• A team of BYU Computer Science students recently won a computer hacking contest against some prestigious competition. When we were assigned to create a photo illustration to accompany the news release, I was stumped. Shooting photos of guys sitting in front of a computer is one the the hardest things that we have to do as University Photographers. The morning of the shoot I came up with the idea of shooting the photo from the perspective of the computer screen in order to show the team working together trying to hack into a computer. I also thought it would look cool if we did a really long exposure, and used some blurred colored lights in the background to separate the hackers from the dark background.

    First off, we cut out a computer screen sized to match one of our Apple Cinema Displays and set up a conference room with the screen cutout, lights, keyboard, mouse and speakers. I wasn't a big fan of the wall in the conference room, so we set up a black background that wouldn't show the shadows of the screen or the models on it. Then I set up my Canon 1D Mark IV on a tripod with a 14mm lens on it. I wanted it to look like the hackers were being lit by the glow of the screen, so I put an Elinchrom Ranger right behind the camera to act as my main light source. Here is one of our first test shots with Elisa serving as our stand in model:

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    Homecoming is always a stressful time for a University Photographer. Every year there seem to be more and more events to shoot, and never enough time to do them justice. I always try and block out that one week of the year and focus on all the assigned events that I have to cover and nothing else. I don't even try to do anything fancy, it is about survival, plain and simple. Unlike me, the boys at Baylor Photography are always up for a challenge. This year Robbie Rogers and Matthew Minard decided to create a multimedia piece with stills and video captured during their homecoming celebrations. Even more impressive is that they turned out the finished piece on the Monday after homecoming week. Matthew was kind enough to share how they approached the project with us. Check out his comments after the video:

    An Invitation from Baylor Photography on Vimeo.

    As has been tradition every year for Baylor Photography, Robbie and I have produced some type of multimedia project for Homecoming. Our goal is to evolve our storytelling efforts every year. This year we decided on incorporating video.

    "An Invitation" was a concept we came up with a couple of months ago when we discovered the original Homecoming invitation sent out by the Baylor President in 1909.

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    Good Afternoon to everyone out there!!!

    I just got back from Chicago after meeting with the board on the 2012 Symposium. All I can say right off is, What a great bunch we have on the board, very helpful and understanding and guiding. THANK YOU! Ok now for a little information you can use to get ready for the 2012 Symposium:

    Date - June 18th -23rd, 2012 Miami University, Oxford Ohio so mark the date and get your bosses pumped up about going.

    We are marking Dec 1st for the website launch and have all the hotel accommodations listed as well as a good start on the weeks schedule. It will be a lot of shooting workshops, lectures and Top Notch speakers, and we cant forget team building workshops on working together.

    If there is anything that you need, information wise or IF you would like to be a presenter or have a suggestion please drop me an e-mail at

    Jeff Sabo - Miami University

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    This is not your every day admissions piece. In fact, it is one that only works for one day out the year, specifically October 31st. Radford University decided to show off their University in a unique way by highlighting how they have something for EVERYONE at their school, including zombies and vampires. Today their webpage was taken over by these special students and their stories.

    Check it out on their homepage.

    Here is the video that tells their story:

    Happy Halloween from Radford University from Radford University on Vimeo.

    I got a kick out of the fact that they were willing to do this on their homepage for Halloween. It is a very novel way to get some attention for their University; they even got a writeup in the Washington Post. I asked Jaslyn Gilbert, Radford's Multimedia Producer, to explain how this project came about and here is what she shared with me:

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    One of my favorite images from the Summer MIC is Michael Lewis' "Center Stage" which took first place in the Features and Illustrations category. I thought it would be fun to have him explain where he got the idea for this image and how he shot it. Here is the explanation from Michael Lewis and his student Doug McKay:

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    First image lighting the model and background. Photo by Michael Lewis/BYUI

    For our Fall 2011 Performance Arts brochure we were given creative license to come up with an exciting cover image. We were told it should be a percussion image but not much else. The lighting takes inspiration from Marc Norberg's collection of photographs of jazz artists in his book "BLACK AND WHITE BLUES."

    The concept came from one of my student photographers, Doug McKay, who assisted me throughout the whole process. We wanted to convey that seemingly superhuman ability that percussionist have of creating a whole cacophony of sounds while barely moving.

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    How do you commemorate the tenth anniversary of the darkest day of our generation? We've struggled with this question over the past few weeks. Most of the students at our Universities were far to young to appreciate the magnitude of September 11th, yet their world is largely shaped by the effects of it. The rest of us remember it far to vividly.

    Chris Radcliffe at Eastern Kentucky University came up with a project that was not only reverential to losses of that day, but also showed the hope of moving forward. Please visit the piece on the EKU Photo blog at:

    I asked Chris if he would answer a few questions about the project, Q and A follows below:

    Can you explain a little bit more about your concept, how did you come up with it?

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    When I'm working on a multimedia piece I always struggle to know when to shoot stills and when to shoot video. For me it always has been difficult to juggle between the two. When I first saw Burn Camp, I was amazed at how well Dot Paul mixed stills with video to tell a compelling story. I caught up with her at the Utah Symposium and asked if she would be willing to share the story behind her award winning piece. Check out the video first and then read her comments below:

    The Burn Camp story idea formed during a very slow time in December; I started looking for a project to work on during the coming summer. I wanted to enterprise a project that would challenge and push me creatively.

    So I researched and looked through all the school and college websites for something visually interesting that I could immerse myself into.  I found the Burn Camp Service-Learning course on the School of Social Work’s website.  A colleague had covered it in an afternoon nearly a decade prior, but I wanted to revisit the camp and see if I could attend the whole week and make a documentary picture story from the students’ experiences there.  When I pitched my idea to the faculty of the camp, I had no clear outlet in mind for publication.

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    UPAA Annual Conference sponsor Canto has released two educational whitepapers on how to implement and optimize digital asset management.

    The “Building A Better DAM” white paper offers ideas to maximize the usability, functionality and value of your digital asset management system.  You’ll learn:

    • Metadata design tips that help you ensure you’re tracking everything you need both now and in the future.
    • User account configurations that simplify permissions assignments for more secure systems
    • Ideas for keeping metadata fresh and accurate
    • Keeping users interested in the DAM

    You can download the “Building a Better DAM” white paper at:

    The “Getting Started with DAM” white paper covers all the things you can do before you purchase digital asset management software to ensure that your system is a success.  You’ll learn:

    • How to analyze workflows and interview users so the system will be liked and used
    • Which environmental requirements determine whether an on-premise or cloud-based system is best for your organization
    • Who do you need on your “Team DAM” for your system to succeed
    • Where to find trusted advisors so the system meets your needs

    You can download the “Getting Started with DAM” white paper now at:

  • It is becoming a tradition for the boys at Baylor to come up with unique ways to tell the story of Move-in Day. In 2009 there was the mess and in 2010 they reinvented the box. This year Robbie Rogers and Matthew Minard decided to tell the stories of the families dropping off their students. Check it out:

    These Precious Things from Baylor Photography on Vimeo.

    When I asked Robbie how they came up with the piece, this is what he shared with me:

    The idea surfaced last October, after Matthew and I were chatting about
    telling more personal stories.  Knowing we love Move In Day, I thought
    about trying to get into residence hall rooms and seeing what the kids
    bring with them.  Then we discovered that if we included the parents, this
    would add the emotional element we were striving to get.

    Have to admit - I really wanted to add some gimmicks to this piece, but we
    went with straight reporting.  We put together the title slides and
    storyboard a few weeks before Move In, then gathered photos and audio for
    two days.  We talked Admissions into buying a ZOOM H2 that my wife used to
    get the audio.  The only student we knew beforehand was the girl showing
    off photos of her and her brother.  All the other students we grabbed on
    the spot.