Monthly Archives: January 2015

Create Better Travel Photographs by Waking Up Early

Great tip!

Photofocus (old site)

I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a “morning person”, but when I travel my alarm is almost always set to wake me up before the sun rises. Whether it’s to photograph landscapes and nature, or to walk through a less-crowded market, I always find that time is on my side when I get up early. Here are some of the reasons that I’m keen on early days for photographers:

1. You see a “different” side of the area you’re visiting

My trip to Vietnam was one of my first experiences with walking the streets of Southeast Asia. I quickly learned that the markets we (tourists and travelers) see midday are VERY different from the markets that the locals actually shop from. While in Hoi An, I decided to get up early and walk through the main streets to see what it looked like before the sun was high in the sky. I not…

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Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM S Field Test

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a special guest post by Robert O’Toole

A new Sigma 150-600 S Nikon mount lens arrived on my doorstep in early December from Sigma USA, just in time for a couple of big trips. This would be my tenth annual trip to Bosque del Apache in New Mexico and the first time I did not bring a prime long lens. I first tested the lens at Bosque. Then I traveled to the north shore of Oahu and was lucky to be able to catch some perfect conditions to burn a few gigabytes with this new lens and here are my first impressions.

Weight of the Lens

The lens is about the same size weight as one of my old favorites, the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens. It is also close to the same size but lighter than another favorite, the Sigma 120-300 (it looks…

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How to Deliver Images to your Client using Lightroom

Photofocus (old site)

You just finished a photo session and your clients are excited to see the final images.The next step is to decide which images you want to present and how to deliver them. Some photographers charge extra and give all images to the client. The client is responsible for printing. Other photographers, myself included, use a fulfillment service to host, view and print the images. Despite which method you use, we need to configure Lightroom to export a high quality image for viewing and printing.

The Export Module

To streamline our workflow, we are going to build an export preset that will be applied to all images in the set. Presets are Lightroom’s way of applying many changes to a photo in one click. To build our export preset right mouse click on one image and select EXPORT, then select EXPORT again.

The Export dialog box appears with many options. We…

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Use a Polarizer for Purer Portraits and Less Retouching

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We’ve frequently talked about using polarizing filters to make more striking landscape photographs, but they are at least as important for making more vibrant portraits, and cutting your retouching time in half. Let me show you how it works, as well as some general tips.

What Does a Polarizer Do?

Polarizers reduce the visible affect of reflections–that’s it. The sky is full of water vapor and other particles which reflect sunlight, and most things that reflect sunlight appear white, right? The polarizer removes those reflections leaving behind the true blue sky. Leaves on trees and grass also reflect the sun, so it reveals their truer colors, too. Most buildings also reflect light, and the polarizer allows their rich colors to show. Overall, a polarizer will yield a more richly colored photograph every time.

Guess what? People’s skin also reflects sunlight.

Polarizing Portraits

Polarizing a portrait not only makes the sky, foliage, and…

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2 Tips to Help Normal People Look Great

Great tip and starting point for portrait sessions.

Photofocus (old site)

I don’t know about you, but most of the time my subjects are not models trained in posing for the camera, but I still need to help them look good. Did you know that most people look their best with their left side facing the camera? It’s true–I heard it on NPR (plus several studies I’ve read reports on, and my own experience substantiates it, too). As many as 80% of people look best facing to the lefthand side of your frame. I love it when there’s a clear, simple rule about making a better picture.

However, I need 100% of my subjects to look their best, so what do I do?

1. Take the Bet: Short Light on the Left

80% is really good odds, so when I shoot I usually plan to have my lights on the left side of the frame. Why do my lights go there? I’ve talked…

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