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May 2009 Archives

May 4, 2009

Camera Straps: Make a Statement

By Don Chick, M.Photog.Cr., CPP

Does your camera strap simply hold your camera around your neck and advertise for the company that manufactured your camera? There is an alternative to the generic strap, an alternative to looking like everyone else who owns your camera brand, there is a way to make a personal statement with your strap.

I met Aaron Willcox of RileyG Designworks during my travels back in February. I could tell that he was a photographer so I asked him about what he did for work. We chatted a bit about his photography then he mentioned that he also creates custom-made camera straps. 

Photo ©Don Chick

Willcox, a stay-at-home dad, takes his young son, Riley, out seeking materials to turn into what his website advertises as “eco-friendly and stylish camera straps.” Some of these materials (leather and fabric) while still in excellent condition, are “extra pieces” that would otherwise be headed for the landfill. With a little effort, Aaron and Riley are able to retrieve and reuse these perfectly good materials and create something that is both functional and beautiful. Some of the materials going into the straps are even a bit exotic, like leather from an old Porsche. What a cool idea!

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Pro Review: MOO Cards Make Marketing Fun

By Kim Larson

Professional Photographer magazine asked Kim Larson to try MOO products and report on her customer experience.

Special offer: MOO will give Web Exclusives readers a free acrylic Business Card holder with every order of a 200 Business Cards pack. Offer expires June 19, 2009 (Expiration date extended!). Use promo code MOOPPA.

I had wanted to try out some products from MOO, makers of custom business cards, MiniCards, notecards and such, and this was my first time ordering from them. Their website is simple and easy to follow, and so is the ordering process.

I decided to try both the 28x70mm MiniCards and the 16-pack of Notecards*. Since Moo has a relatively small selection of products, it was easy to find the products I needed to order, and even easier to upload the photos for the cards. Although the site allows you to choose photos from a flickr account, I opted to upload the files from my own computer. The uploading went really fast, especially considering that I uploaded a total of about 70 medium-resolution photos.

What I really like about the Moo products is that you can have a different photo on each one, meaning that when I ordered 100 Mini Cards, I could have selected 100 different photos to print. If you don’t submit 100 photos, it will duplicate photos that you’ve already uploaded. Since I only uploaded 70 photos, it duplicated the first 30 photos I uploaded so I’d have a total of 100 cards. I selected 16 different photos for the 16-pack of Notecards. After uploading, you are given the option to move and crop your photos, and it will give you a warning if your photos are too low-res (format guidelines).

All images ©Kim Larson
 

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Tips for Greener Photography: Less Energy, Greater Profits

Energy Conservation for Photographers

By Stephanie A. Smith and Megan Just

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Conserving energy in your photography business is remarkably easy. The changes you can make are so subtle that you'll hardly notice anything is different. But the ecological payoff of your green actions is anything but subtle; small efforts make a huge collective difference to our environment. And while you're busy saving the Earth, you'll be entertained by watching your power bills plummet. Here are some easy ways you can conserve energy in your photography business:

Natural Lighting

It is obvious that shooting outside uses less energy than shooting inside. When possible, make the outdoors your default shooting location. For the inevitable indoor or studio sessions, consider mitigating the power drainers like studio lights. Use a space with skylights and lots of windows if you can.

Swap your traditional light bulbs for Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs). CFLs, although they cost a little more up front, will end up saving you about $100 of electricity for each light bulb per year and they will last 10 to 15 times longer than standard bulbs. Regularly taking little steps like these to reduce the power demand that comes from shooting indoors will add up in the long run.

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May 8, 2009

Review: Software Cinema DVDs

 Tony Corbell, Julieanne Kost, Clay Blackmore, Dean Collins, Judy Host


By Cheryl Pearson
PPA Members receive 25% off of Software Cinema titles. See the end of this article for details.

Staying abreast of the latest trends and techniques in photography is imperative, and Software Cinema DVDs provide training for photographers of all skill levels, from novices to well-established photographers looking to boost their skills to the next level. Software Cinemas also has training DVDs on practically any photo-related topic you may be looking for. From “The Best of Dean Collins on Lighting,” a classic that leads you through the basic principles of understanding and controlling light, to Tony Corbell’s “Portrait Lighting on Location” and Clay Blackmore’s “Senior Portraits Made Simple,” which highlight more specific aspects of photography, to Julieanne Kost’s truly comprehensive “Comprehensive Photoshop Training,” there is an instructional guide to address your needs, presented by qualified instructors considered to be the best in their field.

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Tony Corbell—Portrait Lighting on Location

Tony Corbell’s “Portrait Lighting on Location” has six well-organized segments, including photographing in the home, controlling the sun, and using ambient light and flash. Each tutorial does a spectacular job of demonstrating ideas for understanding and controlling light as well as working with your subject and background, whether in a home, outside, or in a public venue.

Corbell gives step-by-step instruction with concise and detailed explanations, making this DVD ideal for photographers new to location lighting and those with intermediate experience. Each segment moves along quickly, keeping you engaged while providing simple and efficient techniques for setting up in each location.

Throughout the training, Corbell also provides helpful tips, such as how to utilize your camera’s histogram, using a reflector, and shooting with flash. His presentation method is key in helping viewers understand the full process. He begins by showing examples of the light quality while shooting, then the images after the session, and finally ties it all together with post-capture image enhancement at the end.

Overall, the material on this DVD flowed smoothly and was easy to follow. If you’re looking to enhance your foundation skills in location shooting while gathering invaluable tips for controlling light, this video is ideal.

"Portrait Lighting On Location" by Tony Corbell

 

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May 13, 2009

Pro Review: Olympus E-620

In-Camera Effects in an Affordable, Compact Package

By Joe Farace

There is no doubt that the wonderfully versatile E-3 is Olympus’ professional standard-bearer, so where does the E-620 fit into their product line-up? The E-620 is a throwback to the glory days of Olympus film SLRs exhibiting the precision and jewel-like design of the legendary OM-series of cameras, wrapped up in a digital package that’s oh-so this millennium. For openers, the E-620 combines a 12.3-megapixel imaging chip with the Art Filters introduced with the semi-pro E-30. Like the Live View feature that was launched with the E-330 and continues with this new camera, I expect in-camera special effects filters to become standard on other manufacturers’ models (and that those mfgs will act as if they invented it).

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Fun with Filters

The E-620 offers six in-camera Art Filters that are easily accessed by the nice analog knob on top the camera. When you spin it to ART/SCN, the 2.7-inch swivel-LCD screen displays a list of the filters. Using the other jewel-like analog control knob on top or the camera’s four-way control on the camera’s back, you can scroll down the list that also displays example photos.

 

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Pop Art enhances colors, making them more vivid and deeply saturated and was one of my favorite filters to use when capturing images that needed a little extra impact.

Yes, you can use the Pop Art filter for portraits. I decided to take Mary to the source of all true Pop Art—a comic book store. While the filter can make skin tone look too saturated, I hedged my bets by simultaneously capturing both RAW+JPEG files. This gave me a (RAW) color photograph and a Pop Art image (JPEG) that I layered together in Adobe Photoshop, then used the Eraser tool (at 50% opacity) to lightly brush Mary’s face, allowing half of the normal skin tone to show through, while punching up her hair, clothes, and the comic books. ©2009 Joe Farace

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Soft Focus creates the familiar soft focus effect that works with still life or portrait subjects. Since there is no way to control the degree of soft focus, one way to use this filter may be to simultaneously capture RAW+JPEG images and apply the soft focus JPEG file as a layer to the unaltered RAW file so you can control the amount of soft focus by changing that layer’s opacity or the area of soft focus with a mask.

Using the Soft Focus Art Filter has some advantages over softening in post production, mainly that you can see it now and show your subject the results. You have little control over how much soft focus is used, but the traditional methods such as aperture selection and focal length still apply, and I found the filter works great in strong light as with this portrait. Exposure was 1/640 second at f/11, ISO 200, and this is how the unmanipulated file looked directly off the memory card. ©2009 Joe Farace

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Pale and Light Color uses muted color tonalities, and photographers who are fans of on-camera filters, who I suspect will be big fans of all of the Art Filters, might liken this to Cokin’s Pastel filter.

This photograph of balloons shows how the Pale and Light Color Art Filter works to create soft, pastel colors. When using Art Filters, you can adjust some aspects of the image’s exposure to enhance the filter effect, such as white balance, exposure compensation, ISO, flash intensity, and wireless flash control, but I found that exposure compensation was the most used control. ©2009 Mary Farace

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Light Tone subdues highlights and shadows and both areas are rendered softly (but not soft focus) while maintaining detail. Users of Tiffen’s Contrast filters will like this filter’s ability to control contrast.

The Light Tone Art Filter is also a useful tool in macro photography when you don’t or can’t use flash to control contrast. Here the decidedly non-macro but eminently useful Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/4.0-5.6 lens was used with an exposure of 1/320 at f/7.1, ISO 200.

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Grainy Film recreates the grainy look and high contrast tonality of black and white film and produces images with a decidedly dramatic feel. This is a great effect for studio and fashion photography as well as adding gritty reportage looks to street photography. It could even be used as a bold look for portraiture.

With contrasty subjects, the Grainy Film Art Filter, deliberately overexposed, can take on the look of a photograph made using Kodalith in the traditional darkroom. Exposure was 1/500 second at f/9, ISO 200 with a plus one-stop exposure compensation. Kevin Kubota’s (www.kubotaworkshops.com) sloppy borders effect was added to complete the analog darkroom look. ©2009 Joe Farace

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Pin Hole Camera reproduces the color tone and the vignetting of photos made with a toy camera, so it’s more of a digital Holga effect than a true pinhole. The illustration, for example, was made at an aperture of f/9 while my Zero Image (www.zeroimage.com) pinhole camera has an aperture of f/256 or thereabouts.

The Pin Hole Camera Art Filter can add some drama to an otherwise normal-looking scene. Here it was used with an exposure of 1/400 second at f/9, ISO 200, to add some pizzazz to a photo of a sculpture of Chief Little Raven who was the principal chief of the Southern Arapaho tribe. ©2009 Joe Farace

In Live View mode you can see the effect of a filter before capturing an image, making it easy to apply the right Art Filter to the right subject, because only one can be applied to an image, and only at the time it’s captured. The examples you work for the kind of subject matter I photograph. You may find other subjects that will be enhanced with any one of the Art filters and when doing your own explorations, look beyond the obvious.
 

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May 15, 2009

Professional Photographer Named Best Magazine in the Southeast

Professional Photographer won the Magazine Association of the Southeast’s highest award, the Grand GAMMA, along with 14 other GAMMA awards on April 30, 2009. Among those awards are top-spot Gold GAMMAs for General Excellence, Best Single Issue, Best Magazine Website, Best Cover and Best Photography.

Professional Photographer … creates a stunning visual impact of print. Add to that the service factor, and you have a magazine that starts and directs a conversation with its intended audience and does that extremely well,” said Samir Husni, Ph.D, one of the GAMMA Awards judges. “All things considered, Professional Photographer—through its editorial content, photography and design—rises to the top of the pot as the cream of the crop.”

Professional Photographer’s awards from the Magazine Association of the Southeast’s 2009 GAMMA Awards:

GRAND GAMMA: Magazine Association of the Southeast’s highest award.

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GOLD—General Excellence: Best overall packaging, content selection, writing, reporting, design and illustration; Best Single Issue: November 2008, “How to Do Everything Better;” Best Single Cover: May 2008, Michael Spengler; Best Photography: January 2008, Howard Schatz; Best Magazine Website.

SILVER—Best Profile: January 2008, Howard Schatz, by Stephanie Boozer; Best Service Journalism: November 2008, “How to Do Everything Better;” Best Photography: September 2008, Elizabeth Messina.

BRONZE—Best Design: Overall; Best Single Cover: March 2008, Parker Pfister; Best Photography: April 2008, Allison & Jeff Rodgers; Best Profile: April 2008, Allison & Jeff Rodgers, by Jeff Kent; Best Service Journalism: February 2008, “2008 Hot One Awards,” edited by Jeff Kent.

HONORABLE MENTION—Best Feature: August 2008, “3 Photographers and a Baby,” by Jeff Kent.

May 29, 2009

Supplement: Light Modifier Image Examples

By Ron Eggers

Innovative commercial light modifiers and huge technological advances have vastly improved on-camera flash. Ranging from simple reflectors to light channeling devices to sophisticated diffusers and mini soft boxes, these modifiers give you considerable control over the quality, temperature, direction and shape of light. Many of them can be used to simulate studio lighting techniques. Some modify light subtly, others dramatically.

Click through to view additional samples of light modification using the products mentioned in the June issue of Professional Photographer magazine: ExpoImaging Honl Photo Speed System, LumiQuest ProMax System, Sto-Fen Omni Bounce, Presslite VerteX, and Gary Fong's Lightsphere Universal.

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About May 2009

This page contains all entries posted to Professional Photographer Magazine Web Exclusives in May 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

April 2009 is the previous archive.

June 2009 is the next archive.

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


 
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