Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM sample gallery

The RF 24-70mm F2.8 isn't a showstopper like the RF 28-70mm F2. But it's a lens that will appeal to a lot of EOS R photographers, with its bright, constant aperture covering a handy zoom range, and weather-sealing to help keep it protected from the elements. It became available at the end of September along with the nearly-identical RF 15-35mm F2.8, further expanding the range of options for full-frame Canon mirrorless shooters.

We snagged some time with the lens during what's likely to be some of the last nice weather of the season – take a look.

See our Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8
sample gallery

Tools for Doing In-Person Photography Sales to Boost Your Income Stream

The post Tools for Doing In-Person Photography Sales to Boost Your Income Stream appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jackie Lamas.

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It seems now many clients only want digital files, however, there are still photographers doing in-person photography sales and making more from their art than the shoot and burn photographer. You don’t need a lot to get started with in-person photography sales. You can add products, samples, and such as your sales increase. Learn the tips you need to get started by reading below!

What are in-person photography sales?

In-person photography sales are where you set an appointment with your clients to give them a personalized viewing of their photos and conduct a sales meeting with them at the same time.

You can set the date for the in-person photography sales appointment before the actual session or when the photos are ready to view. It all depends on how you handle and schedule your calendar.

An in-person photography sales appointment is for photographers who wish to sell products like prints, frames, and other specialty items. These have a set profit margin so you can make the most out of a portrait session or wedding.

Why have in-person photography sales to begin with?

When a photographer gives away their photos in digital format, the client is allowed to print outside of the photographer’s studio, resulting in a loss in money for the photographer. With in-person sales, you are able to offer your clients their most valuable photos of their family, or event, and get top-quality products in return.

Image: You can use a gallery mock-up like this to sell wall galleries, frames, or other products dur...

You can use a gallery mock-up like this to sell wall galleries, frames, or other products during the in-person photography sales appointment. It helps your clients visualize the final product.

In-person photography sales give your clients more personalized attention. It also allows them to get their photos off digital format and onto their walls.

Giving your clients this personalized attention will also make your clients feel taken care of in the most intimate way. This rounds out the whole portrait photography experience. You’ll have them come to you next time they need that personal experience again.

What do you need to get started with in-person photography sales?

To begin with, you need an action plan. You’ll need to determine how you’ll be conducting the sales appointment. Choose a location with minimal distraction and noise, so that you can tailor your sales appointment to have the atmosphere you want. It can be a shared space, a rented location, or even in your home or the client’s home.

You’ll also need some sort of device to showcase the photos from the session. This can be a laptop, iPad/tablet, or even a screen projector to showcase the photos large. If you have a studio space, you can choose a room or location inside that has a TV or computer to show their images.

Sign up with a professional lab

Next, you’ll need to make a catalog of the products you’ll be offering. Make sure to use a top photographic lab and not your friendly neighborhood Costco. While there’s nothing wrong with Costco for personal printing, they are not a professional lab with professional printers and top quality control.

Image: WHCC offers a program you can use on your iPad called Studio to create mockups of products yo...

WHCC offers a program you can use on your iPad called Studio to create mockups of products your clients want to buy.

White House Custom Color, Bay Photo Lab, Black River Imaging are a few of the leading professional photography labs, among many, many more. Find one that you like best and give them a try. All of them offer a variety of products ranging from loose prints to specialty items like tree ornaments, bookmarks, and even mugs with photos on them.

After you figure out what products you want to sell to your clients, figure out the pricing. Factor in shipping and the cost of the product. Only then can you determine how much of a profit margin you want. Depending on your market, you might be at a 40% profit margin or perhaps more.

Image: A digital catalog can help you showcase your products and pricing to clients without having t...

A digital catalog can help you showcase your products and pricing to clients without having to order samples. Some labs offer free product guides without branding or prices.

If you have capital, get samples of the products that you think will be top sells, and loose prints in various sizes. If you’ll be offering to frame, get the sample corners.

Each photographer has their own set of top sellers. With time, you can accumulate samples of those products. However, if you don’t have money to invest in samples, create a sales catalog in Illustrator or Photoshop. That way, your clients can see the products.

Image: Having sample albums in smaller sizes can help your clients visualize the final product.

Having sample albums in smaller sizes can help your clients visualize the final product.

WHCC has a site without any branding that you can use to get your clients excited about products. Many professional labs also offer samples at a discount so that you can afford some of the products to help you sell.

Payments

Sign up with a merchant account of some sort so that you can take credit card and debit card payments. You can get a card reader with some services like Square and PayPal to make processing credit cards and debit cards much easier. These also allow you to email receipts to your client.

Some gallery services like Instaproofs offer merchant services and invoicing to photographers right from the gallery. They can also provide direct printing straight from the gallery.

Figure out what works for you and which service offers a better plan for you. It’s really helpful when more and more people use these types of services.

To recap, you’ll need the following:

  1. Figure out your plan. Where will you have the in-person photography sales appointments?
  2. Sign up with a professional photography lab.
  3. Figure out the products and pricing you’ll be selling.
  4. Invest in samples or create a catalog of products to show clients.
  5. Get a merchant account, Square, or PayPal for payments with cards.
  6. Stick to your plan!

What are the benefits of having in-person photography sales?

The benefits are many in that you are giving your clients something that they won’t get anywhere else – your personalized attention throughout the whole photographic experience.

Tools for Doing In-Person Photography Sales to Boost Your Income Stream

By having an in-person photography sales appointment with your clients, you are showing them their beautiful portraits via slideshow or even just in the gallery one by one. You are helping them choose their favorites, and setting them up with products that they’ll treasure for many years to come.

When you hand over digitals via an online gallery, you are missing out on the emotion behind the whole experience. They download, print, and buy somewhere else – leaving you with a loss.

Image: Showing your clients what their photos can look like in their home is also a good way to sell...

Showing your clients what their photos can look like in their home is also a good way to sell products.

Even if you offer digital products, having an in-person photography sales appointment with clients is the best way to show them that you not only take great photographs but care about your clients. It shows then that you are there with your knowledge and expertise to find the right product, photo, and gift to make their photos stand out.

In-person sales appointments are a great way to end the whole experience and create a deeper bond with your clients that an online gallery or digital photos never will.

What if my clients can’t meet or live out of town?

Although it’s better to be physically face-to-face with your clients, sometimes you can’t, and that’s okay. Luckily, there are other ways to hold an in-person photography sales appointment.

Image: Even digital mockups of products can help you sell more to your clients. Show them on your la...

Even digital mockups of products can help you sell more to your clients. Show them on your laptop or tablet after you show your clients their gallery.

If they can’t meet with you in person, offer a video chat style of sales appointment that best fits into their busy schedule. It’s understandable that clients can get busy with their families, life, work, and travel, however, make it a point to have some type of face-to-face appointment with them.

Use Skype so that you can share your screen with them and show them the slideshow of photos you’ve prepared. You’ll see their reactions and emotions to the beautiful photos and can then begin the process of selling your products.

Image: On the left is a catalog unbranded from a professional lab. On the right is a digital mockup...

On the left is a catalog unbranded from a professional lab. On the right is a digital mockup of various products using my own photos.

Make sure to send your product guide/catalog to them before the meeting so that they are aware of what type of products you offer and at what price points they begin.

Make the most out of in-person photography sales appointments

If you offer digitals with your packages, don’t make them readily available to your clients before your sales appointment. Chances are, they’ll walk away with the digitals and forget to make or go to the appointment since they’ve gotten their digitals.

It’s best to schedule the sales appointment before you have the actual session. That way, you can set a time and day that works best for everyone ahead of time. Families especially need careful planning so that they can attend the sales meeting.

Set the tone for the in-person photography sales appointment. Even if you don’t have physical products yet, bring copies of your catalog. Perhaps offer drinks or snacks during the appointment and have the slide show and gallery ready to view. Make sure there is no need for an internet connection in all of your prep, just in case you meet at a place that doesn’t have wifi.

Give your clients an incentive for purchasing their photos. You could offer a gift print with purchases over a certain amount. Or if it’s part of your business plan, include a digital print of the photos that they get in prints or products so that they can keep that as well.

Offer a payment plan to your clients. Put their credit card on file with a payment date so that you can automatically charge their cards when the payment is due. This allows them to have the products that they want most. Sometimes, payment plans can increase your sales because they offer more flexibility to your clients.

Set about two minutes worth of favorite images to music and create a slideshow. After, have your order form, catalog or samples, and begin showing the rest of the gallery to your clients. This creates excitement around seeing the rest of the images.

In conclusion

Having an in-person photography sales appointment doesn’t mean you have to have a studio or even samples.  You can get started right away with a catalog of products and prices. You can use a rented or shared space, or even have the in-person sales appointment in your clients’ home or via video chat.

Either way, giving your clients this personal and handheld experience to get the most out of their photos will mean more income for you and wall portraits for them. This makes the whole photographic experience more meaningful!

Do you make in-person photography sales? What tips can you offer other photographers? Share in the comments!

The post Tools for Doing In-Person Photography Sales to Boost Your Income Stream appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jackie Lamas.

Review: Laowa 17mm f1.8 Lens with Micro-Four-Thirds Mount

The post Review: Laowa 17mm f1.8 Lens with Micro-Four-Thirds Mount appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Mark C Hughes.

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The new Laowa 17mm f1.8 lens for MFT

There are a lot of gear reviews for new photography gear. Many focus on technical specifications and others focus on sharpness and precision of the optics. I had a chance to spend a few weeks with the Laowa 17mm f1.8 lens for Micro-Four-Thirds (MFT) mount. This is a bit of a different lens that requires a slightly different approach to a review. I am hoping this approach will help you decide if this is a lens for you.

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The New Laowa 17mm f1.8 lens is a fully manual compact design with metal construction, a small metal hood and clear markings on the barrel

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This lens fits 46mm threaded filters (common for MFT)

Technical Specifications

I will run through the technical specifications of the Laowa 17mm f1.8 lens as they have some interesting but limited impact on this review (aside from the price). As a 17mm lens on an MFT mount, this has a corresponding field of view that corresponds to a 34mm lens on a full-frame (FF) sensor (65 degrees). The lens has nine elements in seven groups with a seven-bladed iris. The filter diameter is 46 mm, and the weight is 172g. It is not weather-sealed, and the MSRP is $149USD.

Image: Works great even in low light conditions

Works great even in low light conditions

Practical details

Aside from the mathematics of technical specifications, I think a lens review should provide more practical details. Details that describe the intangibles about the lens. Things you only realize when you have the lens in your hand or on your camera.

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Perfectly balanced with smaller MFT camera bodies like the Pen F

For starters, this is a completely manual lens with manual focus and manual aperture control.

It is a small but solid – really solid – lens with metal construction and even a small metal lens hood (not much shading from this guy). This lens does not feel plastic-y in any way shape or form. The movement of the aperture ring and focus control feels great, and the aperture ring has quiet click settings (it is not clickless but moves easy) and the markings on the focus ring are clear.

This lens feels like something from the best film era vintage lenses and is well-sized to match the size of smaller MFT camera bodies.

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Works well with the Olympus EM5 MK II

Focal range

At 34mm FF equivalent, the Laowa 17mm f1.8 is a prime lens size that, along with a 50mm FF equivalent, should be in any photographer’s bag. Some famous photographers have operated with only lenses in this range. At a 34mm FF equivalent, it provides a relatively wide field of view and a more forgiving range for focus. Wider lenses tend to be more forgiving when trying to focus them. With the manual focus on this lens, not getting focus perfect can still result in usable images.

Image: Because it has a wide field of view, you can get pretty close.

Because it has a wide field of view, you can get pretty close.

Image: Once the focus is set, the lens performs well.

Once the focus is set, the lens performs well.

Sharpness

As for image quality, the lens does reasonably well. It is not the sharpest (even when you nail focus) and it is clear that when fully wide open, the lens is sharper in the center of the image but softer at the edges. Saying this doesn’t really describe the image results from this lens. The image is sharp where it needs to be and softer where is it okay to be softer. The look from the lens is great. In addition, the seven-bladed iris produces very nice starbursts when closed down for night shots of light sources.

Image: Even with close-ups, there are little problems resolving the images and little vignetting.

Even with close-ups, there are little problems resolving the images and little vignetting.

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The seven-bladed iris allows for very nice starbursts at night

Size

As for size and usability, this Laowa 17mm f1.8 lens fits smaller MFT bodies really well (like a Pen F) and looks a little dwarfed on a bigger body (like an EM1X). Not only does this lens fit well on smaller bodies, but it looks entirely old school like the cameras that are going for that stylistic approach.

I had many people asking me if I was shooting with a film camera when I had this lens on my Pen F. I seemed to reinforce this feeling when I tried to focus and take a photograph and took forever. This is not a run-and-gun lens.

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The lens is small and can seem overly-small on larger MFT bodies

Old-school feel and slow approach to photography

I am old enough to have shot film with manual film cameras. I thought I had left that all behind to use all the technical horsepower in modern cameras to really nail technically-challenging circumstances trying to get the best images. As a consequence, I had forgotten about the slower process of taking photographs when all you had was a split prism and a needle for a light meter.

When you connect a manual lens on an MFT camera, you operate primarily with the histogram/light meter to get a good exposure. You have to think about ISO, shutter speed, aperture, and focus. It takes time.

Image: Fun to experiment with when you have the time

Fun to experiment with when you have the time

Slow photography is like slow food

I remember years ago traveling in Italy and going to a slow food restaurant.

The whole concept with slow food is to make it more of an experience and to take time to savor the flavors and textures. I think shooting with a manual lens is similar. It means that you are shooting slower and have to think way more about your images – no run and gun.

Slow photography is forced on you when you shoot with this type of lens. With cell phones, you pull them out and shoot. You barely focus. There is no thought to the process, and maybe that means that people can focus on the subject matter of their images. However, at other times, it means that you really aren’t thinking much about the images you are taking.

Image: Despite being quite a wide lens, there is little obvious distortion with the Laowa 17mm f1.8...

Despite being quite a wide lens, there is little obvious distortion with the Laowa 17mm f1.8 lens.

Nailing focus

Trying to nail focus with a manual focus lens also means you have to slow down. Back in the old manual focus film camera days, you had split prisms and micro prisms in your viewfinder to help you get your focus right. These tools are not available on modern digital cameras.

However, with mirrorless bodies on MFT cameras, you have other tools at your disposal including magnification and focus peaking. I was able to custom set my camera’s buttons to allow me to set one button for magnification and another for focus peaking. It’s still not fast, but it worked fairly well.

Image: Even for moving subjects, such as from a balloon, once you have your exposure and focus set,...

Even for moving subjects, such as from a balloon, once you have your exposure and focus set, it performs like any other lens.

This magic of this type of lens is that you need to slow down and think about the image you are composing. You need to think about everything from ISO to aperture to shutter speed and finally focus. If any are off, you can instantly see that you have screwed up. If you think back to the film days, it wouldn’t be until you got your images developed that you would know you messed up. When I was using this lens, I knew immediately when I screwed up, even when I thought I had all the settings right.

Image: Limited distortion even for buildings

Limited distortion even for buildings

That process of slowing down and understanding what you are doing was a great deal of fun. The lens was wide enough and fast enough (aperture wise, not in any other way) that I would feel comfortable taking only this lens out to take some shots.

Not for the faint of heart

Slow means you can’t shoot fast. This seems obvious, but when someone says to you, “take our picture, “…they pose and wait for you. This lens will not do that quickly, regardless of how good you are.

You can take portraits, but you need to plan the shots and be ready when the opportunity comes up. An old street photography trick used to be to set your exposure with an intermediate aperture, put your focus at 3 feet, and point and shoot. In practice, this is not quite so simple. Nailing the exposure is a little trickier because you need to be looking through the lens to get the exposure balanced.

Image: This lens is great to travel with because of its width and small size

This lens is great to travel with because of its width and small size

The Results

I really enjoyed the Laowa 17mm f1.8 prime lens. I have other similar prime lenses, but all are equipped with autofocus and electronic apertures. They also feel pretty plastic. They are more expensive, but sharper. This lens feels great, is super-solid, shoots well and needs lots of attention to your images. It forces you to shoot like a photographer. You feel like a photographer. It also makes you look like a photographer.

At $149 USD, the Laowa 17mm f1.8 lens is quite the value. My images turned out great and I fell in love with taking slower pictures again. I had a chance to slow down and smell the roses, or in this case, take more deliberate thoughtful images.

Would you use a lens like this? Share with us in the comments below.

The post Review: Laowa 17mm f1.8 Lens with Micro-Four-Thirds Mount appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Mark C Hughes.

Flickr triples maximum display resolution to 6K for Flickr Pro members

Flickr has announced it’s dramatically increasing the maximum supported display size for its Flickr Pro members, effectively tripling the current maximum resolution.

Until now, Flickr images were limited to being displayed at 2048px on the longest side. Now, the maximum display size is getting increased to 6144px (6K) on the longest side for Flickr Pro members.

According to the announcement post in Flickr’s help forum, ‘All new and previously uploaded photos from Flickr Pros with an original size larger than 6K will automatically be displayed in the largest size possible on Flickr, or the largest size set in your preferences [...] Smaller photos will be displayed in the largest size possible for the original media.’

The increased maximum display resolution is already available to all Flickr Pro members. In the event you don’t want your images to be shown at the new 6K resolution, there’s a dedicated option to set the maximum display size. Those who aren’t Flickr Pro members will be limited to 2K resolution.

You can find a number of high-resolution example photos in the announcement post.

Landscape photography with a drone: disadvantages and limitations part 1

So far, I've offered nothing but praise for the drone. It's a remarkably cheap and widely available tool. You can fly it anywhere, get infinite perspectives and unique compositions. It can easily hover in place to shoot long exposures or wait for the right time to shoot. It will venture where no human will, be it through toxic gases or scorching lava. And it is so much fun.

But the drone has its disadvantages and limitations, and that is the subject for today. Discussing these limitations is important in order to understand where and when one should choose to use a drone and when not to. It's an important aspect to planning a shoot in a new location or circumstance, and it will help you understand that a drone isn't a magical tool, as amazing as it is. Let's review some of these limitations, starting with the easier ones to discuss.

Dependence on batteries

All of today's drones fly using state of the art Lithium Polymer (LiPo) and lithium polymer high voltage (LiHV) batteries. These batteries are compact, and they last a surprisingly long time, but even the longest-flying drones cannot fly for more than about half an hour. This number is further shortened if the drone is flown "aggressively" (made to perform maneuvers, accelerate, decelerate and change direction often), when flying in sports mode and also if there is strong wind pushing against it.

Half an hour is a whole lot in some situations, but it's not enough in others. I have had to land a drone in the middle of a shoot in harsh winds, even though the light was amazing, simply because the battery had run out. When the actual shooting location is relatively far away from the launch location, just getting to it and back can eat up half of the battery, leaving a measly ten minutes of shooting time before having to head back and change batteries, even if the sky had just opened up and the conditions became optimal.

Afternoon light on the magnificent cliffs of Suðuroy. I flew the drone in the harsh winds typical to the Faroes, and as a result, the battery drained so fast I only had 10 or 15 minutes to shoot.
DJI Mavic II Pro, 1/80 sec, F5.6, ISO 200. Suðuroy, the Faroe Islands

Dependence is not only on the amount of power one battery can give, it's also on the number of batteries one has or can carry. In situations where the user cannot charge the batteries (for example, camping trips), there's simply nothing left to do once the battery capacity has been used. Each battery has significant weight – Phantom batteries are 450 grams each, and even the tiny Mavic batteries weigh almost 300 grams each. When you have to carry those batteries, the drone, plus your regular camera equipment (and camping gear if you're camping), each item matters, and those 3-4 batteries alone will make your backpack more than a kilogram heavier.

I carried three Phantom batteries for 8 km on solidified lava to shoot these surface flows in Kilauea Volcano. The batteries alone weighed almost 1.5 kilograms, not to mention the drone itself, my DSLR gear, tripod and 2 liters of water. While worth it, the backpack was very heavy and the hike wasn't much fun. Even so, I would in retrospect bring two more batteries, to be able to use them more sparingly on a rare shoot such as this one.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro, 1/15 sec, F6.3, ISO 400. Taken outside of Volcanoes NP, Island of Hawaii.

Limited range

Drones not only have limited flight time, they also have limited range. The range is not only limited by battery power, but by two other factors: connectivity between the drone and the remote, and legal aspects.

When shooting the 2014 Holuhraun volcanic eruption from a helicopter, I spent more than an hour shooting a mind-blowing sunset over the lava, and stayed well into darkness. A drone wouldn't have been able to remain airborne for long enough to get these conditions (not to mention get there!).
Canon 5D Mark II, Tamron 24-70mm F2.8 VC, 1/200 sec, f/4, ISO 1600. The Central Highlands of Iceland

In modern camera drones, radio connection between the drone and its remote is usually excellent when flight distance isn't too long (I would give a numeric example but it really depends on many factors). But fly further away and the connection might break. If you use drones, I'm sure you know the horror one feels once the screen turns black and white and the app announces that connection had been lost. Even though the drone will attempt to return home and regain connection 99.9% of the times, there's always the chance that it has just crashed. If, like yours truly, you have crashed a drone in the past, you will forever dread this feeling.

Connection may be compromised not only when flying too far, but when the drone is positioned so it loses direct line of sight to the remote, which can be a bit risky as the drone is left to navigate its way until regaining connection. Harsh weather such as heavy snow or rain my also break the connection, but this is usually intermittent.

Say what you may about manned aircraft, their range is far longer than that of any drone, and lost connection is not an issue.

My drone lost connection for a few moments when this iceberg's peaks came between it and the moving boat. There was little to worry about, however, as I knew connection would be regained in a matter of seconds. DJI Mavic II Pro, 1/30 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200. Disko Bay, Greenland.

In any case, today's modern drones have been known to miraculously find their way home even after having lost connection. Equipped with GPS and with an array of sensors to avoid hitting obstacles, I've heard stories of drones reappearing after having been deemed lost, even after long minutes of disconnection. I'll discuss this further in a future article.

Legal requirements in most countries dictate that the drone remain in line-of-sight. What that means could be debatable, but a stricter interpretation might be that the drone needs to be clearly visible to the operator. This means further limitation of the range.

Limited flight altitude

Another limitation to the drone is its inability to fly higher than a certain altitude limit. Again, this limit can be the result of different factors, technical and legal. Technically, drone manufacturers limit the maximum altitude a drone can fly in. In DJI drones this limit is 500 meters above the home point. Higher altitude flights may only be possible after hacking the drone's firmware, which is sometimes possible but seriously discouraged.

A much stricter altitude limit is dictated by drone laws in most countries. 100, 120 and 150 meters are the common numbers here, with the vast majority of countries not allowing flight above 120m. My home country of Israel officially limits drones to 50 meters (hmmm...). Even though an altitude limit makes a lot of sense, there's no doubt that it greatly impacts compositional possibilities. Light planes, for example, are usually allowed to climb up to 2-3 kilometers before intruding the airspace of commercial jets.

The gigantic dunes of the Namib Desert can rise 300 meters high – no chance of shooting them with a drone, even if droning were allowed in the accessible parts of Sossusvlei, which it isn't. I took this image from a helicopter at a height of more than a kilometer in the air.
Canon 5D Mark III, Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC, 1/1250 sec, F10, ISO 800. Sossusvlei, Namibia

Limited flight speed

Finally, drones are limited in their flight speed, which is usually not an issue, but can sometimes be a hindrance to getting the shot. Aerial photography often covers vast distances, and when light breaks faraway, you want to get there fast. A DJI Mavic can fly at 72 km/h (about 45 mph), and even that is on sports mode which quickly drains battery and can sometimes mess with the gimbal.

After DJI lowered its top speed due to stability problems, the faster, much more expensive Inspire 2 now tops at 94 km/h (58mph). Compare that with the 240 km/h of a Robinson 44 helicopter or with over 300 km/h of a Cessna, and the disadvantage is clear.

When seeing this light breaking between the mountains at a distance (and after picking my jaw up from the floor), I asked the pilot to "step on it" to get there as quickly as possible and avoid missing the shot. He asked me to close the window, easily pulled the throttle, taking us to 300 km/h and covering the distance to this composition in less than a minute, before slowing back down to allow me to open the window and shoot for several minutes. A drone would have undoubtedly missed the shot.
Canon 5D Mark III, Tamron 24-70mm F2.8 VC, 1/2000 sec, f/4, ISO 800.
The Lofoten Islands, Arctic Norway

To sum up, a drone is dependent on relatively heavy, power-limited batteries and the ability to carry and charge them. It has limited range, limited speed and limited flight altitude compared to manned aircraft, all of which limit the photographer's ability to get to a location, spend enough time shooting it and getting good composition and light. While these problems don't make the drone any less amazing, they have to be considered when planning an aerial shoot and when selecting the right tool to perform it.

In the next article I will continue the discussion of the drone's disadvantages.


Erez Marom is a professional nature photographer, photography guide and traveler based in Israel. You can follow Erez's work on Instagram and Facebook, and subscribe to his mailing list for updates.

If you'd like to experience and shoot some of the world's most fascinating landscapes with Erez as your guide, take a look at his unique photography workshops in The Lofoten Islands, Greenland, Namibia, the Argentinean Puna, the Faroe Islands and Ethiopia.

Erez offers video tutorials discussing his images and explaining how he achieved them.

More in this series:

Selected articles by Erez Marom:

How to Find and Photograph Wild Landscapes for Epic Images

The post How to Find and Photograph Wild Landscapes for Epic Images appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jeremy Flint.

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Wild Landscapes can be described as “unspoiled areas of land including hills, mountains, and rivers where wild animals, trees, and plants live or grow in natural surroundings and are not looked after by people.”

Venturing into the wild with your camera can be a great adventure that provides a unique opportunity and rewarding exploration to photograph untouched and pristine landscapes. Embarking on such a trip requires careful planning before you go.

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Sinai Mountains, Egypt

The first thing you will need to do is choose a wild landscape location to visit. How to go about finding these places is simply a matter of looking for potential destinations. Certain areas around the world are famous for their wild landscapes and rugged beauty including the majestic mountains of Scotland, the highlands of Iceland, the Grand Canyon in the USA, the Canadian Rockies, the deserts of Namibia, Patagonia in South America and many more.

Closer to home, you can find wild landscapes within national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty and amongst local nature.

Two UK-based photographers worth following who like to photograph wild landscapes include, Thomas Heaton and Alex Nail. Both produce great visuals of wild landscapes, outdoor photography and nature, and are very inspiring.

Once you have found a suitable location, there are several things to consider before going out to photograph wild landscapes.

Go prepared

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Brecon Beacons, England

When going on a shoot, make a packing list and be prepared from wearing the right gear to having plenty of food and drink supplies to keep your energy levels up.

Take the right clothing

The clothing you take will determine how comfortable you will be. For example, appropriate rain gear is essential if this is the forecast. In sunny weather, you may be uncomfortable in too much clothing, and in colder weather, you will be chilly if you don’t wear enough layers. So you will need to wear appropriate clothing.

Footwear

Choose the appropriate footwear for the terrain you will be walking on. A sturdy pair of waterproof walking boots with good grips on the souls are essential for long walks over rough grounds with rain forecast.

Supplies

Supplies of food and water are important to keep you fuelled and hydrated. Take more than you estimate for your journey in case of any difficulties, such as burning more calories than expected on a long hike to your destination.

Consider wild camping

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Torres del Paine, Chile

Consider taking a lightweight tent and camping out overnight somewhere to photograph an epic scene of the wilderness. There are advantages to wild camping beside a great view. They include being able to capture the sunset and sunrise, and not having to walk to the destination twice.

The right camera gear

Travel light, especially if you are going to stay out overnight somewhere. Cut back on the camera equipment you take as much as you can. Make room to carry other essentials such as food and drink supplies. Only take the lenses you think you will need, such as a wide-angle lens.

Other equipment

Be sure to take a map with you as a precaution. Also, take a fully-charged phone with a GPS app or an ordinance survey map for directions.

Let people know where you are going

It may seem obvious, but it is essential to tell people where you are heading, and for how long, as a safety precaution. This helps in the unlikely event that you experience any unforeseen circumstances. This could include bad weather (for example, thick fog on a mountain top) or sustaining an injury where you are unable to return at the anticipated time.

You will feel more comfortable in the knowledge that someone knows where you are if you require assistance.

Time your visit

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The Rockies, Canada

When shooting a wild landscape, it is important to consider the weather conditions.

Time your visit to go and shoot when the weather is good or dramatic. It depends on the kind of image you want to achieve.

There is no such thing as ‘bad weather’ for photography, as in different conditions, you’ll gain different results. For example, a wild stormy sky is great for a powerful and energetic image. Calm and still conditions can give you a minimalist outcome. Each has its own appeal.

You can even shoot landscape images in the midday sun if you prefer to visit during the day.

Choose a viewpoint and composition

When it comes to photographing an epic wild landscape, you will want to choose a viewpoint and composition that captures the location well. Seek out strong compositions that show the majesty of the place, such as a striking mountain range or some intriguing details.

Tripod

It is worth setting your camera on a tripod, especially to help shoot in low light or blustery weather where the conditions can adversely affect the outcome of your images. This will assist in providing more stability and essentially sharper pictures.

Light

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Sossusvlei, Namibia

When photographing wild landscapes, consider the light to create great images. You can photograph spectacular scenes by using light creatively. Capture sidelight (when the sun lights the landscape from the side, often creating interesting shadows and textures), backlight (shooting in the direction of the sun where your subject can be silhouetted or have bright edges) or front light (where the sun is coming from behind you and straight onto your subject). You can also include the sun in your shot to make images with different tones and brightness.

Conclusion

Photographing wild landscapes can be a great adventure and an opportunity to explore pristine and untouched landscapes. You can find wild landscapes within national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty and amongst local nature. Remember to consider clothing, footwear, food and water, camera equipment and a map and be sure to let people know where you are going. Choose an interesting viewpoint, use a tripod and be creative with light. Share your pictures of Wild Landscapes with us below.

The post How to Find and Photograph Wild Landscapes for Epic Images appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jeremy Flint.

10 of the Most Useful Photoshop CC Shortcuts

The post 10 of the Most Useful Photoshop CC Shortcuts appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

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Learning photography well requires a lot of study and practice. Figuring out what the dials and buttons on your camera do takes time and focus. Choosing what to photograph and how you want it to look is challenging for many photographers.

Once you’ve taken some photos, another challenge to face is how to get them looking their best. This is where you need to learn a whole new set of computer skills. The more particular you are about the way your photos end up, the better post processor you need to become.

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Adobe makes two of the most popular photography post-processing programs. Lightroom and Photoshop have been industry standards for many years. As the software develops, it becomes more and more complex. There are many built-in tools to make the user experience more fun. But to make use of them you will need to study and practice.

Photoshop CC Shortcuts

Making the most of your keyboard is about the best way to ensure not only greater speed, but more enjoyment when using Photoshop. The software has many cool shortcut keys that speed up your workflow. They also help you maintain unbroken concentration when you are working on a photograph.

With so many shortcuts, it’s not practical to sit down and learn them all at once. Looking at them in the software does little to inspire. This is why I’ve come up with a list of ten Photoshop CC shortcuts that I think you will find helpful.

From time to time, I make a point of learning a few more. I’ll search for five to ten shortcuts and make a list. I place this next to my computer monitor and refer to it when Photoshopping.

If you’re not used to using keyboard shortcuts with Photoshop, they might seem a bit fiddly at first. Like learning to touch type, the more you practice, the easier it becomes, and the less you have to think about where you are putting your fingers. Learning to use shortcut keys in Photoshop is a similar experience, but you can easily break it down and learn a few at a time.

1. Clone Stamp Tweaks

The clone stamp is one of the most used tools in Photoshop. It’s powerful and flexible to do everything from removing small blemishes to recreating whole portions of a composition. Here’s a couple of keyboard shortcuts that make it even more useful.

Use Alt+Shift+arrows (Opt+Shift+arrows on Mac) to offset the selection area.

Alt+Shift+<> (Opt+Shift+<> on Mac) rotates the selection

Using [] scales the source.

These shortcuts only work when you have a North American keyboard selected in your operating system.

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2. Last-Used Filter

When you’re processing batches of images, you’ll often want to repeatedly use the same filter. To apply the previously used filter, use Ctrl+F (Cmd+F on Mac). Reapply the last filter used, but display dialog box to alter settings use Ctrl–Alt–F (Cmd+Opt+F on Mac)

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3. Lock Transparent Pixels

In Photoshop, using the / key locks transparent pixels. This is helpful when painting or compositing. Working on a layer with transparent pixels, you will avoid affecting them using the keyboard shortcut.

10 of the Most Useful Photoshop CC Shortcuts

4. Color Fills

Use Shift+Alt+Backspace (Shift+Opt+Backspace on Mac). This fills opaque pixels on a layer with the foreground color. Shift+Ctrl+Backspace (Shift+Cmd+Backspace on Mac) fills with the background color.

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5. Marquee Tool Tweak

Drawing a marquee by default happens from the edge. To draw a marquee selection from center Alt+drag (Opt+drag on Mac)selection.

10 of the Most Useful Photoshop CC Shortcuts

6. Selection Help

To bring back a selection you deselected, use Ctrl+Shift+D (Cmd+Shift+D on Mac). This will restore the last active selection. It is super helpful if you deselect and then notice something else you need to alter.

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7. Layer Mask Speed

Ctrl+\ (Cmd+\ on Mac) switches between Layer and Layer Mask Ctrl+2 (Cmd+2 on Mac) to switch back. This is a pure workflow time saver. It allows you to keep your mouse active on the image rather than dragging it back and forth to the layers panel.

10 of the Most Useful Photoshop CC Shortcuts

8. Brush Tool Cursor

With the Brush Tool selected hitting the Caps Lock shows only the cross-hair cursor. This allows you to position your cursor more precisely. It’s also a good shortcut to know how to undo. If you’ve inadvertently turned caps lock on while using the Brush Tool, you may wonder why you can only see a crosshair. Hit the caps lock again, and your normal cursor will reappear.

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9. Revert to Last Saved

F12 reverts the file to the last saved instance of it. This is a quick and easy way to review changes you are making to an image.

10 of the Most Useful Photoshop CC Shortcuts

10. Screen Space Savers

F keys to show/Hide panels. Memorizing these keyboard shortcuts will give you so much more screen space to use. If you are confined to a single monitor, making use of these shortcuts can change the way you use Photoshop.

F5 – Show/Hide Brushes panel

F6 – Show/Hide Color panel

F7 – Show/Hide Layers panel

F8 – Show/Hide Info panel

Alt–F9 – Show/Hide Actions panel

10 of the Most Useful Photoshop CC Shortcuts

Conclusion

I suggest you use this list as a starting point. Not all these shortcuts will be helpful for everyone. Think about the actions you use repetitively when using Photoshop and search to discover if there are keyboard shortcuts to make your life simpler.

Making a note and keeping it near your computer will help you commit these shortcuts to memory. Once you have them, do some more research and make another list of shortcuts you’d like to learn. Making a concerted effort and being consistent with using these shortcuts, you will learn them quickly.

There are over 500 keyboard shortcuts for Photoshop. Master these, and then you can also customize your own.

If you’ve got a few favorite shortcuts you think others may not be aware of, please share them in the comments below.

 

The post 10 of the Most Useful Photoshop CC Shortcuts appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

Ricoh shares 360º photos, videos from space captured in partnership with JAXA

Editor's note: The below video is best viewed in Chrome or Firefox browsers, as they support 360-degree video:


Ricoh has published photos and video captured with a specialized version of its Ricoh Theta 360-degree spherical camera developed in partnership with with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

‘The camera was installed to monitor the operation of the biaxial gimbal of the SOLISS (Small Optical Link for International Space Station),’ says Ricoh in its press release. ‘It was carried aboard the H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV8) “KOUNOTORI-8”, the cargo transporter to the International Space Station (ISS), which was launched on September 25 , 2019.’

The specialized Ricoh Theta camera was modified so it could withstand the heat and radiation in space. The images and video from the camera were captured from the Exposed Facility of the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM), nicknamed ‘Kibo,’ and subsequently sent back to ground stations on Earth.

A flattened version of the above interactive image.

In addition to the images in this article, Ricoh has also posted the photos and videos on the JAXA Digital Archives and on its Theta Lab website, where the content can be viewed interactively in 360-degrees.

Which has the best lens? Sony RX100 VII vs Canon G5 X II vs Canon G7 X III

Now that we're pushing through our full review of Canon's G7 X Mark III and have published our full reviews of the G5 X Mark II and Sony's RX100 VII, we wanted to take a look at how all three of their lenses stack up against each other.

Of course, there are some differences here in terms of zoom length and aperture range, but since these represent the latest pocketable zoom compacts on the market, we were curious as to how those differences impact the outright image quality each camera is capable of. So, let's take a look.

The first thing you'll notice is that the Sony is much clearer in the central portion of the frame, at each camera's widest focal length and aperture. Stopping down the Canon cameras to match the wide-open aperture of the Sony improves things somewhat, especially on the G7 X III. As we move out to the corners, the Sony shows a clearer advantage over the Canon's.

As we move into the middle of the zoom range, all three cameras perform very similarly in the center of the frame, which is to say, quite good. Stopping down the Canon's to match the Sony's lens at F4 does look to give the PowerShots a bit more contrast. The corners likewise look pretty good here, and again, stopping down the Canon cameras to match the Sony's maximum aperture gives them a bit of a sharpness boost.

Next, at the G7 X Mark III's maximum zoom length of 100mm equivalent, the Sony shows a bit less fringing right off the bat, but all look pretty decent in the center. It's in the corners where it looks like G5 X II is really starting to fall apart, unfortunately. Once you reach its maximum zoom of 120mm equivalent, the G5 X II starts to look a little hazy next to the Sony across the frame.

So from what we can tell from these copies, the Sony will give you more consistently sharp results regardless of where you find yourself in the zoom range, or across the image frame. But, and this is a big but, you're giving up an awful lot of aperture (as well as zoom, to be fair) to get that sharpness. If you find yourself wanting to shoot in more dim conditions, the Canons may be a tad bit softer, but their faster lenses will keep your ISO values lower, and therefore noise levels lower. It's up to you to decide which suits you best.

But poke around the rest of the scene and the other settings we've provided, and let us know what you think in the comments.

The Google Pixel 4 Will Feature Two Cameras Plus Enhanced Night Sight

The post The Google Pixel 4 Will Feature Two Cameras Plus Enhanced Night Sight appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

 

The Google Pixel 4 Will Feature Two Cameras Plus Enhanced Night Sight

Earlier this week Google announced the long-awaited Pixel 4, which promises to take smartphone photography to a whole new level.

This comes in the wake of Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro announcement last month, which saw the debut of a triple-camera setup and features such as Night Mode.

In other words, the Pixel 4 is a competitor in an intense fight to create the best cameras, the best lenses, and the best camera software.

So what does the Google Pixel 4 offer?

Let’s take a closer look:

First, the Google Pixel 4 features a dual-camera setup, offering the usual wide-angle lens alongside a new 2X telephoto option. This isn’t unique (Apple has regularly included “telephoto” lenses going all the way back to the iPhone 7 Plus), but it is a nice addition for those who need a bit more reach. You can use the 2X lens for tighter portraits, and it’s also useful for street photography, where you often need to photograph subjects from a distance.

Interestingly, Google has decided to keep the wide-angle camera at 12 megapixels, but has packed in a 16-megapixel sensor for the telephoto camera. While plenty of photographers will be excited by this jump in resolution, it remains to be seen whether such tiny pixels will result in significant noise.

The dual-camera setup should also improve Google’s Portrait Mode, and Google has promised more natural background blur and very precise edges (e.g., when dealing with hair). Truthfully, I’m skeptical. I’ve yet to see a Portrait mode photo that looks perfect on any smartphone camera. But I’ll wait until I see the results from the Pixel 4 before judging.

One cool new feature that will debut in the Pixel 4 is Live HDR. When you go to capture an HDR photo, you’ll be able to see a live HDR preview on your smartphone screen; this should give you a sense of what you can expect from the HDR+ effect.

Finally, if you enjoy doing astrophotography, you’re in luck: The Pixel 4 offers an improved Night Sight mode, in which you can take stunning photos of the night sky. It works by taking a series of long exposures, before blending them together to create a beautiful final photo. Note that you’ll need a tripod or other method of stabilization to get sharp astrophotography shots.

Overall, the Google Pixel 4 offers some impressive new features, even if none of them feel totally groundbreaking. Up until now, the Pixel lineup has dominated regarding low-light shooting, and the enhanced Night Sight suggests that Google plans to keep running with this success.

The Google Pixel 4 is currently available for preorder starting at $799 USD and will hit the shelves on October 24.

You can check out this first look video from cnet to get more of an idea of the Google Pixel 4.

Are you interested in the Google Pixel 4? Let us know in the comments!

The post The Google Pixel 4 Will Feature Two Cameras Plus Enhanced Night Sight appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

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