A year or so ago I came across a video course, “The Art of Digital Blending”, by travel photographer Jimmy McIntyre. What I learned from the course changed the way I take and edit my photos. I later reviewed the course and the changes on my blog in the article, “The Art of Digital Blending” Video Course by Jimmy McIntyre. [Read more…]
What is your camera bag? This is probably the most popular question I am asked on a daily basis. Even though we all understand that photography is all about the photographer and not equipment, gear is still the essential part of our lives.
Today I created the list of the crucial photo items that I always bring when I travel.
Last week unexpectedly Sony announced a new Alpha Mirrorless model a6500, the successor of recently released a6300.
Sony introduced some intriguing feature to a6500 such as in body stabilization and huge buffer that allows to shoot up to 300 shots. Please check this early review of a6500 by Tony Northrup.
Today I want to share with you the video I came across recently. It is a presentation of critically acclaimed travel photographer Brenda Tharp. I highly recommend it for everybody who is interested in different aspects of travel photography.
Brenda shares valuable insights into a process of creating interesting and meaningful travel photographs.
If you follow my blog, you know that I am pretty open about my editing as I reveal the processing steps for almost every photo I publish. You also probably noticed that every photo posted on this blog was edited, at some point, with at least one or two Topaz Software Labs plugins.
Not surprisingly, two of the most common questions my readers ask me about the Topaz products are: “What plugin should I incorporate in my editing workflow and when do I use it?”
Topaz Software Review or Cheat Sheet for Choosing the Right Topaz Plugin
I have to admit that Topaz Labs has one of the most confusing structures of its products. They have a total of 16 different plugins and, in most cases, their functions overlap with each other. Needless to say, it took me a long time to figure out what product to use and when.
Do not get me wrong; I love and value the Topaz Plugins, but I wish that instead of 16 products they had three or four, combining different plugins together.
But, I guess a very confusing product structure is making a very successful business model.
In order to help photographers who are just starting to use Topaz software, I have listed the plugins I use in the order of importance for my photography. [Read more…]
At the end of 2014, after shooting for a decade with Canon, I completely switched to a Sony Mirrorless.
Just before the Christmas holiday, I sold all of my Canon equipment and ordered the Sony A6000, Sony 10-18mm f/4, and Zeiss 16-70mm f/4 in one shot. I paid $2000 in total. Sony lenses are always pricy but I found that the price of the complete kit was very reasonable.
The switch surprised some of the readers on my blog, my followers and even a few of my fellow photographers.
To address these issues and explain the reasons for the switch, I wrote the blog post titled, Top Reason Why I Switched from Canon to Sony which became one the most popular articles on my site. It looks as if the topic of switching from DSL to Mirrorless is on the minds of many photographers.
I also promised to put together a full review of my new Sony gear. After six months of using my new equipment and, after taking about 10,000 photos, I am ready to give you comprehensive feedback on my experience in switching to Sony. [Read more…]
Before starting my Lightroom 6 review I want to address Lightroom 6 Upgrade issue.
Since Adobe moved their programs to Creative Cloud they channel all their marketing efforts to convince people to join Creative Cloud and embrace the subscription model. At the same time, Adobe kept a stand-alone version of Lightroom where you can pay up front and keep it forever.
Now photographers face two choices: to get Lightroom 6 Upgrade or sign up to Creative Cloud.
For me the choice was simple. When Adobe announced Creative Cloud Photography Bundle where you get Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC for $9.99 per months I did not think long. Since I use Lightroom and Photoshop together on a daily basis I jumped to Creative Cloud right away.
At the same time, I understand that some people have reservations regarding subscription model and prefer to follow Lightroom 6 Upgrade path.
The only problem is Adobe does not make it easy getting Lightroom Upgrade because they want to you switch to Creative Cloud instead.
After receiving multiple emails from frustrated readers of my blog, I decided to put together a simple step by step guide on how to get Lightroom 6 Upgrade.
Go to Adobe Lightroom product page.
Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the Lightroom product page and locate the following graphic and click Buy now > link.
A few months ago when I published the blog post, “Why Starting a Photography Blog is Crucial for any Photographer,” I did not expect that it would resonate with my readers. The post also motivated me to create a new section on my blog – “Blogging Tips For Photographers” – where I share what I learned as a blogging photographer.
After I posted more articles on the topic, I started regularly receiving blogging-related questions. One question that continues to resurface is how the SmugMug image sharing platform fits into my WordPress powered blog and how it benefits my photography business.
Today, I will address that.
SmugMug is one of the oldest photo-sharing and image hosting services on the web. Over the years, it developed an extensive set of features and services tailored to photographers of different levels from family photo enthusiasts to professional photographers from diverse fields (studio, wedding, and event photographers, etc.).
As a travel photographer and blogger, I adapted and integrated only selective features of SmugMug that are important to my specific needs pertaining to travel and blogging.
I do not use it for personal or family photography; I have Google Plus for that. I only use SmugMug for my professional activities.
Beautiful Portfolio Designs
SmugMug has a collection of the most beautiful designs for your photography website or portfolio. Each design is extremely flexible and fully customizable. It also features a design editor that allows you to create a custom design or a custom theme. Your imagination is the only limitation here.
But, in 99% of cases, the designs SmugMug provides are good enough for even the most demanding photographers and designers. [Read more…]
After 10 years of shooting with Canon, I finally switched to Sony. I say “finally” because I was contemplating the move for a long time. Many of my readers, friends and fellow photographers keep asking me why I jumped the ship.
Here is my long answer.
It all started 10 years ago. After I spent almost a year shooting with a DSLR-like Fuji camera, I realized that I had a passion for photography (check my post A Trip Down Memory Lane: Photo Which Changed My Life Ten Years Ago Today) . After spending a few nights on photography forums trying to figure out what camera to buy, I was completely confused with contradicting advice from forum “gurus”.
I am a big proponent of High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography. I shoot multiple photos with different exposures and later combine them together to create rich images with extended dynamic range. I always try to achieve natural looking images with the right balance of highlights, shadows and saturation. I use different programs and techniques to achieve the desired effect of natural looking HDR photographs.
One of the techniques I started to use is digital blending. The technique is based on combining multiple exposures in Photoshop with the help of luminosity masks. This is an easy alternative for using standalone HDR programs.
For me, there are two main advantages of using digital blending over a dedicated HDR program:
- Level of control: You no longer rely on HDR application algorithm as you control every step of the process.
- Digital noise factor: The digital blending does not introduce excessive noise to your photographs.
Recently, to improve my digital blending skills, I downloaded a copy of the video course, “The Art of Digital Blending,” by renowned travel photographer and educator, Jimmy McIntyre. After watching the course only for a few minutes, I realized that up to that point I used only 10%, at most, of potential digital blending techniques.
I’ve used Photoshop for years; actually, I started using it with version 3.0, and thought that at this point nothing could surprise me about Photoshop. But, Jimmy managed to do just that.
After watching this course twice, I realized that I could significantly improve my photography by introducing changes and modifications not only to my post-processing workflow but to my shooting techniques as well. [Read more…]