ZachAncellZach Ancell

All articles by ZachAncell

 

PDN’s “The Body” Contest

Last year ended with some good news! I was awarded as one of the winners of PDN Magazine and Rangefinder Magazine’s contest “The Body”. I entered my series Olympic Bronze which looked to recreate bronze Olympic statues with body painted models and modern Olympic sports (you can read about it in a previous post by clicking here). I found out about being a winner a few days before New Years and it seemed like a perfect way to roll into 2017. This time of year is a great time to reflect on the things that worked and didn’t work in
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Brooks Inspiring Coaches: Part Three

We are in the home stretch! If you haven’t read Part One or Part Two of this crazy journey you should check those out first before continuing on with this. Yesterday, we left off with me photographing one of my favorite people in the world, Nat Carter. At this point, I had been on the road for a week and was at the furthest point away from home in this trip. The rest felt like I was just making my way home. RDU to BWI I arrived late into Baltimore and made the drive that night down to Bethesda trying
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Brooks Inspiring Coaches: Part Two

We are picking up right where we left off yesterday. That means if you haven’t you should probably go back to the last post by clicking here and reading that first! I had just shot with Marisa Parks about an hour and a half away from San Antonio and now I’m headed back to do another portrait session later that day: San Antonio I got back into San Antonio in time to grab some lunch and luckily the rain had stopped. It was still a little gloomy but as long as there wasn’t any rain we were good. A bit
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Brooks Inspiring Coaches: Part One

Without a doubt, this is probably the craziest job I’ve ever been a part of. There’s no better way to describe it than to share basically the initial call I received: “Hey Zach, we have this project for you. It’s kind of crazy but if you could pull it off that would be amazing. We need you to go to 11 cities in 11-days to photograph 13 people. So, What do you think? Oh, and you need to leave on Sunday!” My initial gut reaction was that there was no way this was possible. But then, I sat down and started
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Reebok | Chyna Cho

Whoa, I’ve definitely neglected the blog for long enough! Spring this year was extremely busy with some crazy travel for jobs and also buying my first house. That’s no excuse though and it’s time to get you caught up on some of the cool projects that I’ve been working on! Almost a year ago I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Chyna Cho. She is a professional Crossfit athlete for Reebok and placed the highest out of any American in the games last year. We had a morning to work with her and ran her through the gamut of
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Venice Beach Training

Last month I headed off to LA for a couple days for some shoots, some meetings and to get a little sun. I connected up with Kelli who is a model for Sports and Lifestyle Unlimited and we planned out a sunrise training shoot at Venice Beach. We met up a bit before sunrise and scouted out a couple locations that we thought would work best. It ended up being  a bit more of a running shoot than training but I’m not complaining at all! The light was beautiful and the beach was deserted except for a couple groups of
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Reebok ZQuick Campaign

Last summer I was contacted by a local agency to work on a project for Reebok. It’s been a long wait but I’m incredibly excited to finally be able to share this project with all of you! The basic concept for the shoot was that these two are out for a run at dusk in a city and taking advantage of the shoes that were made to plant and cut and dodge obstacles. In order to make that vision happen, we had to work some pretty odd hours on the project. The shoot started at around 5:00 PM. My crew and
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Bronze Statues

I couldn’t be more excited to share this new personal project with all of you! This is something that’s probably been an idea for a shoot for about a year and a half now and it’s really cool to finally see it come to light. The main concept behind this project was to turn models (by way of body paint) into Olympic Bronze Statues. And, even more than that recreating the look and feel of ancient bronze statues but modernizing it with current Olympic sports. Each of the models spent two hours in makeup getting body painted bronze and then
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Yoga | Sparks Lake

During the summer I had this idea to take a little mini vacation to get out of Portland for a few days. I’ve always wanted to visit Bend, Oregon but never had the opportunity. I figured end of summer/beginning of fall would be a great time to get away for a few days. I started researching places to stay and things to do and quickly realized that there were so many beautiful places that would be great to do some shoots for my book. Bend is just far enough away to make it a chore to drive out and back
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Khino & Kieron | Men’s Training

Again, continuing to get caught up one some retouching from the summer here’s a new set of Men’s Training images. As I’ve been working through these images it’s making me miss the longer days of summer. Fall is my favorite time of year but there’s something really nice about getting up earlier than most for a 5:30am shoot to take advantage of the great morning light. This set of images was really trying to show off some of the Nike Training attire but also the SKLZ training equipment. I basically had Khino and Kieron go through a workout using the
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Ryan | Redtail Golf

It’s been a couple months since my last post as my commercial work really picked up over the last couple months. There was a period of about a month where I was dealing with production needs for a big 7-day shoot that was spread out over a couple weeks. It involved scouting locations, castings and a lot of other things that need to happen on a larger production. That pushed my editing on this Golf project that I’ve been wanting to post for a while. After wrapping up that big project (which hopefully I’ll be able to show the images
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Yoga | Cape Kiwanda

Roughly a month ago I shared some images I shot with Allison in the Columbia River Gorge. Soon after, we decided to head out to the Oregon Coast to take some more at one of my favorite spots, Cape Kiwanda. It’s one of the places on the exemplifies why we call it the coast and not the beach. The ocean meets the land and over time has carved out these amazing cliffs, arches and sea stacks. Our goal, again like the last shoot, was to capture her doing yoga poses but also show off as much of the landscape as possible.
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Rajiv | Men’s Training

Following up on last weeks post I thought it would be good to share some images from a recent men’s training shoot. This one was a bit challenging just in the fact that it was incredibly hot out but we were able to use it to our advantage. Again, much like last week, I felt very much like a training putting Rajiv through a workout and just capturing images as we went. Within about 5 minutes of warming up he had a good sweat going as the temperature was near 100 degrees. It definitely helped pull off the authenticity that he’d been
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Elsa & Danielle | Women’s Training

Trying to keep the streak going I have some more new images for you all. A couple weeks ago I connected with a couple models I’ve worked with in the past to do a Women’s Training shoot. We met up bright and early to catch the morning light and basically ran them through a quick workout. In some ways, I felt like a personal trainer running them through different exercises to get their hearts pumping. I’ll stick to my career as a photographer but it’s good to know that I have something to fall back on if I need to!
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Yoga | Angel’s Rest

Without a doubt, this was one of the most challenging  photoshoots I’ve ever done. To say the least, I bit off quite a lot when deciding to go through with this shoot. Angel’s Rest is an amazing viewpoint in the Columbia River Gorge and figured it would be an amazing spot for a yoga shoot (I wasn’t wrong there). However, I underestimated how difficult it would be to get there while carrying about 50 lbs of camera gear. Allison (my model for the shoot) was an absolute rock star and basically dragged me up the trail. When we got to
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Trail Running – Rowena Crest

In the last blog post I got you all caught up on what’s been going on the last couple of months. But, now that I’m back in Portland it’s time to get back to the grind! Last week I had the opportunity to work on two pretty cool projects. The first that I’m going to release was a trail running shoot in the Columbia River Gorge. The other will be released next week and I’m really excited for you all to see the final images! You just have to be a little patient… These images were taken out at Rowena
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Catching Up

This is a post that’s been long overdue. It’s been a crazy couple of months, personally and for my business, and it’s time to catch you up. It was around the time of my last blog post that I made the difficult decision to move my business back to the west coast. Over the course of my year in NYC I got to work on some incredible projects (Inside the NFL and the Heisman Ceremony for Marcus Mariota)  but there was a regular stream of work back in Portland that I had to continue to turn down because I was
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University of Oregon: Men’s Basketball 2014-2015

This is probably one of my favorite projects I’ve had an opportunity to work on with the University of Oregon. There’s something about the creative possibilities that are allowed when you are working with a small group of athletes and especially when it becomes individual shots for posters. There’s a lot of freedom and it allows me to be a little more creative on set. In other cases, when we are shooting a large group I have to be very conscious about how people are going to fit together. We started off the shoot with some posed images of the
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Inside the NFL

At the end of last year I got contacted about shooting some photos for the Showtime TV Show, “Inside the NFL”. The job consisted of taking some BTS photos during taping but they also wanted to get some portraits of the hosts of the show. The biggest challenge was time management and making sure that I was capturing everything that needed to be captured. The first week I was on set my only objective was to get BTS photos. This was definitely helpful for me to figure out the pace of things and planning ahead for the next week when
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Yoga NYC (BTS)

As promised, I wanted to follow up last weeks blog post releasing my new yoga images with a BTS video and images from the shoot. In the past, these posts have been more of a step-by-step process at the retouching aspect but this time I wanted to give you a better look as to what it’s like on one of my sets. I always try to make it as comfortable, friendly, and fun as possible since we are all going to be spending the rest of the day together. I think this definitely comes across in the video! But, I know
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Yoga NYC

Happy 2015! Hope you all had a great New Years and Happy Holidays! To get the year started off right I wanted to share with all of you a project that I’ve had in mind ever since I moved to New York City. The city makes up its own unique landscape that I knew I wanted to take advantage of for this conceptual photoshoot.  I set out to find a rooftop somewhere in the city where I could composite in someone doing yoga onto a ledge with the skyline in the background. After a few months of searching I finally
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Heisman Weekend

What a crazy weekend. Going into it, I knew it was going to be exciting but I know I got to experience something that I will probably never get to do again. Basically, I spent most of the Heisman weekend at Marcus’ side running all over town. From media interviews at the Late Show, CBS and the Dan Patrick Show. To the Hospital visit and the family tour of the 9/11 Memorial. I got to experience all of that with them. One of the most memorable experiences for me was being able to share in the celebration immediately after the ceremony in
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Mariota for Heisman

It’s been a whirlwind of a week. This whole season the marketing team at the University of Oregon and I knew that there was a really good chance that Marcus Mariota would be up for the Heisman Trophy but it’s still something that we couldn’t plan for. It isn’t really until the Conference Championships have been played that things become clear as to who is going to be up for which awards. Because of this, the last week we’ve been in a frenzy trying to put assets together for a mini Heisman Campaign which is now just one day away from
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ShotKit Feature

As photographers, I think we are always curious about the gear that other photographers use. A couple of months ago I came across a website called ShotKit that covers the question we’ve asked or been asked, “What’s in your camera bag?” There have been a bunch of great photographers that I look up to and respect who have been on the blog and it’s super interesting (and inspiring) to see what they use to create their amazing images. Now, I’m by no means comparing myself to those great photographers but if you have ever been curious as to what I
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Skateboarding

First off, I want to welcome you all to the new blog interface (if you’re reading this in an RSS feed make sure you click through so you can see the new site)! I gave it a face lift this week and hopefully it’s a little bit easier to get around now. I’m still working on the finishing touches so if there’s anything else you would like to see or any changes you would like to be made let me know and I’ll try to incorporate them. I’ve also updated the gear sections (specifically my cameras and lenses). If you
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Surfer Girl

I’m in Eugene this week working on some new photos for Volleyball, Women’s and Men’s Basketball but I still wanted to share some new (well new to the blog) work that I shot right before my move. In December last year I took a road trip to Colorado for the holidays. The whole goal was to hit a couple places on the way that I could potentially use as background plates for potential composites. Unfortunately, I ended up having a bit of a medical emergency so I didn’t get to enjoy the road as much as I would have liked.
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University of Oregon: Spring Sports 2013-2014

There’s been a definite absence of posts on the blog lately as I’ve been working on my transition from Portland to Brooklyn. But, I’m finally settled in my new place and it’s time to get you all updated. For the past year or so the blog has taken a back seat to other social media platforms (mainly Facebook) as it was the easiest way to quickly show work. However, over the past few months I’ve seen a steady decline of posts that are actually reaching people without me having to pay to boost the campaign. I’m sharing this because I’m
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Step-by-Step: UO Volleyball

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these but I’ve had a few questions about how I created the UO Volleyball posters from this past year. The process is fairly easy but it was a matter of getting the right assets upfront (mainly the silhouette) to pull off the look. Let’s dive in. Step 1: RAW Image Here is part of the RAW image used for the silhouette. I’m just dissecting the image from the layers so this is already in the crop and because of that we are losing some of the top and bottom of the
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Mexico

Last week, my Dad and I took a vacation down to Mexico for a few days. However, we didn’t spend our time on the beaches drinking margaritas. We are big fans of tequila and wen’t down to visit a bunch of distilleries (much like you would do at a vineyard). We’ve been down before to visit the town of Tequila (yes, there is an actual town of tequila) but this time we wanted to visit the mountains, or Los Altos. Tequila is similar to wine where terroir plays a huge role in the final product and with the agave taking
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University of Oregon: Winter Sports 2013-2014

Now that we are firmly into winter and all of the University’s assets have been released for the winter sports I thought I’d share them with you. After starting off the year with some really cool stuff for the Football team and Volleyball we transitioned into the winter sports with some more really great stuff. First up was Men’s Basketball. The concept behind these was creating some really dramatic imagery (as usual) but showing off some of the starts from last season in one poster and the newcomers (transfers) in another. Some assets were created to combine all of them
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Ashton Eaton

It’s never a bad day at the office when you get to work with an Olympic Gold Medalist, World Record Holder, and good friend. Recently, I had the opportunity to work with Ashton Eaton on a project for TrackTown USA. Right now, the project isn’t live to show you the final ad but we did take a bunch of additional images just for fun that I am allowed to show you: Ashton was one of the first people I worked with when I was getting into photography and he’s definitely helped me get to where I am today. On set
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TRAJECTORY II

Earlier in the year I did a personal project called TRAJECTORY. It was a project where I explored movement of athletes and creating a way to show that motion in a still image. A few months ago I expanded on that project by shooting a new part of the series called TRAJECTORY II. This time I wanted to show portions of the movement throughout but still have the same motion blur as the original project. Here are a few samples from the project but you can find the rest over on my website: This is most likely my last post
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UO Duck Calendar 2014

Last year I worked with the University of Oregon to create a Cheer calendar. This year, they decided to switch it up and focus solely on the Duck, the Oregon Mascot. The idea behind the calendar was to have the Duck doing random (and often silly) things on various background. My job was to take these concepts, photograph the Duck on solid backgrounds with various props and composite those photos into new locations. One of my favorites is the Track and Field image where we paid homage to Bill Bowerman and how he used to create shoes using a waffle iron. Here
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Nike Free Flyknit

Collaborating with my studio we worked on a project recently that documented a women getting off work and going for a long run. With two guys on set capturing video, my job was to capture the stills that could demonstrate our ability to capture all the digital assets for a project. [Side note: this may be a good point to tell you to go check out BUCK if you haven’t see my studio yet and some of our work yet]. We took to the streets and started capturing Lisa on her journey through Portland wearing (at the time) Nike’s newest running
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FW Action

Continuing to round out my portfolio I got in touch with my friend and makeup artist, Amy Gillespie. We collaborated and decided to do a shoot where we emphasized movement of a model and their clothing. We brought in stylist Hannah Ainsley to help with wardrobe and styling on set. Although it was a pretty simple setup from my standpoint I think the images turned out really well. Here’s a small selection and if you want to see more you can find them over in the Sports Beauty gallery on my website.
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Cycling

Here’s a new series of photos shot last week for my portfolio. The idea behind this shoot was to work on creating more composites that combine my love of shooting sports and landscapes. The background plates in the two “location” photos were shot at sunrise at Rowena Crest in the Columbia River Gorge. Then, I connected with Tyson about working together on this project. He has modeled for Castelli (a cycling apparel company) quite a bit so to make our shoot more official he brought a bunch of their gear. All in all, another successful test shoot that will hopefully
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University of Oregon Volleyball 2013

I’ve been working with the University of Oregon for about two years now and the relationship is at a point where I’m able to pitch concepts for shoots. This year I thought it would be great to play a little with double exposures since we were only focusing on a few of the athletes. The idea was to shoot a silhouette of one of the girls and then shoot a few posed shots of everyone that we could overlay on the action shot plus the tagline. It’s great to have the trust of your client because this isn’t something that
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University of Oregon Football 2013-2014

This year I had the awesome opportunity to shoot for the University of Oregon’s Football team. It was the last sport I needed before I could claim that I shoot all the marketing material for the Oregon Ducks. There are still a bunch of photos from this campaign that haven’t been released so I can’t wait to share the rest with you. Keep on checking back as a lot of the stuff I’ve been shooting over the last few months will start coming out soon.
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Nike Spring Running Test

I belong to studio that consists of three other photographers and a producer called BUCK Studio. Although we all operate as freelance photographers we also have been getting contacted to work as a studio on projects. One of the major requests we get is for product photography of different apparel. Darren, our producer, and I decided that we should put together a test shoot so I could get some product photography in my portfolio. This test shoot consisted of two days of shooting so we could capture still life and on-body images. Day 1 – Still Life Darren and I
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Warehouse Test Shoot

Every so often I have a model contact me about working on test shoots together. The only issue is with an ever changing schedule (and mostly last minute) as well as weather conditions in Portland this time of year it’s hard to get anything scheduled. Kerry was persistant and dealt with a lot of scheduling changes on my end so we were finally able to shoot. Kerry works with a local company who has a giant warehouse that she said we could have access to shoot in. It was a perfect situation for me because we didn’t have to worry
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University of Oregon: 2013 Spring Sports

Another short but sweet post. The past few months I’ve been working on the imagery for the 2013 University of Oregon Spring Sports. Which means I’m done with all the sports for the year! There has been a little down time recently so I’ve been doing a lot of test shoots that I’ll be sharing over the next week or two. I’m also prepping and concepting for next years work with the University which will be bigger and better than ever!  
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English Gardner

Here’s a quick post about a new image that I shot for the University of Oregon. It’s of Sprint Star English Gardner who just had an amazing performance last weekend at the Millrose games. I’m just about to wrap up my work for the University for the school year so I should be posting more frequently in the next month. This is small version of the photo but if you want to see it larger you can head over to my website and check it out there.
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New University of Oregon Work

That last couple of months I’ve been super busy trying to wrap up the 2012-2013 images for the University of Oregon. There are still a few left to be posted (and I still have one more sport to shoot) but this is the majority of the work for the sports this year. I’m definitely interested in hearing what your favorites are!
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TRAJECTORY

For the last few months I’ve been shooting composite after composite after composite. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do but there comes a point where you want to do something a little different. That’s where my new personal project Trajectory comes in. I have set a goal for myself to shoot 50 test shoots over the course of the year and to start things off I wanted to create a photo series. It involved photographing 11 athletes in one day (1 athlete was shot separately as a lighting test for the project) and then some adjustments in post to
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Boxing & Fitness Test Shoot

I hope you’ve all had a chance to get moved over from the old blog and I guess that would make this the first blog post on the new website! I’m definitely excited to finally have everything moved over and I think I’ve finally worked out all of the kinks. But, definitely let me know if you come across anything! If you haven’t had a chance yet I hope you’ll take some time to look through the new website. It has a lot of features that are going to make my life easier and new images should be posted often
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New Website

Just a quick little blog post to let you all know that I’m moving to a new website that is live right now! If you head over to www.zachancell.com you’ll be able to see the new site and even find some new photos if you look hard enough! One of the main reasons for moving was I wanted all my websites under one roof. Before, I had a portfolio site that was hosted with one company, a blog that was hosted with another, and a proofing/store site with another. It was too much to keep track of and I really
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Oregon Cheer Calendar Giveaway

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! I decided that I wanted to do some sort of giveaway for Black Friday/Cyber Monday and what better way than a 2013 Oregon Cheer Calendar that you can use all next year! The contest will conclude December 7th at 5:00pm PST. I will then draw one winner who I will ship the calendar to! Here’s how you can enter the contest: Leave a comment in the section below. Post the following on Twitter, “Want to win a 2013 University of Oregon Cheer calendar? Enter to win here: http://goo.gl/M4GGb #OregonCheerCalendar” Head over to my
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Nike X-Ray Tights

A few weeks ago I came across these really cool women’s Nike tights that have a print on them that looks like an x-ray. Maybe it was because I was in the Halloween mood but I thought they would look great for a night running shoot. So, I ordered a pair and booked a model to do a quick little test shoot. In the end, the tights were a lot harder to photograph than I thought but I’m really happy with how the final images turned out. Check them out below:  
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Nik Silver Efex Pro 2

I’ve mentioned this before but I’m not huge on doing reviews. There are people out there who are way more qualified than I am to give a full rundown on different photographic equipment. The posts I do on gear are more about my experiences and how I use things. So here’s a super short review on a software program that I just added to my workflow. One of the biggest challenges I have with Photoshop is creating black & white images that I’m happy with. I don’t do it often but there are times where I need to convert an
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Tennis Test

Back at the beginning of summer I met with a local stylist who wanted to work together on a Tennis Test shoot. We ended up shooting a few weeks later and then our schedules got in the way. She would be busy and then I would be busy and we didn’t have a chance to make selects (and then for me to edit) until very recently. But we finally made it happen even though it took us a couple of months. I really hate to sit on images especially when there are models who want to add it to their
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