Monthly Archives: April 2010

eBook Review: Vision Is Better

I’m really taking a liking to good eBooks lately… and perhaps that’s because I see more of them being published by fellow photographers and enthusiasts. On the forefront of this new craze is David duChemin with the Craft & Vision website.

He just authored a new eBook titled “Vision Is Better” and I had the opportunity to check it out before it was released. While I’m still working my way through it, I’ve read enough to share my thoughts here on the blog. This thing is a really good read and it provides a lot of insights not found in other books I’ve read.

“Vision Is Better” can be purchased through Craft & Vision. The links in this post are affiliate links.

ABOUT THE BOOK

[tweetmeme]Vision Is Better is a 116 page downloadable PDF eBook available for only $5. The book contains 50 articles alongside supplemental photos. The layout is a basic 2 column/page format, and the simple design is easy on the eyes. Each article has a different color scheme and/or background photo, so every page seems to be a new visual treat.

David admits at the beginning of the book: “This is a messy book. It’s random, doesn’t particularly hold to one topic or theme very well [...] This book is a collection of thoughts, essays, and ill-advised rants that were all first published on my blog [...] you probably paid for something you could have got for free. Those challenges aside, I still think this book is worth the time and money.

I agree with that last line — it’s worth the time and money. This isn’t a random collection of published blog articles — I’m sure there was some amount of thought put into which articles to include and in what order. Add to that, the completely different layout and design intended for your viewing pleasure, and it’s worth more than the $5 price tag.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

According to his blog, “David duChemin is a world & humanitarian photographer, best-selling author, and international workshop leader. David uses his powers for good and not for evil.

Though I don’t know him personally, David seems to be quite knowledgeable on the topics that he photographs and writes about. He’s also the mastermind of the growing Craft & Vision enterprise. The concept of the site is to provide high quality eBooks at a flat rate of $5 per publication. It’s a pretty hot deal and the model seems to be working, so check it out!

MY FINAL THOUGHTS

As I mentioned above, the book is worth more than the $5 price tag. Just having this collection of articles all in one place is awfully handy. The book is more of a casual read, intended to be taken in over time and over multiple sittings. There’s not a bunch of technical stuff buried in there, just lots of essays and thoughts on becoming a better photographer.

I would recommend this book to anybody looking for a little mental exercise. It should get you thinking about the important things in this field, and it may alter the way you look at professional photography. David also writes in a very conversational voice, so it’s really easy to follow along and wrapped up in his stories.

“Vision Is Better” can be purchased through Craft & Vision. The links in this post are affiliate links.

HOW ABOUT A DISCOUNT?

Between now and May 4, 2010 you can get this book for just $4. Use the promotional code VISION4 when you checkout, or you can use the code VISION20 to get 20% off when you buy 5 or more books from the Craft & Vision collection.

Extreme Film Photography

Two things for this quick bit of news — the first is a crazy DIY pinhole film camera that shoots 3 rolls of 35mm film at the same time. The resulting shot is a 4×5″ exposure.

There’s a bit of a back story on this one… on March 22, my pal Udi (the guy that runs DIYPhotography.net) pointed me to this cool little thing via Twitter. I replied (half joking since my birthday was on the 31st) “I hadn’t seen it until just now — crazy!!! I want one for my birthday.” Udi replies back with “that may just be arranged…” Then a few days ago he hits me with a DM that says “you should watch the blog tonight. I am about to deliver your bithday present :)”

I figured it had something to do with this camera… and I was right. Udi went out and put together an insane DIY-how-to article for building one of these things with the help of its creator: Steven Monteau. The guide they put together is incredibly detailed with all the steps needed, plus videos! Dang Udi… thanks for the present! I just might have a go at this thing!

Another newsworthy item I came across recently is a video of the Apollo 11 Launch at 500 Frames per Second (found via PetaPixel). This is incredible footage, and it was all caught on film.

Apollo 11 Saturn V Launch (HD) Camera E-8 from Mark Gray on Vimeo.

So there you go — a couple of extreme film photography items worth checking out.

7 More Tips for Extremely Wide Angles

[tweetmeme]Just under one year ago, I wrote an article titled “8 Tips for Shooting Extremely Wide Angles“. I wanted to follow up with some additional tips on the subject… and of course, more great photos for your viewing pleasure.

So here are 7 more tips for shooting with extremely wide angle lenses. Some are brand new, and some are an expansion from the previous post. Either way, enjoy!

1. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR FRAMING

20
Creative Commons License photo credit: Maurizio Polese

Extremely wide angle lenses make everything look smaller. This poses a problem when looking through the viewfinder because objects inside the frame can be hard to notice. Chances are, you’ll be paying attention to the overall image and the composition, but these minor details (especially around the edges of the frame) can slip by. What you end up with is a good shot ruined by some small thing down in the corner of the frame. Sure, you can crop it or clone it out, but it’s better to pay attention when you press the shutter.

2. SHOOT A CUSHION SPACE

adelaide slipstream
Creative Commons License photo credit: mugley

Because of distortion, wide angle shots are difficult to get straight. You typically don’t have a perfectly straight line to set your tilt, so you might end up with a slightly crooked shot. This happens more often with this type of lens, so leave a small amount of space around the edge if you’re unsure of your leveling abilities. Even if you shoot straight, you might want to crop down the outer edges just a bit. Distortion increases toward the corners and it can really stretch things out.

3. GET CLOSER

Pout
Creative Commons License photo credit: orangeacid

When shooting extremely wide, you’ll need to get extremely close to your subjects if you want them to be more than a minor detail in the photo. These lenses can usually focus fairly close, so you can get within several feet and focus with no problem. Just be careful that you don’t get too close — appearances in the viewfinder can be deceiving, and you might bump your lens into your subject.

4. STEP BACK

Point The Way
Creative Commons License photo credit: kwerfeldein

Contrary to the last tip, you might want to step back from your subject. This is more well-suited for the landscape photos. Sometimes you have large foreground elements that you want to include in your composition. Just step back a few paces and the whole perspective changes — things up close get significantly smaller, while things way out there don’t change much.

5. ENSURE STRAIGHT LINES

Salton Sea Sunset
Creative Commons License photo credit: Brian Auer

Some wide angle lenses are better than others when it comes to distortion (you can tell by the price tag). But all wide angle lenses share the characteristic of having minimal distortion at the center of the lens. This also works for the horizontal and vertical center-lines of the lens. If you place a horizon at the top or bottom of the frame, it will probably be distorted. But place the horizon at the center of the frame and it should be almost straight. This also works for vertical lines in things like architecture.

6. DISTORT REALITY

184/365 - enjoy coca-cola
Creative Commons License photo credit: B Rosen

Sometimes you want to be a deviant and break “the rules”, right? All you have to do is ignore the last tip. Shoot straight lines near the edge of the frame and you have a whole new reality. You can also get really close to small stuff and shoot against a distant background of big stuff. Or perhaps you could take some portraits at a minimum focus distance and go for the big-nose look.

7. GET CREATIVE AND HAVE FUN

When bovines attack :-)
Creative Commons License photo credit: tricky ™

Super-wide angle lenses are fun to shoot with, but they require a bit of creative thought sometimes. Try out different combinations of subject distance, frame location, perspective, and secondary subjects. You might be surprised at the results every once in a while.

How about some other examples of extremely wide angle photography — drop a photo in the comments below, and leave a tip or two!

eBook Review: 10 Ways to Improve Your Boudoir Photography Now

[tweetmeme]So here’s a book review that’s a little more out of my comfort zone than normal. Edward Verosky approached me about doing a review of his recent eBook titled “10 Ways to Improve Your Boudoir Photography Now”. Honestly, this is a subject that I know next to nothing about — it’s just not a widely discussed topic.

Now, when we talk about “boudoir”, we’re not talking about anything trashy — it’s quite the opposite. This is a highly professional market run by highly professional photographers. With that said… the images in this post are somewhat “edgy”, and the photos in the eBook are even more so (Yes, partial nudity. But very tasteful.)

If you’re drawn to the studio and working with people, this may be a niche worth looking into. Read on for a more detailed review of this book.

“10 Ways to Improve Your Boudoir Photography Now” can be purchased through Edward Verosky’s website. (affiliate links)

ABOUT THE BOOK

10 Ways to Improve Your Boudoir Photography Now is a 44 page PDF eBook available for instant download. The book is intended to be viewed in a two-page format (as you can see by the dashed lines in the samples below). The content provides a great deal of tips and advice backed up by example photos.

We start off with a quick introduction to set the tone, followed by 9 sections aimed at different aspects of boudoir photography. At the end, Edward provides a sampling of posing examples and his final thoughts in a conclusion. The first half of the book covers the business side of things and how to work with clients. The last half of the book deals more with the creative/photography side of things.

The sections of the book include: The Psychology Behind Boudoir, Prepare Your Subject For A Successful Shoot, Set Limits For The Best Results, Use Encouragement & Direction To Get The Most From Your Subject, The Two-Light Setup That’s Foolproof, The Retouching Tools That Always Work, The Four Best-Selling Poses, Five Go-To Shots When All Else Fails, and How to Get The Candid Look They Love.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Edward Verosky is a creative boudoir, portrait, and editorial photographer working out of Austin, Texas. His distinctive photography is emotionally engaging, and often stylistically cinematic. Ed has many years of experience making women look beautiful in pictures.

Ed comes off as being extremely professional and knowledgeable based on the writing in the eBook and on his blog — certainly a guy worth paying attention to!

MY FINAL THOUGHTS

Definitely a recommended book for any photographer looking to get into, or improve their boudoir photography. This niche is far less talked about in photography books, blogs, and forums than other niches. So a resource like this is pure gold for the photographers wanting to learn about it. While it may not substitute for years of experience in this field, the eBook can certainly give you a head start in the right direction!

“10 Ways to Improve Your Boudoir Photography Now” can be purchased through Edward Verosky’s website.

Join the Local List for Contests, Events, Shows, Exhibits, etc.

Just over a year ago, I wrote about a notification list for Southern California photographers and artists that is run by my professional printer, Oscar Medina. The notifications have included various contests, shows, exhibits, events, gallery openings, and other things of interest for artists in the area.

Now Oscar has created a separate notification list just for photographers. If new notices are purely for photographers, they will only go to the new list rather than the general artist list.

If you’re in the Southern California area and you want to be notified of local photography/art events, be sure to subscribe to the list for periodic updates.

SIGN UP FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHY NOTIFICATION LIST

Participate in these eBook/Photobook Polls

Jim Goldstein is running a couple of polls over at his site having to do with eBooks and ePhotobooks… and something tells me that he’s cooking up a big idea.

If you have a spare moment, hop over there and vote on the two polls so he can get a bigger sample to work with. Also, keep an eye on his blog in the near future to see what he’s up to with these things.

POLL: Are you interested in producing an ePhotobook that could be viewed on an iPad?

POLL: How many eBooks have you purchased in the past 12 months?

Link Roundup 04-21-2010

New Partner: Wix

Wix logo

Design your own free photography website with Wix’s website builder, and save time and money you would have spent hiring a web designer. With Wix, no programming is needed to customize one of the brilliant Flash templates, designed specifically for photographers. Choose a free template and immediately start customizing it, without downloading anything or even confirming an e-mail registration.

Wix is highly intuitive, and playing around with the design elements is a fun and even addicting process, even for those with no technical skill. The website builder’s user interface is graphic-based, and a simple drag-and-drop process allows users to customize design features. The result is a brilliantly designed, unique website that lets you share your photographs with the world.

Here are a few of the free design elements Wix offers, to create your own Photography Website:

Templates – Choose a template that compliments your photographs. Each template is fully customizable – change the color, texture and layout as well as the content itself.

Galleries – Showcase your photographs by arranging them with one of Wix’s many gallery styles. Each gallery style has its own unique layout, so you choose how your photos are presented. Gallery styles include matrix, slideshow and carousel formats.

Mini Web Pages – Create a separate page for information about the photographer. Another page describes your inspiration or artistic vision. Each collection of photographs, arranged by theme, date, project, etc. can have its own gallery page.

Menus – Building menus into your website creates an enjoyable browsing experience for visitors. Menus are automatically linked to your web pages – all you have to do is customize their appearance. Title your menus with the names of your galleries, your Bio page, and a Contact page.

Widgets – Include a Contact Form that visitors can fill out to get in touch with you, to ask for more information about the photographer and his/her creations.

Music – Add a music player widget to add an audio element to your website. Upload your own music files, and customize the On/Off switch.

Social Media – Add a link to your Facebook, Twitter or MySpace account. Publish your Wix creation on a number of social networks.

Another neat thing about Wix websites is that they are SEO compatible. This means that search engines such as Google and Yahoo are able to index sites created with Wix, so when someone performs a search for your photographs, your Wix site will appear in the search results. Wix’s SEOMyWix blog provides tips on how to optimize your website, to attract the most amount of traffic as possible. There are also plenty of video tutorials and helpful articles on using the various elements of the website builder, in Wix’s online Help Center.

Website created with Wix

I recommend using Wix if you are new to web design but still want to achieve professional results. Websites created with Wix are completely free, with the option to upgrade to a Premium accounts for users who wish to gain control over their domain. Upgrading also allows you to insert a Shopping Cart widget onto your site, so that clients can purchase photographs or service packages directly. There are a few Premium packages from which to choose, but each one is much cheaper than hiring a professional web designer.

Check out examples of photography websites made with Wix by visiting Wix.com, and clicking on “Explore” at the top of the homepage. Go to the Photography section. Or, start browsing the entire gallery of Wix photography templates by choosing “Create” from the home page, and opening the Photography category. Find a design that will illuminate your artwork, and make it yours with customized, easy and fun web design. Give your photographs the brilliant web design they deserve.

115+ Wedding Photography Tips


Creative Commons License photo credit: X.u.k.i

[tweetmeme]After reviewing David Ziser’s wedding photography book, Captured by the Light, I decided to dig into my collection of bookmarked articles in search of even more wedding tips. I came up with quite a few, and supplemented the list with a quick search around the web.

I’m sure this isn’t a comprehensive list of all wedding photography tips out there, but it’s not a bad start. In these 13 articles, there are over 115 tips covering many aspects of wedding photography from lighting to composition to planning to the business end, and many more. So if you’re getting into wedding photography, check out these resources and take some notes!

(21 TIPS) FOR AMATEUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS

(11 TIPS) BUILDING YOUR WEDDING BUSINESS

(2 TIPS) ESSENTIAL LIGHTING TIPS FOR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

(10 TIPS) PHOTOGRAPHING YOUR BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING

(32+ TIPS?) CHRISTOPHER MAXWELL: WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS

(1 VIDEO) HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH A BRIDE

(8 TIPS) WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY SURVIVAL TIPS: THE PREPARATION

(A BUNCH OF TIPS) WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY – LESSONS LEARNED

(6 TIPS) WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY 101

(5 TIPS) WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY COMPOSITION

(9 TIPS) WEDDING PHOTO TIPS FOR AMATEURS

(10 TIPS) PHOTOGRAPHING MY FIRST WEDDING

(HUMOR) HOW WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS ARE LIKE GANG MEMBERS

YOUR TURN

If you know of any other good wedding photography tips, tutorials, and/or resources, feel free to leave the links in the comments below. And if you have any good wedding shots of your own, show them off!

PhotoDump 04-18-2010

More great stuff from the Epic Edits Flickr Pool! This selection of photos is from those entered in the pool between 04/05/2010 and 04/18/2010.

The Sun is Coming by jezza323With all senses by Lady_RhinoaLes 15 marches by pawoli_DSC4055-20100306 by Ian Mearsday 51 | americana by vandyll.netAuckland City by Mike NZcheap thrills-n-frills by sam_samanthaSailboat Races on Arrowhead by Brian AuerDesolation by Garwin Liulevels of plant by Victor BezrukovHill Top Motel by dannyoneSeaside #1 | WPW 14 by Conny Lundgrensunny tenderness by Yury Trofimovstreet catwalk by KBTimages.co.uk(uk_photo_art)Under the Pier, Plate 1 by Scott Coulter by BlanketbackBrother by nathanielperalesDragonfly by analox & admiré by Tomas WebbPrarie from Springwater School | Pradaria na Escola Springwater by Jonathan EnnsSpray Paint by lmurillo.codebeta