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Very few of my cameras have built-in geotagging. And the ones that do, are sometimes inconsistent in their application of the data.

The good news is that it's easy enough to apply location information in post production with Aperture. It's not a regular part of my workflow. But for certain shots, such as this image of the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco, I like to do it.

Since I've added the GPS data, file sharing apps like Flickr with display it. Photo by Derrick Story.

The steps in Aperture are easy.

  • After you've finished editing the image, go to View > Places.
  • In the "Search the Map" box in the upper right, begin typing the location. Aperture will provide you with location options based on what you enter.
  • Click on the best option to choose it, then click on the Assign Location button. A red pin will be added to your photo to indicate that it's been geotagged.
  • Go to Preferences > Export and make sure that the box next to "Include location info in exported photos" is checked.
  • Close Preferences and export your photo.

Assign GPS Data in Aperture Adding location data using Places in Aperture 3.

After you've exported your image from Aperture, you can check your work by opening it in Preview. Go to Tools > Show Inspector. Click on the "i" tab, and you should see a GPS option. Click on it. The location information will be displayed.

Checking Data in Preview

You have now successfully geotagged your image. When it's shared on Flickr and elsewhere, viewers can see exactly where the subject is located. They might want to go there themselves.

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!


One of the things I like about Instagram, is that it's a great vehicle for building creative discipline. My goal is to post five new images a week. And by doing so, I've become a more interesting photographer.

Old Fence "Old Fence" - Photos by Derrick Story

On one hand, I look at a lot of Instagram shots. There are so many different approaches. Some photographers focus on images of themselves, while others have favorite subjects outside of the mirror. Many contributors just want to do something different.

Taking all of this in inspires me to shoot outside of my comfort zone, experimenting with unique capture techniques or post production effects.

The Grapevine The Grapevine

But there's also something to the commitment of posting regularly. It's like writing everyday. The more I do it, the easier it becomes to create something new. Some photographers post a couple times a day. I think finding your personal frequency is important. But once you do, stick to it.

My Sister's 1965 VW Bus My Sister's 1965 VW Bus

Instagram has certainly had its share of controversy. And for some, it just isn't a good fit. But for me, it's been the first photo dairy that I've actually stuck with. I'm enjoying both the images by others, and the challenge to create new content day after day.


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

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"Critters" - Photo Assignment 92

For the November 2013 Photo Assignment, TDS shooters demonstrated their bravery while capturing these compelling portraits of four (or six) legged beasts. See for yourself in our gallery, Critters. And which one will be the SizzlPix Photo Assignment Pick of the Month?

Don-Zwicker-pa-nov-2013.jpg

"This little 'Critter' was shot during a photo excursion to Costa Rica," writes Don Zwicker. "I used a relatively short depth of field to isolate the frog in the image, while still capturing it in its natural environment." See all of the great images from this month's assignment by visiting the Critters gallery page.


Participate in This Month's Assignment

The Jan. 2014 assignment is "White." Details can be found on the Member Participation page. Deadline is Jan. 31, 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: Jan 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 Nov. 2013 at the end of Dec., the Dec. gallery will be posted at the end of Jan., and on and on.

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


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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: Top 10 Photo products of 2013; Nimbleosity Report - Hands on with the Olympus FL-300R electronic flash; Photo Help Desk: Exposure tips for mini studio product shots - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - Favorite products of 2013. It's been a great year for photo related tools. Certainly, however, a few standout as the best. Here are my personal award winners.

sony-a7r-no-lens.jpg

Story #2 - The Nimbleosity Report (www.thenimblephotographer.com): Hands on with the Olympus FL-300R compact flash. I used flash for the first time to cover my parents 60th wedding anniversary event at my sister's house in Huntington Beach California. Over the course of the day, I did both the bounce flash and direct flash with this little unit. I cover how it performed in the second segment of today show.

Story #3 - From the Photo Help Desk (www.photohelpdesk.com): Exposure tips for mini studio product shots. Collapsible many studios are great for small product shots. But sometimes those bright white backgrounds fool your camera's exposure meter, creating the old gray backgrounds instead of white ones. Here's how to clean things up in the third segment of today show.

Photo Assignment News

Photo Assignment for January 2014 is White.

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 (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.


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.

Podcast Sponsors

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

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

Portrait Tips for iPhone Photographers

At first, you wouldn't think that the iPhone would be a good portrait camera. Its lens is wide with no optical zoom. The LED flash is too weak for outdoor fill. And it doesn't come with a tripod mount.

And yet, you can capture surprisingly good portraiture with it... including selfies that look much better than the typical Instagram snaps.

fill-light-for-portrait.jpg

In my latest Macworld Magazine article, How to shoot the best portraits with your iPhone, I share a half dozen proven tips for improving your people shots, including using your car window shade as a reflector. If you're toting an iPhone, you might want to check these out.


Nimble Photographer Logo

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

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

I'm traveling again, so that's the subject of today's The Nimble Photographer Journal entry, Notes from the Road.

cloud-over-tejon-pass.jpg

And on Photo Help Desk, we help Barry control the tone of his mini-studio backdrop in the post, My White Has Turned Gray.

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


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

Celebrating the New Year typically involves good things to eat and drink. It's also a great time to capture ambiance images that go beyond the whacky portraits at the strike of midnight. So don't forget the food shots!

holiday-food-spread.jpg

I usually start with an overview, such as the image above, then start to work closer on the individual offerings. Existing light food shots can be quite artistic. But you'll probably need to use a flash some too. I find that bounce flash is perfect for many of these subjects.

Then, once the party is over, send you favorite food shot or two to the chef or hostess with a thank you for the great evening. They will appreciate your artistry and consideration.


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

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

Is the Olympus FL-300R Flash Worth $139?

Olympus FL-300R Flash on an OM-D E-M5

When you see the Olympus FL-300R compact flash on a catalog page, it looks very tempting - especially for th modest $139 investment (modest in the world of flash photography). But does this wireless unit perform? I decided to put it through its paces with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 and E-M1.

Things I Liked

  • Very compact and light. Uses 2 AAA batteries
  • Tilts back for bounce flash and forward for macro
  • Wireless capability with 2 channels
  • Built-in diffuser panel that's effective
  • Flash folds forward to stay out of the way when not in use
  • Easy to operate
  • Comes with protective pouch and off-camera stand

Things I Didn't Like as Much

FL-300R in Bounce Position

  • Can't use EVF in bounce position. Must use LCD for composition
  • Only angles 60 degrees backwards, instead of full 90 degrees
  • Flash can only be fired 10 times in succession at intervals of 6 seconds

The FL-300R On Camera

I liked that the flash slides directly into the hot shoe and doesn't require you to reveal the Accessory Port. I used Philips MultiLife 1000mah rechargeable AAA batteries to power the unit. The flash was ready for action just a few seconds after pushing the On/Off button, and it recharged quickly between firings.

Exposures were good on both the E-M5 and E-M1. I discovered that what is advertised as a Wide Panel (its switch is on the side of the FL-300R) is also an excellent built-in diffuser. When enabled, it lowered the contrast and softened shadows. I especially recommend it when working close to subjects. When in bounce position, however, don't use the wide panel setting because it does cut output a bit.

FL-300R Flash Back Side

The FL-300R Off Camera

Even though the FL-300R is definitely an upgrade from the accessory popup flash that comes with the OM-D, don't toss it out. You'll need the pop-up to serve as the wireless controller for the FL-300R.

Once the popup is in place and the camera is fired up, all you have to do is move the RC switch on the back of the FL-300R to "A" and enable RC Mode in Menu 2 on the camera. Wireless performance was quite good, and it adds another dimension to your flash photography options.

You can hold the flash in your hand for on-the-go off-camera flash. Or you can use the supplied stand to position it on a table or shelf. The stand includes a threaded socket, so it can serve as an adapter for a light stand or tripod too.

The Final Word

Because of its capabilities and compact size, I do recommend the Olympus FL-300R Compact Flash for casual flash photography. It's not powerful enough for serious event coverage, but when you need to cobble together a quick lighting setup for a portrait or family gathering, you'll be happy to have this compact unit in your bag.


Nimble Photographer Logo

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

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

This week on The Digital Story photography podcast: 5 holiday photo tips; on the Nimbleosity Report - Testing the new version of Camera+ for the iPhone; from the Photo Help Desk: long exposures - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - 5 Holiday Photo Tips - If you're lucky enough to be able to spend time with family and friends during the holidays, here are a few photo tips to keep in mind.

  • Think portraits as well as activities. Yes, it's fun to photograph Uncle Bill opening his present, but get a portrait too. In the coming years, those informal, environmental candids will become more valuable.
  • Reduce flash exposure. Most cameras emit too much flash indoors. Go to Flash Exposure Compensation and set it to -2/3 or even -1. Then increase your ISO to 400 or 800 to reduce dependency on the flash.
  • Get a group shot. Yes, everyone will moan and groan. But group shots tell a big story in just a single frame.It's worth your while to set one up.
  • Photograph food and decorations. Be sure to capture the food table before everyone digs in. Keep an eye out for decorations and place settings.
  • Share your images. The more people in the family that you share pictures with, the better the chances they will survive the decades. Believe it or not, sending email attachments are often the most effective because the recipients don't have to do anything to receive them.

Story #2 - The Nimbleosity Report (www.thenimblephotographer.com): Camera+ for iPhone - There are many good camera apps for the iPhone. And the latest version of Camera+ should be counted among the best of them. Here's why it's one of my favorites.

Story #3 - From the Photo Help Desk (www.photohelpdesk.com): Holidays are a great time of year for long exposures. Be sure to pack a micro tripod in your kit. If your camera has built-in WiFi, you may be able to trip the shutter using a companion app on your iOS or Android device. If not, remember that the self-timer can serve as safe way to initiate the exposure without jarring the camera. And don't forget to keep the ISO low for long exposures...

Photo Assignment for December is High ISO.

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 (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.


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.

Podcast Sponsors

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

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

Two Good Articles About the Sony a7R

sony-a7r-no-lens.jpg

You don't have to be an industry guru to know that the Sony Alpha a7R full frame mirrorless camera is disruptive technology. The feat of bringing large sensor photography to a diminutive camera is impressive.

Now that the a7 and a7R are available, where do we go from here? Do we sell all of our existing gear and jump on the bandwagon? Do all enthusiast photographers really need a full frame camera? I've recently read two excellent articles that help put this disruption into perspective.

Michael Reichmann, whom I met on a shoot in Iceland, published the essay, The Full Frame Myth. He writes:

"But Full Frame has now become a moving target, and Sony has just seriously moved the goal posts - to mix a couple of metaphors. Up until the release of the Sony A7 and A7r in late 2013 it would have been safe to say, or write, that the compromise for Full Frame's higher resolution was larger, bulkier bodies and also larger, heavier lenses. But the new Sonys knock that postulate into a cocked hat. These cameras are in fact as small and as light as some MFT cameras, let alone APS-C models."

Michael manages to put the Sony a7R in perspective while still acknowledging the excellence of other top cameras in the APS-C and Micro Four Thirds format. It's a good piece and worth the time to read it.

I also liked Roger Cicala's A Bit of A7R Sanity. He states, "The camera does some things very well at an excellent price. That will be enough to assure some people will learn how to work around those limitations. In another month or two the screaming will die down and some people will be using the camera regularly and making superb images with it. Because it's fully capable of making superb images. It's never going to work for action photography. It may (or may not) be a great walk around camera. But it will do certain things better than any camera out there at a price that's going to attract a lot of attention."

Roger is very practical in his evaluation of the a7's potential impact on the industry. And both his post and the essay by Michael Reichmann helped me sort out this situation in my head.

I'm one of those guys who doesn't need to shoot full frame all of the time. And when I do, I have my Canon and its arsenal of lenses. The rest of the time, I'm fine with APS-C and Micro Four Thirds sensors. So I don't need to start saving for the Sony a7R.

But your situation may be different. And reading these two articles will hopefully help you sort things out.

PS: the proper labeling of the camera is: Sony a7R.


Nimble Photographer Logo

This Sony a7R has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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