A few weeks ago Photofocus founder Scott Bourne paid me a surprise visit. He made Viera Wetlands -- a popular site for birders, photographers, and eco-tourists-- one of his stops in Florida to capture some amazing bird photos. Not being a bird photographer, I wan't sure if I could keep up but Scott was a generous teacher and all of us on the shoot got good images. Not knowing much about the wetlands, I called my good friend Michael Tapes --inventor of LensAlign for advice. Michael is also a bird photographer. I asked him if he could take us … [Read more...] about Scott Bourne talks with Michael Tapes on how to get Sharper Images
On this episode of the Photofocus #Mirrorless Show Scott and Marco will discuss these new products and mirrorless topics: Scott found some info that Canon may actually step up their game in the mirrorles segment. Marco gives a fairly thorough hands on review of the new Fujifilm X70 compact camera that he has been working with for a month now. He shares a lot of hands on experiences about what worked well and what does not work so well. And Marco gives some solid firmware improvement wishes that the Fujifilm marketing and product … [Read more...] about Photofocus Podcast April 28, 2016 — Mirrorless with Scott Bourne & Marco Larousse
This weeks Photofocus Podcast for the Photofocus InFocus Interview Series. This show Pamela sits down with Commercial Photographer Clay Cook as he discusses his path to photography and how working non profit has changed both his professional personal life. Then we find Chamira who interviews Ryan Grove from 17hats with inspiration on how creative professionals can find a balance in doing the business side while still having that passion and love for what brought you in the world of creativity in the first … [Read more...] about InFocus Interview Show April 21st, 2016
I've been working from the road for the past several weeks, only stopping home to repack my bags and maybe sleep for a night. One of the ways I stay sane when flying so much is using Bose QC25 noise-cancelling headphones. While being able to catch up on work (or sleep) in peace on the plane, the headphones come with a downside…they need a AAA battery to power the noise cancelling. But they work for about 35 hours on a single AAA battery. Last week, I was boarding an early-morning flight to Atlanta. When I got to my seat, I put on my Bose … [Read more...] about I Didn’t Bring a Backup
Back in October during PhotoPlus Expo I had the pleasure of meeting the founders of a new Bag Company that had just been funded on Kickstarter, WANDRD. The two adventurous brothers were displaying a prototype bag called the PRVKE (Provoke), and it caught my interest pretty freaking quick. At the time I had been coming from several months on the road traveling and shooting, and getting pretty frustrated with my bag selection. Albeit huge, I was still lacking in that perfect travel kit bag that fit all my gear, felt comfortable, and looked better … [Read more...] about PRVKE Bag by WANDRD – A Stylish and Functional Adventurer Bag!
If you're looking for more control when shooting, consider tethering. Connecting a computer to your DSLR camera opens up a brand-new world of opportunities in image making. The images can then download for review on a bigger screen or for sharing with clients. You can gain greater control over your in-camera adjustments and get a more accurate picture of your lighting and setup. Here's a quick overview of the process. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPYJQzeO0UQ The folks over at TeetherTools have also put together a free ebook to help … [Read more...] about Free Guide on Tethering
Think Tank Photo has just announced the release of their latest product, the Production Manager 50, a gigantic roller case designed to hold an immense amount of gear, including lighting equipment and large light modifiers. This case will allow a single photographer to transport what it used to take up to two assistants to move! Its size, in case you were wondering, is impressive; Exterior Dimensions: 17.3” W x 53.1” H x 12.6” D (44 x 135 x 32 cm), Interior Dimensions: 15.6” W x 49.2” H x 10” D (39.5 x 125 x 25 cm), and its Weight: 20.7 – 29.8 … [Read more...] about Think Tank Has Released The Largest Rolling Photography Case Ever!
I’m a snob about lighting, which means I won’t make a picture if the light isn’t good enough. When I have the opportunity to influence the light on my subjects, the one tool I use most frequently is the diffuser, or scrim, from my 5-in-1 reflector kit. It’s extremely inexpensive, and does a fine job of softening and redirecting the light on my subjects. What’s It Do? A diffuser makes a small light into a big light and that makes it softer and more flattering for every subject. The sun is a tiny little light in the sky, but when it shines … [Read more...] about One Must Have Lighting Tool: Diffuser
I always like when my tools get a power boost. Kudos to Panasonic which just released two pretty amazing features for the Panasonic DMC-GH4. The company dropped a brand new update to the camera's firmware taking it to version 2.5. Here's what's new... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJjvEe6VbM0 Post Focus Post Focus is a technology that allows you to adjust which point is in-focus point after shooting. This technology was first seen on Lytro cameras, but Panasonic has taken it to the next level by allowing cameras to actual refine … [Read more...] about Own a Panasonic GH4? It’s Time For a Major Upgrade
That’s right…March 31st is World Backup Day! The stories and memories we capture through images are priceless, but they may not last forever without a solid backup plan. On World Backup Day, make sure that you’re precious files are backed up safe and sound. What should I Check Make sure your backup drives are all booting up and spinning Check that there is enough space to continue backing up, or look into getting a larger hard drive If your system has an automated backup, check and make sure it's completing it's backup without … [Read more...] about March 31st is World Backup Day
https://soundcloud.com/photofocus/the-mirrorless-show-photofocus-podcast-march-28-2016 On this episode of the Photofocus #Mirrorless Show Scott and Marco will discuss these new products and mirrorless topics: Marco takes a closer look at the partially overlooked Fujifilm X70 compact camera. Does it offer more camera than you may think? Scott shares his first hand experiences from WPPI camera show in Las Vegas. He played with the new Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f4-6.3 lens, the new Sigma sd Quattro H, the Leica SL with the … [Read more...] about Photofocus Podcast March 28, 2016 — Mirrorless with Scott Bourne & Marco Larousse
What's the number one feature I look for in a camera bag? Lots of pockets? Strong zippers? Nope. When I choose a camera bag I want it to be easy to find my stuff. That's why I look for a light interior. If your bag has a bright colored or light liner, it's often easier to find your stuff. That's why many companies use bright yellow or tan interiors. This will make it a lot easier to locate a black camera body or lens. It also means you can rummage around on a night shoot and not struggle so much. Here's two bonus tips. First add an … [Read more...] about Shopping for a New Camera Bag? Be Sure to Look for this Feature
In what certainly counts as the least surprising Apple keynote in recent years, the company teased two new products on Monday that shrink existing products: a new 4-inch iPhone and 9.7-inch iPad Pro. While the phone is aimed squarely at new customers, the iPad seems to answer many of the complaints existing Apple devotees had of their massive 12-inch iPad Pro which hit the streets six months ago. The new more svelte iPad Pro packs almost all of the processing punch of it's bigger sibling into the more hand-friendly 9.7-inch form factor 200 … [Read more...] about There’s a New, Smaller iPad Pro. Should You Care?
When shooting a portrait or head shot outdoors or inside a studio, I always use a reflector or bounce card to add some sparkle to the subject. This is Emily, I first shot her without any reflected light indoors in my studio. Now, I will add some reflected light directly below her and just out of the bottom frame. Notice Garrett is holding the reflector. Some photographers will ask the talent to just hold the reflector because they have no one to assist them. Get a stand or something, never ask your subject to hold the reflector on … [Read more...] about Reflected Beauty
I’m heading out to the east coast of Florida to photograph wading birds and if I am lucky a few raptors. It’s a fairly long trip with lots of things on my to-do list. I could write a post about gear checklists, and travel arrangements, but I’d rather cover something else. When I am about to go on a big photo trip I try to develop what I call a constraints checklist. What are my goals for the trip? What photographs do I hope to bring back? What subjects or locations or conditions am I in search of? What places or gear or subjects can I skip … [Read more...] about Preparing For That Next Big Photo Trip – Constraints
I often see photographers misusing an important piece of gear, and it's one of the simplest tools in your bag. Many lenses come with a lens hood, and right now I'll show you why you have it and why you should be using it. What's It Do? The lens hood is intended to keep the sun from shining into the front of your lens, and ruining your pictures. Not that it'll keep the sun from shining in if you point it at the sun, but it keeps the sun from shining across the front of the lens and reducing contrast. These two pictures are taken straight … [Read more...] about The 411 on Lens Hoods
I often say that a tripod is the only bit of kit you can buy that will actually make your pictures better. Well, I spent some time maintaining mine, today and thought you might benefit from my experience. Let's talk about why your tripod needs maintenance, some tools you'll probably need, and we'll get to the Zen part at the bottom. Maintenance...? Like cars, or bicycles, or doors in your house, tripods just need some tender loving care every now and again. There are moving parts that need lubrication, and if you use your tripod half as … [Read more...] about Zen and the Art of Tripod Maintenance
You gotta join us live for our next Google+ Hangout, totally free of charge. Not only will you learn terrific techniques, but if you tune in live, you can be entered to win excellent prizes to help you in your work. (Note: MUST BE TUNED IN LIVE TO WIN). We'll be giving away a copy of Perfectly Clear from Athentech. Plus you never know what else. We kick off Monday 3/21 at 2:00 pm Eastern, 1:00 pm Central, 12:00 pm Mountain, and 11:00 am Pacific. 3:30 pm in Newfoundland. RSVP here and it'll show your local time. This Month: Practice … [Read more...] about Lightroom Hangout: Practice Makes Perfect with Pete Collins
Here's a great tip I got from watching some grips quickly change gels on some frames. In the past, when you removed an old gel or diffusion material you always had the mess of the sticky material. Either the 2-sided tape, or the foam stuff from 3M double stick, which ever material was used it was a challenge. I was observing some grips used the following technique and it was fast. This is a standard 18"x24" frame. The first thing you want to do is apply Blue Painters Tape around the entire frame. Here you can see I'm using 1" … [Read more...] about Getting Taped Up
In my previous post, Light Stand Basics Part 1, I gave you some safety tips and jargon to get you started working with light stands. A light stand is one of the only things you can buy that will actually make your photography better. Getting consistent results from your light requires keeping it the same distance from your subject from shot to shot, and even my best assistants can't keep the light in place for more than a few minutes without tiring. Use a light stand to make better pictures. There are many stands to choose from and they vary … [Read more...] about Light Stand Basics Part 2
After a camera and a tripod, a light stand is the one piece of equipment I use more than anything else. For a long time (too long) I used assistants (like my wife) to hold lights and reflectors for portraits and product photography. Once I started using light stands, I had much better results because the light wouldn't change from shot to shot. I was able to work with my subjects to acheive more subtlety because I could trust that there face was the only variable, as in the photograph above. I highly recommend you use light stands, so I'll show … [Read more...] about Light Stand Basics Part 1
At least as much as anyone, I'm intrigued by drones. I've always wanted to be a pilot, I'm reading a book on the Wright Brothers right now, I fly every chance I get, and if I ever have a first born son, I'm torn between naming him Bernoulli or Orville. I'm crazy about flying, but I don't own a drone. However, the newest announcement from DJI certainly has me considering it more than I ever. I have three concerns that have kept me back from buying a drone, but the Phantom 4 seems to address them pretty well. 1. The Camera As much as I like … [Read more...] about DJI’s Phantom 4: A Photographer’s Take
Making great light is essential to making great portraits. And I mean that: you've got to make great light. You can find a good source of available light, but I've rarely seen any available light that couldn't be made better, either with reflectors and flags or by adding light somewhere with a flash. When you need to use a flash, you also need to modify the light coming out of it, and my favorite new modifier for small flash is the Magmod system. Let me share a few ideas about modifying light, and why I like Magmod. Why Modify? Modifying … [Read more...] about Modifying Speedlights & Magmod
I use Sony a6000 as my primary underwater camera. It is 24.3MP so I can easily compose in editing. The kit lens is sharp and shoots wide. The Sony shoots in RAW, necessary for white balance and editing after the fact. It has very fast autofocus which can keep up with my subjects as well as three continuous shooting speeds. But, the primary reason I went with the a6000 over any other model was because I was able to purchase an underwater hard case for the camera for around $200. I selected the Neewer 40m/130ft Underwater Housing. Amazon also … [Read more...] about Sony a6000 with Neewer Underwater Case
I really enjoy close-up photography, so when my daughter had a dance recital recently, I had ulterior motives for buying her a bouquet of flowers. Right after she was in bed, I set about photographing her flowers. In this case, I wanted to put a new lens through its paces, and this lens is uniquely qualified to photograph closeups of tulips. The Lensbaby Edge 50 is both marvelous as a closeup lens, and its tilt feature makes it ideal for focussing on long things and maintaining sharp focus. The Edge 50 Optic Firstly, the lens is a marvel. It's … [Read more...] about Close-Up with a Tilt Lens: Lensbaby Edge 50 Mini Review
This is an exciting week for photographers who love shooting fast-moving subjects. Canon dropped the details of their new flagship camera with up to 16 frames per second, 4K video and screaming-fast processing power. At $6,000 US for the hulking body many speed shooters will drool over the EOS-1 D X Mark II, but only the financially flush will be scooping them up. As if on cue, Sony pulled the covers off their tiny speed demon this morning and it brings some of the rapid-fire prowess of the big professional DSLRs and it does it for 1/6th the … [Read more...] about Sony A6300 – Pocket Monster
Most consumers don't know that there are differences between memory cards besides the obvious capacities and different formats that are available. There are several identifiers to know to help you choose the right memory card for the type of shooting that you do and that can be crucial since not all cards are created equally. Before going out and buying new cards on sale... 1. Consider this What type of photography do you do? If you're an action and sports photographer or even a videographer, having a memory card with a fast minimum write speed … [Read more...] about Write Speeds – Memory Cards Are Not Created Equal
A while back, I was chatting with Scott Bourne about the emerging 4K acquisition standard and the video camera "arms race" originally started by Red Digital Cinema. At the time, he said "Rich Harrington is always talking about 4K as well. I get it. It's a bigger frame, but I am not sure how that will impact still photographers." Over the last eighteen months, a lot has changed. Panasonic, Sony, GoPro and, most recently, Canon have brought new 4K capable cameras to market. Even our smartphones now capture 4K video. With this in mind, you may … [Read more...] about 4K. What’s all the Hubub, Bub?
I often use my children as subjects before I have a big shoot scheduled. I will bring my children to the location, and have them help scout, pick angles and model for me. This provides valuable feedback on how the light and environment responds to my gear and settings and gives me the opportunity to review my images before the make or break day. Practice with New Gear I am a Canon shooter and a member of Canons professional services program. It is free to borrow lenses through this program. Last year, I borrowed a Canon 200mm F/2.0 lens. I was … [Read more...] about Using your Children as Models
So often someone will take the time to light the talent to look great but forget to light the background and give the image some depth: One method is to use a Cucoloris. Some will refer to it a s a cookie cutter:The Cucoloris will create a shadowed texture onto your background depending on the distance the light source is from the Cucoloris. The general rule with light is that the closer the light the softer the light, the larger the light the softer the light. Allow me to show you this theory in practical application:As you can see in the … [Read more...] about Cucoloris for Shadowed Texture