iPads as light sources

Doesn’t everybody use iPads as portrait lights? I know I do. Oh wait: that’s not me. That’s the dude in this video. It’s him who’s built his own array of nine iPads that he uses in place of a softbox. Sure, the cost is about five grand, and I know I could get a heckuva studio strobe system for that price, but the light is soÖ digital. Okay, so in reality I don’t know if it’s a good idea or not. (Actually, I do. And it’s not.) But it sure is neat. A great way to flex creative muscle, both in the building of the iPad lights and the shooting of this neat video.

http://www.diyphotography.net/huge-ipad-arrays-used-as-portrait-lights 

Doesn’t everybody use iPads as portrait lights? I know I do. Oh wait: that’s not me. That’s the dude in this video. It’s him who’s built his own array of nine iPads that he uses in place of a softbox. Sure, the cost is about five grand, and I know I could get a heckuva studio strobe system for that price, but the light is so… digital.... Read more

More Lightroom Control Tips

After reading Helen Bradley’s advice for localized tonal control in Lightroom that I mentioned yesterday, I continued digging a little deeper for specialized tools to provide more control over local adjustments within Lightroom. Sure enough, DPS came through again with a tutorial about using a couple of existing tools together for a brand new effect—erasing graduated filter effects with precision. Let’s say you’ve got a portrait of a person on a blue background. You could use a graduated filter to darken the top of the background, blending it downward with the natural effects of the filter. The problem is, you might darken the subject’s face as well. As Elizabeth Halford points out in her DPS post, you can effectively erase the graduated filter by using the adjustment brush. If you dropped brightness -20 with the graduated filter, you can boost it +20 with the brush to selective erase the effect. It’s a simple trick, but a great one for extending the value of Lightroom local adjustments—which is always a bonus if you’re looking to streamline your workflow.

http://www.digital-photography-school.com/lightroom-how-i-erase-portions-of-the-graduated-filter 

After reading Helen Bradley’s advice for localized tonal control in Lightroom that I mentioned yesterday, I continued digging a little deeper for specialized tools to provide more control over local adjustments within Lightroom. Sure enough, DPS came through again with a tutorial about using a couple of existing tools together for a brand new... Read more

Lightroom Tonal Control

Helen Bradley sure knows her Lightroom. In a recent post at Digital Photo School, Helen taught me another great thing about the photo management and RAW processing program I’ve slowly been learning this year. Normally, in my RAW processing workflow, I reach a certain point at which I output the image into Photoshop to make targeted adjustments to particular tones within a picture. Often these are as simple as pulling down nearly blown out highlights, or saturation and contrast adjustments to particular colors. I’ve long used gradient tools in Lightroom to help make adjustments in various regions of the frame, but not until I read Helen’s wonderful piece did I really understand how to put adjustments to work across particular tones in any part of the frame. Reading Helen’s DPS piece gave me a better understanding of how I can make finer tonal adjustments within Lightroom. Anything that makes Lightroom an increasingly efficient image editing tool can simplify your workflow without compromising image quality.

http://www.digital-photography-school.com/targeted-adjustments-in-lightroom 

Helen Bradley sure knows her Lightroom. In a recent post at Digital Photo School, Helen taught me another great thing about the photo management and RAW processing program I’ve slowly been learning this year. Normally, in my RAW processing workflow, I reach a certain point at which I output the image into Photoshop to make targeted adjustments... Read more
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All about model releases

Do you ever photograph people? I thought so. Do you always get model releases? I didn’t think so. I’m no model release expert, but I’m working on it. I know I need to request model releases from more of my subjects, but I don’t always do it. You should too, especially since the ASMP is always offering assistance for photographers who want to utilize releases to make photographs more commercially viable. In a series of recent posts, the ASMP has provided further examples of why we should get model releases whenever possible. 

The first real world story comes from a famous photographer who profited greatly, and legally, from the sale of an image portraying a subject who ultimately sued. True, the photographer eventually won the lawsuit, but the idea that you’d win in court because the law is on your side is not a suitable replacement for a model release. It could very well be the case that you’d win, but if your subject is wealthy enough and committed enough, it could get incredibly expensive and time consuming along the way. A model release may have prevented the suit—or at least cut it significantly shorter.

Another ASMP post offers answers to photographers’ most frequently asked model release questions—such as when and where you’re at risk for losing a lawsuit from someone who doesn’t approve of the manner in which you’ve utilized their images.

Lastly, lest you think you need to create a release that covers you at all times regardless of the rights of the subject being photographed, consider one important thing: would you sign the release you’re asking others to sign? If not, review your terms and conditions and make the necessary adjustments to create a document that’s fair to all parties, and one that you won’t have trouble convincing your subjects to sign. Maybe then you’ll be better about getting those releases all the time. 

http://www.asmp.org/strictlybusiness/2010/09/i-dont-need-a-release-because-i-would-win-in-court/ 
http://www.asmp.org/strictlybusiness/2010/09/model-releases-questions-and-answers/
http://www.asmp.org/strictlybusiness/2010/09/whould-you-sign-this/

Do you ever photograph people? I thought so. Do you always get model releases? I didn’t think so. I’m no model release expert, but I’m working on it. I know I need to request model releases from more of my subjects, but I don’t always do it. You should too, especially since the ASMP is always offering assistance for photographers... Read more

Macro Lighting

There are tools, tips and tricks in Mike Moats’ recent post on the Tamron Angle of View blog all about light control when working with macro lenses. Sure, it’s the Tamron blog, but the tips work just as well no matter what brand of macro lenses you’re using. Just because you’ve got a macro lens doesn’t mean that you’re ready to go macro; you’ve got to deal with lighting for macro differently too. The nice thing about light modifiers for macro work is that the tools, like the subjects, are small: no need for massive scrims or softboxes and stands. Little clamps and diffusers no bigger than a foot around can do as much for a macro shot as a 4×8 softbox can for a full sized scenario. Check out the post and you’ll have more control over the lighting in your next macro setup.

http://tamrontechstips.typepad.com/tamron_blog/2010/11/controling-thelight-for-the-macro-photographer-working-with-natural-light-hereis-atip-and-productsto-helpimprove-your-photo.html

There are tools, tips and tricks in Mike Moats’ recent post on the Tamron Angle of View blog all about light control when working with macro lenses. Sure, it’s the Tamron blog, but the tips work just as well no matter what brand of macro lenses you’re using. Just because you’ve got a macro lens doesn’t mean that you’re ready... Read more

More on back-button focusing

Remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned my personal discovery of "back-button" focusing? Well here’s a video about using the technique courtesy of Nikon Blog. With simple use of the AF On button, you can easily separate focus activation from the shutter release. This makes it especially easy to start and stop focus tracking to have a better shot at precisely capturing a fast-moving subject. That’s why sports shooters seem to be so keen on the technique. But even if you’re not a sports photographer, there’s bound to be a back-button focusing approach that works for you. The video is especially useful for Nikon shooters, but the principles apply across other camera brands too. 

http://www.nikonblog.net/autofocus-af-on-lens

Remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned my personal discovery of "back-button" focusing? Well here’s a video about using the technique courtesy of Nikon Blog. With simple use of the AF On button, you can easily separate focus activation from the shutter release. This makes it especially easy to start and stop focus tracking to have... Read more

Photography and the law

This is a must read for every photographer—unless of course you never take pictures outside of your own home. It’s a post from Black Star rising, linked to via A Photo Editor, all about the complex legal issues surrounding photography. It helps us understand what we as photographers need to know about our rights. It’s an increasingly important issue both for photographers and for an actively engaged citizenry. You can get a lot of good insights from the comments on the APE post as well. Know your rights, understand the law, make great pictures.

http://www.aphotoeditor.com/2010/09/09/photographers-and-the-law/

This is a must read for every photographer—unless of course you never take pictures outside of your own home. It’s a post from Black Star rising, linked to via A Photo Editor, all about the complex legal issues surrounding photography. It helps us understand what we as photographers need to know about our rights. It’s an increasingly important... Read more

The most expensive roll of Tri-X ever

Last month The Online Photographer ran a great post about Phase One’s black & white digital back. That’s right: A medium format digital camera back that only records black & white images. If I know one thing about photographers, it’s that there is not a huge clamor for a $40,000 digital camera back that only records black & white images. So why do I want to point it out? Because it offers a great look at the way digital cameras record light, and how they utilize a filter array to turn a black and white image (which is what all but the Foveon sensor captures) into a faux color image. That’s also right: your digital camera’s color is faked from a black & white original. One of the neat things about this digital back is the increased sharpness (or at least the claims of increased sharpness) because the light doesn’t have to travel through a Bayer filter. That’s the thing that makes your digital camera capture in color. The whole idea is just a neat little footnote in the annals of photography because, for the most part, the buyers of this camera are scientific and military users. Though if you’re a solely black & white shooter, why should the digital revolution leave you behind? This camera’s perfect for you—assuming you’ve got 40-grand to dedicate to your next black & white camera.

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2010/09/phaseones-bw-digital-back.html

Last month The Online Photographer ran a great post about Phase One’s black & white digital back. That’s right: A medium format digital camera back that only records black & white images. If I know one thing about photographers, it’s that there is not a huge clamor for a $40,000 digital camera back that only records black... Read more

How to photograph your pregnant wife

Perfect timing! Well, perfect for me, anyway. My wife and I are expecting our first child, and so far we’ve been documenting the progress with a monthly profile portrait of her growing tummy. So this DPS post couldn’t have arrived at a better time. I especially like the idea of making tummy portraits outside. I think those will show our future daughter how her mommy got out and about with baby in tow. It seems that outdoors shots might also help us make pretty pictures rather than, well, creepy belly shots. I’ve seen some of those before, and I don’t think I want any part of that. I know my wife doesn’t. So if you’re expecting, or if you might be called on to photograph an expectant mother, check out these tips for making better maternity portraits.
 
http://www.digital-photography-school.com/tummy-time-7-tips-for-taking-great-maternity-shots

Perfect timing! Well, perfect for me, anyway. My wife and I are expecting our first child, and so far we’ve been documenting the progress with a monthly profile portrait of her growing tummy. So this DPS post couldn’t have arrived at a better time. I especially like the idea of making tummy portraits outside. I think those will show our... Read more

All about photo contests

A judge recently awarded the $160,000 grand prize in a major Australian photo contest to a friend of his. The friend also won the prize last year too. This may not be fishy at all, but it sure raised some eyebrows. After all, the appearance of impropriety is as dangerous as actual impropriety. It’s an interesting read at The Online Photographer that also serves as a cautionary reminder: not all contests are worth entering. Keep in mind that some folks use photo contests as ploys for income derived solely from registration fees. Others simply use contests to gather a pool of images to be used for a commercial purpose, with pitiful prize money reflecting a fraction of the actual commercial value of the images. The point is: keep your eyes peeled to avoid being taken advantage of. The TOP piece also contains links to other great photo contest info, as well as resources for finding the good ones.

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2010/10/judge-defends-choice-.html

A judge recently awarded the $160,000 grand prize in a major Australian photo contest to a friend of his. The friend also won the prize last year too. This may not be fishy at all, but it sure raised some eyebrows. After all, the appearance of impropriety is as dangerous as actual impropriety. It’s an interesting read at The Online Photographer... Read more

Ansel Adams, Street Photographer

We all know Ansel Adams as the granddaddy of all iconic western landscape photographers, but did you know he was a bit of a street photographer too? In the World War II era, Adams made pictures for many commercial clients. Like so many artists, commercial assignments taken outside of their own area of expertise helped fund the iconic imagery the artists would ultimately become known for. This series of Los Angeles images was made for a 1939 Fortune magazine article about the aviation industry in L.A. It’s an interesting glimpse into a whole different set of photographic talents Mr. Adams possessed. And it helps remind those of us who are struggling to balance art and commerce that even legends need to pay the bills.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2010/10/26/130838664/adamsla

We all know Ansel Adams as the granddaddy of all iconic western landscape photographers, but did you know he was a bit of a street photographer too? In the World War II era, Adams made pictures for many commercial clients. Like so many artists, commercial assignments taken outside of their own area of expertise helped fund the iconic imagery the artists... Read more

How To Price Photography

There are a lot of photographers out there these days, and an increasing number of them are dipping their toes into the waters of professional assignments. Maybe it’s shooting a wedding for a friend, or creating baby photos of your cousin’s new kid, or perhaps going so far as to establish a web site and hang out a shingle for shooting commercial assignments and events. Whatever kind of photography you’re going to charge for, there’s one important factor that many photographers don’t pay enough attention to: how should you charge?

I like to boil it down like this: if you’re going to do the work of a professional, you should price your work as a professional would too. That doesn’t mean you need to charge as much as an established pro would. It just means that you need to understand the ins and outs of assigning appropriate fees. To that end, this story from New Media Photographer illustrates a great point: price the photographs, not the intangibles. There was once a fairly standard industry practice of charging by the hour. Then photographers who were really good and worked efficiently realized they were being penalized for their skill. So a more fair pricing standard—one that charges based on the type and number of photographs to be created—has emerged. It’s better for clients and better for photographers. The key is that new photographers understand how to price their work fairly so that they won’t be taken advantage of. And this story is only the start. There are countless resources online for photographers looking to understand pricing for professional services. For a good start, check out the ASMP’s Paperwork Share and other resources for professional pricing guidance.

http://www.newmediaphotographer.com/2010/09/still-not-learning-the-per-image-pricing-lesson/
http://asmp.org/links/32

There are a lot of photographers out there these days, and an increasing number of them are dipping their toes into the waters of professional assignments. Maybe it’s shooting a wedding for a friend, or creating baby photos of your cousin’s new kid, or perhaps going so far as to establish a web site and hang out a shingle for shooting commercial... Read more
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