No matter what kind of photographer you are, a tripod can make your pictures better. The trouble is, there are hundreds of tripods available and there are dozens of features on each. Many of the features you choose will depend on the type of photography you do and where you will do it. I have several tripods and several heads that I use in the studio or shooting architecture or portraits or when I'm traveling or hiking. No matter which features help you achieve your vision, you should always use a head with a safety feature. The picture above … [Read more...] about Tripods: Safety First
We've asked our gear and photo partners for their best Black Friday and Cyber Week sales. Boy did we get some good ones! Please check out these special deals (and remember that by supporting our partners, we're able to pay our writers and our bills). This is what allows us to bring you the Photofocus website and podcasts for free. Please visit these partners and check out their deals. HDRsoft Interested in HDR? Photomatix Pro 5 and Photomatix Essentials are on sale. Get 25% off on all Photomatix products Use Coupon … [Read more...] about The Best Black Friday Deals for Photographers
Marco and I were recording the Inspiration Podcast on the Photofocus Podcasting Network and he reminded me of an old Edward Weston quote: The fact is that relatively few photographers ever master their medium. Instead they allow the medium to master them and go on an endless squirrel cage chase from new lens to new paper to new developer to new gadget, never staying with one piece of equipment long enough to learn its full capacities, becoming lost in a maze of technical information that is of little or no use since they don't know what to do … [Read more...] about Stop Chasing Gear If You Want To Be A Better Photographer
In my first year of photography, I shot more than 100,000 pictures, which yielded two results: my photography got better quickly, and my computer's hard drive filled up with picture files. Over the last, I've bought several external hard drives to store and even backup my pictures. Eventually, I bought RAID systems to protect my photos. But these also filled up! Nowadays, I use Drobos to store and protect my pictures, and when drives fill up I can just swap them with a new bigger drive. But what should I do with all those old drives? They're … [Read more...] about Repurposing Old Equipment: Hard Drives
I was jotting down some ideas for a new book and decided to write a short blog post with some tips I use to improve my success using tripods in outdoor photography. Perhaps you’ve already heard these but maybe even one of them will be new to you. I hope so and hope that they help. Tip Number One: Seasoned outdoor photographers realize that the tripod, no matter how sturdy, is the most likely piece of gear to break. It’s a good idea to buy a few spare parts like screws and tripod feet and have them in your gadget bag for emergency … [Read more...] about Seven Tripod Tips For Outdoor Photographers
I am star-struck. My Fuji X-T2 just arrived, it was released September 8. I am reading through the manual and looking at the camera’s features. It is definitely an exciting upgrade from the Fuji X-T1 and in some regards even the Fuji X-Pro2. Here are my ten favorite Fuji X-T2 camera features, in no particular order: A focus stick on the back of the camera. I can move the focus stick with my right thumb, in a tilting or pressing motion, and change my focus point. So if I am focusing on the eyes of the person to the far left of my … [Read more...] about Ten Reasons Why I Love My New Fuji X-T2
I am one of those photographers that has been slow to cross over to a larger, more accommodating external storage system. I did figure out long ago the value of not keeping the bulk of my work on my desktop or laptop. I started out with a simple rugged 250GB external drive that I would swap between my two stations. That quickly filled up and led to the purchase of some 500GB drives and eventually a 1TB drive. I bought as I could afford or at least I hadn’t yet decided to really invest in a better system. I started to read about drive … [Read more...] about Consolidating and Organizing with the Drobo 5D
If something is worth photographing, it's probably worth photographing from multiple angles. It's easy to start high, at eye-level, because that's how you see the world. Most photographers arrive on location and immediately extend their tripod legs to bring the camera to eye-level. This is the most comfortable place to shoot and you should definitely make a picture at eye-level. But you should also get down and see how low you can go. Get Down Low Lowering your tripod will give you a whole new photograph. If you told me I had to shoot … [Read more...] about Change Perspective to Make Better Photos
I just returned from the North Woods--the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on the shores of Lake Superior. My visit focused on Hiawatha National Forest and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The Lakeshore has been called Michigan’s “Best Kept Secret," and a hidden treasure. The UP of Michigan is a perfect destination for a nature photographer. It offers rugged landscapes with carved, colorful cliffs along Lake Superior; northern hardwood and mixed forests vibrant in fall colors; wildflowers in the spring and summer; abundant waterfalls and … [Read more...] about Northern Michigan, A Best Kept Secret
Canon has announced the new 5D Mark IV, and it's got some terrific new features. Let's first take a look at the official launch video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Z9089048wk What New Gear Was Announced Here's a list of all the new gear that was announced (it's already on sale too). Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera (Body Only) Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera with 24-105mm f/4L II Lens Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera with 24-70mm f/4L Lens Canon BG-E20 Battery Grip for EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM … [Read more...] about New Canon 5D Mark IV: Canon Announces New Features
Seeing double? I see double every time I pack for a trip. Like two remote shutter releases, two tripod plates, and the list continues, including two cameras or camera bodies. Sometimes I also see triple, quadruple, and beyond. It has never failed. Just when everything is going great I seem to misplace or lose something when I am out shooting for the day, away from my hotel room. Or my equipment stops working or breaks. Now I try to second guess my future travails, and plan head with multiples. I recommend the same for any traveling … [Read more...] about Double Up–Packing Extras When You Travel
Let's cut straight to it: the Mountainsmith Borealis is a very fine backpack, and it's a very fine camera bag. It's exceptionally well made, logically designed by people who clearly know what photographers need, and I think it'll last a lifetime. I've got just a few caveats, but this is a good backpack. Lifetime Construction I've owned Mountainsmith bags since I was a young mountaineer in Colorado, which is where Mountainsmith are headquartered. I've been using one of their bags for 20 years, and it's still going strong. The reason these … [Read more...] about Camera Bag Review: Borealis Backpack, from Mountainsmith
On this episode of the Photofocus #Mirrorless Show Scott and Marco will discuss these new products and mirrorless topics: Scott talks about his trip to Photoshop World in Las Vegas with his mirrorless camera. Sigma has announced pricing and availability of the sd Quattro camera. The body only will be a competitive $799 (US). A unique feature of this camera is the 'Super-Fine Detail' mode that combines 7 exposures into one high dynamic range image. Samyang Optics have announced the global availability of the long-awaited … [Read more...] about Photofocus Podcast July 28, 2016 — Mirrorless with Scott Bourne & Marco Larousse
Special thanks to Mrs. Pepper who encouraged me to click-and-tell, and share just a bit of humor. Soon after becoming a professional photographer, I was very lucky that Nikon agreed to my proposal of sponsorship. For many years I chose to remain committed to Nikon and have always been very happy doing so. It didn't hurt that, during those years, there were fewer fish in the sea compared to today. And even though Canon users attempted to seduce me into using Canon's also-attractive equipment, the attraction wasn't strong enough to divide … [Read more...] about Becoming Polycamerous
Last summer I joined friends on a walking tour of the coastal cliffs of Cornwall, located at England’s southwestern tip. The undulating Cornish coastline is steep and rugged, with hidden coves and beaches, picturesque villages, fishing harbors, and ruins of vacant mines. This was not a trip geared to photography or photographers, so bringing home good photos that gave a feel for the area was a challenge. Walking up to 12 miles a day with a fast-paced walking group meant I wouldn’t have much time to set up a shot. A tripod was thus out of … [Read more...] about Walking Cornwall
This morning I woke up and had to share this with you right away. If you love photography more than you love good food then you're going to love this. There's a FREE 3-part photography training series that starts today, May24th, 2016 and ends the day after Labor Day. It's not every day we get to learn something valuable and free without putting in a lot of time and effort. I've personally been to five different seminars and workshops this year already and for each one, I had to fly, stay in a hotel, and eat out for every meal. The FREE … [Read more...] about Do you love photography more than good food?
It is that time of year again. NAB is just around the corner. My inbox and social media have already been flooded with official announcements and "unofficial" leaks. What am I excited to see on the show floor? There is a lot to cover, so let's dive in. Lytro Cinema — Lytro's light field cameras caused quite a stir in the photography community a while back. And, while the consumer market was not ready for the Illium, Lytro has not been idle. I knew they had VR projects in the pipeline, but I did not see Lytro Cinema coming. … [Read more...] about What to Look For At NAB 2016
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!
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!
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
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
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
It was a long time coming but Fuji is finally shipping the successor to the X-Pro1 - the Fuji X-Pro2 is a stunning update that most Fuji shooters are at least interested in. There was a lot of hype about this camera from the Fuji ambassadors so I wanted to give the camera a once-over in order to see for myself what all the fuss was about. Let me start by saying this is NOT a review. I haven’t had nearly enough time with the camera to fully test it. But my first blush reaction concurs with much of what you read. Fuji certainly got a lot … [Read more...] about The Fuji X-Pro 2 – First Impressions
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
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
Photofocus Podcast February 7th, 2016 Questions & Answers with Rich Harrington & Scott Bourne Thanks for all the great questions youve been sending in to the Photofocus podcast. This week Rich Harrington and Scott Bourne tackle some great topics to help photographers. Remember, you can post those questions by sending us a note here at Photofocus. Get the show here or get it on iTunes Don't forget to post a review on iTunes. The Question and Answer Podcast New podcast updates and changes What is responsible for autofocus speed? … [Read more...] about Photofocus Podcast February 7th, 2016— Questions & Answers with Rich Harrington & Scott Bourne
One of the most used tools on a Hollywood set, oh heck on any set, is the C-Stand. C in Roman numerals representing the numeral 100 is how the C-Stand got its name, 100's of uses. When closed it's 53" high, it can be extended to 10'6", it usually is ordered with a 40" arm and Grip Head. The C-Stand is a very versatile tool in the photographer's arsenal. Allow me to show you how to take advantage of the C-Stand. One way is a reflector holder:You simply secure a piece of foamcore or any material that you're using to reflect light onto the talent. … [Read more...] about C-Stands 101
I will be the first person to admit it: I am NOT a techie. Despite my history growing up with an amazing IT coding father, using both PCs and Macs, and being employed as a Mac Genius for Apple, I could not care less about the nitty gritty stats of this gear vs. that gear. How this lens is better that that lens, or how this new camera blows every other camera out of the water. Why? Because when it comes down to it, it doesn't matter! The best camera you can buy is just that--the one you can buy! Back in college, we were regularly asked to buy … [Read more...] about The Best Camera You Can Buy
Some of the most used tools on a Hollywood set are C-Stands and Apple Boxes. Then there are these little babies, Baby Plates. What is a Baby Plate you ask? It's a 5/8 stud, about 3" tall, welded onto a 3.5" x 6" metal plate. It has many uses. Allow me to share a few of those that I've used on the set. One of the most common uses for a Baby Plate is a very low light stand:It has a very solid feel and is very stable for most strobe heads. As you can see in the picture, this Baby Plate has 8 holes in its base. Some will have 4. The purpose for … [Read more...] about No Sippy Cups here, just Baby Plates
I frequently travel to shoot landscapes and time lapses. One thing that seems to always follow me is a dark cloud. No, I'm not Charlie Brown... I mean it just seems to rain a bit on most of my shoot days. For example... in the middle of this timelapse it started to pour... and the shot could have been ruined. In this case I clenched a baseball cap in my teeth to protect the lens while using my arms to protect the camera from the large crowds at the Panama Canal. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9es-i5i4Zc I've since altered my kit for a … [Read more...] about Shooting Outdoors? Pack an Umbrella.