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Ashley Roberts for Fault Magazine

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  • Mon, 20 Nov 2017 14:00:00 Z

    Treat yourself 2017: the ultimate holiday gift guide for that special person (you)

    2017 Treat Yourself Buying Guide

    The holidays are all about giving, so why not give back to the most important photographer in your life? That’s right, I’m talking about you.

    At this time of year there are plenty of gift guides out there geared toward buying for others, but at the end of the day, your own photographic spirit needs nurturing. Also, camera gear can be pretty pricey and no matter how much they love you, your significant other/siblings/parents/friends might not be able to spring for that $1600 item on your wish list.

    In this guide, we’ve rounded up a list of gear designed to pamper you and your creative spirit. From the ultimate pocket compacts, to nicer ways of carrying your camera, to the perfect rugged, portable hard drive – we’ve got you covered.

    Peak Design Everyday backpack, 20L black

    Peak Design Everyday backpack, 20L | $260 |

    Treat yourself to one of the most technical and well-thought-out camera backpacks on the market: the Peak Design Everyday backpack. It comes in both a 20L and 30L capacity.

    Weather-proof with plenty of ways to expand its carrying capacity including luggage straps, this bag is also real slick-looking. We're big fans of the origami-style Flex-Fold dividers used to organize the bag's interior, and we also appreciate the many interior pockets.

    DJI Mavic Pro Fly More Combo

    DJI Mavic Pro more combo | $1300|

    There are smaller, cheaper drones than the DJI Mavic Pro out there, (like the DJI Spark) but we recommend treating yourself to the Pro because it offers a great balance of portability, features and image/video quality. The Mavic Pro can shoot 12MP Raw files and 4K video and offers 27 minutes of flight time, 3-axis gimbal stabilization and can fly at up to 40 mph. It's also pretty easy to pick up and start using, especially in beginner mode, though there is a slight learning curve.

    In a sense, it's the perfect drone for the first-time-flyer, long-time-photographer who wants to shoot more than HD video or JPEGs with their drone. We recommend you spend the extra cash on the controller - using your cellphone alone provides a very limit flight range and mediocre flight experience. But there are few things better for changing up your photographic perspective than owning a flying camera.

    Affinity Photo for desktop

    Affinity Photo for desktop | $50 |

    Affinity Photo for desktop is a nifty piece of editing software that rivals Photoshop, all for a one time payment of $50.

    In our review of Affinity Photo, we found the software more than capable at handling the majority of our re-touching tasks. Editing is mostly non-destructive and there are tools for batch processing, Raw processing, tone mapping, creating panoramas and focus stacking. Plus, if you're coming from Photoshop, the learning curve is pretty shallow.

    Affinity Photo for desktop is available for both Mac and PC.

    Polaroid OneStep 2

    Polaroid OneStep2 + i-Type film pack | $146 |

    The ultimate treat yourself: Take a step back from the technical nitty-gritty of this modern digital world and try shooting just for composition – it can do wonders for your creative spirit. To get into this mindset may we suggest one of the coolest instant cameras on the market, the Polaroid OneStep2?

    The OneStep2 is a modern rebirth of the classic Polaroid OneStep. The controls on this camera are purposely limited: there's a shutter button, a flash on button and a self-timer. It shoots Polaroid i-Type film which is similar to the original Polaroid 600 film and substantially larger than the Instax film offered by Fujifilm.

    The camera itself is pretty affordable ($100), but it's the film cost that'll get you – at ~$2 a shot it'll definitely have you shooting decisively. Nothing wrong with that!

    Sandisk Extreme 500 portable SSD 500 GB

    Sandisk Extreme 500 portable SSD 500 GB | $170 |

    This tiny portable SSD drive is both drop-proof and weather-proof and it weighs less than 80g. For the traveling photographer with limited space, it's an invaluable piece of gear – one that won't fail if dropped or knocked around. It also offers super fast transfer speeds and runs cool and quiet.

    So treat yourself and your data to peace of mind and pick up what we consider to be the most sensible rugged hard drive currently on the market.

    Ricoh Theta V

    Ricoh Theta V | $430 |

    360-degree photos and videos are pretty darn cool and the technology required to make decent looking 360/VR content is finally coming down in price. Why not get in on the fun and treat yourself to one of the nicest stand-alone 360-cameras on the market in the form of the Ricoh Theta V?

    We've found found the Theta V to be both easy-to-use and capable of impressive quality stills and video. It offers 4K video capture and shoots 14MP stills. Connectivity and audio capture have both been improved over the previous model, and the camera itself has a slick, Apple-like design.

    Olympus Tough TG-5

    Olympus Tough TG-5 | $450 |

    The budget compact may be dead but the rugged compact is still very much alive. And the Olympus Tough TG-5 is a DPReview favorite. We already recommended it as a great gift option for others, but if you're into outdoor activities it'll make a great compact option alongside your main camera. In fact, DPR's Carey Rose deemed it the 'best rugged compact you can buy right now,' based on his shooting experience.

    The camera offers a 25-100mm equiv zoom lens and the body is completely sealed, making it waterproof down to 50ft, drop proof from 7ft, crush proof up to 220lb and freezeproof to 14F. It also shoots Raw and is capable of surprisingly good image quality. Other features include 4K video capture and 20 fps burst shooting.

    There's something to be said for a go-everywhere-camera that you don't have to worry about dropping, breaking or soaking. And there's none we'd recommend over the Olympus Tough TG-5. Treat yourself!

    Sony RX100 V

    Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V | $950 |

    Speaking of compacts, the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V is arguably the most advanced high-end pocket camera to ever exist, jam packed with a dizzying array of technology and features. The creme de la creme of small cameras, for many it is a want-to-have, not a need-to-have. To that we say... treat yourself!

    It's got a useful and sharp 24-70mm equiv. F1.8-2.8 zoom lens and can shoot at up to 24 fps with AF and auto exposure. Plus, it uses an impressive 315-point phase detect AF system. But that's not all: it's capable of outstanding 4K video and class-leading stills. The RX100 V also offers built-in Wi-Fi, a pop-up electronic viewfinder and a pop-up flash (read our full review).

    The RX100 V has come down a tiny bit in price since launch, but if it's still too expensive, you should consider some of the other also excellent, but more affordable RX100-series cameras.

    Fujifilm X100F

    Fujfilm X100F | $1300 |

    We've enjoyed using every camera in the Fujifilm X100-series, and the X100F is the latest and greatest iteration. A beautifully-designed, retro-looking camera, the X100F offers a fixed 35mm F2 equiv. lens and tons of direct controls.

    The X100F gains a higher-resolution 24MP sensor, an AF joystick and improved AF performance. We especially like the hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder. And unsurprisingly, we gave the X100F a gold award in our review.

    In short, we think it's among the nicest-designed compact cameras around and a great companion for travel, or documenting friends and family. So treat yourself to retro-elegance in this fixed-lens beauty.

    Canon 85mm F1.4L IS USM

    Canon 85mm F1.4L IS USM | | $1600

    If you’re going to buy a portrait lens, you might as well buy one of the nicest primes released this year. We're talking of course about Canon’s new 85mm F1.4L IS (see our sample gallery shot with it). Sharp, fast and stabilized, this lens is capably of seriously excellent image quality. It's also dust and weather-sealed and features a 9-blade aperture.

    At $1600, it's priced pretty competitively, but Sigma's stabilized 85mm F1.4 is also excellent, and somewhat cheaper at $1200.

    Nikon D850

    Nikon D850 | $3300 |

    Perhaps you already shoot Nikon, but maybe you are invested in another DSLR system, or you shoot mirrorless. Regardless of the camera your are currently shooting with, we'd urge you to take a look at the best DSLR currently on the market: the Nikon D850. As we stated in its gold award winning review...

    'Offering an impressive 45.7MP of resolution, 7fps burst shooting, full-width 4K video and a focusing system derived from the flagship D5, it looks as though Nikon's thrown just about everything they've got into the D850, and priced it well to boot. Competitors with similarly specced megapixel counts such as the Sony a7R II and Canon EOS 5Ds R may be cheaper at this point in their lifetimes, but they also fall short of the D850 in a number of ways that may make a difference in the way you shoot.'

    If that doesn't have you convinced the Nikon D850 is the ultimate treat yourself purchase, maybe our sample gallery will.

    That's all the self-gifting advice we have for you this year. We certainly don't expect you to pick up everything on our list, but hopefully there is something here that'll make you, or a special someone smile.

  • Mon, 20 Nov 2017 12:00:00 Z

    Top 10 sample galleries of the year #5: the Fujifilm X-T20

    We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and we've at last cracked the top 5 (see the other winners below). Sitting pretty in the #5 spot is a little number we like to call the Fujifilm X-T20.

    The little brother of the mighty Fujifilm X-T2, the X-T20 uses the same sensor and image processor, but packed in a smaller, lighter body. We think it's a beautifully designed mirrorless camera that is also pleasure to use – it even earned a silver award in our review.

    We've got four sample galleries left to go, and the final four represent some of our absolute favorite products launched this year. Stay tuned!

    Top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017:

    #10: Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art
    #9: Fujifilm GFX 50S
    #8: Nikon D7500
    #7: Olympus Tough TG-5
    #6: Sigma 85mm F1.4
    #5: Fujifilm X-T20
    #4: To be revealed on 11/21
    #3: To be revealed on 11/22
    #2: To be revealed on 11/23
    #1: To be revealed on 11/24

  • Sun, 19 Nov 2017 15:00:00 Z

    Retrographic: The world's most iconic black & white images brought to life in color

    There's an incredibly talented online community of colorization enthusiasts and professional retouchers who spend their free time bringing iconic black-and-white photography to life in color. You typically find their work on Facebook, Reddit, or occasionally featured on photo blogs, but we've never seen it published in any official printed capacity we'd want to display on a coffee table... until now.

    Retrographic: History's Most Exciting Images Transformed Into Living Color is a photo book released in September that any photo lover would be proud to own and display. A labor of love created alongside the aforementioned colorization enthusiasts and professional retouchers, the book is the brain-child of author, photo-curator, and Royal Photographic Society member Michael D. Carroll.

    "Through the careful selection of striking images and dedicated colorization research, Retrographic takes the reader on a visual tour of the distant past," explains Carroll. "Many of these moments are already burned into our collective memory through the power of photography as shared by people across the 190-year long Age of the Image. And now, these visual time capsules are collected together for the first time and presented in living color."

    The book contains 120 images in all, including some of the most iconic and influential in history—The Burning Monk, V-J Day in Times Square, The Wright Brothers' First Flight, and many many more. As Carroll explained to us over email, the idea was to present people with a photographic history they could more easily relate to:

    There is a tendency for people of the present to look back at history in black and white, which can be highly aesthetic in that black and white makes the subject look pleasing to many people. However, black and white can make the viewer feel detached from the subject. We hope that adding color breathes life into historical images and reconnects people to those who went before and helps us to understand and empathize with them.

    And if the colorized photos aren't enough, the book's remaining 73 pages are filled will "informational gems" and narrative, including a forward by Royal Photographic Society Ambassador Jeff Vickers.

    You can browse through a sampling of the images included in the book below, and if you want to learn more about Retrographic, visit the book's Facebook page, or pick it up for yourself on Amazon.

  • Sun, 19 Nov 2017 14:00:00 Z

    Photography gifts for every budget

    Shopping for a photographer? Whether you are one yourself or not, chances are you could use some ideas. From stocking stuffers on up, we've got some photography gift suggestions for every budget.

    2017 Holiday Gift Guide: Under $50

    2017 Holiday Gift Guide: $50-200

    2017 Holiday Gift Guide: Over $200

  • Sun, 19 Nov 2017 12:00:00 Z

    Top 10 sample galleries of the year #6: the Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art

    We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. Our #6 gallery was looked through more than 1.3 million times. So what product attracted this number of eyeballs? Why, the Sigma 85mm F1.4 DH HSM Art lens of course.

    Oh the portraits you will take! This lens is capable of outstanding image quality – read our full review and find out why we gave it a gold award. Not only that, it's one of the most affordable 85mm F1.4 lens available. So peak through our gallery and see just what all the hype is about.

    Top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017:

    #10: Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art
    #9: Fujifilm GFX 50S
    #8: Nikon D7500
    #7: Olympus Tough TG-5
    #6: Sigma 85mm F1.4
    #5: To be revealed on 11/20
    #4: To be revealed on 11/21
    #3: To be revealed on 11/22
    #2: To be revealed on 11/23
    #1: To be revealed on 11/24

Digital Photography School

  • Mon, 20 Nov 2017 13:00:00 +0000

    Tips for Aerial Photography from Small Planes and Drones

    At its heart, good photography is about showing people views of the world they would not otherwise see. That might be; places your viewers have not visited, impossible ways of seeing to the human eye such as long exposures and night photography, but most often this novelty comes in the form of a different perspective. Even familiar scenes and objects can make compelling photographic subjects if we are willing to explore them from new angles.

    Tips for Aerial Photography from Small Planes and Drones

    Aerial photography is one of my favorite ways to provide that novel perspective. I’m fortunate to spend a lot of time in small planes. My life in Alaska is full of flights in bush planes to remote places in the state. While only occasionally do I fly specifically to make aerial images, I find simply going to and from different locations provides ample opportunity.

    The second way I frequently use to access an aerial perspective is by flying drones. While both techniques get me the elevation I want, the photographic experience is very, very different. The two methods, planes and drones, require very different ways of thinking about image-making.

    Tips for Aerial Photography from Small Planes and Drones

    Here are a few tips to improve your aerial photography images, whether you are shooting from a plane or using a remote drone.


    While big passenger jets are great for getting us from one place to another quickly, they are lousy photography platforms. Sure, I’ve made some images from jet windows, but they inevitably follow the same formula. There’s an airplane wing in the foreground with some sunset or mountain beyond. It gets old. Plus the perpetually fogged or scratched windows will destroy your image quality. Except for the occasional phone snap, I rarely bother with it anymore.

    Small, single-engine planes, however, are a different story and can be an amazing platform for creative aerial photography.

    Tips for Aerial Photography from Small Planes and Drones


    Attaining a sharp image is a major challenge because airplanes are vibration-filled nightmares. Here are four things to help you improve sharpness:

    1. Use a fast shutter speed. I like anything over 1/1000th of a second.
    2. Don’t brace your lens or arms on the plane. Hold your camera and elbows free of the window. If you touch the plane, the vibrations will be transmitted straight into your camera. I tuck my arms against my sides and hold the lens an inch or so away from the window glass.
    3. Focus at infinity. I often shoot manual focus from the air and pre-set my focus point to infinity. Everything you are seeing from the air will be in focus when the lens is set to infinity, so don’t even bother with autofocus.
    4. Shoot wide open. The depth of field is not a problem from a 1000 or meters from your subject. So a take advantage of the extra shutter speed provided by your fastest f-stop.

    Lens Choices

    Tips for Aerial Photography from Small Planes and Drones

    When flying 100+ mph at low altitude, the landscape passes very quickly. If you don’t act quickly, you’ll miss the shot. That’s why I like zoom lenses for aerial photography. I can quickly compose with different focal lengths, without having to change lenses or cameras. I favor a wide to moderate zoom. A 24-105mm or similar lens is about right.


    Usually, in a small plane, you’ll be in direct communication with your pilot, who might be willing to help you out with your photography. When I’m flying over something interesting, but a wing or strut is in the way, I’ll often simply ask the pilot to tip a wing one way or another. Pilots are often happy to accommodate you.

    Tips for Aerial Photography from Small Planes and Drones

    You can also ask them to make slight turns, or even circle if there is something particularly compelling. If you’ve chartered a flight for photographic purposes, feel free to ask for what you want.

    I recommend talking to your pilot ahead of your trip to discuss what kind of images you want, and how he or she might be able to help you. If it is a photography-specific flight, you may even be able to remove windows or doors from the plane.

    Tips for Aerial Photography from Small Planes and Drones

    Remember your pilot is the final judge of what is acceptable in terms of safety and time. If they say they can’t do something, they can’t. Don’t push them into something with which they aren’t comfortable.


    There are almost as many ways to shoot from an airplane as there are from the ground so any discussion of composition runs the risk of leading us deep into the photographic weeds. However, the general rules of landscape photography still apply. Remember depth, foregrounds, and the way lines connect the image.

    Tips for Aerial Photography from Small Planes and Drones

    Some shots from the air could be details of the landscape below, but more often they will be sweeping landscapes. I like to place elements in the frame that guide the eye through; a river, a mountain valley, or a highlight like a lake or patch of colorful ground.

    The altitude at which you are flying will also dictate your options. When making aerial images of mountain environments (my usual subject) I prefer the plane to be below the level of the surrounding peaks. This perspective still provides a sense of grandeur, while maintaining the unique aerial perspective. Ask your pilot if you can fly lower or higher, and they may be able to help you out if conditions are safe.

    Tips for Aerial Photography from Small Planes and Drones


    Flying a remote copter or drone is a very different experience from being up high yourself. There are advantages, but also some drawbacks.

    First the drawbacks. Most consumer grade drones limit you to one focal length. Without the ability to zoom or change lenses, most drone shots tend to have the same wide-angle look. To change the scene, you’ve got to move the drone. Drones also have limited ranges, elevation capabilities, and at times, limiting regulations.

    Tips for Aerial Photography from Small Planes and Drones

    Some locations, like national parks in the United States (and many other countries) are off-limits for drones. Range limitations also mean that you have to get yourself close to your desired subject. So if you want to make images of some remote, or difficult to access location, you’ll still have to do it on the ground.

    The advantages, however, are many. Cost is a big one. For the price of a couple hours charter of a small plane, you can buy a decent drone, literally. Flexibility is another. If you want to go make some aerial photos, you simply do it, no waiting around for a pilot or plane charter. If the light is right, you just go fly.

    The biggest advantage for me, though, is composition flexibility. You can create an image from a few meters off the ground, to a couple hundred. You can also spend the time necessary to get the composition right. The drone sits still when you want it to, or you can adjust to your heart’s desire.


    I like to fly my drone fairly low. I find the combination of altitude and wide angle lenses make everything look less dramatic and smaller if I’m flying too high. 20-30 meters off the ground is probably my favorite height, but of course, it varies on where I’m flying and the image I’m creating.

    Remember to take advantage of the many camera angles drones allow. Shooting straight down is almost impossible from a plane. But with a drone, it’s as easy as angling your camera.

    Playing with lines and patterns is a drone specialty, so take advantage of the way the world looks from above. Play with dividing your images into parts using the natural variations in the landscape. Trees from above, for example, create a starburst pattern, not a typical way humans see a forest!

    Tips for Aerial Photography from Small Planes and Drones

    The flexibility provided by drones is extraordinary. Don’t be afraid to experiment with aerial images of places a plane could never fly.

    Drone Warning

    Follow the rules! Flying a drone in a dangerous area like around airports, or at the scene of an emergency is not only irresponsible it can be life-threatening. Be aware of the laws surrounding drones, and fly only in areas where it is allowed, and at permitted elevations.

    Lastly, be respectful of others. Don’t fly over private property if you don’t have permission, and be aware of how your flight is impacting the experience of others. Simply put, don’t be a jerk.

    Tips for Aerial Photography from Small Planes and Drones


    Aerial photography is a gateway to new ways of seeing. Whether you are shooting from the passenger seat of a Cessna or from your phone screen using a drone, there are abundant opportunities to make new and exciting images. Explore it and share with me what you make!

    The post Tips for Aerial Photography from Small Planes and Drones by David Shaw appeared first on Digital Photography School.

  • Sun, 19 Nov 2017 18:00:00 +0000

    How to Use Framing in an Urban Environment

    Photographers have long developed different classifications to pair with the design and execution of a photograph – lines, shape, texture, light, framing, contrast, just to name a few. For example, leading lines appeal to a viewer’s natural tenancy to trace line into a photograph. Sharp lines are used to grab attention and organic lines create a peaceful atmosphere.

    Other composition techniques like the Rule of Thirds require a photographer to mentally break down an image to evaluate balance. Low and high perspective alter the way a viewer sees the world and symmetrical/asymmetrical elements highlights the quirky beauty of life. The technique we’ll have a quick look in this article, demonstrates the power of framing, especially in an urban environment.

    How to Use Framing in an Urban Environment

    What is framing?

    Framing in photography creates a self-contained image, like a photo-within-a-photo effect. As photographers, we are used to seeing the world through the frame of a viewfinder. We constantly evaluate what we’ll keep in an image and what we’ll exclude. We deliberately apply perspective, aim, zoom and positioning techniques to construct our photographs – sometimes without even noticing.

    By cradling the subject in a balance of space and line, a frame is created, not dissimilar to the photo frames you’d find on your shelf at home.  Essentially, you are crafting a frame within a frame to deliberately bring focus to a subject, adding narrative and the unique experience of voyeurism that photography affords.

    How to Use Framing in an Urban Environment

    How do I frame a photograph?

    For such an effective technique, framing has plenty to offer. It makes use of strong design skills, adding an extra layer to an image to create more depth.  Framing can also be used to obscure more mundane areas of a scene, boosting the efficacy of a photograph when viewed by others.

    Composing an image by making use of framing is fairly straightforward. Start out searching for windows and doors as they are the most abundant frames in an urban environment. You’ll find that windows and doors, when photographed, contain their own little ecosystem within the one image. This is great for capitalizing on both content and narrative, almost like reading a window in a comic strip!

    Frame shapes

    Square or rectangular frames are probably the first things that leap to mind when someone considers framing. Doorways and windows are a great way for emphasizing a subject or depth, but they are not the only options and framing is not limited to squares or rectangles.

    The image below proves how versatile the urban environment can be for artificial framing. The image was taken from the floor of a train station, lens pointed to the floor above. The darkness of the building structure is silhouetted against the blue sky, forming a crescent shape. The frame draws attention to the contrast of the architecture against the sky but also cradles the form of a human passing by.

    How to Use Framing in an Urban Environment

    How to Use Framing in an Urban Environment

    This photo was taken by chance in a late night shopping district. The framing of the man emphasizes his presence but also isolates him from the rest of the landscape.

    How to Use Framing in an Urban Environment

    For this image, I aimed to align a gap in the cage with the cat’s face. The slight distortion caused by the lens draws the center square closer to the viewer’s eye. Framing isn’t always a split-second discovery, taking the time to assess a situation and respond creatively can be just as effective as shooting from the hip.

    How to Use Framing in an Urban Environment

    Shattered windows in rundown urban landscapes offer beautifully detailed landscapes complemented by an informed framing technique.

    Keep it real

    Framing can be really effective for highlighting specific areas of a photograph. However, it’s important to keep in mind that not every photograph needs framing. Some images are much more effective when they stand alone. Like most photography, you need to be versatile and trust your instincts.

    While lining up a perfect shot through a fence can be effective, make sure to be aware of your surroundings too. Don’t focus so heavily on framing that you sacrifice other photographic opportunities. You don’t need to force a frame on an image, so don’t overthink it. You want natural images that are enhanced by a frame, not poor images that require a frame to garner interest.

    Just stay open to the idea of framing and gather enough experience to recognize a framing opportunity when one presents itself. This way, opportunities tend to reveal themselves rather than you having to force them out of hiding.

    How to Use Framing in an Urban Environment

    How to Use Framing in an Urban Environment

    The branches of these trees act as a natural frame, sectioning up the image to draw attraction to the cute little bunnies within.

    The post How to Use Framing in an Urban Environment by Megan Kennedy appeared first on Digital Photography School.

  • Sun, 19 Nov 2017 13:00:00 +0000

    Full Frame or APS-C for Wildlife Photography – Which is Best?

    Choosing between a full frame or cropped sensor camera for wildlife photography can be a tough decision. Both options offer their own benefits, so choosing between the two can cause quite the headache. Lots of photographers have their opinions, but choosing what’s right for your own use will largely come down to your personal style of shooting. So let’s break it down.

    FX full frame and APS-C - Full Frame or APS-C for Wildlife Photography - Which is Best?

    The Basics

    Most modern camera companies use either full frame or APS-C (crop) type sensors in their DSLR (and mirrorless) cameras. The former is often classed as the professional standard, with the sensor size being a close replica to that of a 35mm film negative.

    APS-C on the other hand, is roughly two thirds the size of a full frame sensor, resulting in the field of view being multiplied by a factor of 1.5-1.6x that of a standard full frame model. These sensors feature mostly in the lower tiered offerings by camera companies, with the chips being less expensive to produce.

    Full Frame or APS-C for Wildlife Photography - Which is Best?

    Working with APS-C means you can travel lighter.

    Crop Factor

    For APS-C models one of the largest benefits for wildlife photographers is that of the additional crop factor. The 1.5-1.6x magnification of your optics can be hugely beneficial when working out in the field, trying to photograph small birds or distant wildlife.

    The crop factor also allows you to get a similar angle of view with a far smaller lens, helping to reduce the gear you need to carry while still giving you great telephoto reach. This is something a lot of photographers find as a huge benefit, as they can minimize the size and weight of the gear they need to carry out into the field.

    For example, a 70-200mm lens on a 1.5x crop-factor body gives you the equivalent of a 105-300mm lens. A perfect compact wildlife setup.

    APS-c cameras crop factor can be a great benefit for wildlife photography - Full Frame or APS-C for Wildlife Photography - Which is Best?

    APS-C cameras crop factor can be a great benefit for wildlife photography.

    ISO Sensitivity

    One of the large benefits of a full frame camera is that of better image quality when shooting at high ISO. The larger sensor means in the individual pixels (and light sensitive photo sites) are larger than those on an APS-C type camera. This means as a general rule they are more sensitive to light, allowing cleaner noise-free images at high ISO settings, something that is fabulous when trying to work and photograph wildlife in low light conditions.

    Now with modern sensor advances, APS-C models of the past few years have come up leaps and bounds in terms of ISO performance – easily being useable to ISO 6,400. But, if low light usability is key for the subjects you’re working with, a full frame camera is still king.

    Full Frame or APS-C for Wildlife Photography - Which is Best?

    APS-C cameras can still make great results at a high ISO.

    Depth of Field

    When comparing that of full frame sensors with APS-C models, one extra thing to consider is the depth of field characteristics and how areas are rendered out of focus.

    With the smaller sensor in APS-C models, they give the effect of having a larger depth of field at equivalent apertures when compared to a full frame camera. This means that if you are going after images that render clean bokeh and have a very restricted depth of field to isolate and direct your viewer’s attention to your subject, a full frame model will be better suited.

    Full Frame or APS-C for Wildlife Photography - Which is Best?

    Full frame cameras are great for shallow depth of field effects.

    Of course, if you do a large amount of macro work and want to maximize the depth then an APS-C camera might be right up your alley.


    In the past few years, technology has advanced in resolution steadily, with cameras being introduced that have high 36-42 megapixel sensors. For the most part, ultra high-res sensors have been used in the realms of advertising and commercial photography for years. But of course, now having been brought into DSLRs they offer photographers more flexibility.

    The high resolutions models are mainly full frame sensors, as packing huge numbers of pixels onto small sensors can heavily impact their quality. The FX models that have high resolution offer a unique advantage, as they make the most of the benefits of full frame models, yet offer the ability to crop heavily to replicate the crop factor of those advanced APS-C DSLRs.

    Often a disadvantage is that these high-resolution cameras are slower in terms of frames per second, due to internal data writing limitations. But this is advancing all the time, especially with new forms of storage media offering faster write times.


    Full Frame or APS-C for Wildlife Photography - Which is Best?

    High megapixel full frame cameras offer great all-around performance.

    The full frame camera with a high-resolution sensor can be somewhat of a perfect compromise for those wanting the ISO performance and bokeh rendering benefits of full frame, combined with the ability to crop. Providing, of course, that they aren’t to hung up on needing blazing fast frame per second shooting rates.


    One factor that always plays a part when looking to buy new gear is that of cost. Full frame bodies by their nature are more expensive, with the chips inside being harder to engineer and more expensive to produce. APS-C cameras are often found at lower price points, but this depends on the body design and extra features such as speed, construction, and technologies implemented.

    Some full spec APS-C cameras are significantly more expensive than full frame models due to the advanced autofocus features, frame rates, and build quality.

    So what to choose?

    For wildlife photography, it largely depends on your target subjects.

    If you love photographing birds and small creatures, a high-end APS-C body that combines the crop factor with speed will serve you well. The crop factor is also a huge benefit if you want to get a longer telephoto reach without having to shell out for ultra-expensive super telephoto lenses. Meaning you can have a small set up that offers a good compromise for most situations.

    If you want to truly get the best performance and quality, full frame models are where to look. The high-resolution sensors and excellent low light performance make for great image quality. However, of course, you’ll also need to invest in the best optics to make the most of them.

    These are both costly and a large burden to carry around. However, if you want the best quality imaginable that’s what it takes. For those starting out investing, an APS-C model would be my recommendation. Save your funds to buy decent quality lenses, as these will largely make more of a difference to your images than a single stop of ISO or a slightly higher resolution sensor.

    The post Full Frame or APS-C for Wildlife Photography – Which is Best? by Tom Mason appeared first on Digital Photography School.

  • Sat, 18 Nov 2017 18:00:00 +0000

    How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish

    I love travel portraits. Not only do they test your photography skills but also challenge you to interact with people in unfamiliar environments. The end result directly reflects your subject’s personality along with your ability to make them feel at ease, read the light, select optimal settings, and compose a great shot.

    How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish:

    A boy named Ashim and his father at Dasaswamedh Ghat – Varanasi, India.

    Every photographer has a slightly different approach, which evolves with every new person you meet and country you visit. Join me as I walk you through an encounter from start to finish and share tips on how to shoot engaging travel portraits.

    1 – Approach the person and get permission

    As a photographer, it’s up to you to develop your own code of ethics. However, I implore you to seek permission and not just stick a camera in someone’s face. The initial approach can often be the hardest part; taking the shot is comparatively easy.

    Aim for a consensual, mutually enjoyable exchange from which you can both walk away with a happy story to tell. Be open, smile, and pay people compliments.

    How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish:

    Boy monks at Rumtek Monastery – Sikkim, India. I kept my camera at my side, introduced myself, and asked their names. Their answers made me regret leaving my notebook in the car (Sikkimese names are notoriously long). They wanted to talk about soccer. When I asked for a photo, the boy on the right jumped and said “I know a good place. Follow me!” It was a fun encounter and their personalities shone through in the pictures because they’d had a chance to chat about their favorite topic.

    If it’s a firm no, you can smile warmly, tell them it’s absolutely fine, and ask them if they would like to see photos you’ve taken of the local area. This way, you can both still walk away having had a pleasant experience, and sometimes, they even change their mind.

    2 – Communicate for a meaningful experience

    Your challenge now is to make your subject feel at ease. The best portraits come when people are relaxed and open to you. Most crucially, don’t rush the photo, say goodbye, and walk away. Show genuine interest in their lives.

    Ask questions if you can speak a mutual language. If not, remember that much of your intentions and warmth can be communicated through body language, facial expressions, and gestures.

    How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish:

    Ba-An, an 81-year-old lady, in front of the Banaue rice terraces – Luzon, Philippines. I will remember Ba-An because I had the longest and most interesting conversation I’ve had with anyone before taking their portrait. “These? They’re chicken feathers,” she said when I asked about her headdress. “Sometimes I tell people it is tradition, but really, we just started doing it a few years ago!”

    3 – Read the light and use it to your advantage

    With permission granted and your subject warming to you, the next step is reading the light. Whether it’s day or night, look at the lighting conditions around you. Consider asking your subject to turn their body or move completely to seek the best light.

    How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish:

    While waiting for a Hindu ceremony to begin, this gentleman wobbled his head enthusiastically and motioned towards my camera – Varanasi, India. Sometimes, as in this situation, when people see you photographing others in a respectful manner, they may prompt you to take their portrait. I asked him to turn so that the light from a spotlight would be cast across his face at a less harsh angle.

    4 – Select your settings

    Ideally, you have a fixed focal length (prime) lens with a wide aperture attached to your camera body. However, if you’re traveling, you may have an all-purpose zoom lens attached. I like portraits that I’ve taken with both types.

    With my fixed focal lens, I often shoot portraits at f/2.8 or slightly above. If you shoot any wider, the focal plane can be so thin that you risk your subject’s eyes being in focus but having their nose out of focus. For a zoom lens, I recommend selecting your widest aperture but standing further away from your subject. Zooming in on their face will accentuate the shallow depth of field effect that works so well for portraits.

    How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish

    A Muslim traveler at Haji Ali Dargah, an Islamic shrine off the coast of Mumbai – India. My settings and lens for this portrait were f/2.8 | 1/1600th | ISO 160 | Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art lens. The fast shutter speed allowed by using f/2.8 picked out fine details on the man’s face. Such a fast shutter wasn’t necessary for this level of sharpness but it was an extremely bright day in Mumbai.

    For engaging portraits, the most important element requiring sharp focus is the eyes. I suggest setting your camera to spot focus on the center AF point. Next, aim the center point at one of your subject’s eyes. Use the focus and recompose method or even better – the back button focus method to lock in on the eyes. This will ensure they’re in sharp focus in the finished photo.

    5 – Choose a strong composition

    Numerous compositions can work for portraits. The rule of thirds can work incredibly well but try not to wear it out or all your travel portraits will look the same.

    Another one to try is placing one of your subject’s eyes directly in the center of the frame; a study proved that portraits composed this way appeal to viewers on a subconscious level. I promise I’m not making that up. This can be applied in portrait or landscape orientation.

    A general rule exists in travel portraiture that you shouldn’t place your subject directly in the center of the frame; however, rules are made to be broken sometimes.

    How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish

    As I stood taking pictures of the Banaue rice terraces, I heard a frail voice saying “Photo? Who is taking a photo?” It belonged to a 96-year-old woman named Bah Gu-An. She was completely blind. I wasn’t sure how to communicate as I normally would for a portrait so took her hands in mine to let her know I was there. Her friends translated back and forth for us. I decided on a rule of thirds composition because I felt the blue umbrella added extra visual interest and balance to the frame.

    6 – Come down to their eye level

    Try not to stand above your subject if they are sitting. This is intimidating and works against your goal to relax them. Positive psychological things happen when you come down to someone’s eye level. Take a look at the example below.

    How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish

    A Hindu holy man on a tiny island in the Brahmaputra River – Assam, India. This is not a touristy location in India so he is the real deal. I sat down on the step to receive a blessing. Accompanied by mystical chanting, I drank some lukewarm tea of unknown provenance, had air blown all over my face, and ash spread across my forehead. We chatted after and I felt in no rush to suggest a portrait. It was a fascinating experience. What do you think when you look at his facial expression – Is the time spent together palpable?

    7 – Shoot different styles of portrait

    Posed versus candid portraits

    Posed refers to approaching a person and asking them to sit for a portrait, whereas candid portraits refer to catching a person in an unguarded moment. This doesn’t have to mean without permission.

    For the image below, I’d already gained this lady’s trust and permission but waited until she’d forgotten that I was there to continue shooting. Later, I showed her all of the photos, which she seemed happy with.

    How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish

    A devotee watches the nightly Ganga Aarti ceremony – Varanasi, India. This image could be called a candid environmental portrait.

    Headshot versus environmental portraits

    A headshot refers to filling the frame with your subject’s face. The background is not important for setting the scene, although you might consider finding one of a complementary color to your subject’s clothing, skin tone, or eye color. Environmental portraits are zoomed out to allow your subject’s surroundings into the frame to add to their story.

    8 – Shoot a series with the same subject

    When you have someone’s permission and have bonded with them, consider staying with them a while and shooting a series of images. This is what I did when I met one man in the Philippines recently. I directed him gently for a series of shots after telling him how interested people would be to learn about his culture. He was happy to oblige.

    How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish

    I would have kicked myself if I’d walked away without getting a side profile shot of this man and his headdress that featured the real heads of a long-dead bird and monkey.

    How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish

    I decided to fill the frame here to draw attention to his excellent smile, patterned clothes, and monkey headdress.

    9 – Always remember aftercare

    Aftercare means bringing the encounter to a close in the best possible manner. I believe an extra layer exists as to why the verb is to “take” a portrait. You are taking something from them, but what are you giving in return?

    Make sure you show the person their image on the back of your camera, pay them a compliment, and thank them sincerely. So much joy can come from this simple act.

    How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish

    A man named Ibrahim at the Haji Ali Dargah, Mumbai. As we sat together cross-legged on the ground enthusiastically shaking hands at the side of a busy walkway, I could tell from his reaction and those of passersby that this wasn’t a common occurrence. The overall encounter lingered with me for the rest of the day, and I sincerely hope that Ibrahim remembers it fondly too.


    I want to know your best advice for shooting travel portraits and see the images you’re most proud of. Be sure to share them in the comments section below.

    The post How to Shoot Engaging Travel Portraits from Start to Finish by Ben McKechnie appeared first on Digital Photography School.

  • Sat, 18 Nov 2017 13:00:00 +0000

    How to Understand Pixels, Resolution, and Resize Your in Photoshop Correctly

    Size, resolution, and formats… What do pixels have to do with it?

    Do you buy your camera based on its number of megapixels? Are you having problems sharing your photos online? Does your print look low quality even if it looks great on the screen? There seems to be a lot of confusion between pixels and bytes (image size and file size), quality and quantity, size, and resolution.

    So let’s review some basics to make your life easier, your workflow more efficient, and your images the correct size for the intended usage.

    How to Understand Pixels, Resolution, and Resize Your in Photoshop Correctly

    This image is sized to 750×500 pixels at 72 dpi, saved as a compressed JPG which is 174kb. Let’s look at what all that means.

    Is resolution the same as size?

    One of the biggest misunderstandings comes from the concept of resolution. If this is your case, believe me you’re not alone.

    The problem is that resolution can refer to many things, two of them relate to the problem at hand. Further on I’ll explain these two resolution concepts, however, they have one thing in common that I need to clarify first. They both have to do with pixels.

    You’ve probably heard a lot about pixels, at least when you bought your camera. This is one of the most available and “valued” specs on the market so I’ll start there.

    What is a pixel?

    A digital photo is not one non-dividable thing. If you zoom in far enough you’ll see that your image is like a mosaic formed by small tiles, which in photography are called pixels.

    Pixel grid - How to Understand Pixels, Resolution, and Resize Your in Photoshop Correctly

    The amount of these pixels and the way they are distributed are the two factors that you need to consider to understand resolution.

    Pixel count

    The first kind of resolution refers to the pixel count which is the number of pixels that form your photo. In order to calculate this resolution you just use the same formula you would use for the area of any rectangle; multiply the length by the height. For example, if you have a photo that has 4,500 pixels on the horizontal side, and 3,000 on the vertical size it gives you a total of 13,500,000. Because this number is very unpractical to use, you can just divide it by a million to convert it into megapixels. So 13,500,000 / 1,000000 = 13.5 Megapixels.

    Pixel density

    The other kind of resolution is about how you distribute the total amount of pixels that you have, which is commonly referred as pixel density.

    Now, the resolution is expressed in dpi (or ppi), which is the acronym for dots (or pixels) per inch. So, if you see 72 dpi it means that the image will have 72 pixels per inch; if you see 300 dpi means 300 pixels per inch, and so on.

    The final size of your image depends on the resolution that you choose. If an image is 4500 x 3000 pixels it means that it will print at 15 x 10 inches if you set the resolution to 300 dpi, but it will be 62.5 x 41.6 inches at 72 dpi. While the size of your print does change, you are not resizing your photo (image file), you are just reorganizing the existing pixels.

    Imagine a rubber band, you can stretch it or shrink it but you’re not changing the composition of the band, you’re not adding or cutting any of the rubber.

    Pixel Density 72dpi - How to Understand Pixels, Resolution, and Resize Your in Photoshop Correctly

    Pixel Density 300dpi - How to Understand Pixels, Resolution, and Resize Your in Photoshop Correctly

    In summary, no resolution is not the same as size, but they are related.

    So quantity equals quality?

    Because of the aforementioned correlation between size and resolution, a lot of people think that megapixels equal quality. And in a sense it does because the more pixels you have to spread out, the higher the pixel density will be.

    However, on top of the quantity you should also consider the depth of the pixels, this is what determines the amount of tonal values that your image will have. In other words it is the number of colors per pixel. For example, a 2-bit depth can store only black, white and two shades of grey, but the more common value is 8-bit. The values grows exponentially so for example with an 8-bit photo (2 to the power of 8 = 256) you’ll have 256 tones of green, 256 tones of blue, and 256 tones of red, which means about 16 million colors.

    This is already more that the eye can distinguish which means that 16-bit or 32-bit will look relatively similar to us. Of course, this means that your image will be heavier even of the size is the same, because there is more information contained in each pixel. This is also why quality and quantity are not necessarily the same.

    Therefore quantity helps, but also the size and depth of each pixel determine the quality. This is why you should look all the specs of the camera and its sensor and not just the amount of Megapixels. After all, there’s a limit to the size you can print or view your image, more than that it will only result in extra file size (megabytes) and no impact in the image size (megapixels) or the quality.

    How to choose and control image size and file size?

    First of all, you need to choose the outlet for your photo, there is a maximum density that you need. If you are going to post your image online you can do great with only 72 dpi, but that is too little for printing a photo. If you are going to print it you need between 300 and 350 dpi.

    Of course, we are talking about generalizations because each monitor and each printer will have slightly different resolutions as well. For example, if you want to print your photo to 8×10 inches you need your image to have 300dpi x 8″ = 2400 pixels by 300dpi x 10″ = 3000 pixels (so 2400×3000 to print an 8×10 at 300dpi). Anything bigger than that will only be taking up space on your hard drive.

    How to resize in Photoshop

    Open the menu for the image size and in the popup window, you need to tick the Resample Image box. If you don’t activate “resample” you will only be redistributing the pixels like I explained at the beginning of the article.

    You can also choose to tick the Constrain Proportion if you want the measure to adjust according to the changes you make. So the width adjusts when you change the height and vice versa.

    How to Understand Pixels, Resolution, and Resize Your in Photoshop Correctly

    8×10 inches at 300 ppi, this is the size needed for printing an 8×10. Notice the pixel size is 3000 x 2400.

    750×500 pixels at 72 ppi. This is web resolution and is the exact size of all the images in this article. The size in inches is irrelevant when posting online – only the pixel size matters.

    On the top of the window, you’ll also see how the file size changes. This is an uncompressed version of your image, it’s the direct relationship I explained in the first part of the article: fewer pixels means less information.

    How to Understand Pixels, Resolution, and Resize Your in Photoshop Correctly

    Now, if you still want to change the file size without resizing anymore, you have to do it when you save the image. Before saving your photo you can choose the format you want:

    Formats - How to Understand Pixels, Resolution, and Resize Your in Photoshop Correctly

    If you don’t want to loose any information you need to save an uncompressed format. The most common, and therefore easier to share is TIFF.

    Tiff - How to Understand Pixels, Resolution, and Resize Your in Photoshop Correctly

    If you don’t mind losing a little information as long as you have a lighter file, then go for a JPEG and choose how small you want it. Obviously the smaller you set it, the more information you will lose. Fortunately, it has a preview button so you can see the impact of your compression.

    JPG high quality.

    JPG low quality. Notice how it’s pixelated and breaking down? If you crunch it too much or go too low quality you risk degrading the image too far.


    So there you have it. So quality, quantity, size and resolution explained and they all have to do with pixels, as they are the basic units that constitute your image. Now that you know you can make the best choices to print, share and save your photos.

    The post How to Understand Pixels, Resolution, and Resize Your in Photoshop Correctly by Ana Mireles appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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