Earlier this year Newsweek ran a cover featuring everyone's favorite president to hate as their cover, depicting him lazily hanging out in the oval office pounding back the calories in about the least presidential way possible. Newsweek contracted legendary conceptual photographer C.J. Burton to create this inevitably notorious cover. Naturally, Burton quickly realized there would be no chance of him getting access to either Trump or the Oval Office for such a shoot so needed to leverage the power of compositing to create the image desired by the client.
Articles written by Ryan Cooper
There has been an increasing trend over the last few years that many newer photographers have latched onto. That trend is how important it is to tell the story "of" the photoshoot rather than just conducting the shoot itself. I've been noticing a very specific shift in priority from a time when it was all about the final images to a balance between shooting and behind the scene to our modern world where it can often be surprising how often behind the scenes actually seems to be the true product of a photoshoot.
Today ON1 Software announced the 2018 version of their flagship editing software, Photo RAW. With the addition of a variety of new features, Photo RAW 2018 promises to be the most compelling version yet. Among others, ON1 has added support for HDR, panoramic stitching, and more powerful masking to Photo RAW. A free public beta of Photo RAW 2018 will be available Friday, October 6.
At an event this morning in San Francisco, GoPro unveiled its latest flagship product, the GoPro HERO6 Black. The HERO6 boasts an impressive new set of features that marks it as a distinct update to the GoPro HERO lineup. In addition to the HERO6 Black, GoPro also revealed the Fusion, a revolutionary new action camera designed to capture spherical video.
If I had a nickel for every time I witnessed a photographer missing out on a great photographic opportunity in the name of fear, I'd be a rich man. Fear is one of the most powerful forces that holds us back in our lives. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of embarrassment, or fear of injury all play a huge role in our decision making by clouding our rational judgment. By letting fear control us we let it define the limits of what is possible. Never let fear play a key role in the creation of your art.
The vast majority of photographers often flounder in a state of perpetual mediocrity wondering why their photos aren't getting better. They invest thousands of dollars in gear along with hundreds of hours of practice only to see what amounts to the most minimal of improvements. One of the most often overlooked characteristics of great shooters is that they never complacently accept that "good enough" is an acceptable metric in relation to their photography. Being picky enables great photography.
Most photographers use their cameras on a daily basis with little or no thought to how it functions under the hood. For the most part, this makes sense, mastering a tool doesn't require understanding exactly how it functions on the most intimate technical level. There are, however, aspects of camera operation that a cursory knowledge of can aid in being better equipped to address unexpected technical or mechanical issues. Given that autofocus can be finicky, it quickly becomes one of the critical aspects of your camera that you should take the time to learn about.
So, you want to chase a career in professional photography and have managed to build yourself a respectable portfolio that you can begin to use to market your talent. The next step in building your credibility as a professional in the space comes in the form of crafting a web presence that reflects the brand of a seasoned pro. You need customers to see you as someone that really knows what they are doing and is serious about every aspect of your brand. A big part of this aspect of your brand is your own personal website. Social media is fantastic for expanding your influence but it lacks the intimacy to fully represent you. You need a website and that website had better make you look good!
Here we are, another year has gone by and we have just enjoyed the release of yet another camera that is "certainly" the most amazing thing since sliced bread. This new camera comes with promises of wondrous grandeur that are only cemented by the inevitable implication from its maker that it is the camera that will help you create truly better images than you did before. This is, of course, nothing more than marketing hype designed to get you to spend your money.
When first getting started, photographers often become mesmerized but also overwhelmed by the sheer scope of learning they must do to figure out all the various new gadgets and doohickeys that they have recently acquired. Usually, this focus tends to be towards more expensive photo-related tools, while some of the seemingly trivial tools end up being cast aside with the thought that they simply aren't worth the effort and can't possibly be all that important. When I was first getting started I wish someone had given me a good shake and simply told me to spend a few dollars and pick up the following tools as they would be invaluable for the indefinite future.
Darkness is one of the most difficult situations to work with. Cameras have come a long way towards improved performance in low light but no light is an entirely different can of worms. Unless your goal is to create more ISO snow than Christmas in Alaska you need to introduce light. Flash is great at pouring some much-needed illumination into the frame but it isn't so great at making sure that your camera is in focus when you do so. Even the best autofocus system in the world continue to struggle in the darkness so, as photographers, it is our job to stack the deck in our favor by leveraging strategy to give our focusing systems a leg up.
As photographers, we often pour endless hours into every possible method of learning to become better through the study of our craft, practice, and an ever increasing collection of supposedly quality redefining gear. In this dogged pursuit of photographic excellence, we often forget about the far more simple aspects of our lives that can have a tremendously profound impact on the quality of our work. By forcing ourselves to take a step back and focus on the foundational aspects of our selves that allow us to maximize our performance, regardless of the task, we are able to expand the potential of our work to new levels.
Color grading is a critical tool involved in the production of a truly impressive image. Through the use of grading a photographer can completely shift the impression a given photograph leaves on its audience. Learning color grading, however, is quite difficult as it is one of the most ethereal aspects of a post-processing workflow that can vary radically from photographer to photographer. The best method, in my opinion, for learning to master grading is by learning as much theory and as many techniques as possible so that you can leverage that knowledge to create the workflow that works for you.
Contrary to delusional beliefs, not everyone is hooked up to a high-speed connection capable of streaming 8k video at magnificent buttery smoothness. Extremely fast connectivity is an amazing thing that is still out of reach for the vast majority of users. You can't assume that the viewers of your website are going to be piloting a computer hard-lined into the latest fiber optic goodness. Instead, we have to optimize for the most common user in order to give them the best experience possible without sacrificing image quality.
Recently, Adobe sent out a survey to users inquiring about their most common performance gripes in relation to Lightroom's notoriously sluggish behavior, even on high spec computers. Today, Adobe has released a new update to Lightroom that is meant to address some of these performance concerns. We quickly installed it to see if any of Adobe's claims are true.
I'm probably going to get a smidgen of heat for this one but I also feel it is one that many photographers need to seriously reflect on. At its core, photography is not a good business model. For the vast majority of photographers, the pursuit of photography of a career is a calling driven by passion. We can't imagine spending our lives doing anything else so we chase an industry that is vastly oversaturated with supply. If that is you, great, but if working on your photo career feels more like clocking into an exhausting day job then you are only settings yourself up to destroy your hobby by trying to transform it into a career.
Photographers often treat color grading as a trivialized aspect of their workflow. Something that they only worry about once the image is complete and with no greater attention than flipping through a series of filter presets in whichever their flavor of the month plugin happens to be at any given time. Instead, obsessive time and attention is paid to aspects such as cloning, dodging, burning, sharpening, liquefying, etc. Colorists in the film industry have known for years powerful color grading is critical to great filmmaking. Directors know this as well, which is why colorists often enjoy a massive, expensive, personal theater filled with an impressive array of tools to grade the latest mega blockbuster.
Lensbaby has revealed the next lens in their new "Velvet" lineup. Following on the heels of the Velvet 56, the Velvet 85 is set to offer a similar optical effect to its 56mm cousin re-purposed into the classic 85mm focal length. Like the Velvet 56, the 85 continues Lensbaby's timid new steps into more traditional lens designs featuring standard aperture and focus rings.
In February, Sigma announced a cadre of new lenses including a 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM ART and 14mm f/1.8 DG ASM ART. Sigma now has revealed prices along with the opportunity to pre-order. At reasonably competitive prices for both of these new additions to the ART line it suggests they will mimic the quality photographers have come to expect from ART lenses over the past few years.
In an era when working on 30 megapixel and higher images has become the norm, a Photoshop document with dozens of layers can quickly become a burden to work with often slowing to a painful delay after each stroke of a brush. The simplest solution is to constantly be crushing those layers down into a single flat layer but this method is the antithesis of non-destructive editing which can make future client feedback rather difficult to implement. Instead, lets focus on few easy tricks you can do to keep your computer running smoothly during the most complex of composites.