Reflectors In Lieu Of Softboxes
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Everybody loves big softboxes. But unfortunately, not everybody has the budget to invest in them. Building on a principle that I regularly teach to photo students, this post at DIY Photography uses large white reflectors and white painted walls as stand-ins for those big, expensive softboxes. If you understand that once a light is modified—by bouncing off a reflector or filter through diffusion—the new source of that light, as far as the subject is concerned, is the modifier rather than the light bulb itself. Meaning, bounce your speedlight off a white wall and the large white wall effectively becomes the source. This is a powerful, easy-to-understand and fundamental lighting principle. It's also why so many of the same sources (like the sun, or speedlights) look so dramatically different when filtered through different modifiers—because in practice, the modifier "becomes" the source. Check it out, and watch the video, at DIYPhotography.net
Hackers Attack Adobe
Monday, October 7, 2013
As great as it is to live in our hyper-connected digital world, there are some pitfalls. None are more troubling than when it comes to compromising the safety of our personal information. Credit card numbers get hijacked, email addresses are sold... These challenges are increasingly prevalent, and no company or industry is immune. In fact, just last week Adobe sent me an email—along with about 3 million other customers—to inform us of the recent theft of data by hackers who broke into Adobe's system. This is the nature of life in the cloud, I suppose, so I'm sure it's neither the first nor the last time we'll deal with such things. As best I can tell, Adobe seems to be dealing with it the right way. The company is "resetting relevant customer passwords to help prevent unauthorized access." If your information was compromised, you'll receive an email from Adobe with instructions for changing your password—as I've already done. I don't like losing control of my personal information, but I appreciate that Adobe at least kept that information encrypted so that its value seems to be negligible.
Build A Seamless Backdrop Storage System
Friday, October 4, 2013
I've always been happy with the homemade storage rack we made at my studio for our many 9-foot seamless paper rolls. It's two horizontal 2x4s anchored to the wall, one at the ceiling and the other 9.5 feet lower, with little four-inch spikes of metal conduit protruding from the top and bottom that hold the paper easily and securely. But now that I see Rob Grimm's method of storing paper—and, also, rolls of Rosco gels—I'm green (you might say Rosco #245 ½ Plus Green) with envy. Since my rolls of Rosco are stuffed into a bin that makes it tricky to find exactly the color I'm looking for, maybe I'll have to employ this in my own studio—next to my paper roll storage system. If you've got a studio—even a makeshift one in your garage—this is the type of DIY ingenuity that comes in extremely handy.
Testing A Camera's Waterproof Claims… In A Sink!
Thursday, October 3, 2013
The Olympus OMD EM1 is a weather-proof (meaning it's mostly water resistant, if not truly water-PROOF) compact mirrorless camera that's been getting attention from photographers thanks to, among other things, those water-resistant features and its nice nod to classic SLR styling. Over at the Phoblographer blog, Chris Gampat decided to test the splash-proof claims by shooting with the camera (and its compatible weather-sealed lens) while running water over it. How? He held it under the faucet and laid on the shutter. Did it work? For that, you'll have to click through and watch for yourself.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
I've been a fan of backlighting ever since a professional photographer explained to a teenage me that I should actually shoot into the sun if I wanted to add depth and drama to action photos at a sporting event. Sure enough he was right: backlighting is amazing. That's the moral behind this post from DPS founder Darren Rowse, who recounts all the reasons why photographers shouldn't overlook this simple and powerful lighting tool that can instantly overhaul the look of any image.
Photo by Naughton321: http://www.flickr.com/photos/naughton321/136941541/
iOS 7 For Photographers
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Many moons ago I thought the idea of treating smartphones as legitimate photographic tools was preposterous. Now here we are in 2013 with the introduction of the new iPhone 5S and its accompanying iOS7. Both have made some serious updates to the camera's ability to take great pictures, as evidenced by the fact that I keep finding myself grabbing my iPhone in lieu of my point and shoot. Not to mention the fact that every year we collectively take more pictures than were ever made throughtout the entire history of photography. Anyway, there are some truly remarkable new features of the iPhone 5S—including its ability to shoot super-slow-mo video and the improved buffer that allows for a superfast 10 frames-per-second full-resolution stills. Simply amazing. All that, and the pictures seem to be easier to make and they simply look better too, even on older iPhones. Anyway, my point is, it's official: The iPhone works like a "real" camera in many ways, whether those of us who would rather use SLRs like it or not. Best of all, this revolution is only going to keep improving in the future. For a rundown of new camera features in the new iOS and iPhone 5s, check out the DPReview Connect blog.
How Photographs Can Heal
Monday, September 30, 2013
This month marked the 12-year anniversary of the September 11th attacks. On his Photoshop Insider blog, Scott Kelby published a wonderful story from photographer Joe McNally, who reflects on his photographic reaction to that day. He spent the remaining days that fall photographing firefighters and rescue workers, the first responders to the horrific events of that September morning. Assembled in the book and exhibit “Faces of Ground Zero,” his portraits became a moving testament to the brave men and women who risked, and in many case gave, their lives in the line of duty that day. The centerpiece of the article is the story of a single firefighter and his experiences reacting to, and recovering from, the terrorist attacks. It's a moving story, but also an inspiring one—helping to remind us of the power of photography, not only to tell stories, but to help people comprehend, and heal from, the events they've experienced. A moving must-read.
The Photographer's MBA
Friday, September 27, 2013
Every professional photographer I know says the same thing about their education: they wish they'd learned more about business. Instead of creative tips and photographic techniques, the nuts and bolts of running a business is often what professional photographers talk about when they get together. To that end comes The Photographer's MBA, a new book written by a working photographer that tells you everything you need to know about the business side of the photography business. It's about "the other 90% of the job," everything from incorporating and business plans to branding, pricing and social media strategies. Written by super-successful wedding and family portrait photographer Sal Cincotta, it's a must-read for anyone interested in going into business for themselves. Read more, and order online, from the Peachpit Press online store.