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Digital Photography Tips and Tutorials
Updated: 1 hour 52 min ago

Day 3 delivery from The Photography Express

Wed, 12/19/2018 - 14:00

The post Day 3 delivery from The Photography Express appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Darren Rowse.

The difference in your photos could be like Night and Day after you’ve learned the secrets from the next two deals brought to you by The Photography Express.

Want to go straight to the deals?

When photography is all about capturing light it can be really frustrating to get an amazing photo when you’re shooting in almost no light, or directly at it! If blurry night photography and fuzzy sunrises and sunsets are your nemeses, then the next 24 hours is your chance to change that.

Deal #5 Our Stunning Night Photography Course re-launched with NEW Bonuses

Thousands of our readers have already taken this course to learn about taking breathtaking photos at night with Jim Hamel. And anyone who is doing (or completed) our 31 Days to Becoming a Better Photographer will know what a fantastic instructor he is.

This stunning (yes, it deserves repeating!) course includes 8 learning video modules and 11 practical “field work” videos that will show you exactly how to take beautiful night shots. And we’re re-launching it with a BONUS module that includes:

  • 54 page Guide to Shooting the Night Sky (downloadable PDF)
  • Bonus video on photographing Fireworks (just in time for New Year’s Eve!)
  • Bonus video on photographing the Milky Way

Now $49 USD (Save 50%) for the next 24 hours only!

Take me to the deal

If you’ve already done our Night Photography course make sure you revisit it for those new free bonuses in module 20!

Deal #6 The Recipe to Successful Sunrise and Sunset Photography

These shortcut secrets for 22 amazing sunrise and sunset scenes are brought to you by dPS partner Brent Mail Photography.  Get Brent’s proven, step-by-step recipes for 22 different types of sunrise & sunset photo opportunities, and you’ll also get his Amazing Sunset Photography course too.

Carrying Brent’s printable Sunrise/Sunset Photo Recipe Cards in your camera bag (or on your phone), and following their easy instructions, is the surest way to get a perfect image. And it’s the quickest and easiest way to master sunrise and sunset photography once for all. PLUS you’ll also get 7 action-packed video lessons and the RAW images from Brent’s sunset shoots in his Amazing Sunset Photography course – completely free!

Now $39 USD (Save 75%) for the next 24 hours only!

Take me to the deal

We hope these two offers bring some new excitement and challenges to your photography in 2019!

Both deals come with money back guarantees (dPS 60 days and our trusted partner Brent Mail Photography 30 days), so you can easily buy now to secure the deal and if you don’t think they’re for you, you’ll get refunded.

Don’t miss the next two deals – sign up here for The Photography Express!

Disclosure: We receive a commission from our partners if you buy via our promotion, but it is at no cost to you. In fact, you’re getting an even better price than usual!

The post Day 3 delivery from The Photography Express appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Darren Rowse.

How to Deliver Digital Images to Your Clients

Wed, 12/19/2018 - 13:00

The post How to Deliver Digital Images to Your Clients appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Mark C Hughes.

Whether you are an enthusiast, beginner photographer or an established professional, all photographers produce images. Regardless of whether you are sharing or selling images, or working on a commission, you need to get your image to the destination. Beautiful images need a delivery method in a format that people can use. That’s where things can get technical and a bit tricky.

Santa’s little helper

Considerations

There are many considerations to factor into how and what you provide to your client, including how to get them into your client’s hands as quickly as possible. Everyone has busy lives and getting together can be difficult.

For the image itself, you need to consider format, file size, resolution, and color space. Are you sending proofs? Are you using a watermark?

Once you have decided that, the next question is the delivery method. For people selling their images, consider what you want to happen after you send your client their images. Do you want to sell prints or albums after an initial proof set? What about images for social media?

Christmas is often a time crunch for delivery of images

So many details

In this age of digital media, it seems easier than ever to deliver digital media. But, is it? Nowadays, modern digital cameras create high-resolution images anywhere from 16-megapixels to 50-megapixels. Larger megapixel images correspond into larger file sizes. The problem with higher resolution image files is it taxes our ability to send and receive the images. So, where do you start? Let’s consider the file size and space followed by delivery options.

Modern digital cameras produce high-resolution images

File size and format

There are many file formats: jpeg, tiff, png and more. As you advance as a photographer shooting in RAW becomes commonplace. RAW shooters often dismiss shooting in jpeg. However, the reality is jpeg is probably the number one format people consume digitally. It is important to remember that most people consume images on digital platforms (few people print images anymore).

Size is the enemy of large-scale delivery

Although RAW is a preferred file format for shooting because of the flexibility it offers in post-processing, it is an impracticable format for digital delivery. Firstly, RAW images need a RAW processor to be able to view them. Secondly, RAW images record exactly what your camera sensor sees. They require some form of post-processing to make them look finished. Finally, the file sizes are enormous.

JPEG at quality level 10

JPEG at quality 2

Not all professional photographers avoid JPEG images. Some high-volume photographers often shoot only in JPEG and many photographers shoot in both RAW+JPEG. School photographers, for example, deal with the logistical nightmare of taking very few images of uncooperative children intended for parents with high expectations. In these cases, the logistics of image delivery is the ultimate priority. If image ordering and delivery are too complicated, there are no orders. Shooting in JPEG mode allows photographers to address this issue. Similarly, some sports photographers shoot in JPEG to allow for quick delivery.

Image consumption

The first step in addressing digital delivery is to consider the end use of the images. If the images are for social media distribution, small file sizes are your best option. If the images are too big when used on a website, the images load too slow, damaging the site speed, and ranking. These limits change with time and technology. However, for the time being, there are reasonable limits to image size you need to work within.

Similarly, many social media platforms (like Facebook or Instagram) automatically downsample your images to a manageable size. Meaning, larger images are unnecessary because that extra data gets discarded.

Instagram is where many images will end up being posted

The format Printing

When you are printing images, you should consider your image size in both dots-per-inch (DPI) and width and height resolution (pixels). Printers generally use 300dpi (or ppi) as their resolution for printing to paper. This guide is the actual printer resolution which prints in dots, rather than pixels. A handy guide to figure out your photo resolution for printing is this: if you would like to print your photo at 8″ x 10″ at 300dpi; your photo needs to be 2400pixels x 3000pixels (8 x 300 = 2400, 10 x 300 = 3000). You take your size dimensions and times them by 300 (dpi), to come to your pixel size. That means, if your photo is 2400pixels x 3000pixels and only 72dpi, it is fine for printing at 8″ x 10″ at 300dpi. The file size of an image at this size can range from 3-7megabytes, depending on the amount of detailed information in the image. The more fine details it has, the larger the size.

Digital

For digital delivery for social media consumption use JPEG. While it is an old standard, it is the most reliable and compatible image format for all computers (Mac, Windows, and Chrome). It is a compressed format so you can make small file sizes. However, you should be aware that jpeg is a lossy format, which means that every time you edit and resave the image, you lose data in the image. As a final product, this isn’t a problem as long as you don’t edit the image.

There are other formats, that may be technically better; however, they are not as well used or practical. Most cameras offer JPEG as an image file format.

For most social media platforms, the maximum size you really need is 1500 pixels on the long edge. If someone decides to print your image, at the 300 dpi printing resolution, it is relatively small at only 5 inches (remember, 1500 divided by 300 is 5″). When saving your JPEG images, to reduce your overall image file size, reduce the quality number. The quality number is between 1 and 12. 1 is the lowest quality, and 12 is the highest.

Physical media

Gone are the days of recording CDs and DVDs for clients. Most computers aren’t equipped with readers anymore, and both mediums don’t offer much storage. What’s worse is that writable CDs and DVDs are not a permanent medium and degrade over time.

USB memory sticks are smaller, offer larger storage capacity and are more flexible. Memory sticks can be personalized to your brand and allow you to physically hand over the fruits of your labor to your client. Not the fastest delivery mechanism, but the one-on-one contact is excellent for further sales or connections with your client.

USB Media

Basic digital delivery

If you are only sending one or two images, attaching them to an email is an option. However, there are limitations to the size of an email you can send. Email can be unreliable because each email provider and ISP has different attachment limits and they change from time to time. Some platforms allow you to send large files (up to 10-megabyte files), but your recipient’s email provider may not accept the image and often has limits. Emails not received may take a while to bounce back, and your client won’t even know you tried to send them something.

Email as a delivery mechanism

Digital document delivery

Digital delivery of electronic files is not new and has been problematic for many businesses. These businesses need to send documents in digital format to their clients, but these documents are not necessarily image-specific. They are broadly divided into two methods – FTP links or document repositories.

Digital File Repository

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and is intended for transferring digital documents. There are many free services for transferring documents, however, you don’t see the images until after they are completely received.  Some examples of FTP services include Sharefile, WeTransfer, TransferNow, and Send Anywhere.

WeTransfer allows for digital file sharing

Some services allow a cloud-based location for your digital files. From the cloud, they can be used to create links for people to pick up documents. Some examples of these services include Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive. These services are great but sometimes require logging in or creating accounts on the platform to allow you access to the images. Often they have a limited amount of space for free, or you can upgrade to more space for a fee.

These services work well, but they aren’t just geared toward photographers solely for image delivery. They transfer documents, and images are simply a type of document.

Photography-specific image delivery

For image specific delivery methods, there are two different approaches.  Firstly, you can use a customized website that allows for a gallery to be set up with your website.  This feature is set-up in the back-end of your website. Secondly, you can use a photography-specific gallery system. These systems allow for the delivery of images with lots of bells and whistles.

A photographic website from Format

Using the back end of your website to create galleries can be a great way to deliver but can be complicated to set up and maintain. Custom-built websites are costly, and any changes usually result in extra charges. More recently, there are some excellent website builder services such as Squarespace, Format, Smugmug, WIX, and WordPress that all provide great pre-made templates for websites that allow you to create galleries for your clients.

I have personally used Squarespace, Smugmug, and Format, however, there are many great platforms. However, you may also be limited to the amount of space you have with your web hosting, and storing large printable files may fill this space quickly.

Pixieset Website Gallery

Another option is photography-specific image delivery systems. These delivery systems are designed with the needs of wedding photographers in mind. There is a need for digital delivery of images in a slick, easy to use and easy to navigate website. Additionally, wedding photographers want a proofing gallery that allows visitors to select favorites, download images for social media, purchase high-resolution images or get prints.

These image-proofing services include such brands as Pixieset, Shootproof, PicTime and Pass Plus. I personally really like this method because it allows for the simple uploading of images into pre-configured galleries that simplify the delivery of images to clients. They look slick, and they let your clients see the images, all while letting you control what they download and how they download. You can also set up galleries for clients to see photos but not necessarily download them. These are all paid services, but if you are frequently delivering images, this method is excellent. I use Pixieset, but Shootproof and PicTime are also good services.

Conclusion

Taking beautiful photographs is often what most photographers focus on; however, the final product is the image delivery. With digital images, there are lots of technical considerations regarding the delivery of images to your intended recipients.  Knowing the format, size, and delivery mechanism simplify your ability to deliver your photographs quickly and efficiently.

What systems have you tried out? What works for you? Let us know in the comments below.

 

 

 

The post How to Deliver Digital Images to Your Clients appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Mark C Hughes.

Gear Review: Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless Camera Kit

Wed, 12/19/2018 - 08:00

The post Gear Review: Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless Camera Kit appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anabel DFlux.

The Canon EOS M50 is a compact interchangeable lens camera for aspiring photographers looking for an easy way to boost the quality of their photos and videos. Sporting 4k video capabilities to capture your favorite memories, 24-megapixel vibrant photographs, and Dual Pixel Autofocus system, the Canon EOS M50 is a masterful piece of technology.

Social media mavens can benefit from the camera’s Wifi function that allows users to connect to the Canon Camera Connect app to transfer images to their smart device. From there, you can share and upload from your device directly to various social media sites.

Canon’s newest addition is an excellent introduction to mirrorless cameras. Complete with a lens, its ready to go right out of the box – making it a fantastic holiday season gift for any photography enthusiast. Following is why this camera is so spectacular!

What is a Mirrorless Camera?

Before we get into it, let’s have a quick look at what a mirrorless camera is and how this new technology compares to digital Single Lens Reflex cameras (DSLRs).

The way that a digital SLR camera works is that a mirror inside the camera reflects the light up to the optical viewfinder (which is also how you see the image before you take it). When you release the shutter, the mirror lifts, allowing the light to hit the sensor and capture the image.

In a mirrorless camera, there is no mirror or optical viewfinder. Instead, the imaging sensor gets exposed to light at all times. This method gives you a digital preview of your image either on the rear LCD screen or an electronic viewfinder (EVF).  As such, a mirrorless camera is one that doesn’t require a reflex mirror – a key component of DSLR cameras.

Due to the lack of mirror, the camera is significantly smaller and lighter weight than a DSLR, a very distinct difference between the two. However, DSLRs are well-trusted because of their true-to-life through-the-lens optical viewfinder system, which uses a series of mirrors to reflect light to your eye.

Mirrorless cameras, on the other hand, require an electronic viewfinder or LCD screen for image monitoring. Both are equally spectacular. Each model has their own pros and cons and it comes down to personal choice.

Canon EOS M50 features and specifications

Features

The Canon EOS M50 mirrorless camera sports some very impressive features that would make even the smuggest photographer blush. The EOS M50 delivers improved Dual Pixel CMOS AF for fast, accurate autofocus that helps you get the photo you want right at the moment it happens.

The 24.1 Megapixel (APS-C) sensor is capable of capturing high-resolution image and video. The files grant the user images suitable for enlargements with sufficient resolution for significant cropping. The video capability of this hardy little camera is even more impressive. It has the ability to record in 4K UHD at 24 frames per second. The high-speed 120p mode is possible in HD.

According to the manufacturer, the built-in high-resolution electronic viewfinder features approximately 2,360,000 dots. So, you can see high amounts of detail in whatever you’re capturing.

The vari-angle Touchscreen LCD, which has a flexible tilt range. The tilt range is ideal for high-angle and low-angle shooting so you can get the composition you want without breaking your back. The Canon EOS M50 camera features the new DIGIC 8 Image Processor, which helps improve autofocus performance, enables you to shoot 4K UHD 24p video and aids with many other advanced features.

Specifications
  • Improved Dual Pixel CMOS AF and Eye Detection AF.
  • 24.1 Megapixel (APS-C) CMOS Sensor with ISO 100-25600 (H: 51200).
  • 4K UHD* 24p and HD 120p** for Slow Motion.
  • Built-in OLED EVF*** with Touch and Drag AF.
  • Vari-angle Touchscreen LCD.
  • Built-in Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth Technology.
  • Automatic Image Transfer to Compatible Devices while Shooting.
  • New DIGIC 8 Image Processor with Improved Auto Lighting Optimizer.
  • Silent Mode for Quiet Operation.

This is only the second EOS M model to have a built-in Electronic View Finder (with the first being the EOS M5). It is also the first EOS M model to offer 4k video, which puts it one step ahead of the EOS M5. The camera also uses a DIGIC 8 processor, rather than the older DIGIC 7 processor.

Physical build

This camera’s size is brilliant! It is smaller than my cell phone (Google Pixel). Easy to throw into any bag, purse, or pocket. The body construction consists of polycarbonate rather than a metal body shell, but it still feels robust enough in your hand. The camera features a very comfortable and well-designed grip containing  ‘hooks’ for your second finger and thumb. As a result, the M50 feels surprisingly secure, even when used with one hand.

Much like Canon’s pro-level DSLRs, the controls are well laid-out. The buttons are a decent size and easily located by touch while using the viewfinder. However, the size may be an issue for those with larger hands. My hands are petite, and I find the controls just fine (haha)!

The tilt, vari-angle touch screen is brilliant. This nifty feature has infinite uses. Additionally, the screen can be stowed backward against the camera body to avoid any potential scratches (for those that don’t purchase screen protectors). The built-in viewfinder is very helpful when shooting during the noon sun or other bright conditions. There’s an auto activation when your eye approaches the viewfinder, ensuring that the LCD doesn’t blind you.

Canon has a knack for making its small models handle well and feel professional. The M50 is proof of this.

Autofocus

Canon’s autofocus is what has kept me loyal to the brand for over ten years now. Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS sensor that the M50 sports mean every sensor pixel is capable of being used for phase detection. Allowing fast autofocus almost wherever the subject gets situated within the frame. The AF system is sensitive down to -2 EV, which means the camera continues to focus in extremely low light.

A new autofocus feature of this model is the eye-detection autofocus. The camera can find eyes on your subject and lock focus on them with the push of a button. It is photographic witchcraft, and I love it. This feature is activated when face detection is turned on, to focus specifically on your subject’s eye.

Do make note that this fun feature is only available in single-AF mode, which means you can’t use it track focus during burst shooting. As can be seen above, the eyes of my dog are nicely in focus (and this was easy to achieve, even when she moved a bit).

I have always preferred the AI Servo | Continuous Focus mode due to the majority of my subjects moving around a lot. Thanks to the ability to use phase-detection anywhere in the frame, this feature is fast and reliable.

Low light capability

As the years’ progress, so does low-light capability. In higher ISO levels, image quality stands up very well at ISO 800. It’s only at ISO 3200 noise, and noise reduction starts to blur away detail. However, the color gets retained well. The higher numbers are passable for smaller reproductions, but you’ll generally find yourself not wanting to move beyond 12,500 max! The autofocus continues to shine even at low-light levels.

Battery life

I have always been a tremendous fan of Canon’s batteries. They always continue to impress me with their longevity. This camera is no exception, despite having an always-on LCD screen! As always, I do suggest purchasing more than one battery, but you can remain confident in this camera lasting you through your entire photo session and photography adventures.

The lens: EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM

The M50 kit comes complete with the EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM, a compact and stylized zoom lens for the mirrorless camera. The lens is very compact and features a side switch to flatten the lens when stored. This feature makes traveling with the M50 kit an absolute breeze.

With the 15-45mm kit lens with its STM focus motor, autofocus is great. It is super-fast, silent, accurate, and excellent for any photography style. The 35mm-equivalent 24-72mm range combines a wide-angle for landscapes and big group photos, with a telephoto zoom for close-ups and detailed headshots.

I found the lens to be reliable, fast, and sharp – no complaints whatsoever!

Final thoughts

The Canon EOS M50 is an excellent entry-level camera for aspiring, beginner, and hobbyist photographers alike. From its variety of features to its portable size and ease-of-use, unraveling this camera under the Christmas tree would excite even the most controlled picture-takers. Plus, having a kit that comes with a lens is just a brilliant bonus!

The post Gear Review: Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless Camera Kit appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anabel DFlux.

Day 2 delivery from The Photography Express

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 21:50

The post Day 2 delivery from The Photography Express appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Laney.

Note: Today’s train is running a little late, so you have less than 24 hours to grab these deals!

You know you took a great photo, but it’s just not popping when you get it on your screen. You’d also rather be out taking more great photos than messing around on the computer any longer.

Today’s delivery from The Photography Express is not one, but two amazing Lightroom presets deals to help you bring out the potential in your photographs in just one click.

Deal #1 Massive Lightroom Presets Bundle from dPS

Today you can pick up a bundle of three of our 101 Lightroom Presets packs for just $49  – or individually for $19 each.

Each pack contains 101 (or more) Lightroom Presets, carefully crafted by professional photographers to help you save time and get the look you want when post-processing photos in Adobe Lightroom.

Try out some sample presets with our sliders – one of our favourite transformations is “Big Colour Love”.

Save $100 when you purchase the bundle for the next 24 hours only!

Learn More

Already have all 303 of the dPS presets? Then check out this beautiful premium bundle . . .

Deal #2 Premium Lightroom Presets from Andrew Gibson

Even more presets to help you create beautiful photos in Lightroom. This set of Andrew’s Faded Glory, SuperBlack and Vintage Portrait Presets work in Lightroom 4, 5 and 6, Lightroom CC (2015), Lightroom Classic CC and the new Lightroom CC for mobile, with both JPEG and Raw files.

If you’re wanting to experiment with:

  • the under-utilized and under-appreciated beauty of desaturated colors
  • converting photos to black and white for mood, emotion and expressiveness; and
  • natural looking vintage style portraits

then this premium bundle of presets will give you results in Lightroom with just a few clicks.

Save 58% for the next 24 hours only!

Learn More

 

Have fun getting creative with your new presets – 2019 will be a fun year!

Both dPS and our trusted partner Andrew Gibson at The Creative Photographer offer 60-day money back guarantees, so you can easily buy now to secure the deal and try out the presets, and if you don’t think they’re for you, we’ll refund you.

Don’t miss the next two deals – sign up here for The Photography Express!

Disclosure: We receive a commission from our partners if you buy via our promotion, but it is at no cost to you. In fact, you’re getting an even better price than usual!

The post Day 2 delivery from The Photography Express appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Laney.

POLL – Do You Use Your Camera for Video?

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 13:00

The post POLL – Do You Use Your Camera for Video? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

Digital cameras have come leaps and bounds since their inception. They include many fantastic features to enable us to take better quality photos. However, they not only take still images, many now include video functionalities.

Some photography cameras even have 4K video capabilities.

So, we want to know if you use the video settings on your camera?

Do you just play around, use it professionally, or wish you knew how to use it?

We’d love to know.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

Feel free to tell us more about your answer (why you do or what you do) in the comments below.

If you would like to learn more about making videos with your camera, see this article by Suzi Pratt.

 

The post POLL – Do You Use Your Camera for Video? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

ON1 Photo RAW 2019 Review

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 08:00

The post ON1 Photo RAW 2019 Review appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Leanne Cole.

This November, ON1 released the latest version of their standalone-editing platform, Photo RAW 2019. It is a sophisticated program aimed toward all levels of photographers from the absolute beginner to the professional. The program is there to help photographers edit their photos to achieve the best possible images.

Many features in the previous version still exist. However, some obvious changes are in the user interface — specifically, the removal of the different modes you had to switch to as you processed your images. They are now much easier to use, and access to each is all done in the same window.

When you open ON1 Photo RAW 2019

Some of the significant aspects of Photo RAW are still available but have been improved to make them more efficient to use. ON1 have always listened to their users. They find out what their users want the most from the software and use that feedback to make product improvements, via the ON1 Photo RAW Project.

User Interface

One of the biggest changes with Photo RAW 2019 is the basic layout. The Browse section is much the same, except for a few minor changes. However, some of the most significant changes are when you proceed to the photo editing section.

In the past, you have had to go to different modules to make particular changes. In the latest release, you the Develop, Effects and Layers features are all integrated in the same place. You can now move between each of them easily, and more importantly, quickly.

The User Interface has been updated as well.

You no longer have to wait for changes to get saved when moving from one module to another. In previous versions, when you moved to the Layers module, you lost all of the non-destructive settings used to create your image. However, now you have access to them all the way through the editing process of your image.

When you open your image in Edit Mode, you can see on the right side that it still looks similar to the previous version with Tone & Color windows opened first. However, above it, are now tabs for Develop, Effects, Portrait, and Local. When you want to use aspects that are in a specific tab, you click on it and you are taken to it straight away. You can move around them very quickly.

Above those tabs, is a larger one that has Layers written on it. You can now add layers at any stage of your editing and go back and forth between the other tabs as well.

Now layers is in the same place as the other tabs.

The new Layers tab is a bonus because you don’t lose any of the previous edits you have done. As you go back to the other tabs everything you have done previously is still there. You can change adjustments and filters at any stage of the process too. This ability is new to Photo RAW and was not available in previous versions.

Effects and Filters

Nearly all the adjustments are now under the Effects Tab. When you click on Add Filter, a new window pops up with a range of filters available for use. While this isn’t new, in the previous version they were split between the Develop and Effects Modules, and you had to keep swapping between them, depending on how you used them.

In the 2019 release, the filters are all in one place under the Effects tab. Along with the existing filters, ON1 have also included some new ones.

All the filters are now under the Effects tab.

These filters include Curves, Color Adjustments, and Film Grains. Curves is a very welcome addition as it is something that many people use in other editing programs. This filter is addictive. Once you start using it, you want to use it on everything.

Some people enjoy the Film Grain option. It is excellent for imitating the effects of analog film. If you had a favorite film type, you could make your digital images have a similar feel to them.

Color Adjustments give you more options for individual colors in your image. You can saturate or desaturate them. You can also change the hue tones or change the color entirely. If you like that sort of control in your editing, then this filter is perfect for you.

Tool changes

One of the things I have noticed is the tools are now in the left sidebar. In the previous version there were many of them, and as you moved through the modes more appeared.

At first glance with Photo RAW 2019, it appears that there are not as many tools. There aren’t many sitting in the sidebar, but when you click on one, you should also look at the top of the window. There, you can find the settings for each one, and you find other similar tools. You can click on them to use the ones that you like.

Some of the tools are now located in a different section.

If you have used previous versions and can’t find tools that you previously used, go through each one along the top to see what is available. It looks as though all the original tools are still available. They are merely in a new location.

Text Tool

One of the really exciting additions to the latest release is the Text Tool. You can now add text to images. You can make memes or other designs.

This new feature is excellent for watermarking your image too. Love them or hate them, many people want to put watermarks on their work. It allows them to prove they own the copyright if their image is stolen or used without their permission.

The Text Tool also features a range of font options, and you can choose the size and placement. Like most adjustments, you can change the opacity as well, which is perfect for watermarking.

The Text Tool is a welcome addition to Photo RAW and something that many people are going to like.

The new Text Tool is a very welcome addition.

Processing RAW images

Some programs are not capable of processing your RAW files; however, ON1 can process these files with Photo RAW. It can process them quickly, and the file sizes are not an issue.

Many of the modern cameras produce images with enormous file sizes. I use a Nikon D850, and the RAW images are often over 50MB. Each image I have processed in Photo RAW 2019 has handled with no problems.

Lightroom Catalogues

Many people who have used Lightroom for years have cataloged all their photos using the platform. Lightroom users may be hesitant to switch to Photo RAW 2019 for fear of losing access to all of these catalogs. However, there are now some new AI algorithms that power Photo RAW giving the user access to all their photos from Lightroom catalogs using the Lightroom Migration Assistant. The Migration Assistant adds the top-level folders in the Folders panel in Lightroom to Cataloged Folders in Photo RAW. All of the photos inside of these folders are cataloged automatically. Your collections and Metadata changes made in Lightroom are migrated and include keywords, descriptions, ratings, labels, orientation, etc.

Lastly, RAW processing and editing settings from Lightroom’s Develop module including crop, retouching, and local adjustments are migrated non-destructively so they can be re-edited in ON1 Photo RAW 2019.

You can also see the photos you have edited in the other program as well. This feature was an essential development for ON1 because it offers users an alternative to paid monthly subscriptions such as Lightroom.

Now you can access all your photos and catalogs from Lightroom.

Creating HDR images

While HDR Images editing is not new to Photo RAW, the 2019 release has seen some significant improvements to the programs ability to edit them faster. The workflow has improved significantly too.

The process starts the same way – select your images and click on the HDR icon. However, once the images are merged, the changes made to the overall image are not set in stone. Once the HDR is created and opened in the Develop tab, you can continue making other re-adjustments. This feature allows you to alter any mistakes you may have made the first time.

Creating HDR Images is now easier.

The most significant and best change is how fast your HDR images get processed. It is fantastic and makes them so much easier to do. While other programs make you wait (you can make coffee while it is doing the merging), Photo RAW completes the process before you know it. This feature is an excellent addition for time-poor photographers.

Many of the other features remain, and you can choose various options for how you want your HDR images to appear when the merging is complete. If you are familiar with how ON1 does HDR photos, the previous features remain, with the added bonus of new ones that are sure to impress.

Make changes anytime.

Focus stacking

If you love macro photography or are keen to get everything in your images in focus, the Focus Stacking feature is a great new feature for you. Photo RAW 2019 allows you to highlight all the images you want to Focus Stack via the Browse section, and you simply click on the Focus icon. The icon is located on the right side of the window.

Use Photo RAW 2019 to merge images for Focus Stacking.

Photo RAW aligns all your images together and displays a preview of your stacked image. It then blends all the selected images to make a final focus-stacked image. There is a reference panel to ensure you get the image you want.

All the images are aligned and everything that you want in focus is.

Who is ON1 Photo RAW 2019 for?

The latest version has been designed to appeal to a wide range of photographers who want to edit their photos. Professional photographers can find everything they need to process their photos in Photo RAW 2019. If you have many photos to process, all the tools and adjustments that you used in Lightroom are available. Accessing all those images that you have previously processed with Lightroom is simple.

Hobbyist photographers who want more say on how their final images look may find Photo RAW 2019 brilliant. You can make all those basic adjustments, and more. It is an excellent program for learning layers too.

However, the best part is that many new photographers don’t want to sign up for monthly subscriptions set out by Adobe. The monthly expense can be expensive. With Photo RAW, you can purchase it outright and not have ongoing monthly costs. On top of that, with monthly subscriptions, you aren’t paying for many extras that you may not need.

Support

ON1 have many tutorial videos on YouTube to help you learn how to use the Photo RAW 2019 software if you are new to it. There are also tutorials for the latest release.

If you want more from the program and the company, consider signing up for ON1 Plus. ON1 Plus provides in-depth monthly courses on using ON1 Photo RAW and courses from top photographers. It is something that I would highly recommend.

ON1 Plus gives you so much more support.

In Conclusion

The latest addition of ON1 Photo RAW 2019 was thoughtfully developed with the use of current user feedback. One of the great things about ON1 is how much they care about their users and try to make sure their software delivers for their needs. This latest release is sure to impress their users.

If you are looking for an alternative to mainstream editing programs, you should consider ON1. It does everything you need and is a program you can continue to learn. No matter what level of photographer you are, Photo RAW 2019 can cater to your editing needs.

 

Disclaimer: ACDSee is a paid partner of dPS

The post ON1 Photo RAW 2019 Review appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Leanne Cole.

How to Take Great Food Photos this Holiday Season

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 13:00

The post How to Take Great Food Photos this Holiday Season appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Mat Coker.

This holiday season your Instagram feed is going to be filled with photos of people’s food. Many of those photos can look terrible – dark, blurry, and discolored. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to take great food photos this holiday season. The principles are simple and apply to the food photos you take all year long.

The photo on the left is from a few years ago. I attempted to take a stunning food photo to post online, but the pop-up flash on my camera spoiled things. I knew nothing about light back then! The photo on the right is a combination of soft window light and the warm ambient light of the tree in the background.

1. Presentation

You may have no control over how the food gets presented. Perhaps it gets placed in front of you, and you want to snap a quick picture. However, if you do have control over how the food gets presented, then you should give some thought to it.

Consider things like what color dishes or drink wear do you have available? You could use something neutral in tone, colors that represent the season, or something that accents the food.

The white plate allows the cookies to stand out from the wood table with similar tones, while the red mug hints at the holiday season.

This scene is more colorful, mixing the traditional red and green colors of the holiday. This time the table is white to make the colors pop.

2. Light

Light can make or break your food photos. The direction of the light (overhead, front, back, side) and the quality of light (soft or harsh) dramatically changes how your photo looks.

This photo was taken with nothing but an overhead light. You can see by the crisp shadow that the light is very harsh. It’s good enough and is certainly better than dark and blurry, but I prefer a big soft window light.

The pop-up flash on my camera was used for this photo. Again, better than nothing. But certainly not as nice as the window light.

For the following photos, I used my daughter’s play food! You can practice with anything you’ve got. I wanted something with even more texture to illustrate the effect of side and backlight.

A large window lights the photos below. The light skims across the cupcake from the side or behind, bringing out texture through highlights and shadows.

The cookies are placed on the crate, with the window behind or to the side.

This cupcake is lit by a large window producing soft light. The window is to the right. Notice that the right side of the cupcake is brighter? The light coming from the side helps to bring out some texture and make the two-dimensional photo pop more.

 

This cupcake is backlit by the same window. Backlight helps bring out texture too but gives the photo a moodier look.

3. Angle

So you’ve found the perfect colored dishes and you’ve got your light source. Now consider the best angle from which to photograph your food. Generally, I recommend a higher angle, maybe even a bird’s eye view.

A bird’s eye view is great for food photography, especially if the food is in a deep dish. It allows you to look down from above.

This is a high angle, though not as high as the bird’s eye view. You are able to see what is on the plate. This photo is less about the food and more about the mood of the scene. I remember being a kid waiting for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner while the grown-ups bustled around. Everything is so dramatic with plumes of steam rising from the dishes! Steam should be photographed with backlight to help it stand out.

 

This face to face angle brings you into direct confrontation with the pile of cookies. They don’t stand a chance!

4. Background

Finally, consider what’s in the background. Your background should be clean and simple or a little bit scenic.

I snapped a quick photo, only to realize afterward that the background is a mess. I never seem to pay enough attention to the background.

 

I grabbed a clipboard off the table and used it as a backdrop to block out the mess. It’s not fancy, but it will do for a quick snapshot.

This background is intentionally scenic, showing that it’s Christmas time. Bring together color, light, angle, and background to make your food photos look great!

Keep these tips in your pocket all year long!

I learned how to take better photos of my food through trial and error, and learning from professional food photographers.

Whenever I’m inspired by what’s on my plate I set it by the window, pay attention to the background, find its best angle and take a nice looking photo. No more harsh overhead light or pop-up flash!

The post How to Take Great Food Photos this Holiday Season appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Mat Coker.

How To Read Your Camera Manual (and why you really, really should!)

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 08:00

The post How To Read Your Camera Manual (and why you really, really should!) appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

Camera manuals are notoriously difficult to read and understand. Often they are not read as much, or as well, as they should be. You need to read your camera manual because it contains vital information that will help you to become a better photographer.

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Just as we need to learn the alphabet before we can learn to read and write, we must learn the basics of operating our cameras in order to take the best photos we can.

Reading it from cover to cover is not necessary. There will not be a test on how much you can remember.

The best way to use your camera manual

Begin to skim with your camera in your hands. Look through the contents and take note of what’s covered. Mark which items you think may be of particular interest to you. Some you will be able to just glance over. Others may be just painfully obvious, like this from the Nikon D800 manual;

“When operating the viewfinder diopter adjustment control with your eye to the viewfinder, care should be taken not to put your finger in your eye accidentally.”

I would add that it’s always a good idea not to put your finger in your eye, even when you are not adjusting your diopter.

If you’ve just bought a new camera and it’s a model you’re not familiar with, you’ll need to pay more attention to the manual. For camera users who are upgrading you will be best to scan the book for what’s been upgraded since your previous model. Sometimes these may be highlighted.

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Break your reading down into bite-size chunks. Don’t attempt to read and understand everything you need to know about your camera in one sitting. It’s a complex piece of equipment. Spread your reading out over a few days or a week.

Give yourself time to practice what you are reading about. Getting hands-on experience will help you retain what you’re learning about and make it much more relatable.

Do not read it all

Choose to learn the essentials first. Find out how to focus it and set the exposure well. There will be various options available to you. Start reading about the ones most applicable to the way you like to photograph.

If you are completely new to photography and not yet sure which exposure mode you prefer, take some time to read through all the options.

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Getting a good start by understanding the basics of your camera leaves you freer to concentrate on photography. Don’t be filling your mind with more than you need to know. At the start you are not likely to need information about producing video, making multiple exposures or how to adjust the customs settings on your camera. These things can wait until you can find your way around your camera comfortably.

Carry your manual with you

Download a PDF of your camera manual to your phone. Take it with you everywhere so you can refer to it when you get stuck with a camera setting.

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Practical application of the information contained in this little book will help you get to know your camera better. But only if you use it well. Hands on is best.

Once it’s on your phone you can take a few minutes to read a little more on the bus or train or whenever you have a few minutes to spare.

Consider buying a book specifically about your camera (that’s not the manual)

I have purchased books and resources about cameras I own by Thom Hogan. Thom is well known for his incredibly detailed writing about Nikon cameras. I find he’s much easier to read than the camera manuals.

©Pansa Landwer-Johan

His books are well laid out and the information is broken down so it’s readily consumed.

This may be beyond the needs or wants of many photographers, but for those who have the time and want the resources, picking up a book, other than your camera manual will help advance you towards better picture taking.

Aim to be able to forget it all

As you become more confident and competent with your camera, you will have little need for your camera manual. Well, I would hope that before long you have put what you’ve read to good use and can remember it effortlessly.

©Pansa Landwer-Johan

Having the ability to pick up your camera and have it ready to take photos in any situation is well worth aiming for. The more you can concentrate on what’s happening in front of you the better photos you’ll obtain.

Gazing down at the camera in your hands as you try and figure out which settings you want to use leads to you missing out. You may be able to take your best photos when you are focused more on what you are making photographs about than what you are making them with.

The post How To Read Your Camera Manual (and why you really, really should!) appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

Day 1 delivery from The Photography Express

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 06:30

The post Day 1 delivery from The Photography Express appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Darren Rowse.

Welcome to day 1 of The Photography Express where we have the first two of twelve amazing deals (delivered express over six days) that will help you to improve your photography.

Both deals come from our friends at Photozy who consistently create excellent training resources.

Deal 1 is the most popular deal from last year (with a special bonus) and deal 2 is brand new.

Deal #1 Snap! Cards

These printable Snap! Cards are like a “Training Boot Camp” in your Camera Bag (or on your smartphone!).

Easily stored in your camera bag, these printable cards help you quickly and easily recall photography techniques while out in the field.

There are 44 colour coded lessons in 9 main photography areas. Photzy offers a 100% money back guarantee, so there’s no risk in trying them out to see if they’re right for you.

PLUS this year the Snap! Cards come with a special bonus “Creativity Catalog” eBook worth $50 USD.

$270 total value for just $29 USD and for the next 24 hours only!

Learn More

Already have the Snap! Cards? Then check out this gorgeous new eBook . . .

Deal #2 NEW Photographing Fabulous Flowers eBook

THIS is how amazing flower photographs are created!

Check out Photzy’s brand-new eBook and ‘steal’ a step-by-step method for shooting delicate, gorgeous, & perfectly lit Flower Photographs!

This 156-page practical guide is packed with Assignments, Key Lessons, and Self-Check Quizzes! (15 assignments, 26 key lessons, & 70 self-check questions!)

Beautiful Flower Photography will be right at your fingertips, once you know the key secrets and professional techniques that are covered in this premium guide.

Just $50 $19 USD – save 62% for the next 24 hours only!

Learn More

We hope you enjoy your purchases from Photzy as much as thousands of other dPS readers have!

There really is no risk in snapping up these deals, as Photzy offers a 365-day risk-free money back policy!

Don’t miss the next two deals – sign up here for The Photography Express!

Disclosure: We receive a commission from our partners if you buy via our promotion, but it is at no cost to you. In fact, you’re getting an even better price than usual!

The post Day 1 delivery from The Photography Express appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Darren Rowse.

Tips for Setting Up and Photographing Mini-Sessions for Extra Income

Sun, 12/16/2018 - 13:00

The post Tips for Setting Up and Photographing Mini-Sessions for Extra Income appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jackie Lamas.

Photographing mini-sessions is a perfect way to generate extra income from both new and returning clients. They can also create buzz and word of mouth during the slow season for many photographers. Knowing how to set them up and photograph them ensures you are successful and offer your clients the best mini-session experience.

What is a mini-session?

Mini-sessions are sessions that offer your clients a session at a reduced price and usually photographed in less time than a regular full session.

Typically, the sessions run between 30 and 45-minute time slots for each client. It is up to you if you want to offer your mini-sessions to families, individuals, or children. Perhaps you are willing to do all types of photography, which can also create more buzz in different niches.

Mini-sessions are a reduced price, but it is up to you to factor in costs so that you are still earning enough to generate income for your photography business. These mini-sessions are all about booking volume, and so don’t price it not too low, or you may burn out quickly. Set your price, so you are making enough money, however, not too high where it’s not cost-effective for your clients who perhaps don’t have money to spend on a full session.

How do you set up a mini-session?

It’s important to make sure that you have all of your mini-session details set up and prepped before sending the information out to social media or your client list.

Before you begin, figure out how much you to charge and what you intend to include in the mini-sessions. For instance, if you are charging $250 per session, perhaps you can include an 11×14 wall print. If you are only including digital prints, make sure to state how many your clients receive. Including a product can be an excellent incentive for clients to book rather than just getting a digital product.

For example, if you’re doing holiday minis, you may include a set of greeting cards. If you are doing beach mini-summer-sessions, perhaps a beautiful wall portrait is the best option. Either way, work out your costs and be sure that you price your sessions accordingly to avoid losing money or just breaking even.

This is an example of all the different poses you can do in the same location to make the most of the time limit of your mini sessions.

Once you have figured out the basic details of the session, it’s time to determine what season of the year you are planning on having the sessions. Weekend dates are advisable because many people tend to have the weekends off from work and are free from other obligations.

If you plan on doing fall minis, schedule them far in advance so that you have time to edit and deliver all of the materials to your clients before the holidays. For example, scheduling holiday minis from mid to the end of October is perfect because you still have plenty of time before the major holidays to deliver your photos.

Be sure to schedule enough time slots during the day so that enough clients can have their photos taken without overlap or running into each other. For example, start at 10 a.m. and photograph every hour and a half until 5 p.m., or an hour before the sun sets.

Depending on the season you’ve chosen to do the mini-sessions, you can photograph them all in one particular location or two very different locations to offer variety. For example, you can offer mini-sessions at a park on Saturday and Sunday photograph downtown. Offering two different locations for different days means clients can choose which look they would prefer.

You can also set up just one day, say a Sunday, and photograph in only one location like a park or field.

Prep before booking a single client

It is essential you be prepared for running mini-sessions. Otherwise, you can get lost in all of the small details. Here is a sample worksheet that you can use so that you can keep track of your mini-sessions.

Keep track of clients, payments, contracts, timeslots, and locations for each session. It can help you not get confused and also keep track of who has paid and who hasn’t.

Also, prep an exclusive print package for your mini-sessions that include several products. Doing this to send out to booked clients can prepare them just in case they want to buy more photos from you. Giving them an exclusive print package can boost your income and make up the difference for the reduced price of the mini-session.

Having your business ready for the mini-sessions ensures that the campaign runs smoothly and without fuss. Plus, having all of your materials ready, like contracts and product guides, makes you look more professional to both returning and new clients.

It also less stressful keeping track of all the mini-session details after the shoot and it’s time to edit and deliver.

Remember, photography is an art, but portrait photography is also a business. You must run your business efficiently to avoid burn-out or losing track of information or details.

Create a mini-session campaign

Now that you have all the details, the locations, and the dates set for the mini-sessions, it’s time to get the information out.

Create a buzz. Send out an email or social media post informing people that you are prepping for a run of mini-sessions and details are coming soon. Doing so gets your clients excited and gives them time to book because you have already informed them.

First, send the information to your existing client list. Give them the chance to book first. Not only does it make it more exclusive but also keeps your current clients happy. Returning clients are much more willing to book than new clients. Send them all of the information about a week before you send it out to new clients. While it gives them exclusivity, it also adds urgency for them to book because someone else may get their slot.

Returning clients have a higher rate of booking than new clients.

Afterward, send out your mini-session campaign through the best form that brings in clients. Try an email list, social media, or your website. Wherever you get the most traffic and exposure, publish your campaign there.

Continue announcing the campaign. Make sure that you remind people daily through email and social media. Once a time slot gets filled, make sure to update the information. You don’t have to do this every single time, but it can save people from trying to book the same time slot and be turned down.

Remember, the client who signs the contract and pays the retainer fee is the one who gets booked. People who message but don’t do those two things don’t get booked. Unless you know your client is reliable, don’t reserve the mini-session timeslot. Otherwise, you could miss out on a paying client.

Don’t be afraid of getting to the point! Mini-sessions have a reduced price, which makes them in-demand. Especially among your existing clients! If you get a request for a mini-session, direct them to where they can pay the retainer, and send them the contract as soon as possible.

You can write them something like this: Thank you so much for wanting a mini-session! I do have that time and date available, however, it’s first-come-first-served. To book your preferred time and date, please go to this link and pay the session retainer. As soon as I receive confirmation, I can send you the contract. I’m excited and look forward to photographing your beautiful family!

It’s short, simple, but to the point. Letting your clients know the steps they have to take to book the mini-session ensures that you filter out the people who are just shopping around. This way you’re not wasting your time.

How to photograph mini sessions

Mini sessions are wonderful because they usually mean that you have back to back sessions all in the same location. However, it also means that you are out there all day photographing in all types of light.

Prep your gear so that you are ready for any type of lighting situation that can occur during the sessions. For example, bring extra batteries for your flash in case you will be competing with the sun. Bring a reflector to bounce some light. Take a tripod.

Sessions typically run from 30 to 45 minutes spaced at every hour and a half. This timing gives you at least 30 minutes between sessions to rest, eat a snack and drink some water. It also helps to adjust to new lighting conditions for the next session.

Mini-sessions can enable you to look for new ways to photograph multiple families in the same location. Use their energy to determine which angles and specific locations work best for them. It’s a great time to push your creativity and perhaps experiment new ideas you’ve wanted to try.

Here you can see all the variations in posing with different family combinations in the same location.

Make sure to set a timer so that you know when it’s time to stop photographing. Put your alarm about 5 minutes before the time is up to ensure you are aware you have a few extra minutes to get any last photos.

Time goes quickly, and your clients may feel like they didn’t have lots of variety or even that you took enough photographs. One thing that I do is I tell them how many photos I’ve taken, which is usually anywhere between 200 and 400 photos. Clients know that they won’t get all of the 200 photos, but they feel more confident that you’ve taken enough for them to choose.

If you offered your clients a set number of photographs, make sure that you photograph enough to cover that amount. For example, if you’ve offered 50 digital images, make sure you photograph more than double to have enough variety for them.

Making the most out of little time

Mini-sessions go by quickly, and if you have chosen to photograph for 30 minutes, it is important to make the most out of the time.

Make the most out of your time by having set poses for different combinations during the mini-session.

Prep yourself with 5 – 7 poses that work for all family types and sizes. Try to use poses that don’t require you to move your clients too much and waste time.

The most common set of poses include:

  • the whole family together
  • siblings only
  • parents only
  • each child
  • mothers and daughters
  • fathers and sons
  • mothers and sons
  • fathers and daughters

If grandparents are participating, you can also do the same above combinations with them included. Don’t forget to photograph the grandparents both individually and with only their grandchildren.

Once you have all of the main portraits taken, allow the children to have a bit of fun. Have them walk with their parents or play so you can capture them in a natural state of joy and happiness.

After the session

Immediately after taking the last photo at the mini-session, give your clients a printed pricing sheet that includes other products you offer. Also, include any exclusive packages you’ve created for the promotion. That way they can keep it in mind before they view a single photo.

After you’ve completed your mini-sessions, get one or two photos onto social media as sneak previews. Doing so can help drive more interest to your mini-sessions from potential clients.

Also, take the time to send a thank you message to your clients and email the price list again for the mini-sessions. If you have created something exclusively for the promotion, make sure to highlight the top three products. Do this before you show your clients the images so that they can plan how much they want to purchase and which products they like best.

Use this photo as inspiration for different posing during your next mini-session.

To keep the excitement of the mini-session going, edit and deliver the images to your clients quickly.

If your mini-sessions included a set number of images, allow downloads or choosing for that amount, but include all of the photos that you believe are great. For example, if your package includes 50 edited photographs for your client with only 10 downloadable images, include all 50 in the gallery or sales appointment slideshow.

Including more photos makes it likely that your clients purchase more than the ones included in the mini-session promotion.

Online versus in person

You have two options for your mini-session image delivery. You can send your clients an online gallery or make in-person sales. It’s up to you which you prefer to do depending on your business style.

If you do online, be sure you’ve outlined all the parameters regarding the gallery. Have your watermarks in place, limit the downloads to the number you’ve specified and use an expiration date. Also, add email logins to keep track of emails for future marketing.

Also, have your products displayed front and center so that your clients can find them quickly. If your clients have to jump through lots of hoops to get their images, they most likely won’t buy much. Make sure the gallery is user-friendly and easy to access.

If you have opted for in-person sales, schedule the appointment after you’ve finished photographing the family. Doing so helps settle any delays in delivering photos. Have a physical calendar or use your phone calendar to note the time and date of your in-person sales.

In-person sales can happen at your studio or the client’s home. Take your top products, pricing sheet, and samples along. Include a preview of the images in a premade slideshow that highlights the top 15 photos.

Work with your clients to choose their favorites from the promotion and any additional products they may want to purchase.

Take an order form and have a secure way to process payments. For example, use a PayPal credit card reader or Square software. Doing so allows clients to pay then and there, avoiding payment excuses. You also look more professional.

Pricing Sheet and Products

I want to highlight pricing sheets and products. I’ve repeated it throughout the entire article. Make it a point to put your pricing sheet and products in front of your client’s eyes at all times.

Mini-sessions often bring in quick income because you are working in volume. In the long run, what brings you greater income and returning clients is selling prints and products.

Reminding your clients of pricing and products allows them to think about what they would like to purchase. If you only say it once, it doesn’t stick. You’ll need them to see the information at least three times for them to think about buying something other than digital images.

Send out the pricing sheet and all other selling materials in an email when your client books the session. Send it along with their signed contract or payment receipt. Hand them a printed pricing/product sheet at the end of the session. Be sure to include your logo and any other necessary information such as credit card payment details. When you send the gallery invitation or see them at the in-person sales appointment, give them the pricing/product sheet again.

It’s important to keep the pricing/product sheet available to them and as a constant reminder to purchase printed products from their session. Having your work displayed in their home also serves as a good referral among friends and family who see their portraits.

In conclusion

Mini-sessions are a great way to drive volume business and get more experience in portrait photography. Price your mini-sessions according to your target market and business model so that you don’t lose money by doing the promotion.

Remember to get your pricing sheet and product pricing to your clients at least three times to ensure extra income after the sessions have been completed.

Have you photographed mini-sessions before? What was your experience?

The post Tips for Setting Up and Photographing Mini-Sessions for Extra Income appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jackie Lamas.

Gear Review – Fikaz Sony E-Mount Lens Adapters

Sun, 12/16/2018 - 08:00

The post Gear Review – Fikaz Sony E-Mount Lens Adapters appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Adam Welch.

Not too many years ago, in a sad and dark time, there weren’t many ways for us adventurous types to branch out in ways we used our photography gear. Namely, our camera lenses weren’t easily usable across platforms. It was possible, but adapters and converters weren’t plentiful or easy to find.

Today, mirrorless, full-frame, and crop-sensor cameras are essentially pairable with many lenses. Adapters for these lenses are relatively easy to find too. So much so, that there is an over-saturation of the lens conversion market making most lens mount adapters affordable for any budget.

Unfortunately, not all lens adapters are created equal. So when Fikaz, a company I had never heard of, approached me to test out some of their new Sony E-Mount (NEX) adapters, I was open-minded but still cautious of yet another lens adapter-maker.

Luckily, all of my reservations about the Fikaz Sony E-Mount lens adapters were unfounded. As it turns out, the two adapters I received were pleasantly high-quality pieces of kit. Let me explain to you what I thought about these nifty little adapters from one of the newest kids on the lens converter block.

As I said, the lens adapter world is a hot commodity right now and being able to use your lenses (especially manual vintage lenses) is currently in vogue. The two adapters I evaluated were the Nikon F (G) to Sony E-Mount and M42 to Sony E-Mount. Both adapters were high quality in both aesthetics and their build.

Nikon F (G) Adapter

Until their recent leap into the full-frame mirrorless realm, and since the late 1950s, all of Nikon’s lens mounts have been variations of the “F” mount. So technically, virtually all Nikon lenses should be compatible with a Nikon F-mount adapter.

The caveat is that later “G” series lenses (read as modern) don’t sport a physical aperture ring on the lens itself. This missing aperture ring means that while the lens is physically shootable with most F-mount lens adapters, there is nowhere for the photographer to change the aperture. A dedicated G-mount adapter comes in handy because the shooter can use the aperture ring on the adapter to physically control the amount of light entering the camera via the lens.

The Nikon F (G) adapter is solidly built and feels extremely substantial in the hand. The aperture controller ring is a nicely contrasting silver against the black frame of the adapter.

The Nikon F (G) adapter was tested using my relatively ancient Nikkor 70-300mm F/4-5.6 lens. Both the lens and camera sides of the adapter fit extremely snug…but not too snug…to the lens bayonet and the camera mount. Absolutely no play or movement was observed.

A well placed and crisply-springy release slider is also present on the adapter which is, again, in the visually pleasing contrasting silver tone. Fikaz has also included a highly visible red bead for easy mating of both the lens and camera with the adapter.

From what I would approximate, the aperture ring, or rather more accurately, the “aperture approximator” ring works in full stop increments with six stops of adjustment. Basing my lens at 70mm and F/4, the apertures provided from the adapter should be approximately F/4, F/5.6, F/8, and so on. The adapter has a visual representation to aid you in selecting aperture size.

 

Aperture control using the Fikaz Nikon F (G) to Sony E-mount adapter

Aperture control using the Fikaz Nikon F (G) to Sony E-mount adapter

 

M42 Adapter

I had intended to test the Fikaz M42 to Sony E-mount adapter using a fan-favorite lens, the Helios 44-2. Unfortunately, I realized far too late that my Helios was not in my bag. Seeing as I’m currently 3,000 miles from my test lens, this portion of the review shows my impressions of the build and appearance of the M42 adapter only. Which I must say, is extremely impressive for its price tag.

The M42 adapter from Fikaz is incredibly Spartan in its appearance. The majority of the converter is mostly flat black with accenting bare aluminum areas which cut an understated yet classical form. Like the Nikon adapter, the markings are well executed and quite clean. The threads on the M42 side are very uniform and smooth with no burrs or metal shavings present.

This same level of craftsmanship also holds through for the Sony bayonet end of the adapter which shows no flaws in the cutting or finish of the mount. The perimeter of the M42 adapter sports deep cut serrations offering a superb grip even with gloved hands.

Final Thoughts on the Fikaz Sony E-mount Adapters for Nikon F(G) and M42

In the grand scope of things, both the construction quality and thoughtfulness of design displayed with Fikaz’s first entries into the world of mirrorless adapters impressed me. Hopefully, both the build and looks of the adapters hint at great things to come too.

The Nikon F (G) adapter worked extremely well to allow a large measure of aperture control with newer Nikon lenses and mated perfectly to my 70-300mm test lens. However, I wasn’t able to test the M42 mount with a lens, the build and precision left little doubt that it would also perform well.

That said, there are some things to keep in mind about the M42 (and any other non-AF adapters). Essentially, all that is needed is a mount conversion. There is no real need for the relatively large size of the adapter which can affect infinity focus. While the M42 adapter has an excellent build, it may be beneficial to search for a slimmer “ring” adapter if you are worried about focusing issues.

On that note, the Fikaz adapters both feature black paint on their interior but no flocking to eliminate possible reflections. This shouldn’t be a problem, but maybe a concern for those seeking complete security for lengthy exposures.

Currently, the Fikaz Sony E-mount adapters are available for the following lens mounts: Nikon F (G), M42, Pentax K, and Fuji X mount. I have been informed that Canon EF mount will be available in the future. At the time this review, these adapters have a selling price of around US$24, making them a bargain. There are plenty of choices for lens adapters and converters today. Some are high quality and others, well, not so much.

I feel as if Fikaz can now join the ranks of some of the better budget adapters currently on the market. A bonus for those who are looking at a cost-effective way to use their lenses across a wide range of camera systems.

The post Gear Review – Fikaz Sony E-Mount Lens Adapters appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Adam Welch.

How to Make the Most of Creative Shutter Speed in Photography

Sat, 12/15/2018 - 13:00

The post How to Make the Most of Creative Shutter Speed in Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Bond.

This photo is all about the moment of capture. I used a fast shutter speed to capture it.

One of the most important settings on your camera is shutter speed, and it’s just as important to master this as it is to master aperture. If anything, shutter speed control allows you to become even more creative with your photography. Exciting techniques like light painting and panning both rely on the photographers’ use of this setting. In this article, you’ll learn techniques that need a creative shutter speed, and how you can apply this to your photography. So let’s begin with what shutter speed is, and why it’s important.

What is shutter speed?

A photograph relies on light to become exposed, and shutter speed controls how long that light sources can expose the photo. That means in general, lighter conditions mean fast shutter speeds, and dark conditions mean slow shutter speeds. Shutter speed is also controlled by opening or closing the aperture on your lens, adding filters to your lens, and, in some cases, adding external lighting to your scene. In DSLR camera’s it means the mirror locks up, and in mirror-less cameras, the shutter is merely open. Now, various techniques rely on shutter speed to work. Let’s sub-divide them by the how fast the shutter speed needs to be.

Fast shutter speed

Using super-fast shutter speeds allows you to freeze things that might be faster than the eye can appreciate. That may mean raindrops, wildlife, or photographing sport.

Freezing the action

The shutter speed you’ll need to freeze the action very much depends on what you’re photographing. Concerning creative imagery, you’re looking at freezing things that are too fast for the naked eye, and hence, you’ll get some unusual detail in the photo you’ve taken. Next is a simple guide to the type of creative shutter speed you’ll need to freeze the following types of action:

  • A waving hand – A shutter speed of 1/100th is fast enough to freeze this motion, to be sure use 1/200th
  • A flying bird – 1/2000th will get you a sharp photo of a flying bird.
  • Raindrop splashes – Look to use a shutter speed of 1/1000th or faster to freeze moving water. It’s possible to take water drop photos at slower speeds, but those often use a strobe flash to freeze the water rather than the shutter speed itself.

Freezing droplets of water require a fast shutter speed.

Moment of capture

Getting the right moment is what makes or breaks a photo. It is possible to take good moments of capture at slower shutter speeds, but generally, you’ll want to freeze the action. That means a fast shutter speed, and capturing that moment a baseball player swings their bat, or the archer loses their arrow. In both cases, these need a fast shutter speed to capture that moment.

Handheld photography

While not related to creativity in your photo, shutter speed is all important when it comes to avoiding camera shake. There is a nice rule of thumb that correlates your focal length to the slowest speed you can use handheld. Of course, there are those with steadier hands, and image stabilization helps too. That said, the correlation works like this and is easy to remember. If your focal length is 300mm, you’ll need to use a shutter speed of 1/300th second to avoid camera shake. You can use a much slower shutter speed at wider focal lengths though, so at 50mm 1/50th is adequate.

Creating motion.

Ahead of getting into long exposure, there are the shutter speeds that you can get away with handheld, but slow enough to move the camera and produce motion blur.

Panning is a popular technique, that needs a slower shutter speed.

Panning

This is a great technique and is a good example of how creative shutter speed can be used.

The technique requires a steady hand because it uses shutter speeds that wouldn’t usually get taken handheld. The idea behind this technique is that you follow a moving object with your camera, and take the photo with a slow enough speed to blur the background. You can follow any moving object from a pedestrian walking to a Formula 1 racing car. Amongst the easiest objects to pan with is a cyclist moving at a steady speed. Those new to the technique should practice panning with a cyclist first. A shutter speed of around 1/25th is a good starting point to blur the background while keeping the cyclist sharp.

Motion blur

An alternative strategy is to allow the moving object to blur, and keep the static object sharp. While panning is primarily done handheld, using a tripod for this type of photo achieves better results. In this case, you’ll be looking to show the background motion of things like cars, trains or buses against static objects. That might be people waiting to cross the road, or someone waiting for a bus or train. Once again, a shutter speed of 1/25th is often slow enough to blur the moving object in your frame.

This photo was taken from a moving train. The slower shutter speed created motion blur.

Camera rotation

It’s still possible to give a photo a more dynamic feel, even when everything in your frame is static. You can achieve this feel by moving the camera with a slow shutter speed of around 1/25th. With wide-angle lenses, you can experiment with even slower shutter speeds. However, this may impact your ability to keep a portion of your photo sharp. The idea behind camera rotation is to twist the camera around a central point in your photo while taking the photo. This technique can be used for kinetic light painting when even longer exposures are needed. It can be tricky to achieve because it is a difficult technique to do handheld, and most tripods won’t allow you to rotate around a central point in the way this technique needs. It’s also best to use a wide-angle lens when taking this variety of photo.

Zoom is a good way of giving a photo a more dynamic feel.

Zoom

A zoom burst is another popular way to use creative shutter speed. It is possible with any lens that allows you to change the focal length. So, a kit lens works very well for this technique. With the zoom burst it’s possible to take the photo handheld, but using a tripod gives you better results. While you’re moving the lens and not the camera body, any tripod helps with this type of photo. The aim is to produce motion by zooming into your primary subject matter during an exposure roughly 1/25th in length. Not all locations work well for this photo. For example, a location with lots of sky may not produce much blur. On the other hand, a tunnel with differing levels of light, such as a line of overhanging trees, works great.

Camera rotation can produce interesting effects.

Creative shutter speed for long exposures

At the extreme end of creative shutter speed usage is the long exposure. Here you’re looking at exposure times in excess of one second. There is an awful lot of creativity to be had in this area, so let’s look at what you can do.

Light painting

Light painting is a lot of fun, and among the most creative techniques you can use in photography. There are essentially two ways you can create light paintings. The first is where the light source is turned away from the camera, and you use it to light up an object within the frame. To do this use the light source like a brush, and shine it only on the area’s you wish to light up. The alternative to this is pointing the light source towards the camera. Light painting can be as low tech as using your torch. However, more ambitious forms of light painting include the use of wire wool, or LED light sticks. Light painting photos typically begin at two-second exposures, and if you use bulb mode they can last into the minutes.

You can use light painting to add more interest to a scene.

Kinetic light painting

The difference between kinetic light painting and light painting is that you move the camera, whereas, with light painting, you move the light source. Of course, it’s possible to use random movements of the camera for this. However, the best way is for more controlled movement, and that means camera rotation and zoom.

  • Camera rotation – Very similar to the above technique, but this uses longer exposure times. You’ll need a tripod this time. The technique involves rotating the camera in a nice smooth motion while attached to the tripod.
  • Camera zoom – Once again, following on from handheld zooming, are longer zooms at night taken using a tripod. To learn more about the experimental potential of zoom you can read this article.

This is an example of kinetic light painting. The camera was rotated around the tripod head.

Landscape long exposure

Using long exposure in landscape photography gives you a great way of interpreting a scene in a different way. This is most easily achieved at night, but daytime long exposure is also possible.

  • Neutral density filter – The use of a neutral density filter allows you to take daytime long exposures. This has the potential to transform your scene with moving clouds, and silky water. You will need a strong filter, so an ND110 or ND1000 is needed.
  • Blue hour – As most landscape photographers will know, this is one of the best times to photograph. You’ll be using long exposure because the light levels dictate that. That long exposure allows you to experiment with traffic light trail photography.
  • Astro-photography – Finally, and at the extreme end of long exposure photography, is astro-photography. Those wishing to photograph the Milky Way will need to use exposure times of around 20-30 seconds depending on the equipment you’re using. Another popular technique is to photograph star trails. This can be a sequence of 30-second exposures stacked together. The alternative is to use bulb mode, and exposure for at least 10 minutes!

Long exposure on days with fast-moving cloud creates dramatic skies.

It’s time to hit your shutter!

There are lots of ways to use creative shutter speed. Have you tried any of the above techniques? Are there any techniques you use that are different? As always, we want to hear your opinions. Likewise, we’d love to see any photos you have that showcase the creative use of shutter speed. So go out and try using shutter speed in different ways, and then share your experiences with us in the comments section.

The post How to Make the Most of Creative Shutter Speed in Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Bond.

How to Mimic a Digital Cyanotype Using Photoshop with Ease

Sat, 12/15/2018 - 08:00

The post How to Mimic a Digital Cyanotype Using Photoshop with Ease appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Ana Mireles.

A Cyanotype was a popular film printing process that gave an appealing, beautiful cyan-colored tone to an image. Sounds nice right? Would you like to create one? Don’t worry – you don’t have to go back to the darkroom or become a chemist and waste tons of material to do it. I’ll show you how to create a digital Cyanotype using Photoshop.

EXTRA TIP: Because you achieved a Cyanotype by applying light-sensitive emulsion onto the paper (or surface) you were going to print on, the first thing you need is a background that mimics this effect. If you’re feeling crafty, you can buy yourself a brush, some paint and physically do your background. Then scan it and make it the size and resolution that better fits the image you’re going to use.

However, if doing so is a hassle, you can create your background digitally. Because I promised you digital Cyanotype, I’ll show you the latter.

Step 1:

First, pick the Brush tool from the Toolbox. Here, you’ll be able to pick the size and type of brush. From the Options Bar that is now active, choose your color. Select a brush with a wide tip, like a fan, so that the effect emulates brushstrokes and not a pen or a marker. The brush size depends on the size of your document.

It’s okay to make it uneven. Remember, the original method used hand-made techniques, so uneven gives it a nice unique look. For now, use black because the tone is applied later. Since we’re discussing color, I’ll use this space to tell you that, in my experience, any photo with a black or dark background blends easily. However, it’s possible to use any image.

Step 2:

Open the image you are turning into a Cyanotype and desaturate it. To achieve this, you need to go to Menu -> Adjustments -> Image -> Hue/Saturation. Move the Saturation slider all the way down to the left.

Once you have your image, drag it into the canvas where you created the brushstroke background. It gets pasted as a new layer in that document. Drag the corners to make it the right size for your background and click on the check mark to apply.

Step 3:

Select the layer with the brushstrokes and add an Adjustment layer of Levels. Move the black and the middle tones to lighten the color so that your black becomes dark grey.

Step 4:

Next, select the top layer – the one with your image, and add another Adjustment layer. This time choose Color Balance. Here you can make a combination to find the right tone of blue you want. As a starting point, use the ones I’m using: Cyan -62 and Blue +95.

Step 5:

Once you’re satisfied with the color of your image, you can choose to make it less intense by adding another Adjustment layer. Always keep the layer on top selected so that the new Adjustment layer covers all layers. Add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer and move the Saturation slider a little bit to the left. Be careful not to go too much into the gray because it may no longer resemble a Cyanotype.

Step 6:

If you can see the borders of the image you pasted, the balance isn’t right. It’s not incorporating well with the background. To fix this issue,  change the layer Blending Mode. Select the image layer and open the Blending Mode menu. Choose Lighten or Screen to achieve a better result.

However, if there is still some evidence of the border, choose the Eraser tool from the Tool Box and lower the opacity. Choose a brush with soft borders and erase so that you can defuse the border and make it a smoother transition.

Your finished Cyanotype

You should now have your finished Cyanotype. I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and gave it a go. Please share your results in the comment section below.

More retro photography techniques

If you like retro photography techniques, you may also find these articles useful:

How to Create a Lithography Effect Using Photoshop

How to Duotone a Photograph in Photoshop

How To Mimic a Cross-Processing Effect in Photoshop

How to Mimic Lomography in Photoshop with Ease

The post How to Mimic a Digital Cyanotype Using Photoshop with Ease appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Ana Mireles.

Weekly Photography Challenge – Low Perspectives

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 13:00

The post Weekly Photography Challenge – Low Perspectives appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

This week, the weekly photography challenge – low perspectives!

Matthew Henry

That’s right! Get down low and take photos from a low, interesting perspective. They can be of absolutely anything – they just have to be taken from an angle that is close to the ground.

It could be architecture, interiors, still life, landscapes, street photography, or people. It can be color, black and white, moody, bright or whatever you like!

I can’t wait to see your shots!

© Caz Nowaczyk

 

Some inspiration from some Instagrammers:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Sweety Sharma (@sweetysharmaphotography) on Dec 7, 2018 at 1:48am PST

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Tales of Light (@talesoflightphotography) on Dec 12, 2018 at 11:15pm PST

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by ericsweijen (@ericsweijen) on Dec 1, 2018 at 8:33am PST

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Jeweleeanna Eagle (@j.d.e.photo) on Oct 8, 2018 at 9:24am PDT

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Ashar’s Captures (@asharscaptures) on Sep 24, 2018 at 5:52pm PDT

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Roland Spilak (@roland.spilak) on Aug 22, 2018 at 7:27am PDT

The following articles are helpful for the challenge:

How to Make Your Photos More Creative Using Camera Angles

Why Using Ant’s View Perspective Can Take Your Photography to the Next Level

Finding Fresh Angles to Shoot From – Digital Photography Composition Tip

How to Photograph Kids Playing, Running Around and Generally Being Kids

 

Weekly photography challenge – low perspectives

Simply upload your shot into the comment field (look for the little camera icon in the Disqus comments section) and they’ll be embedded for us all to see. Or if you’d prefer, upload them to your favorite photo-sharing site and leave the link to them. Show me your best images in this week’s challenge!

Share in the dPS Facebook Group

You can also share your images in the dPS Facebook group as the challenge is posted there each week as well.

If you tag your photos on Flickr, Instagram, Twitter or other sites – tag them as #DPSlowperspectives to help others find them. Linking back to this page might also help others know what you’re doing so that they can share in the fun.

 

The post Weekly Photography Challenge – Low Perspectives appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

5 Photography Hacks to Improve Your Creative Photography

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 08:00

The post 5 Photography Hacks to Improve Your Creative Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

In this video by Brandon Woelfel, he outlines 5 Photography hacks to Improve Your Creative Photography.

5 Photography Hacks 1. Phones

Hold the phone up to your camera lens to reflect the image and light for a cool effect.

2. Thinking like an editor

Think of locations. Look at a scene in a way that your final edit will be applied. Mentally isolate a location in your head so when it comes to physically shoot your subject, you can apply what you had in your head.

3. No model hack

If you feel inspired but have no model, use your hands and a cool object such as glass ball, lights, and play with shallow depth of field.

4. Altering light

Manipulate natural light by using textured materials. Bounce light off a sequinned pillow. Shoot light through colanders, CDs, doilies etc.

5. Use an object near your lens

Hold a leaf or other object and hold it close to the edge of the lens

Follow Brandon on Instagram.

You may also find the following articles on our site useful:

10 More Photography Tips to Help Take Your Images to the Next Level

How to Make Creative Photos with Prism Photography

How to use Colored Gels to Create Unique and Creative Portraits

Copper, Prisms, and Orbs, Oh My! – 3 Creative Techniques for People Photography

4 Great Pieces of Camera Equipment to Help You Get Creative

 

The post 5 Photography Hacks to Improve Your Creative Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

5 Tips for Photographing Flowers with Impact

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 13:00

The post 5 Tips for Photographing Flowers with Impact appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Megan Kennedy.

If like me, you live in the southern hemisphere, you’ll be well amongst the season of spring. Although this can mean the onset of the dreaded hay fever season, it’s a great time of the year for photographers to capture an amazing diversity of flowers that bloom in the warmer months.

Flowers make beautiful subjects for photography. In fact, they’re probably one of the most photographed subjects in history. An abundance of colors, species, and sizes means that flowers provide an endless array of photographic opportunities.

However, floral photography isn’t limited to spring either. If you aren’t currently living it up in the southern hemisphere, now is a great time to show some self-love and buy yourself a beautiful bouquet of flowers…because you deserve it! And for photography purposes, of course.

No matter if you are in the thralls of spring or living vicariously through this post, this quick list is a great way to load up on ideas for that next floral shoot.

Macro photography

Macro photography is the photographic reproduction of small subjects at a size that is larger than real life. Through macro photography, a photographer can take extreme close-up photographs of small subjects, reproducing them at a much larger size. Macro photography is often used to photograph flowers because it reveals attributes that can’t be seen by the naked eye. It’s easy to observe a flower in passing. But it takes a photographer to reveal the hidden details of a flower’s complex shape and structure.

A variety of dedicated macro lenses, as well as extension tubes and filters, mean that macro photography gear is becoming more and more accessible. For my macro flower photography, I use a set of extension tubes. They’re simple, don’t break the budget and they produce lovely results.

Abstraction

Abstract photography itself is a little hard to describe. Wikipedia defines abstract photography as “…a means of depicting a visual image that does not have an immediate association with the object world”. Abstract photography relies on compositional aspects like form, shape, color, line, and texture without worrying too much about depicting identifiable subject matter.

It’s a complicated subject, but flower photography is a great excuse to explore abstract photography for yourself. Try focusing on the details that make up the network of organic shapes in a flower, or home in on the subtle lines that form the flower’s shape. Don’t worry too much about the bigger picture. Go for it – it’s a lot of fun!

In this abstract image, the flowing lines and natural color lend the impression of an organic subject

Color

Focusing on a colorful subject matter is a great way to form a dialogue between a photograph and viewer. Flowers are known for their abundance of color and variety. Their beautiful and sometimes surprising hues make them wonderfully diverse photographic subjects.

For vibrant color in your floral photography, you want to photograph a well-lit subject. If you are photographing outside, aim to shoot on a day with a good amount of sunlight. If you are inside or shooting on a particularly cloudy day, try incorporating on-camera flash into your photography. Direct flash will usually blow out a subject, so try using a diffuser or bouncing your flash for a softer effect that will lift a flower’s color without washing it out.

Taking advantage of the color in floral subjects will allow you to build up a body of diverse botanical photography by relying on the natural features of the flower

Black and White

Of course, not all flower photography has to be in color. Color photography can have the drawback of directing attention away from the subject itself. Black and white photography, on the other hand, enhances form and texture by minimizing distraction.  And because flowers are associated with color, black and white photography also lends a timeless, surreal angle to your floral imagery.

To photograph flowers in black and white, you can set your camera to shoot in monochrome mode. Or, you can convert your images to black and white in post-production with programs like Photoshop or Lightroom. Either way, black and white photography is a great way to add a unique perspective to your flower photography.

This photograph of was taken using a process called Scanography. The black and white scheme accentuates the subtle details in the subject

Perspective

Perspective dictates the way a viewer places themselves in a photograph. As a basic example, a high perspective can remove the viewer from the scene, inviting them to asses a photographic environment clinically. It introduces a sense of unease, as height is considered innately dangerous. A low perspective amplifies the height of subjects, lending a sense of grandeur to an environment. At the same time, it can also instill a feeling of ‘smallness’ in the viewer, as if they were an ant inspecting an impossibly tall building.

Viewers get drawn to images that are out of the ordinary. Creatively utilizing your camera’s point of view challenges the way a viewer sees their surroundings. For a unique twist on perspective, try photographing floral subjects down at their level. It’s amazing how much a subject can be transformed with a quick change in perspective.

Conclusion

Focusing on color, black and white, perspective, macro, and abstract photography are only some of the ways to approach flower photography. Even the smallest flower poking its head through the cracks in a path can bring a smile to someone’s face. So, combining photography and flowers is sure a sure-fire way to create beautiful imagery. I’d love to see your results below!

The post 5 Tips for Photographing Flowers with Impact appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Megan Kennedy.

How to Make Creative Photos with Prism Photography

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 08:00

The post How to Make Creative Photos with Prism Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Bond.

This image is a creative street photo. The overpasses lead the eye towards the image within the prism.

Taking photos has many facets to it, and getting these right gives you a successful photo. A key element is how you use the light, and in this article, you’re going to learn how to split the light! Using a prism in your photography can give you new possibilities, and is another way of utilizing refraction in your photography. So, read on to find out about prism photography, how to make rainbows, and create beautiful photos that look like multiple exposures!

What does a prism do to the light?

A prism is a glass object and is therefore subject to the effect of refraction. The light is bent as it passes through the prism, creating several effects that you can use in photography. You can’t use it in the same way as a crystal ball, which works like an external lens optic and inverts the background image within the ball. However, there are two ways you can use the prism.

  • Project a rainbow – The prism, and it’s triangular shape, acts to split the light, and reveals the different wavelengths of light in the form of a rainbow. That means you can use a prism to create a rainbow, that you can photograph within your scene.
  • Redirect the light – Light can get dramatically redirected as it passes through the prism. That means when you look through the prism it’s possible to see the scene that’s at a 90-degree angle to the side of you. This factor gives the possibility of creating double exposure like images with a single frame.

You can clearly see the rainbow light from the Prism. Also visible are the shards of light emitted from different angles to the direction of the sun.

Prism photography for making rainbows

An excellent way for you to use the prism is making rainbows. The larger the prism you have, the larger the rainbow becomes. The other way to increase the size is by increasing the distance between the prism, and the surface you are projecting the rainbow onto. The catch with increasing the distance is the rainbow light becomes more diffused and less intense. You also need to pay attention to how high the sun is in the sky. This is because the angle the sunlight hits the prism effects the angle of the projected rainbow. It is easier to project the rainbow onto the ground during midday when the sun is high in the sky. To project the rainbow more horizontally aim to photograph when the sun is lower in the sky, after sunrise, and before sunset.

The rainbow as a detail photo

Rainbow light is colorful, and when projected onto a surface this can make for a beautiful photo. Look for a surface that has a neutral color such as gray or white. A surface that has some nice surface texture may add more interest to your photo. Now twist the prism until you’re able to see the rainbow projected onto the surface you’re photographing. It’s possible to take the photo while holding both the prism and the camera. If you have a friend to help hold the prism, your results can be improved. As this is a detail photo, using a macro lens for this type of photo is better, but you may find other interesting compositions by using another lens.

It’s possible to create your own rainbow using a prism.

The rainbow with portrait photography

Undoubtedly one of the most popular forms of prism photography involves projecting a rainbow onto someone’s face. The rainbow you project won’t be large, and it would be best if another person held the prism. The small size of the rainbow means a head shot would work well. A play on David Bowie’s ‘Ziggy Stardust’ portrait is a good starting place in which to start. You’ll want to set this up as a standard portrait, so use a prime lens for this photo. Ideally, you’ll want to blur the background through the use of a large aperture.

Three images in one frame

The other way to use the prism bares similarities to using a glass ball. This time you’ll be shooting through the glass, at images that appear inside it. Hold up the prism, and twist it. You’ll notice how you can see images inside this glass. These images are not those directly ahead of you though. Also, depending on how you twist the glass, you may see one or two images. It’s these images you can work with to make a unique multi-exposure type image, with a single click of the shutter.

The choice of lens

The best lenses for prism photography are a wide-angle lens and a macro lens. Unless you’re lucky and have a friend to hold the prism, you need to hold the prism and photograph through it at the same time.

  • Wide-angle lens – Allows you to bring the background image more into the photo. However, the prism edge becomes more prominent in the frame. It won’t be as easy to blur out with the aperture available on most wide angle lenses.
  • Macro lens – The majority of prism photography is carried out using a macro lens. This lens lets you focus close to the prism, allowing you to avoid capturing your hand in the frame. The transition from background to the image within the prism is also harder to spot.

This image uses a macro lens with the prism, and looks like an optical illusion

Aperture for prism photography

The aperture you use for these type of photos are mostly dependent on what you want to do with the background, and how sharp you want the image within the prism. A large aperture of f/2.8 or bigger certainly works to blur out the background. The majority of photos need that background though, to achieve the multiple exposure feel. That means an aperture of around f/8 is the right balance between a background with detail and avoiding the prism having too sharp a line in transition to the background.

The background image

A prism has a fairly small width, and even with a macro lens, the background is a high proportion of the frame. So what works as a background for this type of photo? Primarily, you’re looking to avoid it being too busy.

  • Leading lines – A background that draws attention to the images inside the prism is an effective use of the background. This might be a tunnel, or perhaps a road disappearing to infinity.
  • Texture background – More of a blank canvas for the images within the prism to sit against. It might be a brick wall, or perhaps leaves and flowers.
  • Symmetry – As your image gets split down the middle by the prism, using symmetry either side of this split is an effective strategy.

The use of background symmetry can be effective with a prism.

The image in the glass

Now the tricky part – getting a good image within the prism. The images from the prism can be at 90-degrees to the way you’re facing, or perhaps 60-degrees and to the side and front of where you’re standing. Incorporating this into your composed background is the challenging aspect of prism photography.

  • Composition – You already have a good composition for your background. You now need to keep that good background composition, while simultaneously adding a point of interest that’s well composed within the prism. Use trial and error. Twist and change the angle of the prism. You can also walk backward and forward to compose the image within the prism.
  • Adding a model – An easier way to add interest to the image in the prism is to make this a portrait photo. The advantage here is you can ask the model to stand in the exact position from which refracted light is coming through the prism.

Adding a model to this image made for an interesting cherry blossom portrait photo.

Using fractals

Fractals are yet another item that uses refraction in photography. They produce prism-like effects but aren’t in themselves a triangular-shaped prism. Working as a handheld filter, you can photograph through them without worrying about images being at 90-degrees to you. It’s often used to make creative portrait photos with soft edges. It can equally be used to make a more abstract looking photo.

Time to go and split the light!

If you are looking to try something different with your photography, you’ll love the prism. It’s a little challenging to photograph with, but that’s what makes it fun. Have you ever tried prism photography? We’d love to hear your thoughts, and see your photos in the comments section below. So, now it’s time to get hold of a prism, and go out and experiment with it!

The post How to Make Creative Photos with Prism Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Bond.

So You Want to Make a Website? Part 1: Squarespace versus WordPress

Wed, 12/12/2018 - 13:00

The post So You Want to Make a Website? Part 1: Squarespace versus WordPress appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Carl Spring.

Welcome to the first of a 5-part series of articles on how to create your website. The series examines which platforms to consider using, through to SEO (how to get your website to rank better on search engines). While the focus of these articles is on the DIY aspect, a specialist web designer can be a worthwhile investment in many situations. Some are also cheaper than you think.

As with the discussion of Apple versus Android, the discussion of the better platform to build your website on has staunch supporters on both sides. While there are other service providers, this article focuses on two of the leading site builders used today;  Squarespace and WordPress.

Choosing which web platform to use can be a hard decision. Both are excellent, used by many companies and individuals and both platforms have their strengths & weaknesses. There are pro’s & cons to each system. However, you can create a great website using either platform.

The Apple versus Android arguments transfers well into discussions over which of these two platforms you should use. Squarespace is a closed system that “just works,” whereas WordPress is a much more customizable system, with a multitude of plugins to use. However, WordPress requires a slightly higher level of knowledge to get the best results.

Let’s look at each platform in a little more detail.

WordPress

WordPress may look complicated, but it isn’t as scary as you think.

WordPress is insanely popular. The WordPress website states that 32% of the web runs using their platform. Moreover, the website you are reading this article on uses WordPress too.

WordPress.com and Self-Hosted

In reality, WordPress has two different platforms: the self-hosted version (you host the website on your own choice of servers) and WordPress.com, (the hosting gets managed for you). Web hosting is the space on the web that stores your website. When visitors type in your website address, it retrieves your website from the server so that the visitor can view it. Hosting costs can vary depending on your needs, but you can find reliable hosting for your WordPress site for under $5 per month.

The key appeal with WordPress is its flexibility. Many people tend to go for the self-hosted version because of the ability to add more plugins and themes. Whereas wordpress.com limits the plugins and themes you can use, which is in some cases for good reason. However, I shall get to that in a moment. The ability to use these relies on you choosing a more expensive monthly plan.

Although it may seem daunting for the uninitiated, self-hosting is more simple than you may think. If you purchase your domain name (the website address), and the hosting with the same company, things are even easier. Many hosting companies have one-click WordPress install, which means your hosting service installs the latest version for you at the click of a button. Using self-hosting also means you can set up a professional email address associated with your website ([email protected]).

Templates

The main reason people love WordPress is its flexibility. As an open source platform, WordPress has thousands of templates to create the perfect style for your website. Their style and prices range from free to hundreds of dollars. Generally, the paid themes come with more features. However, there are some fantastic free themes to get you started.

With some coding knowledge, you can tweak your website design to achieve a completely custom look. However, that means learning how to code or employing a developer, which may not be something you wish to do.

As well as an almost infinite number of themes, there are also a multitude of plugins available. These plugins can help with everything from improving your SEO, through to creating beautiful galleries or adding purchasing options to your site. Whatever you want to do with your site, chances are there is a plugin out there to make the job more simple. These plugins (like themes) range in price from free through to around $50 (US) for premium plugins from high-end developers.

While also a strength, the main issue with WordPress is its open source nature. Many of the themes and plugins out there are well created, but there are some that are created by amateur developers. These plugins may have issues that can range from content not displaying correctly on your site through to taking your whole website out with an error. You also need to be mindful of security. You do not want your website to get hacked via a rogue plugin. When choosing your hosting, always make sure you look at the protection they offer you and your website.

Learning to use WordPress

The learning curve with WordPress is steeper than a platform like Squarespace. For those with little technical knowledge, it can be daunting. However, there is a vast online community to help and thousands of hours of training if you have the time to invest. As no-one strictly owns WordPress, there is no specific customer service option like you get with Squarespace. So, if you run into a problem that you cannot fix, you have to be reliant on your knowledge, Google searches, and the kindness of others through the forums.

Squarespace

So many design choices can be made without any need for coding knowledge.

Chances are, you’ve heard of Squarespace. They have a slick advertising campaign that’s all over the media. While there are other website builders out there (Wix being the main alternative), Squarespace is considered by many to be the best.

Simplicity

Squarespace is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) website builder. The design works around a style editor, where you can change the design of your site. While it’s not as customizable as WordPress, you can make a lot of changes to your pages without any coding knowledge.

The key to Squarespace’s success is simplicity. Squarespace takes care of hosting your site, and you can register your domain through them too. These options make the whole process more straightforward than the WordPress option. However, this comes at the expense of the vast range of customization options available with WordPress.

Templates

Squarespace has many beautifully designed templates. To the untrained eye (nearly all of the general public) the templates look like you have spent much money on a beautiful website. In general, the style is quite minimal, with the focus on photography to make the template shine. All Squarespace templates come optimized for viewing on mobile devices. You can also preview your website on a computer, tablet, and phone with the simple click of a button. These templates are all tried and tested and guaranteed to work across devices, which is gives peace of mind.

Within each template, there are several page designs to get you started. You can tweak these using the tools within the software to create a personalized page. You can change the position of text, image sizes, colors and fonts, all without needing to learn a single line of code. That isn’t to say there is no learning curve with Squarespace, but it won’t be long before you feel confident using it. There is also a vast support network online.

Plugins

Plugins with Squarespace are limited. However, they all work seamlessly and make the process simple. By now, you may be sensing a theme here?

Dedicated customer service

Something that is helpful for many users is the dedicated customer service available. You can email your issue, and one of the Squarespace team gets back to you personally, addressing your specific issue. This feature is awesome for the less technically minded. Squarespace is quick to respond and always provides you with the official information to fix the problem.

Custom CSS

If you’d like to get a little more creative with your Squarespace site, you can write custom CSS into pages and inject code. However, most people choose Squarespace, so they don’t need to bother writing code. You probably want to concentrate more on what you do, which is take photos. Rather than learn how to code and spend much time learning how to work a website platform.

Online shopping

Concerning small business, Squarespace has features to sell products through their platform. Moreover, they are now adding email marketing to their platform too. So, Squarespace is becoming a one-stop shop for small businesses.

Cost

The final thing to factor in with Squarespace is the cost. Prices start at $144 per year or $16 per month. For the top e-commerce package (which many of you won’t need) comes in at $480 per year or $46 per month.

To sum up, Squarespace is a more expensive option, as the costs are ongoing. However, when you compare it to the price of paying for hosting, purchasing a nice theme and a couple of decent plugins for a WordPress site, there is little difference over the first 12-18 months of ownership. After that first year though, WordPress is a cheaper option.

However, if you want a new theme after 18 months (which many people tend to), the price comes back to being even (if the theme is not free). Also, you have the benefit of tried and tested designs and plugins as well as customer service.

So, which should you choose?

That depends on your needs. If you’re a technically-minded person and have the time and inclination needed to get the best from it, then WordPress could be the ideal platform for you. However, if you want a website that looks great and is easy to set up and use, Squarespace is for you. Although, just like iPhone and Android, once you get into a system, you tend to stick with it.

Me? I’m a Squarespace guy (and an Apple guy). The reason is simple. Squarespace is pretty much hassle-free.

Although I have a grasp of coding and consider myself technically minded, Squarespace has everything I need. It is simple for me to work with now that I know my way around its features. There is support on hand should I need it, and the pricing difference isn’t big enough to make me move over.

I have had WordPress sites before (and am looking at it for a project I am working on right now), and I know lots of successful companies who use them (DPS for a start). I like the minimal hassle and if that comes at the expense of customization, then so be it. However, that’s me. What do you guys think?

The post So You Want to Make a Website? Part 1: Squarespace versus WordPress appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Carl Spring.

Win One of Two Lenses from Tamron!

Wed, 12/12/2018 - 08:00

The post Win One of Two Lenses from Tamron! appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

Win a Tamron Grand Prize 100-400mm (model A035) in winner’s choice of Canon or Nikon mount, and a Tamron 45mm (model F013) in winner’s choice of Canon, Nikon or Sony-A mount.

Over the last several years, here at dPS, we’ve run some very popular competitions with our partners to give away some of their great photographic products to lucky dPS readers. We are fortunate enough to be able to do it again this month. For this competition, Tamron is giving away TWO lenses.

Win one of two lenses from Tamron

These two unique prizes are designed to help every level of photographer create BETTER pictures. Tamron is the world’s most awarded photographic lens line. Each prize will be won by a different dPS reader.

Here’s what you could win: Grand Prize

100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD

Our Grand Prize Winner will receive a Tamron 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD Ultra Telephoto Zoom Lens. 100-400mm Di VC USD Ultra Telephoto Zoom – Value $799. Winner’s choice of Canon or Nikon Mount. No Substitutions.

2nd Prize

SP 45mm F/1.8DiVC USD

The 2nd Prize Winner will receive a Tamron SP 45mm F/1.8 Di VC USD with Hi-Resolution and image stabilization – Value $599. Winner’s choice of Canon, Nikon or Sony-A mount. Sony Mount Model with VC. No substitutions.

Learn a little more about Tamron here.

How to win

To win this competition you’ll need to:

  • Visit the above lens’ information pages and learn more about the lens’ and their core use.
  • Leave a comment below and tell us why you’d like to win and HOW you would you utilize your chosen lens. Please note: there is a limit of ONE entry per person.
  • Deadline to enter is January 3, 2019, 11:59 p.m. PST (UTC-8). Comments left after the deadline will not be considered. Do this in the next 21 days, and on January 7, 2019, the team will choose the best two answers and we will announce the winners in the following days.
  • The winner is responsible for any taxes, tariffs, etc.

By “best” – we’re looking for you to show an understanding of the lenses and how they will best suit your needs. So, you’ll need to check out the product pages to put yourself in the best position to win. There’s no need to write essay-length comments – but we’re looking to hear what you like about the lens and how it would help your development as a photographer.

This contest is open to everyone, no matter where you live – but there is only one entry per person. To enter – simply leave your comment below.

Focal length: 300mm Exposure: F/8.0 1/500sec ISO: 200
Tamron Stock Photo

 

Focal length: 45mm Exposure: F/1.8 1/320sec
Tamron Stock Photo

 

About Tamron

Disclaimer: Tamron is a paid partner of dPS.

The post Win One of Two Lenses from Tamron! appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

Going Back to Basics – My Week With a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 13:00

The post Going Back to Basics – My Week With a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Megan Kennedy.

The demise of my first Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens was an unfortunate one.

First, I dropped it – which is OK.

It happens. Still recoverable, I know.

Until, clumsily, I stood on it too.

And, just to be sure it was finished, what was left of the lens then rolled down a small hill. When I caught up, I scooped it up in my hands, all scratches and broken glass. It was my first, and I was gutted.

Nevertheless, after what seemed like an appropriate period of mourning, I did what any photographer would. I bought something newer, and shinier.

I decided to graduate to a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM. From there it was all systems go, zooming in and out of those hard to reach spots and enjoying the freedom that a versatile medium-range workhorse affords. And despite the occasional bashing here and there, its been my go-to lens ever since.

Recently, however, I acquired another Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II. Just like my old one, but much less crunched. So I decided to see what going back to a prime lens would be like. Especially after relying so heavily on the reach of the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM. Here’s a quick rundown on my week with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II and why a break from your old favorite can be surprisingly beneficial.

Suddenly lighter

The first difference I noticed after clicking the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II into place was the weight, or should I say, the lack thereof? The bulk of the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM was enormous compared to the little ‘plastic fantastic’ (as the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II has come to be known). Photographing with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, I had a lot less neck pain, which meant I could stay out shooting for longer without needing some painkillers.

Ditching the weight of the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM had another benefit too. Without swinging around a heavy lens, I was able to move a lot more freely. I could crouch, jump up and down, do some parkour…

Okay, I’m not that athletic.

However, being able to move allowed me to line up shots with more ease.

A lighter lens meant I could easily sneak my camera under this umbrella for a photograph

Slowing it down

The technical differences between Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM, and the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II took some getting used to – zoom being one of the most pronounced. Instead of getting closer to a subject in-camera, I needed to reassess what I wanted to achieve. This meant strategically positioning my body to get the shot. Sure, I walk around seeking out subjects to photograph all the time. But, with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, I needed to be just a little more active to get the image I was after.

Sticking with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II got me thinking about the physical and mental elements that come together to create a successful shot. It made me slow down and appreciate the machinations of photography and the tactility of the image-making process.

Lots of light

One of the biggest differences between the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM and the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II is written in the name of the lenses themselves. It’s aperture. While the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM can manage a valiant F/4, it doesn’t quite cut the mustard compared to the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, opening up to an aperture of f/1.8.

What does this all mean? Basically, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II can allow a lot more light to pass through to the camera’s sensor. That’s a big deal in low lighting conditions. For example, shooting at night with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM may require a much slower shutter speed or higher ISO value to achieve the same exposure the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II can at a faster shutter speed and a lower ISO. This means that the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II can produce much better image quality in low light.

Photographing in darker environments can be challenging. But the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II allowed me to experiment at different times of the day without having to worry about available light. Of course, its a consideration when calculating exposure, but I was a lot less concerned about clogging up my images with insane amounts of noise than I would be with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM in the same conditions.

The f/1.8 aperture of the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II allowed me to take this shot with a lot less noise and a faster shutter speed

Extension tubes

Another benefit of the ample aperture of the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II is its versatility when coupled with a set of extension tubes. Extension tubes physically move your lens away from the focal plane. This makes the minimum focusing distance (the shortest distance at which a lens can focus) smaller, meaning you can get closer to your subject while still maintaining focus. It’s a way to shoot macro photography without an expensive dedicated lens.

However, extension tubes do have their drawbacks. One of them being diminishing the available light in a scene. With the addition of each extension tube, less light is able to reach the camera sensor. This drop in light can be difficult to contend with if you don’t have a tripod and a perfectly still subject. A fast lens like the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II is ideal in this situation. Even on a terribly overcast day, I was able to get some nice, sharp shots at a decent shutter speed. It meant that I could hand-hold my camera to take macro shots that may have required a tripod with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM.

Bokeh

One aspect of the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens that I was eager to experiment with was its capacity for bokeh. A Japanese word meaning ‘blur’or ‘blurry’, bokeh refers to the quality of the out of focus parts of an image. The term is often used to describe how unfocused bright points in a scene are rendered as disks of light in a photograph.

While all lenses are capable of bokeh effects, zoom lenses tend to smooth a background over rather than shape it. Prime lenses, on the other hand, deliver a more defined disk-like bokeh result. In addition, bokeh requires the lowest possible aperture value to take full effect. This makes the maximum f/1.8 aperture of the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II ideal for some sweet bokeh magic.

Seeking out opportunities for bokeh made me re-evaluate my surroundings. I had to quickly develop an eye for points of light that I could use to disperse into globes of color. But with the ease that a small camera lens affords, the little ‘nifty fifty’ produced some really fascinating results with little effort on my part.

Testing bokeh out on a rainy night in the city

Conclusion

There are plenty of other comparisons to explore between the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II and the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM. I know, a week isn’t a very long time to truly get accustomed to a new piece of equipment, but challenging myself to a week of prime-lens-only photography was a lot less difficult than I thought it would be.

In fact, it was pretty fun!

Up until now, I’ve been a one-camera-one-lens kinda gal.

But playing around with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II made me think twice about my equipment repertoire. And with the weight and maneuverability of a small mammal, captivating bokeh and such a tight performance in low light conditions, I think I might just add it to the camera bag too. Just in case.

Without stepping on it this time.

 

Do you use the nifty fifty? What are your thoughts?

The post Going Back to Basics – My Week With a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Megan Kennedy.

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