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.

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

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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.

Opinion: Canon Gets Skin Tones Right Where Sony and Fujifilm Still Fail

I’m going to share with you a little bit of insight that the cinema industry has known for years but that the photo industry still sort of rejects in favor of innovation: and that’s that Canon has been getting skin tones perfectly, absolutely right for years and that they still do. I’m aware that this is going to incite a flame war amongst one base vs another but before you go any further you know should know something else. This is all my own opinion.

When I started the Phoblographer, I wanted this blog to always be transparent. When we are paid to say things, we clearly label it in order to abide by FTC laws and in order to avoid any sort of possible lawsuits. Just consider it: if you’re a business owner would you want something that you spent around 1/3rd of your life building? I’m sure you wouldn’t; and so I take that very specific and very careful designation. Long time readers have known this and in effect actually know that I’ll spend some time creating sponsored content that they enjoy if it helps me pay the server bill, rent, etc. Trolls, on the other hand, just tend to say something before they think.

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Making Images From Your Sony Camera Look Like Kodak Portra 160 NC

Something that I enjoy doing for fun is looking for a way to make my images emulate the look of film straight out of camera. Though I know that it’s never going to be perfect, I like to see just how close I can come. So recently after looking through a number of older scans of Kodak Portra 160 NC, I’ve found ways to get a look fairly close to what the older version of the film looks like. Of course, it’s again not perfect, but here’s how you can get the look from your Sony camera.

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Tips on Doing Outdoor Portraiture At Different Times of the Night or Day

Don’t listen to anyone that tells you that wonderful portraiture can’t be created during anytime of the day or night. There are great ways to shoot equally great portraits during the day or night and they don’t always involve the use of a flash. Instead, they rely more on a photographer’s ability to see and understand light. For starters, you’re going to tell you to use spot metering. Now that you’ve got that locked in, here’s how you make great portraits.

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White vs Gold Reflectors: How They Work for Portrait Photography

If you’re a natural light portrait photographer, then I simply cannot express to you how much a reflector can help you create better portraits. They’re so incredibly versatile–being able to reflect light of certain colors into a scene or even diffuse light as you see it coming into the scene. So YouTube channel Weekly Imogen decided to put together a video to show you just how reflectors work; but not just any reflectors.

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The Beginner’s Guide to Shooting Photos With a Flash and Gels

If you’ve been a strobist for a while, you’ve probably considered working with gels in some way or another. Gels are little pieces of plastic that go onto the front of your camera flash or strobe and add some sort of extra color to the output. They’re used very creatively to give a bit more pizzaz to a photo. Lots of photographers use them once they learn to understand how they work–and many of them tend to use them with multiple flashes to get unique looks that can’t really be made any other way.

So if you want to work with gels, here’s how.

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How Daylight White Balance Can Make You a Better Photographer

For the past year or so, I’ve been doing a special experiment with the way I shoot photos: I’ve been working almost exclusively with daylight white balance. Crazy, right? Especially when these days the auto white balance setting seems to do such a great job. Plus, when you consider how easy post-production is these days, it almost makes no sense. But indeed it does. Shooting a bit more restrained lets you think in a different way.

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Beginner’s Tips: Getting the Most out of Golden Hour Landscape Photography

When you’re shooting during the Golden Hour, you’ll probably see that one of the more challenging things to do is golden hour landscape photography. But, it isn’t that difficult if you just understand how light works. Modern DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are highly capable, and with a bit of know-how you can get an image that will look fantastic straight out of camera. While it’s true that most of the magic in landscape photography happens during the processing stage, here’s what you can do to get the most of the situation and process your photos less.

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Useful Photography Tip #174: How to Make a Scene Shot During the Day Look Like Night

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I’m going to let you in on some knowledge that cinematographers have known for years, but that photographers have greatly underutilized for a while–and it has to do with a simple white balance trick. The situation: let’s say you’re shooting a scene during the day or maybe sometime at dusk but you’re trying to make it look like a scene shot at night. Sometimes that’s very tough to do and at other times you simply just don’t have the time to go shooting at night.

This is a longer Useful Photography Tip, so I implore you to hit the jump for more.

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How to Shoot Golden Hour Portraits That Require Less Editing

Spring is here; it’s a time for golden hour portraits and photographers to get excited about chasing the light in the creation of the killer photo. Many photographers love shooting during the Golden Hour especially due to its ability to deliver soft, golden light and to make a person’s skin tones look fantastic. When it comes to photographing people in traditional portrait settings, there’s something much more appealing about warmer lighting situations than cooler lighting. While cooler lighting surely has its place, warmer lighting is often more flattering.

So if you want to go out there and create better golden hour photos, here’s how to do it while also spending less time in Lightroom or Capture One.

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Digital to Analog: Daylight White Balance in Various Lighting Scenarios

As more and more photographers start going from digital to analog, we wanted to teach everyone about a big part of how you not only see light, but also color. Note that most film is balanced to daylight, so if you go about shooting with it in various situations, you’ll either like the results or you won’t.

So with that said, we’ve compiled a number of images from our archives showing you how colors in a scene render when using daylight white balance. This post encompasses mostly digital photos, and you should know when you go into a film lab to get your images developed, sometimes a technician will try to “fix the images”. But you should keep this in mind regardless to get your most desired results.

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How to Make Your Images Look Sharp and Three Dimensional In Camera

One of the best things that you can do as a portrait photographer is find a way to really make your subject look like they’re popping off of the screen at your viewer (technically speaking of course!). With modern lenses it’s very simple to do, but even if you don’t have those, or the latest and greatest software, it’s still also quite possible if you just take a few careful steps.

And don’t worry, you don’t need to wait until golden hour.

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No, Your Digital Photos Do Not Look Like Film (On Paper) Here’s Why

There is something (and call this a rant as much as you want) that’s been bothering me for a while now. Photographers on Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, etc. use all these various filters and genuinely believe that their photos look like actual film. For example, there’s a Facebook group that lets its users upload digital photos that are designed to look like film. The problem here: a lack of education.

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The Absolute Most Simple Key to Creating More Film-Like Digital Photos

Quite obviously, the best way to create an image that looks like film is to shoot film to start out with; but if you don’t have a film camera or aren’t ready to take that dip yet, there is a basic fundamental principle that you should know. Lots of photographers go out there and create images that they state and truly believe looks like film. But indeed, it really doesn’t. The reason for this is because most photographers don’t understand how film works when it comes to one of the biggest parameters out there: colors.

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Getting the Best Colors in Your Portraits

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Rokinon 50mm f1.2 portraits of Asta (4 of 4)ISO 2001-1000 sec at f - 1.0

Portraiture in photography is an art involving not only compelling composition and posing, but an effective use of color. Many photographers shoot in black and white because it makes the photographer rely more on shapes, lines, contrast, etc. But when it comes to color, things get more complicated. For example, have you ever had skin tones that just weren’t really working for you or doing your subject justice?

Chances are that you probably didn’t do these color tweaks that will absolutely work for every portrait you take.

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Capture One Pro 8.2 Gives You More Advanced Control Over White Balance

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 9.42.11 AM

Today, Phase One updated their Capture One Pro software to give much more advanced controls over white balancing that we haven’t seen previously. The software lets you selectively adjust the global white balance–which is what many programs do, but they take it a step further. Phase One has an extra panel that lets you selectively choose the white balance setting of the highlights, shadows and midtones.This comes in great handy when working with mixed lighting situations but it also means that you’ve got more versatility over how your image looks in the end.

In fact, the new tool is being encouraged for use with a dual monitor setup (providing both have been calibrated the same). You can adjust the white balance color and then adjust the intensity of said white balance and how much it affects the image.

The closest thing that Adobe Lightroom 5 can do is split toning, and even then you need to balance out specifics between the shadows and highlights. Midtone control isn’t given, but perhaps we will get it in a future update.

A demo video and a list of updates to Capture One Pro 8.2 are after the jump.

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How to Create the Golden Hour Effect in Photoshop

Sunset in Photoshop

The Golden Hour is one of the most popular times to go shooting photos because of the beautiful natural glow that the sun gives off. But sometimes you and your portrait subject don’t always have the time to shoot in that time slot. Don’t worry though, photographer Emilie Whitcher has a tutorial on how you can create the look of the golden hour (specifically sunset) in Photoshop.

Now before you continue, we’re going to call it: there are bound to be commenters and smart asses saying “Or you can just shoot during the Golden Hour.” Sure, but again, you don’t always have the available time to do so due to scheduling conflicts.

Emilie shows us how using white balancing tools and a bright spot, layering, opacity, and all the works.

The video on getting the golden hour effect in Photoshop is after the jump. But also be sure to check out our tips and project ideas for golden hour photography.

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Useful Photography Tip #128: How to Get the Best White Balance of Your Image

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While you can manually white balance in the camera with the aid of something like the ExpoDisk, you might not always have the time to do so during a shooting situation. Providing that you’ve shot in RAW, you can still get a great deal of latitude in the editing process. To get the best white balance though, you should start a very neutral point. The way to do this is to start with something along the lines of what’s known as middle gray.

Start by using the eyedropper tool next to the white balance sliders in Adobe Lightroom and scrolling it over the image. You’ll need to find the pixels that are the closest to 50% in the RGB sections, which you can see as you scroll over the areas. In order to save time, try looking at the areas where the darkest blacks meet the whites in the image if that’s possible. Once you have something close, select those pixels and you’ll get something near to a neutral white balance.

From that point, you can manipulate the image to be either warmer or cooler and set your tint levels accordingly to how you want them to be.

Give it a shot. Then when you’re done with this, check out our tips on how to get better color.

The New Manual Camera App Lets You Set Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO

Manual camera app

It’s time to really rejoice! A new camera app called Manual is using new features from the latest version of iOS and the iPhone to give you fully and complete manual exposure control over the camera. The app pledges to let you choose your ISO, shutter speed and aperture accordingly–which is great for users who actually know what they’re doing when it comes to capturing images.

It doesn’t end there though–you can also adjust your white balance and focus accordingly just like with Nokia phones and other dedicated cameras. Plus, it lets you do exposure bracketing–which is something we didn’t even think of but may make lots of sense for HDR photographers or those that can’t figure out what they want from a scene.

The Manual app is available for $1.99, and will probably help to usher in a new revolution in mobile photography.

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