Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

Masterclass Studio Lighting and Post Production Workshop

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

Canon 5D MKIII - Sigma APO 70-200 F2.8 EX DG


Masterclass Studio Lighting and Post Production Workshop – Due to a cancellation a space has become available


Sunday February 3, 2013  –  10am to 4pm
Wednesday February 6, 2013  – 7pm to 10pm

NIK – Black Friday/Cyber Monday

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011
NIK Black Friday Sale

Use Coupon code GBLACK for NIK Black Friday Sale

 I just received an email from NIK Software letting me know about the Black Friday Sale that starts tomorrow and runs through Monday.

Use Coupon Code GBLACK at checkout for savings.

  • 20% off individual Nik Software products
  • $100 off Complete Collection for Lightroom and Aperture
  • $200 of Complete Collection Ultimate Edition

Dates and time:      11/23/11 at 9am PST to 11/28/11 12 am PST

NIK Color Efex Pro 4

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

I just received an email from NIK Software pre announcing the release of the next version of Color Pro Efex.  I remember when I upgraded from version 2 to 3, I was blown away with the improvements then. Now looking at the New Features of version 4, I can’t wait to get it!!!!

You can pre-order it now, use coupon code GBLACK at checkout for a 15% off Discount.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 9

Thursday, February 17th, 2011


Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 (Win/Mac) is now on sale at for $91.99 including free shipping

Update – Until March 1st Staples has Elements 9 on sale for $69.99

HDR Photography – Ottawa RA Photo Club

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010
HDR Photography - Ottawa RA Photo Club

HDR Photography Presentation

Tonight I will be one of the presenters at the RA Photo Club’s panel discussion on HDR photographic techniques.

HDR Software:

OLONEO – Beta Version

Photomatix – 15% off use Promo Code: garryblack15

Nik Software – 15% off use Promo Code: GBLACK

Photomatix Pro 4.0

Thursday, October 7th, 2010
Autumn Photography Course Ottawa

HDR taken on Autumn Photography Course Ottawa

HDR Soft has just released an upgrade to Photomatix Pro. The upgrade to version 4 is free of charge for customers who have purchased a license of version 3.   If you still haven’t purchased Photomatix HDR you can save 15% by using the coupon code garryblack15

Colour vs B&W

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Black and White vs Colour

Next Tuesday, I will be taking part in a discussion panel at the RA Camera Club in Ottawa, the topic is “Black and White vs Colour”.  Notice that the wording in the topic is “vs” which hints that it just might be a little confrontational, sort of like the Saints vs Colts or the Senators vs Leafs.  The guidelines for the presentation are: Where, Why, When and How? Is one better than the other? Where is each best suited?

From my perspective I don’t think that one approach is better than the other, it’s not an either-or situation. Having said that, there are certain times, depending on the subject and what I’m trying to convey with that image, that I do think one is better.   For some pictures I like every possible variation that I can produce from a single image. These variations range from  colours that are vivid and over-saturated, to colours which are soft and muted, or to one of the many variations done in Black & White,  infrared, sepia or toned. I am quite sure that most photographers have their own personal preferences and probably accepts both approaches. There are, however, photographers who want to distinguish and separate themselves from others, and who strongly believe that photography should be carried out only in one medium, Black & White or colour.  I, for one, am not one of  them.  I can appreciate the merits of both.

It was just a few short years ago that you would have had to make a conscious decision before you took the shot whether it was going to be B&W or colour. Some photographers had 2 camera bodies, one for B&W and the other for colour. Today, shooting digital raw files gives you the opportunity in post processing for either colour and/or B&W images. Isn’t life great!

What’s your preference – Colour or Black and White?

Nik Software Specials – Only until the end of the Year!

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

I just received an email from Nik Software announcing that Viveza 2 has now been released. Pricing for Viveza 2 is $199.95 , lowered from the original cost of $249.95 and is just $99.95 for upgrades. There are specials on the Complete Collection Editions of Nik Software $170 off Nik Complete for Photoshop/LR/Aperture  (only $429.95) and  save $100 off Nik Complete for LR/Aperture (only $199.95). Use coupon code “GBLACK” to receive the discounts on the “Collections” or off any individual product from Nik Software.

 These offers end promptly at 11:59pm on 12/31/09.

 If you have any questions about the software or problems with the discounts, just send me an email.

Discount Coupon Codes – Nik, Photomatix and Topaz

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Looking to save a little money on some of the best Photoshop plug-ins? I’ve arranged for the following software discounts:

15% off Nik Software use Promo Code: GBLACK  

15% off Photomatix use Promo Code: garryblack15

15% off Topaz Labs: this discount is only available to participants of my workshops – present and past. Please send me an email  for instructions on how to get this discount.

Use the promotional discount coupon codes at checkout.

CS4 and Capture One Pro Upgrades

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Last week there were upgrades to two of the photo editing software programs that I use.  And I was just starting to master all of the features in the old programs, now I’ll have to go through the learning curve with the new ones.

The first program is Adobe Photoshop CS4. This is by far and away the program that I spend most of my time using.  Adobe upgrades this program around every 18 months, this is now the 11th version of it. When I started using Photoshop in 1997  it was at version 4. I’ve upgraded with every new version that came along, so I’ve spent somewhere close to $2500. in total for this program. That might seem like a lot of money for a computer program, but that’s cheap if I was to calculate the total overall hourly usage that I’ve gotten from it, not to mention the income from the images that I’ve created by using it. This version has a couple of  new updates that I find very interesting, although there are many other features as well. The Adjustment Brushes, this let you adjust exposure, brightness, contrast, clarity, saturation, sharpness and colour all in Camera Raw. Content sensitive scaling, this allows you scale an image without distorting the key image areas. Depth of field tool, lets you combine multiple shots of the same image but in varying focus depths, the software takes all of these shots  and attempts to make everything in focus.

The second program is Capture One 4 Pro, which hasn’t had a major upgrade in 4-5 years. This upgrade is really a major upgrade, and once again it has become one of the leading Raw Workflow software programs. I had been using Capture One Pro v3.7.7 for my Raw file conversions until about a year ago, when I switched to Adobe Camera Raw in Photoshop CS3. With this upgrade I’ll be switching back to using Capture One for most of file processing, and will use Camera Raw in Photoshop CS4 for certain images that would benefit from using the Adjustment Brushes. A bonus that you get with Capture One Pro is that you get 2 free major upgrades from the current version that you purchase.

The other Photo Editing Programs that I use are:

  1. Photo Mechanic
  2. IView Media Pro – Microsoft Expression Media
  3. Noise Ninja
  4. PixelGenius PhotoKit Sharpener
  5. Pixel Genius PhotoKit Color 2.0
  6. Nik Color Efex Pro
  7. Photomatix Pro 3.0

A question that I am quite often asked is whether you should upgrade with the newest versions of software. Personally, I normally do, but keep in mind that this is what I do for a living also it’s a tax write off. If photography is only a hobby for you or produces a small amount of income, I might suggest that you hold off on every upgrade and get every second or third upgrade. That is unless money isn’t a determining factor for you.