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October 2010 Archives

October 7, 2010

Reader Offer: Buy "The DAM Book," Get Expression Media 2 Free

Phase One and digital asset management expert Peter Krogh have a special offer for Professional Photographer readers. If you buy a copy of “The DAM Book, Second Edition” from our special offer page, you will get a fully licensed copy of Microsoft Expression Media 2 absolutely free. So with a $49.99 book purchase, you receive $199 software value for free.

Just make your purchase from this special offer page for Professional Photographer readers

The offer is for a free, fully licensed, downloaded copy of Expression Media 2, which is compatible with both Windows and Mac platforms. Expression Media 2 is an image cataloging and media management application (images, audio, video, documents) that also integrates well with Phase One Capture One, Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom workflows. Expression Media 2 is especially suitable for image collections that have grown too large for a single Lightroom catalog.

The offer is valid through October 31st. Your purchase must be made at www.theDAMbook.com/ppmag in order to qualify for the offer. Visit the special offer link for additional details.

October 11, 2010

The Canon Expo Experience

By Diane Berkenfeld

Once every five years, Canon goes all out and invites the world to see its latest and greatest technologies—in a grand way. This September the company kicked off Canon EXPO 2010 with its theme “We Speak Image.” The EXPO debuted in New York City, and will make appearances in Paris, Tokyo and Shanghai. Not everyone may be aware that Canon has expertise in areas other than cameras and inkjet printers—printing systems and copiers, binoculars, camcorders, both consumer and professional broadcast quality, security and medical imaging systems—all make up the array of product lines. Over 150,000 square feet of exhibition space at the Jacob Javits Center in NYC was filled with Canon innovations and new technologies.

Products on Display

The recently announced EOS 60D DSLR was on display for photographers to handle, along with a range of lenses, Canon EOS camera bodies and accessories. Support personnel were on hand to answer questions on cameras and imaging, Canon software and small- and wide-format printing.

EXPO Education

One of the great aspects of the Canon EXPO was a full lineup of seminars over the course of the two days to discuss best practices, or educate attendees on the benefits of specific Canon products. Photography seminar topics covered wedding photography, the future of print, fashion photography, integrating Canon HD DSLRs into commercial and aerial photography, and celebrity photojournalism.

I attended three such seminars: Eddie Tapp’s “Best in Process and Printing from your CR2 Workflow,” Alex Buono’s "HD DSLR Cinema 101," and Robert Farber’s "Fashion Photography: A Career Overview." All three photographers are Canon Explorers of Light. Tapp and Farber are still photographers but Alex is a cinematographer who happens to use a range of video gear in his job, including Canon DSLRs.

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Eddie Tapp

Eddie Tapp is a color management guru, so he began his presentation reiterating the importance of fully calibrating and profiling your entire workflow, from display to output, if you want consistent results over time.

To illustrate this point, Tapp showed how the video projector being used for the seminar first displayed his images and then with the correct colors after he calibrated it. There was such a noticeable difference, that attendees really understood the importance of doing this, especially if you often show images on equipment that isn’t yours. (However, you do need to regularly recalibrate because bulb life can change over time.)

Continue reading "The Canon Expo Experience" »

October 12, 2010

Review: Joby Ballhead X for Gorillapod Focus

By Curtis Joe Walker

Joby Gorillapods are a weird animal. They’re short, ungainly, weird looking and often impractical. At the same time, they’re expertly designed for those specialized, rare instances when a regular tripod won’t do. For the last three years or so, I’ve struggled to figure out what one might be. After spending a week with this one, I know what it is: macro photography.

Having just spent some time with a normal tripod, trying to get good angles, I learned that hovering over a black widow spider in the middle of the night is hard enough without having to worry about tripod legs and balance. The Gorillapod Focus really proved itself in this situation. Its legs are short, but tall enough to get my camera above the arachnid. They’re flexible enough to let me get the camera as close to the ground as I want, but stiff enough to eliminate camera shake. With an overall height of 11.4 inches, it’s not going to work for everything, but for this, it’s a champ.

 

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Continue reading "Review: Joby Ballhead X for Gorillapod Focus" »

Review: Adobe Press Learn By Video, Photoshop CS5

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By Betsy Finn, Cr.Photog., CPP

I am a fan of learning how to use software to its fullest extent.  By learning shortcuts and efficiency tricks, you can speed up your workflow and reduce the time you spend in front of a computer.

With that goal in mind, I decided to see what I could learn by watching the Adobe Photoshop CS5 Learn By Video DVD offered by Adobe Press. The video is the only approved video courseware for those individuals looking to become an Adobe Certified Associate, and packs in 21 hours of visual training. It is packaged with a printed book that contains supplemental information such as the DVD table of contents, what’s new in CS5, keyboard shortcuts, a glossary and more.

The DVD contents greet you with an easy-to-understand interface:

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The welcome page of the DVD is divided into three sections. On the left is an overview of the DVD contents. You can choose to play all videos, or navigate to specific sections and watch videos based on your learning needs. The center area introduces you to your instructors (Kelly McCathran, Scott Citron and Ted LoCascio), while the right sidebar informs you that the DVD also comes equipped with extra content:

• Tutorials to Go: videos formatted for viewing on your mobile device. If you’re using an iPhone, you’ll want to copy the .mov files to your device; if you’re an Android user, copy the .3gp files to your device.
• Assets: various files are provided in case you want to work alongside the instructors using the same images they are using. This can be helpful if you are someone who learns by doing.

Continue reading "Review: Adobe Press Learn By Video, Photoshop CS5" »

Review: Black Rapid Women's Strap (RS WS-1)

Betsy Finn, Cr.Photog., CPP

Being a female photographer has its disadvantages when carrying things over your shoulder. Before trying out Black Rapid's new Women's strap (RS WS-1), I would sling my "normal" strap over my head and shoulder with the strap crossing my body diagonally. This presented a few challenges. Aside from having to struggle to get my camera up from my hip to shooting position, I also struggled with the strap smashing me uncomfortably across the bustline.

The Black Rapid’s WS-1 strap has eliminated both of these problems for me. I can sling the camera to my side easily now, and the unique design of the WS-1 (compared to the RS4, for example) allows the strap to be worn comfortably without squishing my bust. If you take a peek at the image below, you'll see what I mean. There's a little curve on the padded part of the strap that guides the strap to fall comfortably around a woman's curves rather than traveling directly over them (which can cause discomfort!).

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As an added bonus, if you are pregnant and need to find a strap that doesn't have your camera rest on your ever-growing belly, the WS-1 is great for that as well!

If you're not familiar with how the Black Rapid strap system works, basically, you have a strap worn over the shoulder, and the camera is free to slide up and down the strap so you can let it hang at your hip, or quickly pull it up to shooting position. The strap has a D ring that screws shut and attaches either to the included camera mount ring, or simply clips onto the ring of the mounting plate for your tripod. I chose the latter method, as it makes it easy to switch between tripod work and on-the-go shooting.

I did find one caveat: the unique curve that makes this strap what it is also restricts which shoulder you can wear your camera on. Meaning the strap will work if you want your camera to fall at your right hip, but not so well for left hip. Obviously most photographers will want the camera on their right side, but just in case you're one of the minority, this is your fair warning. It's not a flaw, just something to be aware of!

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The Women's Black Rapid strap can be ordered directly from Black Rapid's website and retails for $59. A great deal if you ask me.

Betsy Finn, Cr.Photog., CPP, has a portrait studio in Dexter, Michigan (BPhotoArt.com); she shares tips and ideas for photographers at LearnWithBetsy.com.

October 13, 2010

Review: iPad Portfolio Apps

By Joan Sherwood, Senior Editor
Images ©Cheryl Pearson

This supplement includes additional interface illustrations along with the iPad portfolio app review published in the November 2010 issue of Professional Photographer magazine.

The clear, gorgeous display screen of the Apple iPad makes it an ideal mobile presentation device for photographers—it can really draw a crowd. The iPad’s native Photos app, though, with only a simple slideshow function, doesn’t offer much for professional branding, utility and customization.

The iPad was released in April, so apps designed for it are relatively new as well. Because new apps tend to be updated frequently, we contacted the developers of the four reviewed here to get the scoop on what features to expect in upgrades planned for release before November.

With all four, you have to add images one at a time from a photo picker to the app’s library; a tap on the thumbnail loads the image. The current iPad OS doesn’t support a select-all function to import a folder of images from your iPad photo albums. The new iOS4 might have improvements, but it will be awhile before it’s available for iPad. The iPad also has a RAM fragmentation problem. If you’ve been using it with lots of different apps, any crashes you get are likely due to the iPad, not one of these apps. Just restart.

It’s best to downsize your photos before transferring them to the iPad. Syncing a folder of full-res photos takes its own sweet time, and large images will likely clog the system’s memory anyway. Find out if your portfolio app has a recommended image resolution; you’ll probably be safe with 1,024 pixels on the long side.

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FLEXFOLIOS

Flexfolios v 1.33 has a simple interface and a helpful reference manual accessible from the home menu. The app can be used to transfer documents between iPad and computer (music, video, pdfs, text files). You can “associate” one or more of these files with any image in your portfolio, but, for instance, you cannot play a single music file while you display a slideshow.

You can touch-and-drag up to 36 images in each portfolio. The most efficient way to build a portfolio is bottom-up, so start with the images you want to appear last. As you build, you’ll see only four images at a time; the rest are pushed offscreen to the right. To rearrange images, move them back to the picture library, slide the portfolio images to the new insertion spot, then move the image back in. You could also move the four images in view. Reordering images in the picture library is easy.

There’s currently no auto-play slideshow option; instead, you advance the images by swiping left or right. You can select a background color or custom image. You can choose to view vertical images side-by-side when they’re next to each other in the collection. You can also set up 700x400- pixel e-cards to send out to prospects. 

In the works: a slideshow mode and VGA compatibility to connect the iPad to a projector or display.

Price: $9.99. flexfolios.com

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Flexfolios Info setup interface

Continue reading "Review: iPad Portfolio Apps" »

October 25, 2010

Review: Photodex ProShow Producer and Gold v4.5

By Kirk R. Darling

I’ve had a longstanding love-hate relationship with Photodex ProShow Gold. I love the degree of control it gives me over the slideshows I create as sales tools and final products; I hate the time and effort it takes to create even simple slideshows. I tried Animoto, which is quite quick and easy, but those slide shows always left me with a desire to tweak them just a bit here and there. I wished for something that would give me push-button ease with as little or as as much control as I wanted.

Photodex has released version 4.5 of ProShow Gold and ProShow Producer with a great deal of hoopla over their new Instant Show wizard. (If you're not familiar with the term, a wizard is software application feature that guides you through a process.) So I downloaded the upgrades and was off to see if Photodex's wizard could grant my wish.

The wizard operates the same way in both Gold and Producer. It opens with a default dialog box providing a choice of the Instant Show wizard, opening an existing show, or creating a new show manually (Figure 1).

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Figure 1 

Creating a new show with the wizard is a four-step process. The first step is to add the images to the show. If you want a text-only title slide, click first on the Text button and type the text you want. You cannot format the text; the wizard will select a text format and style according to the show theme you'll select later. Press Add, and a navigator window opens to search for images. In the wizard window, you can drag images to the sequence you want or click the "Randomize button to let the wizard decide the order. The Rotate button allows you to rotate an image.

Continue reading "Review: Photodex ProShow Producer and Gold v4.5" »

About October 2010

This page contains all entries posted to Professional Photographer Magazine Web Exclusives in October 2010. They are listed from oldest to newest.

September 2010 is the previous archive.

November 2010 is the next archive.

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


 
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