Sit Down with Coloratti Eddie Tapp
by Alan Winslow – April 16th, 2018
We love to hear different ways photographers are using the craft to solve problems for clients. Coloratti Eddie Tapp recently sat down with us to share an exciting project MGM Resorts International proposed and how he helped solve it with creative photography techniques. Before we dive into the project, we would like to share a little about Eddie’s stellar career for those of you who are not familiar with his work.
Q: You’ve had such an incredible and long career, how would you describe it?
A: It’s a long career, right. I started my business in 1973 shooting everything from weddings to commercial to editorial, just whatever. In the late 70s, I moved from a small studio to a larger commercial operation, so I went from basically 900 square feet to 3500 square feet, hired a second guy and had a nice commercial operation going. I was one two big photographers in Atlanta for a long time. So you get the idea, diversity was my specialty at the time.
Q: I’ve been told by younger photographers and by my mentors that in today’s market you need to specialize in one field. You went the opposite approach. Can you speak on that?
A: At the time I didn’t have a style, I was searching for it, so I did everything. I went to college to study photography, I had a nice book, and once I got into the business, I said wait a minute, this is not right and didn’t know what I was doing. I mean I felt insecure, so I started teaching photography classes, just amateur photography classes to re-teach myself what I needed to know about photography because what I studied in college was fashion photography which was more creative and less technical. When I decided to do photography for a living I was 16 years old; I didn’t care what part I would be in. I just wanted to be in it, so I opened that door to bring it in, let me experience it, and these days I’m experiencing it the way I wanted to.
Q: Can you tell me about this incredible project you worked on with MGM?
A: So first of all, I get a call from MGM Resorts International, and they tell me “We want you to come in town, take pictures of the Excalibur Hotel from different angles, at different times of the day and then we want you to re-colorize a paint schematic so we can see what combination works best. At the end we want you to print 24 by 30-inch prints so we can make a presentation. So instead of spending $6 million on a paint job upfront, we want to do this so we can get an idea of what it looks like.”
So I fly into Vegas.
Q: So you are in Vegas what is the next step?
A: We start scouting the angles, and suddenly I get a thought. I look at them; I say “I need to be up there.”(Pointing to the top of the hotel). So the next thing I know, the guy calls and we are in a suite at the very top corner of MGM Resorts, a two-level suite to get a shot. I made one out on the patio and brought three tables together, so I had a table for each leg of the tripod. I had to get the tripod up high because, if you look at the very tip-top of the center dome, there is a little cross thing at the top.
The next morning I needed to get two shots. I wanted to shoot from the street, but I needed to get up on a ladder. So they had a 12 or 14-foot ladder there for me on the sidewalk and then I needed to get on top of New York, New York. On top of New York, New York I wasn’t happy with the angle, so I looked down and I saw a patio from a suite, and I said: “That’s where I need to shoot from.” I mean you can just imagine? They said, “we’ve got you covered, whatever you need.” I was just excited to have that kind of assignment. Yeah and all in all that was the easy part of the job, so that was good. They were aesthetically happy with my results.
Q: So the shooting is done. What’s next?
A: So now the for real part of the assignment which is to mask out each of the colors and the buildings. Each separate, little, tiny window was masked. My client ended up with six different views, and six different views had to be masked. I had a mask for the red; I had a mask for the blue, the gold, the cream, the beige, I had everything masked separately so when the artist contacted me to change the color, it was not a big deal. They didn’t just want the red to be a different color. They wanted different parts of the red to be a different a red. So what I thought was going to be an easy assignment turned out to be not a difficult assignment. They had very specific colors in mind, so they sent me swatches metallic paint that scanned to accurately match. To achieve this colorization and maintain the texture I used a Photoshop Technique developed by Jimmy De a famous photo instructor and commercial photographer. After the fifth generation, we achieved what we were looking for.
Q: So after all the retouching what were the final steps to this project?
A: This was another exciting part which was putting the Pantone Colors in the masks and making prints. First, I created my profiles for my printers. When I printed out the first proof I laid it under my daylight lighting condition, put the Pantone Colors out and the match was so right on target. I was more than excited about that. I hit the mark, it’s accurate and to be accurate was something as sensitive as what they were doing, to me it was a success story.
Q: One last question – So what drives you still after all these years? What motivates you to keep shooting and keep doing this career path?
What drives me is finding the light, creating the composition, processing that image or video. Seeing the content come alive, substantiate a feeling or a feeling that I didn’t know I had.
Thank you, Eddie, for taking the time to share your story. We love hearing how photographers took on a problem the client was facing and made incredible work. None of this would be successful without proper color management throughout the complete workflow. To check out all the tools X-Rite has to offer to visit our website here.