Instagram simplifies account recovery process to take back hijacked usernames

It's fair to say account security at Instagram has been shaky in recent months, with large numbers of passwords exposed and reports on a rising number of intrusion attempts.

Now the company is taking measures that won't prevent account hijacking but should make it much easier to recover your account in such an event and serve as a deterrent to potential hackers.

Instagram is currently testing an updated in-app account recovery process. In the event of an 'unfriendly account-takeover' users previously had to email Instagram or complete a support-form and then wait for a response.

With the new process the app requests user-specific information, for example the email and phone number originally linked to the account and then sends a six-digit code sent to the contact info of your choice.

Hackers will then be prevented from using the account on other devices and the new method also ensures that your account can be recovered even if user name and contact information have been changed by an intruder. In addition a user name cannot be claimed for a certain period after a name change, so you can get your user name back after your account has been recovered.

While the simplified recovery process should be welcome by all users who have suffered a hacked account it will also be beneficial to Instagram itself. If users can recover an account themselves in the app, this means less work for the security team.

Here’s how you can change the default camera app in iOS 13 with a clever workaround

One of the smaller updates inside the recently-announced iOS 13 is the addition of Automation, a feature within Apple's Shortcut app that allows you to automate various functions on your iOS device through the use of pre-defined triggers.

While the options are seemingly limitless with the new Automation feature, one particular Automation has all but resolved an issue iOS photographers have faced since the first iPhone—you can now make it so a third-party camera application opens by default when opening the Camera app from the home screen (or Control Center). Technically, this Automation doesn't change the default app that's opened, but it will make it so the camera app of your choice opens instead of Apple's default Camera app.

As we walk through in the video embedded below, the end result is achieved through the Automation trigger of opening a certain app. In the example we provide, we've made it so the camera app Halide opens when the Camera app icon is press on the home screen. Beneath the video is a text explanation of the process we used to create the Automation.

If the video isn't clear enough, here's a brief text explainer of how we set this Automation up: First, open the Shortcuts app and select the Automation tab (the middle tab in the navigation with a clock as its icon). From there, press the '+' icon in the top-right corner of the app and select the 'Create Personal Automation' button. At this point, you'll be provided with three distinct sections: Events, Travel and Settings. Each of these have a subset of triggers that can be used for Automations.

For this Automation, you'll want to scroll all the way to the bottom of the 'Settings' section and choose the 'Open App' option. On the next screen, iOS will ask you to pick an app that you want to be the trigger. In the case of this particular Automation, you want to choose the Camera app as the trigger. After selecting the Camera app, press 'Done' and then 'Next' to move to the next step. Here, you will choose what you want to happen when you open the Camera app. Tap on the 'Add Action' button and choose the 'Apps' icon (it will be the first icon in the options presented).

From there, choose the 'Open App' action. This is where you will select what third-party camera app will be opened in place of Apple's default Camera app. As we mentioned, we opted to open the third-party camera app Halide. After selecting the app and pressing both 'Done' and 'Next' again, you're at the final stage. You can choose to have iOS 'Ask Before Running' or turn that option off to remove an extra step. Now, click 'Done' and you should be good to go.

Again, this doesn't technically change the default camera app. As you can see in the below video, the default Camera app still opens, albeit very quickly, before triggering the Automation to open Halide. Still though, it's a pretty quick transition, even on the first beta of iOS 13.

Keep in mind that this particular Automation is being run on a developer beta version of iOS 13. Apple will release a public beta for those interested sometime in July (you can sign up to receive an invite here), but even if you get the invite to test the public beta of iOS 13, we suggest not putting it on your main device(s). The developer beta of iOS 13 has proven fairly bug-free since we've downloaded it, but there's always the risk that certain apps and features won't work and the last thing you want to do is effectively render your iOS device useless.

Disclaimer aside, it's a neat little trick. There are countless other photo-related Automations that could be made, but we had to start somewhere. Between the Automation feature, the ability to access external storage and other features, iOS 13 should prove to be a substantial update for photographers and their workflows.

Managing Your Photography Process From Shooting to Editing

The post Managing Your Photography Process From Shooting to Editing appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Nisha Ramroop.

You spend a lot of time learning about your gear and how to use it to produce great images.  You also invest time and money into learning to improve your technique for capturing and processing your work. It is therefore fair to say that developing a consistent workflow in handling your images after (and sometimes before) they are captured is also of importance. Here are a few steps you should be taking to help you manage your photography work.

Before you shoot

1. Make a plan

What are you going to shoot today? Is it an event in a dimly lit place or is it in the middle of a sunny day and outdoors? What will be your source(s) of light? What gear will you need?

Prepare by planning for your subject and thinking through your shoot. That way you can think of possible outcomes and pack accordingly (and in some cases avoid overpacking). Weather conditions, time on your feet, length of your trek/journey and environmental constraints will also help you determine if you need to scale down your gear to the essentials or rethink how/what you pack.

2. Set up your camera

If you are used to shooting the same genre of images, you may have your settings already dialed in. This takes into consideration the creation of presets to handle different scenarios that you face. Keep a reminder to adjust your white balance for the type of light you will be shooting in. Will you need a flash or supplemental lighting and what settings will you need when you add those?

Do you want to shoot your images in RAW or JPEG? Both have their advantages and disadvantages and you need to choose what works well for your planned shoot and expected outcome.

After you shoot

1. Moving images from your card as soon as possible

A good practice is moving the images from your memory card to your computer as soon as possible. A card reader transfers images faster than using a direct connection from your camera to your computer. While recent computer card slots are comparable to card readers in speed, there is still a preference to the latter.  One school of thought is that a good quality card reader is built to minimize the chance of corrupting your memory cards.

While the objective is to move the images, it is advisable to copy the images across (as opposed to move). After you copy, compare the number of files on the memory card (and size) to what was copied. This is especially important if there was an interruption during the copy process.

Note: If you choose to move instead of copy, this comparison will not be possible. More importantly, there is a higher probability of loss or corrupted files, if there is an interruption during the move process.

2. Making a backup

Prepare for the failure of your devices. Having more than one copy of your image gives you some peace of mind that it is safe somewhere. There are many backup combinations you can use, but the most basic is to have two copies of your images. You can have a copy on your laptop/computer and one on an external drive. You can save on more than one external drive or even go with an external drive/cloud combination. An ideal backup strategy involves two copies where you have one offsite (off premises/cloud).

An essential part of having a backup is testing it from time to time to ensure that it works and can restore your images when needed.

Backup processes can be revised as your workflow progresses. For example, after a shoot, you can copy all of your images to a secondary place. After you have culled your final selection, you can replace those images with your selection. When you edit and find your best images, you can add this to your library later. Whatever system you choose to work with, they all require a level of organization.

3. Clearing your memory cards

A good rule to adopt is to clear your memory cards after you have backed up your files to two locations. In each instance, copy from the memory cards directly. After your copy, compare what was copied to the number of files (and size) of those on the memory card. This is especially important if there was an interruption during the copy process.

4. Using management software to browse your images/cull your images

A digital asset management software system is a great way to browse, preview, locate and rate your images and mark them for processing. Two of the most used asset management systems are Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Bridge. There are a few others that work similar to these, with a primary focus on browsing and rating images.

Most people do not take advantage of the rating ability of asset management software, but it is quite a useful tool to cull your work. When you browse your images, you give the highest ratings to your best images – those to keep, review or edit. The next rating is for those with potential and worth a second look. You award the lowest rating or no rating to images that do not make the cut. These would include blurry images, those that are not salvageable or ones you will never review/edit. These can be marked for discarding at a later time (when space becomes an issue) or immediately (if that is how you streamline your work).

5. Post-processing images

Many times post-processing immediately follows shooting and nothing is wrong with that. Once you develop a workflow that suits you, then there are no rules as to when to do what. Whenever you post-process, remember that your edited images need to be saved in several locations (especially if they are for a client). Saving your final images with a descriptive name/date in a sub-folder will help you easily find them later on.

Note: Post-processing also can be broken down into its own workflow, which includes processing multiple images at a time (batch processing).

Conclusion

Your images are worth protecting, thus developing a habitual photography workflow is important. Find a way that works for you, keeping in mind that you will be thankful for spending the time on a proper backup strategy.

Finally, create with the assurance that your work is organized and managed from capture to delivery.

Do you have any other tips to add here? Please share in the comments below.

 

The post Managing Your Photography Process From Shooting to Editing appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Nisha Ramroop.

Edelkrone now offers a 3D-printed DIY solution for its FlexTILT tripod head

Meet FlexTILT Head 3D, a version of Edelkrone's popular tripod head that can be 3D-printed and pieced together as a DIY project for a fraction of the cost of Edelkrone's FlexTILT Head 2.

As we noted in our review, the Edelkrone FlexTILT Head 2 is a wonderful little tool for both videos and stills. The articulating head allows for unique possibilities, especially when paired with dollies and other motion units—but it doesn't come cheap.

The areas in red are the components that are 3D printed, while the dark grey components and silver screws are those Edelkrone ships to you for $29.

Edelkrone's solution to this is a new line of products called ORTAK. The ORTAK lineup is a co-manufacturing collection that will allow you to 3D print the basic components of Edelkrone products and buy the more integral pieces from Edelkrone at a much lower cost than the fully-produced version.

For the FlexTILT Head 3D, Edelkrone will handle manufacturing the metal components required, including the hex screws, washers, brackets and mounting points, which will sell for $29. The body of the FlexTILT Head 3D is up to you to print using the files provided, for free, by Edelkrone on its ORTAK webpage. In addition to a document detailing the building process, Edelkrone has also created a detailed video:

Edelkrone specifically mentions the ORTAK FlexTILT Head 3D has been tested on the Ultimaker S5, Ultimaker 3 and Zaxe 3D printers. However, the STL file Edelkrone provides is more than capable of being printed with other units. Even if you don't own a 3D printer yourself—or know someone who does—there are other options, including online platforms like Shapeways—not to mention many libraries now offer access to 3D printers at low or no cost if you're a member.

Regardless of how you get the components printed, it's safe to say the end result should come out for a good bit less than the $149 Edelkrone's FlexTILT Head 2 retails for.

5 Product Photography Tips to Improve Your Images

The post 5 Product Photography Tips to Improve Your Images appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Charlie Moss.

Product photography: you’ve probably heard that it’s hard and very specialist. But your friend who runs their own business asks you if you’ll just shoot a few product pictures for them to use on their website or social media. Or perhaps you have your own business that regularly needs new product photography. Of course, you’re happy to have a go. It could help you improve your photographic skills too by giving you some new challenges. But how do you approach this highly specialist field of photography that you have very little experience with?

When many photographers think of “product photography” they think of a certain style that often involves complicated lighting, setup, and retouching. Sometimes blending dozens of shots in post-processing, using specialized lenses or lighting equipment, or shooting on perfect white backgrounds.

These styles of photography do have their place in the world of marketing and advertising. And you may even decide that it’s the right look for the products that you’re shooting. But in recent years a more natural feeling product photography has been creeping into advertising via social media influences. This style can be easier to dabble with because it requires less equipment and specialist knowledge – although it is still incredibly tricky to master!

The most important thing in product photography is to match the look and feel of the images to the product and the brand. A shot of an exclusive fountain pen aimed at CEO’s will be photographed very differently to a vegan surf-wax aimed at Californian surfers!

Whichever style you decide to try out when you have a go at product photography for the first time, there are some simple things to keep in mind when you’re shooting. If you keep these guidelines in mind, then you should be able to shoot images that show off a product to its advantage.

1. Get your camera on a tripod

It cannot be said often enough in still life photography how great tripods are. Firstly, they protect against camera shake. If you can get your camera (or phone) on a tripod, then your shutter speed can be as long as you like without risking any blur from camera shake. A nice, crisp image is essential to product photography.

If people cannot see what they are purchasing clearly, then they will most likely move on and choose a different supplier!

Blurry pictures are never desirable for product photography. You need to make sure they are clear and crisp.

If you can’t stretch to a tripod then make sure that you use a relatively fast shutter speed to compensate for any slight movements you might make while holding the camera. You may find that you have to compromise and raise your ISO in order to get a clear, bright picture.

The other advantage of tripods is that they hold your camera in one place while you work on your composition. If you are styling your images for social media (rather than shooting flat e-commerce images), then it might take a couple of attempts to get it right.

Keeping the camera in one place leaves you free to work on the styling and composition.

There are a huge variety of tripods available, all with different features and at different price points. If you can stretch to it, then a tripod with an arm that bends over at ninety degrees is an excellent investment that will make the popular flatlay (top-down) shots for Instagram easier.

2. Use good lighting

Let’s bust a myth – good lighting doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Yes, there are certain kinds of product photographers who spend hours or even days lighting a single product and getting it perfect. Of course, many high-volume photographers prefer to work with studio lights in a closed studio. That way, they can replicate lighting time and time again when doing repeat jobs for the same client.

But you can light a product with just natural window light, or even take it outside, and still get great results. You don’t have to have expensive studio gear or even a whole room dedicated to photography. Many people photograph products quite successfully on a table pulled up to a bright window. With the right backgrounds and props, it certainly doesn’t have to look like it was shot in your living room!

Lighting can also help to make your object look three dimensional on a flat screen. Shadows and highlights help viewers to interpret the image and understand it correctly.

The crucial thing is to match the lighting style to the product and brand. For something sleek and high-tech, you might want a more artificial feel to your light. Whereas, a more natural artisan product would probably benefit from just simple window light.

3. Shoot multiple angles

If people are buying online, then they can’t pick up and touch the product. That means you have to try and convey all the small details to a potential purchaser. The best way to do this is by making sure that you capture a variety of angles of each item. Also, get in close to show the details if it’s relevant.

This is especially important if the item is handmade. Getting in close can show off the care and consideration that an artisan puts into their work. The details are what often sets handmade products aside from their mass-manufactured counterparts. So be sure to show them off!

Shooting multiple angles is also an easy way to generate lots more content for social media accounts. Many business owners struggle to find enough content to post regularly on social media, so it can really help them out.

4. Find out the platform specifications

It’s important to shoot product photographs with the final use of the image in mind. Different online platforms will have different specifications for how photographs look best on their sites.

For instance, if you are shooting for someone with an Etsy store, you’d need to consider that portrait photos look best on the product page, but the search thumbnails are landscape. That means a clever photographer would shoot images that look good when cropped to both portrait and landscape. It might mean that you need to leave extra space around products when you shoot them and crop in later in post-processing.

Instagram can be a particularly tough platform to shoot for if people are looking for images that look good on social media. Images should ideally be posted in a ratio of 5:4 to take up as much space as possible and be more eye-catching when scrolling down the feed.

However, on a users profile grid, they automatically crop to a 1:1 square format. That means you lose details in the top and bottom of the image in the thumbnails. On top of that, the “stories” feature uses images that are in a 16:9 ratio – much taller and skinnier than the news feed! When shooting specifically for Instagram, I tend to set my camera to shoot in a 16:9 ratio. Then I know I can almost always crop other ratios out of that base image.

Also, research the pixel size that each online platform uses. If you produce images that are too small, then they’re likely to look pixellated or blurry when uploaded.

5. Don’t forget the packaging

More and more people are shopping online, so the packaging of a product contributes heavily to the first impression of a brand.

Artisan companies and small businesses often spend lots of time considering their packaging and branding. So it’s undoubtedly worthwhile to shoot the packaging as well as the product.

As well as demonstrating brand values, you can also show the buyer that it’s going to help their purchase get to them safely. This is especially important if it’s a product that is breakable or if it’s likely to be given as a gift. It helps instill confidence in the brand!

Plus, on platforms like Etsy that give you multiple slots to upload images of your product, having packaging photographs can be an excellent way to show off the product styled in a new way.

Always remember…

Keep your product photographs well exposed and in focus.

As long as you’re getting these two things correct, then you’re already on the right track. All that’s left to do is practice, practice, practice until you’re shooting products like a pro.

Remember to comment below and show us the pictures you’ve been shooting using what you’ve learned!

 

5 Product Photography Tips to Improve Your Images

The post 5 Product Photography Tips to Improve Your Images appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Charlie Moss.

6 Ways to Save Money on Camera Gear

The post 6 Ways to Save Money on Camera Gear appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Suzi Pratt.

It’s no secret that camera gear is expensive, but there are several very easy ways to save money on gear. So before you buy your next camera body or lens, read up on these money-saving tips.

save money camera gear

1. Look for discounts or deals

This one might seem like a no-brainer, but always be on the lookout for sales or discounts. Follow photography blogs or websites such as Canon Rumors or Nikon Rumors (or whichever Rumors sites corresponds to your camera brand of choice). They will often alert you of upcoming deals on camera gear and accessories. Another tip is to wait for holidays such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Amazon Prime Day. These are holidays that almost always result in massive gear discounts.

2. Study camera product cycles and buy just before or after a new release.

Most camera manufacturers have a fairly regular product release cycle. For example, the Fujifilm X-T series releases every 2 years, the Canon 5D series every 4 years, and GoPro Hero every year. Purchasing a camera right after release to the public won’t save you money. However, you could look at buying the previous model since there are likely to be many camera owners selling theirs, or camera stores looking to empty their stock.

Depending on how well a new camera sells, you could wait six months to a year after its release and start to see deals come up. Not only will the camera price likely drop, but camera stores are also likely to add product bundles that throw in extra goodies such as Adobe Photoshop subscriptions, memory cards, camera bags, and more.

save money camera gear

3. Consider third-party options

This tip applies mostly to camera lenses and accessories since there aren’t many “third-party” camera body brands out there. For a long time, third-party lens options were looked down upon as inferior products. However, companies such as Sigma and Tamron have really upped their game and are producing high-quality lenses that are starting to rival the price and quality of those made by original camera companies. So the next time you’re looking for a new piece of glass for your camera, definitely consider any third-party options out there to save some money.

4. Buy used or refurbished

Cameras and lenses are made to last. As long as they have been cared for, they hold their value and can sell easily.

If you’re on the market for camera gear, definitely consider buying a used or refurbished product. This process can seem intimidating, and there are several ways to go about it with varying degrees of risk.

One option is to buy locally via an online marketplace such as Facebook or Craigslist. This is the riskiest option since you will have to evaluate the product in person and there’s often little chance of a refund if the product is defective. However, this method also gives you the most wiggle room for negotiating a lower price.

save money camera gear

Another way to buy used or refurbished is to do so via an official online store. Nearly all major online camera stores such as B&H Photo, Adorama, and Amazon have a Used section with discounted gear. There are also websites such as Keh.com that specialize in only buying and selling used gear.

The benefit of using a site like this is security. In most cases, your purchase is covered by the store, and you have some reassurance in terms of returning the item in case of a defect. However, there’s no room for negotiation, so the price you see is what you’ll have to pay.

5. Rent gear

Before you buy your next piece of camera gear, ask yourself, “do I really need to own that?”

If the answer is no, it could be more worth your while to rent the gear temporarily.

This is especially true for specialty lenses such as super telephoto zooms that retail for upwards of $10,000 to own.

Look around for your local camera store and see if they offer gear rental services. Or there is also Borrow Lenses, a website that specializes in renting out camera gear in addition to selling used gear.

save money camera gear

6. Use credit card rewards

If you’re diligent about paying off your credit card each month, consider getting a credit card with a good rewards system. There are camera-specific credit cards such as B&H’s Payboo that reimburses you for sales tax. Or there are more general credit cards that allow you to get points or money back on a wider variety of purchases.

Personally, I’m a fan of the Amazon Prime Store card that gives you 5% back on all purchases, plus the option to finance big purchases (ie. cameras!).

Either way, do your research to find a card that suits you and be sure to pay it off, otherwise, it’s no longer a money-saver.

Over to You

There you have it! Six ways to save some money on camera gear and accessories. Do you have any tips to add to the list? Let me know in the comments below.

 

6 ways to save money on camera gear

The post 6 Ways to Save Money on Camera Gear appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Suzi Pratt.

Nikon D3500 vs. Canon T7: Which is better?

Nikon D3500 vs. Canon T7: Which one should you buy?

You don't need to know much about photography to know that Canon and Nikon are two of the major brands in the business of selling photographic equipment. And there's a good reason why those names have so many fans: they make really good cameras and lenses, and have done so for generations.

It makes sense that many beginning photographers would turn to those same companies when looking for an inexpensive DSLR for the first time. The Canon EOS Rebel T7 / 2000D and Nikon D3500 are certainly two of the least expensive interchangeable lens cameras (meaning the lens comes off as opposed to being fixed to the body) you'll find on the market now: at the time of writing, they're each selling for about $400 with an 18-55mm kit lens.

So which one is better for a beginning photographer? We think that the Nikon D3500 will be the better choice for most people. The bundled 18-55mm F3.5-5.6G VR kit lens is superior to Canon's, battery life is more robust and users who plan to do significant post-processing will find Raw files more malleable. But as usual, there's more to the story than just that.

Read on for a detailed feature-by-feature comparison and find out how we came to our conclusion.

Photo quality vs. a smartphone

If you're considering either of these cameras, there's likely one question at front of mind: How much better will it be than my smartphone? The answer is a bit complicated.

Both the D3500 and T7 use 24 megapixel APS-C sensors, which are many times larger than anything found in a modern smartphone. Bigger sensors come with benefits: more flexibility processing image files, and all things being equal, better low light performance.

But things aren't exactly 'equal' anymore. Smartphones are now using computational techniques to reach beyond the limitations of a smaller sensor: Night Sight in the Google Pixel is an example of this. In short, the advantages of a big sensor are somewhat diminished, especially if your photos will only ever be viewed on a computer screen or a mobile device.

However, 24MP of resolution comes in handy if you'd like to make large prints, or if you plan on making substantial post-processing edits. And there's the potential for zoom: the bundled kit lens provides a bit more reach than the telephoto lens on most smartphones, and there's always the option to buy additional, longer zoom lenses.

The advantages of a big sensor are somewhat diminished, especially if your photos will only ever be viewed on a computer screen or a mobile device

And then there's bokeh: the lovely blurry background effect imitated by portrait mode. Without getting too in-depth, smartphones with portrait mode will generally produce synthetic bokeh that looks close enough to the real deal to satisfy most users, and in many cases will produce a stronger blurred effect than either camera's kit lens is capable of.

If highly convincing bokeh is a priority though, you can add an inexpensive 50mm F1.8 lens to either camera and the results will (for now, at least) outperform a smartphone. And if you don't have a recent smartphone with a good portrait mode, a camera with additional lens will cost quite a bit less than a $1000 flagship smartphone.

This is a long way of saying that yes, the 24MP sensor in either the D3500 or T7 is better than what's in your smartphone, but that doesn't necessarily translate to the image quality advantage that you might expect.

Photo quality vs. each other

Comparing the two cameras, you won't see any dramatic differences in image quality. The Nikon offers a higher ISO sensitivity, which will allow for shooting in very dark conditions without a flash (and quite a bit of unpleasant splotchy noise as a result). Some people prefer Canon's out-of-camera color rendition and tendency toward deeper reds, but the differences are subjective and subtle.

The Nikon does offer more malleable Raw files if you intend to push shadows in post-processing, but it's not something we find a lot of beginning photographers wanting to do.

Each camera sells with an 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 lens, which will be wide enough for landscapes and long enough to frame a head-and-shoulders portrait. While they both offer stabilization and cover roughly the same focal range, the lenses are quite different in age: Nikon's 18-55mm is about three years old, surprisingly sharp and collapsable when it's not in use. Canon's lens dates back to 2011 and isn't as sharp.

Viewfinder and Live View

Both the T7 and D3500 offer 3" 921k-dot non-touchscreens primarily for image review and navigating menus. It's possible to use the screens for still image composition and shooting, but live view (as it's called) on both cameras uses a much slower autofocus system. Shooting with your eye to the optical viewfinder means you don't get a live preview of your exposure, but you do get a faster autofocus system.

The viewfinders on these cameras are comparatively small, and less comfortable to use than that of a bigger, more expensive DSLR. There's plenty to be said for having an optical viewfinder at all: they're much easier to use in bright light than a rear screen, and provide a sense of 'being there' that many photographers prefer.

There's no clear winner in this category: neither provides a great viewfinder, and for live image composition on an LCD (perhaps even with tap-to-focus!), you'll want to look elsewhere.

Video

There's not much to separate the T7 and the D3500 in terms of video recording capabilities. Both offer 1080p recording; the T7 provides up to 30 fps, the D3500 records up to 60 fps, which will represent fast motion better. However, you'll be using live view to record video on these cameras and as we've already established, autofocus while shooting via the rear screen is not very good.

Both will record decent video clips, but if you own a smartphone that was launched in the last couple of years, chances are your phone will do just as well (or in some respects, even better).

Wireless image sharing

As is required of a digital camera in 2019, both the T7 and D3500 provide the means to beam images wirelessly from your camera to your phone. They go about this in slightly different ways. Canon has built Wi-Fi into the T7 which will connect with the company's app. If you have an Android phone with NFC, the connection process is made even simpler.

Nikon takes a different approach, including only Bluetooth rather than Wi-Fi. This allows the camera to maintain the wireless connection and transfer 2MP images as you're shooting, something not possible with Wi-Fi. The downside is that 2MP is your only image size option: which to be fair, is big enough for social media and 4x6" prints.

For most users, the benefits of the constant connection will probably outweigh the need for high-resolution images, and we'd recommend the Nikon if easy image transfer and sharing is a priority.

Battery

At last! A category in which either of these cameras will run circles around a smartphone. If you rely mostly on the optical viewfinder for shooting, the T7 or the D3500 will get you through days of shooting without ever flashing the dreaded low-battery signal. The T7 is officially rated to 500 shots per charge (which tends to be lower than most people's real-life results) which is quite good, so the D3500's 1550 shots per charge rating is insanely good.

Relying heavily on live view or recording a lot of video footage will drain the battery faster, but as we've established, these aren't strong suits for either camera so that's kind of a moot point.

The D3500 comes out on top but both cameras are really winners here.

Conclusion

If you tally up the 'points' for the D3500 and you'll see how we drew our conclusion that it's the better pick between the two. However, the two cameras are incredibly similar in most ways, so it's really only details like a nicer 18-55mm kit lens and incredibly robust battery life that tip the scale.

It's pretty remarkable what both of these cameras offer for their price, but it's also worth noting what you aren't getting, like a touchscreen, faster autofocus in live view, robust continuous autofocus, subject tracking for sports and action photography, 4K video... you get the idea.

It's pretty remarkable what both of these cameras offer for their price, but it's also worth noting what you aren't getting

If any of those features strike you as important, and you aren't too attached to having an optical viewfinder, then it would be in your interest to consider options like the Canon EOS M100: we think it's actually your best bet for under $500.

But there is something quite appealing about an optical viewfinder, the ergonomics of a DSLR and the way a traditional camera engages you in the process of taking pictures that smartphones can't touch. If it's these qualities you're after, then we think the D3500 is well worth your time.

Texas court says state institutions can use copyrighted material for free

A Texas appeals court has ruled that the University of Houston does not have to pay the photographer of a picture it has been using in online and print promotional materials. Houston photographer Jim Olive says the university removed copyright markings from an image downloaded from his stock library, failed to credit him when it was used and wouldn’t pay when he sent a bill, but the university claims it has sovereign immunity and that it can’t be sued.

The case surrounds an aerial image Olive shot from a helicopter hired specifically for making pictures for his library. In an online image search, he found the university was using it on its website and then in printed materials. When it failed to pay an invoice he sent for the usage Olive tried to sue the university, but it claimed that under the Eleventh Amendment it couldn’t be sued as it is a state institution.

In an attempt to get around this Olive tried to sue the University of Houston for taking his property – in which case even government agencies would have to compensate the owner. The Court of Appeals though has said that the university’s actions didn’t comprise ‘taking’ and that Olive will have to pay the university’s legal costs.

The Court of Appeals though has said that the university’s actions didn’t comprise ‘taking’ and that Olive will have to pay the university’s legal costs.

According to a report in the Houston Chronicle, which described the success of the university as ‘a big win’, Olive said 'It just doesn’t seem fair to me.'

If this ruling is allowed to stand it would seem that any state institution can use images and other intellectual property without having to pay the originators, a precedent that would be damaging to photographers across the country, because if that's the case in Texas, it may well be true in all other states covered by the Eleventh Amendment.

The detailed ruling concerning the appeal heard in the Court of Appeals for The First District of Texas by Justice Richard Hightower can be read on CaseText, and the applications from the start of the case can be seen on the Copyright Alliance website. Ironically, the university has a page on its site to allow users to report copyright infringements – and to request permission to use UH intellectual Property.

What to Do When Your Images Get Stolen

The post What to Do When Your Images Get Stolen appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Darina Kopcok.

If any of your images live online in any shape or form, it is inevitable that they will get stolen.

With the Internet, copyright infringement has become rampant and is a worldwide phenomenon.

Some individuals don’t understand copyright and think that because an image appears online that it’s theirs for the taking.

However, there are a lot of companies that steal images and use them for commercial purposes – to sell their own products!

How do you know if your image has been stolen?

You can do random image searches on your images in Google. This is a cool feature, but rather tedious and incredibly time-consuming. If you have an extensive library of images, this could take more time than you’d want to spend.

A better alternative is sites like Copytrack, Pixray or Pixsy, which are image tracking services that not only find your stolen images but also will file a copyright infringement claim and sue for damages on your behalf.

This is a great way to seek restitution for stolen photos without the hassle of having to do everything yourself. Not to mention, there is no way you could scan millions of images on the Internet, looking for your work. The technology these services offer does it all for you.

Utilizing an image tracking service is something every photographer should consider. It’s a sad reality that so many photographers today are struggling, while thieves are profiting from our hard work.

An image tracking service can save you a ton of legwork. Most of the time, it’s as simple as uploading your photos. If you get notified that some of your photographs are appearing without permission or licensing, you can file a DMCA takedown notice or a legal claim through the service.

The image search function is free – to a point. It depends on how many images you upload. If you file a legal claim, the service will take a commission.

One caveat to using an image tracking site is that if you do stock photography, it can be hard to ascertain where your image has legitimately appeared.

Stock agencies don’t usually disclose to you who licensed your image. Also, many have partnered up with other stock agencies to sell your work, making your images even more difficult to track.

 

How an image tracking service works

According to the image tracking site Copytrack, 3 billion images are shared online every day. 85% of them get stolen.
Licensing images is about more than just tracking down infringements. Once you discover an infringement, you need to make a decision as to what you’ll do about it.

Both Copytrack and Pixsy can handle the legal side in the fight for fair payment for your work.

You simply upload your images while their Reverse Image Search functions in the background. They will notify you of your matches by email.

Once you confirm the stolen images, they take steps to enforce your copyright.

You don’t need to do anything.

What are scraper sites?

One of the worst types of offenders in the realm of stolen images and copyright infringement online are scraper sites.
Scraper sites steal your content for their own sites or blogs. Some will just scrape content, but most use automated software that takes your images and posts content on their own site.

These sites take images from Pinterest, Google, and your own website and host them illegally.

Not only does your website host the images for them but also they take up your bandwidth!

If you write a blog in addition to post photos, you may find your content appearing on these sites.

What are your options if your image gets stolen?

If your image gets stolen, your first option is to do nothing, which is exactly what many photographers do. The hassle can make it seem not worth it sometimes.

However, if the company that has stolen your image is a large one, you can hire a copyright attorney to take them to court, as this type of claim may be worth thousands of dollars to you.

In most cases, the best option is to use a company like Pixsy and either have them file a DMC Takedown Notice, or file a claim on your behalf.

A DMC Takedown Notice is a request to remove content from a website at the request of the owner of the copyright of the content.



How to file a DMC takedown

DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act. To get your stolen content removed from a website you need to file a DMCA takedown notice.

To file a DMC takedown, you can either hire a service or do it yourself.

You need to find out who owns the website. You can use a Who Is lookup tool.

The problem is that it can be difficult to find out who the website owner is in order to send them the notice, as a lot of these sites hide this info. For example, they use Cloudflare to hide their real IP address.

Luckily, there are DMC takedown services that can help you with this. DMCA charges $10 USD a month for their protection services and charges $199 USD for a full takedown.

How to register your copyright

As a photographer, you automatically own the copyright as soon as you create the image. This means that you do not necessarily have to file copyright for all your photos.

In most countries, you do not need to file copyright papers to prove you own the content or copyright. Government Registered Copyright is NOT necessary in order to get your content removed, however, suing for damages IS easier if you have registered your copyright.

To register your copyright, search online with keywords such as “register copyright Canada/US/Australia” etc., to find the Intellectual Property Office in your country.

In Conclusion

If you have had your images stolen, it’s up to you to decide if you want to pursue restitution.

Small transgressions may not seem worth the time and energy, however, if someone is making money off your work, you may want to consider seeking compensation. Not only for the money but also the principle.

Have you had any of your images stolen? Share with us in the comments below.

 

What to Do When Your Images Get Stolen

The post What to Do When Your Images Get Stolen appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Darina Kopcok.

How to Make an Animated GIF in Photoshop

The post How to Make an Animated GIF in Photoshop appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Ana Mireles.

Don’t you love GIFs? I do. They are fun, creative, and a great way to grab attention. In a world full of images (animated and otherwise), you need to create original quality work to stand out. Stop following trends and make your own using Photoshop in just a few simple steps.

A GIF is a file format that supports animated images in the smallest size, which makes it very appealing for any online platform. The famous acronym stands for Graphic Interchange Format, and it became trendy for Internet humor, but now it’s a powerful tool.

Five reasons to do your own GIF

  • Showcase your product/brand in action or being used.
  • Do a call to action on your website.
  • Show a step by step example of any instruction.
  • Enhance your visibility.
  • Grow your social media audience.

What you need

You can make GIFs from words, video snippets, or a sequence of photographs. This last one is the technique I’ll show you. While technically you could use any series of images, a coherent set of photographs result in a more engaging GIF.

To achieve this, plan your photo shoot to maintain either the same light or the same framing, and use it to tell a story. If you need some inspiration, check out “8 tips – How to do storytelling with your images.”

If you are doing any post processing on your images like changing the size or format, you can save a lot of time by doing it in a batch. You can learn how to do this in the article How to Batch Resize Your Images Quickly Using Photoshop (https://digital-photography-school.com/batch-resize-images-using-photoshop/). If instead, you are making more complex adjustments I recommend you create an action and then apply it to all of them. If you don’t know how to do this read How to play Photoshop Actions on Multiple Images with Batch Editing.

Now that you have all your images ready to go, open Photoshop and go to Menu -> File -> Scripts -> Load Files Into Stack. On the pop-up window, choose the files you want to import and click OK. This opens all your images as layers within the same file.

Once the images are open, you need to animate them. If you usually work with still images, you may need to go to Menu -> Window -> Timeline to make the Timeline panel visible. It will appear at the bottom of your screen, and it will show a thumbnail of the top layer.

Open the drop-down Menu from the right of the panel and click on Make Frames from Layers. Now you should see the thumbnail of all the files you imported as layers.

If you need to change the order, drag and drop them to correct. Once everything is as you want it, it’s time to determine the animation settings.

First set the time each one will show before changing into the next one. You’ll see a number on the bottom of each frame and an arrow next to it. If you click on the arrow, you’ll open the drop-down Menu to set the time. Do this for each one, as they can be different from each other. You can see a preview by clicking on the play button.

As the last step, you can choose how many times the animation repeats. Under the frames, you can find a menu where you can set this. GIFs usually run on a loop so I will put ‘Forever.’ But you can decide to do it differently.

As I mentioned at the beginning, GIF is a file format; therefore it is something you determine at the moment of saving. When saving a photograph, you would normally choose .jpg or .tiff. However, this time you need to choose .gif. You can find this option under Save for Web. Here, you can choose the amount of color, whether you want it dithered, and if you want a lossy compression. All of these choices determine the file size. You can move them around to choose the best combination of size and quality.

If you now open your saved file in Photoshop, it will be a layered image that you can continue to work on. If you want to see it animated just click and drag it into your browser.

I hope you enjoyed the article.

Please share your GIFs with me in the comment section.

If you are feeling inspired and want to keep exploring animated images, you can experiment with time-lapse and stop motion. Check these articles to get you started:

 

how to make an animated gif in photoshop

The post How to Make an Animated GIF in Photoshop appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Ana Mireles.

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