Make It Personal


I always have ideas brewing of image concepts that I want to see come to fruition. Finding time for personal projects is hard but important for creative growth. I find that the process of shooting personal images helps influence my professional work as well.

I have always loved using donuts as a subject. They are delicious and unique with a rich history. I find them fascinating. For this recent series, I wanted to shoot large prints of donuts around San Francisco. It was cost prohibitive to actually print out the images and place them in the settings, so I placed an 8’x8’ square of white foamcore in each location. My assistant was the lucky one who got to watch over the foamcore once it was leaning in the photo. We had a couple of times where it almost blew away!

By shooting the images with the actual large foam core in location, I was able to capture people’s reactions or lack thereof one. I was surprised with how many people just ignored us and just walked around.

Shooting donuts is always fun and satisfying. I never know where or how I’ll shoot them next!

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Stop Motion Fun

Donut Fun

I love donuts and I love stop motion so why not combine them? That’s what I’ve done with this playful video, it’s short but sweet—just like the donuts in it. The creation of the video took several days. It may look simple but it took lots of planing and strategizing. One issue is that donuts change their appearance over time. I had to plan each part to be completed within a day. If I wasn’t able to get the shot done, I had to wait until the next day to start again with fresh donuts. Another issue was that the donuts left a sugar/grease trail as they moved. Rather then clean the surface after each move (which I did in the beginning) I backed each donut with cardboard. This made it much more efficient to move the donuts around without the hassle and mess.

Another big part of completing the video was finding some great music to set the tone. Thankfully Craig Bromley was on board for creating some custom music for the video. I am amazed he was able to develop such a range in the relatively short time span of the video.

View on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/109470568
View on Youtube: http://youtu.be/lKMNmyF1ErU

Pump It

I was inspired by my son’s weekly soccer games for the theme of this stop motion video. I wanted to create something fun and simple. While I was attracted to the basic theme of the idea, I learned simple things are not always easy! In this case, making the pump hose move fluidly was tricky. I needed to be able to move the hose in small, precise steps. Rather then run a wire in the hose I used a metal rod to hold each position of the hose in place. Later the rod was digitally removed. Hopefully the result looks simple and fun.

View on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/109470570
View on Youtube: http://youtu.be/EJw-hALtd_k


Fun with Acrylic

Peter Belanger-IMG_1597

It’s always rewarding when the client is up for something more playful. In the current issue of Macworld we used circular acrylic to ad some fun to their feature on the two new iPads. It was decided the day before the shoot, thankfully Tap Plastics was able to turn around circular acrylic over night.

I’ve also post the covers to some past Macworld magazines that I never posted

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Capture One Workflow

I’ve been asked several times to share my Capture One workflow. Everyone has their way of working and mine is by no means a fit for all. Grab your pillow, this subject might just put you to sleep.

I use a tethered session rather than a catalog. The new session is named with the date, job number, and client name. In this case, the session name is Date-Job#-Client. The default location of the Session in Capture One is set in the Pictures folder but I locate the Sessions on the Desktop for quick access and organization. Capture One recommends locating all Sessions in the Shared folder to prevent any problems with permissions. I’ve yet to experience any issues locating files on the Desktop. Hopefully, I didn’t just jinx myself.


My workflow normally requires one computer for capturing and another for organizing and processing. This way I don’t have to wait for my assistant to finish naming and organizing before I can continue to the next shot. The most efficient way to move files between computers is to capture images as an EIP file. This is done in the Capture One Preferences, click the check box “Pack as EIP when capturing.” An EIP (Enhanced Image Package) file format bundles the original Raw file with the image settings like Color Tag, Rating, ICC profile, White Balance, Crop and other metadata. Transferring these EIP files from computer to computer will keep the settings intact and allows them to travel with the image.


Before shooting, I setup the appropriate naming convention. Other settings I use are Copy from Last in the “ICC Profile” and Copy from Clipboard in the “All Other” dialog boxes.


After the first image is captured, I apply my presets for metadata, sharpening, white balance, etc. I copy the image settings to the Clipboard. In the “Adjustment Clipboard” I select everything I want to copy. Now all the information will automatically transfer to the following captures. Each time I make a change as I’m shooting I will copy everything to the clipboard again so all further captures will reflect the new changes.


The next step is to process the files. Capture One has basic recipes but you can create your own according to your needs. Lifestyle shoots often have significantly higher shot count than a product shoot so I include quickly viewable jpgs to accompany the hi-res tifs in a secondary folder. This way, the client can view and select the jpgs and reference the corresponding tifs when they are ready. The Default setting outputs processed files to the root Output folder created at the beginning of the session. This can be customized so that the output files are designated to specific locations. My Recipes include subfolders within the Output folder. Subfolders are a great way to automatically separate the file types like tifs and jpgs or other ways the processed files are best differentiated. Congratulations you made it this far, I stopped for a donut break halfway through.




xScope by Iconfactory is a software tool I use on a daily basis at the studio. It is a gem that others might disregard but I feel is essential in my workflow. Xcope includes various tools that float on your desktop window. One of the key features are the guides. I use the guides to make sure things are squared, leveled, equidistant and parallel when positioning a shot. Above are three screen grabs floating xScope guides on my Capture One screen. The first two show the product off centered, indicated by the pixel numbers between the guides. The third shows the product being centered, proven by the equal pixel numbers.
I also like the ruler. Often, I have to match the position of a previous shot I did. I use the ruler as a free-flowing glorified guide since it can be rotated in any angle and placed anywhere on the screen. Below are two screen grabs to diagram my use. Let’s say the first image is a final shot. Next on the shot list will be the same product but rotated 90 degrees. The best way to match angles is to place the ruler on one side of the first image and then rotate the product accordingly to match the ruler for the second image. Make sure you do not move the ruler, instead move the product little by little until the side lines up with the ruler. The second screen grab below not only shows the ruler matching the side angle but I also brought back the guides to make sure it is centered. I like how all the tools can be used in conjunction with each other.

Pebble Watches


MIT Technology Review featured the Pebble watch in an articled entitled “10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2013″ in their current issue. I was fortunate to photograph the watches at Pebble headquarters and work directly with founder Eric Migicovsky. Their Kickstarter story made history and getting my hands on these watches for a day was super exciting.


Macworld April 2013

I’ve posted about making animations for editorial before. This is the latest short animation created to go with the digital version of the April issue of Macworld magazine. It was used to introduce the featured article called “100 More Things Every Mac User Should Know.”

After photographing the main photo for the print magazine, the animation was created by taking the Post-it notes away one by one. When creating the animation with Apple’s Motion, the photos were arranged in reverse so it looked like the Post-it’s were being added rather than taken away.

I’m also testing out Vimeo Pro as a clean way to present my videos. Once I have enough videos I’ll incorporate it into my site.

Exploratorium and SF Magazine.


The Exploratorium in San Francisco has moved in to a new location that’s going to make it one of the biggest attractions in the city. San Francisco Magazine asked me to capture a couple of photos of the new location before it opens. The museum’s crew spent a day moving construction materials and equipment out of the way just so I could get a clean shot. It is a beautiful new space for the museum. I knew I wanted a soft light to showcase the building. We were shooting other areas inside the building when I noticed the sun outside was how I envisioned it would be to capture an exterior photo. We rushed outside and got this shot just in time!
This is my favorite image they used for the spread (plus a behind-the-scenes photo). The magazine is on newsstands now and also free online.



Portfolio and Blog Update


It was a busy and productive 2012. We finally updated the website with new images from the previous year. On top of that, check out a revamp update to the blog. The Posterous era has come to an end. Therefore, a new blog engine needed to be used. With the change comes great opportunities for minor improvements. So, we decided to incorporate more social features to the blog. You can now subscribe via email, link to my Instagram and it includes a much better comment section with the help of Disqus. Have at it and take a look…comments are welcome.


San Francisco Magazine Cover

I was very happy to be asked to work on the October issue of San Francisco Magazine. It is always great to collaborate with clients that have creative ideas.


After talking with them about what they needed I set out to photograph all the parts to create something that looked realistic. San Francisco may have lots of roads with views like this one, but none of them conveyed what I was looking for. Often I would find a good location and have to drive it multiple times to get a good shot with no traffic or the right lighting. I photographed lots of roads, cars, city views and signs to create a composition that aligned with the essence of the feature article. It was like working on a puzzle of photos.


Look for it on newsstands or view the digital version for free here.