Tips for Evaluating Light for Your Photographs

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We are dependant on light to make our photographs. So, it is important to learn to evaluate the quality of light that we have to work with to determine the final look of our photographs. Identifying and recognizing the qualities of the light results in us making important decisions regarding exposure, white balance and even camera position. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you make the most of the light you have to work with whether you are photographing people, landscapes, food or abstracts.

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15 Repeated Mistakes Photographers Can Easily Avoid

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Regardless of how long we practice photography, there are some very simple and avoidable mistakes that we make. Though it may not happen as frequently as when when were novices, it usually occurs at the worst possible moment, ruining what otherwise would be a great shot. Here are a short list of common mistakes that if avoided will help ensure you come back with that great shot rather than the one that got away.

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ExpoImaging Introduces The ExpoDisc 2.0 Professional White Balance Filter

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Most of us here believe auto white balance is not your friend. We smiled when we learned Expoimaging introduced the Expodisc 2.0. We really liked the original Expodisc. The Expodisc can work with any camera with a custom white balance setting.

The Exppdisc 2.0 can meter for 18% incident exposure and has 2 levels of warming gels, which can be inserted into a recesses on the face of the ExpoDisc. The user can select for warmer skin tones in portraits. With the original version you had to purchase a second expodisc for warmer tones.

The Mount design has been improved as well with a low profile thread. Initially the Expodisc 2.0 will be released with a 77mm filter  size. This size can be used with smaller threads by holding the Expodisc in front of the lens. Smaller filters sizes will be available in the future. The best part of the news is that the newer version is cheaper. It will be priced at $49.95.

A full list of details on the ExpoDisc 2.0 can be found here.

Why Auto White Balance Isn’t Your Friend

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I know the title for this article is very strong, but in all honesty, I am not fan of automatic white balance. Though, it seems convenient and the word “automatic” holds a lot of promise, the truth is that auto white balance doesn’t deliver consistent and accurate results that work for me.

Yes, sometimes it nails it, but sometimes it doesn’t and that variance can happen even when you are shooting the same subject or scene. This is because the camera is evaluating the tones and colors that are passing through the lens and trying to determine on the fly what the best white balance should be. If there is a change in the elements in the scene, it can lead to a shift in white balance that though subtle can result in differences in color for the very same subject. This makes for a lot of work in post.

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Review: Sony A37

The Sony A37 is the company’s latest offering to the entry level crowd. Both Peter and I  had hands on time with the unit before it was even announced and in two totally different scenarios. The camera has stylistic differences from the likes of Canon and Nikon: the other two major players in this market segment. The A37 also continues Sony’s dedication to the SLT system; which removes the optical viewfinder for an electronic one and therefore also sticks with a translucent mirror.

Many Sony products are very favorably reviewed on this website. So is the A37 any different?

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Setting Your White Balance Correctly Using a White Coffee Cup Lid

While hunched over a coffee cup and mentally composing an image, I realize the light is weird. I am seeing multiple light bulbs casting different colors of light. I realize the best image result will come from my setting the white balance, but I do not have an Expodisc or a grey card available. Not all is lost however. I do have a coffee cup lid. With that, white balance can be set. I usually keep my camera on auto white balance and make note of the light to adjust things later. That way, I can get a decent white balance setting. There are many ways to set the white balance. Here are some examples.

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Color Theory, The Ricoh GXR and Saving an Impossibly Colored Image

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During the Ricoh GXR review, I shot a photo at night of a couple of flowers in my front yard. The problem is that this was shot during nighttime with no extra light besides the illumination from the orange colored street lamps. The flowers in the photo are supposed to be white, the bricks tan, and the plants themselves a healthy shade of green.

After weeks of working in Lightroom 3 on and off, I have finally rescued the image by taking my time and reassessing the reasoning behind color theory. While it looks like and seems like an easy fix, it really isn’t. Here’s how you can rescue an impossibly white balanced image; after a couple of basics.

Editor’s Note: This is a long post. So stay with us and you’ll be very well rewarded with a treasure chest of knowledge.

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Cross Processing an Image in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3

Cross Processing—it’s been all the rave for quite some time now and you’ve probably seen it all over the interwebs. Back in the film days, cross processing meant developing your film with the wrong chemicals in order to get some weird and kooky effects. In the digital age, it can be done with manipulation and understanding of color theory. Though I’m often one to go against trends myself, I’ve done this for wedding clients and they loved it. Since many readers of this site use Adobe Lightroom 3, I’m going to show you step by step and screenshot by screenshot just how to do this and without dropping hundreds of dollars on a Lomography camera and film. However, I’ll also tell you that if you haven’t tried the plastic cameras, you should do so at least once.

If you want to read more, you can read about processing the image in Photoshop Elements as well.

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Things Photo Geeks Need to Stop Bitching About

 

There are problems that photo geeks often complain about when looking at reviews of lenses, cameras, etc. You’ll read them over and over again on forums, in review comments, etc. Often, the complaints will become so great that they don’t realize that there is a solution to the problem that they’re complaining about. Here are some of those problems that photo geeks need to stop complaining about.

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Field Review: Fujifilm X100 (Day 5)

So the time has come to test the Fuji X100’s high ISO settings, neutral density filter and to explore the metering and white balance settings a bit more. We’ve already done some exhaustive testing. Not long ago, I tested it for product photography using and the light from my Visisble Dust SensorLoupe, I’ve tested the film modes, took the Fuji X100 with me to a small celebration for Cinco De Mayo with co-workers, and expolored a slew of problems: especially the metering. The day before that, I compared it to the Olympus EP-2 and was just getting a feel for it.

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Spacious Thought: Winter Landscapes (as learned from this winter)

Camera Nikon D90 Exposure 0.006 sec (1/160) Aperture f/8.0 Focal Length 44 mm ISO Speed 200

Winter can be brutal. It can also open up great landscape photography opportunities. A lot of snow gives a lot of contrast. Getting to a good location in the winter provides challenges and affects composition. With hard work and some hot coffee, great images can be created. Here are some tips to help you out.

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Field Review: Olympus EPL-2 (Day 2)

In Day 1, I got my hands dirty with the EPL-2. For the most part, it is so far living up to my expectations. The EPL-2 and I went along the street of NYC and into cafes with my friend Sal from Geek.com. And for once, I shot nothing else but JPEGs. Keep in mind that this review is being done in the viewpoint of a professional looking for a small, carry-around camera. So why JPEGs then? Less work in the end, that’s why!

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Field Review: Nikon D3100 (Day 8)

The Nikon D3100 takes great pictures but let us not forget it shoots video also. On this entry level DSLR, we get HD Video. The Nikon D3100creates 1080p video and gives decent results under ideal settings. It makes 1,920 x 1080 (Full HD) 24p (23.976fps) files by default. The camera also shoots in frames sizes down to 40 x 424 (SD) 24p (23.976fps) All modes give a maximum recording time of 10 minutes.

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10 Winter Photography Tips That Everyone Should Know

Camera Nikon D90 Exposure 30 Aperture f/29.0 Focal Length 34 mm ISO Speed 800 Lens 18.0-105.0 mm f/3.5-5.6

It is time to say hello to winter, hello to layers of clothes, snow, challenging light and earlier nights. You have to go outdoors to keep your sanity. Too much time indoors will drive you nuts. Winter is a fascinating time for photography. There are physical and mental challenges that can make things remarkable. It is a time to produce some great images. When camera settings, care, lighting, and white balance are in the snow, you have to think a little more about all of it. Continue reading…