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Chris Gampat Lauren Englebert portraits Early winter 2015 first batch (3 of 8)ISO 1001-160 sec at f - 2.8

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“Smile.”

“Come on, smile.”

The problem with this is that your portrait subject can end up giving you some sort of really awkward expression that isn’t genuine and that clearly translates into that when you take their photo.

Meet Lauren: a fantastic woman I know here in NYC that wanted her portrait taken and that gave me the very same situation. So with this, I, as a photographer, faced the problem of not only making her deliver a genuine smile but also delivering an image that looked great in the end. So here’s how I did it and how you can, too:

– Pre-focus on an area of their face (in this case I chose her right eye that is camera left, closest to the light source and also closest to the camera.

– Politely ask for a slight sliver of a smile

– When the subject states that they hate their smile, try to figure out a way to make them genuinely elicit a feeling that will render a facial expression in the direction of what you’re going for.

– When Lauren gave me an awkward smile, I very seriously yet jokingly said, “A little less awkward and terrible please.” Because she knows me, it got a genuine giggle out of her. Because I had been pre-focused, I snapped the photo at that exact same time.

Yes, Lauren knows me, but even with other people that I’ve done this method with I’ve gotten it to work. The way that you get to this to work has to do with sitting down with the person first, getting comfortable with them, understanding where they’re coming from, having an actual conversation, and most importantly getting them comfortable with you.

So what’s the overall secret? Do something on the spot that makes them elicit a facial expression or body language that you want to capture. But first, have a personable conversation and relaxation time. Have a cup of coffee with the person first and chat a bit, it makes them realize that you’re a human and not just someone with a camera.

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A 0.3MP camera is all the rage in the latest DigitalRev TV video, where they quite literally review a Barbie Doll.

No, we’re not kidding.

Kai introduces a Barbie Doll with a little DigitalRev TV shirt on and shows us how to push her buttons in just the right way. When you lift its shirt up, you see an LCD screen and the camera is on the upper portion of her back.

So how does it perform? Kai recommends buying it over a Leica M because of the quick focusing, stealth and the fact that folks may just think you’re plain crazy. But it sucks for selfies. Check out the video after the jump.

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Photographer Zack Arias is mostly a commercial and editorial photographer these days (while wanting to do personal portraits) and many of his most famous photos are on location. But he took the time to create two videos on Dedpixel to school you on using a white seamless background. The biggest rule of all is that you need more than one light typically. At least one light should hit your subject and at least one should hit the background, but the one hitting the background needs to be exposed one top more powerful than your main light.

He also shows things like how a scene can be lit light at a time. The videos are after the jump, and well worth your time to check out.

Via ISO 1200

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Phottix Indra 360 LR 2up

Phottix has been changing the strobism game a bit by offering more affordable and yet very good alternatives to many of the more expensive monolights and flashes. The Phottix Indra500 TTL started it off in the monolight game and now the Indra360 TTL is doing the same thing but with less power output–just in time for WPPI 2015. In fact, the Phottix Indra500 TTL is the winner of our Editor’s Choice award.

The light can do TTL transmission with both Canon and Nikon DSLRs with Sony coming in the future. It is also capable of high speed sync, second curtain sync, and can be triggered with any of Phottix’s radio transmitters considering that it has a radio receiver built right in.

Like the Indra500 TTL, it works with a battery pack. More specs are after the jump.

The Indra360 TTL Studio Light, Indra360 Battery Pack is scheduled to begin shipping in mid-April 2015. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $880 for a one light / battery kit. Additional configurations are $1,760 for two lights / 2 batteries plus a Phottix Odin controller; $2,570 for 3 lights / three batteries plus a Phottix Odin controller. The Indra500 TTL Studio Light, Battery Pack and AC Adapter are currently available from Phottix dealers world-wide.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (1 of 25)ISO 4001-15 sec at f - 2.8

We’ve got the Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 R LM WR lens in for review right now. When the lens was first announced, we syndicated photographer David Kai Piper’s blog post about it. Now that we’ve got it in we’re putting it through its paces.

So far: I personally am not a major fan of the way it feels. To be fair though, I say this about every single zoom lens. I’m very much a prime lens shooter and this feels like a big, chunky, Campbell’s Soup beefy type of lens that most other folks may digg if they’re into the cow. It’s a bit heavy to use with the X Pro 1, though it still feels balanced. What’s great about this lens though is that it’s got a full aperture ring like the company’s other higher end zoom optics.

As far as the image quality goes, we haven’t seen anything like this. This lens makes photos from the older sensor sing with details and quality. The bokeh could be smoother, but we’ve also only spent a number of hours with the lens as of the writing of this piece.

More product feature images and sample images are after the jump.

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julius motal the phoblographer iso 400 ep 3 mark hemmings image 05

All images used with permission by Mark Hemmings.

In this episode of ISO 400, we hear from Mark Hemmings, a travel and commercial photographer based out of St. John, Canada. A trip to Japan in 2000 proved to be a turning point for Hemmings as it caused him to realize that he wanted to be a photographer. With an old camera and several rolls of slide film, he photographed landscapes in Nagano, and before long, he transitioned to other genres of photography.

With his brother Greg, he opened up Hemmings House, a production company based out of St. John, where he serves as the Director of Photography. When he isn’t photographing commercially, he can be found somewhere around the world teaching workshops. He’s an avid mobile shooter, too, as he frequently practices street photography with his iPhone.

We previously interviewed Hemmings early last year. For his portfolio, check out his website. For his street work, see his Facebook, and for his iPhone pics, see his Instagram.

At one point in the episode, Hemmings speaks about the importance of Gertrude Käsebier’s Silhouette of a Woman/A Maiden at Prayer, a historical photograph which you can find here.

As always, our music is provided by Yuki Futami, a New York-based jazz pianist.

Sit back and enjoy this episode of ISO 400.

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