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Retoucher Rachel Kissel puts it all together for Nike and Starbucks

Rachel Kissel Retouching has become a sought-after specialist in athletic apparel. This work for Nike spotlights her gift for highlighting textures and motion while showcasing the beauty and style of the clothing.

Rachel Kissel Retoucher Nike image ocean pose

“Athletic clothing ripples and bunches up on an active model, so you have to find the right balance of those dynamic qualities while still keeping the clothes looking beautiful and communicating as much as possible about the details of the garments,” explains Rachel.

Rachel Kissel Retoucher Nike image close up Yoga pose

Of course, it’s not all about the clothing. A couple of sky swaps required detailed hair masking, but at the end of the day the primary goal is to get the clothes looking great!

Rachel Kissel Retoucher Nike image leaping woman against sky

Starbucks presented an entirely different set of challenges. Not only is Rachel a master retoucher, she is also an expert compositor. This job put those skills to the test. Starbucks wanted strong color stories and striking designs, but not final images that looked over-polished or over-produced.

Rachel Kissel Retoucher Starbucks image Hello Gorgeous wall shot

“In some ways, this snapshot style required more expertise. Complex compositing lends itself to a glossed look. Creating a casual look requires real skill to hide all the compositing,” Rachel explains. “I had so much fun with this project! It was fast-paced and turned out beautifully.”

Rachel Kissel Retoucher Starbucks image Chinese food couple against red wallpaper

This is just a small selection of a larger body of work that Starbucks shot for a variety of uses including print and social media. Many of the final images involved swaps based on their selects. Rachel combined the ideal pieces into one remarkable shot.

Rachel Kissel Retoucher Starbucks image Chinese food and fortune cookie with gift card

How do you know when you’re dealing with a true artist? They do their day job just for fun! “As a kid, I loved to imagine never-ending skyscapes of sweet treats, and if I climbed the right rainbow, I’d be able to dive in and indulge!”

Rachel Kissel Retoucher Cotton Candy image final

This cotton (eye) candy was born out of Rachel’s love of pink clouds. “I sourced some of the shots from stock but I couldn’t find the right hand and stick so I just shot those. I enjoyed making a visual representation of something I daydreamed about as a kid.”

Rachel Kissel Retoucher Cotton Candy image composite elements

You can see Rachel’s portfolio, some amazing before/after imagery and learn more about her work here.

 

 

 

Photographer Michal Venera and the farmer next door

Sometimes photographer Michal Venera gets inspired by the rolling landscape out the windows of his northern California studio. Sometimes he gets inspired by the neighbors. “Bob runs the ranch next to my land,” says Michal, “and they just don’t make them like him anymore.”

Video of a day in the life of a Sonoma rancher, from still and motion photographer Michal Venera

During one of Michal and Bob’s occasional evening walks, Michal broached the idea of doing a little filming. “Bob is old school, salt of the earth” he says. “He just goes about his business, doing what needs to be done without any fuss. I wanted to capture that simplicity and strength on film.”

Well known for his lifestyle and product-focused commercial photography, Michal often finds himself drawn to people and portrait work for personal projects. “Everybody has a story,” he says. “And if you’re open and patient and respectful, sometimes they’ll let you tell it in photos.”

A man comes out of his house to begin a day of work on the ranch, from photographer Michal Venera

In his travels around the globe, Michal has befriended mountain men in Montana, school children in Africa and proud locals in Cuba, capturing highly impactful portraits along the way. Shooting photography on his own time allows him to experiment with lighting and composition, inspiring new creativity in his commercial work.

Two Cuban women in their small apartment, from photographer Michal Venera

Smiling young school children in Africa pack into a window frame, from photographer Michal Venera

“Bob really didn’t get why I wanted to follow him around taking photos and videos,” says Michal. “He didn’t think there was anything that special about him. In this era of endless selfies, that attitude alone is worth capturing.”

A rancher unties a bale of hay in a loft, by still and motion photographer Michal Venera

You can see more of Michal’s commercial and fine art photography and film right here.

 

 

 

Twin boys enjoy gingerbread cookies, for Corelle from photographer Christina Schmidhofer

Four shoots in one: Photographer Christina Schmidhofer for Corelle

On her latest shoot for the Corelle family of products, photographer Christina Schmidhofer managed to be in four places at once. “There was so much to shoot, we had four sets going all at the same time,” she says.

Gif of containers filling up with fruits and veggies, for Corelle from photographer Christina Schmidhofer

With hundreds of shots required for a website relaunch, Corelle looked to Christina to set the look for all their brands, including Pyrex, CorningWare, Chicago Cutlery and Snapware. “Organization was a big challenge, because there was a ton of merchandise,” says Christina. “We actually had to rent a second studio to store it all.”

Woman’s hands holding a casserole with a ribbon tied around it, from photographer Christina Schmidhofer

Christina’s deep brand experience and strong portfolio across categories drew the client all the way from Chicago to shoot in San Francisco. Some even brought their kids, who got incorporated into the action. “The clients would get so excited with each new photo,” says Christina. “That was the best part of the whole shoot.”

A teenage girl with tortilla chips and seven-layer dip, for Corelle from photographer Christina Schmidhofer

The two-week effort kept a crew of 15 busy capturing both still and stop motion photography. “We were charged with expressing ‘the extraordinary meets every day,’ and this shoot definitely reflected that!” laughs Christina. To keep the mood light and refreshing at the end of the long days, Christina served up her famous Aperol spritzers for clients and the team.

Gif of white plates filling a dark table, for Corelle from photographer Christina Schmidhofer

In the end, Christina shot over 400 images for the website, which is already live. “It was a fun shoot with a big team,” she says. “We got stunning images and ate so many delicious chocolate chip cookies. It was a win-win.”

Overhead shot of knives on a dark wood board, for Chicago Cutlery from photographer Christina Schmidhofer

You can see more of Christina’s commercial and editorial portfolio here.

Overhead shot of stacks of white Corelle dishes, from photographer Christina Schmidhofer

 

 

 

Shane Johnson’s latest illustrations are highly educational

Illustrator Shane Johnson creates logos, characters and superheroes for well-know brands and agencies. But his new work is for his most critical audience – kids. Regarding his latest editorial and educational assignment, Shane explains, ”I became an illustrator because I loved comics. I still love telling a story in pictures.”

A waitress hands a young girl a pie, from illustrator Shane Johnson

Commissioned for a classroom reader, the drawings depict the story of sisters who cook up an elaborate plan so they can spend more time with their hard-working dad. “Inevitably, the plan goes wrong and lessons are learned,” Shane says.

A working dad puts his arms around his daughters at a diner counter, from illustrator Shane Johnson

Typically, the story lines are final when Shane receives them, but he gets a lot of freedom to create the visual world where everything takes place. “The diner was the main setting,” says Shane, “so I started by roughing out a full floor plan to tie in specific scenes. It was fun bringing it all together – I even designed the diner logo.”

A girls gives out samples of pie outside a diner, from illustrator Shane Johnson

Given his background in character work, it’s no surprise that developing the people was Shane’s favorite part of the job. “The client had a clear vision for the family, but all the secondary characters were left to my imagination, so I got to make my mark,” he says. You can see more of Shane’s commercial and editorial work here.

A girl in a diner scene looks surprised and worried, from illustrator Shane Johnson

 

 

 

Go down on the Bayou with photographer Brian Smale

Louisiana is full of character – and characters – and photographer Brian Smale covered plenty of both during multiple projects for Emeril Lagasse cookbooks. “Technically, these were cookbook shots. But the assignment was more like, ‘go to New Orleans and shoot anything or anyone that has to do with food,’ Brian says.

A couple stands in front of their fruit stand covered with homemade signs, from photographer Brian Smale

“That first job turned into several years of going down there and exploring the culture and flavors of Louisiana, for three cookbooks and restaurant displays,” Brian says. The project took him from catfish streams to pepper farms, front porches to fruit stands.

A man holds two giant catfish, from photographer Brian Smale

“Emeril was a dream to work with,” says Brian. “He’s full of ideas and was open to just about anything I wanted to shoot. He just trusted me to bring back what we needed.” With no art director on the project, Brian and Emeril worked together on the vision, with Brian executing alone or with an assistant.

A man in a field with his hat pulled low over his eyes, from photographer Brian Smale

Asked whether he got star struck, Brian laughs. “Back then, Emeril was just getting started, so there weren’t any distractions of celebrity. He’s the sweetest guy you’ll ever meet.” And, it turns out, useful in other ways. When Brian brought another client to Emeril’s restaurant without a reservation, Emeril instructed the host to find a table for him in the crowded restaurant. That client is now Brian’s wife.

A man holding a boat pole wears a “where’s the beef” shirt, from photographer Brian Smale

Over his highly productive career, Brian has partnered with A-list clients from Rolling Stone magazine to Microsoft to USAA, constantly developing and refining his approach to portrait work along the way. He is also recognized for his portfolio of landscape and corporate work.

A farmworker shoulders a heavy box of peppers, from photographer Brian Smale

“I really try to bring something new everytime,” says Brian. “You say ‘portait’ and everyone pictures a head and shoulders shot. But I think of it as photographing people, and there are a million ways to do that.” You can see more of Brian’s commercial, portrait and personal work right here.

A man sits on the porch steps playing his fiddle, from photographer Brian Smale

 

 

 

New Artist Alert: Typographer & Illustrator Kelly Hume joins FSC

Kelly Hume might be a typographer, or an illustrator, or a designer, or all three depending on the day. “I think my typography sets me apart,” says Kelly, “but I approach every job differently to determine what a project needs, and how I can best deliver it.”

Art work for Leininkugel’s beer, from typographer and designer Kelly Hume Illustration of a Native American with caption: Original American, from typographer and designer Kelly Hume

That individual approach has served Kelly – and his clients – well over his successful career. He’s designed multiple pro sports team logos while making each feel unique. And his work with various movie production houses requires a fresh point of view for each title.

Distressed art and lettering for Ford Trucks, from typographer and designer Kelly Hume Energetic illustration of NBA player Jared Samuels, from typographer and designer Kelly Hume

Highly sought for his mastery of typography and lettering, as well as his strong graphic style, Kelly has partnered with well-known clients like Ford, McDonald’s, AT&T, Universal Pictures and 20th Century Fox, but continues to work with smaller, home-grown businesses as well, creating logos, posters, package art and more.

Iconic depiction of snowboarder Shaun White, from typographer and designer Kelly Hume

“The first thing I do is listen,” says Kelly. “I try to understand what the art director is really looking for.” Then Kelly jumps into rough sketches, whether digitally or using good old pencil and paper. “Once we’ve got the direction, I refine the design, explore colors, and ultimately produce the final vector or Photoshop art,” he says.

Visual of guitarist Jimi Hendrix made of type, from typographer and designer Kelly Hume Visual of Shakespeare made of type, from typographer and designer Kelly Hume

With so many projects under his belt, Kelly has achieved a rare milestone in the business: “I don’t get artist’s block,” he laughs. “I’ve been in the creative business all my life and I just don’t get stuck. I guess it’s my survival technique.“

Blue Coast Coffee logo, from typographer and designer Kelly Hume Graphic icons depicting biking, camping, hiking and kayaking, from illustrator and designer Kelly Hume

Kelly keeps his creativity up in other ways, as well. An avid songwriter and “not bad” guitarist, he and his alt-folk-rock band, Kelly Hume and the Humanoids, have produced five original albums and awoken neighbors all over Bainbridge Island.

Graphic illustration of a tiger, from illustrator and designer Kelly Hume Logo for Savoy film production, from typographer and designer Kelly Hume

You can see more of Kelly’s deep portfolio of logos, icons, artwork and more right here.

Posterized, graphic depiction of classic converse sneakers, from illustrator and designer Kelly Hume

 

 

 

Illustrator Cindy Salans Rosenheim brings new energy to the roster

Known for her vivid, whimsical style, Cindy Salans Rosenheim has one goal every time she begins a project. “I want my work to feel alive,” she says. “Even when I decide it’s finished, it should still feel vital and dynamic.”

Illustration of San Francisco and Marin, CA biking map, from Illustrator Cindy Salans Rosenheim Hand Lettering and illustration for San Francisco Ferry Building Bocce, from illustrator Cindy Salans Rosenheim

That sense of movement shows up consistently in Cindy’s work, from text book and advertising illustrations to larger-than-life chalkboard installations, which, fittingly, she often creates live, in front of an audience.

Hand lettering and illustration for a bike store wall, from Illustrator Cindy Salans Rosenheim Photo of Cindy Salans Rosenheim on a ladder working on a large illustration on chalkboard

“It can be hard for artists to loosen up while coming up with ideas,” she says, “but I think it’s equally important to stay loose at the end. I want things to feel finished, but to stay as natural and free as possible. It feels better, and it looks better.”

Illustration of a woman with oversized hair in a suit, from Illustrator Cindy Salans Rosenheim

Cindy got her start just out of college, when a local interior designer liked her style (and price) and hired her for some wall murals in a Houston hotel. With no training or experience, Cindy pulled it off, and built a portfolio from the project that landed her a job at Hallmark Cards.

Illustration of real people turned into fashion models for Ferragamo, from Illustrator Cindy Salans Rosenheim Illustration of real people turned into fashion models for Ferragamo, from Illustrator Cindy Salans Rosenheim

There, Cindy got a crash course in commercial art and the chance to refine her visual point of view. After a few years she struck out on her own, building a robust illustration practice that’s taken her from local farmers’ markets to the front windows of Ferragamo, illustrating everything from art books to birthday cakes.

Illustration of a carrot on a chalkboard background, from Illustrator Cindy Salans Rosenheim Illustration of fava beans in a colander, from Illustrator Cindy Salans Rosenheim

Now Cindy works with top tier clients like Time-Life, American Girl, Random House Publishing, Hermès, Hasbro and California Magazine. “From the beginning of my commercial career I learned how to bring my own vision, but be able to take direction and collaborate,” she says. “I still think that’s really important to this day.”

Illustration of an Italian village on a hill , from Illustrator Cindy Salans Rosenheim Illustrated and hand-lettered map of Venice, from from Illustrator Cindy Salans Rosenheim

Away from her pens and paper, Cindy is also a successful commercial actor. Still, she occasionally finds time to run off to Italy to recharge, get inspired, and eat as much pasta as she possibly can.

Illustration of restaurant and market, Boulette’s Larder, from Illustrator Cindy Salans Rosenheim Illustration and hand lettering, “Lemon Gelato and Figs”, from Illustrator Cindy Salans Rosenheim

You can see more of Cindy’s vibrant advertising and editorial portfolio here.

 

 

 

Art deco style illustration selection of a woman carrying wine grapes by brand designer, illustrator Filip Yip

Illustrator Filip Yip gives brands Girl Power

In a career that spans decades, brand consultant, designer and illustrator Filip Yip has created countless logos, icons and illustrations celebrating the female figure. And while they are vastly different in style, they do have one thing in common. “They have to tell the story of the brand, and do it immediately,” says Filip of his creations.

Logo for Brahma beer by brand designer, illustrator Filip Yip

Having worked on everything from instructional icons to global brand marks, Filip is adamant that communication has to come first. In fact, after training and working in design for many years, he earned his MBA in order to help him understand his client’s communication needs even better.

Logo of a grandma holding a mixing bowl for Dezzie Dough, from brand designer, illustrator Filip Yip

“For me, design is a puzzle to solve,” says Filip. “Every line and every color should be working toward a common goal.” He’s brought this combination of creativity and marketing discipline to clients including Budweiser, Safeway, Nestlé and FedEx.

Graphic of a woman in boots with a whip, from brand designer, illustrator Filip Yip

But when it comes to illustrating women, Filip has a secret advantage. “I grew up with my grandmother and have my own daughter,” he laughs. “They inspire me. I want every woman I conjure up to be special in some way.”

Graphic of a little girl eating a cookie, for Safeway from brand designer, illustrator Filip Yip

You can see Filip’s diverse and highly awarded portfolio of work, including characters, corporate identity, icon systems and more right here.

Art deco style full illustration of a woman carrying wine grapes by brand designer, illustrator Filip Yip

 

 

 

Strong shots of tequila, from photographer Michal Venera

Sure, photographer Michal Venera expected there to be challenges while shooting website photos for Cruz Tequila near Jalisco, Mexico. Remote terrain, local gangs, bribe-happy officials, Michal had prepared for them all. He was not, however, expecting snow.

Close up on the Cruz tequila bottle, from lifestyle, landscape and product photographer Michal Venera
Tequila barrels stacked up in warm light, from lifestyle, landscape and product photographer Michal Venera

“They said it hadn’t snowed there in 15 years,” Michal laughs. “You really don’t want to show agave under a bunch of snow.” With only two days to shoot and some locations rendered unusable, Michal and his digital tech quickly adjusted their game plan.

Agave fields at sunset, from lifestyle, landscape and product photographer Michal Venera
Close up on hands holding clumps of red earth, from lifestyle, landscape and product photographer Michal Venera

Michal is no stranger to thinking on his feet. A veteran of countless on-location shoots, he’s partnered with marquee clients like Pottery Barn, HP, Wells Fargo and many others, bringing his inviting light and strong composition to lifestyle, portrait and product imagery.

An agave farmer harvests a plant, from lifestyle, landscape and product photographer Michal Venera

Overhead shot of an agave plant, from lifestyle, landscape and product photographer Michal Venera
A harvested agave piña, from lifestyle, landscape and product photographer Michal Venera

Known for both still and motion work, Michal excels at finding the story in each moment. “These guys, they put a lot of care into what they do,” Michal says. “You can feel it when you look at the photos.”

Storing the agave piñas, from lifestyle, landscape and product photographer Michal Venera

He should know – in addition to his robust photography schedule, Michal is also a farmer, maintaining an olive grove in northern California and pressing his own olive oil every fall. His barn functions as an on-site studio full of fresh air and natural light.

Close up of the farm tool used to harvest the agave piñas, from photographer Michal Venera Hands putting a label on a bottle of Cruz tequila, from photographer Michal Venera

“I love living out there. I love working out there,” he says. “You can breathe.” Which is precisely the feeling you get from so many of his photos. Check out more of Michal’s commercial, editorial and fine art portfolio here.

Small shrine near the agave fields, from lifestyle, landscape and product photographer Michal Venera
Small shrine near the agave fields, from lifestyle, landscape and product photographer Michal Venera

 

 

 

A little truth, a little dare, with Photographer Andrew Maguire

Since mountain sport and active lifestyle photographer Andrew Maguire is likely hip-deep in a snow bank or hanging off a rock face, setting up meetings can get tricky. So we thought we’d bring him to you virtually.

Andrew_Maguire_Photography-video interview

The still and motion photographer is well known for his authentic portfolio of work for Merrell, Subaru and Nike, among many others. An accomplished outdoorsman himself, he is at ease among brands with an affinity for adventure.

Two backpackers stand on a cliff looking over the valley, by mountain sport photographer Andrew Maguire
A woman runs determinedly up an outdoor staircase, by active lifestyle photographer Andrew Maguire

Andrew brings his passion for storytelling and truth to every set. Meticulous with product shots and preparation, once outside he prefers to leave as much room for spontaneity as possible. He moved to Boulder from Michigan a decade ago, intent on pursuing outdoor adventures and creating genuine, uncontrived images that reflect the lifestyle.

A snowboarder cuts through the powder, by mountain sport photographer Andrew Maguire
A family packs up their car for an outdoor adventure, by active lifestyle photographer Andrew Maguire

Now Andrew creates content libraries for brands that share his honest, natural point of view, working closely with his partners to showcase a brand’s unique vibe and aesthetic.

A Toyota truck heads toward camera, gravel flying under its wheels, by photographer Andrew Maguire
Close-up of an UnderArmour outdoor shoe, by active lifestyle photographer Andrew Maguire

You can see more of Andrew’s dynamic outdoor and lifestyle photography here. And if you’d like to spend more than two minutes with the real-life Andrew, just let us know. We’ll set something up.

A man pushes through his CrossFit workout, by active lifestyle photographer Andrew Maguire
Black and white shot of hiker looking into camera with lake behind him, by active lifestyle photographer Andrew Maguire