Studio 3, Inc.

Behind the Scenes

Carousel Horses abandoning their post

Digital Retouching, Can you Didg’ it?

Posted on October 17, 2017

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
― Mark Twain

The million dollar question: What sets us apart from all of the other photography studios in the PNW? Well, quite a few things. But it’s hard to talk about them all in 500 words, so I am going to focus on our in-house digital department.

Not only are our digital artists pixel-perfect, they have the ability to turn photos around faster than I can type this sentence. No, we’re not a marketing agency, but we love working with them. We are photography pioneers. We look past the norm and find answers to questions you have yet to ask. How? Magic. Or Intuition, as they call it nowadays.

DA Seaplane red dress fragments digital art 1500  — Studio 3, Inc.

Our award-winning photographers work closely with clients and the digital artists who render our images flawless. Communication is our biggest secret for success.

“Without each other, the quality standards we achieve here would not be possible.” -Craig Wagner, Photographer

 — Studio 3, Inc.
 — Studio 3, Inc.

“Having an in-house [digital department] allows me to have face-to-face conversation before, during, and after a shoot. Whether we’re discussing how we should approach a job, or what my intention was in how I shot it, I have the asset of having a digital team that feels like an extension of myself.”

Craig Wagner, Photographer

Our digital team not only makes photos look better in post, they help the photographers shoot more efficiently. It’s photography plus.

“I have the opportunity to talk directly with clients, nipping problems in the bud, saving everyone time and money. We remove a step for the client without compromising the photos.” –Michelle Smith, Lead Digital Artist

 — Studio 3, Inc.
 — Studio 3, Inc.

Working with a vast array of clients, we have shot some behemoths over the years; trains, planes, and automobiles to name a few. That’s a lot of surface area to make drop-dead gorgeous, which is why we keep stylists on the ready to spot check, scrub out smudges, and make sure each vehicle’s best side is showing. But we don’t have favorites. Whether it be a fleet for Freightliner, or a detailed shot of a Leatherman tool, each job gets the same level of attentiveness and digital mastery.

“It all breaks down to textures and tones. Fifteen minutes of proper styling and lighting prep during a shoot can save an hour of digital retouching.” –Michelle Smith

So what’s next? We are dreaming up bigger and better ways to make you look fabulous. Stay tuned, we’re 40 years young and constantly evolving.

 — Studio 3, Inc.
 — Studio 3, Inc.

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Who Runs Our World (Liz)

Posted on September 8, 2017

Studio 3, Inc. Producer, Liz Swales, is the driving force behind our photography magic. It’s truly amazing what all she can get done in a day. In order for all of you to get to know a little bit more about our Top Boss, I sat down with her at the Portland studio’s neighborhood tea spot, The Jasmine Pearl Tea Co.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  — Studio 3, Inc.

What do you look for in a photo?

“Overall composition; different angles, dimensions, lighting—something out of the ordinary. I always check highlights, styling, and color tonality but ultimately if a photo makes me feel, its good. ”

What is one thing from your Interior design training that has stuck creatively?

“Everything in design should be odd numbers. Always go odd.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  — Studio 3, Inc.

What is your favorite thing about your role as Producer?

“Seeing the result of everyone’s work… from beginning to end. It is a cool process and one that only I get to see [come to fruition], whereas everyone else just plays their specific roles. I love delivering the final images to the client and getting their positive feedback— “Awesome! You guys are awesome!” or “Thank you so much Liz, your crew is great to work with.”

Marquis shoots are really fun to produce. Showing up to the shoot and realizing Oh! I did that. I got the forklift, the model has arrived, the crew is working hard, the set is beautiful and the props look amazing. Seeing it all happen from beginning to end is a rewarding process.”

Read more about the production behind a Marquis Spa commercial here.

Liz On Set with Marquis Spa  — Studio 3, Inc.

“Our top boss, Liz Swales! She oversees and schedules the organized chaos and somehow (probably magic) is able to orchestrate the entire production seamlessly.”

What is one difficulty in your current role that you did not expect?

“I have an eye for design and how things should be placed and layered, so when I was told I would be doing a lot of propping and styling, I thought, cool this will be fun and easy! But it’s not. Propping for the camera is completely different than interior propping. Things look like they are touching when they aren’t, colors don’t look good together, and balance can sometimes be hard to accomplish. Oh, and prop shopping is whole different kind of shopping. Let’s just say get 5-6 options of each item that you think you will need. Over shop, because you never know what the perfect item will be for the perfect image.”

What Studio 3, Inc. Image are you the most proud of this year?

“The top-down drink photography shot of GT’s Kombucha that I made with [Photographer] David Bell. Its something I would see in a magazine and think, “That’s beautiful.”

DB 9043T Kombucha Drink Test c FD 1500  — Studio 3, Inc.

What is your favorite problem-solving tool?

“There’s a lot to be said for just a note pad and pen. I write things out, make diagrams. Before I do estimates I draw out how the job would go to make sure it makes sense or see if there is another way that would be better.”

How do you unwind?

“At the beginning of this year I realized I work a lot. At all hours of the day and night. All I was doing was working.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my work, but I needed to catch up on all the movies and TV shows my friends were watching. Just kidding, but I decided to make a change.

So at the beginning of the year I started doing yoga and Nia. It relieves stress and provides a physical break in my day. I go every day after work and afterwards I do not work any more. ”

LIZ 01  — Studio 3, Inc.

What do you predict will be the biggest change in photography over the next 10 years?

“Virtual reality. People will want to interact with a product virtually before buying it. I think it will become a role within the studio, like our in-house digital team.”

Evolving with the photography, videography, and retouching business over the past 40 years we have picked up a few tricks. Possessing studios in Seattle, WA and Portland, OR, our ability to meet the needs of our clientele is second to none, especially when you factor in our in-house digital team, producers, stylists and assistants at the ready. We take care of it all, so you can kick back, relax, and watch as we make your creative ambitions come to life.

 

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Brand Identity; Telling YOUR Story Through Photography and Video

Posted on August 11, 2017

In an era of constant online noise, brand identity becomes quintessential. Customers are seeking not only quality, but also an authentic buying experience; the real people behind the business. They are seeking companies with similar values and lifestyles as their own.

How do you build an unmistakable brand identity? How do you tell your story? Whether you are creating a new ad campaign, or updating your catalogue’s product photography, every image should speak to your customers.

Once you have defined your brand, you can begin to effectively market it. That’s where we come in. Studio 3, Inc. works with you to create personal visual solutions. We show the world how awesome you are.

Let’s take a closer look at how different photos craft different emotional responses. In other words, what your photography is saying about your brand.

1.   Your Colorways; Cool vs. Warm

View over Side of Boat  — Studio 3, Inc.

Colors evoke emotion. Cool colors calm, while warm colors educe action—like this photo for Nike that encourages me to get out of this chair and go for a run.

Nike Athlete Running  — Studio 3, Inc.

2.   Your Lighting; Studio vs. Natural

Whether your image is sun-soaked or sleekly structured, the quality can’t be compromised.

Glass of Whiskey with Ice Dropped In  — Studio 3, Inc.

This beautiful cocktail shot for Seattle Magazine is captured with a splash! Inspiring thought on what a customer should do next (hint: buy some whiskey). Need help deciding? Here are Five new Washington Whiskeys to Try.

Two Smiling Women Drinking Coca Cola  — Studio 3, Inc.

Embracing the brand identity of Coca-Cola, natural lighting was used to flood the scene with a sense of summer. Now that’s affective lifestyle photography.

3.   Your Audience; Outdoor vs. Luxury

Who is your target market? What do they value? Creating environments for your product takes target market research.

Hiker Wearing Danner Boots  — Studio 3, Inc.

What better way to appeal to Danner Boot’s outdoor customer, while staying true to the Brand’s value of craftsmanship, than to put their boots to the test in the Pacific Northwest.

“Hold a Danner boot in your hand and you’ll notice the hand crafted precision. Try it on and you’ll feel the difference. Test it against the elements and you’ll appreciate the value of a product that is built to last.”   -Danner, Since 1932

Jimmy Choo Red Shoes  — Studio 3, Inc.

However, when your marketing luxury like Jimmy Choo, the environment changes with the contrasting brand identity.

“A 21st Century Luxury Accessories Brand, with shoes at its heart, offering an empowered sense of glamour and a playfully daring Spirit.”   – Jimmy Choo

4.   Your Appearance; Organic vs. Styled

Cook Making Pasta  — Studio 3, Inc.

Are you showing a process or presenting it’s end result? As brands and agencies move towards targeting the holistic customer, we see the shift manifest in an increase of lifestyle photography… And that’s in addition to the perfect product shot, 360-degree spin, and detail so good you can almost feel it. It’s a comprehensive marketing approach. You are your brand, and we are your people for all things photography, videography, and retouching.

Plate of Pasta  — Studio 3, Inc.

5.   Your Quality; iPhone vs. Professional Photographer

If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, just wait until you hire an amateur… said a brilliant person. After meeting with a client, and doing a little research on their product, we stumbled upon this brilliant blog post that couldn’t say it any better.

“It’s amazing how big of a difference having really nice pictures of your space can make. A few months ago I ran an informal experiment (as research for another project) where I listed my apartment for rent on craigslist. They were both the same price, in the same area. One listing had really nice pictures taken with a high quality dslr and wide angel lens and the other had badly lit pictures taken with my iPhone. The listing with the nice pictures got 10x the emails.”   – Jon Wheatley of Need/Want

Maybe it’s obvious, but maybe not. In today’s digital age everyone has a camera in their pocket, and iPhone 7s are promoted as so good they can be used for magazine covers and advertising (We won’t name names). We are bombarded with mediocre images… like this production still that I took versus Craig Wagner’s beautiful image masterfully finished by digital artist Michelle Smith. See the difference?

 — Studio 3, Inc.
 — Studio 3, Inc.

Regardless of the project or scope, Studio 3, Inc. works with our clients, building relationships and crafting the perfect image for their brand. If you have yet to work with us, what are you waiting for? Drop us a line, let’s put our heads together to create something beautiful.

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I Have a Therapist, Her Name Is Nature

Posted on July 7, 2017

Studio 3, Inc. has commissioned a new tourist attraction in the shadow of the Space Needle. When we’re not moving mountains for clients, we are painting them. With artist and mountain-man Trace Gough’s mural, we have brought a bit of the PNW beauty to our own backyard. How is that for the highest quality visual solutions? Come by, check it out, and while you’re here let’s talk photography, videography and retouching.

“The mural is my interpretation of a photo taken while climbing in the Cascade Mountain Range. The photo was taken very early in the morning, from a high camp near the Neve Glacier in North Cascades National Park.  I’ve been all over the Cascades, and this is hands-down one of the prettiest places, though laborious to get to. There was a layer of haze hanging in the valleys to the north.  “ – Trace Gough, Artist

10540694 861590417184306 9110136454327137472 o (1)  — Studio 3, Inc.

Inspiration Image photographed and painted by Trace Gough @Studio 3, Inc.

 

Transforming a storage container into a mural in 7 easy steps:

Step 1: Power washing and prepping the storage container, or “the can” as we at Studio 3, Inc. fondly refer to it.

pressure washer  — Studio 3, Inc.

Step 2: Use the Grid Method to enlarge the reference image onto the scale of your surface.

Outlining Mountains  — Studio 3, Inc.

Step 3: Outline the mural in sharpie or paint.

Mountains Outlined  — Studio 3, Inc.

Step 4: Start from the back, painting first the sky, then the mountains.

IMG 6119  — Studio 3, Inc.

Step 5: Gradually get darker as you paint your way forward, creating depth of field.

IMG 6123  — Studio 3, Inc.

Step 6: Save the details for last, enhancing the “wow” factor with textured ridges and moody clouds.

IMG 6219  — Studio 3, Inc.

Step 7: Step back and admire your work, you’ve just created a masterpiece.  (Now if only we could paint that house in the background).

Trace Gough and Mural  — Studio 3, Inc.

Finished Mural  — Studio 3, Inc.

 

 

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Something Only an ’80s Kid Would Remember- Studio 3, Inc.’s First Digital Camera

Posted on June 12, 2017

 

Digital Photography in 1993 = Big, Ugly, and Awesome… and boy did we think we were cool. Before the digital camera was the norm, it was enormous!

David Bell  — Studio 3, Inc.

 

Take a Hasselblad, attach a HUGE digital back, and add cooling fans, a dehumidifying unit, and a large filter wheel, then you can start to imagine our first digital camera. The digital back was a Scitex Leaf DCB, it was 4 megapixels, and it cost $36,000. All of this was attached to a computer slower than molasses, packing a whopping 8 megabytes of RAM.

To take a picture, you would trigger the camera at the computer. The filter would rotate in front of lens to red and shoot. Then green and shoot. Then blue and shoot. One million years later, you would see the image come up on the computer. By aligning the three layers in the camera software, you got to finally see the finished photograph. Piece of cake, really.

This software really was sophisticated. The early versions had a button that was labeled “Guess”… we didn’t like to click that, but it worked. Later versions changed the label to “Auto,” a little easier to stomach.

The thing they must have hidden in the fine print was how much the lenses would be used. Every time you took a shot, it was actually three shots. Due to the fact that our equipment was being used three times as often we had a lot of lenses going in for repair and rebuild. The local shop got to know us pretty well and would give us the heads up when it were time to retire a lens.

This was the beginning of digital photography in the commercial world. It was a huge investment for the studio, and we where the first to take the plunge. It brings back a lot of fun and crazy memories, not to mention the price!  $2000.00 for a 2gig hard drive… and that was a Deal!

What a ride it has been.

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Stepping On-Location with Studio 3, Inc.

Posted on April 10, 2017

Three weeks into the job and it was time for my first on-location shoot with Studio 3, Inc. I boarded Bolt Bus, a company favorite, and set off for Seattle, eager to see Studio 3, Inc.’s cool studio space in the shadow of the Space Needle.

Screen Shot 2017 04 05 at 12.59.41 PM  — Studio 3, Inc.

The day started with Chanel Everett, the studio’s Princess of Production, hand selecting an Adidas wardrobe that interpreted the clients’ art direction. With a mood board compiled of different lifestyle, apparel and shoe photography, we set off for the previously scouted Seattle setting.

Screen Shot 2017 04 05 at 1.01.40 PM  — Studio 3, Inc.

Two vintage cars, a cooler, breakfast, lunch, snacks, racks of athletic apparel, dope enough to make any rapper weep, and the slaying photography skills of Studio 3, Inc.’s Trevor Boone—all the ingredients needed for success. I loved the Seattle cityscape, lifestyle photography theme and getting to assist with production stills.

Screen Shot 2017 04 05 at 1.00.01 PM  — Studio 3, Inc.

The location was picked to compliment the Seattle rapper’s song “Hometown.” Bringing the urban background of the city into portrait photography, Trevor Boone was able to capture stunning duality that showcased not only his professional talent, but the personality of Raz Simone and an edge to Adidas footwear photography.

Screen Shot 2017 04 05 at 1.00.20 PM  — Studio 3, Inc.

Images just came through the Studio 3, Inc. digital team, and we are stoked! Our in-house digital department works closely with our photographers and marketing team—removing power lines, clearing alleyway undesirables, and bringing the client’s vision to life every time. Check out a few of our favorite shots from the day.

Screen Shot 2017 04 05 at 1.00.58 PM  — Studio 3, Inc.

We will be dropping more images from the shoot, so be sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. When you decide to become a part of the fun, give us a call or stop by one of our studios to talk photography, video and serious retouching skills.

Screen Shot 2017 04 05 at 1.01.14 PM  — Studio 3, Inc.

Screen Shot 2017 04 05 at 1.01.50 PM  — Studio 3, Inc.

Written by: Eva Goldfarb, Marketing Coordinator @ Studio 3, Inc.

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14 Reasons to Love Studio 3, Inc.

Posted on February 9, 2017
Photo Credit: David Bell, Studio 3, Inc.  — Studio 3, Inc.

Photo Credit: David Bell, Studio 3, Inc.

Reaching out to clients and our team, we have compiled a list of just a few reasons you will love Studio 3, Inc. The balance of exceptional skill, competitive pricing and LOTS of fun is what brings our long-term clients back again and again, while also attracting new ones. In other words, what is it that makes you say “Wow! Maybe it’s time to work with Studio 3.”

“Beyond expectation”

“Creative people, all day every day”

“Dynamic, visual storytelling”

“Top-notch production”

“Good people. Great Photos”

“On budget. On time. Every time.”

“Savvy producers”

“Best Mexican food in Seattle”

“Collaborative group”

“Naturally on the same page”

“Consistency & meticulousness”

“Decades of experience”

“Audgie, the studio dog”

“Teamwork and creativity that make our client’s creative ambitions come to life”

Don’t take our word for it, visit our Portland or Seattle studio and see for yourself! Drop us a line, we would love to talk photography, video or retouching with you over a cup of Stash tea or a game of ping-pong.

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Top Tech Toys for 2017

Posted on January 10, 2017

Yeah, we’re not sure how we made it through 2016 either, but now that 2017 is here we wanted to share what we’re excited about for the NEW year. Although we love raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens as much as the next guy, it’s this batch of new tech products that are making their way to the top of our list of favorite things! Sure, Virtual Reality is hot, hot, hot, but we wanted to highlight some other items that are equally whoa-worthy. If you have a love of photography like we do, then grab your hot cocoa, curl up next the fire, and take a peek at some of the latest and greatest tech toys you just gotta get your hands on this year.

 

Wacom Cintiq Pro

The new line of Wacom tablets to debut this year are bringing the art back to Photoshop. Small, portable, and affordable, now you can draw and retouch in style, directly on a screen that covers 94% of Adobe RGB colors.

wacom tablet and pen  — Studio 3, Inc.

photo credit: Wacom

 

 

Microsoft Surface Dial

Even though our studio is equipped with state-of-the-art Apple stations, the Microsoft Surface Dial definitely caught our attention. It brings a tactile feel to editing and makes you feel like Tony Stark while you do it. (Watch the hands on video from TechCrunch.)

ms surface dial on screen  — Studio 3, Inc.

photo credit: Microsoft

 

Adobe VoCo

This sneak peek that was unveiled last month at Adobe Max is bringing video editing to new heights. Soon, you’ll be able to edit sounds the same way you edit pixels, and we can’t wait to try it for ourselves. (Didn’t know we did video? You can see some of our work for yourself here.)

adobe voco  — Studio 3, Inc.

photo credit: Adobe

 

 

 

Chronos High Speed Camera

Want a camera that can shoot 21,000+ fps? Want it for 1/10th the price of other cameras? Um yeah, we can’t believe todays technology is this amazing either! Certainly a game-changer for any cinematographers looking for affordable slow motion capabilities.

 

black cronos camera  — Studio 3, Inc.

photo credit: Kron Technologies

 

 

 

iPhone 7 Lightning splitter

Get a new iPhone 7 and missing some of those old ports? This dongle is a must have for any iPhone 7 owner, allowing you to play music and charge at the same time. Because… multi-tasking!

belkin rockstar  — Studio 3, Inc.

photo credit: Belkin

Now, reach out and let us know what inventive ideas you’ve got floating around in that noggin and what you’re inspired to create in 2017. We’re ready to collaborate with you on your next photography, video, or digital art project.

 

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Thank You for Being a Friend…

Posted on November 28, 2016

Ever wonder how the hell Studio 3 has remained one of THE leading photography and video studios in the Pacific Northwest for like, ever?

client relationships  — Studio 3, Inc.

Becoming a successful studio takes more than “having an eye for composition” and keeping up with the latest trends. Our success stems from the relationships we have built not only with our amazing clients, but also with our freelance stylists, set designers, photo and camera assistants, location scouts, key grips, gaffers, producers and production assistants. It really does take a village!

food stylist  — Studio 3, Inc.

We’ve also spent countless hours volunteering in our local communities. Whether we’re donating our time preparing and serving food at a food bank, or hosting an event that will help women in need, we love to give back.

studio event  — Studio 3, Inc.

We view every job (large or small),  every client (new or established) with the same level of excitement as we did way back when we first started out in this crazy industry. For us, the key to success has always been about collaboration, trust, respect, understanding, and a genuine desire to have a great time while creating beautiful photos and videos.

toy hat  — Studio 3, Inc.

Over the years, we’ve had many conversations start with “OMG remember the time we…” followed by an eruption of laughter. Thanks to our wonderfully creative clients, we’re going to keep rolling up our sleeves and continue to record these memories for years to come.

setting up plants indoors  — Studio 3, Inc.

Although our talent pool is overflowing with rock stars that have a gajillion combined hours of experience, we know that what really keeps our client list growing and growing is all the TLC we put into nurturing those relationships, baby!

photos in pool  — Studio 3, Inc.

Reach out anytime… we’d love to share a funny story or two over a cup of coffee and talk about ways we can collaborate with you on your next project! As always, keep your eyes on our social media channels – we LOVE to share photos of what happens on THIS side of the lens. Who knows, you might even score a cameo in one of our future posts!!

 

 

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Chatting with Studio 3 Co-Founder, Jim Felt

Posted on October 25, 2016

Studio 3 has was established in 1978 by three high school buddies. We sat down with one of the founding members, Jim Felt, to learn a little more about his lengthy career in photography.

How long have you been a photographer?
I got my first camera in 8th grade but it didn’t occur to me then I would become a photographer and remain a photographer.

skater empty pool  — Studio 3, Inc.

What was the biggest “uh oh” moment you can recall having on a set?
We forgot our light meter for a shoot in Oklahoma City. The shoot was during a sunset and we needed that light meter. We called every shop in town and of course nobody had anything for us to use. So I went ahead took the photo without a light meter and it turned out perfect anyway. The client never knew.

pilot sunset  — Studio 3, Inc.

 

What was the most innovative “MacGyver moment” you’ve had on set?
I was at the Redstone Arsenal in Alabama getting ready to shoot a space shuttle. The shuttle flew in on a 747 and we were there to do a mid-operation shoot. The problem was, how was I going to light this thing? I realized that this military base was full of firemen, so I walked up to them and asked them, “Hey, can we use your spotlights to light up this space shuttle?”  They agreed and we got the firemen to use the spotlights on their trucks to light up the shuttle.

spaceshuttle 747  — Studio 3, Inc.

 

What was the craziest thing you caught on camera that wasn’t for a shoot?
It was 1968 and rioting over the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr had begun in the Lloyd Center area of Portland. My buddy and I were cruising around and pulled up to the completely empty parking lot of the Lloyd Center Mall. Armed with our Nikons, we approached the mall and it looked abandoned, except for the cop cars that were parked inside of the mall. We proceeded to walk around taking photos of this creepy, empty mall when finally we hear a voice, “What the hell do you think you are doing here?” It was the police, with their guns. They were telling us to leave and even tried to take our film. We had cameras and they had tommy guns.

jim portrait  — Studio 3, Inc.

 

There have been some unbelievable moments that I’ve captured over the course of my photography career (some planned, some un-planned) and I wouldn’t trade my experience for any other profession in the world. It’s been exciting to watch Studio 3 grow through the “film-days”, into digital, and I can’t wait to see what happens next as we move into virtual/ augmented reality!

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