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.
Articles written by Ryan Cooper
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.
Climbing is a sport that has existed for centuries, however, over the past few years it has started to skyrocket in popularity, rapidly becoming a mainstream activity. So much so that even the folks at the Olympics have noticed and added it to the docket as a new medal event in 2020. With an increase in professional climbers competing at the highest level also comes a need for photographers who are able to capture this impressive sport. Christopher Beauchamp is one of the sport’s leading shooters and was kind enough to chat with Fstoppers about his career.
Photographers tend to bemoan that everyone's seeming belief that they are a photo critic. Event though the vast majority of people aren't really experienced enough or aware enough of what makes a good photo to be taken seriously. This position is often weakened by the fact that even top photographers generally can't agree on what makes a great photo. I'd propose the argument that the average viewer actually is quite aware of what makes a great photo while the nit picks of us pros more often than not have little to do with photographic greatness and more to do with photographic elitism.
ON1's relatively new to market Photo (RAW) 2017 has pushed their first major update into beta which Fstoppers managed to get our hands on for an early review. In December, we took a look at the original launch of Photo (RAW) 2017 and were impressed by many of the features but ultimately felt that it did not offer enough benefit to recommend switching to over existing raw editors. With this latest iteration ON1 has promised a series of impressive new features that it feels will launch it into contention as a top tier raw editing tool.
There is no shortage of educational material on the market for getting started in virtually any industry of photography. Moreover, fashion is one of the most crowded spaces in regards to this sort of education which can mean the volume of repetition offered from one educational video to another can become rather tiresome. In contrast, when an aspect of fashion photography sheds new light on an often ignored aspect of the industry, the viewer can enjoy a refreshing new look into well-covered ground.
Have you ever watched a Marvel Avengers movie wishing you had your own personal AI just like Tony Stark? At Google I/O 2017, Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed a new technology lovingly branded "Google Lens" which aims to bring mankind a breath nearer to each person having their own personal Jarvis. Google Lens is a new technology designed for Android devices that allows a user to point their camera phone at any object in order for contextual information to be gathered about that object and to convey it back to the user.
StudioBinder is a web-based tool designed to help manage any creative production. Whether you are a photographer planning a shoot with a small creative team or a world-class producer looking to manage your next billion dollar box office hit, StudioBinder promises to help make your production run smoother with its suite of handy tools. Lets find out if StudioBinder meets the bar set by its lofty claim of being the world's leading production management software.
Recently I found myself setting up lighting for a headshot session only to find out my flash was stuck on full power. The "on" switch for the flash worked just fine and it fired as normal but all its buttons simply didn't work, presumably because they were worn out. I had several backup flashes back in my truck but I wasn't looking to make the client wait while I walked back to where I parked, so I figured it was a good time to flex those problem solving muscles and make the shoot work with an un-adjustable flash.
Photographers today are the first generation of image makers who are entering an industry completely dominated by social media. Over the course of the last decade, social media has utterly surpassed virtually all other forms of marketing and has quickly become a dominating factor in lives of a huge part of the population, especially photographers. Social media use, however, suffers from some pretty severe implications that can have a limiting factor on the quality of work a photographer creates.
Shooting fashion can be a whirlwind of activity as you try to corral a team of creatives into constructing an amazing array of images. More than with any other type of shoot, I find that things have tendency to go wrong during the course of the fashion shoot. As the photographer, it is your job to not only be prepared for these things to happen, but also to be fully equipped to solve the problems as they come up. Below you will find a series of things I like to keep in my camera bag that are often saviors during a shoot that seems to be going belly-up.
Another day, another new camera has been announced. Most of the time the latest and greatest doesn't actually solve any real world problems or improve the shooting experience for the average photographer in any way. That said, camera makers have become rather adept at writing specs sheets designed to make you think that the latest and greatest in camera tech will revolutionize your shooting experience and thus, in turn, your work. I call hogwash, especially in terms of some of their favorite specs that they use to hide the fact that you really don't need a new camera.