David Mecey Adds Some Sparkle....

When I teach, one of the items I voice time and time again is a need to have ‘sparkle’ in a photograph. It can be from how the light strikes the subject, how it affects the location and background or the final look within the image. But something that makes you feel something in the photograph beyond the ‘look’ in the eye of the model or the image’s composition.

 In many of my images I find this sparkle another layer to enhance the image. One of the ways to achieve this is with flare. It is either induced by allowing light to enter the camera’s lens directly during a shoot or afterward by using a filter inside Photoshop. This image I’m sharing here was done by using both, in the camera flare and Alien Skin Software’s filter suite, Exposure 7.

 I’ve been using Exposure for a few years now and I love all of the variables it offers a photographer. Exposure mostly works to mimic the look and feel of a film type. I, being from a film background, have always felt digital to be a bit too clean, too sanitized for my taste. So when I discovered Exposure I felt I had found an old friend. That being film.

 They’ve taken great pains to look at nearly all the film types that were of the rage back in the days of film and recreate them digitally. From so many of the color print films, to slide and transparency films, even Polaroid films, to a huge array of B&W films, you can find something that can take an image and add something special.

 With this shot I had used some intentional flare in the original photo. Yet I wanted to enhance that even more, so I took it into Exposure and added the tweak of film type and added flare all within Exposure 7. It gave me what I wanted so wonderfully well.

 In closing, unlike so many filters that are out there doing similar effects, Exposure is completely non-destructive to a file which is also very important.  

 So when you’re looking for adding some ‘flare’ to an image, besides thinking about the light you produced or how you’ve posed the model, or propped it, given it great feeling and attitude, try Exposure

 David Mecey - David Mecey’s Ultimate Photo Workshop™

Check out David Mecey's upcoming workshop with Hal as a guest instructor this April 10-12 just outside of Las Vegas!


Tip of the Week: By David Mecey

When working with models, especially doing beauty portraits it is so very important to consider light, but more, a rapport with your model.

To create a successful beauty shot, take the time to find a location that is kind to the skin of your model, ie. no strange colors reflecting off her skin or face, greens, purples, intense reds, etc. This is especially true when shooting available light. Seek out an area where you have a soft glow of fill light to strike the face. Shoot with a wide open aperture to blur the background and take your timeNothing builds anxiety more than rushing about your model. The more calm and in good spirits you seem to be in the more relaxed she will be. Make her feel special with words of encouragement without being fake. If she is truly looking beautiful, tell her so. Then add to it by sharing the photo on the back of your camera. If it brings out a 'wow, that's me?" reaction, you're golden.


Stay up to date with David's Facebook Page! He will announce the model names very soon among other exciting updates!


Central Coast Photography Workshop Announced!

 Ya just can't keep a good thing down!

Mark and Victoria wanted to extend an alternative workshop opportunity for a small group who are still planning on traveling this way the weekend of October 10-12 this year.

Mark will lead a group around the Central Coast and Victoria has created some great opportunities to take you to photograph a few of her favorite vineyards for sunset and night photography techniques.

Check out our course page here. We hope to see some of you here!

CaPhotoFest App Updated!

This is an essential tool as one of our attendees at the festival!

You will have access to our festival maps, entire schedule and notifications of updates, changes and sponsor deals now through the festival. Make sure you allow notifications to push to you so that you can get the information when it happens.

Our new update features an integrating map in each and every festival session that has a published venue.

We are not here to spam you. The sponsors we push every once in a while with the app we hope you find beneficial and of interest. This is about education and sharing knowledge with our students. 

The Festival APP
The festival app is going to be your best friend during the week of the festival as well as the time from now up until the festival week. Because of our heavy attempt to be "greenr", the app will serve as the Festival Booklet. The App will have the festival schedule, instructor bios, chat capabilities and more fun things to help enhance the week for you. MOST IMPORTANTLY: It has your maps and directions! Download here: Apple Users Android Users

To use the App for info and directions:

a)      Allow the App to give you Push Notifications
a.       The Push notifications during the festival week are going to be important. These will tell you any updates, changes in venues, announcements and sponsor deals going on.
b)      Navigate to the button that says “More”
c)       Scroll to “Festival Map”
d)      Allow the app to use your current location
e)      You can see all of the venues by map or by a list
f)       On the map, tap the venue you want
g)      Choose “Directions”
h)      Press on the upper right hand arrow (iphone only) to get directions from your current location to the venue. This arrow will launch your phone’s Google or iphone map. With Android phones just choose Directions and you will be good to go.
i)        In order to choose a new location you must open the app again since the directions have taken you out of the festival app.

Stephen Burns Shoot to Composite Festival Series

The series of classes with Stephen Burns are designed to take work together to give the student a complete understanding of a workflow that will take you the next level in digital creativity.

 Have you ever taken a series of photographs and was inspired to create a unique vision from them but you were not sure how to begin.  These series of classes with Stephen Burns (author of Photoshop Trickery & FX) will address just that.  They class is designed to take you through the entire creative process from photographing your concepts to creating powerful techniques in Photoshop that will bring your final vision to fruition. 

 The class will be taught in series of 12 parts for you to complete a final art piece by the end of the workshop. 

 We will begin by introducing you the to the foundations of image compositing then engage you in a series of on location photo shoots that will teach you how to record images for the purpose of creating composited artistic scenes.  We will approach the photographic process by allowing our minds to see infinite possibilities. The location of the shoot will be solidified closer to the start of the class but plans to include the vineyards of San Louis Obispo, the coast of Moro Bay, Hearst Castle and more.  We will enter each location with goal of photographing possibilities for your final art piece.

 Closer to the end of the class we will focus on bringing the vision together with powerful techniques in Photoshop.  You will learn some art foundations that will give you stronger insight as to how to make your work more dynamic.

 On the photo shoot you will learn:

 1.    Camera techniques in low and bright light conditions without a tripod

2.    Shooting textures for source material

3.    Composing your subjects from different angles for multiple compositing purposes.

4.    Setting Modes and Custom functions in your camera for to assist your workflow.

5.    Shooting Landscape photography

6.    Shooting Architecture for compositing source material.

7.    Vineyards during harvest time


In the Photoshop class you will learn:

 1.    Creating Custom Perspective to blend multiple images into a single concept.

2.    Working with Layers and Masks for artistic effects

3.    Using Layer styles for artistic techniques.

4.    Understanding and applying Layer blend modes.

5.    Artistic borders

6.    How to apply your brushes creatively as well as how to create your own. 




Topaz Sale

Topaz is offering a great deal on their complete plug-in collection from 29 November through 02 December.  Enter the code "blackfriday2013" and  the collection is only $199.99 (normal price is $379.99).

I am a regular user of Clarity, Detail, Adjust, DeNoise, DeJPEG (client photos for print), and Black and White Effects 2.  Moreover, if you own only one plug-in, make it Clarity.



Photomatix Pro Version 5 Available Today

HDR Soft released the production version of Photomatix Pro version 5 today.  I have been working with the beta for a couple of months and this software is outstanding.  If you already own Photomatix Pro this is a free upgrade.  If not check out the link below and try it out.  The great thing is Photomatix Pro has a never expiring trial.  The trial watermarks but is fully functional.

Creative Cloud Photography Option Open to All

Adobe opened the Photoshop Photography Program of the Creative Cloud to everyone this morning.  They announced an earlier version of this but you had to already own a previous version of Photoshop (CS3 or higher).  The cost is 9.99/month and Adobe has committed to this price for the future.  Check it out below.

Photomatix Pro V5 Beta Available

If you like playing with and helping to improve software via beta, check out the new Photomatix Pro V5 beta.  If you are into HDR, you will like what they have done here. I think this will be a tremendous upgrade/update with new processing methods, better auto ghost removal, and other cool features.  Check it out via the link below.  Standard caveat, this is beta software so it is not perfect yet, but it is very, very good! 

Olympus Imaging Presents David H. Wells October 10th Open to the Public Presentation!

Come join us for the free and open to the public presentation sponsored by Olympus Imaging during the California Photo Festival October 10th at 3:45pm at the Embassy Suites Ballroom. His presentation "Making Exceptional Travel Photographs" will inspire and educate all photographers.

At its best, travel photography combines two passions, travel and photography.  David H. Wells indulges those passions in his work as an award winning internationally traveled publication photographer. 

Making exceptional travel photographs requires skills in many different types of photography, from street photography to still-life work to portraits. In a typical day of travel, a photographer may shoot busy festivals, quiet buildings, open landscapes, or close-up nature. The best travel photographers are versatile in their skills and fluid in their process, using minimal gear to achieve a maximum of results. 

In this presentation David will explore some important skills needed for good travel photography including:

• The traveling photographer's camera and bag

• Being in the right place at the right time

• Varying the time of the day

• Understanding the light

• Portraying people

• Stopping action vs showing motion

• Thoughts on tripods

Varying lenses

David brings to this presentation four decades of experience in photography around the globe. David is also a veteran photo educator who was named one of the Best Workshop Instructors in a PDN Reader Survey.


See some of David's newest published work here: 



David H. Wells a free-lance photographer affiliated with Aurora Photos and photo educator in Providence, Rhode Island. He specializes in intercultural communications and the use of light and shadow to enhance visual narratives.  Wells is an editorial, commercial and location photographer focusing on multimedia productions and photo-essays for publication and exhibition. He is an award-winning, digitally capable photographer, producing images for local, national and international clientele. Past assignments have been for Life Magazine, National Geographic Publications, the New York Times Magazine and the Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday Magazine, to name a few.  As an Olympus Visionary, Wells has been contracted by the camera company to produce images and provide feedback on new product lines.


California Photo Fest FAQ for 2013

We've been getting a few questions so we will be able to give you a few more links and a couple of downloads here to help you have a successful week at the festival.  

"For those of us without a smart phone, how do we get directions to our venues?" 

This year is the first year have gone "Green!" which is why we have the Festival App. This, unfortunately, doesn't help those who are from out of town and can't access the map within the app. 

Here are a few things to help you: 

Venue Travel Times Doc- This is the amount of time it will take for you to drive from our popular venues to the rest of our venues.

Google Map of Festival- Go to this map, look at your schedule and print out the maps and directions you need and keep them on hand. 

In your goodie bag! You will be getting a SLO County Visitors Guide which will have a county map so you can oversee the entire area. This map also has a distance grid to show you distance in miles from one town to another.

Victoria will also be at the Info desk, Julie will be available on our office phone and can assist you if you get lost or want verbal directions to a venue that day. 805-528-7385

Please keep in mind, this is a big event and over the years we have seen what works and what doesn't work. We've tried printing out maps and directions but it takes a lot of paper since many maps get lost through the week, and some directions need to be tailored specifically for your personal schedule.  The app and creating your own personal driving directions is the most efficient and effective way to get you to your venues!

What about powering my laptop for in indoor sessions? Will there be outlets available? 

Yes. However, remember you will be with 30 other students in some classes at Embassy. Although they have power outlets they may only have 4. Come prepared and bring your own power strip and maybe even a mini extension cord. Take care of your own needs and you won't be left without! Then you are the cool kid who can share! 

Is there specific gear for me to bring to these classes? 

Unless gear has been specified in the description bring your typical gear. There will be some loaner gear available from Expo Imaging, Sigma, Olympus and Canon. Samys will be bringing a lot of awesome loaner gear for shoots. IF YOU LOAN GEAR MAKE SURE YOU TAKE IT BACK. These sponsors bring gear for us to use and they will only continue to do so if we are all responsible adults and return items when we're done.

Here is a recommended items list if you didn't see it in the letter.

I'm coming in early on the weekend. What is there to do? 

This is your lucky week! This year on October 5th there is our annual Paso Robles Air show at the Warbirds Museum. Awesome photo-ops! 

There is also a wonderful wine country both in Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo. 

Here are a few websites with local events and points of interest to check out! 

SLO County

Wine Coast Country

New Times SLO

Paso Robles Wine Country- We especially recommend:

Midnight Cellars and Tasting Room

Croad Winery

Red Soles Winery

Doce Robles

Dark Star Cellars and Brian Benson Cellars

San Luis Obispo Wine Country

There's also a lot of cool stuff like Hearst Castle, Piedras Blancas and the Morro Bay Embarcadero that you can't go wrong with! 

For more FAQ's visit our FAQ section on our festival website!

Do not hesitate to call us or email us with more questions and we'd be happy to add more posts for people and answer you directly!

See you Soon! 

Victoria and the LIGHT Team! 

Important California Photo Fest Information


Here are some important things to know and to bring with you to help make the festival a fun, smooth, and memorable experience. There is a lot of information here, but it is important that you read through it all so you can make the most out of your week at Click! For our Next Post we will be answering additional FAQ with downloads and links to help you!


Your Schedule

Make sure you review and print our your schedule just before you leave home.

We have recently updated venues and still have a few to plug-in as conditions change. Any classes involving vineyards, harvest, or David Mecey will have the locations announced on the first day of the festival.

To print your schedule:

Login to your account on the CPF website
View My Schedule
Use the Export my Schedule as PDF button at the top of your schedule. Give it a second to process and it should pop up for you on your screen. If it doesn’t you will need to check your downloads folder on your system.
Print (usually a right click will give you the option to print)
Each attendee has their own account to the festival controlled by their own user name and password. You are in charge of creating and SAVING your own schedule. We do not assume responsibility if you have not successfully saved your schedule. If you have not successfully saved your schedule and find your classes are full, we at Light and the CPF team, will do our best to suggest appropriate classes for you but may not be able to add you to full classes.

**Keep your schedule and your festival badge on you AT ALL TIMES during the festival.

2.  Your Badge
Your badge is color coded and shows your name, home town, and a QR code.  The QR code is embedded with your name and email (the one you registered with.)  You may use this as your business card for networking! If you have a day pass you will have color coded dots that you will need to show your volunteer at check-in for each session.

3. Check-in
The Check-in station will be located at Embassy Suites. Check-in/Information desk is open Monday-Fri 8am-5pm but check the schedule for alternate times.  You will receive your Festival Badge and Festival Swag Bag at check-in. You can also check carpooling sheets, purchase charity raffle tickets and see any announcements hanging around the notes table.
**For those of you who are signed up for a sunrise workshop and have a day pass, you must check-in the day before to get your pass. If, for some reason you cannot make the check-in times you must contact us before the festival starts to make alternate arrangements. You must have your Festival Pass with your at each event.

4. The Festival Information Desk
 The Festival info Desk will have important information on all of our festival events, instructors, and the local area, announcements and other festival information needed to make a successful week for you. We try to keep the info desk open daily from 8am-6pm depending on the evening schedules. You can also always contact the office 805-528-7385 between 7am-7pm.

5. The Festival APP
The festival app is going to be your best friend this week. Because of our heavy attempt to be "greener" this year, the app will serve as the Festival Booklet. The App will have the festival schedule, instructor bios, chat capabilities and more fun things to help enhance the week for you. MOST IMPORTANTLY: It has your maps and directions! Download here: Apple Users Android Users

To use the App for info and directions:

a)      Allow the App to give you Push Notifications
a.       The Push notifications during the festival week are going to be important. These will tell you any updates, changes in venues, announcements and sponsor deals going on.
b)      Navigate to the button that says “More”
c)       Scroll to “Festival Map”
d)      Allow the app to use your current location
e)      You can see all of the venues by map or by a list
f)       On the map, tap the venue you want
g)      Choose “Directions”
h)      Press on the upper right hand arrow (iphone only) to get directions from your current location to the venue. This arrow will launch your phone’s Google or iphone map. With Android phones just choose Directions and you will be good to go.
i)        In order to choose a new location you must open the app again since the directions have taken you out of the festival app.

6. Workshops
When you arrive at your festival events, if the class is full and space limited you will need to first sign-in with the volunteer on duty. Each volunteer will have an attendee list (printed the day prior) for each of the festival events. If you are not on the attendee list and the class is full, you will be asked to find another session to attend. We are trying to keep all of our classes below a maximum attendance number so that each attendee has a chance to have some hands-on time with the instructors.
**Please be respectful of this system. Again, if you simply show up without having added the class to your schedule, you will be turned away from full classes.

7. LIGHT Computer Lab
Some of the festival events will be held at the LIGHT Workshops computer lab. You are welcome to bring your own laptop to work on or use one of the LIGHT computers. If you choose to use a LIGHT Computer, you will need to have a PC compatible external hard drive to access and download your images. Please note: Your images will not be saved on our machines.

8. Mandatory or Extremely Useful items to bring:
-Valid form of picture ID. You must have a valid ID at check-in to get your pass. If you have purchased a student pass you must bring proof of enrollment unless you have already provided the information to LIGHT Staff.
-A copy of your own schedule. We will not provide copies of schedules but there is a business center on site at Embassy that you can use to re-print anything you need. We have updated venues this week so make sure you have the most up to date schedule in hand.
-Any print-outs to help you during the week. We are not printing schedules or maps this year so please bring your own copy if you prefer. We have an App for that. Should you want to print out maps before coming go to our Google Map we have created for the festival: Festival POI Every venue is listed here and you can print your directions right from where you are staying!
This map has also been put into our festival app.
-There is a county map in the SLO Visitor Guide in your goodie bag.
 Recommended items to bring:
-Laptop computer to work with in class, take notes, or to review images during or after shooting sessions.
-Jackets. The Central Coast weather changes rapidly.  A wind resistant/proof and warm jacket will serve you well!
-Hats.  A hat to keep the sun off and a hat to stay warm are two great items to have with you.
-Water bottle: We will also have water stations at Embassy suites for your hydration needs.
-Snacks. Make sure to have some type of snack food with you.  The festival can wear you down quickly if you are not eating.
-All of the photo gear you may possibly need!
-Appropriate shoes.  Check your schedule. You may need shoes for hiking or getting wet and sandy.
-Clean shoes to change into when entering a building post shoot.  Don't make a muddy/sandy entrance!
-Cell phone and charger. Install the Festival App.
-Tablet device and charger. Install the Festival App.
-Cash: Some restaurants in Los Osos, Cayucos and other areas only accept cash. Our raffle will only accept cash as well and you will want to get in on these awesome prizes!
**Look for additional gear suggestions in the event descriptions on your schedule!

10. Carpooling
Carpooling is something we always encourage as some venues having limited parking spots and also to save on fuel and emissions. PLEASE be open and willing to carpool. If you insist on driving please offer seats to others for carpooling.
We will have the following options to help with carpooling:
A carpooling sign in sheet at the check-in/info desk      
The chat area in our app
The Festival Facebook page
The group meet for all “Meet at Embassy” sessions

11. Events you do not want to miss!
Monday:  During lunch! 12:45pm-1:15pm Dana Lynch will give a presentation on “Mobile Marketing for Small Business”. We will also have an extended lunch so you can mingle with the sponsors!  ”. (Tell your friends! It’s open to the public!)
Tuesday Evening 5:30PM: Canon Sponsored Lecture with Rick Sammon! “Exploring the Light”. (Tell your friends! It’s open to the public!)
Thursday: 3:45PM Olympus Sponsored Presentation with David Wells! ”. (Tell your friends! It’s open to the public!)
Friday is our charity raffle on behalf of Zoo To You! As well as an after-event Manager's reception at Embassy Suites when everything wraps up. Most of the instructors are staying the night and will grab a drink in the Atrium! Join us!

12. Festival Photo Contest
We are extremely fortunate to be sponsored by SmugMug again this year.  SmugMug will be hosting the gallery for the Festival Photo Contest.  We will distribute the web link so you can share and upload your images for consideration.
Please read through the terms and conditions for the gallery. You will see that it is a great way to help share your images and get noticed by our models, sponsors, instructors and fellow attendees who will visit the site.

13. PLEASE! Please submit model photos! If you don’t want to upload them to the SmugMug site please email them to info@lightworkshops.com or send them via Dropbox or YouSend it. Many of our festival models are requesting images only instead of compensation. Please help us- even if you don’t think they are medal worthy. Models rely on photos for future jobs and memories.

14. Model Releases and Profit Use Permission
This year we are doing our best to collect model releases to post and share with you. However, the model releases we collect are for “non-profit use only”. You DO NOT have permission to use model images for any “for profit” contests, business or stock opportunities without separate written permission from the models. BRING YOUR OWN FOR-PROFIT model releases if these are your intentions. Some of our models may also be minors but they will be accompanied by a guardian or parent.
For additional information about image releases and rights and usage go to our Terms and Conditions  page.

15. Be courteous when out shooting. We are invited guests at many of our venues and we must remember to be respectful and grateful to our hosts. Please also be respectful and considerate to your fellow attendees and the instructors and staff around you. We are all here to have a good time, take turns and get as much education out of the week as we can! Pick up after yourselves and leave no trace! Stay on paths and watch your step. If you move something at a venue put it back and always ask permission to photograph people who are not official models.

16. Use the Festival Social Media
Download the Festival App, follow the Festival on Twitter (@CAPhotoFestival), and check the Festival Facebook page (California Photo Festival). We will be posting updates, changes and information on these two social platforms prior and through the festival week. Check them often and make sure your push notifications are allowed with our app.

17.  Have fun and see you soon!
We want to thank each and every one of you who have signed up this year. This is an amazing opportunity for us here to have these incredible instructors join us on the beautiful Central Coast and celebrate what we all love! We are happy to make it happen as it is a passion of ours. We thank you for coming this year and we hope to see you back in the future!

-Victoria and Hal Schmitt and the Light Team