My Digital Photography

Enhance Your Digital Creativity

Apr
19

Rylo update adds 180° mode, bluetooth capture and motion blur timelapse effect

Filed Under News: Digital Photography Review

Credit: Rylo

The popular Rylo 360° camera—a camera we called the "360 degree camera done right" in our review—is receiving a major update today. The update adds two new features for both iOS and Android users of the Rylo camera and app, with a third feature available only to iOS users for now.

Let's take them one by one.

180° Mode

The new 180° video mode shrinks the field of view, allowing you to capture 180° video at higher resolution and better image quality than 360° mode allows. According to Rylo, 180° mode "is especially useful for chest-mounted shots or activities/scenarios in which one lens is blocked."

Bluetooth Remote Capture

The name kind of gives this one away. Remote capture lets you sync your phone to the Rylo camera via bluetooth, which allows you to: switch between recording modes, start or stop a video, and snap a photo, all from the app on your phone.

Obviously, this feature will help if you've got the camera mounted somewhere hard to reach.

Motion Blur

A new feature for timelapse shooting, Motion Blur adds a 'cinematic' motion blur effect that is actually synced up to the speed of your timelapse shots (more speed = more blur). The effect doesn't show up while shooting, but will be viewable upon export.

All three features ship today, although Bluetooth Remote Capture is currently only available for iOS, with Android support "coming soon."

If you own a Rylo 360-degree camera and want to try these features out, all you need to do is update your Rylo app via the App Store or Google Play, then update your camera's software through the app. And if you haven't heard about the Rylo and want to know what this camera is all about, check out our full review at the link below.

Review: Rylo is a 360° camera done right

Apr
19

Capture One update adds new styles workflow, updated camera support

Filed Under News: Digital Photography Review

Phase One has launched the first major update to Capture One Pro 11, the company's Raw conversion and photo editing software. Capture One 11.1 brings along a few important new features, including improved import performance, an updated styles workflow, a new resource hub, enhanced LCC presets, and support for new cameras and lenses.

The most obvious changes in the update come in the form of new workflow adjustments that should speed up the importing and processing of large numbers of photos. Now, you can apply styles and presets directly to a photo or on top of it as a layer; for even more control, you can control the opacity to make sure the effect is as subtle or significant as you want it to be.

Capture One has also thrown in a new ‘Spring’ collection as part of its included styles packs.

A new ‘Normalize’ tool has also been added to the workflow. This tool replaces the old ‘Skin Tone White Balance’ tab within the white balance module and, "is designed to make easier baseline corrections to images."

And if you’re new to Capture One (or simply want to refresh your skill set) Capture One has dropped the learning curve by adding a new Resource Hub. You can now get instant access to free learning resources directly in the app, including: tutorials, webinars, news, and blogs, plus direct access to support and Capture One’s web shop.

Finally, Capture One 11.1 also includes updated support for eight new cameras and 16 lenses. Below is a full list of the cameras and lenses that have been added to the more than 400 cameras already supported:

Cameras

  • Sony A7 Mk III
  • Fuji lm X-H1
  • Leica CL
  • Leica M262
  • Leica TL2
  • Leica V-Lux Typ 114
  • Leica X-U
  • Olympus E-M10 mkIII
  • Olympus E-PL9
  • Panasonic G9
  • Panasonic GH5S

Lenses

  • Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM
  • Leica Elmarit M 90mm f2.8
  • Leica Summicron M 90mm f2
  • Sony E 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS (SEL18135)
  • Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS (SEL24105G)
  • Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD MACRO B016 • Tamron 28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD A010
  • Tamron SP 35mm F/1.8 Di VC USD F012
  • Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 A025
  • Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Di MACRO 1:1 VC USD F017

For owners of Capture One Pro 11, version 11.1 is available as a free update for both MacOS and Windows. If you don’t own the current version, Capture One 11.1 can be purchased for a one-time fee of $300 or used via subscription for $20 per month, or $180 per year if paid up front. There's also a free 30-day trial if you want to test the waters before you commit.

To see what else is new and to purchase Capture One 11.1, head on over to the Capture One website.

Press Release

Phase One Releases Capture One 11.1

Update Provides New Resource Hub, Expanded Camera Support and Improved Workflow

COPENHAGEN, Apr. 19, 2018 – Phase One, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-end digital camera systems, today released Capture One 11.1, a feature release to the industry’s premier RAW conversion and image editing software. The release enhances the Capture One user experience, through a new support platform and functionality updates to ensure a faster, smoother workflow. Improved Styles and presets workflow, support for 11 new cameras, including Sony A7 Mk III and Fuji X-H1 and 10 new lenses, including Tamron lenses for both Nikon and Canon, and an all-new Resource Hub are among the latest updates.

“Capture One remains dedicated to the needs of ambitious photographers. These latest updates introduce an extension to camera and lens support, as well as an all-new Resource Hub. The Resource Hub is an in-app portal that allows users to easily access news, tutorials, updates and much more – all designed to inspire photographers and ensure the best workflow and user experience in Capture One,” said Jan Hyldebrandt-Larsen, VP Software Business at Phase One.

NEW FEATURES AND TOOLS IN CAPTURE ONE 11.1

IMPROVED STYLES AND PRESETS

A new workflow adds a much faster way to apply both Styles and Presets to a Layer on one or multiple images, offering a direct control of opacity, imperative to wedding and portrait photographers.

Furthermore, a new Spring Styles Pack is included, offering bright pastel color grading to images, particularly helpful to wedding, portrait and landscape photography.

RESOURCE HUB

The Resource Hub has been introduced to offer quick access to free learning resources via a dynamic on-screen portal. Tutorials, news, webinars, blog posts and much more are offered in one convenient location to improve the user experience and learning curve with Capture One.

NORMALIZATION TOOL

The normalization tool provides a reference point for exposure and white balance for batch adjustments, now allowing any color to be used when previously the only option was a neutral grey.

NEW CAMERA AND LENS SUPPORT

The Capture One R&D team, alongside our color scientists, analyze hundreds of images from each camera to provide photographers access to the best out of box experience with natural profiles. Below outlines the new camera and lens additions that Capture One 11.1 supports. A full list of supported cameras can be found here: http://www.phaseone.com/supported-cameras

New camera support includes:

  • Fujifilm X-H1
  • Leica M262
  • Leica CL
  • Leica X-U
  • Leica V-Lux Typ 114
  • Leica TL2
  • Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mk III
  • Olympus E-PL9
  • Panasonic G9
  • Panasonic GH5S
  • Sony A7 Mk III

New lens support includes:

  • Canon lens:
    • Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM
  • Leica lenses:
    • Leica Elmarit M 2.8/90
    • Leica Summicron M 2/90
  • Sony lenses:
    • Sony E 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS (SEL18135)
    • Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS (SEL24105G)
  • Tamron lenses:
    • Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 A025
    • Tamron SP 35mm F/1.8 Di VC USD F012
    • Tamron 28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD A010
    • Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Di MACRO 1:1 VC USD F017
    • Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD MACRO B016

CAPTURE PILOT 2.0

Capture Pilot 2.0 adds camera control support for Sony, allowing users to change camera settings of the tethered camera directly from your iOS device.*

AVAILABILITY AND PRICING

Capture One 11.1 is available now for the Mac and Windows operating systems online at www.phaseone.com/store and from Phase One authorized partners worldwide www.phaseone.com/partners.

Capture One Pro

Owners of Capture One Pro 11 perpetual and subscribers can update for free by downloading. New customers can purchase Capture One Pro 11 for 299 USD or 279 EUR. Capture One Pro 11 is also available by subscription. A single-user subscription is 20 USD/EUR per month for a 12-month plan or a 180 USD/EUR prepaid subscription, paid annually.

Owners of Capture One Pro 9 and 10 can upgrade for 119 USD/EUR

Capture One Pro Sony

Owners of Capture One Pro Sony 11 can upgrade for free by downloading. New customers can purchase Capture One Pro Sony 11 for 79 USD/EUR.

Owners of Capture One Pro Sony 9 and 10 can upgrade for 69 USD/EUR.

Download a 30-day trial

A fully functional version of Capture One is available for a 30-day trial. Download the trial here: www.phaseone.com/download

Please see all products and payment options at www.phaseone.com/store.


*Requires in app purchase.

Apr
19

Capture One update adds new styles workflow, updated camera support

Filed Under News: Digital Photography Review

Phase One has launched the first major update to Capture One Pro 11, the company's Raw conversion and photo editing software. Capture One 11.1 brings along a few important new features, including improved import performance, an updated styles workflow, a new resource hub, enhanced LCC presets, and support for new cameras and lenses.

The most obvious changes in the update come in the form of new workflow adjustments that should speed up the importing and processing of large numbers of photos. Now, you can apply styles and presets directly to a photo or on top of it as a layer; for even more control, you can control the opacity to make sure the effect is as subtle or significant as you want it to be.

Capture One has also thrown in a new ‘Spring’ collection as part of its included styles packs.

A new ‘Normalize’ tool has also been added to the workflow. This tool replaces the old ‘Skin Tone White Balance’ tab within the white balance module and, "is designed to make easier baseline corrections to images."

And if you’re new to Capture One (or simply want to refresh your skill set) Capture One has dropped the learning curve by adding a new Resource Hub. You can now get instant access to free learning resources directly in the app, including: tutorials, webinars, news, and blogs, plus direct access to support and Capture One’s web shop.

Finally, Capture One 11.1 also includes updated support for eight new cameras and 16 lenses. Below is a full list of the cameras and lenses that have been added to the more than 400 cameras already supported:

Cameras

  • Sony A7 Mk III
  • Fuji lm X-H1
  • Leica CL
  • Leica M262
  • Leica TL2
  • Leica V-Lux Typ 114
  • Leica X-U
  • Olympus E-M10 mkIII
  • Olympus E-PL9
  • Panasonic G9
  • Panasonic GH5S

Lenses

  • Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM
  • Leica Elmarit M 90mm f2.8
  • Leica Summicron M 90mm f2
  • Sony E 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS (SEL18135)
  • Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS (SEL24105G)
  • Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD MACRO B016 • Tamron 28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD A010
  • Tamron SP 35mm F/1.8 Di VC USD F012
  • Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 A025
  • Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Di MACRO 1:1 VC USD F017

For owners of Capture One Pro 11, version 11.1 is available as a free update for both MacOS and Windows. If you don’t own the current version, Capture One 11.1 can be purchased for a one-time fee of $300 or used via subscription for $20 per month, or $180 per year if paid up front. There's also a free 30-day trial if you want to test the waters before you commit.

To see what else is new and to purchase Capture One 11.1, head on over to the Capture One website.

Press Release

Phase One Releases Capture One 11.1

Update Provides New Resource Hub, Expanded Camera Support and Improved Workflow

COPENHAGEN, Apr. 19, 2018 – Phase One, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-end digital camera systems, today released Capture One 11.1, a feature release to the industry’s premier RAW conversion and image editing software. The release enhances the Capture One user experience, through a new support platform and functionality updates to ensure a faster, smoother workflow. Improved Styles and presets workflow, support for 11 new cameras, including Sony A7 Mk III and Fuji X-H1 and 10 new lenses, including Tamron lenses for both Nikon and Canon, and an all-new Resource Hub are among the latest updates.

“Capture One remains dedicated to the needs of ambitious photographers. These latest updates introduce an extension to camera and lens support, as well as an all-new Resource Hub. The Resource Hub is an in-app portal that allows users to easily access news, tutorials, updates and much more – all designed to inspire photographers and ensure the best workflow and user experience in Capture One,” said Jan Hyldebrandt-Larsen, VP Software Business at Phase One.

NEW FEATURES AND TOOLS IN CAPTURE ONE 11.1

IMPROVED STYLES AND PRESETS

A new workflow adds a much faster way to apply both Styles and Presets to a Layer on one or multiple images, offering a direct control of opacity, imperative to wedding and portrait photographers.

Furthermore, a new Spring Styles Pack is included, offering bright pastel color grading to images, particularly helpful to wedding, portrait and landscape photography.

RESOURCE HUB

The Resource Hub has been introduced to offer quick access to free learning resources via a dynamic on-screen portal. Tutorials, news, webinars, blog posts and much more are offered in one convenient location to improve the user experience and learning curve with Capture One.

NORMALIZATION TOOL

The normalization tool provides a reference point for exposure and white balance for batch adjustments, now allowing any color to be used when previously the only option was a neutral grey.

NEW CAMERA AND LENS SUPPORT

The Capture One R&D team, alongside our color scientists, analyze hundreds of images from each camera to provide photographers access to the best out of box experience with natural profiles. Below outlines the new camera and lens additions that Capture One 11.1 supports. A full list of supported cameras can be found here: http://www.phaseone.com/supported-cameras

New camera support includes:

  • Fujifilm X-H1
  • Leica M262
  • Leica CL
  • Leica X-U
  • Leica V-Lux Typ 114
  • Leica TL2
  • Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mk III
  • Olympus E-PL9
  • Panasonic G9
  • Panasonic GH5S
  • Sony A7 Mk III

New lens support includes:

  • Canon lens:
    • Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM
  • Leica lenses:
    • Leica Elmarit M 2.8/90
    • Leica Summicron M 2/90
  • Sony lenses:
    • Sony E 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS (SEL18135)
    • Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS (SEL24105G)
  • Tamron lenses:
    • Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 A025
    • Tamron SP 35mm F/1.8 Di VC USD F012
    • Tamron 28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD A010
    • Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Di MACRO 1:1 VC USD F017
    • Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD MACRO B016

CAPTURE PILOT 2.0

Capture Pilot 2.0 adds camera control support for Sony, allowing users to change camera settings of the tethered camera directly from your iOS device.*

AVAILABILITY AND PRICING

Capture One 11.1 is available now for the Mac and Windows operating systems online at www.phaseone.com/store and from Phase One authorized partners worldwide www.phaseone.com/partners.

Capture One Pro

Owners of Capture One Pro 11 perpetual and subscribers can update for free by downloading. New customers can purchase Capture One Pro 11 for 299 USD or 279 EUR. Capture One Pro 11 is also available by subscription. A single-user subscription is 20 USD/EUR per month for a 12-month plan or a 180 USD/EUR prepaid subscription, paid annually.

Owners of Capture One Pro 9 and 10 can upgrade for 119 USD/EUR

Capture One Pro Sony

Owners of Capture One Pro Sony 11 can upgrade for free by downloading. New customers can purchase Capture One Pro Sony 11 for 79 USD/EUR.

Owners of Capture One Pro Sony 9 and 10 can upgrade for 69 USD/EUR.

Download a 30-day trial

A fully functional version of Capture One is available for a 30-day trial. Download the trial here: www.phaseone.com/download

Please see all products and payment options at www.phaseone.com/store.


*Requires in app purchase.

Apr
19

Samsung Galaxy S9+ sample gallery

Filed Under News: Digital Photography Review

We recently got a hold of Samsung's latest and greatest smartphone, the Galaxy S9+. Like the Note 8, the S9+ has dual cameras (one wide, one telephoto,) but this time one of them can switch between F1.5 and F2.4 automatically or on demand.

We took the S9+ on a recent trip to Southern California and returned with a nice selection of photos taken under both sun and clouds. Watch this space for a full review very soon.

See our Samsung Galaxy S9+ sample gallery

Apr
19

Taking your drone to a wedding? Read this first

Filed Under News: Digital Photography Review

Best practices for flying your drone at weddings

It's spring, and that means wedding season is upon us!* If you're one of the many photographers planning wedding shoots this year, it's also a great time to think about including aerial photography in your plans.

A drone is a great way to capture unique shots that can help tell the story of a memorable day, and in my experience more couples are requesting drone photos than ever before. I expect that trend to continue. On the following pages, I'll share some of my best practices for flying drones at weddings, and give you some hints about things to pay attention to.

* Apologies to those in the Southern Hemisphere. We haven't forgotten about you.

Get certified or licensed to operate commercially

In the US, pilots who fly drones for commercial purposes are required to pass the FAA Part 107 exam. Passing this exam is beneficial beyond just getting a certificate: in the process of studying, drone operators will learn important rules, regulations, and best practices for flying responsibly, all of which will make you a more knowledgable, safer pilot.

You can self study for the FAA exam using the study materials provided by the FAA, or by taking one of the numerous available online test prep courses like this one from Drone Pilot Ground School.

Outside the US, many countries have similar regulations, so make sure you know what the rules are where you're operating and ensure that you have obtained any necessary permits, certificates, or licenses.

Register your drone with the FAA

After you successfully pass the Part 107 exam, you'll need to register your drone's serial number with the FAA. This registration is necessary if you're flying your drone for commercial purposes, and costs $5. The registration number must be clearly marked on your drone so it can be identified if there are any issues or potential accidents.

It should be noted that this registration process is also required for recreational drones, and pilots who intend to fly their drones as a hobby. The FAA had previously removed the registration requirement for recreational drone use, but has recently reinstated it.

Get a good UAV liability insurance policy

Get a liability insurance policy that covers your drone activities. It's not just a good idea – it will may in fact be required by certain venues before you're allowed to fly. Venues (and commercial clients) might dictate how much liability coverage you need, or even ask to be listed on a rider, demonstrating that they are protected from any liability during your flights.

Having no liability protection during a wedding flight could be disastrous; despite careful planning and preparation for your flight, unpredictable things can happen. Having UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) liability coverage will ensure that you're protected against the potentially large financial burden that could occur if an unforeseen situation arises.

Get a good UAV liability insurance policy

A common question I get is where to buy UAV insurance. Liability policies are offered through special aviation insurance companies, and traditional agencies will typically offer annual coverage based on the policy amount and number of drones covered. You can also purchase UAV insurance on a daily basis, for very specific places and time periods, and even specify the amount of coverage required.

If you intend to fly commercially on a frequent basis, it's best to buy an annual policy since they tend to be a better value for long term use. However, if you will only be flying the odd commercial gig once in a while, then getting coverage for the day may be the smarter option. I've had an annual policy from Costello Insurance for the past two years, and they've been great to work with, but if you'd like to look at an on-demand provider, then you might want to take a look at Verifly, which has iOS & Android apps that can be used to book coverage straight from your mobile device.

Update your drone to the latest firmware

Verify that you're using the latest software and firmware on all of your devices and drones. This includes updating to your drone's latest mobile app on your phone or tablet, as well as updating the firmware on your controller, drone, and maybe even your batteries. All of these components operate in synergy, so if one part is out of sync you could be exposing yourself to unnecessary risk.

I always go through my checklist several days before a flight, ensuring that I check for updates on all of my devices, and making sure everything is properly charged and calibrated.

Calibrate your IMU and compass before your flight

This is something that I used to take for granted, until I had a very scary close call while trying to capture a beautiful sunset. I decided to pull over by a beach, and proceeded to send my DJI Phantom 3 Advanced up for a quick flight. The drone jumped up and immediately lost it's GPS and compass heading, putting it into an uncontrolled frenzy in ATTI mode. I struggled through almost the entire battery charge to get it under control, and experienced the highest degree of stress I've ever experienced when flying a drone. I was lucky to get it back on the ground without damaging anything.

Looking back, if I had taken a few minutes to calibrate the compass and IMU, I would have a beautiful sunset to look back on instead of the stressful memory of that dreaded flight. Don't let this happen to you, especially at a wedding. I now always calibrate my compass and IMU before each flight.

Monitor wind conditions

Knowing the wind speed and direction is a critical skill for any drone pilot. When flying downwind it can seem like wind isn't an issue, but you don't want to discover that it is when flying back upwind with a low battery. Pay attention to the wind and know both where it's coming from and at what speed. I use an iOS app called Windseeker to help keep tabs on the wind conditions. It has geolocation abilities, and can even give you an augmented reality overlay of the wind direction for easier planning.

Wind can always be a factor when flying a drone, though to what degree may depend on which model you're flying. I've found that the DJI Phantom series are pretty resilient, and can typically fly in moderate to strong winds. Smaller drones like the DJI Spark and Mavic Pro may not be able to fly in strong winds as adeptly as bigger drones. No matter what drone you're flying, always use your judgment. If it's too windy to fly, stay on the ground.

Use a visual observer

Having a visual observer is a requirement for any FAA Part 107 pilot flying for commercial purposes. It serves to cover the line of sight requirement during commercial operations, and is generally a good idea for any flight in my opinion. It's very difficult to pay close attention to your controller and maintain line of sight to your drone at the same time.

Creating cinematic shots often requires close attention to your display, the controls, and your technique, and breaking that focus to maintain your eyes on the drone in the air will pretty much undermine all of those things. Play it safe and make sure you always have a visual observer to handle this task so you can focus on nailing that epic shot.

Keep a respectful distance

Flying with tact and consideration is a must in my opinion; when planning your shots, do so in a way that doesn't intrude on the ceremony. I never try anything too fancy without discussing it with the bride and groom. If I need to shoot something that requires me to get relatively close to the ceremony, I always make sure it's OK with them, and that everyone is aware of the audible noise that my propellers will cause.

Also, consider what type of drone is best for any given situation. If maximum image quality is needed I may use a DJI Phantom 4 Pro, but if image quality takes a backseat to noise, then I can often get more subtle shots with a less intrusive DJI Spark. My advice is to always balance respect for the wedding with the need to get the perfect shot, and discuss this with your clients. They'll appreciate your need to get the best shots without causing a huge distraction that potentially overpowers their special moment.

Best practices for flying your drone at weddings

These best practices should allow you to get great drone photos or video at a wedding, while also ensuring that you're operating safely, legally, and respectfully.

I'm interested to hear about other best practices you may have developed over time. Please share them in the comments below! We can all continue to learn and benefit by implementing them into our workflows.

Apr
18

Sony fixes a7 lll ‘blinking pixels’ video issue with firmware 1.01 update

Filed Under News: Digital Photography Review

Sony has released the first firmware update for the Sony a7 III—version 1.01—and it was specifically released to solve a "blinking pixel" issue that showed up when recording video footage while using certain settings.

The flickering pixels would appear along the base of footage "during XAVC S 4K (PAL 25p) recording (depending on the combination of camera settings)." Additionally, the update resolves a problem that could occasionally make the rear touch screen stop working, and Sony says the camera’s system should run more smoothly with the new firmware as well.

For more information and to download V1.01 for yourself, visit this support page on the Sony website.

Release Notes

ILCE-7M3 System Software (Firmware) Update Ver.1.01 (Windows)

Resolves a "blinking pixels" phenomenon at the bottom edge of the image during XAVC S 4K (PAL 25p) recording (depending on the combination of camera settings)

Applicable Models

This information is for the following models: ILCE-7M3

About this download

Benefits and improvements

  • Resolves a "blinking pixels" phenomenon at the bottom edge of the image during XAVC S 4K (PAL 25p) recording (depending on the combination of camera settings)

  • Resolves an issue where the touch panel could occasionally become unresponsive

  • Improves the overall stability of the camera

File Info

File Name: ILCE-7M3 System Software (Firmware) Update Ver.1.01 (Windows)

File Version: 1.01

File Size: 282 MB (296,352,960 bytes)

Release Date: 18/04/2018

Apr
18

4 Ways To Make Better Street Portraits While Traveling

Filed Under Digital Photography School, Photography Tips and Tutorials

One of my favorite things about travel photography is the opportunities it provides to meet interesting people in the street and make portraits of them. Here are some of the things that I have learned that you can put into practice when you are traveling and make street portraits.

Street portraits and travel photography

1. Ask people for permission

It’s surprising how you often get the best results when you ask people for permission to make their portrait. This doesn’t apply all the time – you might see somebody interesting who doesn’t notice that you are there and you get the opportunity to make a great candid portrait.

But more often than not you can get a better result by approaching people and asking permission. The good thing about this approach is that it gives you a great excuse to go up to somebody and ask if you can make their portrait. A good way to phrase it is to explain that you are undertaking a project asking interesting people to pose for you.

Problems can arise with this approach if you don’t speak the local language. But that doesn’t stop you communicating with good body language and a smile. You can point to your camera to indicate you are asking for permission to make a portrait.

It’s worth overcoming the challenges

An alternative approach is to work with a local person who can translate for you. This may be a local photographer who you have made contact with and who is interested in helping you out. Or it may be a fixer who you pay to help you communicate with local people and find photo opportunities that you are unlikely to come across by yourself.

Once you have somebody’s permission you have an immediate advantage that you can spend some time with them to work on creating a good street portrait. For example, let’s say you see an interesting person who is standing in the sun and as a result, the light is too harsh to make a good portrait. If you approach them to ask for permission you can then ask them to stand in the shade so you get the best light.

Street portraits and travel photography

That’s the approach I took with the portrait above, created in a mosque in Delhi. The man approached us in the mosque and explained a few things to us about what we were seeing. When we met him he was standing in the sun. After a few minutes of conversation, we asked if we could make a portrait of him and he said yes. It was easy to find a shady place for him to stand.

2. Photograph character, not beauty

It may be tempting to look for beautiful or handsome people to photograph. And who could blame you? But you’ll create more interesting street portraits full of character if you find interesting people. This means people of both genders and all ages (except children, see next point).

For example, I made the portrait below in the town of San Antonio de Areco in Argentina. This town is famous for its atmospheric bars and gauchos. While taking photos in one of the bars somebody told me there was an elderly couple down the road who loved talking to people and having their photo taken. We went to check out the situation and found the couple sitting out on the street. We had an interesting conversation and I made this portrait.

Street portraits and travel photography

This also shows how you should be open to opportunity. If people are friendly and make suggestions like this, go with the flow and see where it takes you. Interesting things often happen this way.

3. Don’t take too many photos of children

A few years ago I traveled to the town of Tupiza in southern Bolivia. We were walking through the town’s main square and noticed there was a lot of children. It turned out that it was a national sports day and as part of that event, local school children were in the square to participate in sporting activities.

Eventually one of the children noticed that I had a camera and started jumping up and down in front of me, asking me to take his photo. Of course, then other children joined in and soon I had a mob of kids in front of me who all wanted their photos taken. Which I did, and I have a nice memory because of it.

Street portraits and travel photography

Luckily a teacher came along and shooed the kids away. The point of this story is that kids are often easy to photograph, especially in places where they get excited whenever they see a foreigner. But they are not likely to feature in your most interesting or memorable photos.

As a subject, they are too easy. Plus, you have to consider that in some countries local people may view strangers photographing children as suspicious. You’ll get better results by avoiding kids and finding interesting adults.

4. Look for interesting backgrounds

My final tip is to look for interesting backgrounds or places and wait with your camera to see what happens. Have you noticed how some photographers walk rapidly from one place to another, taking photos of anything that catches their eye? The aim of this exercise is to get you to slow down and become attuned to the rhythm of the place you’re in.

If the background is interesting enough, you can wait for somebody to pass by and add an element of human interest. People will usually think that you’re photographing whatever’s in the background and probably won’t even realize they are in the photo.

Here’s an example of that. I found this beautiful scene in Guatemala and waited to see what would happen. Eventually, a man cycled by and I was able to make this photo.

Street portraits and travel photography

Conclusion

When you are traveling with the intention of creating street portraits it takes some work to get the best results. Following the tips in this article, and getting used to approaching people to ask if you can make their portrait will help you a lot with the process.


The Candid Portrait

If you’d like to learn more about street and travel photography then please check out my popular ebook popular ebook The Creative Portrait. Use the code DPS20 for a 20% discount on your first order.

The post 4 Ways To Make Better Street Portraits While Traveling appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Apr
18

The FlyJacket soft exoskeleton turns your body into a drone controller

Filed Under News: Digital Photography Review

Researchers with Switzerland's École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have developed a soft exoskeleton that enables its wearer to control a drone using their upper body. Called FlyJacket, the exoskeleton is a human-robot interface (HRI) that offers "natural and intuitive control of drones," according to the university, enabling inexperienced individuals to operate them.

Typical drone controls involve a touchscreen and/or joysticks, which researchers say are "neither natural nor intuitive" for operators. As an alternative, FlyJacket places motion sensors on the operator's body, requiring them to spread their arms like wings (with supports to prevent fatigue) and move their upper body as if they're flying to control the drone, while a VR headset provides a first-person perspective from the UAV's camera.

Explaining the usefulness of the technology, the research paper states:

The development of more intuitive control interfaces could improve flight efficiency, reduce errors, and allow users to shift their attention from the task of control to the evaluation of the information provided by the drone. Human-robot interfaces could be improved by focusing on natural human gestures captured by wearable sensors. Indeed, the use of wearable devices, such as exoskeletons, has been shown to enhance control intuitiveness and immersion.

The team has tested FlyJacket using a Parrot Bebop 2 quadcopter. A smart glove expands the user's abilities by recognizing certain finger gestures to trigger actions. Touching the thumb to the middle finger, for example, triggers the system to set a point of interest, which could be useful during search and rescue missions. The researchers are working to add additional controls to FlyJacket, including the ability to adjust the drone's speed, according to IEEE Spectrum.

A paper detailing the technology is available from EPFL here.

Apr
18

Rumor debunked: Canon and Profoto will both attend Photokina 2018

Filed Under News: Digital Photography Review

One of the Canon displays at a previous Photokina. Credit: Photokina

Flash maker Elinchrom recently revealed that it would skip Photokina 2018, with company CEO Simon Whittle explaining, "...we feel this is a transitional year for photokina and this break will help Elinchrom to analyze and refocus on what is really important for our customers in the coming years." Starting next year, the event will take place in May instead of September.

On the same day as Elinchrom's announcement, DIY Photography said it had been hearing rumors that "big brands," among them Canon and Profoto, may also be skipping Photokina 2018.

As DPR stated last week, claims that Canon would skip the event seemed far-fetched from the beginning. A day later, DIY Photography said it had received word from Photokina director Christoph Menke denouncing the rumors, and today Photokina responded more broadly by publishing a list of brands that will officially be attending—among them Canon and Profoto.

According to the press release, Photokina is "expecting every single exhibitor space in the halls in Cologne to be filled," and the following brands have "secured their stands" for the event, which starts September 26th:

  • Arri
  • Canon
  • Cewe
  • DJI
  • Epson
  • Fujifilm
  • Kodak Alaris
  • Leica
  • Manfrotto
  • Nikon
  • Olympus
  • Panasonic
  • Profoto
  • Sigma
  • Sony
  • Tamron
  • Zeiss
Apr
18

Tips for Light Painting and Some Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Filed Under Digital Photography School, Photography Tips and Tutorials

In this article, I will focus on light painting objects in night scenes during a single long exposure (rather than multiple exposures combined in Photoshop) and some of the pitfalls I have experienced. I hope you will gain an understanding of how different light sources, intensity, and warmth can illuminate your foreground elements in a balanced way to provide a creative twist to your shot.

A beautiful night sky filled with stars is often laced with compelling foreground elements that can provide context and intrigue to your shots. You have likely seen many examples of these things in other people’s work such as a saguaro cactus under The Milky Way in the middle of the desert, a homestead cabin in the middle of an old pasture, or a boat floating on a still lake.

Light painting DSC 1215

This single exposure captures The Milky Way over a field of yellow wildflowers in central Minnesota. I used light painting to emphasize the flowers which were an important part of the scene.

I am positive you can think of foreground elements in your personal environment. Although silhouettes of those foreground elements can provide you with stunning imagery, you may consider using light painting techniques to emphasize the foreground elements of your shot.

What is light painting?

Light painting is a night photography technique where you use a light source to illuminate an object (in other words you “paint it”). The digital camera era has made light painting much more common as it is easier to check and compensate for your exposure of the shot. Because light painting provides so many creative options there are many forms it can take.

In order to do light painting, you will need to carry a little bit of extra equipment and have some basic knowledge about your camera’s manual settings. A grasp of these basic camera settings will increase the enjoyment of your night out by helping you make beautiful imagery.

Camera Settings

Manual Mode will be necessary to shoot your long exposures. You should be aware of how to switch to Manual Mode and then adjust your aperture and shutter speed. For night photography, you will want to use a large aperture (e.g., f/2.8) and slow shutter speeds of often 5 seconds or more.

ISO changes will be necessary in order for your camera to pick up the most amount of light possible. I recommend beginning at ISO 800 and then adjusting accordingly as you learn about your particular scene and shooting conditions. It is important to remember that a really high ISO will require you to post-process out digital “noise” and each camera model has a range of ISO values it can shoot at before it will become very grainy.

White Balance adjustment is critical to shooting at night and for light painting. Look in your camera’s manual or play with your camera settings to ensure you can access manual White Balance and you can create lower or higher White Balance values. White Balance is measured in Kelvin and most cameras will represent it with “K” after the White Balance value (e.g. 4500K).

I bounced the light off the snow to light this shot because direct light caused the totem to become too bright and out of balance.

Equipment

An appropriate light source is necessary to do light painting. You should consider bringing multiple light sources that have both wide and narrow beams as well as multiple color temperatures. You may consider things such as a headlamp, cell phone, flashlight, or professional lighting as these have different beam widths and intensities.

To determine the warmth of your light source, check the box as it may tell you the temperature rating. For instance, many lightbulbs from the store will say 4500K on the side of them. Some professional lighting sources will allow you to adjust both the temperature and intensity of the light, so you may consider those as you progress and become more proficient at light painting.

Beyond the camera and a light source, a tripod is the next most important thing you can bring when shooting long exposures. Ensure your tripod can remain stable for long (up to several minutes occasionally) exposures.

A friend is a great addition to a night of light painting! Your friend can help sidelight objects while you take the photos, provide for creative solutions to problems, and keep you safe as you move around in the dark.

Light painting 0314181950b

I use this LED light panel which allows me to control the light intensity and color.

Basic Light Painting Techniques

Each night has unique conditions that need to be accounted for, but I like to begin each night with a familiar set of steps. Set your camera up on a tripod and take a few test shots. I usually start at f/2.0, ISO 800, 10-15 seconds, and 4500K.

From those base settings, you can experiment with ISO, shutter speed, and set a White Balance that looks good to you. Once you have the settings for the scene right, set up a composition you like and which ties together the necessary foreground elements. Begin your exposure then use a light source to paint the foreground in front of you.

Light painting DSC 5562

This image of the Aurora Borealis captures the beauty of the boreal forest and the subtle aurora behind it. I used standard settings (ISO 2000, f/2.2, 20 seconds) and a light panel to make this image.

Selecting a light source is important. Its qualities will determine how it can be used. There are three considerations you should think about:

  1. What is the intensity of the light?
  2. How wide is the beam?
  3. What is the color temperature of the light?

Keeping these things in mind will help you immensely when you go out to shoot. A wide beam can help you light close objects while a more focused beam can light a more distant one. I often use a professional light panel because it gives me control over the beam intensity, width, and warmth.

A good light source will help you get over the pitfalls identified below.

Pitfall #1: Not matching the color balance

When I first began doing light painting, I had a really hard time matching the color of my light and the context of my scene. Your camera will key in on bright objects in the shot such as the moon, a street lamp, or the Aurora Borealis which will become the dominant temperature in the shot.

Keep this in mind as you take your test shots because you will need to adjust your White Balance according to those light sources. If the White Balance of your light source is adjustable set it to the same as the camera. If you cannot control the temperature of your light source (e.g., a cell phone) then consider adjusting the White Balance of your camera to match the light source. You will know the light source and camera are calibrated together properly when the color of your foreground elements look natural (neutral) to your eye.

I’ve provided some examples of images below which came out well and some that did not (according to my eye) due to incorrect White Balance calibration. You should be able to spot images demonstrating the matching warmth pitfall that we just reviewed. I’ve left some thoughts in the captions of the images to reflect on each further.

Light painting DSC 7887

It is not too hard to diagnose what’s wrong with this image – I did not properly calibrate the temperature of my camera and light source. The light source is too cold compared to my camera’s settings.

Light painting DSC 2136

The calibration of camera and light source were close on this one, but the temperature was a bit too cold on the light source as evidenced by the bluish tinge to the tree on the left.

Light painting P3090697

A good match! I was able to use the white of the American Flag to calibrate the light source and camera to get good colors from both the flag and the aurora.

Light painting DSC 9355

This is a good match on the color balance. There were a moon and aurora on this night, so I only used a headlamp to softly light this sled dog that appears to be watching the aurora.

Pitfall #2: Not balancing the light in your scene

Choosing the right beam width and intensity will help you balance the lighting of the foreground elements to the rest of the scene. A digital camera set at ISO 800 or above is incredibly sensitive to light and it is very easy to “blow out” a shot by overexposing the foreground elements. Here are a few tips to help balance the light in your scene.

  • A broad beam will help evenly light an entire scene and a narrow beam can light specific aspects of the scene. I have provided thoughts and examples below about when my light source width was appropriate and when it was incorrect.
  • If you have close foreground elements consider bouncing your light source. I often use reflective surfaces like snow to indirectly light the foreground through bouncing. If you cannot bounce the light, try side lighting or lighting the object from behind.
  • You can decrease the exposure by closing down the aperture. I have found increasing the aperture (say from f/2.0 to f/4.0) and increasing the exposure time make it dramatically easier to create a balance of light in the scene.
  • It stands to reason that if you paint an object for a long time with the light it will show up brighter. You will find that duration is critical when light painting and often less is more. Try light painting the object in a short burst of one half, to one second of light and see if it adequately lights the object.
Light painting P9110093

Blowout! I was light painting these autumn aspens to capture the fall colors with the Aurora Borealis. However, my beam was too narrow for the work I wanted to do.

Light painting DSC 8007

A small beam allowed me to light up this “old man’s beard” hanging from spruce trees in Southeast Alaska. A wide beam would not have worked here as it would have lit the entire scene.

Light painting DSC 7085

Here I wanted to capture the glacier face and the aurora together so I placed my light panel behind a block of ice. This masked it from direct view and allowed me to bounce the light off the snow.

Light painting P9110170

A passing car provided the lighting for this shot, and I liked the warmth of the light a lot! The broad beam was most appropriate here.

Food for Thought and Wrapping Up

I hope this article can help you get over a couple of the steep learning curves of light painting. Remember, any light source at your disposal can be used to light your scene and each may have its own unique benefits. Experiment with headlamps, cell phones, car headlights, and professional lighting sources to see what each can provide to the shot.

I hope you enjoy your night out! As I always like to say, “Pixels are cheap”, so make lots of them as you learn light painting.

The post Tips for Light Painting and Some Common Pitfalls to Avoid appeared first on Digital Photography School.