What is workflow and why is it important?
Workflow is a process in which photographers use to take, edit, store, share, and backup their pictures. Workflow is very important because it keeps you organized and your pictures safe. When you start out as a photographer you will quickly compile a large library of pictures. As your clients grow, so does the importance of saving the pictures. It is not like you can go back to the negatives if your hard drive dies. The workflow is the process that streamlines the events from taking a picture to backing IT up. Utilizing a workflow has long time been only a photographers worry. Today with millions of smartphones everyone in the world is taking pictures, editing them, sharing them, and storing them. It only makes sense that individuals should look at implementing a workflow. So how do you start?
Step One - Determine your applications
You need select which applications are going to do what and in what order. Remember the point is to streamline your process. For example you could use the iPhone’s native camera application to take the picture, but if you plan on using Camera Pro + for editing why not use it for taking the pictures as well. Subsequently you decide you want to share your images on Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, Foursquare, Instagram, and Twitter. So why would use the Flickr application to share when it is not capable to share to Instagram. These are questions you need to ask yourself before starting. Trust me your workflow will not be perfect, but over time it will get fine tuned. To help you out, here are my applications.
Backup: Flickr -> Google Drive (IFTTT)
Step Two: - Taking the Picture
Once you have selected the application you wish to use for taking pictures you need to get familiar with all of its options. In my case Snapseed is both my camera and my editor. Yours maybe different. I chose snapseed because the camera is simple. The only feature I wish it had, which is why sometimes I will use Camera + is a timer. This is particularly useful for self pictures. My suggestion is trying different applications to find one that provides the functions you want in a camera as well as an editor. Use the 80/20.
Step Three: - Editing the picture
Snapseed is one of many editors out there but I have found it has been able to perform all of the functions I need for photography on the phone. I can utilize several of the presets that come with the software or make minute manual adjustments myself to make sure the picture comes out exactly as I envisioned it. For more information on on the exact features that Snapseed provides follow this link, http://www.snapseed.com/. Once you are done editing your next step is share your photo. Below are some screen shots of the Snapsneed interface.
Step Four: - Sharing
There are many many many many sites that allow you share or upload your photo’s. I personally use Flickr as my main library and also post my photo’s to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. The most difficult social outlet to post pictures too is Instagram. Instagram does not have an API that allows others Apps to upload pictures to it. Lucky for me, Instagram allows you to share your picture to Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. So I can utilize one application to upload and share my picture to all of social outlets. Instagram also has additional editing if you feel like taking advantage of it. Instagram is another reason I use Snapseed. Snapseed allows you take an edited picture and open it in Instagram. This saves time and steps. With a simple touch of the finger Snapseed has a feature called "Open In...'. Using this options opens a menu of applications, including Instagram. Selecting Instagram from the menu magically transfers the picture to Instagram and the application pops up and ready to post. Once the photo is Instagram select the networks you want to share the picture too and your done.
Step Five - Backup
The last and most important step is backing up your photo’s. Many people will say uploading your photo’s to Flickr are backing them up but I also prefer a more readily available backup process. To do this I use Google Drive. Google Drive allows me direct OS access to all of pictures from any computer in the world. Google Drive is a much more versatile file system than Flickr. The one problem is that neither Instagram nor Flickr will upload to Google Drive. To workaround this limitation I use a service call IF This Then That or IFTTT (www.ifttt.com). This allows you to create an automated workflow (recipe) that connects unlike systems. For example I created a workflow (recipe) that takes a newly upload Flickr image and transfers the picture to my Google Drive. Now I have it in both places and I don’t even have to do anything to make it happen. One thing to note, recipes usually take 15 minutes to kick in after they are triggered. So don’t jump over to your online storage looking for a photo you just took, be patient it will show up soon.
Every person is different and so are their preferences and applications they use to edit and post pictures. This blog should be used to understand how you can tie your various application into a coehisive workflow to make taking pictures, editing, sharing, and backing up as simple as possible. The last peice of advice is that once you have determined your workflow, put all of the application in a single folder on your home sscreen. This will allow you to access them quickly instead of hunting around your several screens. If you have questions feel free to comment.
The Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC HSM Art has solid construction of metal and rubber. The metal body makes for a very sturdy lens. The focus ring is a nice textured rubber and glides smoothly around the body. The weight of lens is just under a pound (15.3 oz). On my T1i without the battery grip there is a very good balance and little hand fatigue. The length of the lens is 2.5 inches long which makes it small and compact. The lens cap is tight fit scissor style with clamps in the middle and the edge to make removal very easy. The lens comes with a lens hood made of plastic and a canvas bag with an inner foam casing for storage. This is one of those things I love about Sigma.
The lens is 9 glass elements in 8 groups. The glass is what makes this lens special. In my limited shooting with the lens (50 pictures or so) I continue to be amazed at the clarity at all apertures. For a 30mm lens the distortion is not very noticeable until you get close the 11.8 inch minimal focus distance. The distortion is evident in the “Double Barrel” photo above.
The 30mm Art is meant for exactly what Sigma intended it for “Art”. The 9 blades provide very nice round boken at f1.4 and very soft backgrounds. The large aperture provides great light and color spectrum for indoor use. This lens is very usable indoors without requiring a flash. Even at shutter speed of 1/20s you can get great handheld shots at low ISO. The only comment I would make is that the f16 maximum aperture causes some issues if you decide to take landscape shots on a sunny day. My T1i’s maximum shutter speed is 1/4000s and with the f16 I was still over exposed on few shots. Keep in mind I am sure Sigma did not intend this lens to be a staple for landscapes but if you decide to use it for such make sure you shoot during dusk and dawn.
The HSM is very very quiet, almost silent. It is also is very quick to focus both indoors and outdoors. Compared to my other favorite lens, the Canon 50mm f1.4, the 30mm Sigma focuses as fast and as quiet as the Canon. I did notice slight focus hunting as you get close to the minimal focus distance indoors but I did not notice this issue outdoors. On the rare change I am shooting a close up (11 inches away) in doors the hunting is not enough to break the shot, as I most likely will be using a tripod and manual focus anyway.
With a price point of $499 this lens is a must have for any APS-C camera shooter. The large aperture, fast and silent focus, and sturdy construction complimented by the 45mm equivalent focal range makes this lens a must have. If you have been in search of a human focal range lens, this is about as close as you can get and for under $500. Sigma once again has proved that you can get top quality lenses without spending thousands.
Official Sigma Photo Page
BH Video: Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC HSM Art Canon
Recently I purchased a home that was originally owned by an audio guru, which I am not. This has its pluses and minuses. The pluses were the house came with great speakers installed in the ceilings of several of the rooms, including the garage and outside. The minuses were I had no clue how hook it all up. After speaking with the previous owner I decided that buying a Sonos Amp Connect for every room provide the functionality I was looking, being able to play different music in each room or having it all synchronized. Given the fact that I have 4 zones (Kitchen/Dining, Studio, Garage, and Outside) this would cost around $2000 just for the Sonos devices. There had to be a better way. So I started to do my research. Could I accomplish the same functionality with Airplay? But how can you hook up wired speakers and make them Airplay? Through my research I found the answer. Mini Amps and Apple’s Airport Express. The mini amp I use is the LP-2020A+ Lepai Tripath Class-T Hi-Fi Audio Mini Amplifier with Power Supply. You can find this amp for $20 on Amazon. Next you need purchase an Airport Extreme as the central wireless networking device (I already owned one). Lastly you need to buy and Airport Express for each room. My suggestion is to start with one room and get it working before you move onto the other rooms. Here are the steps I followed to get it up and running.
1) Make sure the entire speaker wires come to a single point in the house, like an audio closet. Also make sure they are labeled to what room they go to (This will help later).
2) Unbox and plug in the mini amp
3) Connect the speakers to the back of the mini amp (red to red, black to black).
4) Connection your audio cable (RCA to 3.5 mm) to the mini amp. (Red to Red, White to White)
5) Unbox and connect your Airport Express to your Airport Extreme (RJ 45 cable).
6) Power on your Airport Express and plug in the 3.5mm plug into the back of the Airport Express
7) Using your Mac, iPhone, iPad, PC follow the instructions for configuring your Airport Express.
8) When asked if you are extending you existing home network, answer yes.
9) Follow the instructions to configuring Airplay for the Airport Express. Name the Airport Express the room in which you are connecting. This is the room that will show up on your iOS devices to select.
10) Restart the Airport Express
11) Once the Airport Express is back up go into your iOS device and press the Airplay icon and you should see the room you just added. If not double check you connections and configuration.
12) Play some music through your iOS device and through the room you selected.
13) Use the volume on the mini amp, bass, and treble to set the right tone. If the speakers sound off or are breaking up, make sure the mini amp is set to direct not tone. I found that the best volume setting was 25% power.
14) You now have one room done. Repeat for each room you set up.
If you have any issues you can refer to the diagram below.
Airplay on Airport Express - http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4587
Airport Express Bridge Mode - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_0vidDHJcI
Airport Express Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Apple-AirPort-Express-Station-MC414LL/dp/B008ALA2RC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357227830&sr=8-1&keywords=aiport+express
LP-2020A+ Lepai Tripath Class-T Hi-Fi Audio Mini Amplifier with Power Supply Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0049P6OTI/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00
RCA to 3.5mm Cable Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000I3XIFI/ref=oh_details_o05_s00_i00
Hu - Mosaic is a style of photography that incorporates the original idea of mosaics with human nature. The mosaic concept involved the much larger picture or object being build from many different pieces. A Hu-Mosaic take relatively normal photography or picture an introduces the Human Nature to display and feeling, through, or event. The mosaic always involves at least a single subject, person, repeated performing different activities. These types of pictures usually consist a blank frame which is void of any subject matter. The photographer then places the subject in the desired pose and takes a snaphot. This step is repeated for each of the poses selected by the artist. Once all of the pictures are taken and reviewed the photographer utilizes software to merge the images in a single image representing the desired effect. It is important that once the key frame has been shot that the came is not moved or altered. The best way to eliminate this use aperture of 8 or higher,a remote trigger, and live view. The picture above started out as a dull blank living room. By adding a subject in PJ's in various different poses, like sleeping, pondering, and using the computer, the theme starts to take shape. This image's name is "out sick". It demonstrated the various activities of one person's day while out sick. Preparation for these types of photographs takes some time and thought. First you want to start with a concept, then chose a background or key frame, lastly you need to pick the perfect subject(s) and poses. It is best to write down or white board your thoughts before venturing out to shoot one. It is possible to the be the photographer and the subject if you use a remote shutter release. So the next time you are looking for a good art piece or something fun to do, try one.
The fall season is one my favorite seasons to shoot landscapes and cityscapes. The primary reason for this is the wonderful color the leaves provide. Being color blind this is a season when I actually can tell the difference between orange and yellow. The second reason I prefer this season is the wonderful light that is available in the dawn and twilight hours. As the sun dips further in the the horizon the sun’s harsh light is transformed into a warming glow which provide great accents and shadows that really make landscapes come alive. So what are some great tips to use when you decide to venture out for a fall shoot. The first thing, as is all photography trips, is to pack the correct equipment.
There are several pieces of necessary equipment in order to make the most of your trip. The obvious and most important piece of equipment is a tripod. Regardless of the time of day all great landscapes require a sturdy footing, in this case a tripod. Make sure your tripod has adjustable legs and leveling tools to make sure you can place it where you need. The next most important part of a landscape shoot is selecting the proper lenses.
The key to a sharp landscape is sharp glass. I prefer, if possible, to use a standard prime lens with a fast aperture. If I do not have a standard prime lens with the focal length my shot requires I will use a wide angle zoom with the lowest aperture. In my bag I usually pick the Canon 50mm f1.4 and the Tamron or Sigma 17-50mm f2.8. Occasionally I will also bring my Sigma 70-200mm f2.8. The picture of downtown Easthampton, MA in the slideshow above was taken with the 70-200mm from atop of Mt. Tom in Western Mass. All of the other pictures in the slideshot were shot with the Canon 50mm f1.4, using my feet as the zoom. Now that you have selected the lenses you need to select the proper filters.
Filters are key to making photos look closure to what the human eye sees. Filters also help eliminate atmospheric conditions that can ruin the photo. Besides my standard UV filter which never leans my camera I also use a circular polarizer filter. This filter helps makes the colors pop as well eliminate the autumn haze we often experience in New England. The second set of filters is to enhance the fall colors and provide a deep contrast between the tree, leaves, and the sky. I personally use a Corin P filter setup where I can interchange graduated filters like red, blue, orange, and yellow depending on the landscape. I also usually pack a neutral density (ND) 4 or 8 if I find myself near water and want to create the ghosting effect. These filters and the other equipment is the most important part of your fall shoot. you never want to be caught on a shoot and say “I wish I had X”. Prepare, scope your spots, look at the lighting, and then choose your equipment wisely. Now that you have your equipment set, what do you do with it?
Getting the shot can be most the frustrating part of the journey, but one you get it will be all worth it. As stated above scope the areas that you would like to capture, take some time and review all of the aspects. It is important to look at the shadows, reflections, and direction of light. Once you have selected the proper location and set the camera up you need to get the lighting and white balance. I have found in my various shoots that no matter what, the warmer the white balance the better the fall is captured. I personally use the “cloudy” setting on my Canon DSLR. After the WB is set I select the proper exposure metering. Due to the mixed lighting of the scene I will choose the evaluative or matrix metering. Rarely do I choose spot metering. Next it is important to choose the right aperture for your typical landscape or shutter speed if you are looking for more of a ghosting landscape. I usually use the AV setting my Canon DSLR and set the aperture to 16 or higher. It is important when you are using a 16 or higher aperture that everything stays still, so try not to select a day or a spot where there is much wind. Using the AV mode will allow the camera to pick the proper shutter speed. This is great but there is one more tip that I suggest and it really helps when you are in post editing. I personally under expose my fall shots by EV -2/3. This not a huge amount but it will help you adjust the shows more when you are editing the photo later. All that is left is to snap the picture.
The last step of the process is editing. Editing is always a personal preference so play around with the picture. Use the curves and levels to adjust each color. You can also add drama by saturating colors like red, orange, and yellow and desaturating colors like blue, purple, and magenta. Lastly you can warming tones through software like Lightroom, Aperture, or Pixelmator.
If you have any questions feel free to ask. I would me than happy to help you.
One the most frequently asked questions I get is "Where do I go to buy prints of your pictures?" After lots of research I am now happy to announce a new site look and feel as well as an Events & Gallery section (more on that later). Although the site has changed slightly the content is the same with the exception of the portfolio section. In order to make room for "Events & Gallery" section I had decided to remove the portfolio section. Don't worry though the pictures from that section will soon show up in the new section for purchase and view. Now onto the new exciting feature. This post will walk you through some of the steps to help place your first order.
Events & Gallery
The first step to viewing or ordering prints is to click on the "Event & Gallery" menu option and the screen above will appear. Next you can see thumbnails of the available events on the left and galleries on the right. To view the images available within the gallery just simply click on the "Order Prints" button associated prints. This will launch a new window containing the images available to view.
Once on the desired thumbnail your print options are to the right. Currently we are only offering prints and gallery wrap canvas with a 1.5" thick frame. New options like framed photo's will come in the future. Custom albums will still require a consultation. To order a print, simply put the desired quantity in the white box next to the print name and then click "Add to Cart". To check out follow the prompts, create or sign in with your account, and pay. Your photos will take 2-3 weeks to process. All prints are sourced through White House Custom Color. If you have any questions feel free to email me. Happy Shopping! Thanks again for the suggestion of online ordering. I hope this makes ordering prints easier.
It has been a while since I have blogged and figured it was time as life slows down a bit. Many things have happened in the last few months. I have shot two weddings, with rave reviews, graduated college, and got engaged. My life always revolved around the closing one chapter always open a new one. I think it more that I live my life that way. As a project manager at heart I am very much one task is finished you move onto the next. After so many years of trying to get a college degree I can not believe it is done. It is still so surreal. But never the less a new chapter beings, my life with my wife. Photography can fill the gaps school use to and focus and given mroe to it and Melissa and planning wedding. If you would like to see our wedding site for update check it out. Wedding Site.
The evolution of a cigar smoker usually starts with a particular brand. From there the smoker will evolve in either natural or maduro smoker. The next step of evolution is style, torpedo, robusto, and so one. The stage at which I am at is the wrapper. There are several options from sub grown Connecticut to Nicaragua. Recently my interest has been turned to the Cameroon wrapper. This is not wrapper that is common used and only few brands use it and even then only a on a few select cigars. My favorites include the Rocky Patel 2003 and Nub 464T (shown above). The wrapper adds a nice hint of cinnamon and pepper. The wrapper is not very oily and has some nice vains running through it. It is a darker brown so it fits right in the middle between a natural and a maduro. It can usually be found medium to full bodied cigars. So the next time your looking for a good smoke on the golf course or just on patio try a Cameroon. A perfect wrapper for a perfect smoke.
Whether you are landscape photographer or a portrait photography understanding lighting is crucial for capturing the image you desire. A portrait photographer has more flexibility than a landscape photographer in the case that he or she can manipulate and add light. The picture above is perfect example of this. The studio lighting technique in the picture above is called River Crop Lighting. I used two light sources each about 3 feet away fromt the subject. One of the lights was directly to her right and the other was to her left. Each light source was point at a 90 degree angle from the camera pointing directly at the subject. Once you have the lighting set up and the picture captured you need to properly develop it. Recently I was introduced to Nik's Software called Silver Efex from friend Dave Carrigon. This software allows you to control pretty every aspect of your black and white developing. I prefer Lightroom and the Silver Efex comes as plugin so my work flow did not have to change. In the photo above I used several control points around the subject to darken and make the background uniform. I then used several control points where the two lights met in the middle of the subjects face to lighen up shadows. I wanted still leave some of the shadows but lightening up where they merge change the dynamics of the picture. All of this was very easy to accomplish with Silver Efex. If you are looking for some software to help maximize your back and white shots Silver Efex is great way to go.
Created by Kenneth Peters Photography