Monthly Archives: June 2010

Are You Film, Digital, or Both?

Earlier this month, I wrote a post on the film blog about the different types of film photographers and ran a poll asking the readers to categorize themselves. It was no surprise that we had zero “film haters” chime in ;).

I want to take a step back, look at the question in a broader sense, and open it up to a wider audience (you guys). I’m fascinated by the film vs digital thing, and I see a lot of people doing both (but that could just be the crowd that I associate with). So what I want to learn here, is what percentage of the Epic Edits readers shoot film, digital, or both.

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For those who know me even a little bit, you know that “I Do Both!” Give it a few years and I might get rid of my digital stuff though… j/k, calm down.

I’ve been noticing a renewed interest in film photography over the last year or two, but I’m wondering if it’s just me or if it’s really happening. What do you guys think? Are people coming back to it? Or am I delusional?

Also, don’t forget to check the results from the last poll: How often do you shoot? Looks like we have a pretty good mix of votes.

3 New Photography eBooks

A lot of eBooks have been coming out lately, and I just don’t have the time or energy to do full reviews for all of them. Here are three books that came out on the last few weeks that I probably won’t have time for a full book review. You can see other book and eBook reviews in my archives.

This post contains affiliate links.

Transcending Travel – A Guide to Captivating Travel Photography

This book from dPS is all about travel photography. It is designed to give you the skill and inspiration to take riveting travel images. Written by Mitchell Kanashkevich, the book is divided into four main sections: preparation, composition, light, and making photos. It covers topics such as preparing for your trip, how to communicate effectively with your viewers, creative uses of light, and various other tips for producing great travel photos.

VENICE, A Monograph The Print & Process

This eBook is a collection of over 30 photographs created along themes of loneliness and solitude over a 5-day period in Venice in May 2010, and followed by a discussion of the Why and the How behind the images. The first half of the book is a wonderful collection of photos, while the second half dives into the process behind each photo. This includes technical settings along with some important background information from the photographer.

Vision in Motion

This eBook is an introduction to digital video for stills photographers. Written by Trevor Meier, both a professional stills photographer and film-maker, this eBook discusses the core issues of motion storytelling. Topics include vision, story, sequence, and technique (which is a big one that covers exposure control, frame rate, motion rendering, DOF control, and so on). The end of the book also talks about basic equipment like cameras, lenses, filters, tripods, and sound.

Link Roundup 06-27-2010

Vanishing Point Photos That Just Keep Going and Going

[tweetmeme]Here are the results from another great round of Epic Edits Flickr Challenge! #3 was all about “vanishing point” photos (chosen by the winner), and we had some awesome entries. I think this round was the most difficult for me to choose a winner because at least 4 or 5 of them were so close.

The winner this round was Carsten Fischer, also known as “topfloor” on Flickr. As the winner, he gets to choose the next topic:

CHALLENGE #4: “NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY”

FLICKR TAG: “EE-NIGHT”

So anything in the realm of night photography, and no other restrictions. Just remember that the photos must be in our Flickr pool and tagged with “ee-night”. Now for the vanishing point photos, starting with my favorite:

Spaceship V - up in the sky
Spaceship V – up in the sky by topfloor

I liked this one the best because it was just a bit different than the rest — it has a bit of a twist to it. Seriously though, you can see all sorts of different leading lines pointing to the same vanishing point and it’s quite interesting to explore. I also like the colors and the general composition of it.

OK, so now for the rest of the best!

Las Salinas Grandes, Argentina
Las Salinas Grandes, Argentina by Magical Places

Overcome your fear
Overcome your fear by Bryan Villarin

Vancouver Fog at Night 3
Vancouver Fog at Night 3 by cabbit

Boarding will start in 5 minutes
Boarding will start in 5 minutes by topfloor

Shift's Over
Shift’s Over by Roaming Vegas

Moody
Moody by Cherie S.

salinas grandes
salinas grandes by yellobagman

endless
endless by Victor Bezrukov

Millenium Bridge (5) - Photochallenge212 Repetition
Millenium Bridge (5) – Photochallenge212 Repetition by topfloor

Graphical subway
Graphical subway by topfloor

Reaching Far and Beyond
Reaching Far and Beyond by Devansh <Under House Arrest, forbidden to shoot>

Upgradable for air transit
Upgradable for air transit by Bryan Villarin

Trestle Bridge, Winters, CA
Trestle Bridge, Winters, CA by i_shoot_minolta

the message
the message by stachelpferdchen

The bridge
The bridge by joannapechmann

Tunnelview (Elbtunnel)
Tunnelview (Elbtunnel) by topfloor

Rovaniemi X
Rovaniemi X by Teemu Lahtinen

A Solitary Path
A Solitary Path by cabbit

A Secret Tip to Becoming a Better Photographer

This little tip has nothing to do with your camera or post-processing your images. In fact, it has nothing to do with your images at all. Over the last several years of blogging, I’ve come to realize a very important method for improving your photography skills.

BECOME A PHOTO EDITOR

The type of editor that selects photos for publication. Anybody that has been in such a position knows how difficult it is. They should also know how important it is for indirectly sharpening your own photography skills.

SAY WHAT?

Here’s the thing… when you’re forced to select a few photos from a large possible set and show them off to a public audience, you put your artistic eye to the test. Here’s the other thing… it’s hard as hell to do. You want to be “nice” and select over half of the possible photos to show off? Information overload for your audience. You want to be “stern” and only select the best of the best? You’ll have 3 or 4 photos to show off — who cares? Seriously, putting on the “photo editor” hat is a difficult task, but a very rewarding one.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

Over time, you’ll learn a few things about yourself as a photographer. If you do enough of this stuff, you should start to see that you gravitate toward certain types of photos, styles, and genres. Personally, I’m a fan of film, street, xpro, portrait, and quirky images. I like things that stand out from the norm. The images that you like most ought give you a clue as to which types of photos you should be shooting. You like flowers so much? Go take some flower photos! Curating galleries and publications with other people’s photos will also give you a hint about the quality required for a photo to be “interesting”.

On that note, you’ll also raise your bar for quality control. If you see enough amazing photos, you’ll start to desensitize yourself to the “ho-hum” photos — including your own. This should lead you to improving your quality and trying harder.

One other benefit of being a photo editor is the “feel good” aspect of promoting other artists. It’s always nice to have somebody else recognize your work as a photographer, but it’s just as nice to have other photographers recognize your recognition of them.

HOW TO BECOME A PHOTO EDITOR

This part is easy… online publishing is simple and accessible to just about everyone with an Internet connection.

One method for trying your hand as a photo editor is through Flickr. They have a feature that allows you to curate a gallery of photos from other photographers. Flickr galleries are usually created with a specific topic in mind and you’re limited to 18 selections. This method is great because it’s quick, easy, and very open.

Another method is to publish photos on your blog. Just be aware of copyright infringement and look into the Creative Commons as a way to publish photos.

Once you have a method for publication, just pick a topic or theme and start searching for some photos. See what you come up with, and share it with your audience.

EXAMPLES!

I do the photo editor thing every day, every week, and every month in one place or another — mostly on my blogs.

At the Fine Art Photoblog, we opened things up for guest contributors. I get several new submissions each day and I have to choose whether or not to publish them.

Here on Epic Edits, I’ve been doing the PhotoDump feature for a while. I cut it back to once every other week, but I still have to go through several hundred photos and select about 30 to show off. I also started up the Flickr Challenge thing recently, so that’s a theme based evaluation. And then there are the infrequent posts that exhibit certain types of photos along with some occasional tips (see here, here, here, here, and here).

I do the same type of stuff on Feeling Negative with our Flickr pool photos, and with random theme-based exhibits (see here and here).

NOW YOU GO

Feel free to share some links in the comments below — Flickr galleries, blog posts, and any other publication that you’ve put together as a photo editor.

PhotoDump 06-21-2010

More great stuff from the Epic Edits Flickr Pool! This selection of photos is from those entered in the pool between 05/31/2010 and 06/21/2010.

And don’t forget — We’re doing themes/challenges and the current one is “vanishing points“. Be sure to tag your new and existing photos in the group with “EE-VANISH” if they fit the theme. I’ll be picking out some favorites in just a few days.

tiny dancer by ana.grthe giraffe and the pig take flight by thefatcat44 (Doug Chinnery)Roadside, Route 11 by OtherThinkViejo San Juan en la Noche by ((Kristin))One Shall Sink by Darth KrakenLas Fallas, Valencia - 2010 by demosthiensalinas grandes by yellobagmanbench seating by xgray248/365 - fueling up by joshfassbind.comTesting, testing. by __multifacetedi swear i have waited my whole life just to hear your voice agian by Lanab3arRovaniemi X by Teemu LahtinenWhitby Abbey #1 by JonathanRobsonPhotography.comCorsetry by cabbitMosby, Foggy Morning, Antietam, 06_02 by BgraxPortraits :: Char by Tasha {Redwall Photo}Busker 202 by Silver ImageMisty tree by Sascha Schröderhms belfast at dawn by yellobagmanPhotobooth FTW by DRG Photography | Calgary AB95/365 (Explored) by Hpy2bsalHOLIDAY IN GOA by robinn.Table football by silviaganoraUntitled by thefatcat44 (Doug Chinnery)Montana De Oro by Jeff Kreulen by Chris Mc Roberts{ cass was fluid moving fire } by Peter James Zielinski by EphemeralCaptureTree by CCBImagesCavalry by Blush Response_MG_3304  by lcp_673Genevieve II by cabbitDaddy's Prayer | Virginia Beach Newborn Photography by lifeography®

Link Roundup 06-19-2010

7 Tips for Shooting with Normal Primes

[tweetmeme]Some time ago, I wrote some tips for shooting with extremely wide angle lenses. Then I did it again just recently. So rather than cover the topic for a third time, we’ll talk about a different set of equipment: the normal primes.

Prime lenses are easy to fall in love with, partly because of their simple nature due to the fixed focal length. There are certainly more reasons to love them, but this article is more about how to use them effectively and efficiently. I’m also focusing on the range of “normal” lenses (something in the range of 35-55mm, give or take a few mm) because they’re most widely used and easily purchased.

1. MEMORIZE YOUR FIELD OF VIEW

March 25th 2008 - Everything about this is square
Creative Commons License photo credit: Stephen Poff

If you shoot long enough with a particular lens or focal length, you’ll “just know” where your framing is without looking through the viewfinder. This is a handy skill to acquire for situations when you can’t be constantly looking through the camera. If you memorize your field of view, you’ll be quicker to take the shot and you can plan things out a little better.

2. PLAN YOUR PERSPECTIVES

Over the Can
Creative Commons License photo credit: Brian Auer

Building on point 1, primes don’t allow you to compose your framing with the quick turn of a ring. If you want certain subjects in the image, you’ll have to plan out your distance and angle of attack to get what you want. On the other hand, if you want to bring more attention to a subject and exclude surrounding objects, you’ll need to plan on getting close enough.

3. BE PREPARED TO USE YOUR FEET

The barefoot selfportrait
Creative Commons License photo credit: dhammza

Shooting with a prime isn’t completely restrictive, it just means you’ll have to use your feet to zoom. After using primes for a while, you won’t really notice the “foot zoom” factor. Sometimes using your feet will require you to move or through hazardous locations, so don’t walk around with the camera up to your face because you’ll probably trip, fall, or get hit by a car.

4. WORK WITH WHAT YOU HAVE

I Stand Alone
Creative Commons License photo credit: Brian Auer

Sometimes you just can’t get the shot you want with the lens you have. Maybe you need to be further back than possible, or maybe you just can’t get close enough to frame it right. That’s ok. Worth with what you have and make the best of the situation. Keep your eyes open for other opportunities that surround you.

5. BEWARE OF YOUR SHALLOW DOF

031/365: 60 second walk
Creative Commons License photo credit: dotbenjamin

Now on to a few technical notes… normal primes typically have a very large maximum aperture (f/1.4 and f/1.8 are quite common and inexpensive). It’s great to have f-numbers in this range, but be careful with how you apply them. A shallow DOF can do great things for a photo, but it can also ruin it. It’s easy to get too shallow and blur out some important part of the image (of course, the focus in the image above is quite intentional, but you get the idea). In addition, the viewfinder and your on-camera LCD screen are too small to effectively judge DOF — things look more in-focus than they really are. So if you’re not certain that you want razor thin DOF, maybe stop it down a few notches… I tend to like the look of f/2 or f/2.8 better than f/1.4 anyway.

6. WATCH OUT FOR SUNSHINE

Happy flare friday!
Creative Commons License photo credit: zzaj ♫ {Thomas}

Another note on those large maximum apertures, this time having to do with the limitations of your camera. If you like to shoot wide open at f/1.4 or larger, you probably have to throttle back your obsession in broad daylight. With my digital camera, even at ISO 100, I can’t shoot in harsh sunlight at f/1.4 because my shutter speed maxes out at 1/8000s and the meter tells the camera to go higher than that. Of course, I can take the shot, but it will be overexposed because of the physical limitations. Now, if I knock it down to about f/2, I can take a shot within the range of my usable shutter speeds.

7. PHOTOGRAPH PEOPLE

Pool Girl
Creative Commons License photo credit: Brian Auer

Normal lenses excel when it comes to people shots. Their field of view and perspective matches the human eye more closely than the extreme focal lengths. This makes subjects in the photos appear more natural and realistic. The wider end of normal lenses (30mm) will give a slightly wide angle look, but it’s useful for capturing people in groups or in their surroundings. Get too close, and a full frame headshot might look a bit funny. On the other end (60mm), you might have a hard time getting groups or full body shots unless you’re back a ways, but the close-up portraits will look more natural.

What other tips to you have for shooting with normal primes? And what is your favorite normal prime lens?

Tips & Ideas for Wedding Photography

About The Author: This article has been contributed by Nick Smith from Digital Wedding Secrets. Digital Wedding Secrets is a guide focused on the wedding photography. If you are passionate about wedding photography then Sign Up to its RSS or FREE Digital wedding newsletter to receive more wedding photography tips.

пора к плите и кастрюлям!! 2/2
Creative Commons License photo credit: Pelipe

[tweetmeme]Nobody strives to be boring and mundane, and yet countless weddings and wedding photographs achieve that goal with flying colors. To raise the stakes as a wedding photographer (and therefore your prices and reputation), you need to offer a dual personality as wedding photography — one side that will ensure/guarantee the Bride & Groom that they’ll get all the “standard” (read: blah) photographs for a wedding photo package. And the other side that will enthusiastically suggest box-breaking, creative and imaginative ideas that might raise an eyebrow, but will guarantee a smile and/or a laugh (or a gasp) when you submit your final photos to the Bride & Groom. Dynamic photography is all about finding those definitive moments and framing them with evocative lighting… that’s your mantra; I’ll give it to you for free!

Wedding imagery on a grass roots level is just formalized party photography, so that being said, what makes party photography even remotely interesting to look at? That’s right, the spontaneous, unexpected, intimate and candid photographs that details the B-Story Moments of an event. The sterile portraits that most people expect and therefore get won’t get you rave reviews or make the job compelling for you, so push the envelope.

Planning Makes Perfect

The Shoot in photo parlance is actually a production, and for any production to be successful a plan must made, rehearsed and carried out to perfection (or as near as perfection as possible). This is doubly important with wedding photography, because the “event” isn’t staged, it’s happening live… in real-time. Therefore the preproduction planning stages are crucial. During this stage, scouting the location for lighting issues, potential backgrounds and event staging can be determined and discussed with the Bride & Groom. You can take test photos during the preproduction stage, and determine what additional equipment (like a third camera; a second one is mandatory) you might want to acquire the best images on the day of the Big Event. You can also establish a photo coordinator from someone close to the wedding party to help you corral the various groups during the day of the shoot. Sure you’ll have some authority, but not enough to get all that you need make the most of the day.

During the planning stage, you can make your production checklist, so there’s memory slips on the day of; you’ll have it all mapped out and handled by the night before, so that all you have to do on the day of the Wedding is get up, get dressed and drive to the venue.

Here’s another free mantra for you; If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.

Inspired Images: The Photo Essay

A photo-journalistic style is top among the techniques and tricks that can enhance any wedding photo package, but in reality you want to create a photo essay of the wedding, not just document what happened with a journalist’s flair and/or a creative eye. A photo essay has a more impressionistic slant to it; the images need to feel as poetic as possible. This will enable you to take chances with lighting, composition and subject matter that stretches the limits of photo journalism.

Remember, the photo-essayist looks to find singular lyrical moments and combine those moments such that they deliver more emotional impact than typical compelling photo journalistic/reportage imagery. Of course this technique/skill requires a most creative eye, and the ability to find the moments that might not be the center of the “action” but are more poignant and potent for the final outcome.

Build Rapport

Successful photographers build a rapport with their subjects prior to doing any meaningful shooting, just ask any National Geographic photographer how they get those stand-out images. So you need to follow that lead when it comes to Wedding Photography and establish a rapport with the Bride & Groom. The ideal time for this is during the walk-thru when the full wedding party is all there, and any pre-wedding day photographs (like engagement photography session) that the Bride & Groom want (suggest this if they haven’t thought of it). Be sure to be as engaging as possible; cracking jokes might be a bit much, but be as jovial and open as possible. All these people need to trust you in intimate moments, when most of them are probably going to be a little drunk (or maybe a lot drunk) and be emotional in rare ways. You have to be an insider, not an interloper.

Brutal Editorial Review

While it’s most important to shoot (perhaps too) many photographs, the purpose of this is to have the broadest possible selection possible to present to the Bride & Groom; not to mention that memory storage cards is notorious cheap these days, so bring enough cards and fill them up. And when doing this presentation, make sure that you are showing the absolute best “selects” of the 100s, if not 1000s, of photos that you took. Only your best work needs to be seen by the Bride & Groom. If you don’t have a great editorial eye, then find someone who does and whose opinion you trust. This most critical to having a happy Bride & Groom, because when they return from their honeymoon and want to see the photos they need to re-create the emotional highs of the wedding day. Even if the Bride & Groom aren’t expects at examining photos (and who expects them to be?), they will instinctively know when a photo is good or if a photo is great.

Takes these tips for what they’re worth, maybe you already do all these things. So this is just confirmation that you’re on the right track. Remember, you are a professional, and there is a specific pattern of behavior that is required of a professional; keep that in mind at all times and you’ll be successful. Professionals are prepared, open-minded and have boundless energy for the current project when it’s “go time.”

About The Author: This article has been contributed by Nick Smith from Digital Wedding Secrets. Digital Wedding Secrets is a guide focused on the wedding photography. If you are passionate about wedding photography then Sign Up to its RSS or FREE Digital wedding newsletter to receive more wedding photography tips.

Link Roundup 06-14-2010

I just realized that it’s been a few weeks since I posted some links! So here are a few that I have in my list… I’ve got more, but I don’t like posting more than 10-15 links at a time.