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LCD Protectors are a Good Investment

Whether you pay $7 for a GGS Optical Glass 3" LCD Screen Protector or $29 for a Phantom Glass high quality custom protector, taking care of your camera's LCD is good business.

phantom-glass-lcd.jpg The Phantom Glass LCD Protector for a Canon 70D.

In addition to maintaining your enjoyment while using your favorite DSLR or mirrorless body, you're helping to retain the highest resale value possible for your camera. One of the first things people look at when considering a used body is the LCD. Even faint scratches can cool off a prospective buyer.

LCD protectors are particularly important for those who carry their cameras around their necks. Shirt buttons and zippers can mar a screen, despite your attempts to avoid contact. Scratches tend to "just appear."

My approach is to keep a stock of inexpensive 3" protectors on hand for immediate application when I first start using the camera. Then, when I have a chance, I'll research a custom cover that's higher quality. That way my screen is never vulnerable to the nicks and dings of the world.

The bottom line is to keep that LCD pristine, for both enjoyment and to help maintain the highest resale value possible.

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If you use Gmail with the Chrome browser, there's an easy new way to send and share photos. The Chrome extension, Dropbox for Gmail, only takes seconds to install, and adds a Dropbox icon to your composed emails allowing you to quickly attach photos.

Even though this doesn't initially sound like ground-breaking technology, in use it's quite handy, especially if you're using Dropbox to backup your mobile photos. The workflow goes something like this.

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  • Capture images with your smartphone, tablet, and camera. They all flow into Dropbox if you're using automatic backup.
  • Install the Dropbox for Gmail extension, then compose an email.
  • Click on the Dropbox icon in the bottom left corner of your composed note. Browse your images and find what you want to attach.
  • Send your note. The recipient will receive the image that can be downloaded, plus a link that opens the picture in the shared environment in Dropbox. Here, comments can be added to the picture.

In my tests, I found the feature very easy to use. And since I do use Drobbox backup for my mobile images, I always have the latest pictures at my fingertips.

More Dropbox Tips and Techniques

If you want to dig into Dropbox, take a look at my lynda.com training, Dropbox for Photographers. For those who want to learn more about Photos for OS X, I also have the title, Up and Running with Photos for OS X.

Previous articles on The Digital Story about Dropbox include:

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The Phoblographer reports that Lowepro has added shoulder bags to the ProTactic brand. I used the backpack for my assignment in Cuba and loved it.

lowepro-shoulder.jpg

The design is robust and practical, providing the feeling that you can go anywhere with your gear. You can check out the entire lineup yourself at the Lowepro website.


Join me on my Instagram site as I explore the world of mobile photography. And now Instagram features 15-second movies too.

This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: Tips for Better High School Senior Portraits, Pentax Full Frame DSLR Coming this Spring, It's Time to Reinvent the Wedding, Free Photo Plus Expo Pass from Red River Paper- all of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Weekly Update - Petapixel reports: New Pentax Full Frame DSLR Teaser Site Says Camera Coming in Spring 2016: "Ricoh has put up a new teaser page for its upcoming full frame Pentax DSLR. Back in February 2015, Ricoh announced that the camera would arrive by the end of the year. It looks like that date got pushed back a bit, as the website now says the debut will happen in Spring of 2016."

In other news, "Reports State Canon Working on a New 24-70mm f2.8 L IS Lens." The Phoblographer reports: "Canon's lineup of lenses currently includes both a 24-70mm f4 L IS and a 24-70mm f2.8 L USM-but no f2.8 version with IS built in. There were rumors being passed about this for a while now due to a patent, but Canon Rumors and Photo Rumors are saying that it's a very strong possibility that we may see one in the near future. With Tamron, Tokina and Nikon all having their own version, it just makes sense."

Story #1 - "5 Tips for High School Senior Portraits"

Personally, I really like shooting high school senior portraits. I learn stuff from these kids. The ideas they bring to the photo shoot help me become a better photographer. And in return, I can help capture this important moment in their life. Here are five tips to help you get the best shots possible.

  • Find the right location
  • Insist on wardrobe options
  • Get your lighting act together
  • Help them with posing
  • Capture a variety of poses

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Story #2 - Reinvent the Wedding

You may have noticed a new tab on The Digital Story nav bar labeled Weddings. What's up with that? Well, I've stepped back and had a close look at wedding photography. And this new site, Reinvent the Wedding is a refreshed approach to capturing the pinnacle of social events. I discuss the details in today's second feature story.

Story #3 - From the Screening Room - Creating Black-and-White Landscape Photos with Lightroom with Taz Tally.

You can watch Taz in action by visiting the TDS Screening Room at lynda.com. While you're there, you can start your 7 day free trial to watch all of Taz's movies, plus every other title in the library.

Story #4 - Rocky Nook Evangelist Program

You can read all about the new program on the Evangelist landing page. Highlights include: early access to eBooks and 5 free print books per year. Plus other goodies such as T-Shirts and coupons. What you need to bring to the table is an online community to share your reviews with. If you have that, then take a look at this cool new program.

Virtual Camera Club News

A Word from SizzlPix

The 5k Ultra High Definition SizzlPix is the upgrade now in general release on all orders, so you can display your best photography in sizes from 18-inches to 6-feet with resolution and realism one expects only from the small screens on handheld phones and pads. SizzlPix clients say, contrary to expectation, resolution seems to increase as their photos grow larger!

SizzlPix invites photographers to order a print from the assembly-line plants, and a 5k Ultra High Definition SizzlPix from the same image. Compare them side by side. They've never ONCE had a client declare they liked the mass-produced print better. If yours is the first, you may return your SizzlPix for a full refund!

Note from Red River Paper - Red River Paper is proud to be exhibiting at the PDN PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo, October 22-24, at the Javits Center in New York City, and we hope to see you there. Look for them in booth 1158. And if you don't have a Expo pass yet, you can get one for free from RRP.

Fall Color with Safari West: October 23-25, 2015 - Sonoma County has rolling hills covered in vineyards, beautiful trees, and gorgeous blue skies. What a prefect place to shoot Fall color and bolster your landscape library. But there's more. We include environmental portraiture with a professional model, and an exclusive African wildlife photo adventure at Safari West, led by a professional photographer, plus a few surprises. This is our longest running workshop of the season, and for good reason. Two full days plus pre-workshop reception, breakfast and lunch, excellent swag, professional model, private Safari West adventure with a pro photographer guide - all included for just $599.

Thanks to everyone who recently reviewed the TDS Podcast in iTunes!

BTW: If you're ordering through B&H or Amazon, please click on the respective ad tile under the Products header in the box half way down the 2nd column on thedigitalstory.com. That helps support the site.

Download the Show

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (37 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

lynda.com - Learn lighting, portraiture, Photoshop skills, and more from expert-taught videos at lynda.com/thedigitalstory.

Red River Paper -- Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

SizzlPix! - New 5k Ultra High Definition SizzlPix output for your photography. You've never seen your imagery look so good. SizzlPix.com.

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There's a difference between documenting key moments in our lives and selfies. I'm thinking about the distinction because I just finished helping one of my boys move in to his dorm room at Santa Clara University.

move-in-scu.jpg Move In Day, SCU - With the help of a SCU student volunteer, we emptied the car into these large roller bins and went up to the 5th floor of Max's new home, a residence hall on campus.

Not once during the day did I pull out my iPhone, grab my boy, and force a self portrait of the two of us. This event wasn't about me. It was Max's moment. Along with hundreds of other great kids, he was leaving home for the first time and starting the next chapter of his life. My job was to help him do that.

Along the way, I did quietly take pictures. I documented the event as a story. I have him packing the car, standing in the middle of a disheveled dorm room, and wandering the aisles of Target getting a few last minute items we forgot.

I didn't make a big thing about the images. I captured them as I would a reporter on assignment, trying not to interfere with the event itself.

These photos are important to me. And I hope that some day Max will find them interesting too. Maybe after he's well along his career path and raising a family, he'll want to see images from his first day away from home.

I have nothing against selfies. We shoot them all the time. We have a family selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower that is one of my favorite shots on the fireplace mantle.

But there's a time and a place for everything, and this applies to photography too. And yesterday, the story was about Max, not his dad. And I hope that my pictures reflect that.

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Gear Up for High School Senior Portraits

Zach-RR-Square.jpg

It's that time of year when 17-year-olds all across the country need to schedule a photo shoot for their senior portraits.

You may already have a few appointments on the books. Or maybe you're thinking about adding these shoots to your freelance repertoire. Either way, I have some helpful information to help you prepare.

5 Tips for Shooting High-School Senior Portraits

I just published this post on the lynda Article Center that covers location, wardrobe, lighting, and posing. There are a few things you need to understand about working with teens, and this piece will help.

I Have Movies Too!

Take a look at this video titled, "Shooting a portrait, starting with natural light" from my lynda.com training, Photographing High School Senior Portraits with Derrick Story.

The senior portraits title is one of my favorite all-time lynda productions, and I think you'll learn as much from watching the teenagers as you will listening to me. There are a handful of free movies you can view right now.

I enjoy capturing portraits of teens. I hope this information will help facilitate a great time and beautiful images for your shoots too.

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This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: Sony Alpha a7S II, Custom White Balance, Mitakon 25mm f/0.95 for M4/3, Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Hands On - all of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Weekly Update - "The Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 Lens: "An ultra-fast prime lens that provides a 35mm-equivalent focal length of 50mm for the MFT system. A maximum aperture of f/0.95 makes it perfect for low light conditions without flash. The lens weighs 0.51 pounds and is 2.5 inches long. Despite the light weight, the optic incorporates 11 elements in 9 groups, including 1 Extra-low dispersion element, 4 Extra-high Refractive Index elements, and 2 High Refractive index elements. Also, 11 aperture blades."

Note however, that the manufacturer warns that this optic is not compatible with the Olympus E-PL6, E-PL5, E-PM2, and OM-D E-M5 Mark I (Mark II is compatible). Set price is $395 from the manufacturer's site with free shipping, which should start in late October.

sony-a7s-2-front.jpg

In other news, "Sony Alpha a7S II records 4K internally, shoots up to ISO 409,600." DP Review reports: "Sony has introduced the Alpha 7S II, a second iteration of its video-centric Alpha 7S. The a7S II adds a wealth of videography features, including the ability to record 4K footage internally with full pixel read-out. Its full-frame 12MP sensor features an expanded ISO range of 50 up to 409,600 (100-102,400 native). Sony's in-body 5-axis image stabilization has also been added, introduced with the Sony a7 II." Other features include:

  • 2.36m-Dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder EVF
  • 3.0" 1,228,800-Dot Tilting LCD Monitor
  • Up to 5 fps Shooting and ISO 409600
  • Fast Intelligent AF, 169 AF Points
  • Built-In Wi-Fi with NFC

The price has gone up $500 from the previous model to $2,999 for body only. It's scheduled for release on Sept. 17, 2015.

Story #1 - "Custom White Balance"

Because I've started streaming images from the camera to my iPad for immediate review and posting, color accuracy has become even more important than before. I review some of my tips for capturing the best color possible in-camera.

Story #2 - Hands On with the OM-D E-M10 Mark II

I've had the camera in hand for a week now, and it is a different experience compared to the original E-M10. Aside from the enhanced feature set that I discussed earlier, the physical interaction has changed considerably. Here's what jumped out at me.

  • Right side grip makes it easier to shoot with one hand.
  • Mode dial is now on the right side. I don't see an advantage to that.
  • Fn3 function button added to the left side.
  • Power on switch now on top deck, left side.
  • Raised shutter release button is more comfortable, but it's also easier to accidentally change the exposure compensation.
  • Playback button moved to the lower right of the back panel.
  • Battery remains the same size and with good life.
  • Overall looks a bit more stylish.
  • Frame rate refresh needs to be set to High in the Mark II for an equivalent experience.
  • Flash popup lever is now part of the power switch.
  • The OM-D E-M10 Mark II is available now for $649.

    Story #3 - From the Screening Room - Lightroom CC Essential Training (2015) with Chris Orwig.

    You can watch Chris in action by visiting the TDS Screening Room at lynda.com. While you're there, you can start your 7 day free trial to watch all of Chris' movies, plus every other title in the library.

    Story #4 - Rocky Nook Evangelist Program

    You can read all about the new program on the Evangelist landing page. Highlights include: early access to eBooks and 5 free print books per year. Plus other goodies such as T-Shirts and coupons. What you need to bring to the table is an online community to share your reviews with. If you have that, then take a look at this cool new program.

    Virtual Camera Club News

    A Word from SizzlPix

    The 5k Ultra High Definition SizzlPix is the upgrade now in general release on all orders, so you can display your best photography in sizes from 18-inches to 6-feet with resolution and realism one expects only from the small screens on handheld phones and pads. SizzlPix clients say, contrary to expectation, resolution seems to increase as their photos grow larger!

    SizzlPix invites photographers to order a print from the assembly-line plants, and a 5k Ultra High Definition SizzlPix from the same image. Compare them side by side. They've never ONCE had a client declare they liked the mass-produced print better. If yours is the first, you may return your SizzlPix for a full refund!

    Idea from Red River Paper - Do you know a Scrapbooker? Red River Paper has a page dedicated to those who love making scrapbooks, including a link to their Scrapbooker's sampler for only $14.99.

    Fall Color with Safari West: October 23-25, 2015 - Sonoma County has rolling hills covered in vineyards, beautiful trees, and gorgeous blue skies. What a prefect place to shoot Fall color and bolster your landscape library. But there's more. We include environmental portraiture with a professional model, and an exclusive African wildlife photo adventure at Safari West, led by a professional photographer, plus a few surprises. This is our longest running workshop of the season, and for good reason. Two full days plus pre-workshop reception, breakfast and lunch, excellent swag, professional model, private Safari West adventure with a pro photographer guide - all included for just $599.

    Thanks to everyone who recently reviewed the TDS Podcast in iTunes!

    BTW: If you're ordering through B&H or Amazon, please click on the respective ad tile under the Products header in the box half way down the 2nd column on thedigitalstory.com. That helps support the site.

    Download the Show

    In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (35 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

    More Ways to Participate

    Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

    Podcast Sponsors

    lynda.com - Learn lighting, portraiture, Photoshop skills, and more from expert-taught videos at lynda.com/thedigitalstory.

    Red River Paper -- Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

    SizzlPix! - New 5k Ultra High Definition SizzlPix output for your photography. You've never seen your imagery look so good. SizzlPix.com.

    Want to Comment on this Post?

    You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

    Olympus announced firmware updates for the OM-D E-M1 and E-M5 Mark II. This is a big update for the E-M1 in particular, bringing many of the latest technologies to their flagship camera. In my meeting with them, they stated their commitment to protecting your hardware investment. This firmware update does just that.

    omd-em5-ad.jpg

    A few of the new features include:

    • Focus stacking with in-camera compositing (E-M1 only)
    • Focus bracketing (E-M1 and E-M5 Mark II)
    • Silent mode (already in the E-M5 Mark II)
    • 4K Time Lapse movie (E-M1 and E-M5 Mark II)
    • MF clutch disable (E-M1 and E-M5 Mark II)
    • Simulated optical viewfinder (E-M1 and E-M5 Mark II)
    • Live composite on O.I. Share, which is also being updated (E-M1 and E-M5 Mark II)
    • Audio slate tone for syncing audio/video (E-M1 and E-M5 Mark II)

    Firmware update E-M1 version 4 and E-M5 Mark II version 2 will be available for download in November 2015. You can read about them both on the Olympus Love Your Camera Longer page.

    twitter.jpg Follow me on Twitter

    When You Can't Shoot RAW: Super Fine

    There are many instances when RAW doesn't work. One of the most common for me is when a new camera comes out, and it isn't supported by Adobe, Apple, DxO or practically anyone else. If I'm in an iPad workflow, I also prefer Jpegs. And sometimes I just need to manage storage space.

    route-66-sign.jpg Route 66, Southern California. Super Fine Jpeg captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II and 14-42mm EZ zoom lens. I edited this shot the same way I would RAW - opened up shadows a bit in the Palm trees, recovered a few highlights. Photo by Derrick Story.

    I don't lose much sleep over shooting in Jpeg mode these days. In part, because a while back I discovered Super Fine mode on my Olympus digital cameras. In this format, I capture 16 MP images that are up to 9 megabytes. RAW files from the same camera tend to be in the 13 MB range.

    The Super Fine Jpegs are quite editable, with good highlight and shadow recovery. And the preprocessing of the photos that Olympus does in camera is quite beautiful. Many of my images are ready to go right off the card.

    If you shoot Olympus, you can enable Super Fine by going to gear menu item G, then click on the top item "Set." This allows you to change your Jpeg parameters. I use Super Fine for large, medium, and small Jpegs. I use the Medium/Super Fine combo when I'm streaming photos to my iPad for quick-turnaround publishing. Otherwise, I like Large/Super Fine.

    If you're shooting another brand, check and see what the highest quality Jpeg mode is, then test it.

    RAW is important when you need it. But it's not a must for every shot. Especially not that I've discovered this setting.

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    I Don't Need Live Photos, but I Want it

    As we sift through all of the announcements from Apple's Sept. 9, 2015 event in San Francisco, a minor feature is actually one of the most interesting to me: Live Photos.

    live-photos-control.jpg

    If you have it enabled, via the "Live" icon in the center of the top toolbar on the iPhone 6S camera app, every time you take a picture, the app will capture a second and a half of content on either side of the image. Then, when you view the snapshot, you can press and hold on it (thanks to the new 3D Touch feature), and the picture comes to life for a couple seconds.

    It's a small thing, until you think about the type of pictures many of us are capturing with our smart phones. They're family moments, outings with friends, interactions with pets... in other words, the things that matter dearly to us. Imagine missing your wife while on a business trip and being able to see her come to life just for a few seconds. I can see the value in that.

    live-picture-iphone.jpg

    It gets to the point where I sometimes wonder what else I need from my mobile devices. I don't need Live Photos. But I do want it. It's one of those little things that can help me stay connected to those I love. And in this busy, multitasking, world of ours, I can use as much of that connection as I can get.

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