Sun-Times Photographer Details Life After Layoffs, With an iPhone

One of the 28 members of the Chicago Sun-Times photography staff now without a job, Rob Hart is cataloguing his experience via Tumblr. Hart used his iPhone to capture this screenshot of a photo of he and his wife taken by Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist John J. Kim for the Chicago Tribune.

The name of Rob Hart’s Tumblr site says it all. “Laid off from the Sun-Times” is the former Chicago Sun-Times staff photographer’s platform for sharing his experience since the newspaper cut its entire 28-person photography staff. The blog’s description also gets right to the point: “Rob Hart was replaced with a reporter with an iPhone, so he is documenting his new life with an iPhone, but with the eye of a photojournalist trained in storytelling.”

Hart has been posting images that document his life since the layoffs were announced, from the beer he drank at a tavern nearby the newspaper offices an hour afterward to the makeshift home office he’s now set up next to the dryer. Hart’s hammering home the point that each image he’s sharing has been snapped with an iPhone, the very tool that the Sun-Times is reportedly relying on reporters to use to in place of professional photographers.

“I thought it was a great way to both mock my situation and celebrate it,” Hart said when we spoke to him by phone this morning. Either way, the blog has become his storytelling outlet: “that’s what we were trained to do as photojournalists,” he said.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on DPReview Connect. We have syndicated it with permission.

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Brian Smith: The Art of Photographing People

Jeff Gordon

Brian Smith is a portrait photographer who is recognized for his unique photographs of celebrities, athletes and politicians. With his photographic roots in traditional photojournalism, his career has blossomed into a unique voice in the world of portrait photography that has been in demand in both the editorial and commercial world. You can discover more of his work by visiting his website.

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Do I Need a Model Release?

Thanko 32 LED Smartphone Flash

Do you get signed model releases?

It’s a question that I hear on a regular basis when doing a presentation on my work, which primarily revolves around street photography. It’s also a question that I hear posed to other photographers who produce similar work. The question is asked so consistently that I could set a clock by it when it comes time for the Q&A.

To my ear, the person posing the question may be curious about whether I get model releases. However, what they really want to know is whether they should be getting signed releases.

The answer to that million-dollar question is: it depends.

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Reader Letter: A Camera for My Model Daughter

Canon EOS 6D

When I first started the Phoblographer, I used to answer certain reader emails in the form of a post. Because the site grew so fast, i cut it out. But today I received a message via 500px that made me chuckle and also think to myself just how confused many consumers are. And trust me, there are tons of them. This letter came from a woman whose daughter is travelling around and who became very confused with what camera to get. Her daughter is a model, and her photographer shot with one camera but a company advised her to get another one.

So which direction does she go in?

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How to Capture Better Photos of Your Latte


Many people start and finish their days with lattes, especially in cities like New York. There are some out there who like to share their latte art experience through photography. If you take your time to think things through, and pay attention to a few details you will get good latte images every time. With latte art, you don’t have to look too hard for a simple image. However, you can make a simple image better. If we take the same shot of our lattes each time, it can get boring. The idea is to show it off and make it look good. Latte images can become so much more with a little thought and composition. The idea is to create interesting photos of things people are already familiar with. Some folks just use phones, many use cameras. Here are some tips to take better pictures either way. Continue reading…

Travis Lawton: Following Through on Your 365 Project

Travis Lawton

Travis Lawton got some press earlier on this year from Petapixel as he completed his 365 film project. Lawton is the Phoblographer’s former Technical Editor, and continues to still blog on his own accord. His project is a special one: for an entire year, he shot film photos to hone and perfect his skills. But as many of us know, sticking to a 365 project isn’t the easiest.

With a brand new baby that just came along, Travis doesn’t have very much time for anything besides work and being a dad. But we got to pick his brain about the project and honing your photographic eye.

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Life in Focus: Brian Matiash on Urban Exploring & HDR


Brian Matiash is known for meshing two of his passions together; Urban Architecture and HDR Photography. Additionally, he is the community manager for Google+’s Photos. As he is also one of F-Stop Gear’s Pro Team members, they have chosen to feature him for the second episode of their “Life in Focus” mini-series. We had a chance to chat with Brian while he had some downtime at the recent Google I/O conference. Head on past the break for our Q+A session with Brian Matiash and also be sure to check out our interview with Tim Kemple.

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Lens Comparison: Canon 35mm f2 IS vs Sigma 35mm f1.4 DG vs Canon 35mm f1.4 L

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Battle of the 35mm lenses for Canon (2 of 2)ISO 1601-200 sec at f - 2.0

The new Canon 35mm f2 IS came in for review recently and as a lover of the 35mm focal length, I wanted to see just how far Canon has come in their technological lens advancements. The new lens has IS built in: which is actually a heck of a lot more practical than you’d think if you’re an event shooter. It also remains smaller than Canon’s 35mm f1.4 L and Sigma’s 35mm f1.4 DG. They all have different prices and also have some major differentiating factors.

But which one is right for you?

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Five Low Profile Camera Bags Worth Carrying

Bag Combo

Camera bags–as photographers we have to live with them to haul our gear from shoot to shoot, or even for a simple day’s outing with a camera (or two, or five). So we have to deal with these gigantic diaper bags that proudly announce to the world that “Hey! I’m a photographer! I’ve got thousands of dollars (or whichever currency your government says you have to utilize) worth of equipment in bag, why don’t you come have a look inside?” This is something we (as photographers) have had to deal with ever since the creation of the “camera bag”. Thankfully in recent years there has been a shift in styling trends to move away from the bulky, garish and obvious designs to sleeker, no-nonsense stylish bags. Head on past the break for a look at five of my favorite low-profile camera bags.

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7 Tips for Photographing Strangers


Approaching strangers to make their photographs is something I’m often asked about. There is a lot of curiosity about how to ask someone you don’t know to make their photograph.

Some believe there is some big secret, but there actually isn’t. The biggest challenge is not about how to ask, but rather getting past one’s own fear of rejection. But in my experience the great majority of people that I approach are willing to be photographed, because they are rather flattered by the attention.

If you exhibit good positive energy and are sincere in your approach, even with little more than a warm smile and a gesture, you’ll be surprised as what can happen. Here are seven suggestions that I hope you’ll find helpful for photographing strangers.

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Photographing Big, Fluffy, Ominous Clouds with Camille Seaman


Camille Seaman is a professional photographer who also chases storms. Her work has been featured in many galleries and most recently she took to Kickstarter to fund her latest project. Camille will be doing what she loves: chasing storms and capturing them on camera in a series that she is calling, “The Big Cloud Project.”

We talked to Camille about storm chasing and the dangers of the job.

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Five Lenses for The Discerning Landscape Photographer

Morning Light ©Abram Goglanian

So you want to shoot landscape images? All you have to do is slap on a wide angle and head out, right? WRONG! There is so much more to landscape photography than the oft-overused ultra wide-angle perspective (though that certainly still has its place). I’m going to share my thoughts on landscape photography from the perspective of a full-frame Canon shooter, but please know that almost everything I’m going to tell you will apply to Nikon, Sony, and the rest. They are all great brands. Head on past the break for my thoughts on lenses for landscapes.

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Motion of the Ocean: Chatting with Surf Photographer Chris Burkard


Chris Burkard is the senior staff photographer for Surfer magazine and at the age of 26, Burkard has established himself as a known name in the surf and outdoor industries, accomplished a deep body of work, held staff and senior photographer positions and has been recognized continually for his distinct creative compositions. He also contributes regularly to various international publications and is a project photographer for Patagonia as well as several other respected brands. Chris is the recipient of many awards such as the Red Bull Illumination award amongst many others.

We were able to sit down and chat with him about his gear, shooting, and the icy cold.

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Chris Arnade: Capturing the Faces of Drug Addicts in Hunts Point

Chris Arnade, ""

Sonya: Hunts Point, Bronx. “I need to get myself into rehab and out of here but I can’t just leave. I got cats and an aquarium.”

All pictures are © by Chris Arnade and used with permission.

Chris Arnade started out as a mathematician, then became a Wall Street trader, and gave it all up a year ago to dedicate his time to photography. He’s been visiting the neighborhood of Hunts Point, New York, on a regular basis since, capturing the faces (and stories behind them) of drug addicts that live there. We had the opportunity to interview him.

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Life in Focus: Tim Kemple on Shooting in the Wildest Locations

The Phoblographer Tim Kemple Life in Focus F-Stop Gear images (5 of 5)ISO 2001-800 sec at f - 4.5

Tim Kemple is an adventure photographer who recently partnered with F-Stop gear to create a series called, “Life in Focus.” He has shot campaigns for North Face, Black Diamond, and loads of others. Tim’s work has also been featured many times by Phase One as he takes his gear out to capture vast landscapes and death-defying scenes.

In between hikes, we had some time to chat with Tim about his work and the spirit of adventure.

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This is Why Your Pictures Suck

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 VC image samples (34 of 36)ISO 4001-250 sec at f - 3.2

Dear Charlie,

You’ve asked me in evaluating your work to be brutally honest. Admittedly, it’s something that other photographers have asked for, but I’ve always been reticent about honestly fulfilling such a request. I have often perceived it as the equivalent of a wife or girlfriend asking, “Do I look fat in this?” A frank, honest answer to that question is likely not going to end well.

However, you have been insistent about receiving such concise, unrestrained and to-the-point-feedback. So, I feel inspired to share with you why your pictures suck.

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on the Candid Frame blog. We encourage you to listen to the podcast on iTunes.

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Traps That Many Aspiring Photographers Get Caught In: Part II

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Pentax WG3 review images for the site (23 of 24)ISO 10001-125 sec at f - 4.9

This is a followup to our original post about aspiring photographers getting caught in traps when they’re first starting out. The list of potential pitfalls is extensive, but some traps are quite common. These are the ones you must avoid at all cost if you want your business to thrive. Protect your career! I’ve been working full-time as a professional for over seven years. I learned the hard way. You don’t have to!

These are the traps that you must avoid.

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Five Roller Bags for the Multimedia Photographer

Ibarionex Perello Phoblographer Kata

Multimedia has changed how I shoot. It’s also changed how I market and promote my work and myself. It’s resulted in changes to my workflow including the downloading, cataloging and editing of gigabytes and terabytes of digital still and movie files.

However, one of the most practical changes has been how to carry the additional equipment I need to produce multimedia. Along with the cameras and lenses, I now have to include space for a laptop, microphones, audio recorders, XLR cables, focusing rigs, LCD monitors, AC adapters, extra batteries and more. Suddenly that spacious photo backpack that was adequate for my still work was no longer viable.

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The Cube: The Story of a 6 Foot by 6 Foot by 6 Foot Camera


How many of you have ever built a camera? And if you have, how many of you have built a really big camera? We’re not talking about your typical 8×10 format, we’re going big. One year ago prior to the publishing of this story, I interviewed Andrea Pizzini–one of the creators of the Cube. The Cube isn’t something from the Star Trek universe, but it is still a very big feat of engineering. This Cube is a camera that must be dismantled, reassembled, and that shoots positives of more than 3 feet by 3 feet.

We decided to catch up with Andrea to see how the project has been coming along.

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Four Great Gatsby Inspired Photo Shoots to Raise a Glass To


The Great Gatsby is one of the latest movie crazes this year, and part of it is all about the looks and styling–just like Mad Men. But there is a lot that goes into the creation of these scenes from the wardrobe to the actual vision and everything to the editing. We scoured the web to try to find some of the best photo shoots inspired by the movie.

And here’s what we found.

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5 Ways My Phone Improved My Photography

Ibarionex Perello Phoblographer 2 of 8

There are times when the latest, most advanced, feature-filled camera gets in the way of the very thing that it was designed for – making pictures. Surprisingly, it has little to do with the mechanics of the camera and more about the person holding it. In this case, it’s me.

I only started to be aware of this when I began shooting with my iPhone. As I increasingly used the phone to make images, I realized that I photographed in a very different way than when I shot with my HDSLR. In many ways, I was looser, more reactive. More importantly, I was having more fun.

The resulting images seemed to excite me more despite the fact that I didn’t have the benefit of interchangeable lenses, uber-resolution and a high burst rate. So, I began to think about the things that I was doing with my phone, which I could translate to my work with my “real” camera.

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