Tips for Using Color in Your Photography

Tips for Using Color in Your Photography - boats in a row on the shore

Color is one of those things that you easily take for granted because it is everywhere. Even though you see it every day, not much thought is given to how (or why) it affects your perception or mood. While it is a common part of your life, you can still pay attention to how it affects your images.

Since color or the absence thereof plays an important part in your final product (others include light, shape, form, and texture), give it some more thought. Are you conscious of how you are using color in your photos?

salt and pepper close up shot - Tips for Using Color in Your Photography

1. The Basics

There are three primary colors – red, blue and yellow. Secondary colors are produced when you combine these: green (combination of blue and yellow), purple (red and blue) and orange (red and yellow). If you further combine, you get the next level/tertiary colors.

color wheel - Tips for Using Color in Your Photography

By The original uploader was Sakurambo at English Wikipedia. [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The color wheel is a diagram that shows how different colors relate to each other. They exist along a continuum with each color transitioning into the one next to it. So why are these basics important?

Color Harmony

Color harmonies are combinations that are visually appealing to the human eye. A color harmony is when you have two or more different colors that complement each other. This is a key tool used by both artists and photographers to communicate with their viewers, as it is used to evoke a mood or emotion. There are a few types of color harmonies that you can use.

red boat on the shore and one bird - Tips for Using Color in Your Photography

Monochromatic versus Analogous

While these two color harmonies are similar, analogous offers subtle differences that set it apart. A monochromatic color scheme or harmony uses variation in the lightness and saturation of a single color. An analogous color harmony is composed of colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel. There is still one dominant color, but the second color enhances the overall look.

anise seeds - Tips for Using Color in Your Photography

Example of using color in a monochromatic way.

Both of these color harmonies are easy to create and are very easy on the eyes. Monochromatic color schemes are sometimes used to establish a mood because of their visual appeal and balance.

Tips for Using Color in Your Photography - mountain scenic photo

Example of an analogous color scheme with blue and green being next to each other on the wheel.

Analogous colors flow into each other, creating a more soothing look in your image. When you are outdoors, you are exposed to all the various color harmonies including these two. Think about a lush forest with its varying shades of green or the variances of oranges and red in an autumn scene. These tones are likely appealing to you, now you have a little idea as to why.

Complementary Colors

Complementary colors are directly opposite each other on the color wheel. Thus the color complement of a primary color is a secondary color (as shown on the color wheel) e.g., red and green complementary colors work well together since they are highly contrasting. They can be quite dramatic when used at full saturation, as each color makes the other appear more active.

Tips for Using Color in Your Photography - sunset on the water

Orange and blue are complementary colors, which makes sunsets and other scenes with these colors so appealing to us visually.

2. The Key or Dominant Color

The key color is the main color in an image. Often, the key color in an image is that which is the most dominant. Allowing one color to dominate can lead to a powerful image. This is stronger when a primary color (red, blue or yellow) is the dominant color.

Colors with greater intensity will draw (and hold) your viewer’s attention. Keep that in mind, in relation to how it affects your subject.

Tips for Using Color in Your Photography - red tomato in a red bowl

Red is the dominant color in this image, clearly.

3. Advancing or Receding Colors

Advancing colors are the gamut of colors on the warmer end of the spectrum. These include red, red-violet, yellow, yellow-orange and orange. When advancing colors are dominant, they appear as though those objects are closer to the eye, as if coming towards you. Red is one of those colors that dominates and jumps right at you. Think about a scene that has only a hint of red (e.g., a red mailbox) and yet the red dominates.

Tips for Using Color in Your Photography - sunset photo

Advancing colors can work well in an image or on the other hand, can disrupt your scene by taking away the attention from your subject.

Receding colors are the opposite and take on a more background characteristic. Think about what blues and greens (the cooler colors) add to a landscape. They fall into the distance, add a feeling of depth, and help balance the stronger colors.

cool colors of blue hour - Tips for Using Color in Your Photography

4. Feelings and Color

Color provokes various emotional responses in people. So much so, that we use color to describe different emotions, for example: feeling blue, seeing red, tickled pink, or green with envy.

We connect to the warm colors of a sunset differently than we do to a cool blue morning. Color in everyday life is used as a powerful psychological tool, the same applies when using color in your photographic compositions.

Tips for Using Color in Your Photography - statue and the sky

Remember that color is subjective – the same color can make one person happy but irritate another. Also of note, one color can evoke different emotions, if you change its hue and saturation or change the color you combine it with. Orange for example, can create excitement when it leans towards red and be more calming when it is more on the yellow side.

Conclusion

It is fun to learn how colors work with each other and how we react to different combinations. When creating an image, organize color in a way that is easy and pleasing to the eye. Use strong, bold colors to create impact or generate an emotional response. Do you want to grab your viewer’s attention immediately or prefer if their eyes wander around your image?

buffalo in a yellow field - Tips for Using Color in Your Photography

While people see the world in their own way, experiment with color and try to understand what reaches your audience. When creating images with impact, you can use color and make them feel what you want. Share your colorful world with us in the comment area below.

The post Tips for Using Color in Your Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Kamlan 28mm F1.4 for APS-C sample gallery

The Kamlan 28mm F1.4 is an all-manual prime lens for APS-C (and Micro Four Thirds) mirrorless cameras. Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, it'll go on sale to the public for $200, and after a bit of shooting we'd say that's not a bad deal. It boasts a solid feel, and rings are smooth to turn and feel well-damped. A lack of optical coatings creates some unusual effects when shooting into the sun, and the lens provides no electronic communication with the attached camera body. That said, it's hard to argue with a $200 price tag.

Take a look through our gallery to see what this budget-priced prime can do on Fujifilm and Sony bodies.

See our Kamlan 28mm F1.4 sample gallery

Instagram unveils IGTV, a new standalone app for sharing hour-long vertical videos

Instagram has finally cleared the air regarding rumors and reports that the Facebook-owned social network was looking to get more heavily involved in video content. A new blog post on Instagram's website confirms the impending release of Instagram TV, a new standalone app with a focus on long-form, vertical-first video content.

As detailed by Instagram in its announcement blog post, Instagram TV — IGTV for short — is different from the main Instagram app in a few ways. 'First, it’s built for how you actually use your phone, so videos are full screen and vertical. Also, unlike on Instagram, videos aren’t limited to one minute. Instead, each video can be up to an hour long.'

When you download and log in to IGTV, you shouldn't have to spend much time going out there and finding content from the get-go. Once you've logged into IGTV, any content creators you follow on Instagram will already be a part of your video content on IGTV. Akin to YouTube, IGTV calls each creator's page a 'channel,' although the call to action remains 'follow,' unlike 'subscribe' on YouTube.

From the second you open IGTV on your device, video content will immediately start playing. Instagram compares this to how a television automatically starts playing content when you turn it on, but it's more or less a fancy way of saying IGTV content is autoplay content.

To keep things familiar, IGTV makes it easy to keep tabs on your favorite creators and find new ones. As with the Instagram app, IGTV will feature a 'For You,' 'Following' and 'Popular' tab for navigation. There's also a new 'Continue Watching' section for revisiting old videos you didn't finish for whatever reason. You can also like, comment and share videos with friends via Instagram's direct messaging system.

In addition to being a standalone app, IGTV content will also appear in the main Instagram app. It's not known whether this cross-app integration will stay, as it seems to more or less to be an effort to get Instagram users onboard with the new app. Whatever the case, for the time being, you should be able to catch the latest content from the people you follow right within the Instagram app.

IGTV will be rolling out across the globe over the 'next few weeks' for both Android and iOS.

A Beginner’s Guide to Photographing Flowers

Photographing flowers is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding types of photography around. Yet it can be surprisingly difficult, even for more seasoned photographers. Getting strong flower images often requires new settings, new lighting, and new gear, not to mention a new approach to your subjects.

flower photography macro abstract - A Beginner's Guide to Photographing Flowers

In this article, you will learn the ins-and-outs of flower photography. Starting off with a discussion of flower photography gear and camera settings. Then moving into flower photography lighting, focusing primarily on the best types of natural light. Finally, you’ll get few guidelines for strong flower photography compositions.

Gear

There are a few types of flower photography gear to think about: cameras, lenses, and accessories (such as flashes and tripods).

flower macro photography abstract red tulip - A Beginner's Guide to Photographing Flowers

1 – Cameras

My camera recommendation is straightforward: the best cameras for photographing flowers are DSLRs. They offer great flexibility in terms of settings and have a huge array of excellent lenses available.

Which DSLR camera should you use? Especially if you are a beginner, it matters little. Most DSLRs allow for outstanding quality images, whether marketed for professionals or consumers.

Mirrorless cameras are another option. However, the macro lens line-up is still fairly limited. So at least for the time being, I’d go with a DSLR.

clematis flower - A Beginner's Guide to Photographing Flowers

I took this clematis photograph using a DSLR and a dedicated macro lens.

2 – Lenses

First, take note: It is possible to get good images of flowers using any lens, macro or non-macro, wide-angle or telephoto. I have taken some of my best flower images using a Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens.

flower photography macro abstract poppy - A Beginner's Guide to Photographing Flowers

I took this poppy image with my Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens.

On the other hand, the higher your lens’s magnification capabilities, the more opportunities you’ll have. You can make intimate and detailed images of flowers. You can also experiment with more abstract photography techniques.

This is why I generally recommend a dedicated macro lens for flower photography. Such a lens usually offers life-size magnification, pin-sharp images, and excellent bokeh. Some of these are available for a decent price, and I have written previously about choosing the perfect macro lens.

flower photography macro yellow - A Beginner's Guide to Photographing Flowers

This image was taken using a dedicated macro lens.

Another option is to use a regular lens (often a telephoto lens) plus extension tubes. Extension tubes are a cheap way of reducing your lens’s minimum focusing distance, therefore allowing for you to shoot at higher magnifications. The primary downside to extension tubes is flexibility.

When mounted between your camera and lens, extension tubes greatly decrease your maximum focusing distance, preventing you from quickly changing your point of focus. That is, with extension tubes mounted, you cannot take images of distant objects; you are restricted to only subjects within a few feet.

A third way of doing inexpensive flower photography is to freelens. By detaching the lens and placing it in front of the camera body, you can increase magnification (while also generating some interesting effects). I often do this with my Canon 50mm lens and backup body, because there is a risk of getting dust in the sensor.

pink coneflower - A Beginner's Guide to Photographing Flowers

I used freelensing to photograph this coneflower.

3 – Artificial Lighting

Flower photographers often like to use artificial lighting (e.g., flashes or ringlights). These can be both bulky and costly. I prefer natural lighting, but a flash can be especially useful in situations when the natural light isn’t ideal; for instance, bright, midday sun.

4 – Tripods

Flower photographers rarely leave home without a tripod. This is where I’m going to break with the prevailing opinion and say – you don’t need a tripod.

Let me qualify that statement. You don’t necessarily need a tripod for photographing flowers. You can shoot all kinds of pleasing flower images while handholding your camera. But there are certain techniques that do require a tripod. I will discuss those below.

white flowers - A Beginner's Guide to Photographing Flowers

I photographed these aster flowers without a tripod.

Camera Settings

Flower photographers generally aim for one of two looks: sharp throughout the frame or shallow focus.

Sharp throughout the frame requires a very narrow aperture, especially at higher magnifications, often at f/16 or beyond. This is where a tripod is necessary, as this is difficult to do without one. It may also require special techniques (i.e., focus stacking) in order to prevent the diffraction that comes from higher apertures.

flower photography macro dahlia - A Beginner's Guide to Photographing Flowers

An example of a “sharp throughout the frame” look.

However, my personal preference is shallow-focus macro photography. This requires no extra equipment, no flashes, and no tripod. Instead, you use a wide aperture (in the f/2.8-f/7.1 range) to render a small portion of the flower in focus.

The rest of the image is blown out of focus which can produce unique and stunning effects.

flower photography macro daisy abstract shallow focus - A Beginner's Guide to Photographing Flowers

This daisy photograph is an example of my preferred type of flower photography with only a small part of the subject in focus.

In both cases, it is the aperture that is important. The shutter speed and ISO should be adjusted in response to the aperture (though I wouldn’t recommend dropping your shutter speed below 1/160th or so unless you have very steady hands or some form of image stabilization).

Lighting

I am going to primarily discuss natural light for photographing flowers. This is not because artificial light in flower photography is useless, but because I think it’s much more enjoyable to experiment with the light that’s available.

My first piece of lighting advice is to shoot on overcast days. When the sky is cloudy, the light becomes diffused. The flower will be evenly lit, and the soft light makes colorful petals pop.

tulip flower photography abstract macro - A Beginner’s Guide to Photographing Flowers

This tulip abstract was taken on an overcast day, which produced deeply saturated colors.

My second piece of lighting advice is to shoot in the morning or evening when the sunlight is golden. This prevents strong sunlight from falling on the flower and can generate some outstanding images.

flower photography macro evening light - A Beginner’s Guide to Photographing Flowers

This image was taken in the evening when the light was soft and golden.

I also like to shoot in the shade with the sun behind me, so that the bright sunlight is falling behind the flower (but not on it directly). One way to ensure this lighting is to find a flower that is in the shadow of a tree. Another is to cast the shadow yourself, by using your head, arm, or even your camera bag.

flower photography macro hyacinth - A Beginner’s Guide to Photographing Flowers

I cast a shadow over this grape hyacinth, in order to avoid the direct light of the sun.

Composition

A final aspect of flower photography to consider is the composition. This may seem daunting for the beginner, but there are a few simple compositional guidelines that will help you take better flower photographs instantly.

flower photography macro abstract - A Beginner’s Guide to Photographing Flowers

Fill the frame with your subject

In flower photography, you rarely want to have a lot of empty space in your frame. More empty space means more opportunities for distraction, for confusion, and for loss of impact. So instead of leaving space around the flower, move in closer to fill the frame as much as you can.

flower photography macro tulip - A Beginner’s Guide to Photographing Flowers

The more colorful, the better

When photographing flowers, you often have a whole palette of colors right in front of you. Use it to your advantage!

Put color in the background by placing another flower behind your main subject. Add color to the foreground by shooting through several other flowers.

macro photography flower colorful abstract - A Beginner’s Guide to Photographing Flowers

Keep things clean

In flower photography (or any type of photography, really), it’s important to have a point of emphasis (or a focal point). This can be the edge of a petal, the flower itself, the flower plus its environment, but regardless, you must ensure that the viewer’s eye is drawn to this spot.

One of the easiest ways to guarantee a strong point of focus is simply to have little else but that point of focus. I hope this sounds simple because it is. Hence, before taking a photograph, rid your potential composition of all distracting elements. This includes out-of-focus stems, as well as bright colors or dark spots in the background that don’t fit the image as a whole.

Think simplify.

macro photography flower abstract rose - A Beginner’s Guide to Photographing Flowers

The eye immediately focuses on this rose stamen.

Conclusion

By following this guide, you should be on your way to becoming an excellent flower photographer. While there are a number of elements to considergear, settings, lighting, and compositionI feel confident that you’ll be taking strong flower photographs in no time.

Any questions about photographing flowers? Let’s discuss them in the comments!

macro photography flower colorful abstract - A Beginner’s Guide to Photographing Flowers

The post A Beginner’s Guide to Photographing Flowers appeared first on Digital Photography School.

NVIDIA researchers can now turn 30fps video into 240fps slo-mo footage using AI

NVIDIA researchers have developed a new method to extrapolate 240fps slow-motion video from 30fps content using artificial intelligence.

Detailed in a paper submitted to the Cornell University Library, NVIDIA researchers trained the system by processing more than 11,000 videos through NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs and a cuDNN-accelerated PyTorch deep learning framework. This archive of videos, shot at 240fps, taught the system how to better predict the positioning differences in videos shot at only 30fps.

This isn't the first time something like this has been done. A post-production plug-in called Twixtor has been doing this for almost a decade now. But it doesn't come anywhere close to NVIDIA's results in terms of quality and accuracy. Even in scenes where there is a great amount of detail, there appears to be minimal artifacts in the extrapolated frames.

The researchers also note that while there are smartphones that can shoot 240fps video, it's not necessarily worth it to use all of that processing power and storage when something that will get you 99% of the way there is possible using a system such as theirs. 'While it is possible to take 240-frame-per-second videos with a cell phone, recording everything at high frame rates is impractical, as it requires large memories and is power-intensive for mobile devices,' the researchers wrote in the paper.

The research and findings detailed in the paper will be presented at the annual Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) conference in Salt Lake City, Utah this week.

Loupedeck announces Loupedeck+ with support for Capture One, better controls

Loupedeck - a popular editing console for Adobe Lightroom users - has received a significant update to both its physical characteristics and its overall compatibility with the launch of the Loupedeck+.

In addition to Adobe Lightroom (and Lightroom CC) Loupedeck+ is now compatible with Aurora HDR and Capture One (the later will be beta support at launch, with full compatibility to be offered soon). There are already a few editing consoles on the market that work with Lightroom as well as Capture One, and it's encouraging to see Loupedeck get in on the Capture One fun as more photographers do.

Physical improvements include better build quality with more responsive mechanical buttons and a greater degree of customization. The Loupedeck+ can be yours for $239 - current Loupedeck owners can upgrade for $50 off.

Press Release:

Introducing Loupedeck+, the Next Evolution of Custom Photo Editing Console, Loupedeck

Next Generation Includes Skylum Aurora HDR Compatibility, Upgraded Build and More Customization Options, All Based on the Photography Community’s Feedback

HELSINKI, Finland – June 20, 2018Loupedeck, the custom photo editing console built with an intuitive design that makes editing faster and more creative, has announced the next evolution, Loupedeck+. While the Loupedeck was the only device on the market custom-built to improve the Adobe Lightroom experience, the Loupedeck+ is now also compatible with popular photo editing software Skylum Aurora HDR(in addition to Adobe Lightroom Classic CC), and is designed with more functionalities, control and increased customization options. Following a year of overwhelming success and customer feedback, the Loupedeck+ was designed in Loupedeck’s headquarters in Finland, with all updates solely based on feedback from the invested photography community.

Specifically, upgrades to the Loupedeck+ include:

  • Mechanical keys with a more precise and sturdy feel
  • Improved build quality
  • Two dedicated customizable dials and seventeen buttons
  • “Custom Mode” that allows full user control of all dials
  • Configuration software built from scratch for an even better, faster and more stable photo editing experience

“We know how dedicated both the professional and amateur photography communities are in their work, and we’re committed to making their lives easier and more productive,” said Mikko Kesti, Founder and CEO of Loupedeck. “There’s no better way to create the next evolution of our flagship product than by going straight to the source and taking their feedback to heart. By adding even more control, efficiency and customization options to the editing process, we’re able to help photographers be more successful by increasing their output and artistry, and look forward to continue supporting them in their work.”

Following Loupedeck’s new partnership with Skylum, the Loupedeck+ will include future integrations with Skylum’s other professional photo editing products, including Skylum Luminar. It is also currently in beta integration with Capture One, with full integration on the way, as well as additional software integrations to follow later this year. These options will provide photographers with a more diverse, intuitive experience, helping to expedite the editing process and maximize the photo editing experience.

"Skylum and Loupedeck share the same vision. We want to help photographers create great photos, differently,” said Alex Tsepko, CEO of Sklyum. “When I discovered that the new version of Loupedeck keyboard is coming out, I knew Skylum software should be the first to support it. This is the kind of innovation modern photographers really need.”

The Loupedeck+ is available for purchase in the Loupedeck Online Store, B&H Photo and Amazon.com for $239. Loupedeck is also offering a cashback opportunity of $50 for current Loupedeck owners.

For more information visit www.loupedeck.com.

About Loupedeck

Loupedeck, the company behind the Loupedeck+, is the only photo editing console custom-built to improve the Adobe Lightroom and Skylum Aurora HDR experience, with an intuitive design that makes editing faster and more creative. It allows both professional and amateur photographers to improve the ergonomics of editing, comfortably increasing output. Loupedeck’s hands-on and highly intuitive console minimizes the use the mouse and keyboard, and it works seamlessly with Apple and PC operating systems.

Headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, Loupedeck was founded in 2016 with a highly successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that exceeded its original target by 488 percent. For more information, visit www.loupedeck.com.

About Skylum Software

Skylum Software (formerly Macphun) is a Washington-based photo software developer with the mission to make complex photo editing simple and user-friendly. Thanks to its innovative approach and high-end proprietary technologies, Skylum products have won dozens of various awards, including “Best of the Year” awards by Apple for six straight years. Luminar was honored with the “Best Imaging Software 2017” award by TIPA and “Best Software Plugin” in October 2017 by the Lucie Technical Awards. Aurora HDR was selected as the “Best Mac App of 2017” by Apple.

To learn more about Skylum, please visit http://skylum.com/.

Loupedeck announces Loupedeck+ with support for Capture One, better controls

Loupedeck - a popular editing console for Adobe Lightroom users - has received a significant update to both its physical characteristics and its overall compatibility with the launch of the Loupedeck+.

In addition to Adobe Lightroom (and Lightroom CC) Loupedeck+ is now compatible with Aurora HDR and Capture One (the later will be beta support at launch, with full compatibility to be offered soon). There are already a few editing consoles on the market that work with Lightroom as well as Capture One, and it's encouraging to see Loupedeck get in on the Capture One fun as more photographers do.

Physical improvements include better build quality with more responsive mechanical buttons and a greater degree of customization. The Loupedeck+ can be yours for $239 - current Loupedeck owners can upgrade for $50 off.

Press Release:

Introducing Loupedeck+, the Next Evolution of Custom Photo Editing Console, Loupedeck

Next Generation Includes Skylum Aurora HDR Compatibility, Upgraded Build and More Customization Options, All Based on the Photography Community’s Feedback

HELSINKI, Finland – June 20, 2018Loupedeck, the custom photo editing console built with an intuitive design that makes editing faster and more creative, has announced the next evolution, Loupedeck+. While the Loupedeck was the only device on the market custom-built to improve the Adobe Lightroom experience, the Loupedeck+ is now also compatible with popular photo editing software Skylum Aurora HDR(in addition to Adobe Lightroom Classic CC), and is designed with more functionalities, control and increased customization options. Following a year of overwhelming success and customer feedback, the Loupedeck+ was designed in Loupedeck’s headquarters in Finland, with all updates solely based on feedback from the invested photography community.

Specifically, upgrades to the Loupedeck+ include:

  • Mechanical keys with a more precise and sturdy feel
  • Improved build quality
  • Two dedicated customizable dials and seventeen buttons
  • “Custom Mode” that allows full user control of all dials
  • Configuration software built from scratch for an even better, faster and more stable photo editing experience

“We know how dedicated both the professional and amateur photography communities are in their work, and we’re committed to making their lives easier and more productive,” said Mikko Kesti, Founder and CEO of Loupedeck. “There’s no better way to create the next evolution of our flagship product than by going straight to the source and taking their feedback to heart. By adding even more control, efficiency and customization options to the editing process, we’re able to help photographers be more successful by increasing their output and artistry, and look forward to continue supporting them in their work.”

Following Loupedeck’s new partnership with Skylum, the Loupedeck+ will include future integrations with Skylum’s other professional photo editing products, including Skylum Luminar. It is also currently in beta integration with Capture One, with full integration on the way, as well as additional software integrations to follow later this year. These options will provide photographers with a more diverse, intuitive experience, helping to expedite the editing process and maximize the photo editing experience.

"Skylum and Loupedeck share the same vision. We want to help photographers create great photos, differently,” said Alex Tsepko, CEO of Sklyum. “When I discovered that the new version of Loupedeck keyboard is coming out, I knew Skylum software should be the first to support it. This is the kind of innovation modern photographers really need.”

The Loupedeck+ is available for purchase in the Loupedeck Online Store, B&H Photo and Amazon.com for $239. Loupedeck is also offering a cashback opportunity of $50 for current Loupedeck owners.

For more information visit www.loupedeck.com.

About Loupedeck

Loupedeck, the company behind the Loupedeck+, is the only photo editing console custom-built to improve the Adobe Lightroom and Skylum Aurora HDR experience, with an intuitive design that makes editing faster and more creative. It allows both professional and amateur photographers to improve the ergonomics of editing, comfortably increasing output. Loupedeck’s hands-on and highly intuitive console minimizes the use the mouse and keyboard, and it works seamlessly with Apple and PC operating systems.

Headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, Loupedeck was founded in 2016 with a highly successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that exceeded its original target by 488 percent. For more information, visit www.loupedeck.com.

About Skylum Software

Skylum Software (formerly Macphun) is a Washington-based photo software developer with the mission to make complex photo editing simple and user-friendly. Thanks to its innovative approach and high-end proprietary technologies, Skylum products have won dozens of various awards, including “Best of the Year” awards by Apple for six straight years. Luminar was honored with the “Best Imaging Software 2017” award by TIPA and “Best Software Plugin” in October 2017 by the Lucie Technical Awards. Aurora HDR was selected as the “Best Mac App of 2017” by Apple.

To learn more about Skylum, please visit http://skylum.com/.

The Best Way to Improve Your Photography is to Forget About Your Camera

Are you confident using your camera to take photographs in every situation in which you want to shoot? Do you experience anxiety when you think about reaching for your camera? Would you like to feel sure that when you do head out for a photography session you will return more than satisfied with your results? So what is the best way to improve your photography?

portrait of a Kayan girl - improve your photography

If you are anxious or lacking confidence in using your camera you will most likely not be so happy with your photographs. As photographers, most of us like to be improving our pictures each time we use our cameras. I don’t know of a photographer who is not interested in continuing to create better photos than they have previously.

Photography is so much more than having the most up to date equipment and knowing which dials to turn and buttons to push to make it work. The best way to improve your photography is to forget about your camera.

Photography is More Popular Than Ever

Photography is currently more popular than it has ever been. People are taking more photos every day than ever before in history. Why? Because they can and because it is easy. And because everyone always has a camera with them.

Northern Thailand landscape near Suan Sook Homestay, Doi Inthanon - improve your photography

Mobile phone cameras have made photography more popular than ever. This photo was taken with my phone camera.

It is easier and more convenient than ever to be able to take and share your photographs. Most people can take a photo with their phone very easily and without much knowledge of photography technique. Most phone camera users are not concerned with their shutter speed or their ISO setting. But you don’t have to search much to find some outstanding photographs made with phone cameras.

When people take photos with their phone they are most often concentrating on the moment, not the mechanics of how to work the camera. The more you can learn to do this when you are using your DSLR, mirrorless or any other camera the more you will improve your photography.

Make Time to Learn

Make time to study how your camera works. If you are just starting out, begin with the essentials. Become familiar with the settings for obtaining a good exposure and well-focused photos.

Night photo of a buddhist monk at a ceremony at Wat Pan Tao - improve your photography

In any situation you find yourself wanting to photograph, you need to be confident in adjusting your settings well without losing concentration on your subject.

For more advanced photographers, don’t neglect to keep learning more about your camera. Learn to use more of the functions and become proficient at them. If you can do this you will be well prepared whenever you want to head out for a photography session.

If you are constantly trying to figure out how to use your camera at the times when you want to make great photos, you will not be as successful.

Know your camera functions and settings well, so you can use it as quickly and easily as your phone camera. You’ll be able to pay more attention to the moment if you do so.

:aughing Karen woman in a rice field - improve your photography

Be Prepared

When you are in a situation where you want to take photographs, be prepared. Have everything with you that you need. Do you need another lens? Will you need flash? How about your tripod? As well, be mindful of whether or not you will need anything other than your camera and one or two lenses. If not, don’t carry it with you. It will only hinder you.

Always try to anticipate the situation ahead of time. Be well set up with the right lens and any other accessories you need. If you can do this in advance you will be able to concentrate more on making great photos.

Thai woman in traditional costume - improve your photography

Being prepared means you will not miss any opportunities to make great photos.

Review and Critique

Always take a good look at your photos, including the ones you are not satisfied with. Hopefully, you are not deleting any of your photos from your cards before reviewing them on your computer. Aside from this being poor technical practice, you can learn a lot from your dud photos.

lady and giant soap bubbles - improve your photography

Studying your photos for composition, exposure, timing, subject choice, etc., will help you improve. If you are reviewing photos you are not so happy with, this will help you avoid making the same mistakes in future.

Having someone else look at your photos and offer critique can be very valuable. Even if it’s a friend or family member who has little or no photography experience it can help keep you on track, (so long as they are honest and positive.)

Sharing your photos for critique with an experienced photographer can help your growth. They will be able to point out things you may not have noticed. By seeking feedback you will learn directly from your own images.

Reflection of a monk in a puddle of water - improve your photography

Art and Science

Photography is very much a whole brain experience. The left hemisphere of your brain engages to manage the technical aspects. Your right hemisphere is more attentive to the creative aspects. There must be a cohesion and a balance.

If you are too focused on the technical aspects of photography you will not produce such creative pictures. If your right brain takes over you may not get well-exposed or focused images because of not paying attention to your camera.

Pink dahlia photo - improve your photography

Knowing your equipment, whatever camera you are using, will help you improve your photography. A photo that was taken with my camera phone.

Being confident to use your camera, whichever one you choose to use, will help you be more successful. Understand how to use it and to adjust the settings to get the photos you want easily. This takes some study, commitment, and practice, but it’s well worth it to be able to achieve consistently better results.

The post The Best Way to Improve Your Photography is to Forget About Your Camera appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Review

Samsung's Galaxy S9+ is a large, fast smartphone that's jam-packed with photography-focused features. But while it's certainly capable of great image quality, we found some issues with regard to capturing moving subjects, shooting under low lighting and when using 'Live Focus' portrait mode. On the other hand, 4K/60p video capture is of very high quality with good autofocus, and the screen on the S9+ is the best we've seen on a smartphone to date.

Key photographic / video specs

  • Dual rear cameras, each with optical stabilization
    • Wide-angle: 12MP F1.5-2.4, 26mm equiv. focal length, dual pixel autofocus
    • Telephoto: 12MP F2.4, 52mm equiv. focal length, contrast detect autofocus
  • Wide-angle module is the only variable aperture smartphone design on the market
  • Front-facing wide-angle camera: 8MP F1.7 25mm equiv.
  • 'Live Focus' background blurring for rear and front cameras
  • 'Pro' mode offers manual control in built-in camera app
  • UHD 4K/60p video recording, slow-motion 1080/240p and 720/960p recording (8x and 32x slow motion when outputted at 30 frames per second)

To start, the Galaxy's dual rear cameras are similar to the setup on Apple's iPhone X (one wide-angle, one telephoto), while Google's Pixel 2 makes do with just a single camera on the rear of the phone.

Out-of-camera JPEG | ISO 32 | 1/614 sec | F2.4

But beyond just the number of cameras, each of these phones takes a noticeably different photographic approach across different shooting scenarios. We're starting to see enough differences between the experiences of using these phones to really warrant consideration of what you want (and like) to photograph, especially if you're choosing your next phone with camera quality as a primary concern.

The 'Live Focus' portrait mode experience
is disappointing

With the Galaxy S9+, Samsung touts its Dual Aperture technology as an aid to low-light shooting and the included telephoto lens is primarily used for the 'Live Focus' portrait mode. We found that, despite the Dual Aperture, the phone would select exposure settings that resulted in unnecessarily blurry images in even moderately low light. We also found that, overall, the 'Live Focus' experience using that telephoto lens can give you completely mis-focused images even in bright light, and that it's nigh unusable as light levels start to drop.

Other specs

  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • 6.2" Super AMOLED display with 2960x1440 resolution (529 ppi)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
  • 6GB RAM
  • 64/128/256 GB storage plus microSD card slot
  • 3500 mAh Lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
  • $840/890/940 (£849/869/929 in the UK, €949/1049 in Germany and France for 128GB and 256GB models)

We've now had our loaner Galaxy S9+ for several weeks courtesy of Verizon Wireless, and taken a critical look at how its cameras perform under a wide variety of scenarios. Let's dig in and see what's what.


Unique Features

The Samsung Galaxy S9+ (along with its smaller brother, the S9) are the only current smartphones on the market with adjustable apertures and screens that automatically adjust contrast and brightness depending on your viewing conditions.

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Body and display

The Galaxy S9+ comes with a huge 6.2" AMOLED display with rounded edges that is simply gorgeous to look at - for the most part.

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Photo quality

From 'Live Focus' portraits to a special 'Food' mode, we've taken a look at the Galaxy's image quality under a wide range of situations.

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Video quality

With UHD 4K/60p and slow-motion video recording, the Galaxy S9+ certainly looks capable on paper - so we found out how it looks in the real world.

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Sample gallery

We've updated our sample gallery with dozens of images from several weeks of shooting. Check out portraits, concerts, sports and more.

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Conclusion

The Galaxy S9+ is one of the most photographically capable smartphones on the market; is it the one for you?

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Apple releases four new iPhone X mobile photography video tutorials

Apple released a new batch of mobile photography tutorial videos this week, each briefly demonstrating how to perform various camera actions using the flagship iPhone X. The OLED-equipped iPhone X features dual rear 12MP cameras coupled with optical image stabilization and optical zoom.

The four new videos were published on June 14 and guide iPhone X users through the following functions: shooting with the backlight, shooting in burst mode, recording in slow motion, and creating panoramas.

Apple semi-regularly updates video tutorials for its products, and previously released a batch of similar mobile photography instructional videos for the iPhone 8. A full playlist of Apple's mobile photography video tutorials, including those covering older iPhone models, is available here. The four newest videos are below.

Via: Light Stalking

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