I recently added a Nikon D850 to my arsenal, and more recently, had the opportunity to test it out with the addition of a Vello BG-N19 battery grip. The battery grip was provided to me by B&H for the purposes of this review. What is a battery grip? There are generally two different types of battery grips, one built-in (e.g. Nikon D5) and the other an add-on accessory. A battery grip allows for near seamless transition from landscape to portrait orientation, with a redundant set of camera controls and more battery power. The battery grip … [Read more...] about The Vello BG-N19 Battery Grip for Nikon D850
I just got Aurora HDR 2018 and I couldn't wait to try it with different shots. What does it do? How do I feel working in this brand new environment? Here are my thoughts on my first hands-on experience with the software! Landscape I was pretty excited to edit some of the pictures we'd taken in Vegas last week. The sunrise was amazing and so was the scenery. I had an issue at the location: I forgot my tripod! That meant bye-bye to the standard three-or-more-exposures-merged-to-HDR technique and hello handheld camera. Since I wasn't in the … [Read more...] about My First Aurora HDR 2018 Experience
Editor's note: This is a guest Post by Ugo Cei. See his work right here. In recent times I haven’t been making much use of filters in my photography. I would occasionally use a polarizer and that’s all. As a consequence, when faced with landscape scenes with a lot of contrast, like when the sky is bright, but the ground is in shade, I would normally resort to bracketing and then merging the resulting shots to HDR or doing some kind of blending. Graduated Neutral Density (GND) Filters When creating HDR photos, I always strive to produce … [Read more...] about Gear Review: NiSi Medium GND 100x150mm Filter
Docking your MacBook to a screen at your home or office gives the best compromise between portability and performance! I've been docking my MacBooks to monitors at my home office since my first MacBook Pro from 2010! So, why wouldn't you? The MacBooks are fantastic little machines that can pack a punch while being so portable-- but the 13" or 15" screen can leave one desiring more real estate to play with. So why not get the benefit of having a desktop setup with a laptop and bump up the performance while you're at it with a SVALT Dock? Things … [Read more...] about Dock & Cool Your MacBook for Max Performance!
Recently, my friend and fellow Photofocus author, Levi Sim, called me up and asked me about how I print my photos for my clients. We discussed the options I have and where I like to have them printed and he asked me if I had ever used acrylics. I shared with him that truthfully, I didn't really enjoy acrylic prints. I find them to be a bit too much "in your face" with their super reflective nature. I always found that the acrylic got in the way of the viewing experience. He proceeded to tell me about what ArtisanHD is doing with a new product … [Read more...] about A New Kind of Acrylic: TruLife
The Basics Okay, so awhile back I was asked to test and review the Angler Silverbox 18" Softbox and at first, given I have the Profoto version of this as well as the Beauty Dish, I was wondering just how useful or good this guy could be. Given it was 1/2 the price, (or less), of the Profoto version I was used too, I was pretty sure the quality would be less than great and i'd try it once, and throw into a corner never to be seen again. Well...lets just say I was pleasantly surprised! Check this out; Above is a shot I took using JUST … [Read more...] about Angler Silverbox 18″ Softbox Review
I have loved Platypod from the very beginning. In fact, up until recently, it was my only tripod of sorts. I couldn’t even afford a tripod so I used my Platypod everywhere. I honestly didn’t need anything else. I was excited to use the Platypod Max on a TV show I was invited to be on to discuss my expertise in shooting night sky photos. What better way to showcase one of my already favorite tools on an international level? The day before shooting we were scouting locations and I didn’t bother taking any BTS as the BTS I wanted would include … [Read more...] about My (Un)Typical Review Of The Platypod Max
There are many photo-editing products available for processing images in conjunction with Lightroom. Many of these products are third-party plugins which can be used directly from Lightroom or as stand-alone applications. Other products provide presets or brushes used within Lightroom. Presets actually move the Lightroom sliders, creating enhancements that affect the entire image. Brushes are used to selectively brush in adjustments through the Lightroom adjustment brush or the gradient tool. Recently I began incorporating Sleeklens presets … [Read more...] about Lightroom Brushes and Presets by Sleeklens
I don’t use a monopod often, but when I do I want it to feel good in my hands. It should provide stability no matter what size lens is attached to my camera, and be convenient to use—easy to open and close. I have tried several monopods through the years. Some unscrewed from a leg of a tripod, some were free standing. I never felt terribly satisfied. A couple of the monopods seemed flimsy. One did not twist open easily. Another was too heavy to carry around for a full day. I sold them all. Finally, I recently found a monopod that works for me, … [Read more...] about The Oben CTM-2500 Carbon Fiber Monopod
I know, I know...Frequency Separation is a VERY hot & loaded topic to bring up, and no, you don't _have_ to use it. It's pretty easy to go way too heavy handed with F.S. and end up making your portrait client look like a plastic doll. But when it's used right, it's pretty much going to be your go-to tool for perfecting your clients' images. A lot of professional full-time retouchers, love it or hate it, use Frequency Separation on nearly everything, so let's ignore the arguments about what can go wrong with F.S. and just go into why this … [Read more...] about Frequency Separation for the Next Generation
A photographer is always looking for new camera bags, but there always seems to be a new one on my mind. I was looking for a camera backpack that I could keep a camera body and lens attached while carrying a few extra lenses and accessories. I don’t use a backpack often, but I have the ThinkTank Shape Shifter and it works well, but I can’t fit a body with a lens attached into that backpack. I had the chance to try out the new Ruggard Thunderhead 35 DSLR & Laptop Backpack courtesy of B&H. The Ruggard Thunderhead 35 is a small camera … [Read more...] about Ruggard Thunderhead 35 DSLR and Laptop Backpack Review
Macphun (Skylum Software) just dropped their latest version of their editing tool, Luminar 2018 and I decided to check it out. I'm not typically one to edit my work with tons of filters and actions, and those that I do use, I tend to use sparingly, so I wanted to see what Luminar 2018 had in store and how much finesse their tools had. Seeing as I just got back from an epic journey to South Africa, I had a lot of fun images to play with. First Impressions: Pros One of the major things I like about Luminar 2018 is its flexibility. It can … [Read more...] about Luminar 2018: My First Impressions
For the past decade, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom has been one of the top standard photo processing and image organizing software on the market. The consumer had very few options—until now. Here’s why: ON1 Photo RAW 2018 may be the answer photographers have been looking for as a Lightroom alternative. (If you want to try the software out for free – click here.) ON1 has had a standalone version since 2014 For years, ON1 has created great plugins for both Lightroom and Photoshop. The only problem—you still needed Lightroom or Photoshop to use the … [Read more...] about ON1 Photo RAW 2018: a Lightroom Alternative?
The worst thing you can do in your workflow as a visual artist is to blow a whole lot of money on expensive camera gear, and skimp out on the equipment that is needed to view what you capture. Having a poor monitor is just as bad as having a super poor lens-- I mean, it's great if you're being spontaneously artistic and aren't expecting realistic colors. I've been given the opportunity to take a look at the ViewSonic VP2785-4K display, and I think that this screen is super awesome! Here's a few reasons why... Thought-out Features Like the … [Read more...] about ViewSonic’s VP 2785-4K is such a beast!
There comes a time in every photographer's life when it's time to upgrade to a new bag. As we accumulate common photography paraphernalia (camera bodies, lenses, speedlights, and the list goes on), it becomes increasingly difficult to fit these toys into smaller bags. This was certainly the case for me. Enter the Ruggard Triumph 45 Sling Bag. This bag was a game changer for me and made me more efficient as a photographer. To say that it was an upgrade from my former, smaller bag is an understatement. Let's dive into the details of this … [Read more...] about A Hands-On Review of the Ruggard Triumph 45 Bag
A lightweight travel tripod is a handy piece of equipment for every photographer to have in their gear collection. There are times where larger, heavier, "workhorse" tripods are not the right tool for the job, or places where they are too cumbersome to transport and use. On the lookout for a new one, a few months ago I got my hands on the Oben CT-3551 Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod and BE-113T Ball Head. After unpacking it my first thought was "Wow, this thing is light, I'm going to break it." But, half a year later with pretty … [Read more...] about Gear Review: Oben CT-3551 Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod and BE-113T Ball Head
Many agree that one of the most vexing things about photography is getting your exposure and white balance correct in camera. Sure, you can fix it in the post-processing phase if you shoot in RAW (and I generally recommend that you shoot in RAW. It makes all the difference in the world). Still, if you could make your life easier, cut down on your workload, and make sure your photos look consistently great, then wouldn’t you go that route? Seems like a no-brainer to me. That’s why I’m going to review the Impact Quikbalance 12" Gray Panel. … [Read more...] about Review: The Impact Quikbalance 12″ Gray Panel for Correct White Balance in Camera
Before leaving on a photography trip I always read a photography book that gets my creative juices flowing and my eyes and mind ready for new and exciting challenges. Joel Meyerowitz’s book “Seeing Things” is such a book. The book is labeled “A Kid’s Guide to Looking at Photographs”. I guess I am still a kid then, because it sure opened my eyes a bit bigger. For those who are not familiar with Joel Meyerowitz, he is an award-winning photographer whose work has appeared in over 350 exhibitions in galleries and museums around the world. He is … [Read more...] about The Traveling Photographer: Seeing Things
Until recently, I’ve felt a little left out when it comes to the Macphun line of photo editing and effects software. I’m a Windows guy, a sometimes lonely place to be in the oft Apple dominated world of graphic design and photography. Until this year Macphun software wasn’t available for us PC’s. I figured Macphun’s software would always remain out of reach until Macphun released Luminar for Windows earlier this year. So, I tried it. And liked it. A lot! Getting a chance to take the new Beta version of Aurora HDR for a spin, I was cautiously … [Read more...] about First Impressions of the New Aurora HDR 2018 for Windows
Whether you’re looking for a robust alternative to Adobe or you’ve already made the switch, ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate should be a strong consideration. The complete tool offers a digital asset manager to keep your images organized, a raw conversion program to decode and develop raw files, as well as a robust, layered image editor. The package is GPU accelerated and I found it very fast for editing and browsing as well as adjusting images. The software is available with a perpetual license (no monthly fees) or a monthly … [Read more...] about A First Look at ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2018
If you have followed my posts then you probably know I am not a product photographer, nor do I typically photograph still life images, art objects or food. There are times, however, I have wanted to have some fun shooting flowers or other objects on a solid white background. That is how I came upon the Impact Desktop Shooting Table. Affordable Convenience The aluminum table with a plexiglass top provides a convenient and affordable solution for photographing smaller objects on a white background. It folds up relatively small and thin, with … [Read more...] about Impact Desktop Shooting Table
Headshot photography, once reserved for actors and the occasional executive, is now about as mainstream as LinkedIn or Facebook. Whether you're looking for a job, changing careers, starting a new business, or looking for a date, an amazing headshot is step one. Headshots are the core to the now overused term of personal branding. Call it whatever you want, but it all starts with a headshot. I can think of no better way to learn headshot photography than from the man himself, Peter Hurley. Peter has been perfecting the craft of headshots for … [Read more...] about Reviewed: Perfecting The Headshot
Over the past couple of years, there has been a wave of super wide-angle telephoto lenses released on the market. Ideal for huge landscapes, vast night skies, or anything your wide-angle imagination conjures up. They offer big views, exceptional sharpness, and a whole realm of creative possibilities. My personal favorite is the Tamron 15-30mm, but, regardless of the brand, with super wides, their big beautiful front element projects out a distance from the lens body. This means that you can't use traditional threaded filters that screw on the … [Read more...] about Product Review: Haida 150 Series Insert Filter and Holder System
Editor's Note: A special thanks to our partner Datacolor for helping us to bring more information about color calibration to you. Monitor calibration does not have to be difficult with a solid calibration device. Special Deals on Datacolor Spyder Elite Spyder 5 Elite Datacolor's new Spyder 5 Elite monitor calibrator is dead simple to use. The software installs from Datacolor's website. The Spyder 5 device is the same for the three versions of the product: Spyder5EXPRESS, Spyder5PRO, and Spyder5ELITE. The difference is in the software. … [Read more...] about Product Review: Spyder5ELITE Monitor Calibrator
Atlas Packs is a new company and they have created a good product. They've created backpacks that are extremely comfortable to wear and that carry a lot of weight without leaving you feeling fatigued. What's more, they truly don't look like technology backpacks that are full of expensive tools--they just look like a regular hiking backpack. Who's This Camera Bag For? Atlas Packs would be perfect for anyone who needs to carry their camera equipment as well as other stuff because they are well designed and have plenty of room for coats and … [Read more...] about Gear Review: Atlas Packs ‘Athlete’
(Editor's note: Levi shows how to fold circular, triangular and oblong reflectors in this tutorial.) After a camera and a good tripod, I'd say a 5-in-1 reflector is a must have tool for every photographer. Whether you're photographing flowers, portraits, or products a 5-in-1 reflector can help you make great light. I got my hands on Impact's 42-inch 5-in-1 Collapsible Circular Reflector with Handles. Let me tell you what I think of it see if it's the right tool for you. The Basics As far as reflectors go, this is the smallest I recommend … [Read more...] about Gear Review: Impact 5-in-1 Reflector with Handles
What's in a bag? It's possible to say that your bag, (when pertaining to photo and video), can make or break your shoot. Like most photographers and videographers out there, I tend to choose a bag based on the task I have ahead of me, (meaning, I have WAY too many haha). Whenever I need something larger than a messenger bag, most of the time I'm left choosing either a roller case or a backpack. Both of which are great on their own, but getting gear in and out of the bag while "in the heat of a moment" can be a tad cumbersome. This is why … [Read more...] about Review: Ruggard Navigator 75 DSLR Shoulder Bag
Those who know me, know i've been a Timelapse fanatic since the first time I got to hang out with Michael Shainblum in San Diego about 4 years ago. I've been even more addicted to the gear and gadgets that have come out since then to help artists create visually stunning and dynamic time-lapse films. There are a LOT of options out there from the higher end and expensive motion controllers and rails, to the super low budget and simple egg timer with small camera mounted to the top. So how do you know what's right for you and at what price point? … [Read more...] about Cinetics Lynx Motion Control System Review
Padded and protective wraps have been on the market for more than 10 years now and they're a fantastic and affordable way to add some protection to your gear, especially when you don't have a dedicated, protective camera bag. I definitely welcome Ruggard's padded equipment wraps as a slightly more affordable option to Tenba and Domke's offerings of protective wraps. If you're like me, a person on the road a lot that keeps gear light and carries a camera handy 80% of the time but without the rest of the kit, then you'll enjoy the added peace … [Read more...] about Gear Review: Ruggard Padded Equipment Wraps!
Classic elements of a portrait studio, the posing stool and posing table will always have a place in any studio. I took a closer look at the Impact Posing Table and Stool Kit. Let’s see how this particular model stacks up. Sold as a pair, for under $150, I believe it make sense to have both items. If you have a specialized use case or need, you might consider shopping around. But for general use, this kit is a good place to start. Unboxing, Assembly and Observations Opening the box gave me a flash of bad experiences with IKEA furniture. … [Read more...] about Gear Review: Impact Posing Table and Stool Kit