Irix Offering 15mm f2.4 Lens with Edge IFH-100 Filter Holder Combo

 

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If you haven’t heard of Irix, you should check out their products; the lens company combines fresh, modern designs and stellar optics to create some amazing third-party lens options.

And until February 14th, Irix is offering an equipment combo deal:

When you purchase the Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone, you can pay just one extra Euro and receive the Irix Edge IFH-100 filter holder (normally 69 Euros in value).

Irix produces the 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone lens for three camera mounts: Canon EF, Nikon F, and Pentax K. It’s a fast prime lens that has received raved reviews, which makes it a perfect choice for landscape or architecture photographers looking to add an optically-impressive prime to their bag, not to mention astrophotographers.

The Irix 15mm f/2.4 is a manual focus only lens, which means it isn’t optimal for fast-paced genres such as street photography. But street photographers rarely shoot at ultra-wide focal lengths anyway, and all the photographers that would actually appreciate a 15mm prime probably work in manual focus most of the time.

One more thing you’ll appreciate about the Irix 15mm f/2.4 is the build quality. Irix is unique among lens manufacturers in that it offers two versions of the 15mm f/2.4: A rugged “Blackstone” lens, and a less rugged “Firefly” lens.

While the optics in the two versions are identical, the Blackstone is perfect for photographers who frequently take their gear into rough situations and who don’t have time to baby their equipment.

As for the Irix Edge IFH-100:

It holds 100mm square filters, including Irix’s hard and soft graduated neutral density filter lines. And it’s billed by Irix as “the lightest filter holder in its class.”

The Irix Edge IFH-100 should mount on lenses with a diameter between 52mm and 95mm.

So if you’re interested in grabbing a high-quality wide-angle prime, as well as a square filter holder, then take a look at Irix’s offer.

But act fast, because the deal expires 14th Feb 2020!

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Photography Gear You Will Need for Different Types of Photo Shoots

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Have you ever wondered if there is specific photography gear that you will need for different types of photoshoots?

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It has now been over a decade since I started shooting professionally. Over the course of that time, I have often been asked for advice on what camera to buy to take professional images. Now, if you’re into photography, I think you’d agree with me that this is the wrong question to ask. There are far more important factors to consider when taking an amazing image rather than the latest shiny camera.

My answer to the above question is always the same: it’s not the camera (given that camera manufacturers churn out new models year in year out). But instead, it’s two other things – the lens and the photographer.

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A camera is no good if the photographer doesn’t know how to use it properly to achieve the image they have in mind. Equally, what good is a new latest-tech camera if the lens used for the purpose is not the correct lens? An example being, using an ultra-wide lens to capture a portrait.

Therefore, the better question to ask is, “which is the appropriate lens to use for a particular photoshoot?”

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In other words, it is crucial that you, as the photographer, match your gear to the needs of the photoshoot. This will enable you to achieve the image you have in mind.

This article discusses the photography gear you will need for different types of photoshoots.

However, I know that we each have our own ways of doing things and our own preferences, so bearing this in mind, what I have written below are suggestions and based on what I do as a photographer.

What’s in my gear bag depends on what I’m shooting. I have a variety of photography bags for this reason. As a side note, it is worth investing in proper photography bags to protect your gear.

The Staples

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But first, the staples. If you are (or want to be) a professional photographer, this is my recommended minimum photography gear you will need.

For photoshoots, always carry at least 2 camera bodies, ensuring you have one for back-up in case something happens to the other one.

Make sure you sync the times for both cameras, and that the settings are the same.

Also, fully-charge your batteries in both cameras. My cameras are all full-frame. If you have a camera with a crop sensor, this changes the way you capture your images. Here is a helpful article on the difference between full-frame and crop-sensor cameras.

On top of the camera and lenses, I always bring at least 2 flashguns with me and make sure I have spare batteries (or fully charged if they are rechargeables). I use a diffuser cap with my flashguns and generally use these to bounce light both indoors and outdoors rather than directly at the subjects unless I’m shooting backlit.

1. Family photoshoot

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In general terms, the ideal set of lenses for a family photoshoot includes a wide, medium, and a long range of lenses.

My preference is for prime lenses, as they are usually small and handy, and give me sharper and cleaner images.

Good prime lenses can be heavy and also a little expensive. I carry the 35mm f/1.4G, 85mm f/1.8G (also available in 1.4G) and the 105mm f/2.8G. Because these are used on a full-frame camera, the lenses capture their expected focal range accordingly, that is, that a 35mm lens has a 35mm effective field of view. If your camera has a crop sensor with a crop factor of 1.3x for example, then the 35mm will have an effective field of view of a 46mm, the 50mm will have the 65mm and the 105mm will be 135mm. Therefore, you would then need to consider more wiggle room when shooting.

These are important to bear in mind, especially when shooting in small spaces indoors.

The 105mm gives not only a long-range but also macro capability. I like having a macro lens with me, which works wonderfully to capture details.

You can also have zoom lenses in your bag instead of primes. Zoom lenses can be very versatile. For example, the 24-70mm lens will allow you to capture wide and medium-range images with just one lens.

However, they are a little bulky in comparison to primes, especially if the lens is professional and has a fixed aperture. That would also mean better optics, and it would be heavier too.

If you just want to use one lens that covers this range, then there is the 24-105mm Canon lens option.

2. Event Photography

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For events such as birthday parties, product launches, conferences, and suchlike, my preference is to go for zoom lenses rather than primes. Events are usually fast-moving, and I don’t have the time to keep changing lenses.

Often I will have both cameras on me with a double rapid strap. One camera will have the 24-70mm, and the other has the 70-200mm. These are usually sufficient.

I always carry a macro with me, though, just in case. However, with both bulky zooms that cover wide to long-range, I use my nifty 60mm micro lens for extreme close-up and macro shots.

In addition to the above, I also carry with me wireless transceivers that enable me to shoot with off-camera flashes.  Transceivers are wireless transmitters and receivers that enable you to control your flash remotely. This also means you need stands for the flashes. So, carrying a monopod and a gorilla pod, or a tripod if you need more stands.

3. Weddings

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If I’m shooting a wedding alone, I pack all the above minus the 35mm and the 50mm as the zooms already cover these focal ranges. 

Needless to say, I pack my entire arsenal and the kitchen sink when shooting weddings with a second photographer, as with two of us, more gear and back-ups are needed. That means at least four camera bodies, at least six lenses, a minimum of four flashes (sometimes six), and all the transceivers and stands required. 

I have written an article on wedding photography gear you will need when starting out on here.

4. Portraits

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Portrait photography is a specialty that requires a different set of lenses.

For flattering images of a person, I would always use the 85mm for headshots, the 50mm for medium shots, and the 35mm for full-body shots.

You may not need to use all three, so plan ahead of what you might be shooting, so you don’t bring unnecessary gear.

Again if you want the zooms as opposed to the primes, you could always use the 24-70, 24-105, and the 70-200. Just make sure that you shoot within the range mentioned above as a guide.

Longer focal ranges compress the background resulting in a more flattering look compared to using a wide lens. For example, if you use the 24mm, you are shooting so close to the person, you will end up with image distortions.

Depending on the portrait session, I may or may not use off-camera flashes which would require the transceivers. A small reflector is also really handy for portraits, especially when controlling shadows. I have written an article on gear essentials for portrait photography when starting out here.

5. Landscape

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Landscape photography is the opposite of portrait photography, and the lenses and accessories required are different.

You would need wide lenses, such as a 16-35mm or a 24mm to capture wide, expansive shots. You may also want to invest in a telephoto to capture long landscapes with great background compression if you are shooting mountains, for example.

If you plan on doing long exposure photography to achieve soft, blurred waterfalls and waves, you will also want to invest in a tripod and some filters, such as ND and graduated filters. This will enable you to reduced the amount of daylight coming into your lens so that you can slow your shutter speed down without completely over-exposing your image. You would also need a cable or remote shutter release so that you don’t introduce camera shake by pressing the shutter button.

To find out more about landscape photography, read these helpful articles here.

6. Travel

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When speaking of travel, my only experience in this type of photography is family holidays. For professional travel photography, read these articles.

If you are just after good holiday photos that capture memories of your family, then I can help with that. I have tried various holidays with only one lens. One time I just took the 85mm. Another time, I took just the 35mm, the 50mm on another holiday, and, more recently, the 60mm. Following on from these experiences, my personal travel lens is now the 60mm.

The 50mm is also a favorite.

7. Product

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Occasionally, I do some product photography. My go-to lenses for these are the 24-70 and the 60mm micro.

I use off-camera flashes and transceivers and some flags. When shooting small items in a white seamless background, using a white lightbox will help you achieve this easily.

For more tips on product photography, read this article.

8. Interiors

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For interior photography, my go-to lenses are the 24-70mm and the 50mm. You can read more in-depth as to why I use the 50mm here and how I use the 24-70mm especially for shots of an entire room scene.

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I hope this article and the further links provided have helped you think through what photography gear you will need for different types of photoshoots. If you have any suggestions to add, write them on the comments below.

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31 Days to Becoming a Better Photographer

Do you want to level up your photography with a powerful burst of learning?

If your answer is yes – you’ll absolutely LOVE our course – ‘31 Days to Becoming a Better Photographer‘ which is open for enrollment this week only (with a 50% discount).

“31 Days to Becoming a Better Photographer” is our most popular course of all time, and for good reason. Jim Hamel is one of the most attentive course instructors and mentors we’ve seen and his teaching is so actionable!

31 Days to Becoming a Better Photographer

We’ve opened the doors to the next lucky group of beginners – but only until the 31st of January. If you want to be one of our students who become a better photographer in 31 days, act now.

Claim your spot in the course here.

Professional photographer Jim Hamel created this course especially for enthusiasts who dream of taking amazing photos, but are not sure where to start… this 31 day video course will finally set you on the path to photography success.

Great Teaching, Practical Exercises and Mentoring

The great thing about this course is that it’s incredibly practical. You’ll learn a lot but you’ll also be actively applying what you learn. Here’s how it works.

  1. 31 Easy to Understand Lessons – The course is broken down into 31 easy to understand lessons – designed to give you more knowledge of how your camera works and how to get more control over it.
  2. 31 Practical Exercises – Each lesson comes with a practical exercise – designed to help you apply that knowledge.
  3. Mentoring from a Pro Photographer – All early bird participants also get access to a secret Facebook group where course creator – Jim Hamel – will give group mentoring, offer extra support, answer questions and where you can share some of the results you’re getting.

In this course you will learn all about:

  • Exposure
  • Lighting
  • Subjects
  • Composition
  • Camera Techniques

Plus you’ll get direct access to mentoring from Jim via our exclusive private Facebook Group.

Here’s a taste for the course – straight from the mouth of course creator Jim Hamel:

Access to a professional like Jim would normally cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars, but when you purchase this course, you not only get over 7 hours of video tutorials, you get to ask Jim questions, follow along with assignments, and become part of a group of other like minded photographers.

Do I have to complete the course in 31 Days?

No, you don’t. You will get lifetime access to the course modules so you can take all the time you need. Just be sure to take advantage of the access you have to the group and Jim in the first three months.

Enrolments End Soon

Hurry – because of the mentoring component of this course spaces are limited and will only be open for enrolments for a short time and 50% off is only for a short time too!

Check out all of the course modules and enrol here.

P.S. As always, we offer a 60 Day Guarantee, so if you find the course isn’t for you, we’ll be more than happy to refund you – no questions asked.

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Tips for Overcoming the 5 Biggest Photography Fears

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“Most inventors and engineers I’ve met are like me. They’re shy and they live in their heads. The very best of them are artists. And artists work best alone…” – Steve Wozniak

While fear can affect anyone and cause undue stress in their daily lives, creative people (including photographers and other artists) are often introverted and can be susceptible to fear more than others.

Whether it is simply a hobby, passion, or profession, photography involves proficiency in both the artistic and technical realms, creating a perfect environment for anxiety and fearfulness to form.

But like with most other things in life, knowledge is a powerful ally. Learning what anxiety-inducing things you might deal with, as well as what you can do to alleviate them, can help you with overcoming photography fears. It also allows you to better and more confidently enjoy the craft.

Let’s take a look at 5 of the biggest fears we might encounter as photographers.

1. Interacting with people

This is something I can definitely speak to personally. Many of us have difficulty being comfortable interacting and communicating with others for several different reasons. It could be anything from simple shyness or a lack of confidence, or in my case, social anxiety disorder, where fear of social interaction can cause physical symptoms and impede daily life.

Because photography is something we choose to do, we can also choose our level of involvement and what facets of the hobby (or job) we participate in.

For me, I know that I don’t always feel comfortable communicating with people. Because of this, I don’t do many portrait sessions as I know that communicating in real-time with the client is necessary to produce photos that they will love.

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Many photographers deal with the fear of interacting with clients. (50mm, f/4, ISO 100, 1/250 sec)

Instead, my photography focuses on landscape and nature scenes, which lets me be comfortable while enjoying my work. I take on the odd portrait job when I feel ready to do so.

Of course, many of us want to learn to embrace that fear and conquer it. The best way to do this is to expose yourself to the thing that makes you uncomfortable. Learn what about it makes you feel that way until you no longer have the same fear for it.

Work on becoming more comfortable around people on a small scale, so that you’ll be ready to speak confidently to your clients.

Know your gear well, and be knowledgeable about the particular service you’re providing. This will give you something stable to hold onto while interacting with your customers.

2. Shooting in public

Street photography is a popular form of photography, and some of the biggest names in our hobby dabble in it, at one time or another.

However, it also exposes the photographer more than some other forms and can make us feel nervous and vulnerable. This is because many people don’t care to have their photograph taken. Knowing that can make the photographer reluctant to open themselves up and capture the beautiful moments they see before them, for fear of being called out or confronted.

Many street photographers deal with these issues by using gear that is better suited for those situations. Small, light, and inconspicuous mirrorless cameras and smaller lenses are readily available. These make the photographer and their actions less visible. It allows them to be more comfortable and focus on making great images.

Fishermen walking down a long fishing pier.

Shooting in public, in view of others, is another common fear of photographers. (50mm, f/8, ISO 400, 1/640 sec)

It is also helpful and important to know the rules and laws regarding photographing people in public or other spaces. That way, if someone does confront you or question what you’re doing, you’ll be well-prepared to answer them.

The bottom line is to respect everyone’s wishes, whether it’s a legal issue or not. If someone is uncomfortable with you photographing them, be a decent person, and just stop. You don’t have to delete the images or anything that extreme, as they are your images, but don’t continue photographing them. An upset subject isn’t going to make for a good photo anyway.

At the end of the day, keep in mind that there are thousands of people out there right now, taking pictures of daily life, people, places, and events. Chances are, you’ll go out and enjoy the experience without any problems, and you’ll bring home some unique images.

3. Rejection and failure

This is a common fear for many people, and unfortunately, it is one that we all experience at times. Rejection of your work or failure to produce work that you consider great will be a commonplace occurrence throughout your relationship with photography. Even the great ones dealt with rejection at times, and they often used these failures to learn more and make adjustments to be even better.

Although there is nothing you can do to completely avoid rejection or avoid producing an imperfect image, you can certainly learn to cope with it and overcome photography fears.

A photographer sets up a shot with difficult lighting.

Conquer your fear of failure by tackling challenging situations. (iPhone, 4mm, f/2.2, ISO 640, 1/4 sec)

Firstly, don’t try to block out the emotions that come with rejection or failure. You need to know what it feels like and embrace that feeling. It will make you stronger, and you will be better for it.

Keep in mind that failure is an exception, not the norm.

Also, remember that repetition is the key to improving.

Tackle some challenging situations, such as a dark and challenging lighting scenario. Go through the possible solutions and execute them until you’re confident that you can solve that problem in a dynamic, on-demand environment.

And, talk to someone.

Talk to anyone who knows you and understands how passionate you are about your craft. Friends, family, and colleagues who lift you up and encourage you can provide tremendous help. They can remind you that rejection can happen to anyone, and is a learning tool to improve your skillset.

4. Cameras and gear

The title of this section might need a little explanation. Of course, we’re talking about the fear of using your cameras and gear, not fear of your camera itself! That would be weird.

The equipment we use can come in various levels of complexity. Regardless of your familiarity with cameras in general, it may inadvertently become another source of anxiety.

Fortunately, the days of being stuck with nothing more than a printed manual are gone (isn’t it nice when we still see them, though?). The current digital age allows us to learn everything we need to know about our cameras from many sources.

Blogs like Digital Photography School, digital manuals and online resources from camera manufacturers, Forums such as Reddit, and YouTube all provide endless means of learning about the ins and outs of your equipment.

A photographer takes a picture of a beach scene.

Knowing your camera and other gear inside and out can help bolster your confidence. (50mm, f/4, ISO 100, 1/640 sec)

The bottom line is, the more you know about the equipment you’re using, the more confident you’ll be in the field or studio. The more informed you are about the camera, the less an arising problem will shake you.

Learn all you can as early as you can. Like one of my favorite old sayings goes, knowledge is power.

5. Knowledge of business and marketing

Last in the tips for overcoming photography fears is our knowledge of business and marketing. Many of us have a fear of the business side of our passion for photography.

If you intend on working as a professional (meaning you make any amount of money off of your photography, regardless of your time input), you are going to need to understand the basics of how business works.

You need to know how to price your products and services, and how to interact with clients on all levels.

Again, through the wonder of technology, the internet is a treasure trove of information (often free) that can give you a good background and bolster your confidence with knowledge.

Many people feel that it’s tough to get a good working understanding of how small business works without taking classes or even having a business degree.

Fortunately, that’s not the case. A quick Google search will reveal many free blogs and other resources that can help you, and many of these are even specific to the business side of photography.

dPS has a great e-book on Going Pro – Making Money from Your Photography.

Fear not, my friends

Overcoming your photography fears may not seem simple, but I hope this article has helped you identify some of your fears and worries when it comes to being a photographer. Maybe it even pointed you in the right direction of overcoming those photography fears.

Remember, this is your passion, and you do it because you love to, not because you have to.

At the end of your day, there is nothing to be afraid of, because you’re doing something that makes you happy.

Are there other fears you experience that we didn’t cover here? Sound off below and share them with the rest of us. You’ll probably be surprised to find how many other people feel the same way!

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Inexpensive Canon RF Lenses are in the Works, Including a 50mm f/1.8

 

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Earlier this month, Canon announced its intention to produce RF lenses over EF lenses. A Canon Europe spokesperson indicated that the imaging giant would continue to support the EF mount, but that we can expect to see only new RF lenses for the foreseeable future.

For longtime Canon users who haven’t jumped on the mirrorless bandwagon, this is a blow. But for Canon’s mirrorless users, this is excellent news. One of the main reasons to switch to a company like Sony over Canon is the mirrorless lens lineup; Sony’s mirrorless lens development has had a big head start over Canon’s, and Sony now offers dozens of full-frame and APS-C mirrorless lenses.

But with Canon focusing on its RF lenses, we might get to see it close the mirrorless gap.

In fact, it looks as if Canon is already making good on its commitment to the RF mount, especially in the budget lens category. Up until now, Canon has offered very few cheap RF lens options.

Over the twelve months, we might see that change.

According to Canon Rumors, we can expect to see several new low-priced RF lenses announced in the near future, including “at least one…this year.”

This should include some type of pancake lens with an f/2.8 maximum aperture, as well as the possibility of an RF 50mm f/1.8.

While it’s unlikely that Canon’s 50mm f/1.8 could rival the price of the current EF 50mm f/1.8 STM, its good to know that we might have some strong options for consumers.

Thus far, anyone looking for a 50mm lens option (which is great for shooting portraits, street images, and more) would have to settle for the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L, which currently costs over $2000 USD.

But with a cheaper 50mm option, the Canon RF lens lineup should feel much more accessible, even for beginners.

And with some luck, we should see both these new RF lenses before the year is out.

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How to Use Camera Calibration Tool in Lightroom (video)

In this video from Lucy Martin, you’ll learn how to utilize the camera calibration tool in Lightroom to help with your post-processing workflow and get your photos looking awesome!

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How to use the Camera Calibration Tool in Lightroom

The Camera Calibration tool is at the bottom of all your panel tools.

You want to use the camera calibration tool right at the beginning of the editing process, as this will inform the colors in your image.

Open the panel so that you can see the Shadows, Red Primary, Green Primary, and Blue Primary Sliders.

These sliders allow you to adjust the Tint of the Shadows and the Hue and Saturation level of Red, Green, and Blues (the RGB colors).

What you change in this panel will affect all the pixels of your image because every pixel is made up of RGB values.

If you hover over a section in your image, check the histogram, and it will show you the RGB values. Understanding this will give you a better understanding of how the camera calibration panel works.

It works differently to the HSL panel that specifically targets just the individual color ranges.

Again, color Camera Calibration affects everything.

Each camera renders color slightly different depending on the brands. They will each have a different idea of what a true red, blue, or green is. You may want to alter these slightly to what you see, or you may like to get creative with it.

Lucy likes to bring up the saturation of the Blue Primary slider to give more life to her images. She also works with the Green Primary by changing the Hue and Saturation for landscape photos.

The Red Primary is great for working with skin tones and warm sunset photos.

This is a great starting point before making further edits.

Lucy also gives you some other examples of creative editing using these sliders. So check it out to see what you can do to make your photos pop!

Bonus: If your image has a red, green, or blue color cast, you can use the saturation slider of that primary color and reduce it to remove the cast.

 

You may also like:

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Weekly Photography Challenge – Music

This week’s photography challenge topic is MUSIC!

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Try to capture the essence of the music. Here, Daniel Champagne performs live at the 2016 Illawarra Folk Festival. His performance is heavily based around his guitar, and I sought to capture that. © Caz Nowaczyk.

Music can cover so many things. You can go out and shoot live performances by musicians, crowds at a gig, or photograph musical instruments or sheet music as part of a still life composition.

They can be color, or black and white. They can be a small part of a wider composition or you can focus in on their fine details – the decision is yours! Try using negative space, or simply capture the action, emotion and atmosphere.

So, check out these pics to give you some ideas, have fun, and I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

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You can take close ups of instruments and sheet music or capture the action. 2016 Illawarra Folk Festival © Caz Nowaczyk

Check out some of the articles below that give you tips on this week’s challenge.

Tips for Shooting MUSIC

Tips for How to Photograph a Rock Concert or Show

11 Ideas for More Unique Concert Photos

Tips for Doing Concert Photography like a Pro

10 Must-Have Camera Settings for Concert Photography

How to Photograph a Concert From the Cheap Seats [With a Point & Shoot]

Your Guide to Posing Bands in Photography

How to Photograph Bands in Bars – Equipment

 

Simply upload your shot into the comment field (look for the little camera icon in the Disqus comments section) and they’ll get embedded for us all to see or if you’d prefer, upload them to your favorite photo-sharing site and leave the link to them. Show me your best images in this week’s challenge.

Share in the dPS Facebook Group

You can also share your images in the dPS Facebook group as the challenge is posted there each week as well.

If you tag your photos on Flickr, Instagram, Twitter or other sites – tag them as #DPSmusic to help others find them. Linking back to this page might also help others know what you’re doing so that they can share in the fun.

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Important Considerations for Great Coastal Photography

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There are few places more exciting to take photos than at the coast. The joy of being by the sea is truly spectacular and an opportunity to capture the ever-changing conditions. Surrounded by rolling waves, soft powdered sands, rugged cliffs, and the truly hypnotic sound of the ocean, great coastal photography can be achieved in any season throughout the year.

There are several important factors you need to consider when capturing images by the coast.

Great Coastal Photography

Antigua, Caribbean. Canon 5DSr, 24-70mm f2.8L II, 24mm, 1/125 sec, f/11, ISO 100, Aperture Priority.

Potential risks: saltwater/corrosion and large, unpredictable rogue waves

The coastline can be dangerous as well as beautiful and commands an element of respect. There are inherent risks to yourself and your kit from the sea. Saltwater from sea spray can harm your lenses and filters and can cause corrosion to your camera, potentially making it irreparable. I suggest bringing a cleaning cloth to wipe away any unwanted saltwater and consider using a rain cover to protect your camera and lenses.

One of the major draws for people when photographing the sea is the waves. It can be very enticing to go and photograph the sea in stormy weather with dramatic light or when large waves occur. 

However, lives have been lost where people have come into difficulty with strong currents or large, unpredictable rogue waves and have even been swept out to sea. 

Be aware of these potential risks, and put safety first when going to photograph the coast. Moreover, never underestimate the sea.

Time of day

Great coastal photography can be achieved at any time of day that you visit the sea and in all weathers. Sunrise or sunset are the best times of day for taking photos along the coast. The light that appears at these times can be magical. You can capture the afterglow of the sun or the coastline as the rays of the setting sun light it.

If you shoot the coast during the day, look for interesting scenes and elements that can make your images more striking.

Image: Cornwall, England. Canon 5DSr, 24-70mm f2.8L II, 24mm, 1/90 sec, f/5.6, ISO 800, Aperture Pri...

Cornwall, England. Canon 5DSr, 24-70mm f2.8L II, 24mm, 1/90 sec, f/5.6, ISO 800, Aperture Priority.

What to shoot

There is always an opportunity to capture interesting coastal scenes. It offers a huge variety of subjects to shoot from views of the seashore and crashing waves to shells, different rock formations, and architecture. This includes lighthouses, piers, and beach huts.

You can use a wide-angle lens to capture a broader view and include several of these elements in your shots or zoom in for pictures of isolated details such as patterns on a rock or shell.

Other interesting subjects you can photograph at the coast include the motion of the sea as it swirls around some rocks, the tide moving in and out and dramatic weather.

Great coastal photography can even include a boat or person in the frame – for example, a person swimming in the sea or walking along the beach.

Great Coastal Photography

Antigua, Caribbean. Canon 5DSr, 16-35mm f2.8L III, 35mm, 1/125 sec, f/11, ISO 100, Aperture Priority.

Atmosphere

Don’t be put off visiting the coast if the forecast isn’t sunny. You can make great coastal photography in almost any weather.

Make the most of overcast conditions by capturing cloudy and moody skies, which can be great for adding atmosphere.

Alternatively, visit the coast in the winter and capture something different such as mist, fog, and seaspray. These conditions can create more drama in your shots and provide a unique look and feel.

Image: Wales. Canon 5DSr, 70-200mm f2.8L III, 70mm, 1/90 sec, f/8, ISO 200, Aperture Priority.

Wales. Canon 5DSr, 70-200mm f2.8L III, 70mm, 1/90 sec, f/8, ISO 200, Aperture Priority.

Mood of your image

One way to capture great coastal photography is to convey a sense of mood in your images. Think about what mood you are trying to demonstrate and how you can add more ambiance to your pictures.

You can create a mood with light or add drama by capturing fast-moving water and crashing waves using a quick shutter speed. The fast shutter will freeze the action.

You can also develop a feeling of tranquility with longer exposures. The blur of the water and subsequent movement can look great.

Great Coastal Photography

Wales. Canon 5DSr, 16-35mm f2.8L III, 26mm, 1/90 sec, f/11, ISO 200, Aperture Priority.

Tide times

Check the tide times and time your visit accordingly. Visit the coast when the tide is low if you want to photograph the sea coming in or at high tide when the sea is out and the beach is more exposed. Be sure to know the tides of the area you are visiting so that you don’t get stranded if the tide comes in.

You can use apps such as Tides Near Me, to keep up-to-date on the tides of the area you are visiting.

Leaving things as you found them

One thing worth mentioning for coastal photography is to leave things as you found them. Remember to keep beaches clean and take all rubbish with you. Also, be careful not to cause any damage to the landscape if you go venturing onto fragile rocks or cliffs so nature can be enjoyed by everyone who visits after you too.

Conclusion

In summary, many photographers are enticed by the sea and return to it time and time again.

For great coastal photography, consider the importance of its risks, the time of day, what you want to shoot, tide times and how to add atmosphere and mood. Now it’s your turn to capture some coastal scenes and share your images with us below.

 

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10 Beginner Tips for Creating Beautiful Images Without an Expensive Camera

Beautiful-Images-Without-an-Expensive-Camera

I can’t take beautiful pictures because I have a basic entry-level camera.

My pictures are not looking great, it’s time that I should upgrade to the higher version of the camera.

My images aren’t looking excellent, ummm! I think it is because my camera is not full frame, does not have a high dynamic range and high ISO capability.

I am not getting beautiful images with my DSLR, I should upgrade to Mirrorless camera.

Does this sound familiar to you? Are these types of thoughts stopping you from making great pictures?

Well, I have good news for you.

I am going to show you the exact photography techniques that I use to create beautiful images without an expensive camera.

And the best part is…

These proven techniques work great with any type of camera, such as entry-level DSLR, Mirrorless, and so on.

You can start using these techniques to create beautiful images right away.

Let’s get started.

Here are 10 tips for creating beautiful images without an expensive camera

  1. Rule of thirds
  2. Golden Spiral
  3. Color wheel – choosing opposite colors
  4. Including the foreground object
  5. Patterns
  6. Symmetry
  7. Leading lines
  8. Negative space
  9. Rule of odds
  10. Including the frame

1. Rule of thirds

Let’s start with one of the fundamental ‘rules’ in photography – the Rule of Thirds.

Refer to the image below.

Image: Rule of Thirds – Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher

Rule of Thirds – Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher

 

In this image, the Kingfisher is the main object; hence, I have placed the Kingfisher at the line of intersection.

Divide the frame into nine parts by using two horizontal and vertical lines. Horizontal and vertical lines intersect at four points.

When you are composing the picture, position the main object on a point where horizontal and vertical lines intersect.

If there is a secondary object in an image, try to compose the secondary object where the line intersects.

Note – In your camera, turn the Grid option on. This will enable the Grid display while you photograph your image.

Rule of Thirds will improve your composition significantly and will significantly impact the visual appeal of your image.

2. Golden spiral

The golden spiral (or Golden ratio, Fibonacci spiral or ratio) is a composition technique based on the Fibonacci series. It has been in use from ancient times in arts, sculptures, and architecture. The golden spiral technique is useful in creating beautiful and pleasing compositions in photography, as well.

Check out the below Spiral (Golden Spiral)

Image: Golden Spiral – Crab on the tree

Golden Spiral – Crab on the tree

The main object here is the crab. Hence, I have positioned the crab where the spiral converges.

Place the main object at the smallest rectangle/square. Place the secondary supporting object along with the other rectangles. Try to place the other objects on the spiral curve. The Golden Spiral composition technique will be useful for you to create eye-pleasing compositions.

3. Color wheel

Check out the basic color wheel.

Image: Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

For example – red and green or violet and yellow are opposing colors.

One of the best ways to pop up the color in your image is to look for objects with opposing colors. Also, include objects with contrasting colors.

When you include the two opposing colors in an image, the image will look beautiful. This technique you can try with common objects as well. Instead of making an image of everyday objects as it is, photograph the common objects against an opposite-colored background or surroundings.

Here is an image of Red Munia.

Image: Color Wheel – Red Munia bird against green grass

Color Wheel – Red Munia bird against green grass

I had an option to photograph the Red Munia against yellowish-white flowers, blue water of the lake, and green grass. I changed my position to photograph the Red Munia against the green grass.

Here is one more example.

Beautiful-Images-Without-an-Expensive-Camera

Color Wheel – Corynandra flower with yellow and violet color.

 

This is a close-up image of a flower.

At the center of the flower, the color is yellow, whereas the surroundings (stamens) are of violet color. Yellow and violet are the opposite colors on the color wheel. Learn more about color in our Mastering Color Series.

4. Include the foreground object

Beautiful-Images-Without-an-Expensive-Camera

Foreground object – Waterfall and the rocks.

 

Apart from the main object and background, the foreground is an essential part of the image too. Adding a foreground object will give depth to your picture – especially landscape and cityscape images.

In general, most of the images in which we click have the main object and background as a part of an image. Include the object in the foreground. It will add depth to the picture.

An image is two-dimensional. Adding an interesting foreground object will make the image feel more three-dimensional because of the depth.

In the image of a waterfall, I have included rocks in the foreground. Foreground rocks add depth to the picture. Without a foreground object, the waterfall image would have been appeared flat.

5. Patterns

Beautiful-Images-Without-an-Expensive-Camera

An image showing patterns in the rice field.

Image: Patterns of the Utricularia flowers

Patterns of the Utricularia flowers

 

In the first image, I photographed the paddy field during the rainy season. Instead of taking a general view of the rice field, I focussed on the repeating pattern of the rice field.

The second image is of the Utricularia flower, whose flowers bloom during monsoon season. I have photographed the flower from the top. There colors and shape of the flower is repeating in the pattern.

Patterns are a repetition of objects, shapes, or colors. While you are photographing outdoors, you will always find patterns.

There are two effective ways to shoot patterns

1. Photograph a uniform pattern of the objects or shapes

  • Flowers of similar shape and color
  • Historical monuments
  • Farmlands
  • Raindrops
  • People with similar uniform and position
  • Festival images
  • Wildlife moving in the herd such as Zebra, Elephant, Deers and birds

2. Photograph a uniform pattern along with the object which is breaking that pattern

  • Flowers with similar shape and colors along with the flower of different color or cactus
  • Wildlife moving in a herd with one or another different animal or animal moving in the opposite direction

Photographing a similar pattern adds uniformity to the image, whereas, an object breaking a uniform pattern makes the image dynamic.

6. Symmetry

Image: Symmetry of the Hornbills.

Symmetry of the Hornbills.

 

This image is of Malabar Pied Hornbills during the bunting season. Shown here is a male and female hornbill. I was observing the hornbills for some time before taking a photo. As soon as their beaks lined up and both of them appeared in symmetry, I pressed the shutter.

Symmetrical composition is a beautiful way to photograph an object. You can photograph symmetrical objects, reflections in the water, or symmetrical position of the object.

For symmetrical composition, you can choose the main object to be at the center. Keeping the line of symmetry at the center of the frame will make the image symmetries well-balanced.

7. Leading lines

Composition with the main object and leading lines makes for a powerful image. While photographing the main object, use a line that is directing towards it. The leading lines can be streets, compound walls, floors, stairs, trees, or any objects which form a leading line towards your main object.

Image: Leading Lines – Man walking on the road.

Leading Lines – Man walking on the road.

 

In this image, the main subject is a lonely man walking. The leading lines I have used are flowers and the road. This type of composition will have your attention as these leading lines will point your eyes towards the lonely man.

8. Negative space

Beautiful-Images-Without-an-Expensive-Camera

An example of negative Space – Sunbird

Beautiful-Images-Without-an-Expensive-Camera

Negative Space – Sitana Lizard running

 

In the first image, there is empty space in which the sunbird is looking. With the second image, there is space in the direction of the movement of the lizard.

In your images, look where the main object is moving and leave some space in that area. Alternatively, leave some space in the direction they are looking toward. This space is called negative space. Composing with negative space can make for very effective compositions.

You can apply negative space to a wide variety of images too. You can use it for portraits, wildlife, birds, automobiles, cityscapes, etc.

9. Rule of odds

Image: Rule of Odds – Three Chinkaras

Rule of Odds – Three Chinkaras

 

While you compose an image, try to include an odd number of elements in the frame. An odd number of objects can be three, five or seven, etc. With an odd number of objects, the image becomes harmonized and balanced.

On the other hand, an even quantity of objects can add a sense of comparison.

It is not a rule. Still, we perceive images with an odd number of objects as balanced as compared to that of an even number of objects.

In this image of Chinkara, instead of photographing from eye level, I shot the image from a low level. This helped to get the foreground in the picture. Three Chinkaras were moving around. I waited for some time until three of them looked in the same direction. I pressed the shutter as soon as three of them appeared.

With three Chinkaras (an odd number of objects), the image looks balanced.

10. Including the frame

Beautiful-Images-Without-an-Expensive-Camera

Frame – Spotted Deer in the forest.

 

The frame around the main subject adds depth to the image, driving the viewer’s attention towards it. The main object, along with a frame, gives perspective to the picture.

When you photograph an object, compose a frame in the foreground. Include the frame entirely or partially. Both techniques work well. Some of the frames which you can include are tree branches, forest, windows, car windows, architectural buildings, and flowers.

This deer showed up during the beautiful misty morning in the forest. With sunlight in the background, I tried to include forests in the foreground as a partial frame.

A subtle forest frame in the foreground and partially bright sunlight in the background brings this image alive!

Now it’s your turn

I hope these photography techniques will help you to create beautiful images without an expensive camera. Of course, some of these photography “rules” can be broken.

Now I would like to hear from you.

Which of the techniques are you going to try first? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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1 Year with the Fujifilm X-T3

1-year-with-the-fujifil-x-t3

It’s been just over 1 year since the Fujifilm X-T3 debuted. This popular APS-C mirrorless camera replaced the beloved X-T2, but it also added lots of video features, leading many to declare the X-T3 the best hybrid mirrorless cameras of 2019. After shooting for 1 year with the Fujifilm X-T3, I’ll share my thoughts on the camera in this article.

Why I Chose Fujifilm

Throughout my 10-year career as a professional photographer, I have always reached for a full-frame camera. During the DSLR days, I bounced between the Nikon D700 and Canon 5D Mark III.

When it came time to go mirrorless, I went with the Sony a7R III. As a concert and event photographer, I am often prohibited from using flash and always need the option to shoot at high ISOs. I also value quick, accurate autofocus. In both of those regards, the Sony a7 series made the most sense when I went mirrorless in 2018.

So how did Fujifilm get into the picture? My husband and I jumped into videography together at around the same time. He was attracted to Fujifilm for its film simulations and ergonomics that are similar to film cameras.

When the Fujifilm X-H1 came out, he jumped on it because of its superior video features, including IBIS (in-body stabilization).

As we started shooting videos together, we found it difficult to quickly and accurately match the colors of his Fujifilm to my Sony camera. Since he already had a large Fujifilm lens collection, it made sense for me to simply pick up a camera body so that we could share lenses. So the X-T3 ended up in my hands primarily as a video camera.

1 Year with the Fujifilm X-T3 - Was It Worth Buying?

Ergonomics

If you have never shot with a film camera or Fujifilm camera before, they can take some getting used to. Prior to the X-T3, I had never shot with a camera that wasn’t a full-frame DSLR. It took me a couple of weeks to get used to using the top dials to set my shutter speed and ISO. It took even longer to get accustomed to the aperture ring on the lens.

After a year with the X-T3, I am much more comfortable with its dials and settings, but I dislike the fact that I need two hands to shoot with this camera. On virtually any other DSLR or mirrorless camera, you can adjust all settings using just one hand, making it faster to shoot on the fly.

Fujifilm X-T3 one year later

X-T3 as a video camera

I intended to use the Fujifilm X-T3 primarily as a video camera. Fortunately, those features worked out perfectly, and one year later, the X-T3 is still my favorite for shooting videos.

This camera can shoot 4K video at up to 60 fps in 10-bit 4:2:0 color, and you can select a bitrate of up to 400Mbps for frame rates of 30p and below. That’s a lot of jargon, but it essentially means that the X-T3 is capable of outputting high-quality video footage.

In my experience, the video is razor-sharp, and thanks to Fujifilm film simulations, the colors look stunning straight out of the camera.

The X-T3 offers F-log recording to produce a flat video that can be color graded in post-production. However, film simulations are so good that you don’t need to color grade these videos. Saving time in editing was the main reason that drew me to Fujifilm, and I’m happy to say that it did not disappoint.

Previous Fujifilm cameras omitted essential videography features such as a headphone jack of monitoring audio. Not so with the X-T3. This camera has both a mic jack and headphone jack built into the camera, allowing you to capture high-quality audio. The only thing that this camera is sorely missing is IBIS or in-body image stabilization for capturing steady video. Thankfully, image stabilization is present in many Fujifilm X lenses, but you still need to pop the X-T3 on a gimbal to get ultra-smooth footage.

Image: Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 lens. Focal length 18mm (in 35mm: 27mm), 1/250...

Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 lens. Focal length 18mm (in 35mm: 27mm), 1/250 sec, f/6.4, ISO 320, Aperture Priority

X-T3 as a photo camera

Even though I intended to use the X-T3 for video, I inevitably used it for photography. Thanks to the relatively compact size of the camera, and the accompanying Fujifilm X-Series lenses, the Fuji X-T3 is a solid travel camera.

Also, similar to videos, photo colors look stunning straight-out-of-camera when using film simulations, and you arguably needn’t shoot in RAW to save room on your memory cards.

Autofocus (AF) is vastly improved on the X-T3. The camera offers phase-detect AF with 425 selectable AF points spanning over the entire frame. Continuous autofocus does a great job of locking onto and tracking subjects, and there is also face and eye autofocus that works well.

In continuous shooting mode, the X-T3 can shoot at up to 11 frames per second (fps) using the mechanical shutter, or 30 fps with the electronic shutter. This is a crazy fast speed that rivals top sports photography cameras.

Fujifilm X-T3 one year later

Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 lens. Focal length 18mm (in 35mm: 28mm), 1/180 sec, f/3.6, ISO 800, Aperture Priority

Wish List

I base most of my wish list features on my experiences shooting with full-frame cameras, such as the Sony a7r III, which I think pulls off these features better.

First, is autofocus.

Even though the X-T3 has much-improved autofocus, it isn’t as fast and accurate as Sony’s. Eye autofocus, in particular, is much more effective on Sony.

Second is low light performance.

On my Sony, I’m comfortable shooting at ISO 6400-8000, whereas I won’t push the X-T3 past ISO 4000. To a degree, this isn’t a fair comparison. Full-frame cameras will always shoot a cleaner image at higher ISOs, but there’s always room for improvement.

Finally, the battery life on the Fujifilm X-T3 quite frankly sucks.

I generally need 3 batteries for a full day of shooting on the X-T3, whereas a single battery will get me through 1+ days of shooting with the Sony a7r III.

I understand that increased battery life often results in a larger battery and, therefore, a larger camera, but it would still be a welcome addition. In the meantime, you can increase the battery life by using the Fujifilm battery grip, or you can charge the camera via its included USB-C port.

In Conclusion

All-in-all, you can’t go wrong with the Fujifilm X-T3. It produces incredibly sharp photos and videos with incredible colors straight out of the camera.

The camera and its accompanying lenses are compact and quite durable, especially when considering their price points, which are relatively lower when compared to other camera brands.

There are cameras out there that have better features such as autofocus, but the Fujifilm X-T3 will suit the needs of most photographers out there.

Have you used the Fujifilm X-T3? Have you spent more than 1 year with the Fujifilm X-T3? What are your thoughts? Please share them with us in the comments.

Fujifilm X-T3 one year later

Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 lens. Focal length 18mm (in 35mm: 28mm), 1/90 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2000, Aperture Priority

Fujifilm X-T3 one year later

Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 lens. Focal length 32.9mm (in 35mm: 49mm), 1/60 sec, f/3.6, ISO 2000, Aperture Priority

Fujifilm X-T3 one year later

Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujifilm XF 35mm F2 lens. Focal length 35mm (in 35mm: 53mm), 1/90 sec, f/3.2, ISO 2000, Aperture Priority

Fujifilm X-T3 one year later

Sony A7R III with Sony FE 55mm F1.8 lens. Focal length 55mm (in 35mm: 55mm), 1/60 sec, f/9, ISO 1600, Aperture Priority

 

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