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You see it in the movies all the time. The expansive opening shot that sets the tone and location for the action that follows. We can use this same technique for our articles, slideshows, and reports.

Looking Back at San Francisco from Pier 14 San Francisco from Pier 14. Click on image for larger view.

And often the easiest way to capture the ultimate establishing shot is with your smartphone. I used my iPhone 5S to record this panorama of San Francisco from the end of Pier 14. I was there scouting for night shots, and noticed how nicely the perspective of the pier led the eye to the cluster of buildings on the Embarcadero.

Instead of fiddling around with my interchangeable lens camera, I pulled out the iPhone and shot this panorama, handheld, in just a few seconds. I then slid it back into my pocket and continued my scouting mission.

Next year, when I return for the 2015 SF Street Shooting Photography Workshop, I can show participants this image to give them an idea of where they can go for a great night shot of the city or the Bay Bridge.

If a picture tells a thousand words, then a panorama must be worth ten thousand. So don't forget about that great storytelling tool you have in your pocket.

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

The software engineers at DxO Image Science have created a modern, powerful RAW processing app with DxO Optics Pro 9.5. The program includes an array of useful tools for Aperture users such as noise reduction, lens corrections, geometric straightening, intelligent presets, and more.

Monorail in DxO Optics Pro from Aperture Image from Aperture opened in DxO Optics Pro 9.5.

With the latest version, DxO can integrate smoothly into a Lightroom workflow. I explain how this works in the article, DxO Optics Pro 9.5 Intelligent Integration with Lightroom on c't Digital Photography Magazine. But what about Aperture? Can DxO Optics Pro work with it too?

The short answer is, "yes." The Aperture integration isn't as smooth as with Lightoom where DxO can read the original RAW file. With Aperture, you set up DxO as your external editor. Aperture sends out a TIFF file, and you can return a TIFF, JPG, or DNG to your Aperture library. Here's how it works.

Export from Aperture to DxO Exporting from Aperture to DxO Optics Pro.

Step by Step Workflow for Using DxO Optics Pro with Aperture

  • Download the trial version of DxO and install on your Mac.
  • Open Aperture and go to Preferences > Export and select DxO Optics Pro as your external editor. Use TIFF (8-bit) as the file format and Adobe RGS as the color space. Close Preferences.
  • Open a RAW file in Aperture, right-click (or Control-click) on the image, and choose Edit with DxO Optics Pro from the top of the popup menu. (See figure above.)
  • Experiment with the different presets and editing tools in DxO.
  • Export your finished image out of DxO by clicking on the Export Triangle icon in the lower right corner of the interface and choosing Export to Application. (See figure below.)
  • export-to-app-aperture

  • Choose Aperture from the dialog box, then set the parameters for your exported file.
  • Aperture will receive the file in a new Project. You can leave the image there, or move it to the project with the original RAW file. I recommend that you stack them.
  • At this point, there's no need to keep the TIFF file that Aperture used as the handoff. You can delete that from your Aperture library.

What this workflow lacks in smoothness, it more than makes up for in capability. Having access to top notch lens corrections, presets, and noise reduction fills major gaps with Aperture's editing tools.

And the price is reasonable right now. Until June 15, 2014, the Standard Edition is discounted to $99 and Elite is on sale for $199. The difference between the two are the number of cameras supported. They have a compatibility checker to help you make the right choice. In my case, the Standard Edition was sufficient.

Comparing Files Comparing Files: Image on the bottom is the original RAW file. Upper right photo is the TIFF used for the handoff (you can delete this). Upper left corner is the Jpeg that was returned from DxO Optics Pro 9.5 to Aperture (it looks great!).

Bottom Line

DxO Optics Pro 9.5 is top drawer software that is a good fit for Aperture users. At this time, the workflow is a bit clumsy, but for your best images that you want to get the most out of, the effort is worth it.

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.


The Digital Story on Facebook -- discussion, outstanding images from the TDS community, and inside information. Join our celebration of great photography!


Aperture is the great organizer. Lightroom's Develop module is terrific. Some photographers just can't decide which way to go.

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Technically speaking, you don't have to choose. By setting up a referenced library in Aperture, you can point both applications to the same set of master files, then choose which one you want to use for image editing. Neither app will alter the original picture.

In my latest post for the lynda.com Article Center, One Library Shared by Both Aperture and Lightroom, I explain how to accomplish this. It's quite easy, and honestly, fun too.

Even though can jump back and forth for your image editing, I recommend that you choose just one app to organize you photo library. In my case, I prefer Aperture for that. But when it comes to post production, you have a lot of options between the two apps.

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.


The Digital Story on Facebook -- discussion, outstanding images from the TDS community, and inside information. Join our celebration of great photography!


taking-care-of-details-portraits.jpg

Taking a good picture is important. But so is the preparation before the shoot and the delivery afterward. In this movie, Understanding the business of senior portraits, I address those little details that are important for the business side of the project.

Even if you're not a professional photographer, that doesn't mean that you can't act like one. Take a look at this movie, and think about how you can apply this to your portrait work.

Learn More About the Art and Business of Portraiture

In my lynda.com title, Photographing High School Senior Portraits, I'll show you how to organize, photograph, and deliver great images for fun or profit. Take a look at the free movies and see for yourself.

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filter-strenght.png

I confess. I already liked Instagram. A lot.

But my fondness for this social networking photo app has grown considerably with the latest 6.0.1 release. Without sacrificing ease of use, we now have an entire tool box of image editing adjustments, improved speed, and the ability to adjust filter strength.

When you first select an image, the app behaves as before. You can crop and move around in the square frame to position the photo to your liking. Things change, however, once you hit Next.

Adjusting filter strength in Instagram 6 on an iPhone 5S.

You have three editing categories represented by icons beneath the photo (on the iPhone 5 and 5S). The magic wand icon for Filters, the sun icon for Lux, and the wrench icon for Tools.

Initially Filters behave as before. Scroll to find the look you want by tapping on the filter name. But now, tap again on its icon and a 0-100 slider is revealed, allowing you to adjust its strength. This is where you can add a frame too. If you like what you see, tap the checkmark and the adjustment is applied. Tap the X and you go back without any changes.

new-tools.png

Lux remains the same. Which is fine with me because it's an amazing slider as is.

Three of the new adjustment options in Instagram 6 on an iPhone 5S.

If you tap on the wrench icon, you're presented with 10 editing tools: straighten, brightness, contrast, warmth, saturation, highlights, shadows, vignette, tilt shift, and sharpen. Each adjustment has a slider allowing you to apply the amount of strength you desire.

Add a dash of speed without breaking anything, and we have a winning update. And you don't need the latest OS to use it. The new Instagram will run on devices that support iOS 6, and it's optimized for the iPhone 5. I tested it on both the iPhone 5S and iPhone 4S. Worked fine on both, however, the editing icons were at the top of the screen on the iPhone 4S. Instagram 6 is also available in Google Play for Android devices.

Based on my preliminary testing, there's no downside to this release. If you enjoy Instagram, or feel like it's time to jump in, I think you'll like this version of the app. You can follow me at DerrickStory.

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For the April 2014 Photo Assignment, TDS shooters stopped and smelled the roses. See for yourself in our gallery, Flower Power. And which one will be the SizzlPix Pick of the Month?

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Charles Brown writes, " I thought of scanning a photo of my 1965 VW bus, but went with this instead ;)" See all of the great images from this month's assignment by visiting the Flower Power gallery page. Photo by Charles Brown.


Participate in This Month's Assignment

The June 2014 assignment is "Any Kind of Light but Natural." Details can be found on the Member Participation page. Deadline is June 30, 2014. No limit on image size submitted.

Please follow the instructions carefully for labeling the subject line of the email for your submission. It's easy to lose these in the pile of mail if not labeled correctly. For example, the subject line for this month's assignment should be: "Photo Assignment: June 2014." Also, if you can, please don't strip out the metadata. And feel free to add any IPTC data you wish (These fields in particular: Caption, Credit, Copyright, Byline), I use that for the caption info.

Gallery posting is one month behind the deadline. So I'm posting April 2014 gallery at the end of May, the May gallery will be posted at the end of June, and on and on.

Good luck with your June assignment, and congratulations to all of the fine contributors for April.


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iPad for Digital Photographers

If you love mobile photography like I do, then you'll enjoy iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks versions.

This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: My 5 Favorite Cameras, iOS 8 for Photographers, and Photographing High School Senior Portraits - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - The Weekly Update: New Photos App in iOS 8 - Apple announced that the Photos app is receiving a complete makeover including sharing images and their edits across all devices. (source: Apple). Plus a host of new smart editing tools and time-lapse capture capability. And if that wasn't fun enough, Apple is introducing a plugin architecture for Photos so 3rd party devs can create new tools for the app.

ios-photos-app.jpg

In other news, Samsung "DITCHtheDSLR" event on June 4, 2014 in Times Square offers a brand new NX30 for those who want to trade in their DSLR. (Source: Imaging-Resource.com).

And finally, iStick: USB Flash Drive with Lightning for iPhone and iPad is open on Kickstarter until June 17, 2014.

Story #2 - My 5 Favorite Cameras - The most common question I get is, "Which camera should I buy?" Here are my current Top 5 and why I like them.

Story #3 - The Nimbleosity Report: Auto Camera Backup with Transporter Sync - Now with version 2.2.24 of the iOS app, Connected Data has added automatic Camera Roll backup that is useful. I discuss why in the third segment of today's show.

Story #4 - From the Screening Room - Photographing High School Senior Portraits with Derrick Story. I think anyone who aspires to shoot portraits will enjoy this title, and especially those working with young adults.

You can watch me in action by visiting the TDS Screening Room at lynda.com/thedigitalstory. While you're there, you can start your 7 day free trial to watch other design, photography, and computing titles, plus every other topic in the library.

Virtual Camera Club News

Save on Ground Shipping for Red River Paper: Use coupon code ground50c to receive a 50 percent discount on UPS ground shipping for Red River Paper. No minimum purchase required.

Photo Assignment for June 2014 is "Any Kind of Light but Natural".

If you haven't done so already, please post a review for The Digital Story 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.

Listen to the Podcast

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (32 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 August!

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Samsung NX30 Pros and Cons

NX30 Front.jpg

After a few weeks with the Samsung NX30, I have a pretty good feel for it. Over at c't Digital Photography, I posted my hands-on review.

To help me write that piece, I compiled a list of pros and cons that I'm sharing with you right now.

Pros

  • Large APS-C 20MP sensor that produces excellent RAW files and Jpegs.
  • Electronic viewfinder that can be angled upward for a variety of shooting positions.
  • Colorful 3" articulated LCD that's touchscreen capable.
  • Clever fn button on side of lens that provides easy access to common camera settings.
  • Excellent WiFi (with dedicated button) and NFC feature set for Android users.
  • Image-stabilized kit zoom lens.
  • Photoshop Lightroom 5 is included with the camera.

Cons

  • Feels large for a mirrorless camera, especially the kit 18-55mm lens.
  • Some hesitation in performance when working with RAW+Jpeg.
  • WiFi compatibility with iOS devices could be better.
  • Standalone battery charger sold separately as an accessory.
  • Mundane body styling.

I've handed the camera to many people to see how it felt. In general, those with larger hands thought it was comfortable, while others evaluated the grip to be a bit too deep. This leads to my bottom line: The Samsung NX30 is a camera that you need to test in person before purchasing. How it feels in your hands and responds to you commands will most likely determine its overall appeal.

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Many devices allow us to stream content to our iOS device, but iStick will let you copy photos from your iPad or iPhone to a flash drive.

backup-photos-to-istick.jpg

iStick features include:

  • Free universal iPhone/iPad/iPod touch iOS app
  • Music & Movie Player (able to decode MKV, RMVB, AVI, WMV etc.)
  • 1080p HD movie streaming, direct playback from iStick
  • Photo & Document (Excel, Word, Powerpoint, PDF, iWork) Viewer
  • Open files directly on the iStick without the need to copy to iDevice
  • Copy/Move files between iDevice and iStick
  • File Management (Copy/Cut/Paste/Delete/Rename/Create Folder)
  • Backup photos/videos from iDevice Camera Roll to iStick
  • Support "Open In" functionality
  • Open files from other apps in iStick app
  • Open files from iStick in other apps
  • iDevice Contacts backup and restore

There's two weeks left in the iStick Kickstarter project, and you can jump in if this looks interesting to you. I'll publish a review once I receive mine in August.


Nimble Photographer Logo

The iStick has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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When I first covered Transporter Sync, I was intrigued by the $99 network device, but I thought its iOS functionality left a bit to be desired.

Now with version 2.2.24, Connected Data has added automatic Camera Roll backup that is useful. Once enabled on your iPhone or iPad, images from your Camera Roll will be automatically copied -- full sized and with metadata intact -- to your Transporter Sync. You have control over when and where this happens via Preferences. The app creates a new folder called Camera Uploads and places subfolders inside it labeled as your connected iOS devices.

Browsing the backed-up images on the iPhone still leaves a lot to be desired. But with Transporter Desktop 2.5.17, the viewing experience on my Mac is reasonable.

transporter-on-mac.jpg Browsing my backed-up iPhone images via the Mac desktop application.

So the scenario plays out like this: You connect your own hard drive to a $99 Transporter Sync, you have control over your private cloud with automatic and user-initiated backup of your mobile images (plus anything else you want), you can browse and access the content on your desktop computer (and mobile devices if necessary).

I wouldn't use it as my only mobile backup solution. But as part of an overall effort, this latest version of the software makes Transporter a nice addition.


Nimble Photographer Logo

The Transporter Sync has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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