Digital Photo Academy

Learn How To Use Your Digital Camera

DPA Magazine

Forced Flash On

Digital Photo Academy and LivinginHD present a free monthly series of photography webinars on LivinginHD.com. Your host, John Bentham answers many questions live during the webinars. Additional questions, answers and tips are posted here on digitalphotoacademy.com where you can also view the archived webinars. Photos by Russ Burden, DPA Instructor Denver The parrot photos above illustrate a Flash Off version (Left), and a Forced Flash On version (Right). The daylight balanced flash source cleans up the too warm/green color balance on the plumage caused by sun filtering through the foliage. This results in a more correct color balance with neutral gray and white tones. The following question regarding shooting in bright sunny light with dark shadows (difficult, tricky lighting in high contrast situations), was submitted by The Wirgau Family from the LiHD website. Wirgau Family Q: In taking pictures of my son for his Senior year, I did get some nice shots. I′m kinda a ′lucky′ photographer.  I get good shots but don′t really know how I do it.  Unfortunately, I did get a lot of shadowy shots or sunny, squinty shots.  I just don′t know how to deal with the sun/shadows. Any advice? John Bentham replied: Sunny, shadow photos, difficult or tricky lighting in contrast situations. If you are experiencing difficulty exposing photos in high contrast lighting conditions you might do well to watch the archived Tricky Lighting Webinar for tips on camera exposure: http://www.livinginhd.com/go/promo/opc_archive There are a number of situations where sunny high contrast situations can trick a camera and render an incorrect exposure. I have linked a number of DPA Tips below that the LiHD family should refer to, alternatively a DPA class might be beneficial. It may help a lot if you set your camera to Forced Flash On. When shooting in any of the Auto Modes and outdoors in bright sunlight a camera meter determines there is more than enough light to shoot without Flash. The camera typically shuts down the flash and exposes the photo with ambient light only. By setting the flash to Forced Flash On you over ride this reading and add a boost of flash to dark areas, thus filling in the shadowy parts (under baseball caps or backlit subjects. This is an easy method of controlling differences in contrast between very dark and very bright areas within the same photo. Photos by DPA student Julia Spring, student of Russ Burden, DPA Instructor Denver The “squinty” shots can be addressed in a similar way. Turn your subject(s) around, with their backs to the sun and turn the feature Forced Flash On in your camera menu. The sun will illuminate the background of the shot and give you a nice separation (hair light) between the subjects and the background. The flash will illuminate the faces rendering a well exposed photo in both foreground and background without the squinting. The addition of a burst of Fill Flash (Forced Flash On) in the beach wedding shot would have added more light on the front of the subjects in relation to the bright backlit sunlight. The photographer, Julia was able to clean up the photo and brighten the bride and groom against the background with NIK software. I always say, get it right in the camera whenever possible then use software to fix the little things. Julia used Viveza 2 and Color Efex Pro to brighten the image, bringing the contrast and color more in line between background and foreground, a nice solution and a fun photo. The photo below from one of John Bentham’s NY fashion lighting workshops shows the students on location with cameras, on-camera flash units and a large Octobank Strobe powered by a Lumedyne battery location system. The model has her back towards the sun but the addition of flash from the Octobank brightens the exposure on the model in relation to the bright sun. Photo by Marianne Ryan Swanson, DPA student of John Bentham, New York The resulting photo below shows a good balanced exposure between the ambient light (available sunlight) and flash from the Octobank. The lens flare visible in the photo is a result of including the sun in the frame, resulting in lens refraction and glare. This is often a desirable effect, a sexy look for fashion or beauty photography. If you prefer to avoid this you need to reposition the camera slightly. Just make sure the light source (the sun) is out of frame and utilize a lens hood on your lens. The hood will cast a shadow on the front of the lens and eliminate the refraction and lens flare caused by direct sun hitting the front of the lens. Photo by Karen Wu, DPA student of John Bentham, New York Additional DPA Lighting and Flash Tips: Fill flash, Outdoor lighting: http://www.digitalphotoacademy.com/Home/UserArticleCategories/UserArticles/d etails/params/object/8234/default.aspx Daylight Fill Flash: http://www.digitalphotoacademy.com/Home/UserArticleCategories/UserArticles/d etails/params/object/13823/default.aspx Bright Sun Fill Flash: http://www.digitalphotoacademy.com/Home/UserArticleCategories/UserArticles/d etails/params/object/1576/default.aspx Lighting, Existing Light, Flash: http://www.digitalphotoacademy.com/Home/UserArticleCategories/UserArticles/d etails/params/object/13833/default.aspx High Contrast and Saturation: http://www.digitalphotoacademy.com/Home/UserArticleCategories/UserArticles/d etails/params/object/13712/default.aspx Lighting: http://www.digitalphotoacademy.com/Home/UserArticleCategories/UserArticles/d etails/params/object/9586/default.aspx Webinar Submission Specs: All DPA students can submit photographs for inclusion in the Digital Photo Academy, LiHD Webinar, Online Photo Class Series. If you would like to submit your photographs for an upcoming webinar, read the following. Each webinar has a specific theme or topic. You can see the date and topic of the next webinar at LivinginHD.com, Tip of the Day, Online Photo Class. Note that webinars are edited and formatted days in advance, thus please submit your photos at least a week in advance of the webinar, late submissions can not be added. Photographs are chosen, and edited, for their applicability to the webinar theme, artistic and technical merit, and content length. If your photograph is NOT chosen, it will be archived and may appear in a more appropriate future webinar. Submit your photographs to info@digitalphotoacademy.com By submitting your photographs for consideration, you grant and authorize, The Digital Photo Academy, LivinginHD.com and Panasonic, the following rights: The right to use your photographs in the content and promotion of the webinar series, and for use on each company’s respective website. You further authorize your photographs may be archived online and/or in a database, and allow unrestricted internet availability of any webinars containing your photographs. You further authorize the use of your photographs in any future webinars. By voluntarily submitting your photographs for consideration you agree to the aforementioned without any legal claims, or claims for remuneration, whatsoever. You, as the photographer, retain the copyright © of any submitted photographs. The aforementioned companies will make best possible efforts to apply proper photo credit and acknowledgement with your photograph whenever possible and practical.


Location storage with iPod and iPod Camera Connection

Calibration Webinar Tip - Location storage with iPod and iPod Camera Connection Written by John Bentham, DPA Instructor, New York. Digital Photo Academy and LivinginHD present a free monthly series of photography webinars on LivinginHD.com. Your host, John Bentham answers many questions live during the webinars. Additional questions, answers and tips are posted here on digitalphotoacademy.com where you can also view the archived webinars. Photos by Frank Siteman, DPA Instructor, Boston The location photos here, the snowy landscapes, the brightly colored houses and the seagulls in flight are all shot by Frank Siteman, a DPA instructor in Boston. Frank has many years of shooting on location and is a master of post production processing using NIK and Photoshop. The subtle differences between the snowscapes are intentional effects by Frank to produce specific effects for specific purposes. When I’m looking at Frank’s photos and the color looks different, odd or unusual ... I know it’s not a mistake, Frank really knows what he’s doing when it comes to color. Recently, one of my students, Cindy emailed me with some exciting news. She had been presented an opportunity to travel to India for a number of weeks and was trying to determine what photo equipment to bring and how to store (back-up) her digital images on location. Good, tough questions! Cindy Wrote: Hey! Hope all is well! I have exciting news...I′m going to study abroad in India over winter break! I′m SO psyched! I need advice on what camera equipment to bring. I′d like to pack light because I′m not sure how "secure" where I′ll be staying is...I′ll be there for 3 weeks...any suggestions? I′ll be traveling in south India: Chennai, Madurai, and Bangalore. We′ll be working with a local artist/painter who teaches special ed kids. The end project will be a 5 minute documentary. I never thought a doc could be so short! Anyway, I′M PSYCHED!!! I′ll learn about movie cameras but I′m bringing my own equipment just to shoot personal stuff. Here′s a list of what I have: EOS 50D (and an EOS3 and ancient AE1-P) 28-105mm lens (I don′t think my other film camera lenses can be used with my digital can they?) polarizing filter for 28-105 lens Speedlite 420EX flash (diffuser & stroboframe too) batteries, chargers, card reader, lens cloth etc. 3 - 4GB memory cards IPod touch (only @ 8GB I think) IPod 80GB (virtually all photo space is clear) That′s it! I think I′ll need to buy some equipment! I′ve thought of buying a ton of cards and just downloading everything when I get home...bad idea? Cindy On location you are forced to make sacrifices. At the same time you never want to go without. It’s a tricky balancing act between being well equipped, with a good supply of back-up equipment and being hindered by the weight and size of your gear. If you’re traveling with assistants and have a budget for transporting the additional stuff it’s not really an issue (read extra baggage charges, porter and bell hop tips etc). But those days seem to be gone with ever tightening travel and location budgets being imposed by cost conscious clients. The likely scenario also means photographers are fronting the costs themselves and hoping to recoup expenses later, thus many photographers are learning to travel with less ... Travel lean and mean so to speak. That doesn′t mean you should embark on a job with only one camera and one lens but depending on where you are traveling this is not such a ridiculous concept. With good quality digital cameras being ubiquitous worldwide with the exception of very remote locations, it’s feasible to travel with less equipment – the new game plan being to buy a replacement on location if something goes wrong. Photo by Frank Siteman, DPA Instructor, Boston However the one thing you can’t replace are your images, your digital files. These are often irreplaceable. A former assistant of mine told me recently of his nightmare story of losing many thousands of images following a year long trip to Nepal. He bought a stand alone portable hard drive as a primary storage for his images but neglected to back-up. Admittedly his trip was an extreme duration, one year in Nepal with limited resources and limited power supplies, limited internet and other logistical issues but he really took a risk making his back-up his primary storage and erasing his memory cards. Back-Up is a back-up. You should never trust a single drive (or memory card) to keep secure the only copy of your images. If the shoot (trip duration) is under a couple of days or up to a few weeks you can carry extra memory cards AND back-up to a drive. This way you have two copies of all your photos. For a longer trip with more images I bring a laptop AND a portable hard drive. I download the cards and back-up to the drive before erasing the memory cards. For additional protection I, or my assistant will carry one copy with us and keep one copy in the hotel room (the hotel safe is even better). If you don’t have a laptop, or you cant bring it on location, which is common if you’re doing any long distance heavy duty trekking, climbing or hiking. I personally find it a pain to carry a laptop in addition to all the camera gear even just for a day. There is a solution - Use your iPod as a portable hard drive back-up. For about $30 you can buy a camera connector adapter and upload your dailies (the daily images shot) to your iPod and keep the original images on your memory cards. Thus you have two copies and still maintain low weight storage. Photos by Frank Siteman, DPA Instructor, Boston John Bentham replied: Hi Cindy, sounds like a great trip. I would suggest you leave the film cameras at home. India is very hot and humid and you′ll have problems with film in the climate (speaking from personal experience). Also there is an issue with weight while traveling, keep it as light as possible. If you are worrying about, and helping to carry movie equipment you can’t really lay your own camera down in India, it will go missing fast. I think your 50D with the 28-105 (plus the flash) should be all you need. You wont need the stroboframe either. Most of the film lenses will NOT work with the digital camera but some models will, depends on the lens. Bring the Polarizer. I would suggest 3 camera batteries and make sure you have adapters etc. for the charger. For photo storage (I assume you are not bringing a laptop) Id suggest you buy 3-4 cards of 2-4 GB each but I would also strongly suggest a back up. You can burn to your IPod without erasing your music. When you plug your ipod into the computer check the box that says enable disk use, then it operates just like an external hard drive. You need to buy a iPod camera connector. This will enable you to keep one copy of your images on the cards and have a back up on the iPod. Get a rain cover (www.fotosharp.com). Good Luck, let me know if you have other questions. JB iPod camera connector, $30: http://support.apple.com/kb/TA38187?viewlocale=en_US How to use the iPod Camera Connector: support.apple.com. The iPod Camera Connector is only for use with the iPod photo, iPod with color display, and Fifth Generation iPod Camera rain cover: Get yourself a great camera rain cover which is very useful in India and other humid locations: www.fotosharp.com Spyder Cube: For Color Calibration on location, shooting either jpeg files or RAW files I recommend the Spyder Cube. Its a sturdy, light and relatively small color calibration target. As the name suggests the cube is 3-dimensional which is very useful for photographing in real world (read location) situations which varying intensities, direction and color temperature of light sources. I’ve got one on my key chain thus it’s always handy when needed. You can see the Spyder Cube in action on the dogs collar in the before and after color correction images below. The original image on the left shows an incorrect color balance the using Auto White Balance and shooting jpeg images processed in camera. The corrected color image on the right is the result of digital processing using the Spyder Cube as a color patch and processing the jpeg through Camera Raw processing. A simple click (eyedropper tool) on the Cube corrects the color balance for the image. Photos by John Bentham, DPA Instructor, New York Camera Care on Location: See this DPA tip on camera care on location: http://www.digitalphotoacademy.com/Home/UserArticleCategories/UserArticles/details/params/object/18169/default.aspx Webinar Submission Specs: All DPA students can submit photographs for inclusion in the Digital Photo Academy, LiHD Webinar, Online Photo Class Series. If you would like to submit your photographs for an upcoming webinar, read the following. Each webinar has a specific theme or topic. You can see the date and topic of the next webinar at LivinginHD.com, Tip of the Day, Online Photo Class. Note that webinars are edited and formatted days in advance, thus please submit your photos at least a week in advance of the webinar, late submissions can not be added. Photographs are chosen, and edited, for their applicability to the webinar theme, artistic and technical merit, and content length. If your photograph is NOT chosen, it will be archived and may appear in a more appropriate future webinar. Submit your photographs to info@digitalphotoacademy.com By submitting your photographs for consideration, you grant and authorize, The Digital Photo Academy, LivinginHD.com and Panasonic, the following rights: The right to use your photographs in the content and promotion of the webinar series, and for use on each company’s respective website. You further authorize your photographs may be archived online and/or in a database, and allow unrestricted internet availability of any webinars containing your photographs. You further authorize the use of your photographs in any future webinars. By voluntarily submitting your photographs for consideration you agree to the aforementioned without any legal claims, or claims for remuneration, whatsoever. You, as the photographer, retain the copyright © of any submitted photographs. The aforementioned companies will make best possible efforts to apply proper photo credit and acknowledgement with your photograph whenever possible and practical.  


Color Temperature, Balancing for Different Light Sources

Digital Photo Academy and LivinginHD present a free monthly series of photography webinars on LivinginHD.com. Your host, John Bentham answers many questions live during the webinars. On January 11, 2011 DPA and LiHD presented a Webinar on Color Calibration co-hosted by Josh Fischer, the Sales and Education Manager at Datacolor, Spyder (datacolor.com). Josh demystified color calibration and tackled the technical questions specific to Spyder products. As John is keen to point out, Josh kept him out of trouble with regard to color calibration. Additional questions, answers and tips are posted here on digitalphotoacademy.com where you can also view the archived webinars. Photo by Russ Burden, DPA instructor Denver Color temperature in degrees Kelvin. The Kelvin scale measures color temperature in wavelength of light, much like Fahrenheit or Celsius measure temperature. We typically associate heat (warmth) with high temperatures. Thus the Kelvin scale is somewhat counter intuitive to F or C in that the higher the temperature in Kelvin the cooler the color appears. Photos by Russ Burden, DPA instructor Denver showing the effects different White Balance settings would produce. Your digital camera, either a Point and Shoot or DSLR has Color Correction (White Balance Settings) built into the camera’s processing system. By selecting the correct White Balance for the specific light source, you are on your way to getting better color balance in your photographs. Most cameras come from the manufacturer set to a default white balance of AWB (Auto White Balance). This does a pretty good job of rendering color in many situations. When you run into difficulties you will get better results if you take the camera off Auto White Balance and choose a specific white balance seeing for each shooting situation. The image above shows the White Balance menu on the display of a Panasonic GF1. By toggling the White Balance up or down the photographer can choose between a number of white balance options and pre-set WB filters. As outlined in the Light Source Color Temperature list below White Balance settings will vary depending on the manufacturer and specific model of your camera. Many of the settings are similar, if not identical but may have different names. A WB setting of Tungsten (named so because of the tungsten filament in the bulb itself), will in some cameras be referred to as Incandescent or Halogen. They are basically the same setting. Many cameras have multiple setting for Fluorescent bulbs as many different types of FL tubes are manufactured to produce many different color temperatures. Often cameras will have multiple settings for Fluorescent 1, Fluorescent 2 etc. You need to determine through trial and error which FL setting is best for the particular lights you are shooting under. Daylight is sometimes referred to as Sunlight or a Good Weather setting. The image below shows the various White Balance settings available on a Panasonic GF1. Notice the two settings White Set 1 and White Set 2. These are custom pre-set settings which enable you to record a custom corrected white balance to specific lighting conditions if the standard WB filters don’t give you a corrected color. The Color Temperature allows you to manually dial up or down the actual color temperature for a very accurate adjustment of color. Light Source: Color temperature in degrees Kelvin Cooler Colors (Blue) Skylight (blue sky)    12,000 - 20,000 Average summer shade    8000 Light summer shade    7100 Typical summer light (sun + sky)    6500 Daylight fluorescent  6300 Xenon short-arc    6400 Overcast sky    6000 Clear mercury lamp    5900 Sunlight (noon, summer, mid-latitudes)    5400 Design white fluorescent    5200 Daylight photoflood    4800 - 5000 Sunlight (early morning and late afternoon)    4300 Brite White Deluxe Mercury lamp    4000 Sunlight (1 hour after dawn)    3500 Cool white fluorescent  3400 Photoflood    3400 Professional tungsten photographic lights    3200 100-watt tungsten halogen    3000 Deluxe Warm White fluorescent    2950 100-watt incandescent    2870 40-watt incandescent    2500 High-pressure sodium light    2100 Sunlight (sunrise or sunset)    2000 Candle flame    1850 - 1900 Match flame    1700 Warmer Colors (Red) Color temperature in RAW format: For additional information see Russ Burden’s (DPA Denver) tip on color temperature when shooting in RAW format: http://www.digitalphotoacademy.com/Home/UserArticleCategories/UserArticles/details/params/object/6465/default.aspx Camera Charts: The chart below shows the camera menu Icons for Panasonic cameras. Other manufacturers Icon Charts are available for free download on DPA. These can be helpful in determining what specific icons represent on your specific camera. Download these here: http://www.digitalphotoacademy.com/Home/Articles/Details/params/object/4478/menu/99/default.aspx Webinar Submission Specs: All DPA students can submit photographs for inclusion in the Digital Photo Academy, LiHD Webinar, Online Photo Class Series. If you would like to submit your photographs for an upcoming webinar, read the following. Each webinar has a specific theme or topic. You can see the date and topic of the next webinar at LivinginHD.com, Tip of the Day, Online Photo Class. Note that webinars are edited and formatted days in advance, thus please submit your photos at least a week in advance of the webinar, late submissions can not be added. Photographs are chosen, and edited, for their applicability to the webinar theme, artistic and technical merit, and content length. If your photograph is NOT chosen, it will be archived and may appear in a more appropriate future webinar. Submit your photographs to info@digitalphotoacademy.com By submitting your photographs for consideration, you grant and authorize, The Digital Photo Academy, LivinginHD.com and Panasonic, the following rights: The right to use your photographs in the content and promotion of the webinar series, and for use on each company’s respective website. You further authorize your photographs may be archived online and/or in a database, and allow unrestricted internet availability of any webinars containing your photographs. You further authorize the use of your photographs in any future webinars. By voluntarily submitting your photographs for consideration you agree to the aforementioned without any legal claims, or claims for remuneration, whatsoever. You, as the photographer, retain the copyright © of any submitted photographs. The aforementioned companies will make best possible efforts to apply proper photo credit and acknowledgement with your photograph whenever possible and practical.


John Bentham′s Color Calibration Demonstration


John Bentham′s “Your Point and Shoot Camera” Free Demonstration


Shooting in Extreme Lighting Conditions, Bright Sun and Very Low Light ISO Expansion, ND (Neutral Density) and Polarizing Filters

Father Dan, a DPA student of both Hinda Schuman and Rick Wright in Philadelphia sent the following inquiry prior to shooting the annual Gettysburg Remembrance Parade. His concerns were shooting in very bright sunlight and shooting flags and candles at night. Father Dan also has some helpful advice for other students which I thought worth sharing. See his comments about attacking your subject and some of his photos below. John, I will visiting Gettysburg this weekend for the annual Remembrance Day Parade - from where I got the photo I call "flag boy" which you showed on the WEBinar and should have received a copy along with the Little Round Top B&W photo. I will probably stand in the same spot as last year. I hope to get some different angles and I want to "attack my subjects" more. Last year I stood back from the action but I know the best photos are when, like a tennis player who "rushes the net", the photographer needs to gets close to the subject. I suspect it will be a sunny day and I purchased a Number 4 ND filter. I am not sure if the number 4 ND is too dark? I do have a NC (Neutral Clear) filter which works well in most circumstances. At night, after the parade, the soldiers cemetery tombstones are lit with 3000 luminaries beside small 12 inch flags of their states and regiments.  My brother is after me to get the perfect shot. I am bringing a tripod and a cable shutter release. If you have any suggestions about how to get the shot I will appreciate a few words. A problem is that in the background there are many people walking about the grave-sites so leaving the shutter open may be good for the foreground but not the background. My best good light lens is a 50 mm F 1.8 lens. My other lens is F3.5. My camera is a full frame (35 mm) sensor. Thanks, Father Dan Photo by Father Dan McLaughlin, DPA student Philadelphia Johns reply, RE: Menu ISO Expansion Father Dan, Sounds like you have most of the issues thought out. I don’t know that youll need the ND filter. If it really is much too bright you could lower your ISO all the way. On your camera turn on ISO expansion (probably in custom settings), at the low setting it will go down to 100 ISO, instead of the factory default 200, and stop down the aperture to f11 - 16. You should be fine during the bright sun. Unless you are trying to limit depth of field in which case the ND will help, the problem being then its difficult to see through the camera. I usually use a Polarizing filter during the day instead of an ND, but the effect is similar. At night with ISO expansion turned on, you can go up to 25,600 ISO however at the cost of digital noise, a trade off. I would limit myself to 6400 max. If you begin to see the effects of Digital Noise at the higher ISO ratings you can turn to NIK Dfine noise reduction software in post production for a quick painless cure. The tripod is a good idea. If you stop the lens aperture down (f8-11) you can dial in such a long shutter speed, approx 30 sec – 2 min, (youll have to experiment here), you can make any moving people disappear altogether, could be an interesting effect. Photo by Father Dan McLaughlin, DPA student Philadelphia See more of Father Dans photos here: http://gallery.me.com/frdmcl#101038&bgcolor=black&view=grid Also check out the following night, tripod and exposure tips: http://www.digitalphotoacademy.com/Home/UserArticleCategories/UserArticles/details/params/object/18198/default.aspx http://www.digitalphotoacademy.com/Home/UserArticleCategories/UserArticles/details/params/object/13830/default.aspx http://www.digitalphotoacademy.com/Home/UserArticleCategories/UserArticles/details/params/object/13836/default.aspx http://www.digitalphotoacademy.com/Home/UserArticleCategories/UserArticles/details/params/object/15027/default.aspx http://www.digitalphotoacademy.com/Home/UserArticleCategories/UserArticles/details/params/object/18170/default.aspx http://www.digitalphotoacademy.com/Home/UserArticleCategories/UserArticles/details/params/object/18170/default.aspx


Buying a Laptop VS Desktop; Laptops in the Field; Image Back-Up

Photo by Frank Siteman, DPA instructor Boston Photo by Frank Siteman, DPA instructor Boston Photo by Frank Siteman, DPA instructor Boston The three photos of corrugated cardboard shot by Boston DPA photographer Frank Siteman are wonderful examples of how with controlled and careful lighting and some specific post processing with Photoshop and NIK software you can make anything look good. Think about it ... Frank made a cardboard box look sexy. Computers: I’m a long time Mac user to the point where Imp hesitant to comment of PC computers. With the exception of a few oddballs, every photographer, graphic designer and art director I know uses Mac computers ... There must be something to this. However, the Panasonic Toughbook line is used in the field by NGOs, security personnel, police forces and the military. Obviously these computers are built to withstand punishment and knock-em-about use so if you’re looking for something to take on safari, or for an extended foray into the Amazon jungle you might check them out. With any Laptop the considerations are size, weight, speed, memory and cost. A smaller screen and slower processor with less RAM will significantly reduce the cost but then it’s difficult to use as a primary computer. A small computer screen is really only useful as a carry around reference on location type of computer. Unfortunately one computer, much like any one camera, does not do everything. You need to weigh cost and size against portability etc. The best case scenario and the system used by many pros, including myself is a 15 inch laptop with lots of power and memory and an even larger more powerful desktop computer. I just recently bought a MacBook Pro, 4GB RAM, 500GB Hard Drive with a 2.66 GHz processor and its great, love it, although Ill probably boost the 4MB RAM up to 8 soon. As a recent alternative I’ve met a few photographers who carry an iPad in the field to preview images and show photos to clients at the shoot. The main issue here is upload speed as the interface to load images to the iPad is not nearly as fast as loading to a laptop. However if you’re not loading a large number of files it works pretty well. This two-computer system can be pricey for a number of people. When investing in photo gear often there must be a compromise. If you’re at a point where you can only invest in one computer I would suggest a 15-inch with as much power and speed as you can afford. The 15 inch screen being large enough to edit and process on in a pinch and you always have the option of running a larger auxiliary screen with it, effectively increasing your desktop surface significantly. Alternatively Apple iMacs are a good deal for a large screen if you don’t need the portability of a laptop. You can currently buy a loaded 27-inch iMac for about the same price as a 15-inch laptop. Laptops due to the miniaturization required during manufacturing are more expensive than many desktop computers; they also must make allowance for the portability and shock effects of being portable. A desktop just sits on the desk; it doesn’t need to be (as) rugged and shockproof. There is something most people overlook when buying a computer and that is the Scratch Disk size. Computer imaging programs like Photoshop and NIK use the empty hard drive space on your computer when processing images. With modern computer programs taking up a lot of hard drive space, simply to load the programs, but also to operate them, its very easy once you store a few thousand photos, to fill up a computer hard drive to the point where it cant run the programs quickly, or at all. The more free space on your hard drive the faster your images will process and the less danger of crashing or freezing during processing large files. Photo by John Bentham, DPA instructor New York The image above shot on location in Morocco for an AUDI campaign is a simple shot. The lighting was good which helped but what makes the photo interesting is the post processing applied using NIK Software. John added a film grain, boosted contrast and saturation, and increased the structure of the photo bringing out the detail. A simple shot which then works better, much better. MacBook VS MacBook Pro: I often get this question from students wishing to move to a Mac but trying to save a little coin. The basic difference between a MacBook and a small MacBook Pro is construction, the Pro made out of aluminum, the basic MacBook made out of plastic. That said they have very similar guts is you buy the same configuration. I would recommend an upgrade to at least 4GB RAM (or even better 8MB), if you are running Photoshop and NIK Software. Either model gets more expensive of course when you add the Apple Care extended warranty, although I highly recommend this option. Current Mac Laptop prices (Nov 2010) MacBook 13 inch, 2.4 GHz, 4GB Ram, w 250 GB HD = $1100 MacBook Pro 13 inch, 2.4 GHz, 4GB Ram, w 250 GB HD = $1199 A similar size Toughbook is $2400 but I did notice a 50 percent off promotional deal while researching this tip so there are bargains to be found even on the good stuff. If you want a screen larger than 13 inch you go must go for the Pro model, MacBook Pro 15 inch, 2.4 GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB Drive = $1999. Mac as every manufacture does changes the specs and configurations every year or more often thus these specs and prices are just for example. A number of people reading this may be thinking - I can get a 13-inch PC for $500 or a 15 inch for $600. My personal experience is that bargain priced PC laptop computers are not worth the trouble, my wife having burned through two of them within the same period I had my previous Mac laptop. The aforementioned Panasonic Toughbooks are more expensive than bargain PCs but significantly better quality. Back-Up your Images: I cannot stress enough the importance of backing up your images, ... multiple times. A best-case scenario is 2–3 copies plus an Off-Site back up, either online or an alternate location. I can think of three students that had not only their computers stolen but also their back-up drives. The thieves’ just swept everything into a box and hit the road ... leaving the student photographers with only the low res copies they may (or may not) have uploaded to Facebook. Also see the samples below of corrupt files, thankfully I had a back-up copies but when I opened these image files they were obviously unusable. Back-Up, back-up, back-up ... and back-up elsewhere!!! Corrupt File Photos by John Bentham, DPA instructor New York


Chromotherapy

I recently came across an intriguing word I never encountered - chromotherapy. It dates back to ancient European and Asian culture and uses color to heal. It’s still used today in alternative medicine. In that color is such an integral part of photography, the word piqued my curiosity. © Russ Burden Already knowing that specific colors convey specific psychological feelings and evoke certain moods, it made me think more deeply about the relationship. While I’m not convinced that looking at a given color will rid myself of a headache, there are givens when it comes to the psychology of color and how it impacts the way a viewer perceives an image. Therefore it’s beneficial that you, as a photographer, learn its psychological impact to help convey a mood in a photograph. Orange: Fun / Energy - Orange tends to stimulate activity and one’s appetite. It also connotes a feeling of change - think fall color. If its hue leans more toward the red side, it creates excitement. If it leans more toward the yellow, it’s more tranquil.


DPA Webinars, Lighting Against a White Background, How to clean it up with NIK

Digital Photo Academy and LivinginHD present a free monthly series of photography webinars on LivinginHD.com. Your host, John Bentham answers many questions live during the webinars. Additional questions, answers and tips are posted here on digitalphotoacademy.com where you can also view the archived webinars. Photo by John Bentham, DPA instructor, New York Top Image – Original Bottom Image – NIK Processed Looking for a quick, painless and fast way to add some punch to your portraits? Who isn’t? The samples on this page started out as portraits shot against a white background. Shot with relatively simple lighting, one or two flash heads off camera to produce directional light. The trouble with shooting against white is there is often a bit of background flare to contend with. Flare is light that bounces back off the background to come back into the lens. The result can be washed out and muted colors in your subject. To avoid this photographers often struggle with the lighting to achieve just the right balance between light on the subject, not too much to produce flare, and yet still maintain a clean white background. Easier said than done. Sometimes there isn’t enough time on a shoot, depending on the subject and situation to tweak it just right. This is where NIK Viveza 2 Software comes in. Photo by John Digilio, DPA student, New York Left Image – Original Right Image – NIK Processed In a simple fix you simply open the image in Photoshop (or Lightroom) and click Viveza 2 Plug-In. Once the program opens you adjust a few sliders to make a Global adjustment, adding some Structure, Contrast, Saturation. Boom ... You’re done, what could be easier and the results look great. Photo by John Bentham, DPA instructor, New York Left Image – Original Right Image – NIK Processed


John Bentham′s Lighting with a Still Life Demonstration


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