P for Professional: What I Learned From Shooting in Program Auto

P for Professional: that’s the mantra that has been preached by photographer after photographer simply to make fun of the idea. It’s been taken so seriously that the Home Shopping Network has said it at times with complete seriousness. Though amongst the millions of us, we tend to know better. This saying is often connotated with the idea that a person shooting in P mode can’t shoot in manual mode. But looking at loads of photographers out there, a whole lot of them shoot in aperture priority or shutter priority which more or less also automates the process. The idea of shooting in P, or Program Auto, is blasphemy to so many photographers out there as a result of the photography industry’s years of marketing and ideals.

So at a certain point in time while reviewing the Canon 77D, I thought to myself that maybe I should give it a shot. In 11 years of shooting photos, I’ve honestly never used the P mode until very recently.

Continue reading…

Creating Sharper Looking Portrait Photos Using Low Key Lighting

Low key lighting in portrait photography can do one really big thing for your subject: make them pop out from the background a whole lot more. I mean, isn’t that the whole point of portraiture? To make someone stand out and be the primary subject? When combined with very specific lighting, your subject can really come across front and center so to speak. So for the most part, I want you to imagine that an actor or actress is on stage for a bit of theatre. A spotlight comes in on them and the rest of the stage isn’t lit at all. In fact, it’s incredibly dark. So more or less, you’re really just seeing your subject and nothing else. That’s how low key lighting works.

So here’s how you make it work to create better portraits.

Continue reading…

Review: Lensbaby Velvet 85mm f1.8 (Sony E Mount, Full Frame)

When the Lensbaby Velvet 85mm f1.8 was put into my hands a few months ago, I was really curious about this lens. The previous one coming in at 56mm was incredibly soft. Now, that’s all part of the charm of the Velvet series–but when it’s so soft that focus peaking sometimes won’t even work, then it can be tough to get anything in focus with the lens. But the Lensbaby Velvet 85mm f1.8 is different in a whole bunch of ways. It’s still soft wide open, but you can make that work for you in a number of ways: one of which is to work with a studio flash system.

With the announcement of the Lensbaby Velvet 85mm f1.8 available in a number of mounts, this only makes the choice of which 85mm lens to choose for the Sony camera system even more difficult.

Continue reading…

Useful Photography Tip #178: How to Get the Blade Runner Look In Your Photos

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here.

Lots of photographers everywhere tend to want what’s called the “Blade Runner” look in their images, and what they don’t realize is just how incredibly simple it is to do within the camera and not even worry about post-production at all. And guess what: it has everything to just do with white balance and the lights around you. The scenes that we’re specifically talking about happen in the cities–which are bathed in Daylight colored lighting. If you’re unaware, a flash is balanced to daylight. When you look at the lights around you too, they’ll tend to be whiter in color and output. To clarify just a bit more, think about your phone’s white light color display and how it becomes warmer at night.

Back to daylight lighting: you’ll need to find a whole lot of that. Now there are two ways that you can proceed here. With your digital camera, manually set the kelvin temperature of your camera to 3200K. That’s the color of tungsten film properly and will give off the blueish look when you’re in the presence of daylight. Alternatively, load your camera up with CineStill 800T and go shooting. For the best results, shoot at ISO 800 when you’re around really bright lights. Otherwise, feed the film more light by overexposing by around a stop or so.

How Color Affects Leading Lines in Landscape Photography

On the Phoblographer, we tend to talk a whole lot about color, black and white, and how incredibly important it is to use them effectively in your photography. We typically apply them to portraiture, but it’s also not too terrible of an idea to apply it to landscape photography. You see, in landscape photography there are a few basic rules to creating better landscapes photos and for the most part they apply to creating better color images. But when it comes to making black and white or even just creating more striking color, there are a few other techniques you may not have tried yet.

Continue reading…

Thor Vermijlen: Photographic Serenity in Urban Geometry

All images and words by Thor Vermijlen. Used with permission.

I’m Thor Vermijlen, a student from Belgium who loves photography. I recently went on a trip to Berlin. The one thing I noticed the most about the beautiful city is its diversity. This photo series is an unusual way of showing that diversity and how it can be beautiful. I photographed different beautiful windows from modern to ancient and clean to broken in different perspectives. e-mail me if you have more questions about me or the series.

Continue reading…

Film Review: Fujifilm Pro 400H (35mm and 120)

While Kodak Portra 400 has forever enjoyed the spotlight, Fujifilm Pro 400H has in some ways lived in the shadow of what’s often marketed with Kodak’s option. But in truth, Fujifilm Pro 400H has a character that is all its own–and like Portra, you either love it or you despise it. If you’re a Fujifilm X series camera user, then you’ve probably experimented with the film emulsion simulation in many ways. Most of the work online though was probably rendered in Velvia, Provia or perhaps even Acros at this point simply because it’s so darn good.

If you’re a portrait shooter that loves to step into the studio or work with off-camera lighting in one way or another, I highly suggest that you take a look at Fujifilm Pro 400H if you haven’t already.

Continue reading…

5 Tips on How to Choose a Location for Natural Light Portraiture

Shooting portraits in natural light can honestly sometimes be tougher than using a flash; but that’s considering you haven’t done any sort of scouting beforehand. However, natural light portraiture can be pretty simple if you can find a way to figure out the artistic vision parts, as the technical parts can be pretty simple too once you pay attention and carefully think about what you want.

Here are a bunch of tips on how to make the most of natural light for portraits.

Continue reading…