Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Subscribe to an e-mail now and then?

E-mail subscription?

If you would like to subscribe to an e-mail update from me, now and then, you now have to option.

Somewhere on the page there is a Subscribe field.

Enter your e-mail address and submit it.

What kind of updates can you expect?

Well, news from my blog, so you don't have to follow it all the time.
Whenever I update my Lightroom Workflow, I'll send out a mail!
Oh, and when I update the Quick Reference Guides, I'll also send out one!
But don't worry! You will not receive more than one a week!

Monday, November 25, 2013

[Survey] - Genders and photography

At a photoevent a few months ago, I noticed that there were a lot of male photographers and not so many female, which got me thinking; Photography is a creative 'business' and women are supposed to be more creative than men... So why so few of them?

I might be wrong, so I hope that you will take the time to answer this short survey. When I've connected enough data, I'll do a bit of digging and share the result!

Click to take the survey:

Take the survey, please!



And please; Share!

Thanks!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Adobe's Photographers Package Deal

Photographers Package?

Yup, turns out that Adobe thinks that Lightroom and Photoshop should be packaged together in this deal and boy, are they right!

Like most other Lightroom users, I use Lightroom for 95% of my workflow, depending on the job.

Just took pictures at the KWF Karate World Cup and 100% of the images were only edited in Lightroom. Also had a model-shoot and 100% of those images were edited in Photoshop. But I took 500 Karate photos and about 25 model photos, so there...!

I've always been annoyed at the price of Photoshop as I used it very rarely. Lightroom, on the other hand, has always been priced fairly considering how much I use it. But sometimes I use Photoshop... Sometimes!

I understand why Photoshops was pirated, in the amount it was (No, I didn't!), as very few amateur photographers could afford to pay the full price. Naturally this leads to creative ways of avoiding payment. By a) lowering the price and, b) switching to a subscription based model, Adobe has removed any reason for pirating the product.

So, whats the deal?

Well, until December 2., 2013 you will be able to subscribe to Lightroom AND Photoshop for a mere
$9.99 a month! Catch? Sure. You have to sign up for one year. You have 30 days of money back guarantee, if you decide it was the wrong thing to spend money on, but that is probably not going to happen.

Wait, haven't I heard about this before?
Yes and no. The deal has been on for a few months, but ONLY if you already owned Photoshop CS3 or higher, in the first place. This new deal removes that requirement and that is why it is an awesome deal.


Great! Where can I find this deal?

Right HERE (Photoshop Photography Program)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Profoto B1 - What is REALLY holding you back?

The guys and gals of Profoto announced the Profoto B1 Off-Camera flash, some days ago and had all the big guns talking about it to create a hype, which helps selling products (just look at Apple).


Sleek design!
The Profoto B1 Off-Camera flash is a studio-strobe with a build-in battery and the ability to 'talk' TTL with your camera. Really cool as it gives you a lot more bang that a (or even multiple) Speedlites, and works with excising Profoto equipment (soft-boxes, beauty-dishes and so forth).

Within a few days I saw a Mark Wallace/SnapFactory video, a Scott Kelby "Photography Tips & Tricks" video, an Adorama video (again with Mark Wallace), a Neil van Niekerk blog post, a Louis Pang blog post and lots of other slightly hyped up "reviews" of the Profoto B1 flash, some of which were talking about how this flash was going to revolutionise the flash photography business.

I put reviews in brackets as the B1 isn't available yet and I must therefore assume that the above mentioned (and more) have had theirs given to them by Profoto and therefore cannot be trusted as objective resources for unbiased reviews. Fine by me! The above mentioned instructors, photographers and bloggers are all very well respected, and I assume that they would not put their name on something that wasn't worth it!

Anyway, I found the product quite interesting and decided to research it a little more as I just got rid Profoto is a manufacturer in the Top 3 of high-end flash equipment, so naturally I was going to look at them!
Nice interface!
of my old studio flash setup, as I'm moving to another country, and therefore was in the market for new hardware. There is no doubt that

In my research process I came across the Profoto B1 Off-Camera Flash FAQ, where most of the questions I had about the new flash was answered. The again; That is the hole point of a FAQ, I guess.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a FAQ that was honest and not just some list of selling-points. All the good stuff was mentioned but also, currently, missing features! No, it currently only supports most Canon cameras; Yes, the Air Remote works with other Profoto flashes; No, it currently does not support High-Speed Sync!

WHAT! No High-Speed Sync? And that is where the tire fell off the wheel. Lots of people have been commenting on the FAQ on how they need HSS, which is fine. The blog posts actually says that they will look into it, if the demand is there. But lots of people have been saying that its the only thing that is keeping them from preordering/buying the product. The lack of HSS!

No, I have no idea why smoke and
graphics are coming out of it.
That, my dear friends, is just plain silly! Profoto already say that the hardware is not the limitation and I'm pretty sure that HSS is at the top of their list in the next firmware upgrade. So go ahead and order it! Do it now, if that is the only thing that is holding you back!

But lets be honest! It's not the lack of HSS that is the problem. It is the price-point! $1.995 for a strobe. A strobe! A as in 'singular'. One! When is the last time that the lack High-Speed Sync was a bigger problem that not having to flashes/strobes? Or even three. So lets say you'll need at least two. $3.990! As the strobes cannot be plugged into the wall, you'll probably need extra batteries at $249 a pop, making it a grand total of $4.488 for a two-strobe setup.

What is that I hear? You can get a Elinchrom Ranger Quadra kit for $2.300 and a Wifi module for $200 that lets you control your strobes from your iPhone? No, you won't get TTL, but you will be saving almost $2.000! No, there is no High Speed Sync there either, but technically that makes them comparable to the B1's.

Don't get me wrong. I think that the Profoto B1's look REALLY cool and yes; I would love to get my hands on them, HSS or not! But at that price-point... I'll gladly trip over a few cables and adjust my flash settings manually!

If any Profoto people out there are reading this. Feel free to contact me and I'll send you an address to where you can send me a complementary set of strobes! I'll gladly give a very positive review :)

After-thought; The B1's will be a Wedding photographer must-have!

Oh, and please comment! My opinion really doesn't matter that much! But your do!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Photography Quick Reference Guides - Relaunch!

In the beginning of time...

When I started having an interest in photography, I decided to buy all the gear and then I hoped that knowledge and wisdom would kinda just come to me in my sleep.
Didn't happen! So like most other people, I decided to hit the interwebs and learn from there. I did not really know the vast amount of information and knowledge was cramped into the cables of the Internet, in regards to photography. I ended up sitting in front of the screen learning instead of shooting, only to find out that I couldn't remember any tips and tricks, when I finally had the camera in my hand. Know the situation?

Quick Reference Guides to the rescue!

An example; When watching a video about shooting fireworks one day, I realised that it took 10-15 minutes for the guy doing the video, to convey 6 or 7 small tips and tricks. Not that the video wasn't very informative and interesting, but it wouldn't help me out in the field. I needed a short list of what I needed to think of, when shooting fireworks.
So I decided to make some small Quick Reference Guides, which just contained the essential information! After watching a few other videos and tutorials on fireworks, I adjusted my Quick Reference Guide so that it reflected other detailed that I had learned. Then it was tried and tested and adjusted accordingly. I ended up with a credit-card sized paper with that I could pull out whenever I needed to shoot fireworks, to remind me how to set it up. I could always adjust my setup from there and change everything, but I would have a baseline!
What about panoramas? And portraits? And... well, you name it! I decided to put a collection of Quick Reference Guides together and why not share them, while I was at it!

As always, a work in progress.

The cards are always changing, as I get smarter or want to remember more. Your input is also
important to make the Quick Reference Cards usefull for as many people as possible. As this is a relaunch of the cards, I've cleaned up and removed a few only to add them later, when they have been corrected, but I wanted to share what I have now!
Feel free to comment on the cards or suggest new ones, and I'll update them continuously.

What are you waiting for? They are free!

Go to the Photography Quick Reference Guides page of my blog and download them. It will only cost you $0, as in 'It costs FREE!'.

Updates?

Subscribe to this blog or follow me on Twitter if you want to be informed on upcoming updates!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What Could I Do Better Part I - Self Portrait


In an effort to become a better photographer, I'm putting myself up for critique. Now and then I'll post an image that I've taken and like and let you shoot it down with constructive criticism!

Self Portrait - B&W

This self portrait was taken using only the available light from a Petromax kerosene lamp (Love that lamp, but that is another story).
Hans C. Koch - B&W Self Portrait - Petromax illumination only.
Let me know how I could have made this image better.
Personal meh's are my right arm, which looks very bulky and how my clothes appear.
The comment box is open for business!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Analyze statistics from photos in Lightroom

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

Mark Twain was probably right when he uttered the phrase above, but just because people have a tendency no disbelieving statistics, doesn't mean that you can't learn from the. Especially when its your own data that is used and its just for you.
I've always been a great fan of pie charts, Venn diagrams, moving means and Delta's and when a application comes along that allows me to visualise my own data, I react by becoming a happy little numberphile.
This time its the Lightroom Plugin "Lightroom Analytics", easy to install and VERY helpful when it comes to analysing your Metadata and find patterns in your picture taking!


 

How do you see the future, oh wise Oracle?

After installing the plugin which, as it is will all Lightroom Plugins, is super simple, you select the images that you want to analyse and select the menu item "Analyze Metadata", and off it goes. It takes a bit of time to chew through the data, but not as much as you might think. My 2704 test images took about 30 seconds to process, but depending on your processing power, your mileage may vary. I'm running on an average 3 year old desktop, so it might go faster for most people.
As the plugin probably just reads the contents of the Lightroom Catalog, which I understand is some form of SQLLite, it does not need to read the data on the images, which makes it immensely faster!
When the number crunching is done, the plugin uploads your rapport to the Lightroom Analytics website and presents it to you through your friendly neighbourhood Internet browser. It even gives you an option of sharing it!

 

Give it to me!

The data is presented in a pretty straight forward manner. First part of the rapport tells you about your camera usage, flash usage, what exposure program you usually use and last, what kind of metering you normally use. My data told me that I use Aperture priority or Manual around 75% of the time and that my flash fired around 20% of the time. Also; I use my Canon 5D Mark III way more than my PowerShot G12. Absolutely nothing surprising there.

More interesting was it when I looked at the next part of the graph. Exposure Bias, Shutter Speed Usage, Aperture Usage, ISO Speed Rating and Focal Length.
Apparently I almost always underexpose slightly. Never thought of that, but that is probably not bad, as DSLR's have more detail in the shadows than in the highlights.
My Shutterspeed is mostly 1/60 or faster. Makes sense!
Aperture is usually between 2.8 and 8. Again, nothing surprising.
ISO Speed surprised me. I always feel like I'm juggling between all of the values, but apparently I shoot almost all of images in either ISO 100/200 or 800/1600. THAT was a surprise to me! My camera allows me to shrink down my ISO selections to specific ones, and it looks like I might have to play with that setting, as I apparently only use to ranges! I never would have known!

How can I use this to buy more gear?

The most interesting part of the rapport is the Lens breakdown!

I didn't even know I owned a 18-55mm... Must have borrowed somewhere. Anyway, clicking on a specific lens (in this case my 24-70mm) I get a usage rapport for that specific lens. Aperture Usage and Focal length's.
Looks like I can get rid of my 24-70mm and keep my 50mm. The majority of images shot with my 24-70mm, where in the 37-51mm range, something that my 50mm and a bit of foot-zoom could easily cover!
Looking at my 70-200mm I see something else that surprised me. 70-96mm is what I use on that! Did someone say 'Get a 85mm f/1.2'? Yup! I did! Its not ME that wants to get more gear, but clearly the statistics tells me that I need to!

Drowning in data

All the data is interesting. The report also shows information on White Balance, HSL (Hue, Saturation, Luminance) Development Adjustments, Tone Curves and lots of other information that I'm not going to get into here. For me, the data containing information on my gear usage is the most interesting but its easy to see that the development statistics could be used to see what kind of Presets you might want to make for your images.
And apparently I never applied Grain on any of my test images :)

What am I missing?

Nothing really. The plugin is free and as my grandma always told me; "Never complain, when you get something for free. Except for STD's!". I would, however, like to see that it was being developed more. It only mentions Lightroom 3 and 4 (I pulled data from Lightroom 5, so it works) and it appears that its been dead since 2012.
Also, there are way more data to crunch. Most used keywords, Landscape or portrait, time of day, location, weekends or workdays, number of star-rated and favorites and so forth.
Hopefully there will be more to come! I keep the website in my favorites and check in now and then!

Check it out here: lightroomanalytics.com

And go shoot!