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Standing Out in a Crowd

I'm attracted to many pictures because something stands out in the composition. For example, with a crowd of people, there may be a face looking off in a different direction. When I snap the shutter, I know that I'm probably going to emphasize that person further in post production. And here's a bit more about that process.

highlighted-school-child Highlighted Student - I took this photo because of the girl in the crowd looking off. So in post production I subtly enhanced the tones to help draw the viewer's eye to her.

original-school-kids Here's the original shot. The young female student still stands out, but the camera rendered all the tones more evenly than I wanted.

My favorite tool for this process is "Darken/Lighten Center" in Color Efex Pro 4. I like this plugin (with Aperture) because of it has a variety of helpful filters in addition to Darken/Lighten, such as Pro Contrast and Polarization.

When I'm in Lightroom, I'll tap the Radial Filter for this work. I can make a selection, then work outside it or on the interior. It also has a helpful feather slider for smooth transitions.

In some instances, a standard vignette tool will get the job done. Watch out for corners that get too dark, however. The goal is to lead the viewer down the path of discovery without overplaying your hand.

More Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about portrait retouching in Aperture, take a look at Portrait Retouching with Aperture. You may want to check out my other Aperture titles, including Aperture 3.3 Essential Training (2012), Using iPhoto and Aperture Together, and the latest, Enhancing Product Photography with Aperture. Also, take a look at our Aperture 3 Learning Center. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.


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If you've shot with a Canon DSLR, chances are good that you have an Off-Camera Shoe Cord 2 stashed away. Well, it's time to break it out!

canon-on-olympus-1024.jpg

I was hanging out with Lumix Luminaries Joseph Linaschke and Giulio Sciorio the other day, and Giulio wanted to test my Canon flash cord on his Panasonic GM5. And darnit, if it didn't work great.

Then I was reading Rico Pfirstinger's excellent guide, The Fujifilm X-T1 111 X-Pert Tips where he wrote that his Canon off-camera flash cable works with the Fujifilm X-T1 also. Son of a gun!

So, I just had to test this with my Olympus OM-D E-M10 and the FL-300R Flash, and wouldn't you know it, it worked again! In fact, I had full TTL capability with flash exposure compensation.

Bottom line is this: if you have a off-camera flash cord by Canon, your mirrorless kit most likely just got an upgrade.


Nimble Photographer Logo

The Canon Off-Camera Shoe Cord 2 has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: Hanging out with the Lumix Luminaries, TDS Bodie Workshop Preview, Perfect Browse 9, Mastering WordPress - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Weekly Update - Is Perfect Browse 9 the Answer to Our Photos Workflow? I've been testing onOne Perfect Browse 9, and it shows promise as a robust complement to just about any workflow, and hopefully for Apple's upcoming Photos app. Here's why. (Source: The Digital Story)

In other news... "Sigma announces pricing for 24mm Art and 150-600mm Contemporary lenses - $849 and $1,089 respectively. (Source: DP Review)

Story #1 - Hanging Out with Lumix Luminaries Joseph Linaschke and Giulio Sciorio at the TDS Studio talking about Micro Four Thirds, 4K video, lenses and more. Recorded in surround sound stereo, so you'll want to listed to this with your headphones for the full effect.

lumix-luminaries.jpg Derrick Story, Joseph Linaschke, and Giulio Sciorio at the TDS studio in Santa Rosa, CA. Photo by Joseph Linaschke.

Story #2 - From the Screening Room - WordPress Essential Training with Morten Rand-Hendriksen. Many photographers are using WordPress sites as the backend for their storefront. You can learn more about the ins and outs of WordPress by watching this excellent online tutorial.

You can watch Morten 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 Morten's movies, plus every other title in the library (including over 20 by yours truly).

Story #3 - TDS Photo Workshop Bodie and the Eastern Sierra Registration Forms Have Been Sent - We're currently booking for the June 11-13 photo workshop. If you were on the Reserve List, you should have received your registration form. If you'd like to participate, but are not on the reserve list, just go to the TDS Workshops Page and use the Send Me Info Form. I'll get you a registration form right away.

Snapshot - "From the Bad..." Just about everything that could have gone wrong last Tuesday, did. And I was impressed how everyone rose to the challenge. Based on the Nimble Photographer entry with the same title.

Virtual Camera Club News

Photo Assignment for February 2015 is "Good Bye". This is our last photo assignment. I discuss why in this segment.

News from SizzlPix: Our Presidents Day sale, the biggest we've ever run! 20 percent off on your SizzlPix!, any size AND 25 percent off on the entire shipment if you order more than 1! PLUS shipping is still free anywhere in the contiguous US. This is an exclusive offer for The Digital Story. Just write TDS 20 percent or TDS 25 percent in the comment space on the SizzlPix! order page.

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 (52 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! - High resolution output for your photography. You've never seen your imagery look so good. SizzlPix.com. SizzlPix! now is qualified for PayPal "Bill Me Later," No payments, No interest for up to 6 months, which means, have your SizzlPix! now, and pay nothing until May!

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As we've learned more details about Photos for Mac OS X, it's clear that power users will need a supplemental application to augment Photos' initial shortcomings. This is especially important in the area of metadata management and star ratings (both of which will be absent in Photos V1.)

I've been testing onOne Perfect Browse 9, and it shows promise as a robust complement to just about any workflow, and hopefully for Apple's upcoming Photos app.

perfect-browser-9-sierra.jpg Perfect Browse 9 running on a Yosemite-powered Mac.

What is Perfect Browse 9?

Think of Perfect Browse as a handy front end to Aperture, Lightroom, Photoshop, and hopefully Photos. Perfect Browse will display thumbnails and previews from a variety of sources, including memory cards, hard drives, Dropbox, iCloud Photo Stream, OneDrive, Google Drive, and more.

Once the images are displayed in Perfect Browse, you can add star ratings, apply a color label, and mark as a favorite. The star ratings and color labels are compatible with Aperture. So if you apply them in Perfect Browse, they will appear in there after transfer.

There's also solid metadata management. I selected an entire group of images in Perfect Browse, added my copyright and contact information, and all of that data traveled with the images to their next stop.

Sample Workflow with Perfect Browse 9

imported-in-to-aperture-2.jpg Images received in Aperture from Perfect Browse 9 with star ratings and metadata intact.

Here's how I tested this application:

  • Inserted memory card into Mac and launched Perfect Browse 9.
  • Sorted images by File Type to separate the RAWs from the Jpegs.
  • Applied star ratings to the images that I wanted to move to Aperture.
  • Filtered the entire shoot by star rating so only my picks were on the screen.
  • Applied my IPTC information to the entire set of picks.
  • Selected the "Send to Aperture" option.
  • Images were imported into a new Aperture project with star ratings and metadata intact.

I'll keep testing Perfect Browse 9 and update you if anything substantially new surfaces. You can download a free 30 day trial from the site and test for yourself. If you like it, the purchase price for the Premium Edition is $59.95.

There's also a Basic Version of Perfect Browse 9 in the Mac App Store. I do not recommend purchasing that version at this time. There is a bug in the Mac App Store version that prevents transferring the images to another application.

Bottom Line

Perfect Browse 9 is on my short list of possible companion apps for Photos for Mac OS X. Its speedy browsing of Jpegs and RAWS make it fun to use. Plus, it handles basic rating and metadata with ease. Keep an eye on this one. Hopefully onOne will make it super-compatible with Photos for Mac OS X.

Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about Aperture, check out my Aperture 3.3 Essential Training (2012) on lynda.com. Also, take a look at our Aperture 3 Learning Center. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.


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Clever Edelkrone Flex-Tilt Head

Here's a light, versatile, tripod head that also works without the sticks: the Edelkrone Flex-Tilt Head.

Edelkrone Flex-Tilt Head

I first read about the device on Imaging-Resource.com, and they have a good write up about it worth reading.

What caught my eye is its ability to work also as a standalone device, weighting only a pound, and being able to shoot downward. Shooting down on objects is usually a problem for traditional tripods.

The Edelkrone Flex-Tilt Head is scheduled to ship in about a month, and is available for $99.99. As I wrote in the headline... very clever!

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There's been some chatter around Affinity Photo that's currently available as a free beta download. Most likely, it's garnering a bit of extra attention now that it's clear that Photos for OS X won't replace Aperture for most users.

affinity-photo-beta.jpg

I've downloaded it myself. And after some exploration, I think this high-end image editor for the Mac has promise. But I don't believe it's the heir apparent to Aperture.

The overarching reason why is because Affinity Photo is better suited to Photoshop users than those who prefer asset managers with editing tools. My perception is that Affinity aims to bring the power of Photoshop to Mac users with a UI and approach that's more akin to Apple design than Adobe's.

The editing tools are powerful, but they make more sense if you've spent time with a complex editor such as Photoshop. A photographer raised on iPhoto who progressed to Aperture might not feel very comfortable with Affinity... at least without some work.

You may disagree. The good news is, you can see for yourself by visiting Affinity Photo.

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This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: The inside scoop on Photos for Mac OS X, and a closer look at the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II - All of this and more on today's photo show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, a beautiful upgrade to the camera that started it all for micro four thirds shooters. I had a hands-on preview of the E-M5 Mark II earlier this year at CES in Las Vegas, and I'm quite excited about what Olympus has done with this camera. I cover it in detail during the first segment of today's show.

OM-D E-M5 Mark II

Story #2 - Photos for Mac OS X - Over the last week, many details were revealed about the iPhoto/Aperture replacement for the Mac. As it turns our, Photos for OS X will be more of an iPhoto update than an application that Aperture users can migrate too. What does this all mean for Aperture users? I take a close look in the second segment of today's show.

From the Screening Room - The Traveling Photographer: Paris with David Hobby. David takes us on an envious adventure in Paris and talks about the City of Lights from a photographer's point of view.

You can watch David 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 Konrad's movies, plus every other title in the library (including over 20 by yours truly).

Virtual Camera Club News

Photo Assignment for February 2015 is "Good Bye". This is our last photo assignment. I discuss why in this segment.

News from SizzlPix: Our Presidents Day sale, the biggest we've ever run! 20 percent off on your SizzlPix!, any size AND 25 percent off on the entire shipment if you order more than 1! PLUS shipping is still free anywhere in the contiguous US. This is an exclusive offer for The Digital Story. Just write TDS 20 percent or TDS 25 percent in the comment space on the SizzlPix! order page.

And Finally...

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 (34 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! - High resolution output for your photography. You've never seen your imagery look so good. SizzlPix.com. SizzlPix! now is qualified for PayPal "Bill Me Later," No payments, No interest for up to 6 months, which means, have your SizzlPix! now, and pay nothing until May!

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

The latest pair of Canon Rebels have evolved beyond what we would generally call "entry level." Both have new 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensors that provide more resolution than my 5D Mark II. And with price tags of $750 and $850, they both cost more than the Olympus OM-D E-M10 ($599) that I just used to document Cuba. But if I were debating between the T6i and the T6s, I would definitely spend the extra for the Canon EOS Rebel T6s.

Canon-t6s-top.jpg

For starters, the T6s provides the top deck LCD that I think is so useful on DSLRs. Having this control allows you to stay in "photographer mode" and not have to refer to the back panel LCD screen while taking pictures. The T6i does not have this feature.

And there are other T6s goodies too, as DP Review summed up nicely in their First Impressions Review:

"Although the price difference of $100 between the T6i and T6s (750D) is relatively small, paying the extra for the T6s does give you a little bit more. There's the top-plate LCD and rear control dial, obviously, plus an automatic viewfinder switch to turn off the rear display, but the T6s also has a more versatile movie mode, offering manual exposure control, 'HDR' movie capture, and servo AF. Ultimately, which camera you should buy comes down to how much $100 is worth to you."

I bring this up because a number of people have written me asking about the latest Canon cameras, and which ones do I recommend. So in the so-called entry level category, I'm definitely in the T6s camp.

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By the third day of our adventure in Cuba, I had earned the reputation as "the car guy." I was always the one craning my neck to watch a classic Fords and Chevys zip by.

One afternoon in Havana, we had just finished visiting the Museo de la Revolucion and were gathering to head back to the hotel. Some of us were taking this opportunity to capture a few more street shots while the group slowly congregated in this fascinating and beautiful part of the city.

I was working one shot when a fellow photographer called out, "Derrick, did you see that one?" I looked in their direction and saw this magnificent 1950's red Chevrolet with a bowtie hood emblem. It was parked against a colorful wall bathed in the late afternoon light.

And no one else was shooting it. I felt like they were saving it for me.

I repositioned and pointed my Olympus OM-D E-M10 with Olympus 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 EZ zoom in that direction, then composed the shot at 42mm.

At first it wasn't quite right. There were too many people gathered around the car. I keep shooting because I never know what's going to happen next, and I want to come away with something. Frame number two was interesting, with the girl walking by in the green dress. But it still didn't feel spot on. Then, on the eighth and final frame, the composition came together.

red-car-series-havana.jpg

All the people had cleared out except for a man and a woman at the rear of the car. They were in the shadows, and the car was in the light. I knew I could go with a larger composition using the backdrop of Havana architecture because the red Chevy was such a strong presence.

By the time I had captured the eighth frame, our group had come together. I saw them looking at me in the distance. I walked back over to them with my camera in hand.

"Did you get it?"

"Yes, I did!"

When I returned home, I posted a preliminary version of frame eight on my Flickr page. It was picked up for Flickr Explore. I've cleaned up the image a bit more and am featuring it in my fine art notecard set, The Cars of Cuba, which is available now for preorder in The Nimble Photographer Store. (You can see the current version of it there.) Those who preorder the set will receive two versions of "Red Car, Two People." One version will be signed by me on the back, and the other will be unsigned and ready for sharing.

More About Cuba

I've also published the following articles about Cuba:

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We knew there would be some compromise when Apple folded its high-end Aperture and consumer iPhoto applications in to one program. Now that we have an official preview of Photos for OS X, we can see the direction they're heading.

photos-for-mac-tools.jpg

The first thing to keep in mind is that this is the first beta for developer review. We'll see the gold master of Photos for OS X in the spring. So missing items such as star ratings, file names, etc. will probably appear in later releases. In other words, don't interpret what you see now as what you'll have later this year.

We do see some indicators, however, of the direction Apple is taking with Photos. And hardcore Aperture users will surely miss its advanced editing tools. In this area, I would say that early versions of Photos will feel more like iPhoto than Aperture.

My advice is for Aperture photographers to think about a 2-part strategy: what to do for 2015, then 2016 and beyond. For the remainder of this year, we have the luxury of sticking with Aperture on Yosemite and playing with Photos for OS X when it's released. By the end of 2015, we all should have a pretty good idea of how the new software is going to stack up against Aperture.

At the end of 2015, I believe it's decision time. In my case, I'll look at the following possibilities:

  • Continued support of Aperture with Mac OS X 10.11. If Apple continues to enable operating system compatibility, including systemwide RAW updates, then my job is easier. I can experiment with new workflows without having to overhaul my photo management system.
  • Evolution of Photos for OS X. With its open architecture, there are many possibilities for this application. In terms of features, what we see in 2016 could be very different than in the spring of 2015.
  • The competition. In addition to Adobe Lightroom, other applications such as DxO Optics Pro will continue to tempt Aperture users with their tool sets.

For the moment, I find this all very interesting. I'm looking forward to working with Photos for OS X and seeing how far I can push it. In the meantime, the current announcements (in terms of timing) are encouraging. We're going to see this application sooner than later.

Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about Aperture, check out my Aperture 3.3 Essential Training (2012) on lynda.com. Also, take a look at our Aperture 3 Learning Center. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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