general recommendations on HDR tune up.

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  34. Matt – A great trip indeed! It could not have happened to a nicer guy nor a better ambassador for NAPP. The HDRs are just fabulous!!!

    Sincerely,

    9-Shot-Barney

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  35. Great shots. I enjoyed seeing them at PSW and it’s nice to see them again. You and RC do a very good job with HDR’s

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  36. Great photos, and no people! Did you use the Photoshop Merge function with multiple images to eliminate the people, or is that just because of the rain?

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  37. very nice graphics of Paris :)

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  38. Great HDR shots they were Matt..so could you please do a detailed tutorial on how you did any one of them? I’ve been trying to do some HDR shots from a trip last weekend and I am not able to get such a beautiful look from my bracketed shots even when trying cs5 or photomatix..thanks :)

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  39. loved the Paris HDR shots, especially liked the Le Consulat shot. Seen similar many times before but never noticed the multiple No Entry signs in others! Maybe they edited them out…

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  40. Hey Matt, superb work and these HDRs are flawless, love the starburst’s, hope to see more..:)

    Best Regards,
    Gautam S Brahma

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