Art In The Making – Essays by Artists About What They Do 

Special Pre-Order Offers End March 15

This 350-page softcover book will contain 80 short, illustrated essays by makers working in a wide range of artistic and artisanal fields, offering a glimpse into the personal motivations, methods, and reasons that people continue to make artistic things in our modern, technological age. Each contributor was asked to address the following four questions about their practice:

1. How did you come to what you do?

2. How do you do it?

3. Where do you see the distinctions, if any, between your art and your craft?

4. Why do you do it? 

Our contributors’ answers to these questions have proven to be as various and distinct as their individual art forms.

Watch the video and find out more here.

Enjoy Frames’ Online Photography Summit – March 25-27, 2022


“Taking place over three days, the FRAMES PHOTOGRAPHY SUMMIT 2022 will feature twelve top-class presenters. Our lineup will include some of the biggest names in the craft as well as individuals at the cutting edge of their creative practice. With our commitment to educate, entertain, and inspire, we will feature talks on artists’ work and working practices as well as in-depth interviews that will challenge how we think about photography. If you share our love of photography, join us for this exciting event where we will celebrate our shared passion for the joy of image-making.”

Twelve sixty-to-ninety-minute sessions with some of photography’s most prominent and knowledgeable artists and thinkers.

Ami Vitale
Alec Soth
Caroline Preece
Sean Tucker
Barbara Alper
Richard I’Anson
Phil Penman
Michael Kenna
John Paul Caponigro
Rick Halpern
Shane Balkowitsch
Rollence Patugan

I’m presenting Sunday, March 27 at 1 PM EST.
The Wonderful Things Printing Can Do For You And Your Images

$120 for all-access tickets
$99 with the code Johnpaul20

Register here.
View the schedule here.

3 Color Tweaks To Improve Image Blur’s Depth Of Field


background color adjusted

background color adjusted plus detail blurred

The principles of atmospheric perspective can be used to enhance the illusion depth in two-dimensional images. The three elements of color each encode space. Some colors rise forward – light, warm, saturated. Some colors recede – dark, cool, desaturated. When applied strategically and selectively, they can produce powerful visual effects, making your images appear even more realistic. 

You can combine these tendencies (They’re not absolute rules and can all be reversed in the right contexts.) with selective blur to make the illusion of space in your images even more powerfully felt.

Photoshop’s Depth Blur neural filter offers sliders to make it quick and easy to make these kinds of color adjustments and make blurring effects more powerfully felt. 

Insights Members can login to read the full article.
or Sign up

3 Ways To Blur Image Backgrounds With Photoshop From Easy To Precise



Three Photoshop gurus demonstrate how to blur backgrounds, moving from simple to more precise methods.

How To Create More Realistic Blur Effects By Adding A Little Noise

Add noise with a separate layer.


Noise Makes Images Look More Natural

Be careful not to smooth your images so much that your images begin to look synthetic like they’ve been rendered by software rather than captured by hardware. Over-smoothing can happen when you aggressively reduce noise, retouch at lower opacities, or create blur effects. You can use noise to restore a more naturalistic appearance. And, there’s a way to do this in Photoshop that will allow you to control what kind of noise and how much it’s applied indefinitely.

Add Noise Effects On Separate Layers

When you add noise to digital files, place it on a layer that is separate from the image(s) so you can control both independently of one another. This way you’ll have extraordinary control and flexibility. When noise is placed on its own layer you can eliminate or change it at any time in the future, reduce its opacity, localize it with masking, desaturate it, target it into specific channels, move it, scale it, blur it, and much more. Here’s how to do it in Photoshop.

1     Create a new layer (Layer: New Layer),
set blend mode to Overlay,
check filled with Overlay-neutral color.

2     Filter the layer with noise (Filter: Noise: Add Noise).

3     Add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer clipped to the noise layer to reduce the saturation of the effect only.

4     Optionally, add a Layer Mask to the noise layer to localize the effect using either a selection, brush, or gradient.

5     Optionally, use Edit: Free Transform to resize the effect.

You can modify the effect at any time in the future, without compromising the original image information.

Noise can be clipped to a single layer.

Make Noise Layer Specific

You can clip noise effect layers to a single image layer. Simply press the Option/Alt key and click the line separating the two layers in the layers palette. Photoshop will then apply the noise only to the pixels on that layer. When a layer has transparency, like a retouching layer, no masking will be necessary once the noise layer is clipped to it.

Photographers go to great lengths to avoid noise. This is generally a good practice, but it can be overdone. There are many times when a little noise can make your images more convincing.

Read more of this technique here.

Read more about Noise here.

Read more about Blur here.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

Two Generations: Paul and John Paul Caponigro – Feb 16 8pm EST Online With SFW

Receive this ebook free.       26 images – 26 quotes

Buy this ebook here.       75 images – 3 essays


Wednesday, February 16 – 2022

Creativity Continues at Santa Fe Workshops with Two Generations In Conversation, an evening with father Paul Caponigro and son John Paul Caponigro. During this captivating hour, the Caponigros, after a brief viewing of images, will share their thoughts about the soul of photography, the joys of printing, and how the two are related. Then we’ll finish our program with a lively question and answer session open to all participants.



The Top 5 Reasons To Blur Your Images

View more of Arduina Caponigro’s images here.

One of the best things about photography is that it records so much detail; one of the worst things about photography is that it records so much detail. The question becomes, “Is all of the detail in the frame significant?” and “Are the qualities of the information presented appropriate for the statement being made?” Photographers are obsessed with making sharp images and for good reason, if the main subject is out-of-focus it usually frustrates viewers – with a few notable exceptions. Sharp focus is often mistaken for good technique, when in fact it’s just a technique, sometimes better and sometimes worse. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Too much sharp information may become overstimulating. Overly sharp images grate on nerves, especially if digital sharpening artifacts draw attention to themselves and away from more important aspects of an image. So, it’s equally important to understand when to use blur, how much, what kind but most importantly why.

Here are five key reasons to use blur in images.

Focus Attention

You can make focussed areas seem even more focussed and important bey reducing the focus of other areas, a little or a lot. This is a classic move used frequently by portrait and street photographers when trying to emphasize people and reduce or even eliminate distracting background elements.

Accentuate Space

It’s not only focus but also its relationship to blur that gives us clues to depth-of-field or how deep a space we’re looking at. Increase the difference between the two and space within the frame is enhanced.

Enhance Mood

Texture has inherent aesthetic qualities like sharpness and softness that can greatly enhance an image’s mood. Just ask, how do you want an image to feel physically and emotionally?

Show motion

While photographs are by their nature still, life is constantly in motion, and you may want to record that. While the artifacts cameras produce aren’t the same as our bodies visual experience of motion they provide a range of visual codes that can suggest motion and can even be fascinating visual experiences in and of themselves, at times providing us new windows into the world, whether it’s the subject or the camera that moves.

Create Abstractions

By deemphasizing details you can direct more attention to the foundations of images. Go further and you can produce simplifications that are virtually unrecognizable and become new aesthetic experiences.

Detail is an essential element in every image but there’s a wide range of ways to treat it and reasons to do so. If you’re not sure what you prefer, explore many ways before committing to a solution that feels right to you. As you find that you’re called towards certain treatments ask why and how that’s serving the statements you’re making with your images. You may become more conscious of what you’ve found your way to unconsciously and in so doing discover more about how your style reveals your vision and aspects of yourself. 

Don’t forget to explore your digital options. There’s a wealth of new exposure combinations and digital post-processing techniques that may serve you well. If you find you prefer analog processes and effects, ask yourself why. Your answer may be significant even revealing to you and your audiences. What you choose not to do can be just as revealing as what you do. Just make it intentional.

Read more about Blur.
Learn more in our digital photography and digital printing workshops.

How To Combine Focussed & Defocussed Images Using Photoshop

In & Out-Of-Focus Mixed


Combining in and out-of-focus images with Photoshop is a simple matter of placing tow versions of the same image on separate layers.

If you’re simulating an out-of-focus image using blur filters in Photoshop this takes one step. Use the Layers menu and select Duplicate Layer or in the Layers palette drag the layer to the Create a new layer icon ( + ). The two layers will be perfectly registered. The top layer is ready for blurring.

If you’re combing separate exposures of the same image that are in and out-of-focus add a couple more easy steps.

Insights Members can login to read the full article.
or Sign up