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Julius Motal the phoblographer establishing an online presence

So you’ve got a camera and you’ve been shooting for a while. When people ask, you tell them you don’t have a website, at least not yet. As with anything, it’s a work in progress, and when you finally do take your work online, you want it to be a finely crafted portfolio. What people see on your website or across any of your channels (be it Instagram, Flickr, 500px, etc.) will determine how they view you and whether or not they want to work with you. How you present yourself online matters.

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Pro Tip: Despite the fact that we all love bokeh, don't ever let it get in the way of good composition and an even better vision for the end result.

Pro Tip: Despite the fact that we all love bokeh, don’t ever let it get in the way of good composition and an even better vision for the end result.

At the moment of publishing this piece, there is a little phenomenon going around the internet. Actually, it’s a pretty big phenomenon. It’s one that has, “Broke the internet.” You know what we’re talking about. The image of Kim Kardashian’s bare butt on a magazine cover is making its rounds. And this image is the absolute perfect example for what we’re about to talk about: moment vs 100% sharpness.

The other day I was in a cafe chatting with another photographer. He was rushing out edits to a magazine and I was editing photos for a review before trying to upload them to our site. We both occasionally peered over to one another’s monitors and started a conversation about gear, which then turned into a conversation about business, editing, and imagery in general.

We talked about how crappy images are crappy images because they don’t elicit an emotion or appeal to a sense of any sort. Imagery is sensual–it’s primarily visual but a good image should be more than that. A great image of sushi for example should entice you, make you hungry, make you want some of that sushi. It should get you excited or elicit some sort of emotion. If it doesn’t elicit any emotion, it should move you in some way that appeals to the human senses or psyche.

We got to a point where we talked about one of the images and color tweaking. Then we talked a bit about sharpness, and on one of his images he said something that we’ve been preaching on this site since day 1.

“Who cares if it isn’t 100% sharp, it’s going online and will probably be no larger than 1000 pixels anyway.”

And he’s absolutely, completely right.

Who the heck cares if your image of the amazing mac and cheese that you just made isn’t 100% sharp. Is it sharp enough so that when someone looks at the image as a whole that they can see the details? If that’s the answer, then you’re golden.

Who the heck cared a single bit about looking at the image of Kim Kardashian’s rear at 100%? Was anyone really wondering if there was chromatic aberration or purple fringing or if they could see the pores? Not a single person was–and instead they cared about the entire image.

And so when someone says that an image isn’t 100% sharp, if it’s sharp enough then that’s all that matters. If your focusing is a bit off but not so much that you can’t tell, then who cares? Focus on captivating people instead with a moment.


Editor’s Note: This is the third and final part of Erwin Van Asperen’s series on why he switched from a DSLR to a mirrorless camera system. It is being syndicated with his permission. Part 1 and 2 are at the according links. 

So, this is the last part of why I switched from a DSLR to a mirrorless camera system. Again, I’d like to sum things up a bit for you, given that you already had a hard time to reading these long articles anyway:

  1. I want to take pictures
  2. I need tools for that;
  3. I don’t want the tools to get in the way of me taking pictures.

We already established quite a few considerations in Part I and Part II of this study. I needed to carefully consider what tools I needed for conveying sensory perceptions and feelings on the very moment I decide to take a shot.

Now the big question arrives:

Which mirrorless camera system do I need?

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Editor’s Note: This is a syndicated blog post from Erwin Van Asperen. We are publishing the text and images with permission. 

In my last article I wrote about the divorce of the Nikon D90 and I. I loved that camera–however, to quote Chet Baker in his rendition of the classic jazz tune Not for me, “I guess she’s not for me”.

Seriously, she was not for me because of the following reasons:

  1. Too big, bulky and heavy
  2. Too slow in terms of autofocus speed (with most cheaper Nikon lenses that is)
  3. The color rendition was too natural or too neutral

But wait, a bigtime friend and photographer of mine said all too common the wise words: “The best camera is probably the one you already own.”

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Editor’s Note: This is part one of a three part series by photographer Erwin Van Asperen. It is being published here with permission.

At least 90% of the photography content on my site was shot with my Nikon D90. I am writing about it as it still were in my possession, though as a matter of fact, I sold it just about a week ago along with its lenses.

Let me tell you about our little love story: I bought it about 5 years ago, with a little discount at a local store. Before I bought the D90 I owned a Canon Powershot A630. Great little camera, had quite a lot of nice features an adjustment options, A, P, S-modes, great image quality (as long as you kept the ISO low) and a fantastic macro mode. It really made my enthusiasm for photography grow, not to mention it showed me that my initial arrogance, the thought I would be creative enough to just go and shoot the best pictures in the world, was (of course), completely misguided. Fool.

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Pro Tip: When shooting wide open, be sure to exercise proper breathing control to ensure that you keep your subject in focus.

Pro Tip: When shooting wide open, be sure to exercise proper breathing control to ensure that you keep your subject in focus.

Taking a person’s portrait is a back and forth game. It often involves a singular back and forth connection between the photographer and the subject being photographed. In no way can you just expect someone to know what you want in a photo, so it requires a dialogue. This ability to have a dialogue, and the social connection that a photographer can have with a person, is a skill that every portrait photographer needs in order to create stunning portraits. Like in many situations in real life, it’s all about communication. Communicating with your spouse, friends, boss, coworkers, family members is key to create an understanding of any sort.

But in portraiture, one needs to realize that every portrait is a collaborative project. And getting the final results requires an open two way street.

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