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Joel Meyerowitz is a serious photographer who specializes in street shooting. Since this month's Photo Assignment is "Street Shot," I thought you might enjoy this video by Joel on street photography. He provides lots of tips on how to position yourself and what to look for.

As I mentioned earlier, Street Shot is the February 2009 Photo Assignment. Time to hit the pavement and discover the interesting moments of life that happen all around you. You can read more about how to submit on our Submissions page. Deadline for entry is Feb. 28, 2009.


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Now Available! The Digital Photography Companion. The official guide for The Digital Story Virtual Camera Club.

  • 25 handy and informative tables for quick reference.
  • Metadata listings for every photo in the book
  • Dedicated chapter on making printing easy.
  • Photo management software guide.
  • Many, many inside tips gleaned from years of experience.
  • Comprehensive (214 pages), yet fits easily in camera bag.

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I was reading about the new Wasabi Ultramobile Photo Printer that fits in your back pocket and enables you to produce 2"x3" prints from your mobile phone or via USB connection. The key to this device is a very interesting technology called ZINK paper, which means "zero ink."

"ZINK Paper is an advanced composite material with cyan, yellow, and magenta dye crystals embedded inside and a protective polymer overcoat layer outside. When heat is applied in just the right way, full color images appear like magic on the paper."

All of this seemed too good to be true. So I did a little price evaluation of the printer and the paper. You can get the Wasabi Ultramobile Photo Printer from Dell right now for $99 US, and the paper is available from folks like B&H for $9.99 for 30 sheets. In other words, this seems like an affordable technology.

This could be a good device to have in your bag when you shoot events. You could make prints on the spot, or have an assistant to it. If you're a Raw shooter, make sure you capture in RAW + JPEG mode. You can make the prints from the JPEGs and use the RAWs to create the final product.


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Now that there's a Mac version of the Jobo photoGPS software, I could streamline my workflow for geotagging a journey home from a business trip. As I left the last meeting of the day at Lynda.com, I mounted the Jobo photoGPS Geo Tagging Flash Shoe on my Canon 5D Mark ll and documented my departure. I snapped pictures all along the way. It was a car-plane-bus-car trip making it perfect for documenting.

Once I returned home, I had the photoGPS write the geodata directly to the Jpegs on my memory card via the photoGPS software and my card reader, then I launched iPhoto '09 and imported the images off the card and into the application. This two-step process actually went faster than I anticipated. I chose the images I liked, put them in an iPhoto album, then uploaded directly from iPhoto to Flickr.

In order for your geodata to travel with your images into Flickr, you have to set the permissions in your Flickr preferences. Go to Your Account > Privacy & Permissions > Import EXIF location data (yes). Do this before you upload your images from iPhoto. Also in iPhoto, you can add descriptions for each image, and those captions will travel with the photos in to Flickr.

In my case, I told the story of a business trip home. You can see it by visiting From Lynda to Home. As you click from image to image, you learn about each stop along the way. If you click on the map link for each photo, you can see the location where it was taken. You can also click on the map link for the set to see all of the pins for the entire journey.

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By clicking on the detail link for the set, you're presented with medium thumbnails for the trip with captions and map links. Flickr provides you with many different views and lots of information. It's really quite useful.

I'm going to keep playing around with this particular workflow. But I thought you'd like to see what can be done, even at the early stages. If you don't have a geotagging device such as the photoGPS, you can add the geodata in iPhoto '09, then upload to Flickr. You don't get as much geodata that way, but it's still a great option.

See My Other Posts on Geotagging

iPhoto '09 as Your Geotagging Tool?

First Look at Jobo photoGPS Device and Software

Update to Geotagging Workflow, Including Jobo photoGPS

Finding a Reasonable Geotagging Workflow


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Sometimes you get lucky. During the rehearsal, I was concerned because the couple was standing beneath a bank of lights shining directly down on the tops of their heads. I wasn't sure how I was going to capture flattering shots of them. To make matters worse, the wedding coordinator had specifically requested that I didn't use flash during the ceremony.

Here's where I got lucky. The next day, I'm in position during the ceremony, and it's the priest is standing in the glaring light, not the couple. This time, they were standing back a few feet basking in the glow of light bouncing off the white robe of the priest. He was a human reflector.

I composed the shot on a Canon 5D Mark ll with the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS lens set wide open. The shutter speed was 1/60th of a second and the ISO was set to 1600. I had enough light, and more importantly, the right kind of light, so I never considered turning on the flash. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

In the next installment I'll talk a bit about the post production of four, full, 8 GB cards.

Photo of wedding ceremony by Derrick Story.

Other Installments of the Wedding Photographer Chronicles

Wedding Photographer Chronicles: Chapter 1, the Rehearsal

Wedding Photographer Chronicles: Chapter 2, Analyzing the Church

Wedding Photographer Chronicles: Chapter 4, Delivering the Goods


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When we arrived at the church for the rehearsal, I was very impressed. It's absolutely beautiful. And if we didn't have to actually photograph people in there, life would be terrific.

The problem is that all of the lighting is designed to show off the architecture. So, for example, when the wedding couple was standing at the altar during the rehearsal, the only lighting on them was coming straight down from the ceiling, nothing from an angle. This is what I call Halloween lighting: the forehead is bright, the eyes go hollow, and the nose radiates to the point where there's no detail.

Typically, the solution is to use fill light. Great! Except that the wedding coordinator doesn't like flash during the ceremony. So I had to negotiate "some flash" and the rest existing light shots. So I think our plan will be to make sure we have at least a couple shots via flash of every major activity during the ceremony, then go for existing light artistic for the rest.

We're shooting with Canon EOS 5D Mark II bodies, so we can push the ISO up to 1600 for the artistic stuff. I'll probably use ISO 400 for the flash photography to keep the intensity at a minimum and for faster recycling times.

In the next report, I'll let you know how this plan worked out.

Other Installments of the Wedding Photographer Chronicles

Wedding Photographer Chronicles: Chapter 1, the Rehearsal

Wedding Photographer Chronicles: Chapter 3, During the Ceremony

Wedding Photographer Chronicles: Chapter 4, Delivering the Goods


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It's true, every wedding is different. But oddly enough, I prepare for each one the same way. So I thought it would be fun to walk you through a wedding weekend where my assistant and I are the photographers.

We've already completed the planning for the event. I have a detailed shot list that the clients and I have agreed to. So the next step is rehearsal night. Yes, I go to the rehearsal.

I believe this is one of the keys to my success. Both my assistant and I show up with shot list in hand. We make notes about the environment. We meet the family members and note their names. The rules of the road are explained to us by the wedding coordinator. And we have a chance to scout out locations for the various group shots on our list. After the rehearsal is over, we compare notes and prepare for the big shoot the next day.

Tonight, we'll also make an appearance at the rehearsal dinner. I'll have a bite to eat and snap a few candids. This gives me the opportunity to see if I have any "blinkers" in the wedding party and discover any other quirks that I should know about.

Once I have my plan in place, I go to bed. No late night partying, no goofing off. I need to be fresh and on top of my game for the upcoming event.

I'll probably post the next installment in this series tomorrow morning. Until then, wish me luck.

Other Installments of the Wedding Photographer Chronicles

Wedding Photographer Chronicles: Chapter 2, Analyzing the Church

Wedding Photographer Chronicles: Chapter 3, During the Ceremony

Wedding Photographer Chronicles: Chapter 4, Delivering the Goods


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Editor's note -- Virtual camera club member Steve Cooper has been wrestling with a problem in iPhoto '09. He identified that there's an apparent loss of sharpness when using the crop or straighten tool. He has some good information here on the issue, so I thought I'd share it with you. The following text was written by Steve and sent to me via email.

I was delighted to learn that a new version of iPhoto ('09) was released just as I was starting work on a large number of travel vacation photos. I was not so delighted to find out that a significant problem I had observed in iPhoto ‘08 was not fixed in the new version, and that the workaround I had previously used was no longer effective.

If you have an image containing a lot of fine detail and are working with it in iPhoto’s Edit mode, you’ll find that if you crop or straighten it, it will lose some of its original sharpness. Further, if you then use the Sharpness slider to try to remedy the situation, it may appear to have no effect unless you apply a very large amount of sharpening. (It turns out that printing results in a sharp image — it's the on-screen display that's deficient here.)

I have recently found that moving the Picture Size slider just a tiny bit to the right restores the screen image sharpness, but this is true only if you keep the slider away from its normal leftmost position. While a reasonable (if annoying) workaround when viewing a single image, this is not a practical solution in many situations.

My workaround in iPhoto '08 was to open the image in Photoshop (using it in External Editor mode from within iPhoto) and apply some insignificant change just to ensure that the JPEG was rewritten when saved back into iPhoto. This worked well, but unfortunately no longer does so in iPhoto '09.

The only way to fix an affected image in iPhoto '09 appears to be to export the image from iPhoto and reimport it. While this doesn’t result in the loss of any EXIF data (except of course for the "Imported" date), you will lose your ratings and keywords. If you’ve imported the image back into the library from which it came, it's easy enough to copy the ratings and keywords from the neighbouring original image, which you can then delete entirely by Command-Option-Deleting its thumbnail. This could be tiresome if dealing with a large number of images, but at least it works.

One thing I have learned while exploring this problem is never to discard an image from iPhoto just because it seems to be "out of focus" and not responsive to the Sharpness slider. Always nudge the Picture Size slider fractionally to the right and see what happens. If sharpness improves by a useful amount, use the workaround above to "rescue" the shot.

Finally, I can report that Aperture 2 seems to be free of any problem of this kind.


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In a recent podcast on setting goals, I mentioned that 2009 might be the year you finally publish that great photography web site you've always wanted to have. Or if you have a site, but it's long in the tooth and not what you want, then this could be the year to give it a major face lift. I think web sites are important for photographers of all levels. They serve as your showcase so people can find and enjoy your work.

Designing a beautiful site can be much easier than you think. And it doesn't have to be based on some template that thousands of other photographers are using. Today I'm going to introduce to SiteGrinder. It's a Photoshop plug-in that takes your ideas and builds the site for you. I've been exploring the product for a few weeks now, and I think you're going to like what you discover. In a nutshell:

"Media Lab’s SiteGrinder 2 plug-in converts Adobe Photoshop into a powerful, intuitive website development system that makes it easy. SiteGrinder 2 and Photoshop are everything you need to create gorgeous websites that look exactly like your Photoshop designs. With the click of a button, SiteGrinder 2 effortlessly transforms Photoshop files into professional quality, CSS-rich webpages. SiteGrinder 2 gives complete control over every aspect of your website’s design and functionality ... all without leaving Photoshop. SiteGrinder 2 writes the HTML, CSS and other web programming code so you don't have to."

Over the course of the next few months, I'm going to show you the ins and outs of SiteGrinder. But first, I want you to have a solid introduction. So here are a few things to look at now.

  • The SiteGrinder Tour walks you through a series of captioned screenshots that introduce you to the plug-in's basic concepts and operation. It only takes a few minutes to click through the slides, and I found them very helpful.
  • The Big Idea page is quite informative. And hanging off of it, you can drill down into a number of features that are explained in detail.
  • You can also watch screencasts that demonstrate in realtime how to use SiteGrinder. They don't use the current version, but I still found them helpful.
  • You can download a trial version and test it for yourself. SiteGrinder will watermark graphics until you unlock the trial.

SiteGrinder works with Photoshop 7 and newer on both Mac OS X and Windows. And if you're not a Photoshop user, but have Photoshop Elements 3 or newer, SiteGrinder works with those host applications too. You can buy either the Basic ($129) or Pro ($349) version. Here's a Comparison Chart that shows you the feature differences.

And finally, if you'd like to see some sample sites created with SiteGrinder, peruse the links on this page, there's some fun stuff to look at.

In the next installment, I'll talk more about how to set up your Photoshop document for SiteGrinder conversion.


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iPhoto '09 as Your Geotagging Tool?

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It's quite possible that iPhoto '09 may turn out to be the easiest way to geotag images for most hobbyist photographers. You don't have to worry about having a camera that tags at capture. Instead, it's very easy to add the information once your images are in iPhoto using the new Places functionality. (And I mean very easy.)

The key to success for me was: once you tag the image in iPhoto, could you export it with that location data? Since geodata is stored in the EXIF, you can't just write to those fields like you can with IPTC metadata (such as your copyright). I had been frustrated with tools such as Maperture, which do a good enough job of tagging while working in Aperture, but when you export the images, the geodata doesn't travel with them.

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iPhoto '09 fixes that. When you export a geotagged image, be sure to check the box labeled "Include Location information." iPhoto then writes the geodata to the EXIF during export. You end up with a nicely geotagged image that you can share anywhere. I've tested this, and so far, I'm very pleased. I'll follow up with more on this in future posts.

See My Other Posts on Geotagging

First Look at Jobo photoGPS Device and Software

Update to Geotagging Workflow, Including Jobo photoGPS

Finding a Reasonable Geotagging Workflow


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In my film days, I loved fine art B&W prints. I didn't necessarily like the process of producing the prints, particularly working with chemicals, but I did enjoy the final product. I'm in love again, this time making B&W prints via inkjets. The final product looks beautiful, but now I get to bypass the noxious chemicals and work at my desk. It really does feel like the best of both worlds.

This is the first installment of a series on B&W inkjet printing. Today, I have some great starter information to point you to, including recommendations for paper stock. Then, in upcoming installments, I put some of these practices to work on standard inkjet printers such as the Epson R2400.

B&W Printing Primer

As I mentioned in my podcasts, I've been working with Red River Paper, a faithful sponsor of The Digital Story. They recently published an excellent Primer on B&W Printing that covers printers, papers, software, ink, and lots of resources. It's perfect for getting started in this endeavor.

Paper Options

The type of paper you put your image on has a big influence on how it will look. Here's a good paper selection overview for B&W printing that will help you make the right choice for the effect you want to achieve.

A Word About Software

I always start with a color image, usually one that was captured in Raw, then convert a version of it to B&W. This allows me to record all of the information the camera has to offer, and have complete control over the grayscale conversion.

I prefer to work with software that allows me to make virtual copies of the color image. This enables me to try different techniques without cluttering up my hard drive with multiple copies of an image. Aperture and Lightroom both have this ability, plus they both have terrific tools for converting to monochrome and fine tuning the image.

Get Your Tools Together

If you're interested in B&W printing, then read the primer, get your printing supplies together, and decide which software you want to use to manage the project. Then stay tuned for more information here on producing great B&W images from your inkjet. If you have immediate questions or comments, feel free to post them at the end of this article.


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Sponsor Note

Red River Paper -- Try the $7.99 Sample Kit.

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