How to Travel Light With Your Photography Gear

The post How to Travel Light With Your Photography Gear appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Karthika Gupta.

For the longest time, one of my dreams has been to live away from home and travel with my family for an extended period of time. I used to dream about all the places I could travel to, and how much fun I would have living a nomadic life. Of course, then I would wake up, and the realities of my responsibilities would take over.

Travel light with gear Karthika Gupta

A couple of years ago after a major life setback with the loss of my mom to cancer, I decided that my life was too short not to make my dreams come true.

That year, after several months of discussion and planning, my husband and I decided that our little family would spend our summer in India – traveling and visiting family. Somewhere along the way a trip to Ladakh, London, Zurich, and Rome got added to the roster. Pretty soon I was in charge of planning and packing for a life on the road for two and a half months. We’d be living out of just four suitcases – one for each one of us. As a photographer, I knew that somewhere in those suitcases I had to pack my camera equipment along with my essentials.

Since that year, my family made a conscious decision to take time away from everything over the summer and spend at least 3-4 weeks traveling. Last year we spent two weeks in Utah, and back-country camped for a week in the wilderness of Denver. As the official photographer (both for personal reasons as well as professional ones), I have had to nail down the task of packing my gear and traveling as light as possible to make the most of the trip.

Here are a few things that helped me make the most of my time away from home. It is very likely that I have missed some key photographic opportunities, but overall I am pleased with my gear setup, the opportunities that my family has experienced, and the images that I have created. As a bonus, all the camera equipment I take along make it back without any significant mishaps along the way. If traveling has taught me anything, it is that not every moment needs to documenting and not every piece of gear needs to be used at the same time!

1. Gear choices

Let’s face the reality of life as a photographer – we all love and want all the gear that we think we need wherever we go. As I pack, I realize that as a photographer I always have so many things I want to take. However, often the need for gear is quickly overruled by the need for practical things like clothes, shoes, and books. After a few days on the road, showers are not an overrated thing, they become necessary! I narrow down my list based on where my travels are taking me and what gear I could realistically carry and transport safely without any damage.

This is my typical kit for most travel adventures

  • A wide zoom lens – my go-to is the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8
  • A simple point and shoot camera (yes, this is my backup as weight is a concern on most trips)
  • One telephoto lens – I have the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8
  • One camera body – Canon 5D Mk III
  • 3 camera batteries
  • 1 battery charger
  • A small travel tripod – this is my latest addition and it fits in my carry-on bag
  • A remote trigger
  • 7-8 camera CF cards ranging from 8GB to 32GB
  • One compact 2TB External Hard drives (backup photo storage)
  • Two generic lens and camera cleaner kits

All of these things comfortably fit into my REI brand hiking backpack. I use this bag for everything and store my gear in individual soft-cover bags inside the pack. This is what I have done since day one and something that has worked well for me.

As a mom of young kids, my backpack not only carries my gear but also snacks, extra t-shirts, books, color pencils and at a minimum, 5 matchbox cars of many colors. Just as the camera is my toy, my kids have their own toys that have to make it on every trip.

How to travel light with your gear Karthika Gupta

My most recent trip to Portugal had very limited gear because we were traveling light. So I had to get creative with my 24-70mm lens around town as I was enamored with all the beautiful tiles all over Lisbon!

The one thing I always wish I’d taken with me is a rain cover for the camera itself. My backpack has a rain cover, which I use when caught in a sudden downpour, but without a separate rain cover over my camera, I am not able to use it in the rain – which can be disappointing. Somehow, I always forget to buy one before my trips.

2. Organize and plan your trip

For me, being prepared and organized includes having a rough idea of where I am going and the kind of environment I am going to expose myself and my gear to. Before I leave for a trip, I jot down all the serial numbers, make and brand for my camera equipment, and store them in a document on my cloud-based Dropbox account. This gets updated and checked multiple times in the year as I sell and buy new gear. Just add this as one of your to-dos before you depart on your trip. All my external hard drives are stored off-site at a friend’s place as well as the remainder of my gear.

Now, obviously, this is a friend I trust. But another option would be to lock it in an off-site storage facility. As part of your research, another good thing to keep in your back pocket is the name, address, and contact information of authorized service dealers for your gear in the country you are visiting. Sometimes things go wrong no matter how prepared you are. Having information about services centers and authorized dealers for your gear is a time saver – especially when you are traveling in areas where internet connections are not very reliable.

During my travels, my gear choices depend on the activities planned and the kind of travel we are going to do. When traveling with my family in Rome and Zurich, we traveled everywhere either on foot or used public transportation. So I just carried my camera body and the 24-70mm lens among other daily necessities in my backpack. The rest of my camera equipment was either packed away in the hotel room safe or locked away in my suitcase.

When we hiked and camped in the Himalayas, my camera, along with both my lenses, were always on my person. The tripod was handed off to the porters that were carrying our camping gear. For my camping trips, I just carried all my CF cards and ditched the charger and external hard drive at the house where we were staying because it was highly unlikely I’d find a charging port on the journey.

Sometimes, if I ask nicely, my husband will carry my gear bag but only because it is not too feminine!! Also, it doesn’t scream camera bag.

How to travel light with your gear Denver Colorado Camping Trip

This is my camera bag, day pack, and hiking bag. It can hold a lot of stuff and has back support which is really important. Plus it is not too”girly” in case I need some help carrying it!

When we travel on a road trip, my camera and 24-70mm lens sit up front with me and store the rest of the gear in the car trunk. When I fly, I carry all my gear in my backpack – I am too paranoid about checking in any gear.

My next purchase for a long haul trip is going to be a Pelican case, so I don’t have to carry anything on my person. As I age, I find that I cannot carry heavy bags as easily.

All these choices are possible because of the research I do ahead of time.

Additionally, a good mindset to have when you travel to far-off exotic locations is one of acceptance of physical and mental limitations of both your and your camera gear.

I experienced some altitude sickness when I traveled to Leh and Ladakh as we were traveling on roads at almost 17,000 feet above sea level. I also found my gear did not function as efficiently at that altitude. My batteries did not last as long, and the camera also did not shoot as fast. The first few times it happened I freaked out. However, then I just accepted it as something beyond my control and gave myself some extra time to be patient when getting the shot that I wanted.

3. Know your gear

This one is too basic to include here, but it is amazing how many of us don’t follow this simple tip. We are so enamored with the latest and greatest gear available, but yet don’t quite know how to use the stuff that we do own.

The best way to get over this is to limit yourself to a few key pieces of camera equipment for an extended period. One of my photography goals is to capture star trails and the Milky Way. The opportunity presented itself when I traveled to Ladakh. After all, I was going to be in a remote part of the country at an altitude of almost 15,000-17,000 feet above sea level.

Now astrophotography is not my thing. I always limited myself from trying it out because I don’t usually travel with a tripod, nor do I own an intervalometer. So this time I downloaded the camera manual on my phone and studied it before I left. With that information, I was able to comfortably and confidently use the B (a.k.a Bulb mode) on my camera to capture star trails in Ladakh. It was quite a thrilling experience for my maiden attempt.

How to travel light with your gear

Nothing quite prepares you for seeing the milky way. That first glimpse takes your breadth away and without the right gear, it is impossible to capture.

This is one of my first milky way shots and now I find myself looking out for stars every night! This would have been impossible without a tripod and proper remote trigger.

Another good thing to practice before you head out is gear maintenance. I routinely clean my lens and camera throughout my trips, so I carry two camera cleaning kits because I know my gear gets a lot of time out in the elements when I travel.

Before every major outing, I spent the time to clean out the dirt and dust from the camera and the lens. I keep the dust pen in my camera bag in case I need it while I am out and about photographing.

4. Be local and think like a local

I have to include this one in any travel photography related article because it does relate indirectly to taking care of yourself and your gear. I often find photographers I meet along my journeys have a fake sense of entitlement. When you are a guest in someone’s house, are you not on your best behavior? Why is it that when you are a guest in another country, common sense and basic manners seem to fly out the window?

Locals are still people who deserve the same amount of respect and courtesy as anyone. Put yourself in their shoes and try to imagine what they experience when someone shoves a camera in their face without so much as a hello or a smile.

My 24-70mm lens is my go-to travel lens. It really lets me get into small places and photograph a variety of things. I am not one for a more obscure lens where people don’t know I am photographing them. Instead, I prefer to interact with people and let them know, rather see, that I am taking their picture. This is just the way I work.

While in Ladakh, we visited a lot of beautiful monasteries. Most of them are still in use, and we saw many temples where the monks were in prayer. Even if there is no sign discouraging photography, please use common sense not to invade their private space – especially when they are chanting.

I cannot tell you how many times I have come across tourists that almost jump over each other or hang out of moving cars just to take pictures of monks chanting and praying. Seeing this rude behavior almost made me embarrassed to take my camera out!

How to travel light with your gear

Being respectful has everything to do with travel and travel photography.

Additionally, flashing your fancy gear around is almost begging for the wrong kind of attention. One evening in Rome, I was out with my kids taking photos around beautiful horse-drawn carriages. We lost track of time and soon found ourselves in a deserted alley. I quickly put my gear away in my backpack, stuffed it with our jackets, grabbed my kids, and sprinted towards a more crowded piazza.

5. Make friends with local photographers

The internet is an amazing tool for almost anything. It is such a great resource to find and connect with other photographers, especially if you are traveling to areas that are new and foreign to you. When I travel, I always try to connect with some local photographers. We sometimes meet for dinner/drinks, chat on the phone, and just become friends.

They even give me advice on some of the local, non-touristy spots to photograph as well as offered to lend me gear if I need it (Well! Some do…not all want to part with their gear to a total stranger).

How to travel light with your gear Chicago Illinois

A recent trip to the city where I got to try out a 40mm lens and get some cool shots indoors in low light.

Conclusion

I hope these tips are helpful as you plan your next vacation in a far-off destination. Travel in itself is quite the adventure and adding photography to it is just the icing on the cake. However, remember to travel light and enjoy your trip for all that it is – not just a photography expedition.

Also, there is no such thing as perfect photography, but there is something known as a life-changing experience. Travel to experience more of those than just taking pretty pictures.

Do you have any extra tips for traveling light with your photography gear? If so, please share them with us and our readers in the comments below.

 

The post How to Travel Light With Your Photography Gear appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Karthika Gupta.

How to Develop a Photography Workflow that Preserves Your Images

The post How to Develop a Photography Workflow that Preserves Your Images appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Karthika Gupta.

“I love spending time in front of a computer working on my images – sorting them, cataloging them and editing them,” said no photographer ever!

Well, maybe a few of us like to be sitting in front of our desk pouring over image after image, shoot after shoot. But let’s face it, as photographers, we would much rather get out there and photograph in the field than be chained to our desk and computers indoors.

How to setup a workflow to protect your images Karthika Gupta

This is where having a good solid workflow that can help you ease the post-shoot process is very important. Workflows are not just for the editing portion of your life as a photographer. In fact, a workflow is something that can help you before, during and even after your photo shoot.

Whether you are a busy professional photographer or an active hobbyist, having a good solid workflow and method of organizing images is crucial.

Having a workflow is even beneficial if you just photograph on your smartphone.

We have all been in situations where your phone runs out of space because you have images from three years ago that you have done nothing with. Sorting through three years worth of data to find images to delete under pressure of missing a key moment is no joke!

I wear many different photography hats as a wedding, lifestyle and travel photographer. So my workflow is slightly different based on the type of session I am photographing. But for the most part, I follow the same series of steps.

Here is my process. Hopefully, you may be able to replicate some or all of these steps to create a process that works for you in your photography.

1. Choice of Gear

Camera

My camera of choice is a Canon 5D MKIII. At this point, I only have one digital camera. I used to have a Canon 5D MKII as my backup, but ever since I starting working with a second shooter for my weddings, I didn’t find the need for my Canon 5D MK II. So I sold it.

For commercial shoots or bigger gigs that require multiple cameras and lenses, I just rent what I need. I am lucky in that I have a big camera store close to home that has all the gear I could need. They even have a studio that I can rent out should I need more space.

Batteries and Cards

I purchased two extra batteries when I was a full-time wedding photographer, and because I sold my backup gear, I am now left with extra camera batteries for my primary camera.

This works really well because I carry all my batteries with me when I am traveling or going to a multi-day event. That way I don’t have to worry about finding a plug point or charging my camera battery in the field.

This was a lifesaver earlier in the year when I traveled to Portugal and lost my power converter/adaptor. Try figuring out how to say power adaptor in a part of the world where you don’t speak the language! I drained out my batteries to the very last percent of battery juice during that trip!

Side tip: try shaking the battery to squeeze out every last bit of battery juice if you are running out of battery life. I’m not joking. I have tried this successfully many times in Portugal to get that last shot before the battery died!

I have 5 x 32GB CF cards, 3 x 16GB CF cards and a handful of 8 GB CF cards. For the most part, all these cards travel with me for a multi-day shoot or a personal travel trip that is several days long.

Part of my pre-shoot workflow includes downloading all my cards, charging my batteries and packing my bag with everything I need the night before.

Camera bag

My camera bag is a backpack that I used not just my photography but also for excursions and trips around town. I ditched the proverbial camera bag many years ago when I started traveling with my family of young kids. Carrying a camera bag, diaper bag, and a purse was just not practical. Also, once I got used to carrying a day pack that held all my treasures, it just seems second nature to me to pick that bag up no matter what the occasion.

Since I have just one camera/day pack, part of my workflow is to make sure the bag is empty and ready for the next adventure as soon as I come back home from a shoot/trip or even just going around town.

Luckily, it has enough pockets to store batteries, CF cards and other things like filters, and flashes.

How to setup a workflow to protect your images Karthika Gupta

At a recent class I taught, I loved seeing the diversity in terms of camera bags that everyone was using!

2. During the shoot

There is nothing quite like learning the importance of having a workflow than losing data or content in the absence of one. I learned the hard way when I lost all my images from a shoot on a card that failed. Luckily it was for a family shoot that I could reschedule.

So from that point onwards, I change my camera data card with each logical break in the event I am photographing.

For example, if I am photographing a wedding, I have the getting ready activities on one card, the ceremony on another card and the reception on a third card.

Even though the cards are not full, this gives me the security of losing only a part of the day should anything go wrong.

Of course, my backup for weddings is my second photographer who does the same thing.

For non-wedding related client work, I use a backup SD card in my camera. The Canon 5D MkIII has a dual card slot, so I take full advantage of the technology at my fingertips. If I am on a personal assignment, I change out my cards every night and download the photos onto an external drive.

Another thing that is important to note is how you store used and unused data cards. Figure out a system that works for you in how you separate the two. For me, used CF cards from a photoshoot are placed in a separate pouch from unused CF cards. I place those in another pouch in my camera bag.

In terms of the actual shoot, try and come up with a game plan for what you are photographing. As a wedding photographer, one of the key things I make sure to discuss with my wedding couples is a shot list. A shot list is a list of all the key moments and images that the couple absolutely wants to have taken. Typically these are around photos with family members.

With client and commercial shoots, the clients typically have a list of images they want to get from you. Use this concept of a shot list to list down all the ‘must have’ images you want to get out of a photographic excursion.

Shot lists save you effort, and they help you become more efficient with your time in the field.

How to setup a workflow to protect your images Karthika Gupta 2

Wedding photography can be quite stressful. There isn’t really a do-over option if you mess up. Having a workflow is critical and life-saving for a wedding photographer.

3. After the shoot

When I am back home from a wedding or a lifestyle shoot, the first thing I do is pack away my gear. I separate my camera body from my lenses and pack them away separately. All batteries are removed, including those from my flash. I have heard horror stories where batteries, especially AAAs, have leaked into the flash socket, so I don’t want to have to deal with that mess! Plus I use rechargeable batteries for all my flashes and external lights. Once they are out, I put them back in the case ready to be recharged for the next photography gig.

If I am at a multi-day shoot, all batteries are plugged into the charger slots right away.

These are the steps I take with my images:

  1. I download all the images from my CF cards onto TWO external hard drives, that act as a storage for my RAW images. 
  2. Once the RAW images are successfully transferred to my external hard drive, I go through and spot check the images and the total image count to make sure all the images are moved over.
  3. Images are moved over based on the shoot, location or event. For example a wedding will be downloaded as follows on the primary storage drive:

20190101_ClientNameWedding_GettingReady

20100101_FamilyName_LifestyleShoot

20100101_Personal_VacationLocation_Day01

  1. The secondary drive is less formal and has images just based on the event. For example:

2019

WeddingClientCard01

WeddingClientCard02

FamilyLifestyelShoot

Personal_TripCard01

Personal_TripCard02

  1. I then format the cards in camera. This is done on the camera rather than the computer. The reason for this is because I have found that sometimes all the images are not cleaned out and the card still retains some data that occupies unnecessary space.
How to setup a workflow to protect your images Karthika Gupta

Treating every client shoot like it was a wedding really helped me nail down a process and workflow that works for me. Now it is second nature and something I don’t even have to think about.

4. After the shoot (remote)

When I am traveling for work or pleasure, I carry one WD My Passport Ultra external hard drive and all my camera data cards. Earlier in my career, I would carry two external hard drives and create primary and secondary backups in the field. Now I have found that I don’t photograph as much because I am more thoughtful about what I photograph.

So now I just carry all my cards, and one external hard drive to back them up in the field. I avoid taking an external hard drive when I am just traveling for pleasure or personal work to reduce my load.

When I get home, the RAW files from the CF cards used during the trip are copied over to both external hard drives (primary and secondary) that house all my raw images. They are deleted from the WD Ultra so that it is ready for my next trip.

Early in my photography career, there were times where I would travel with almost every lens I owned, a laptop, two external hard drives, and many camera cards to be safe. Perhaps it is age, or perhaps it is maturity (I like to think it is a little bit of both), but now I try to travel light and take only what is absolutely needed to get the job done.

If I need something along the way, I either borrow, rent or figure out creative solutions to make things work.

How to setup a workflow to protect your images Karthika Gupta

I would argue that personal photos are more important than professional ones – especially as the dedicated photographer of the family. I love documenting our journey for no-one but me!

5. Editing workflow

Eighty percent of my editing happens in Lightroom (LR). Photoshop is used sparingly if I have to make any advanced editing. I have invested in the Adobe Creative Cloud for LR and Photoshop. I’ve installed them on my iMac (my primary editing device), as well as my MacBook Pro (my travel companion).

My Lightroom catalog lives on an external HD. I understand some people have concerns over running a LR Catalog on an external HD, because of potential LR speed issues. So far, I have not experienced any issues with LR in terms of speed by having the catalog on an external HD. However, if you are concerned about speed, then your LR catalog can be put on your computer’s hard drive, and keep a backup on the external HD. A backup of my LR catalog lives on a cloud service that is updated every six weeks.

I used to use iPhoto on my iMac to store all my images and only upload selected images to Lightroom. I tried to use Bridge for a few years to select images that I want to import into Lightroom. Now I use Photos on my Mac to select images that I want to edit and upload them into Lightroom.

I know it is probably easier to just upload all images to Lightroom and sort them via the software to save an extra step. I have one Lightroom catalog that houses all my work since 2012, and so there are quite a few images in the catalog. I had found that when I used Lightroom to sort and select images, it takes forever to load.

My Lightroom catalog is sorted by year, and I use the following naming convention for my Lightroom. I am less worried about the naming convention in Lightroom than I am with my primary and second storage units. This is just my personal preference.

YYYYMMDD_ClientName_TypeoftheShoot.

After editing is complete, I export my client images onto the same WD Ultra external hard drive as my Lightroom catalog.

The client folders get arranged by the date of the session.

This time the naming standard is as follows:

CompanyName_ClientNameEvent_Date

All images have the same naming convention as the folder, along with an image sequence number.

Every few years I go through and delete edited galleries from the external hard drive. I don’t delete client RAW files – just the edited files. I have found myself going back to many client galleries and re-editing images as my style evolves and changes. There is no point in keep multiple copies of the same image.

I use a mix of presets and hand edits for my images. It took me many years to finally come up with a style and method of how I want my images to look. Ninety percent of my edits follow that same process. Every once in a while I drastically change my “look” to keep things fresh.

As a rule, I spend no more than a minute on each image. I would much rather be outside photographing than indoors editing.

How to setup a workflow to protect your images Karthika Gupta

How to setup a workflow to protect your images Karthika Gupta

Exact same image – two different looks. And I love them both.

6. Editing Remotely

I really avoid extensive editing of images in the field. I prefer to focus on documenting and photographing rather than same day edits. I would much rather take a quick snapshot on my iPhone and edit using phone apps for a quick social media preview than spend time and effort in editing in the field.

A couple of years ago, I traveled out of the country for three months over the summer. This was before Lightroom came up with their cloud version. Because I was gone for so long, I took my Lightroom catalog with me on an external drive and used that for 3 months.

Recently, I started using Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC for my workflow. I primarily used them for working when traveling. When I know I need access to my files for a particular project or a particular job, I upload those files to my Lightroom CC and work on them while on the road. Once back home, I ‘sync’ Lightroom CC as a collection in my Lightroom Classic and have all those edits readily available.

7. Client workflow

I use an external portfolio service to host my images for client work. These client galleries are only online for three weeks, and then they are deleted. My wedding photography packages all include edited images on a personalized flash drive whereas my family portraiture clients have the option of purchasing digital images if they want them for future use.

Every few years I go through and update client galleries and delete old ones. Keep in mind these are just the edited files. My client RAW files are stored indefinitely in case a client comes back after a few years for the images. If you don’t want to delete client images, you can invest in an external cloud storage system.

How to setup a workflow to protect your images Karthika Gupta

In Conclusion

While it might seem like a lot, my workflow has simplified over time. Just as I limit the gear I own and use, I also try and limit the images I capture – for both client and personal work. Having 100 photos of a spectacular sunset no longer make sense to me. I also stick to my workflow because it saves time in the long run.

One of my favorite things to stock up on are external hard drives. Every so often they fail, and I have to replace them. As cloud storage gets more accessible and less expensive, I can see myself moving things over to the cloud and simplifying my process and workflow even more.

I encourage you to use this, or some variation of this workflow and tweak it to make it your own. If you do it consistently and often enough, it becomes second nature and saves you time so you can do what you enjoy doing – photographing.

 

The post How to Develop a Photography Workflow that Preserves Your Images appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Karthika Gupta.

Simple Yet Unique Ways to Add Creativity into Your Photos

The post Simple Yet Unique Ways to Add Creativity into Your Photos appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Karthika Gupta.

A lot of us get into a creative rut when it comes to winter time or gets into a winter slump! For some, the start of a new year means new goals and new resolutions which also means trying out everything that they possibly can.  If you are like me, and always love looking for new and creative ways to push yourself further or merely interested in just trying out a new technique, here are some tips. Without breaking the bank of course!

#1 Experiment with double exposures or even triple exposures

Karthika Gupta of Memorable Jaunts Creative Photography Multiple Exposures

Three exposures to indicate multiple personalities of people for an editorial photoshoot.

I own a Canon Mark III and doing double exposures is relatively easy.

You can find the drop-down menu from the main menu screen. Select multiple exposures and then select the number of exposures you want. Get creative with 2, 3, or 4 exposures.

Try shooting the next few frames in live view to see how your images overlap. You can get that cool multiple exposure effect.

#2 Creative images with slow shutter with intention

The use of a slow shutter speed in landscapes is common. However, try bringing that in with portraits or even your everyday lifestyle photos. There are many unique ways you experiment with slow shutter speeds:

  1. Have a subject stand still while everything else is moving in the frame. You can do this with self-portraits, outdoor scenes or even with clients. Keep your shutter speed at 1/50th or even 1/80th. If it drops below that, you might get motion blur even if you are as still as possible.
  2. Use a flowing dress or a scarf to indicate movement by using a slow shutter.
  3. Slow shutter speed shows the movement in the frame. If you use it intentionally to tell a story within your frame, it’ll be your best friend! Shutter speed is powerful. When we are so used to using it always set high to freeze movement, especially with kids running around, the opposite can have a different effect when used intentionally.

If you are super-brave, try combining double exposures with slow shutter speed.

You have just opened up a whole new way to get out of a creative rut and spend hours ‘playing’ with your gear. Yes, we all know some of us really don’t need that! We can spend hours with our gear anyway!

Remember there is no right or wrong here, and experimentation is always for fun. If you get it right, you know what to do next time, and if you think it didn’t turn out the way you like, well you know what not to do next time!

Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts DPS Article- Creative Photography Slow Shutter Speed

Slowing down the shutter to capture a ghostly effect on the waves and the fog that rolled in.

Karthika Gupta Photography Memorable Jaunts Creative Photography Slow the shutter

A slightly unintentional slow shutter speed moment but I love this image of the young monk running.

#3 Try using objects to shoot through

This is one of my favorite techniques when I want to try something new. I don’t know about you, but I crave the creative freedom to experiment – even if they end up being a fail sometimes.

I always find I learn something new when I experiment with techniques, tools and even photography subjects. One of my favorite ways to experiment is by shooting through various objects.

Here are a few options:

  • A fabric cloth
  • Shooting through glass or a window
  • Glass cube or prism
  • Bubble wrap
  • Twinkle lights
  • Leaves
  • Plastic colorful flowers

Your creativity is only limited to your imagination.

Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts DPS Article Creative Photography Techniques

This was using fake flowers and I love the light leak effect here, almost similar to old film cameras.

Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts DPS Article Creative Photography Photographing through objects

This was more intentional where I was behind a bush and decided to shoot through the leaves

#4 Free lensing

Why not step out of your comfort zone and experiment with a little free-lensing?

Free-lensing is a technique where you disconnect the lens from the camera and use the viewfinder and manual focus to photograph.

I will caution, that depending on the size and weight of your lens, this is a bit difficult to maneuver. Also, be careful not to drop your lens! I would recommend you try this with a lightweight lens or an older lens that you are not too attached. Free-lensing works best with manual focus.

Free-lensing adds much creativity to photos because:

  1. It truly helps you let go of the perfection and you begin to appreciate the beauty in simplicity
  2. If you love dreamy images that tell a story
  3. It helps you with your storytelling

#5 Creative photography projects

Dedicated photography projects are a great way to force yourself to photograph consistently. Sometimes it is committing to photographing every day for a year.

Alternatively, it could be something like a weekly theme.

Both are great ways to channel your creative energy.

Doing something every day is one of the easiest ways to get good at it. Shooting every day is something every photographer can do to get better and better at their craft.

It doesn’t have to be stressful or take laborious effort. You don’t have to worry about models and outfits. Instead, focus on the techniques – shoot at different times of the day, shoot in different lighting conditions, use still objects or moving subjects likes kids and pets, or practice motion blur. The possibilities are endless.

Think outside the box and do something different every day. Maybe even start an exercise like a 365 project (one photograph every day for a year). Soon enough you will find that you are not only better at the technical parts of photography but the creative aspects as well.

Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts DPS Article Creative Photography Photographing iPhone Photography

I love photographing horses at the barn we visit and often times challenge myself to get action shots with just my iPhone – this was with the burst mode

Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts DPS Article Creative Photography Photographing iPhone at sunset

This is another personal project of capturing sunrise and sunsets just with my iPhone. I love the two runners who happened to come in the middle. Rather than waiting for them to pass, I used them as a creative subject here.

#6 Try a new genre

Trying a new genre helps you reconnect with the basics of photography without the pressures of trying to be perfect at it. Sometimes we get in a creative rut because we are doing the same thing over and over again. If this is you, perhaps try another genre of photography.

I recently took a class on food photography. I am a terrible cook and always thought that food photographers have to be fantastic cooks to not only cook the food but also photograph it.

However, my instructor was super nice and let us in on a secret – store-bought cheesecake is just as good as homemade, and no-one knows the difference. The basics and rules of photography apply to across genres. So go ahead and give yourself permission to experience and experiment with something new to you.

Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts DPS Article Creative photography food photography

I hope these tips help you add a little bit of fun, creatively and freshness to your photography. Remember, always keep learning and trying something new to keep the fun element front and center of everything that you do.

Do you have other creative tips you’d like to share in the comments below?

 

The post Simple Yet Unique Ways to Add Creativity into Your Photos appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Karthika Gupta.

5 Ways to Become a Better Photographer this Year

The post 5 Ways to Become a Better Photographer this Year appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Karthika Gupta.

Are you looking to improve your photography this year? Perhaps you want to take your skill level up a notch or even get into a business. If you are already in business, perhaps a more lucrative client roster is one of your goals. No matter where you are at, let’s make this year the year that we run toward our photography goals!

I have been at this photography thing for 9 years now and have found that there are specific disciplines I engage in that really propel my work forward. More often than not, the changes are not major but instead little things that make a difference for me. I am resolving this year to dive into these habits again and am sharing the 5 that I have found make the biggest impact with you!

#1 Photographing often, perhaps even committing to photographing every day

Practice makes perfect and the more you pick up your camera, the more comfortable you will be with the buttons, menus, and functions that make your camera work for you. Even more, committing to photographing often helps you to see what scenes draw you in, what subjects interest you and can allow you to ‘read’ light more quickly. You may notice and develop patterns in your work that can become your style.

I have said this before, and I say it again, there is no such thing as bad light! Light is just different and learning to read light is an important skill to have if you want to improve your photography. You will find yourself getting excited to try out and photograph different lighting situations. The more you practice, the more comfortable you become with light.

Set a loose goal to shoot more often or engage in a project like the 365 Project or Project 52 that give you more concrete deadlines and expectations. Whatever it takes, make this year the year you take more pictures. Even consider sharing your work on social media to keep you on track. Hashtags like #365photos #project52 are great for inspiration and to keep a schedule.

5 Ways to Become a Better Photographer this Year - Karthika Gupta Photography Memorable Jaunts

Chicago Downtown Skating Near The Bean © Karthika Gupta Photography Memorable Jaunts

#2 Share your work freely

If you are like me, sometimes it can feel strange to share photos when you are trying something new or experimenting with your photography. Will anyone like it and will they get it? Will they think you lack skills or judge your capabilities? Stop letting these voices of doubt hold you back. The truth of the matter is that sharing your work is a great way to get feedback and keeps you accountable when you are participating in a photography project.

You can share your work freely in many different ways. Sometimes it is as simple as opening a social media account and sharing your photos. Sometimes it is setting up a website and showcasing your work. Alternatively, it can even be as simple as printing a few of your photos and sharing them with your family and friends.

Putting yourself out there might feel scary, but it’s a great way to overcome your roadblocks and to grow.

5 Ways to Become a Better Photographer this Year- Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts

Collaborating with other creatives is a fantastic way to grow and make friends in the industry plus we all share knowledge, tips and techniques to become better.

#3 Find your tribe of photography buddies

I belong to a few different photography groups and forums. One of the biggest reasons that I advocate this is because it has given me a group of friends who understand me. When I talk photography lingo, they get it. If I am excited about the latest gear, they share in my excitement. When I am stumped about client work or even in a creative rut, they offer advice on how to get over it. Don’t get me wrong, I have a very supportive family, but I can only talk so much photography before their eyes glaze over, and they tune out.

Whether it is a local group of enthusiasts or an online group that is participating in a shared project, find the people who push you and encourage you to be a better photographer. Chances are, they will become more than just photography friends and will become friends that make life that much sweeter.

5 Ways to Become a Better Photographer this Year-Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts

A bridal shoot that had 8 vendors who all collaborated to create content that could be used across everyone’s portfolios – the best way to make friends!

#4 Critique photos (yours and others)

Getting your photos critiqued is a tough thing to do at times. However, if you take the stance that critiquing is getting objective feedback on what you see versus what others see is a great way to grow. When I first started, a photographer friend told me that she felt my photos were a second too late. Like I had just missed the crucial moment. It took me a bit to accept and react to that statement. Now it is something I remember and keep an eye out for when I take photos. Am I a second too late or did I accurately capture the moment?

If you have a chance to critique the work of others, do it. Critiquing the work of others helps train your eye to see things in your own work. The separation between yourself and the moment gives you a more objective view. It helps you to see flaws and successes in composition, light, and processing more clearly. Then, when you pick up your camera and photograph, you’ll know to pay attention to these things in your own work. However, remember when critiquing the work of others, be objective, be nice and more importantly be civil. The best critiques don’t tear someone down; they open doors to opportunities to improve.

Photographers are people too!

If you are not comfortable giving or receiving critiques (I hope you will be because it is a great way to grow), you can do self-critiques. Pick up magazines and make a note of what you like and what you don’t like.

5 Ways to Become a Better Photographer this Year - Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts

I love playing with light and shadow especially with horses in a barn we visit. And I love sharing them with my friends who are equestrian photographers just to see how they think the photos turned out.

#5 Commit to learning something new

The best part about photography is that there is no finish line. There is always something new to learn, and I am just not talking about technique. At a recent photo conference, I taught a class about travel photography and also took a class on food photography. I am a terrible cook and always wanted to try food photography. The instructor was amazing and made me realize that you don’t have to be a great cook to take amazing food photos (hello! Grocery store cheesecake!).

Also, the concepts on lighting, the rule of thirds, and the golden triangle are all the same across many genres of photography. There are no experts, and there is no final mastery of photography. Instead, it is an evolving art where there is always something to learn and always more to improve.

5 Ways to Become a Better Photographer this Year - Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts

My friend, and instructor, Allison Jacobs, photographs food for stock while teaching a class on food photography.

5 Ways to Become a Better Photographer this Year - Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts

Me trying out food photography on a Sony camera, which was new to me. I have more photos where I missed focus and cut elements out of the frame than I care to admit, but it was a great learning experience.

So this year, be intentional about learning something new to you. Whether it is technique, tool or craft, there are no dearth of options when it comes to learning something new in photography.

This year is going to be great, and I can’t wait to grow and improve alongside all of you.

 

The post 5 Ways to Become a Better Photographer this Year appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Karthika Gupta.

Review of the Sigma 28mm f1.4 Art DG HSM for Canon

The post Review of the Sigma 28mm f1.4 Art DG HSM for Canon appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Karthika Gupta.

A couple of weeks ago I got my hands on the Sigma 28mm f1.4 Art DG HSM for Canon (also  available for Nikon, and Sony) and got to play with it for a couple of weeks. Let me tell you; it was a tough one to give back. This lens is quite amazing in terms of build, weight, and, most importantly, performance.

Karthika Gupta Photography Sigma 28mm f1.4 review

Ergonomics and build

The Sigma 28mm f1.4 Art DG HSM is a very standard Sigma lens when it comes to the ergonomics. Many of their primes more or less follow the same formula when it comes to the exterior design. In this case, and with pretty much most cases, there is a large rubber ring that makes up the focusing ring. This rubber ring helps greatly when it comes to the grip and overall ergonomic feel of the lens. The front of the lens has a 77mm filter thread and comes with a lens hood. The side of the Sigma 28mm f1.4 Art DG HSM has a switch for autofocus control.

The Sigma 28mm f1.4 Art DG HSM has weather sealing built into the lens. I was able to test this when I took it out in the snow. We have had an unusual cold spell here in Chicago, and when I was walking around downtown with this lens, the temperatures dipped, and it started to snow. I was a bit apprehensive taking out my gear in the snow, but I am glad I did because this lens performed beautifully with my weather resistant Canon 5D MkIII. Photographers who regularly operate in the outdoors with rain and snow will find this beneficial.

When you hold the Sigma 28mm f1.4 Art DG HSM, you feel a solid lens. My primary everyday lens is a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8. This lens has been in my bag for the past 9 years, and I like the feel of the solid form and am comfortable with the weight. The Sigma 28mm is a bit smaller, and a little lighter than I am used to, so switching to it was a non-issue for me.

Karthika Gupta Photography Sigma 28mm f1.4 review

The canon 24-70mm f/2.8 is on the left and the Sigma 28mm f/1.4 is on the right.

Technical Specifications (from Sigma)

These specifications are from Sigma’s website.
Typical photography applications for this lens is listed as Creative, Travel, Landscape, Wedding & Events, Family. 
  • Best-in-class performance
  • Dust- and splash-proof structure
  • Designed to minimize flare and ghosting
  • Designed to meet all shooting conditions
  • Compatible with Canon Lens Aberration Correction
  • Nikon electromagnetic diaphragm mechanism included
  • Manual Override (MO) capable of switching two full-time manual modes
  • Lens angle is 75.4deg
  • Filter size is 77mm
  • Minimal aperture is f16
  • Minimal focusing distance is 28cm/11in

Performance

I gauged the performance of this lens in three different areas:

  • Low light performance
  • Color output
  • Wide angle

Low light performance

The Sigma 28mm features a very fast lens design at f/1.4. This makes it an ideal low light photography lens. Moreover, the mechanics of the lens also delivers incredible sharpness even at its widest aperture. I love photographing at wide apertures and am generally at f/2.8 or f/4.0. So the f/1.4 was attractive to me, especially in low light. I tested the low light performance at a couple of places in Chicago and was very happy with the results. The lens was also quite fast at focusing in these low light situations.

Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts Sigma 28mm lens review low light Chicago Atheletic Club Location

The Chicago Athletic Club Hotel is beautiful but so dark. The low light was an easy gig for the sigma lens

Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts Sigma 28mm lens review low light Chicago Athletic Club Location Portrait

Thank you to my friend Sandy Noto (www.sandynoto.com) for snapping this photo of me with the Sigma. The wide angle at closeup range did not distort the image at all.

Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts Sigma 28mm lens review Chicago Museum Of Science and Industry Interiors

The interiors of the museum of science and industry in Chicago are quite dark but I was at ISO 320 and f/1.4. The 28mm captured the entire shuttle in the frame.

Color output

Sigma’s Art series is known for its superb color rendition, and the 28mm Art lens did not disappoint in this area. I tested the lens in a variety of lighting conditions, both indoors and outdoors, as well as on bright sunny days and overcast days. In each scenario, the lens output was beautiful.

Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts Sigma 28mm lens review low light Chicago Downtown

Even at f/1.4 the image output and quality was exactly what I was hoping for. The lens is tack sharp even at f/1.4

Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts Sigma 28mm lens review Chicago The Bean wide angle photo Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts Sigma 28mm lens review Downtown Chicago Yellow Taxi Cab

Wide angle

The Sigma 28mm f/1.4 is a fixed zoom lens. Unlike my Canon 24-70mm zoom which gives me more flexibility and freedom in the range of focal lengths, the fixed zoom does take a little bit getting used to. But if you were to use this as a walking-around-everyday-travel lens, which is what I use my 24-70mm, the fixed zoom is not an issue. The wide angle does take a little getting used to, but all the other features like fast focusing, low light, and superb color output make up for the wide-angle fixed zoom.

Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts Sigma 28mm lens review Chicago The Bean Wide Angle Photo in winter

The 28mm focal length was just perfect to get the entire Chicago bean a.k.a as the cloud gate in the frame.

Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts Sigma 28mm lens review Chicago Downtown L train photo

Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts Sigma 28mm lens review Chicago Riverwalk in winter

Additionally, I found minimal to no chromatic aberration around the edges of the frame that is predominant in most wide-angle lenses.

Conclusion

Overall, I was very pleased with this lens. It is a good solid lens from the Sigma Art series and well worth the investment, making it an ideal lens for street photography and wide-angle photography.

The post Review of the Sigma 28mm f1.4 Art DG HSM for Canon appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Karthika Gupta.

How to Achieve Color Accuracy in your Photos

The post How to Achieve Color Accuracy in your Photos appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Karthika Gupta.

Next to light, color accuracy is another important element in photography. Color temperature is annoying enough to deal with in terms of camera settings and editing. You spend all this time and effort on editing your photos and making sure they match your photography style. But sometimes the final product can be off if viewed on an uncalibrated screen. While having an accurately calibrated screen is ideal, there are still some things you can do to ensure that the colors are as close to the real deal as possible.

1. Photographing in raw

Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts DPS Article Color Accuracy in Images

Completely overexposed sunset in the Grand Cayman. I love the little sailboat in the distance and tried to correct the image in post.

Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts DPS Article Color Accuracy in Images

The sun is still overexposed and not perfect, but because I photograph in Raw 100% of the time, I could put down the exposure, highlights, contrast and my other normal editing steps. I was able to get some of the details back.

This really is key and I am a huge proponent of photographing in RAW 100% of the time. The colors can be adjusted easily on raw files in editing software like Lightroom, Photoshop, and others. But with jpegs, they’re already baked in. It is not impossible just harder to achieve the exact match.

In Raw files, all the original image data is preserved. In fact, when RAW files are opened in post-production software like Lightroom, a virtual copy is made and used. Edits are made in a non-destructive format so the original RAW file is always available for changes at a later stage. This is very useful when you want to edit images in different ways at different times in your photographic career.

Since a JPEG image is essentially a RAW image compressed in-camera, the camera’s computer makes decisions on what data to retain and which to toss out when compressing the file. JPEG files tend to have a smaller dynamic range of information that is stored and this often means less ability to preserve both highlights and shadow details in the image.

2. Use Kelvin WB mode on your camera

If photographing RAW is not something you can do, or don’t have space for on your flash drives (RAW files tend to be really huge), try photographing using Kelvin White Balance mode instead of Auto White Balance. Not all cameras may have this function, so check your camera manual to figure out the exact menu option and also how to adjust the value. Kelvin lets you adjust the white balance in camera rather than in post. In general, in your camera manual are the ranges of Kelvin values for the various lighting setups. You will have to tweak the values depending on your style and how you want the final image to look.

3. Use a good display screen/monitor

Cheaper screens have smaller color ranges, so the better your screen, the more colors that can be displayed. This is where you’ll be looking at the photos, so you don’t want your image to be limited in that way. At the very minimum, if you’re editing photos, you need a 99% sRGB screen. 100% Adobe RGB capable screens (which is generally better) are also relatively affordable now. That said, most media on the web generally uses sRGB format, so sRGB is perfectly adequate. People generally recommend editing in that color space anyway. In general, for built-in displays like laptops, most modern Mac screens have really good color accuracy and distribution.

Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts DPS Article Color Accuracy in Images

This outdoor space was very hazy when we visited because of many forest fires in the area. That haze and overall air quality and temperature gave a very pink glow to all my images, one that I missed the first time I edited my images on my computer. But then I went back and edited to a more accurate representation of what the scene actually looked like.

4. Calibrate your monitor

Not enough people realize how big a difference calibrating your monitor makes. If your entire computer screen is shifted to be purple, when you look at your final images in a color-calibrated medium, it’s going to end up green. There are several in the market that do a good job like Datacolor Spyder 5 or X-Rite ColorMunki. At the end of the day, they all essentially have the same functionality. Plug in the color sensor, put it against your screen, run the software, and it will automatically install the color profile for you.

5. Edit in a color neutral workspace

Where you sit and work can also make a difference to how you edit. As funny as it may sound, it is true. If you have bright warm sunlight flooding your computer screen, you will likely edit cooler. The eye is automatically going to compensate for the warmth by gravitating towards cooler tones. If you have cool indoor lighting flooding your editing room, that might not work either. Believe it or not, the ideal editing environment is actually a totally dark room, so you don’t pollute any of the colors. I know I cannot edit in a dark room because starting at the screen for too long in that space gives me a headache. If you must edit somewhere with another light source, do your color calibration in that room. The Spyder and ColorMunki can both accommodate the ambient light in your environment.

Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts DPS Article Color Accuracy in Images

The image was shot and edited in the same room with side lighting. Had I not seen this in another room and on another computer, I would have missed the uneven lighting and tonality from the left to the right side of the image, giving it a look of almost photographing with a flash, which was not my intention.

Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts DPS Article Color Accuracy in Images

6. Use multiple devices to spot check color

If you are really doubting your color tones and edits, double check them on another device. Most people have iPhones these days, and iPhones are surprisingly well-calibrated. Unfortunately, you can’t use the calibrators on most phones, to the best of my knowledge, so just send your photos over to your phone, and you should get an idea of how most people are seeing your images.

Karthika Gupta Photography - Memorable Jaunts DPS Article Color Accuracy in Images

The blueish tone in the image here would have been completely missed had I not seen the image on an iPad and an iPhone prior to sending out to a client. I prefer true to form white backgrounds when working with stock photos.

Unfortunately, most people, including myself, don’t pay too much attention to color accuracy in their photos. Most of the color matching stops at editing. Sometimes we even call it ‘photography style’ and leave it at that. But if you really want to understand color and how images can actually look versus relying on a specific style or edit, try one or all these steps. It is actually fairly simple once it clicks.

What techniques do you use for maintaining your color? Share with us in the comments below.

The post How to Achieve Color Accuracy in your Photos appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Karthika Gupta.

Explorations in Natural Light for Photography

The post Explorations in Natural Light for Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Karthika Gupta.

Can you guess one of the most important elements in photography? No, it is not gear, or subject or even location. Yes, all of those are important, but not critical. The most important element in photography is light. And light can quite literally make or break an image. It took me a long time to understand this concept. I used to always think that light can be either good or bad. Have you ever tried to photograph indoors in that horrible florescent light? Or at high noon where you place your subjects in the light, and everyone is getting really mad at you because they are squinting in the sun.

1 - Explorations in Natural Light for Photography Karthika Gupta

Well, let’s just say we all learn from experience. Once I understood that there really is no such thing as bad light, life as a photographer just became a little easier. Light is different and understanding all the different qualities of light is what can help you photograph at any time of day and get the results you want.

For the sake of this article, we will focus only on natural light. Natural light is one of the main sources I use for most of my photography.

There are several reasons why natural light photography is so popular:

  • It is readily available and free
  • It provides a range of light variations
  • It is a super large light source a.k.a the sun
  • It changes constantly
  • It can be challenging to master and who doesn’t like a good challenge, right?

Let’s dig right in and understand all the complexes of natural light!

1. Light changes through time

The fascinating thing about natural light is that it changes constantly. Depending on the time of day, the season, or even the direction your window faces – light fluctuates minute to minute.

2 - Explorations in Natural Light for Photography Karthika Gupta

Just before the sun dipped into the horizon.

3 - Explorations in Natural Light for Photography Karthika Gupta

And 10-15 minutes after sunset when the sky just exploded with sun-pretty colors.

2. Light travels in a straight line but also has direction

Where is the light coming from? What angle is it coming from? I personally love the very one-directional, low-angle light that gives deep shadows that leads to a moody look. The best way to understand light direction is to look at a scene and see if it is coming from one plane, backlit, front lit etc.

4 - Explorations in Natural Light for Photography Karthika Gupta

By facing the subjects directly into the light streaming through the window, we almost can create a spotlight effect.

3. Light has intensity

How intense is the light? On a sunny day the light can be quite intense, but on a cloudy day the clouds act as a natural huge diffuser, and the light not only takes on a softer quality but also has less intensity.

4. Light has color

Is it a warmer light, such as in direct sunlight, or a cool light, such as at dusk? The color in the light affects the color and white balance of the scene and hence your photograph.

5 - Explorations in Natural Light for Photography Karthika Gupta

At sunset, the light is warm – exactly what I wanted for this editorial shoot.

5. Light reflects off of surfaces

This is particularly important because you have to be aware of your surroundings. This is also commonly known as a color cast in photos. Look at what’s around your scene including yourself. Your own clothing can reflect off the subject and cast unwanted color in the scene. This quality of light also allows us to try to modify light by adding a reflector to fill shadows, or a black surface to discourage any further reflections.

6. Character of light

Light can be harsh or soft or even a combination of the two which is known as dappled light. The best way to see dappled light is to stand under a tree in full sun. You will see spots of shade and sun on the ground or even on your clothes. This is dappled light. And if done right, is actually quite pretty in photos.

6 - Explorations in Natural Light for Photography Karthika Gupta

I love photographing food in this uneven, dappled light…the play of light, shadows, and patterns are what make this image work for me…instead of a boring white backdrop.

7. Proximity of light

This one is a little difficult to grasp because the sun is so far away. But the closer we are to the light, the more power it has. Try this out for yourself and sit closer to the window. Is the light more intense? Now move further away from the window and see if the light feels less intense?

7 - Explorations in Natural Light for Photography Karthika Gupta

One of my absolute favorite images of all times and almost no editing involved. Side lighting and diffused window make the dancer stand out and everything else fades away.

8. Relativity of light

This is a powerful aspect of light in that the way light hits various subjects is relative. If you have light hitting the primary object without hitting the background, the background will fade into shadows no matter if it’s white/black. You can achieve a black backdrop even with a white backdrop. Our eyes have incredible dynamic range and can see everything, but by selectively lighting objects, we can take photos that let objects fade into oblivion.

Conclusion

One of the best ways to create a mental checklist of all these properties of light is to do a small exercise. Walk around your area, be it your house or office space, look at the light in a scene and categorize it. Where is it coming from, what is the quality of light, and how can you use it? The more you look and analyze, the more you add to your light repertoire and pull it out when you need it for shoots.

The post Explorations in Natural Light for Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Karthika Gupta.

How to Batch Resize Your Images Quickly Using Photoshop

While it’s relatively easy to write an Action to resize a series of images in Photoshop, it’s easier still to get Photoshop to do all the work for you. Photoshop comes with an image processor script that will open, resize, and save a series of images for you – very quickly. Here are the steps to make the batch resize process work for your images.

How to Batch Resize Your Images Using Photoshop

Batch resizing images in PS CC 2019 is fast and easy – no need to run an action. You can just run a script in the Image Processor menu option.

Step 1 – Image Processor

How to Batch Resize Your Images Using Photoshop

The Image Processor option lives under the Scripts tab in the main File menu of Photoshop.

Choose File -> Scripts -> Image Processor. The image processor dialog shows a simple four-step process for resizing the images.

Step 2 – Choose images

In Section 1 of the Image Processor dialog, select to either resize the images already open in Photoshop (if you have them open) or click ‘Select Folder’ and choose a folder of images to resize. Select ‘Include all Subfolders’ if you wish to also include them.

How to Batch Resize Your Images Using Photoshop

I prefer to open my images prior to resizing in Photoshop. That way I am not hunting for the folder I need. But if you have all your images organized in a folder you can choose the ‘Select Folder’ option in Step 1 of the Image Processor window.

Step 3 – Save images location

In Section 2 of the Image Processor dialog box, you can select where to save the images. When selecting ‘Save in Same Location,’ Photoshop creates a subfolder to save the images in so you don’t have to worry about overwriting them. When a subfolder of the same name already exists with images of the same names in it, Photoshop saves to that folder but adds a sequential number to the file. That way, you won’t lose your other files. Alternatively, you can select a different folder for the resized images.

How to Batch Resize Your Images Using Photoshop

Indicate where you want Photoshop to save the resized images.

Step 4 – File Type and Size

In Section 3 of the Image Processor dialog box, select the file type you want Photoshop to save your image as. For the web ‘Save as JPEG’ is the obvious choice. You can set a Quality value in the range 0 to 12 where 12 is the highest quality and 0 the lowest.

For better color on the web, you can also select ‘Convert profile to sRGB.’ Ensure that ‘Include ICC Profile’ at the foot of the dialog is checked so the profile will be saved with the image.

How to Batch Resize Your Images Using Photoshop

Option 3 in the Image Processor dialog box is where you can select the type of file you want to save the resized image. You can choose the size in terms of W (width) and H (height) in pixels.

To batch resize the images, select the ‘Resize to Fit’ checkbox. Set the desired maximum width and height for the final image. For example, if you type ‘300’ for the width and ‘300’ for the height, the image will be resized so that the longest side of the image (whether it be in portrait or landscape orientation) will be 300 pixels.

The images are scaled in proportion so they aren’t skewed out of shape. If desired, you can save in another format as well. Just select its checkbox so you can save the same image in different formats and at different sizes in the one process.

The Width and Height measurements do not have to be the same. So you could, for example, specify a Width of 500 and a Height of 700 and no image will have a width greater than 500 or a height greater than 700.

Step 5 – Run Action

In Section 4 of the Image Processor panel, you can also select ‘Run an Action’ on the images if desired.

Step 6 – Run

Once you’re ready, click ‘Run’ and the images are automatically opened (if they are not already), resized, saved, and closed.

To see your resized images, choose File -> Open and navigate to the folder that you specified the images to be saved to. If you chose to save as a JPEG, the images will be in a subfolder called JPEG. PSDs are in a folder called PSD and so on.

How to Batch Resize Your Images Using Photoshop

In conclusion, whenever you need to resize a large number of images for uploading to the web, for example, the batch resize in the Photoshop Image Processor script makes the job fast, efficient, and painless.

The post How to Batch Resize Your Images Quickly Using Photoshop appeared first on Digital Photography School.

5 Mindset Shifts You Need to Be Successful in Photography

You love photography. You live it, you breathe it, and it’s all you can ever think of doing in your life. And you’re good – better than some of the other people you know who also love photography.

But despite all this you feel… stuck. You’re not booking jobs, getting clients or making money. And when you post your best work on social media all you hear are crickets.

So what’s the problem? Well, it may surprise you to hear it may not be a technical issue at all but rather an issue with your subconscious.Karthika Gupta Photography - mindset shifts to be successful in photography

Today I want to talk about how you can totally transform your life, your relationships and your work. It isn’t a course you can take or a YouTube video you can watch. It’s something that’s free, powerful, and completely within your control.

Changing your mindset.

Thinking differently can have a profound effect on your entire life. But here are five mindset shifts you need to be successful in photography.

1. Practice Makes Perfect

There really are no two ways about this. The best way to get better at something is to do it over and over again. The more you get out there and photograph, the more you’ll understand what you like, what makes you happy and what areas you need to improve in. Want to understand light and how it affects photos? Go out and photograph in different kinds of light. Want to photograph people? Set up shoots and practice photographing people. The more you do, the more you create and the better you become.

Karthika Gupta Photography - mindset shifts to be successful in photography 7

This was my client’s favorite photo from her photoshoot. It showcased her artwork in a unique way. The more you practice, the more you’ll start telling stories in your unique way.

One of the easiest ways to practice photography is to sign up for a 365 series, which is a commitment to create one photo every day for 365 days. You can use a DSLR, a point-and-shoot camera, or even a smartphone.

You can even take it a step further by joining one of the many online groups available. They’re created solely to encourage you to photograph and post a single photo every day for 365 days straight. They even provide photo prompts to help you stay on track so you’re constantly thinking of what to photograph.

Karthika Gupta Photography - mindset shifts to be successful in photography

Practice also makes you more confident. Now when I see a story play out, I’m not afraid to ask my clients or strangers to be actors in the story. A pub became a scene for some unique wedding photos for my clients.

One of my goals is to learn film photography. I have an old 35mm Canon AE-1, and I have run several rolls of film to try and get images that I love. The first time I used that camera, I didn’t even wind the film correctly. So I ended up sending a blank roll of film to be processed. That was $20 well spent.

2. Overnight Success is a Myth

This ties to the first point. You must be prepared to invest a lot of time and effort to get your work seen and acknowledged. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be an overnight success with lots of clients and potential work  lining up. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but the probability is quite low. So instead of leaving your career to chance, why not take matters into your own hands and have a plan to do the work consistently? Learn all there is to learn about what you want to focus on in your photography and consistently put out good work.

Karthika Gupta Photography - mindset shifts to be successful in photography

It’s taken me several years and thousands of photos to train my brain to recognize light and create a story before I even click the shutter. This is one of my favorite photos that I call ‘Light and shadow: Ride and rider’. To me it shows the symbiosis between these two pairs.

3. Healthy Competition is a Good Thing

In any given industry there’s always competition. Sometimes the competition plays fair, and sometimes it doesn’t. I’m not pointing fingers at anyone or anything. I’m just stating the obvious.

Most people who picks up a camera intent on becoming a photographer do it for the money, the fame, or some combination of the two. Learn to play well with your competition. What sets you apart isn’t your skills or technique. Anyone can learn to do something if they put their mind and effort into it. What sets you apart is you. Your style, your aesthetic and the way you view something is unique. There will be clients who love what you do because of the way you do it, and there will be those who’d rather go with the other guy. That’s just part of the game. Accept it, and make friends with your competitors. It’s better to have friends in the industry you’re playing in than enemies.

Karthika Gupta Photography - mindset shifts to be successful in photography

I’d heard of double exposure before, but I never understood it until a friend and fellow photographer sat down with me and explained it step by step. Now it’s one of my favorite ways of creative photography, and my clients love it.

4. Go With the flow

I wish someone told me this when I first started my business. I was caught up in perfection – the perfect logo, the perfect website, the perfect portfolio, a printing vendor, business cards, etc. I spent so much time making sure all my ducks were in a row that I stalled the process more than I helped it along. Having a vision of what I wanted to do was getting lost in actually doing the project.

Sometimes it’s good to take a step back, figure out what the big picture is, and then keep moving along to achieving it. Perfection is a myth. Nothing is perfect, and it’s much better to get something done and accomplished than to wait until everything falls into place. Just keep moving along towards your goal.

Karthika Gupta Photography - mindset shifts to be successful in photography

Things always work out exactly how they’re meant to be in the end.

5. Have a Positive Attitude

Our life is a reflection of our attitude. Without even noticing, it’s easy to become negative and bitter towards the world and the photography industry. Why are some people more successful than us? Why do some photographers get all the jobs? Why can’t I book more clients? The questions can go on forever.

Not only does a negative attitude stop you from enjoying your life, it can also have a significant impact on your work and your craft. After all, you love this art form. That’s why you’re here, right? You want to learn, engage, and get better at it. The energy a person brings with them is contagious. We all have bad days, no matter how people portray themselves. Every time I feel angry or jealous of someone else’s success, I remind myself that just because I can see what they’ve accomplished doesn’t mean I know what they’ve gone through and sacrificed to get there. One of the best things you can do for your passion for photography is to have a positive attitude.

Karthika Gupta Photography - mindset shifts to be successful in photography

You’ll find that happy medium of working with people who really appreciate what you do and love your work. They are your ideal clients.

I hope some of these mindset shifts help you navigate the choppy photography waters. Remember, there’s no such thing as a free lunch! Success in any shape or form takes a lot of time and hard work. Roll up your sleeves, work your hardest, and you will get there.

The post 5 Mindset Shifts You Need to Be Successful in Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Review of the SKOUT Handsfree Camera Carrying System by Cotton Carrier

If you want an alternative to using the regular camera strap for hiking or walking around town type of activities, then this review is just the thing for you! Read on to find out about the SKOUT Handsfree Camera Carrying System and whether it will suit your needs.

Review of the SKOUT Handsfree Camera Carrying System

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to review the SKOUT handsfree camera carrying system by Cotton Carrier during a backcountry camping family trip in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park over a period of five days.

To say I was impressed with the performance and comfort of the SKOUT would really be an understatement. I was super impressed with the way Cotton Carrier’s handsfree system worked. It actually held up really well over 30 miles of hard terrain for the duration of the entire trip.

If you have ever been hiking in the mountains, especially the backcountry, you know that total weight and back comfort are very high on the list of priorities for any hiker. I have broken down my review of the Cotton Carrier in terms of the following factors.

Review of the SKOUT Handsfree Camera Carrying System

The first day of the hike was without the SKOUT carrier and just using the camera strap around my neck. I was uncomfortable and the strap was so annoying to hold especially after 2-3 hours of a tough incline hike.

Review of the SKOUT Handsfree Camera Carrying System

A much happier me with the SKOUT sling on a day hike. Being handsfree was the best part.

#1 – Ease of use

The SKOUT design is a one-size fit all solution for almost any camera and lens attachment. I used it with my Canon 5D MKIII and 16-35mm L lens as well as the 24-70mm L lens. The first setup with the 16-35mm lens was definitely lighter than with the 24-70mm lens. But with both lenses, the sling held up really well.

The side-strap provided the support needed and balanced the weight effectively. Since I was already carrying a heavy camping pack on both my shoulders, the side strap ensured the camera was well balanced on my back. I was really impressed with the SKOUT’s patented “Twist & Lock” mount that attaches and detaches the camera from the anodized aluminum hub with a simple twist.

I have to admit I was a little nervous the first few minutes after attaching the camera to the SKOUT, being completely handsfree. But my body and my back quickly adjusted to the freedom and I loved not having to constantly pull up the camera strap from my shoulders while walking and hiking in the rough terrain.

Hidden inside the system is an internal stash pocket that fits a phone or a few credit cards. There’s also a rain cover/ weather guard so the gear stays safe and dry in less than ideal environments. I actually ended up using this a couple of times during my hike when we got caught is a mild downpour in the moutnains.

#2 Comfort

Attaching the SKOUT was fairly simple. After wrapping it over one shoulder, there is a single strap that wraps around the torso and snaps into place on the front, securing the entire system. The shoulder strap is really padded well, so even heavier camera systems don’t put too much stress on the body.

Review of the SKOUT Handsfree Camera Carrying System

The bracket attaches right where you would attach your tripod insert.

Review of the SKOUT Handsfree Camera Carrying System

The bracket then connects to the sling body with a twist and turn and it is quite secure.

Review of the SKOUT Handsfree Camera Carrying System

The crossbody sling with the camera attached to it along with the rain cover.

The cotton fabric is very breathable. I was hiking for almost 5-6 hours every day on some pretty rough terrain. Yet the shoulder and body straps were soft and did not rub against my back. The padding on the shoulder straps is thick and really does support the camera weight across your shoulder nicely.

#3 Durability

Like I mentioned earlier, I used the SKOUT camera sling system over a span of 10 days in the mountains of Colorado. I used it on backcountry hiking days as well as day hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park.

After the first few minutes of figuring out how to attach the camera and secure the system in place, I really forgot it was even on my body. I absolutely enjoyed being handsfree and having the camera readily available to snap a photo when I saw a beautiful landscape or wildlife.

No more taking the camera out of the daypack and risking missing the moment. The straps, the clasp, and even the camera attachment held up really well to some rough use during my trip.

Here is a video of the SKOUT handsfree camera system in use during my trip.

Conclusion

All in all, I would definitely rate this product a 9/10 and highly recommend it for anyone looking to do photography on a trail or during a backcountry hiking/camping trip.

It is easy to use, comfortable to wear for extended periods of time and seems reliable even after some rough use in the outdoors.

The post Review of the SKOUT Handsfree Camera Carrying System by Cotton Carrier appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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