Lens hoods are probably one of the most overlooked and important pieces of gear that we have for our lenses. They help with a number of things — with everything from reducing lens flares to getting rid of haze caused by the sun. What Does a Lens Hood Do? "Shade" Your Photographs Lens hoods are made to redirect the sunlight that reaches your lens, and in turn, help to "shade" your photographs. When shooting with a lens hood on, you protect your photographs and end up getting a more realistic contrast than you would without a lens … [Read more...] about Want Better Photographs? Use Your Lens Hood
Learn more about Bryan at bryanesler.com.
Latest posts by Bryan Esler (see all)
- Want Better Photographs? Use Your Lens Hood - April 18, 2018
- Searching for a Lightroom Alternative: Is it Time to Switch? - April 17, 2018
- Photography Marketing: The Value of a Professional Photographer - April 16, 2018
Since Adobe changed some of its Creative Cloud pricing on Monday (4/16/18; note the Photography plans were not impacted), there's been a lot of discussion surrounding alternatives to Lightroom. And while Lightroom continues to be the industry standard for photo editing and organization, there's a lot of tools out there that are great alternatives for people who don't want to be married to a subscription model. Luminar $59 for Photofocus readers; available for Mac and Windows I've been using Skylum's Luminar 2018 since it first came out, and … [Read more...] about Searching for a Lightroom Alternative: Is it Time to Switch?
One of the biggest struggles I had when first starting my business was how to price my photography. And while there's no easy answer, there is a recipe for success that I've followed for the past few years. 1) Your Time + Your Costs There's more that goes into pricing your photography than just your time shooting. You have to remember preparation and setup, post-processing and client communication. Most clients don't like to see these items lined out on an invoice, but be sure to pack it into your overall hourly cost. In fact, the only item I … [Read more...] about Photography Marketing: The Value of a Professional Photographer
Category: Street Photographer: Dan Schneider "From Light to Dark" Dan does an amazing job with this capture, highlighting the deep shadows that are occurring during an afternoon high sun. The black and white edit adds to the contrast and scene here, creating somewhat of a surreal moment. And if that weren't enough, he lets the leading lines in the brick showcase off his subject in the upper part of the photograph. Originally shared with the Photofocus Flickr community right here. You can be the Photofocus Photographer of the Day. … [Read more...] about Photographer of the Day: Dan Schneider
Some of the most-utilized items that photographers have are lens filters. These give photographers ways to control color, reflections, highlights and more. But what filters should you get, and when should you use them? UV Filters As a beginning photographer, I used UV filters on all my camera lenses. They gave me a way to protect my valuable lens glass from scratches, dust, dirt and pesky fingerprint smudges. It also meant that I wouldn't have to worry quite as much should I drop my lens while shooting, as it would protect the … [Read more...] about What Are Lens Filters & Why Should You Use Them?
Category: Sports Photographer: Fitz Crittle Photography "Gasparilla Run" Running is a sport that can bring out the best and worst in athletes, especially when it comes to showing their emotions. This runner, though, is photographed with a smile on her face, which captures the attitude of her perfectly. What's more, the photographer manages to feature a golden light with some hard shadows on her, making for what I can presume is a photograph taken around sunset. Originally shared with the Photofocus Flickr community right here. You … [Read more...] about Photographer of the Day: Fitz Crittle Photography
When it comes to developing websites, there's one term that gets met with a lot of confusion — Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. Recently I decided to redesign my website, and instead of just uploading pretty pictures, I made sure that everything was optimized for search engines. The hope was that I would be better found as a corporate event photographer in my area. An Image-Driven Website Before my website redesign, I focused on my images and highlighting them as best as possible. For me, this meant having a five-image slideshow that would … [Read more...] about Photography Marketing: The One Change I Made to Increase My Website Leads
Hi. My name is Bryan. and I'm recovering GAS — Gear Acquisition Syndrome — abuser. I'm not alone. Actually, practically, all of us either have or will have been there. We see the newest camera bodies and sleek lenses that are coming out, and we begin to drool. Then we buy. Everything is alright again. Then... And then we buy some more. Rest assured, there's a way to treat GAS and be happy with the current gear you have. It's Not About the Gear I alluded to this in my article about switching to Olympus, but it's not about the gear — it's … [Read more...] about How to Diagnose and Treat GAS: Gear Acquisition Syndrome
When I made my switch to a micro four-thirds camera system, all of my lens filter threads were significantly smaller than what I was used to. None of my filters fit any of my new lenses. But instead of buying up new lenses, I simply bought step-up adapter rings for them. It allowed me to keep the 82mm circular filters I had and use them on my new camera equipment, which had 52mm and 72mm filter thread sizes. … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: Don’t Toss Those Old Filters; Get Adapters!
Category: Street Photographer: Ed Castaneda New York is known for its large transit system, and Ed captures this scene perfectly. The lighting here is spot-on, helping to illuminate the bus driver just enough to make out what's happening inside. Street photography is meant to capture real life — and that's exactly what Ed strives to do in this photograph. Originally shared with the Photofocus Facebook community right here. You can be the Photofocus Photographer of the Day. Here's how. … [Read more...] about Photographer of the Day: Ed Castaneda
Category: Sports Photographer: fiore_lla4ever "fammi volare" This kitesurfing photograph struck me for several reasons. For one, the contrast. Black and white photographs in sports, in my opinion, are usually difficult to be effective versus colored photographs. But what the photographer does here is separate the subject from its background by using a dark contrast. The wide photograph helps to open up the scene and give the viewer an overall look of what's happening, instead of just focusing on the surfer. Originally shared with the … [Read more...] about Photographer of the Day: fiore_lla4ever
When it comes to the micro four-thirds system, one of the biggest complaints I hear is that you're limited by the sensor. And while you can certainly make that argument, for me it's more about my needs and usage. But for the times when you do need a larger photograph, both Olympus and Panasonic now offer high-resolution shooting modes in their top-of-the-line cameras, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 MkII, E-M5 MkII and the Lumix DC-G9, which create an 80-megapixel photo. How it Works Both cameras work the same way in terms of how high-resolution photos … [Read more...] about Mirrorless Camera Maniac: How To Make Super-High-Res Photos with MFT Cameras
This morning, Adobe released Lightroom Classic CC version 7.3, which added among other items, new Adobe Profiles, and Creative Profiles. These are similar to presets but are one-click actions that can be used in correlation with other adjustments you've made. Getting Started with Profiles Profiles are located in the Develop module, at the top of the Basic panel. The camera calibration profile has been integrated into this as well, allowing you to choose from Adobe Standard, Color, Landscape, Portrait and Vivid. But to go beyond that, click … [Read more...] about Adobe Releases Lightroom Classic 7.3, Adds Custom Profiles
For a while now, I’ve been on the lookout for a backpack that will provide me both comfort and ample room for my gear, while looking professional. I do have a few different backpacks that check off some of these boxes. I had yet to find one that met all my requirements. The Peak Design Everyday Backpack (30L) is the closest (so far) in terms of finding a perfect backpack for my situation. Design I was lucky enough to receive an Everyday Backpack. I was impressed by the super clean and minimalist design. If you’re familiar with Peak … [Read more...] about Peak Design Everyday Backpack Provides Minimalist and Clean Design with Function
While at WPPI, I was amazed at the number of studio management platforms that were exhibiting. I've written two pieces about studio management platforms in the past year (part one and part two), and it seems like more keep popping up! For marketing purposes, studio management platforms are handy for client relations, allowing you to quickly and easily keep track of your current projects with a client. These platforms often allow you to message or e-mail clients directly from the interface, and help with keeping track of leads that come in … [Read more...] about Photography Marketing: A Third Glance into Studio Management Platforms
When using studio strobes or a hot shoe flash, you might come across a black gradient at the bottom of your images. This happens when you have too fast of a shutter speed, blocking part of the frame lit by your speedlight or strobe. There's an easy way to avoid this. Check your camera's manual for the "sync" shutter speed for flash. Then, keep your shutter speed set at that speed or slower when using speedlight or electronic flash. A shutter set at "sync" or slower ensures the light can fully illuminate the scene your camera captures. … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: How to Get Rid of the Black Gradient at the Bottom of My Photo
Category: Street Photographer: Robertino Radovix "Yellowstone" National parks often provide a surreal perspective at the world, and by combining the scenery with a human element, you get a very unique photograph. Robertino is able to capture a girl running during what appears to be a sunset. The mist behind her creates a very dynamic and layered image, putting the girl and boy in the forefront with the scenery continuing to build behind. The color and light here is absolutely stunning, and just builds upon what is already a very … [Read more...] about Photographer of the Day: Robertino Radovix
Category: Sports Photographer: Pat Callahan "Paris-Doorway Goal" Pat combines the world of sports and street photography in this image, which captures two boys playing soccer, using a door in Paris as a makeshift goal. You can see the readiness on the goalie's face, and the anticipation on the striker as he hopes it'll lead to the end result of a goal. It shows motion on the street, and is a perfect example of how you can combine photography mediums for a great end result. Originally shared with the Photofocus Flickr community right … [Read more...] about Photographer of the Day: Pat Callahan
When I switched to Olympus, I ran into a slight problem. When photographing a corporate event, I realized that the back lens caps on my lenses were all the same. What's more, two of my lenses — the 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO and the 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO — were about the same size. I couldn't tell them apart when glancing into my bag. I thought there had to be a solution for this, and sure enough, I stumbled upon LenzBuddy. LenzBuddy lets you order custom rear and front lens caps, body caps and lens cloths to your liking. You can choose rear and front … [Read more...] about LenzBuddy Solves a Common Camera Gear Problem
One of the things I'm asked to photograph often are speakers at corporate events. These can be boring and uninspiring if not photographed right. So remember this — look at the background and position yourself so there's some texture and depth present behind your subject. In the photo above, the picture frames to the left created a geometrical interest that draws the viewer into the subject's face. Whereas with the photo below, the cross-section of metal helps to frame the subject. If you can, play around with the positioning of your camera, … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: What Makes a Great Photo of a Speaker?
You might have noticed a few changes to Instagram over the past week — and now it's official. Instagram has caved, and has decided to make newer posts more important to its users. I had received messages from several people about this over the past few days, and while I, too, had noticed some changes, Instagram made it official on Thursday, saying in a press release, "With these changes, your feed will feel more fresh, and you won't miss the moments you care about." What This Means Simply put, you're more likely to see new posts from the … [Read more...] about Photography Marketing: Instagram Caves, New Posts to Appear First in Feed
I'm always looking for new and creative ways to play with light. When I had the chance to test out the Vello Octa Softbox for Portable Flash (Large, 12"), I knew that it was portable enough that I could get some interesting angles and views with it. While getting ready for an off-camera lighting workshop, I decided to play around with using the softbox to provide edge lighting on a subject against a black background. The setup was pretty simple, with my Nissin i60A flash mounted on a light stand, with the softbox attached. I also used a … [Read more...] about Using a Portable Softbox to Create Mood Lighting
Category: Street Photographer: monauge "CARNIVAL, Cologne / Germany 2018" When I saw this photograph submitted, I initially chuckled at the subject here. It's not everyday you see a man wearing a green dinosaur outfit out on the street! But this really is a great capture, taken at a festival in Germany. It's carefully composed — the subject is placed upon a fairly neutral street background, making him shine in his colorful costume. It's just not something you see everyday, and it makes you take a second glance. Originally shared with … [Read more...] about Photographer of the Day: monoauge
Category: Sports Photographer: Johann Walter Bantz "The Main Event 5,Championnat du Monde IBF Féminin des Poids Super - Plume, M.Hammadouche / M. Dellal, Palais des Sports, Levallois" Johann's photograph of two boxers duking it out in the ring, is impressive for a number of reasons. First, she manages to capture a blow to the head. The action here is obvious, but Johann freezes it in time, having the elements that matter be super sharp. The black and white treatment also works very well here, as it adds a sense of grit and emotion to the … [Read more...] about Photographer of the Day: Johann Walter Bantz
In Michigan, we get a lot of gray days. But as photographers, we can't let the weather hold us back. Let me show you how I used Luminar 2018 to replace the sky and make my image more engaging. Preparing Your Image In my case, I had already had an image that I processed in Luminar. I did some clone stamping and really played around with the tones, making for a blue-ish, cool tone. But the sky was completely flat, despite using the blue tone present. Choosing a Sky While I loved how my photograph turned out, I knew I wasn't getting any … [Read more...] about Go from Drab to Fab by Replacing Skies
For the past four years, I've photographed an event for Gilda's Club Grand Rapids — the Laughfest Signature Event. It features a highly sought-after comedian with the ultimate goal to raise money for cancer support. This year, Comedy Central's Trevor Noah (from The Daily Show) graced Grand Rapids with his presence for the event. While photographing comedians is a blast, being in the back of the room means you have to be creative in terms of how you're going to capture it. The first year, I was completely unprepared and had to rely on a much … [Read more...] about Mirrorless Camera Maniac: Panasonic Leica 200mm f/2.8 Offers Superb Build Quality & Reach
I've long been a user of Vanguard tripods, and am always curious what their new offerings will bring to the table. The Veo 2 204AB tripod is a perfect lightweight, portable option when you're traveling or on-the-go. I previously tested out the Veo 2 235AB tripod, and it's since become a staple in my bag. But the Veo 2 204AB is even more lightweight, making it ideal for smaller camera bodies. Portable and Secure In terms of portability, the Veo 2 204AB is by far my favorite to use. It's quick to setup and I felt secure with it holding my … [Read more...] about Veo 2 204AB Tripod a Perfect Lightweight Option
One of the things I've been playing around with lately is looking at different ways to market myself using my existing imagery. At WPPI, I happened to find a great way to do this with Animoto, a company that lets you create both marketing and slideshow videos for your business. You can customize them to your liking, using your own images and text, and then share on social media and elsewhere on the web. The videos that Animoto produces are not only easy to produce but engaging. The platform comes with a wide array of customizable templates … [Read more...] about Photography Marketing: Marketing Videos that Don’t Suck
When I first ventured into photography, I started out with a Nikon D5100. From there I upgraded to a D800 (thanks to winning a Photofocus contest on Twitter) and later a D750. Last year I made the tough decision to go mirrorless, ultimately purchasing a Panasonic Lumix GH5 and eventually, a G9. Now I've made another switch. And it's not because I was dissatisfied with my Lumix gear — quite the contrary, in fact. My Lumix system was awesome, and one of the best decisions I've made to switch to them. But after a week of tough thinking, I've … [Read more...] about It’s Not About the Camera — It’s About Evolving as an Artist
Category: Street Photographer: Isengardt "In And Out" The motion that the photographer is able to capture here is perfect. While it's a scene you'll stumble upon in every major city, being able to isolate two subjects and capture them with some motion is impressive. It requires patience and, with the other aspects crystal sharp, a steady hand. Isengardt does a great job here of capturing everyday life in the city. Originally shared with the Photofocus Flickr community right here. You can be the Photofocus Photographer of the Day. … [Read more...] about Photographer of the Day: Isengardt