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All images by XuLiu Photography. Used with permission

Trends in the wedding and engagement world have skewed more towards creative and DIY approaches vs the hyper traditional offerings that dominated for years. Alex and Betty are the photography duo behind XuLiu photography based in Boston, and focus on capturing wedding stories through a unique blend of creative documentary storytelling and artistic portraiture.

We talked to them about creating better engagement photos, the psychology of portraiture and the business side of it all.

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The art of creating high contrast black and white images has to start with what first comes out of the camera. To do that, you first need to create an image with very bright whites and with darks as dark as you can possibly get them. You’re most likely to skew one way or the other. But the biggest edits come in the post-production stage. This is where you need to work with the entire dynamic range are of the image since the colors are more or less moot due to the color scheme being removed.

So at this point you’ll need to work with four critical areas in Adobe Lightroom:

– The Blacks

– The Whites

– The Tonal Curve

– Clarity

Blacks adjust the most extreme end of the dark area while the whites do the opposite. Then you’re going to need to work with the entire space in between–which are the midtones. You can manipulate these mostly using the clarity slider for quicker adjustments but more fine tuned adjustments should be done through the tonal curves.

At that point, you’ll be playing with the settings to get a look that you want. These are the basic tools that you’ll need to get iHigh Contrast Black and White images, so go ahead and give it a shot.

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Put a camera in front of a street photographer in a given situation, and they will use it based off of the camera and lens’s specific strengths and characteristics. Yes, gear is cool–and it can help you get specific and specialized images, but it isn’t the end all be all for street photography. The most important part of taking a picture is the photographer that composes, frames, and manipulates the images to get a specific look. However, street photographers for some odd reason love to chat about gear and how amazing it is.

Yes, gear is cool. But not many people can tell which image was taken with a Leica or a Fujifilm camera. The debating back and forth along with the gearhounding is unnecessary. If I were to tell you straight up what the best camera for street photography is I would probably say the iPhone and Nexus 5. Why? Because they’re always available, have entire scenes in focus, deliver images that can easily be manipulated in a whole number of ways, and there are people who shoot with them that make their living or supplementary income from them.

With this said, there are loads and loads of street photographers that don’t accept or validate the work of many mobile shooters.

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All images by Daniel Zvereff. Used with permission.

Photographer Daniel Zvereff is always doing crazy cool documentary photo projects, but his recent travels to Jordan try to show more of the normalcy of the Middle East. “I think living in America we tend to have an altered view of life in Central Asian and Middle Eastern countries. A lot of news reports and films focus on one aspect of society in these countries that portray a violent vision of daily life.” states Daniel. “While there are absolutely terrible things happening to good people in these volatile regions there is also a lot of normalcy that goes on–People have their daily routines, worry about cell phone reception, and so on.” With Jordan, Daniel wanted to focus on a positive image of a country that while being surrounded by places with a tainted reputation has really managed to stay safe and in control.

Daniel told us that in order to blend in and get along better with the locals, he brought his skateboard. “It’s the ultimate tool to traveling the world and seeing every city/country from an insiders perspective, and just in general meeting a lot of great people.”

Daniel’s “The Valley of the Moon” is after the jump. Be sure to also check out Daniel’s Introspective and Faroe projects.

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All images by Patrick Rochon. Used with permission.

Photographer Patrick Rochon has done many awesome shoots involving LED lights, long exposures and flash. He’s done Super Chromatic, Jedi battles, and work for Red Bull. But his latest creation has to be one of the coolest that we’ve seen. It’s called Inspired Light, and was done in collaboration with Infiniti Motors. Again, Patrick is stating that the images are done in-camera with a single image and not digitally manipulated.

Weeks of measuring, mapping, planning, and trial & error apparently went into this shoot with each car took four experienced technicians four hours to rig, while the prototype took several days.

“Each QX70 has 59 feet, or 18 metres, of LED strips, carefully fixed in place.” says Patrick. “The car remained completely intact, all lighting modifications were designed to be installed & removed with out damaging anything. Power supplies and wiring were all carefully concealed in the interior, with a switch as the only visible addition.”

Patrick also states that each car has a total of 2,520 LEDs with output exceeding 30,000 lumens (the amount of visible light emitted).

When we asked about the inspiration, Patrick told the Phoblographer “I think it’s basically a new version of how I see the world. I think all of us are making light and are leaving a trace behind.
All we do and create leaves a trace of light in the universe. Even our bodies are emitting photons and that is scientifically shown to us. So the Infiniti project we call Inspired Light is there to create beautiful light in the universe.”

A video and more photos are after the jump.

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All images by Angie Candella. Used with permission

Angie Candella is a wedding photographer based in Pittsburgh and who has gained lots of recognition for her work. She’s been shooting professionally since 2008 and bring a unique and modern touch to her weddings. The trend in wedding photography for the past couple of years has moved away from the super traditional and more towards the alternative and nouveau. What Angie has that helps her so much with this is her background in fashion photography. “I go through every photo and make sure that the bride looks flawless, and that the photos look like it came out of a magazine.” says Angie.

We talked to Angie about the specifics of posing a bride–and given her fashion background, Angie has quite a different approach to it.

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