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April 2008 Archives

April 1, 2008

Product Review: Shootsac Lens Bag

By Karen Linsley 

Advertised with the tag line “form meets function,” the Shootsac is not a camera bag, but more of a lightweight carry case for lenses and other accessories.  

At a recent wedding, I used it to carry a spare flash card holder, spare batteries for a flash unit, an extra lens, a light meter and a Quantum Battery Pack, plus some little extra odds and ends that I usually carry in a pocket or fanny pack. The battery pack didn’t stay in the bag long, as it gets attached to a Q-flash off camera, but I wanted to see how the bag felt with all that equipment in it. After a while it got heavy and put unwanted strain on my shoulders, which defeated the purpose of leaving the bigger, heavier camera bag at the DJ table to wander around freely. But after taking the battery pack out, the Shootsac worked quite nicely. I didn’t have all that stuff creating bulk in my pockets, nor did I have the extra bulk in my pockets or the fanny pack.

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Review: ExpoImaging ExpoAperture2 Depth-of-Field Guides

By Ron Eggers

One difference between a serious photographer and a casual photographer is the level of expertise honed from years of shooting experience. A variety of tools are available to help you sharpen photographic skills and insights. The depth-of-field guide, which has been around for some 30 years, has been revised recently with the introduction of ExpoAperture2 Depth-of-Field Guides from ExpoImaging.

For too many photographers, depth of field is a relatively vague concept of what's in focus and what isn't. In fact, you can determine depth of field very precisely, mathematically. Many fixed-focus lenses and some zoom lenses have depth-of-field guides marked on their barrels. Some cameras also have depth-of-field preview capabilities. These work well enough while shooting. But they aren't much help in planning a shoot.

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Software Review: Phase One Capture One 4

By Stan Sholik

When a widely used software program rolls into a new version, it's a notable event. This time the software is Phase One Capture One 4 (C1-4). This is the successor to Capture One 3.x LE, not Capture One 3.x PRO. It does not support tethered shooting, IPTC metadata, CMYK output, simultaneous multiple file output and a few other PRO features. If these are important features in your workflow, stand by for the promised release of Capture One 4 PRO later this year.

In January, Phase One released Capture One PRO 3.7.8 for the Mac with 3.7.8 for Windows due soon. With the release of Windows Vista and Mac OS 10.5 and the constant influx of new digital SLRs, Phase One along with all hardware and software companies have to work diligently to keep up with the changes.

Lacking features aside, C1-4 is a major upgrade of LE. It probably has all the RAW processing power that the vast majority of digital SLR users will ever need. It should even appeal to Phase One digital back owners who also use DSLRs. The Phase One DB software bundled with the backs cannot process DSLR raw files. Unlike C1 LE, which doesn’t process raw files from Phase One backs, C1-4 can process raw files from every Phase One digital back, as well as raw files from nearly every DSLR, enabling a common workflow.  

The user interface of Capture One 4 is totally new. It now sports a charcoal gray background. This is the default layout of the user-customizable interface. Image ©Stan Sholik

Continue reading "Software Review: Phase One Capture One 4" »

Video Tutorials: Lightroom 1.1 New Features from Chris Orwig, lynda.com

As a special bonus for Professional Photographer Web Exclusives readers, we’re pleased to present two Adobe Photoshop Lightroom video tutorials from Chris Orwig and lynda.com, Applying presets and Converting to black and white, from Photoshop Lightroom 1.1 New Features.

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Applying presets

 

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Converting to black and white

In Photoshop Lightroom 1.1 New Features, instructor Orwig covers the latest additions to both version 1.1 and version 1.2. He explains how to work with each of the application's new features, including the updated interface, database catalogs, and modules. Chris also shares some useful tips and tricks along the way. Exercise files accompany the tutorials. The full set of tutorials is available at lynda.com, the award-winning provider of educational materials and online training.

Chris Orwig is a faculty member of Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, CA. He is a professional freelance photographer, interactive designer, educator, and consultant. Included among his clients are companies such as Disney, Nissan, Activision, and J-Records.

The lynda.com Online Training Library® and CD-ROM titles include such subjects as Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, Office, digital photography, Web design, digital video, and many others. Library subscriptions begin as low as $25 a month, with no long-term commitment required.

 

The Boutique Photographer: Outsourcing or In-House?

In-house computer work and printing or lab services? How to decide what works best for you?

By Sara Frances, M.Photog.Cr.

Like many other boutique artisans, I want to handle as much of the post-production work as possible. Our theme: integrated imaging from concept to delivery. Here’s how I weighed the pro and con before becoming my own lab.

I love the magic of Zone System film technique, retouching and book design. It was easy to preserve those same concepts once our digital light bulb turned on. Being a “pixel surgeon” and printer gives me creative joy I never felt when outsourcing production. My best images have found artistic life through experimentation with materials, collaboration on cinematic projects and even serendipity. My friend the late film maker Stan Brakage said, “To make art you have to set yourself up to let your subconscious come through.”

Ask these questions to determine which workflow suits your temperament and business model.

    • Learning Skills: Can you take the time and have the patience to learn Photoshop, Painter and other software? How to print and finish images? Money is made equally behind the camera and in post, but can you afford to become a technician?
    • Attention Span: Can you take the strain of hours at the computer, just like in the darkroom? Retouching can become a repetitive chore. Unique album design can eat huge amounts of time.
    • Techie Stuff: Are you detail oriented enough to conquer resolution and color space, sharpening and interpolation? Do your have the colorist’s eye to maintain continuity in your look from start to finish?
    • Investment: Can you afford a sophisticated computer, the latest software, peripherals, inkjet printers and a finishing and storage facility? Who will manage equipment maintenance? Are frequent upgrades too costly to justify?
    • Space: Postproduction takes sizable space, cleanliness and organization. Can you allocate a dedicated workshop with lots of accessories like cutters, assembly tables, scanner, drying racks, sink, tools, glues, spray, etc.?
    • Collaboration: Are you clients intrigued with your process, or would they rather not be involved in too many artistic choices?
    • Sales: Who is selling your next job while you’re doing the art work? Are you charging enough to be able to do just a couple of jobs at a time?
    • Seasonal Rush: Can you handle fluctuating workload? Seasonal employees?
    • Free Time: If you do everything yourself, or with a small staff, how will you take a vacation or allocate family time?

Printing in house is an easy and economical way to compare image variations before deciding on a final version. Pictured left to right are noted photographers Bruce Elsey, Lito Tejada-Flores, Linde Waidhofer, Burnham Arndt and Sara Frances.

 

Continue reading "The Boutique Photographer: Outsourcing or In-House?" »

April 2, 2008

Product Review: Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II External Hard Drive

By Shawn Soni

The Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II is an attractive, burnished aluminum dual-drive storage system. It’s an appealing and truly functional addition to any studio computer setup. The unit is about the size of a boxed set of "Lord of the Rings" paperbacks and weighs just slightly more. The Studio Edition II will be one of the quietest items on your desk. Its WD GreenPower fanless design consumes less power than standard dual-drive storage systems, a welcome plus.

Adding the drive to your existing Apple computer is as simple as plugging it in and turning it on. The unit offers several ports for different connection media: a USB2.0 port, an eSATA port (which works for both Mac and PC) and two FireWire ports for FireWire 400 or 800 connections (the FireWire ports are for FireWire 800, but the included cable will allow a FireWire 400 device to be connected). Western Digital includes cables for these connection options, with the exception of eSATA, along with clear and simple directions. For the WD software to support an eSATA connection, the host computer must have either an eSATA PCI card or native connection on its motherboard.

Your Macintosh will immediately recognize and mount the volume as “MyBook” on your desktop, and, if you do not choose to reformat or repartition it is immediately ready to use.

The Studio Edition II drive comes pre-configured as a Macintosh HFS+ journaled drive set up as RAID 0 (a large, non-redundant disk set) and is easy to re-configure using the included Western Digital WD Drive Manager Software. Drive Manager driven reconfiguration options include a RAID 1 (a mirrored, redundant disk set) option for HFS+, and RAID 0 and RAID 1 options for Windows using FAT32 as the file system. Unfortunately, there isn’t an option to use NTFS for Windows, which, from a purely technical standpoint, is a disadvantage to Window users who want to utilize the file security and compression system advantages that are inherent in NTFS.

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Image ©Shawn Soni 

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April 3, 2008

Adobe Delivers Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 Beta

Press Release—April 2, 2008—Adobe Systems Inc. has announced Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 beta, a public preview of new and improved functionality to be delivered in the next major release. Lightroom is an application for managing, adjusting, and presenting large volumes of digital photographs. Lightroom 2.0 beta will feature enhancements such as dual-monitor support, localized dodge and burn correction and will be the first Adobe application to support 64-bit for Mac OS X 10.5 Intel Macs and Microsoft Vista 64-bit operating systems.

"Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 beta provides early access to requested improvements over version 1.3 and continues our ongoing dialogue and open communication with the photography community," said Tom Hogarty, senior product manager for Photoshop Lightroom and Camera Raw. "We're excited not only for our existing customers, but also for the general public who will have an opportunity to take Lightroom 2.0 beta on a test run."

New in Lightroom 2.0 beta

An improved layout in the Library module allows for a more intuitive approach to image organization by simplifying the location of the features needed to find and filter photographs. A new feature called Smart Collections automatically updates collections with images that match desired criteria such as star-rating, keyword or other metadata. "The Suggested Keywords feature eases the task of keywording by making recommendations based upon keyword associations across a catalog as well as the use of keywords in neighboring images."

Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 beta includes improved memory handling through 64-bit support for OS X 10.5 Intel Macs and Vista 64-bit operating systems. Additional enhancements in Lightroom 2.0 beta include support for a dual monitor configuration that maximizes a photographer's workspace and can be easily adjusted to meet a particular workflow. Additionally, the Develop module has been updated to provide the ability to correct specific parts of an image without affecting other areas. Now, fundamental photographic techniques such as dodge and burn can be performed using the same non-destructive approach, allowing unprecedented control within the Lightroom program.

Beta Availability

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 beta is available as a 30-day trial for free download on Macintosh and Windows platforms at http://www.labs.adobe.com/downloads. Existing Lightroom 1.0 customers will be able to test the beta for an extended period until Aug. 31, 2008 and can invite friends to take part in this trial period. Recommended system requirements are Macintosh OSX 10.4, 10.5 1 GHz PowerPC G4 or G5 or Intel-based processor, or Microsoft Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise, Intel Pentium 4 processor, 1 GBRAM and a 1024x768 resolution screen.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Adventure 2008: Tasmania

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From April 2 to 14, star photographers from across North America, Germany, Great Britain, and Australia—including O'Reilly authors Mikkel Aaland, Katrin Eismann, and Peter Krogh—will train their digital cameras on beautiful Tasmanian island vistas to road test Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 beta. 

Anyone with Internet access can find out what's happening in Tasmania by going to digitalmedia.oreilly.com/adventure. That's where the photography team will be blogging daily about their experiences, posting their images, and discussing what worked and what didn't. Everyone is encouraged to participate by offering their comments as the Tasmanian journey unfolds. Visitors can also find a link for entering a sweepstakes to win a free trip to Tasmania courtesy of Qantas and Tourism Tasmania.

Trip organizer Aaland and his crew of pro shooters aim to test Adobe's digital imaging workflow solution under a wide variety of conditions in unfamiliar territory. Plans call for shooting by day and using Adobe Lightroom 2.0 beta to import, select, develop, and showcase their large volume of digital images each night.

As many know, Aaland journeyed to Iceland a few years back where he and a tireless crew of pro shooters tested the beta version of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 1.0 during the long midsummer days suffused in the most dramatic light on the planet.

"Lightroom Adventure Tasmania is a celebration of learning through collaboration," said Aaland. "I've worked with a network of amazing photographers through the years, and the adventure is also a true collaboration between artists and Adobe. They're supporting our in-the-field testing of Lightroom, and will use our feedback will help make Lightroom an even better tool for photographers."

Continue reading "Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Adventure 2008: Tasmania" »

April 4, 2008

Product Closeup: ColorMunki Color Management from X-Rite

By Ron Eggers

X-Rite's newest color management product is the ColorMunki, a professional color management system available in two versions: ColorMunki Photo for photographers, and ColorMunki Design, for graphic artists. It was developed by X-Rite in conjunction with recently acquired Pantone, developer of the color-matching system.

ColorMunki Photo is for social, wedding, portrait, event and serious prosumer photographers. The Design version is for graphic artists, small to mid-sized agencies, individuals and creative teams in larger agencies and corporate in-house graphic arts departments. Even though the measuring devices are different colors (Photo is black and Design is white), the hardware for the two versions is the same. The difference is in the software.

The all-in-one Swiss-engineered true spectrophotometer-driven ColorMunki Photo lets photographers quickly and easily control colors all the way from what's represented on their displays to what's generated by their printers in a very simplified manner, giving them considerable color control for all of their digital imaging requirements. The all-in-one, true spectral device can be used for monitor, projector and printer profiling. For optimum output, it's designed with new automated printer profiling technology that simplifies monitor and print matching. It can also be used to measure ambient light and spot colors.

Continue reading "Product Closeup: ColorMunki Color Management from X-Rite" »

April 10, 2008

Product Review: Lite-on EZ-Dub Optical Drive DVD+RW Burner

By Shawn Soni

For Windows XP/Vista only

“Press Burn Go” clearly describes the capabilities of the Lite-On EZ-Dub Optical Drive DVD+RW burner.  This medium-sized appliance has an included “foot” to allow it to sit vertically on your desktop. Although loading and unloading it while vertical is a bit problematic, vertical positioning takes up very little real estate on your desktop—a definite advantage.

The drive is a USB 2.0 device and comes with a cable and power supply to facilitate a simple hook-up. Once plugged in and powered up, Windows will find your device and attempt to install generic Microsoft drivers for it. It appears to recognize the name of the device, and will do a basic installation of a DVD burner. But don’t be fooled, if you want to get the full functionality of the drive, you still need to use the included drivers to complete the install.  

To begin the setup, it is best to install the included Nero disk-burning software before the installation of the EZ-Dub software  If you try to install EZ-Dub first, it will prompt you to install Nero first, and then allow installation of EZ-Dub. A word of caution here, when installing Nero, a dialog box will open asking if you’d like Nero to be the default application that opens all your files (including JPEG, PSD, and TIFFs). It is probably not the best idea to select Nero as the default if you are installing this drive on the main workflow computer for your studio. That’s the only real “gotcha” that you need to look out for in the install process.

Continue reading "Product Review: Lite-on EZ-Dub Optical Drive DVD+RW Burner" »

April 11, 2008

New Photoshop Lightroom and Camera Raw Updates Correct Issues Found in Previous Release

Adobe has released updates to the Photoshop Lightroom and Photoshop Camera Raw plug-in to correct for issues found in Lightroom 1.4 and Camera Raw 4.4. 

The Lightroom 1.4.1 and Camera Raw 1.4.1 updates are available immediately as free downloads at http://www.adobe.com/downloads. Senior Photoshop Lightroom Product Manager, Tom Hogarty, has included a complete list of the corrections on his blog.

The following list from Hogarty's Lightroom Journal blog post details the issues found in Lightroom 1.4 and Camera Raw 4.4.

Lightroom

• Lightroom 1.4 incorrectly modified the EXIF time date field of images that had a metadata update applied.  This incorrect modification does not appear in Lightroom or Bridge and is only viewable through third party EXIF tools.  This error has been corrected in Lightroom 1.4.1 and all files in a Lightroom catalog that have been incorrectly modified will be corrected on their next metadata update. (Metadata can be updated by selecting the files in the Library grid view and choosing Command or CTRL + S to save and update the metadata.)

• Olympus JPEG files could render incorrectly in Lightroom 1.4, displaying an artifact in the exported file.

• Any conversion to DNG in Lightroom 1.4 (Windows Only) would cause the DNG file to become unreadable by Lightroom’s Develop Module or Camera Raw 4.4 in Photoshop.  The issue has been corrected and files can be converted to DNG again in order to resolve the issue for existing files.  Returning to the original native raw files is not necessary.  The affected DNG files can be selected and converted again using the DNG • Converter 4.4.1 available at www.adobe.com/dng/.  This process is not required but recommended to ensure that a correct validation value is stored within the DNG files.

• Lightroom 1.4 provided degraded import performance relative to Lightroom 1.3.

Camera Raw

• Camera Raw 4.4 incorrectly modified the EXIF time date field of images that were saved as TIFF or JPEG files from the Camera Raw dialog.  This has been corrected in Camera Raw 4.4.1

• Olympus JPEG files could render incorrectly in Camera Raw 4.4, displaying an artifact in the exported file.

 

April 14, 2008

Choosing the Right Wide-Format Printer to Grow Your Photography Business

Some criteria to consider when comparing pro-photo printers

By Eileen Fritsch


This article originally appeared in the March/April 2008 issue of Great Output and is published here with permission, courtesy of Great Output and LexJet. Great Output is LexJet’s bi-monthly publication for photographers who want to know more about how to print, finish, display, and sell digital images.

A wide-format inkjet printer is a great investment. Every day LexJet customers tell us about creative ways they’re using wide-format printers to generate additional revenue. And, the potential for using wide-format printers to improve studio profitability has just begun to be tapped.

For example, you can combine your wide-format printing capabilities with your photography expertise to help some of the millions of photo enthusiasts equipped with digital SLRs create enlargements that look far more artistic and refined than any of the poster-size prints they can now buy at their nearest Office Max or Staples.

A 2007 survey of professional photographers suggests that many of you haven’t considered buying a wide-format printer because you think it might distract you from keeping pace with camera and workflow software upgrades or dealing with intensifying price competition and the shifting demand for photography services. But if growing your photography business is a top priority, consider the dozens of ways a wide-format printer can help you stabilize, diversify, and grow your photography business.

Which wide-format inkjet printer is best for you? 

Download a comparison chart that details the features and specs of the Epson Stylus Pro, HP Designjet and Canon imagePROGRAPH models. 

Read on to learn more about the features and functions you need to understand when evaluating a wide-format printer for your business. 

Continue reading "Choosing the Right Wide-Format Printer to Grow Your Photography Business" »

Decorating Spaces With Meaning


Image ©Anita Marquis 

Branching out from portrait photography, Anita Marquis now designs and prints custom wall murals and large prints for commercial and residential spaces. For this 38 x 72-inch print at the Parkcrest Dental Group in Springfield, Mo., she combined the firm’s brand colors and slogan with portraits of the 12 children of the six dentists who work in the office. She created the design in Adobe Photoshop CS and output it using the ImagePrint RIP with a 44-inch Epson Stylus Pro 9600 printer and LexJet Sunset Select Matte Canvas. She sprayed the print with PremierArt Eco Print Shield, then hung it using Popco Snap Rails. “Now, when the dentists come to work each day, they can always see their children smiling at them,” says Marquis. “Plus, many of the dentists’ patients see my work as well.”  

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Image ©Anita Marquis 

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2008 issue of Great Output and is published here with permission, courtesy of Great Output and LexJet. Great Output is LexJet’s bi-monthly publication for photographers who want to know more about how to print, finish, display, and sell digital images. LexJet also publishes a monthly educational eNewsletter for photographers called In Focus. For more information about subscribing to these resources, go to www.lexjet.com/lexjet/newsletters.asp, or contact a LexJet account specialist at 800-453-9538.

 

About April 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Professional Photographer Magazine Web Exclusives in April 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

March 2008 is the previous archive.

May 2008 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.


 
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