Nikon’s New Feature: Automatic Autofocus Lens Calibration

Posted by on Apr 23, 2016 in canon, Fashion, Featured, landscape, nikon, Photography Tips, portrait

Nikon’s New Feature: Automatic Autofocus Lens Calibration

If we looked at the long list of annoyances in photography (and it is long), few would contest that sitting right near the top would be autofocus problems. There is nothing quite like special kind of fury felt when coming back from a shoot and loading up those image on a big screen only to find the majority are just enough out of focus to be unusable. Of course, this happens more frequently for some types of shooters than others; Landscape photographers shooting at infinity likely won’t have the problem quite to the same extent as a portrait or wedding photographer shooting at f/2 or shallower, but the problem is malignant. It’s one of the reasons we sing the praise of tethering and urge you to do it as much as possible, and why we care so much about being able to program buttons for single-press 100% zoom – so we can quickly analyze in-field when without a tether station. However, even when tethering and checking focus, that just tells you if you’re off; showing the symptoms rather than administering the cure. At least, however, the diagnoses is generally straightforward – your autofocus needs tuning. Just like any piece of machinery cameras and lenses go wrong sometimes and need calibration, and the problem is that most photographers don’t ever address autofocus calibration. In fact, the problem is of pandemic proportions. It’s somewhat understandable because it’s a bit of a geeky thing, and the traditional ways to calibrate are geeky endeavors, even if easy and inexpensive. You can buy a simple and straight-forward calibration tool (and should), and most cameras have menu options that allow you to do the fine tuning with these kits in no time. Lens Calibration tool example. Get this one as used by our Jay Cassario here. To be fair, these systems aren’t perfect, and many of these systems allow for AF fine tuning to only affect a single focal length and distance, but in my experience, it tends to be worth it. That said, Sigma – surprise, surprise – is doing it well and better with their dock. But Nikon is stepping up to the plate with their new Auto Autofocus calibration system to be found on their D5 and D500 cameras. The new cameras will be the first to offer the option, but there is hope that Nikon will be able to usher in the feature to other camera models via a firmware update. Essentially the Auto AF fine tuning just cuts out a few steps of the tuning process, but it still requires you to set some ‘controls’ when using it. Nonetheless, the controls required aren’t much, and you can do it in the field, on the fly. Now, mirrorless cameras are generally less symptomatic of these AF problems due to how they focus – right off the sensor, so it sort of...

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Weekly Photography Challenge – People Photography

Posted by on Apr 23, 2016 in Candid, Featured, Food, Photography Tips, portrait

Weekly Photography Challenge – People Photography

In my career as a photographer I’ve covered many genres from studio product photography, editorial, industrial, food photography, weddings, portraits, fine art, and travel – but through all of that, I’m primarily a people photographer. I like to photograph people. Shoe repair man in Nicaragua – By Darlene Hildebrandt Model at sunset – By Darlene Hildebrandt Cuban beauties – By Darlene Hildebrandt Whether it’s in a studio environment doing a posed portrait, a candid doing street photography, a shop owner or vendor in a foreign country – people are always interesting and challenging to photograph. Weekly Photography Challenge – People We’ve got lots of articles to help you as you go about photographing people this week in fact it’s our feature topic right now. You can see all the ones we’ve done so far this week below, and watch for more people photography articles over the next few days: How to Take Low Key Head-shots How to Do a One Light Portrait Setup and Use it as Your Back-up Plan Travel People Photography – Tips and Pitfalls 8 Tips for Photographing Men 24 Diverse Images That Showcase People Photography Nicaraguan school kids – By Darlene Hildebrandt Wedding fun – By Darlene Hildebrandt Cuban dancers – By Darlene Hildebrandt You can also check out our ebooks on people and portrait photography: Fast Flash for Portrait Perfection Portraits: Lighting the Shot Portraits: Making the Shot Portraits: Striking the Pose Kids Photography So if you are not inclined to photograph people and this challenges makes you a bit nervous – maybe now is the time to get out of your comfort zone and just do it. I promise they won’t bite! Share your images below: Simply upload your shot into the comment field (look for the little camera icon in the Disqus comments section) and they’ll get embedded for us all to see or if you’d prefer upload them to your favourite photo sharing site and leave the link to them. Show me your best images in this week’s challenge. Sometimes it takes a while for an image to appear so be patient and try not to post the same image twice. You can see some of mine here on this page – now it’s your turn to share, and show me your people photos. The post Weekly Photography Challenge – People Photography by Darlene Hildebrandt appeared first on Digital Photography School.        Share...

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Travel People Photography – Tips and Pitfalls

Posted by on Apr 22, 2016 in canon, Featured, Photography Tips, portrait, sony

Travel People Photography – Tips and Pitfalls

“Oh the people you will meet!” goes one of Dr. Seuss’ famous lines, speaking to a particular joy of travel. We don’t just travel to see new places, we travel to experience new cultures full of new people – and as photographers, we’re intrigued to take their photo. Yet it’s not as easy as taking photos of foreign mountains or cityscapes. because, gasp!, those people are full of life and feelings and opinions. They might be speaking a language we don’t understand. We are left wondering what they are thinking as we start to bring our camera up to our eye. I’ve been photographing for 26 years, and traveling regularly for the last eight. I don’t know it all, but I have learned, through trial and error and research, what helps and what hinders travel portrait photography. The Tips Watch the light Photography is about light. You’ve likely heard it a hundred times before. Sometimes we forget that when out of our comfort zone, but it’s important to remember that great photos need great subjects, and great use of light. Before raising your camera, know your light. Know what light will be available, and how best to use it. This article: Understanding Natural Light Part 3: Direction of Light – has a wealth of knowledge to get you thinking about the natural light at your location. Of course, you can use a flash as well, but most of us rely on natural light for our travel portraits. Connect Hot Button Topic: To connect before or after you take a photo? This decades-old discussion will not be settled here, but I will give my opinion as fuel to the fire. I believe in give and take. If I’m always taking photos when I travel, I feel more the part of an interloper than a welcome guest. There are irresistible times when someone is doing something soooooo perfect, we have to have a photo, we think. Introducing ourselves will ruin the moment and break the magic we are witnessing. My advice is to take those photos, but give something back. Approach your subject after the fact and introduce yourself. Smile, make eye contact, promote goodwill, and be nice. If they are a vendor, buy something they are selling, or at least take a look. Canon, Sony and others now have portable printers you can bring with you, and what better way for give and take than to hand over a printed copy of the portrait you now treasure. It’s more work than just taking photos and continuing on your way, but it is also more rewarding. Get their feedback Building on the point above, show your subject their portrait. It’s part of giving back. Get their feedback on how they think they look. You might hear good things or bad, because everyone tends to be their own worst critic. Ask their...

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Capturing Movement As A Fashion Photographer | Devil Is In The Details

Posted by on Apr 21, 2016 in Fashion, Featured, macro, nikon, Photography Tips, portrait

Capturing Movement As A Fashion Photographer | Devil Is In The Details

Being a model is a tough gig, and I say that in complete earnest. As a vocation, it’s fiercely competitive, and the shelf life of a model isn’t typically very long. That’s obvious, but the actual modeling isn’t exactly easy either. Among other things, it requires being physically bold and emoting in front of people you don’t know and just met; facing physical critique with maturity, and somehow managing to evoke in the viewer what the photographer/brand wants. A major way to evoke a feeling in the viewer is to show the right kind of movement, and nailing that movement is often difficult, and certainly not glamorous. In fact, it takes patience to repeatedly do something as banal as jumping whilst being mindful of every part of your body and expression – otherwise referred to as ‘keeping the face.’ This is where photographers can really show their merit, in how they communicate and direct and work with the muse. A photographer needs to be aware of the larger macro picture, as well as the micro details, but it helps if you know what to seek and what to look out for – there’s a difference. Things you seek are things like body symmetry and a graceful facial expression, and an example of things to look out for would be a foot that is hidden behind the other if facing a model head on. To learn this kind of thing, Melissa Rodwell has released a video with BREED on capturing movement wherein she discusses some of these finer points. Rodwell, having shot for brands like Ralph Lauren and Nike, to name a few, speaks to us as we look over her shoulder in-studio as she tries to coach a scantily clad model into delivering the perfect result. As the shoot progresses there are moments of pause and reflection where Melissa examines the shots she’s been tethering into Capture One and explains why some work and why some don’t. This isn’t a discussion on camera settings or lighting set-up, but rather on the finer details of capturing movement. [REWIND: FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY PORTRAITS | RECREATING THE WORK OF AN ICON WITH THE ICON WATCHING (DAVID BAILEY)] Not quite right Better Note*: Understanding how to move and direct and post, and what to seek and avoid in images with movement isn’t solely of interest to the fashion photographer. This information is widely applicable to anyone photographing people, like wedding photographers. If it is more of the technical details you want, BREED has released their Advanced Fashion Photography Lighting tutorial which I reviewed last year, in which you can find 22 detailed set-ups that encompass a wide gamut of the lighting looks you’ll see adorning the pages of fashion magazines. Check it out here. And on that note, I know many of you will be wondering what equipment she is using here, and while...

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How to Light A Glass For Great Splash Photography

Posted by on Apr 19, 2016 in canon, Featured, nikon, Photography Tips

How to Light A Glass For Great Splash Photography

You can make some really creative photographs with high-speed photography. Fast shutter speeds and lights are the key components to success in freezing motion to make some spectacular special effects. From creating milky costumes for superheroes to taking your product photography to another level, there are many methods and uses for high-speed photography, and one of the most common is to freeze liquid to make a splash – literally and figuratively. Splash photography needn’t require much nor be extremely difficult. One method is to use a laser trigger to help with the process. In the following video from our friends at The Slanted Lens, Jay P. Morgan shows you how to not only use a laser trigger for high-speed splash photography but how to light a glass for a cool product photo. There isn’t an exact formula when it comes to high-speed or splash photography. All the work comes in the setup and then from there, it’s trial and error. In this instance, the first step is to properly light the glass. Jay P. points out that when you light glass, it’s about the light that goes through it, highlighting the shape and allowing a glow to come through. He does this by placing a Dynalite Baja B4 behind the glass and adjusting it to his liking. He also adds two translucent panels and a few more lights to light the sides of the glass. The glass is set on an IKEA glass tabletop, and the final component is setting up a MIOPS laser trigger. When the laser beam is broken, the strobes will be triggered faster than the blink of an eye. The rest is trial and error. As each ice cube is dropped in the glass, the timing has to be precise and the timer adjusted to get the look you want. Jay P. set his camera in bulb mode, opened the shutter with a remote to limit camera shake and adjusted his focus to the front of the glass. To see the entire process, check out the video below. Gear Used: Canon 5D Mark III Tamron 90mm Lens Canon Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3 MIOPS Smart Camera Trigger 3 Dynalite Baja B4        Share...

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