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1514-0075As an architectural photographer I don’t always get to see how my clients use my photography once I deliver the images to them, but once in a while I do get a chance to see how they are used. My wife is an interior designer and receives email promotions from many different companies for their products and services and the other day she received one from “Big Ass Fans”. I had photographed a new restaurant in Brandon Florida that used these fans in their restaurant. The restaurant “Wow! That’s Fresh” is a new franchise and this was their first restaurant they had built.

This job presented some unique challenges in photographing both the fans and the architectural aspects of the restaurant. The first challenge was that all the photographs had to emphasize the fans, not that big of a problem since the fans are big ass.

Another challenge was for one of the shots to be of all four fans, the restaurant was not that large and the fans were in the four corners and I was informed that I needed to keep distortion of the fans to minimum. We had talked on the phone about a shot they would like, but when I set up the camera there was no way that that shot would work, so I had to come up with a new angle that I think it worked out quite well from them.

The last challenge was time. I was told that I could start at the restaurant at 8 o’clock in the morning and had to be out by 11 AM. This meant that I was not going to be able to use any lighting and I was not to have much time for each shot. I was contracted to photograph for different views, but as you can see I always try to get the client a little bit more if I can especially when this is the first job for me with them. The problem with that timeframe was that at 10:15 AM the fans all turned on and are controlled by the corporate office through a satellite connection and cannot be overridden by the restaurant, so I photographed all the shots in 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Here is the link to big ass fans webpage and what they said about the restaurants and how they use the photographs: Big Ass Fans

MCPJ_2-300x190I am flying back from speaking at the “MadCity Photo Jam” in Wisconsin an don’t have a new video ready. Will have one next week and if you want to have an idea or something you would like me to do, please drop me an email and I will try to make a video from your suggestions.

Trying to make an HDR image the realistic is actually easy when you use a combination of Photoshop and Lightroom. In this video you’ll see how to put together an HDR image in Photoshop and then bring it into Lightroom to create a very realistic photograph. You will see how to develop the image in Lightroom using the paintbrush tool, graduate filter and the belt mode to make your image really come alive.

HDR Landscape with Photoshop & Lightroom from Randy Van Duinen on Vimeo.

IMG_1095I just got back from Imaging USA in Nashville and had a great time with my wife Lynn who accompanying me for the first time. We started out staying downtown for the first two nights and where able to hear some great music at quite a few Honky Tonks. I decided to only bring my Sony a7r camera with one lens, the 24-70mm. I took this camera because of its size and I really wanted to work with it, it worked great.

Then it was on to Imaging USA and where I was up for an IPC Grand Imaging Award. The past two years I took 1st and 2nd and this year I did not. I am still one of the Top Ten Commercial images this year; I will have to work harder for next year. It was great connected with my friend from my Grand Rapids Junior Collage days Ruth and another friend from Photoshop World that I had not seen for many years Cheryl Mcnabb.

I was also there to receive my “Master of Photography” degree form PPA. This is one of the greatest honors I have been a part of and I had my wife placing the ribbon and medallion around my neck. I would like to thank all the people that have helped me get to this place and hope I can help others do the same.

Here some images form Nashville:

When you are taking photographs in any location that is popular you will be encountering large groups of tourist. There are a few ways to remove them from you image, one is to wait and hope you get a break from the hordes of people that are around. Another way is to be there when the tourist are not, this means late at night or before they are up in the mourning. The way I am going to show you is to use a tripod and photograph many photos and then remove the people in Photoshop.

Takeing People out from Randy Van Duinen on Vimeo.


One of the important aspects of travel photography is to capture the feeling or essence of the place. I am known for my architectural photography so when I’m out I am usually focusing on either architecture or landscape, but to really get feel for an area or place I believe you also have to photograph people in their surroundings. Sometimes I do this by asking someone if I can take the photograph, and in other cases it’s just capturing people in their daily lives.

In Italy it seemed that I was trying to capture people in their everyday lives, this meant with them not realizing I was taking the photograph. These candid shots should show emotion, tell a story and give a feeling of there surroundings. One of the things that I noticed in Italy was the Roma people and how they would beg for money. I have this one shot of a Roma woman kneeling down in front of a tin can, but you’ll notice she is peaking out and taking a look at me as I walk away.


There are street performers at every tourist location I believe you need to photograph them and capture the emotion of what they’re doing. The street performer in Siena was really working the crowd and I think this photograph really shows emotion that is as he plays the violin.


Another shot that I really like is photographed from the top of the bell tower in Venice looking down onto St. Mark’s Square. This is a shot of people in their everyday lives shot from a unique angle that I think makes a very strong statement.


Don’t forget you can also photograph the tourist photos of your wife or loved ones and have them become part of the story. This is a shot of my wife in Venice as she was waiting for me because I was photographing. I have a very understanding wife as she stood around quite a bit in Italy.


Sometimes it takes a little planning to get a good candid shot. In this case I noticed all these people walking into a church and as I was getting a little thirsty and needed a glass of wine, so my wife and I decided to sit at a little café right across the street, where it positioned myself so I could catch some of the patrons as they walked out with this wall right behind them.


Some of the best photographs are the ones where you’re at the right place at the right time. The photograph of the two young priests sitting in having a conversation was only there for a second before they both got up and left. Finding this little elderly Italian lady walking down this alley with an older gentleman watering his flowers cannot be planned, but I’m glad I was there to take these photograph.


As you can see even someone who doesn’t usually have people in their photographs, with a little luck and little planning, can take some good travel photographs with people in them.