Jorge Quinteros: How to Make a Gig Out of Shooting for Instagram

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All images by Jorge Quinteros. Used with permission.

When I first met Jorge Quinteros, it was years ago when we both lived in Queens, NY and when I first started the Phoblographer. We met up occasionally in cafes talking about how to create better images and gear. But today, Jorge is one step closer to living the dream that most photographers only begin to aspire to. Jorge developed the skill of carefully curating his images and only posting key selects. He started putting these on Instagram and eventually was approached by brands and made well known by the popular photo sharing service itself.

We talked to Jorge about how he did this.

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The Impressive Landscape Creations of Matthew Albanese

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All photographs taken by Matthew Albanese. Used with permission.

Unlike other photographers who seek out scenes in nature to photograph, Matthew Albanese does his landscape shooting in a studio, and how he makes it possible is as impressive as his landscape images.

If you want to seek out the surreal landscapes in his awesome portfolio, out now in his book entitled “Strange Worlds,” well then good luck. The only place you’ll find them is on his table in his studio.

You see, Matthew isn’t just a photographer. He is also a special effect artist-slash-wizard who has a knack for painstakingly creating miniature sets, dioramas, if you must, of beautiful landscape scenes – from the aurora borealis-bedecked skies of the north to the rough and empty terrain of the moon and everything in between – amazingly enough, with things you’ll probably find in your own kitchens (food, spices, what have you…). What started out as a mini landscape of Mars project made out of spilled paprika blossomed into these full-blown creations that feel familiar but look out-of-this-world.

Check out some of his landscape photos after the jump, and be sure to follow him on Facebook to see more of his work.

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Destination Wedding Photography: The Checklist

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All images and Text by Amanda Long. Used with permission

Being a destination wedding photographer is on the bucket list for many budding and professional photographers alike. The industry is all about connections and referrals; once you have impressed several couples and their wedding parties, chances to be hired outside your region will have grown exponentially. If you’ve proven yourself in terms of having a unique perspective and polished craft, couples who are planning destination weddings often bring their preferred vendors along with them. The best method for success in this, and all facets of business, is preparation. Here are a few tips to help you along the way if you are newly experiencing this avenue of photography.

Editor’s Note: this post was originally published at the BorrowLenses Blog

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Dinner in NY: A Documentary Photo Project by Miho Aikawa

U Pa Mok Kha is a monk from Myanmar who cannot eat after 12 noon. Local people bring him food and after he is done, he shares the rest of the food with them. Age: 55 Time: 11:17 AM  Location: Jackson Heights, Queens

U Pa Mok Kha is a monk from Myanmar who cannot eat after 12 noon. Local people bring him food and after he is done, he shares the rest of the food with them. Age: 55 Time: 11:17 AM Location: Jackson Heights, Queens

All photographs shot by and used with permission from Miho Aikawa.

A great photo series can be predicated on even the simplest idea. Take Dinner in NY, a photo series by Japanese photographer Miho Aikawa, which shows how the last meal of the day can take on so many different forms. A city as dense and varied as New York allows for this kind of mix.

“Growing up, both of my parents had full-time jobs and it was difficult for us to spend time together,” Aikawa said of the aspect of her youth that, in part, inspired this project. 

To Aikawa, and probably many others, dinner is more than just the food in front of you. It’s what you do during that time, too, that factors into the meal, whether it’s watching television, caring for your children or catching up on emails. The meals are not necessarily at home either. In one of the images, a man is eating on his train ride home to Pleasantville, NY.

At its core, Dinner in NY offers us slices of life.

“It’s true to say that my photo project has a voyeuristic perspective and it’s one of the key elements. Dinner time is usually private and shows a part of the person’s life style,” Aikawa said.

There is as much truth in Aikawa’s project as there is in street photography. Granted, there’s a good deal of dialogue that goes on before and during the shoot, but the images look and feel genuine. And it is in these moments that we can truly get to know her subjects without meeting them.

Aikawa made a similar photo series in her native Japan titled Dinner in Tokyo, which offered far fewer chances for diversity than New York, and she found people were, on average, shier than those in NYC.

See more photos from the series after the jump, and check out Dinner in Tokyo on Miho’s website.

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Jana Cruder Captures the Beauty of Movement with Ballet Dancers and Hippie Powder

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All photographs by Jana Cruder. Used with permission.

There’s something about the beauty of motion that can only be captured in photos. In this amazing photo series, New York and Los Angeles-based photographer Jana Cruder captured the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Company in mid-movement surrounded by explosions of colored cornstarch.

Originally the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Company commissioned Cruder to take portraits of the dancers. However, after seeing the group’s ballet performance she was moved to capture the dancers’ emotions and art of motion. “It was so beautiful,” Jana recalled. “It was like dancers amongst beautiful colored light.”

“I really loved how they used colored light to sync up with the movement of the dancers’ bodies and so as a [photographer] I started to think about how I could evoke the feeling I had felt watching them falling softly,” Jana expounded.

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Review: Nikon 35mm f1.8 G ED (Nikon F Mount)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm f1.8 lead image (1 of 1)ISO 1001-40 sec at f - 4.0

Nikon released their 35mm f1.8 G ED lens earlier this year, and when it was announced it whetted the appetites of full frame lovers everywhere. Though not a direct replacement for the company’s previous lens offering, it was designed with the full frame customer in mind. We believe the 35mm focal length truly shows what the human eye sees and it is a lens that can be used for anything like street photography, wide portraits, events, weddings, candids, food, etc.

With the ability of focus as closely at 9.84 inches and housing seven aperture blades, 11 elements in 8 groups, and weighing 10.76 oz, it is a lens that will probably be on the camera of many a photographer looking to step up their game and become more serious with their craft.

And while we’re confident that this lens will satisfy most customers, we also know that later on you’ll want so much more.

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Review: Fujifilm 60mm f2.4 Macro (X series)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 60mm f2.4 review product photos (5 of 8)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 4.0

The Fujifilm 60mm f2.4 lens was one of the first that Fujifilm released when the X series system was announced. As one of the oldest in the system, it is also in the hands of many users. Marketed as a macro lens, its 90mm field of view also does a great job for portraits when needed.

Sporting a wide open aperture for f2.4 and 10 elements in 8 groups, the lens is further made better with nine aperture blades.

Sadly though, it’s very easy to deem this lens the jack of all trades and master of none.

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Creating the Photograph: Chris Aust’s “Stormy Beach”

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Creating the Photograph is an original series where we interview photographers about a photo that they shot and how it was achieved. The results are some knowledge passed on to you. Want to be featured? Email chrisgampat[at]thephoblographer[dot]com.

When we ran into the work of Chris Aust on 500px, we were intrigued and wanted to venture further into more of his portfolio. Aust is part of the growing number of photographers that are ditching the DSLR and sticking with mirrorless cameras, their creative vision, and lighting knowledge to create the best photos that he can. The 28 year old Ohio based photographer has shot fashion and portraits with a tendency to usually contrast with urban decay.

His Stormy Beach photo and the story behind it is a lesson in blending natural light with flash for all those that really wish to become a better strobist.

Here’s his story.

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This is What Happens When You Nuke Polaroids in the Microwave

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All images by Oliver Blohm. Used with permission.

Photographer Oliver Blohm had a problem. He absolutely loves instant film. But as many photographers know not only is it tough to come by but it also has its problems. The older Polaroid film used to develop fairly quickly–as does the current available stock of Fujifilm instant emulsions. But according to him, the closest thing is Impossible Project film. However, the development time can take 30-45 minutes.

That’s longer than some folks’ lunch breaks! And with that in mind, Oliver set about trying to find a way to speed up the process. By using a microwave and a shield that is based on a wet carton and glass, he discovered a procedure that ended up shortening the development time back to two or three minutes. As a result though, you also get a more or less controllable process of destroying the film material which creates unique failures, textures, shapes, burns, etc.

He calls the series Hatzfraz/Fast Food.

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Explore Literature’s Greatest Culinary Moments in Fictitious Dishes

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Finally, we’ve found a series that not just lovers of literature and foodies but also photographers will love.

New York City designer and art director Dinah Fried, clearly a devourer of books like many of us, has just released a wonderful book that photographically delves into culinary moments of some of the most beloved books in history. Aptly named Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature’s Most Memorable Meals, it’s a gorgeous coffee table book that comes with an amazing concept.

Starting as a series of five photographs back in 2012, Fictitious Dishes transformed into an amazing collection of 50 photographs that explore and recreate meals from such classics as The Secret Garden, Moby Dick, and To Kill a Mockingbird, the buffet table in The Great Gatsby, and even teatime and delectable pastries from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Swann’s Way, and On the Road. Each photograph in the book is accompanied by the quotes that stirred their creation.

It’s meticulous, well thought out, and quirky; a vibrant series that is reminiscent of Wes Anderson’s endearing movies except with edibles. Fictitious Dishes is a very inspired project that will definitely appeal as much to your taste buds as your eyes.

Get it on Amazon now and while you wait for your copy, whet your gastronomic and literary appetite with some of the photographs from the book after the jump.

Via Reviewed

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Review: Gura Gear Uinta Adventure Pack

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The Gura Gear line of camera backpacks has generated quite a fan-base since their initial Kiboko and follow-up Bataflae bags. They weren’t the first on the scene, but what they came up with was a reasonably sized backpack that could haul far more than its size would have you believe. The Uinta is the latest in their line of Adventure packs (Uinta, if you’re wondering, is the name of a mountain range in Utah, a state which also happens to be Gura Gear’s Home-Base) and it is designed to be lightweight and very nimble for quick day-hikes or outdoor shoots. The focus behind the design is a modular system, and Gura Gear was pretty excited to share this new bag with us. I’ve had a chance to spend some quality time with the Uinta Adventure Pack, and I’m here to share my thoughts. Head on past the break for our full review.

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20 Reasons to Love Your 50mm Lens

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 50mm f1.4 product photos (3 of 5)ISO 1001-125 sec at f - 4.5

The 50mm lens is a favorite amongst many photographers. However, there are some that don’t warm up to this focal length as much as others. Either way, it’s a lens that can prove to be very versatile and may probably even stay glued to your camera.

Here are just a couple of reasons why those lenses do so well.

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Five Pancake Lenses That Will Make You Drool

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer 5 Panckae article (1 of 1)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.2

Small lenses quite obviously help keep your camera package portable and lightweight. Since the mirrorless camera movement has been around, folks have been asking for small pancake primes to really make the system work towards its original intentions. But DSLRs also have great small pancakes, and if you’re looking for one, check out this list.


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Weekend Humor: Instagram Abandons Phones, Turns to Film Stock

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Weekend Humor isn’t meant to be taken seriously. So don’t. We’re serious.

Instagram has been at cruising altitude since its acquisition by Facebook nearly two years ago. With the same 16 filters and more than 150 million users, the photo sharing service is steadily approaching a plateau, if not already there. Instagram doesn’t see much in the way of updates, and it was a year ago that Willow was added to the roster. In a recent interview, Kevin Morton, one of the lead designers at Instagram, revealed that the company is developing its filters into film stock.

“We realized that of the billions and billions of photos uploaded, most of them don’t need the filters,” Morton told us over the phone. “What good is bacon in Hefe, really? And all of those selfies- God, I hate that word. Go find some college junior studying photography and eating ramen in his dorm, and give him $20 for a portrait. Tell him you’d give him more, but you need to buy more ramen.”

Morton spearheaded the effort to hire some of the best in the film business in order to facilitate the filter-to-film transition. Kodak was the first company Morton called, and upon offering a living wage, he had eight new employees, all veterans in the film business. With the designs behind the filters readily available, the film division set to making film stock  in those styles.

“We know we’ve caused a divide in the photographic world. An iPhone, something interesting, and X-Pro II does not make you a photographer,” said Morton. “You can the same effects, but now you have to learn how to use a goddamn camera since we’re striking the filters from the app.”

Instagram will remain intact, but will no longer offer any filters, which will make #nofilter moot. Morton urges users to focus on making compelling images without having to rely on pseudo film grain.

“Besides,” said Morton, “We’ve got nothing on VSCOcam anyway.”

Travis Tank on Shooting the Kumbh Mela in India

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All images by Travis Tank. Used with permission.

Most folks have trouble dedicating themselves to a photography project, but photographer Travis Tank’s story of going to India to capture portraits at the world’s largest spiritual gathering is quite incredible. The event happens every 12 years in India and is an extremely sacred one for many of the religious folks. Travis emphasizes bringing only the essentials to something like this, but as we all know, there is a lot more to creating a great photograph besides the gear.

We talked to Travis about the inspiration one gets from a new land and navigating the communication barrier.

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Review: Fujifilm 23mm f1.4 (X series)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 23mm f1.4 product images for review (3 of 8)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 4.0

Fujifilm’s 23mm f1.4 will render an equivalent of 35mm on Fujifilm’s APS-C X series cameras. As one of the classic focal lengths, this has been a lens that photographers have been asking for for a while. The lens features a minimum focusing distance of around 11 inches, 11 lens elements in 8 groups, an all metal build, a snap-back style focusing ring that lets you toggle between autofocus and manual focus, and overall just some seriously beautiful image quality.  And there is very little to complain about with this lens.

Justifying the purchase of $899 to yourself though, will be one of the toughest things to do.

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Five Lenses With Bokeh to Drool Over

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 135mm f2 review images products (6 of 7)ISO 2001-60 sec at f - 4.0

Some lenses were seemingly designed for their bokeh. While we’re positive that camera and lens manufacturers try to put a huge emphasis on how this beautiful out of focus area looking, some just do it better than others. And there is often a lot of work that goes into not only creating that wonderful bokeh but also trying to find a way to balance it with some eye-popping sharpness.

We’ve tested and used loads of lenses here on staff, and here’s a round up of some of our favorites.

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The Phoblographer’s Definitive Guide to Sigma Prime Lenses

Editor’s Note: The Phoblographer’s Sigma Prime Lens Guide was not sponsored by Sigma. It was done by the Phoblographer staff with complete Editorial credibility being kept intact.

Months and months in the making, the Phoblographer staff has been working hard to finish a guide that we’re finally proud to say is ready for release. In the past couple of years, Sigma has stated that they have improved their QC measures in manufacturing lenses and released plans for a new vision of their future products. Today, they are separated into Art, Contemporary, and Sports. As one of the leading third party manufacturers of lenses, they helped to vanquish the ideology that third party products just aren’t as good as the first party. With that in mind, we bring you our guide to Sigma’s Prime Lenses–featuring the entire list of Sigma fixed focal length glass.

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Life in Focus: Scott Markewitz on Shooting Over 400 Magazine Covers

Man road biking, Marin Headlands, California.

All photos by Scott Markewitz, used with permission.

Scott Markewitz has been a photographer with a vision for many years. He has travelled to many places shooting outdoor sports and skiing for a while. In fact, Scott has over 400 magazine covers to his name–which is quite an astonishing feat. So when we asked him what made for a great ski photo, he gave us a simple answer that was brief and to the point since he’s been thinking about it for so many years.

We managed to find some time in Scott’s busy schedule to talk to him about the industry.

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