Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Swiss resort town 'bans' photography so you won't feel bad that you're not there

This is Bergün, a lovely town you are forbidden from photographing. Photo by Adrian Michael, licensed under CC 3.0

In a genius PR move, the local council of Bergün, a village in Switzerland, has banned photography. They claim that it's an effort to protect the feelings of anyone who might happen to see a picture shared on social media showcasing the area's natural charms and experience FOMO, or fear of missing out. They've even put together a video asking NASA to scramble satellite images of the town in compliance with the ban.

According to the Telegraph, anyone caught violating the photography ban will face a fine of 5 Swiss Francs (about $5), though the town's director of tourism says it's unlikely any will actually be imposed.



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Manual Mode or Exposure Compensation – Which is Best?

As you may know, cameras often get exposure wrong. The question is, what do you do when you realize that the exposure settings suggested by your camera are not right?

You have two options. One is to switch to Manual mode and set the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed yourself. The other is to use exposure compensation (and Aperture or Shutter Priority mode).

The best solution depends on the situation in which you find yourself, plus the configuration of your camera’s dials. For example, with a Canon EOS digital SLR it’s easy to apply exposure compensation by moving the Quick control dial on the back of the camera. It’s so simple you don’t need to take your eye away from the viewfinder.

Exposure compensation versus manual mode

The Quick control dial on the EOS 77D.

On my Fujifilm X-T1, the exposure compensation dial is on top of the camera. It’s harder to get at and nearly impossible to adjust without taking your eye away from the viewfinder. But the aperture ring on the lens makes it easy to go to Manual mode and adjust exposure by changing the aperture. An optional live histogram in the viewfinder helps you see if exposure is accurate before pressing the shutter (an advantage of some mirrorless cameras).

Exposure compensation versus manual mode

The exposure compensation dial on the Fujifilm X-T1 is much harder to reach.

These are good examples of how hardware can push you in one direction or another. My Canon SLRs pushed me towards exposure compensation, and my Fujifilm X-T1 pushes me towards using Manual mode.

Using Manual mode

Let’s look at Manual mode first. In Manual, you set the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed yourself. There are certain situations when using Manual mode (as opposed to Programmed Auto, Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority with exposure compensation) is beneficial. Let’s look at a few.

1. Shoot in Manual when the light level is constant

If the ambient light level is steady, you don’t need to change the exposure settings once you have decided which ones to use. Automatic exposure modes are influenced by the reflectivity of the subject and the exposure reading can change even if the light levels don’t.

That makes Manual mode ideal for this kind of situation. Once you’ve set the exposure you don’t need to change it. I like to use Manual mode when making portraits in natural light. Once I’ve set the exposure I’m free to concentrate on directing the model.

Exposure compensation versus manual mode

2. Shoot in Manual when you’re photographing landscapes and using a tripod

In this situation, you have plenty of time to assess exposure. Manual mode is ideal because you can set a low ISO (for image quality), a small aperture (for depth of field) and change the shutter speed to suit the light levels. It’s also easy to make adjustments to allow for any polarizing, neutral density or graduated neutral density filters you may be using.

If you’re shooting landscapes at dusk, while the light is fading, Manual mode also works well. After you take a photo, just check the histogram. As it moves to the left, which it will as the light fades, dial in a slower shutter speed to compensate.

Exposure compensation vs. manual mode

3. Use Manual Mode when you’re using manual flash

If you’re using a flash set to manual the output from the flash is the same every time. In that situation, it’s best to adjust the camera settings manually so the exposure is consistent from frame to frame.

To create the portrait below, I worked with both the camera and flash set to manual. Setting your flash to manual only works when the flash to subject distance doesn’t change.

Exposure compensation vs. manual mode

4. Use Manual mode for long exposure photography

If you’re doing long exposure landscape photography and your shutter speed (exposure time) is longer than 30 seconds then you need to use Bulb mode. This is another form of Manual mode. Except that rather than telling the camera what shutter speed you want it to use, you do so by using the camera’s bulb setting and a remote release.

I used Bulb mode to make this landscape photo with a shutter speed (exposure time) of 82 seconds.

Exposure compensation vs. manual mode

Using Exposure Compensation

The alternative to Manual mode is to set your camera to an automatic exposure mode and use exposure compensation to override the camera’s settings.

The three best automatic exposure modes to use are Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority or Programmed auto. Other exposure modes, such as Landscape and Portrait, don’t give you enough control. On some cameras (such as Canon EOS) you can’t adjust exposure compensation when using one of these modes.

These are some of the situations where exposure compensation may be better than Manual mode.

1. Use Exposure Compensation for street and travel photography

If you are taking photos of people in the street the required exposures can vary wildly. One moment you may take a photo of something in the sun, the next you may photograph something in the shade. The sun may also be going in and out between the clouds.

In this situation, you want to concentrate on finding interesting things to photograph and creating a good composition. If you have to stop and think about exposure, then you may miss the shot. Automatic exposure modes help greatly.

Exposure compensation vs. manual mode

2. Use Exposure Compensation when you are using on-camera flash in an automatic mode (TTL)

If you have the on-camera flash set to an automatic mode, then the camera needs to be set to evaluative or matrix metering, the camera’s most advanced metering mode, to take full advantage of that. The camera and flash work together to calculate the correct exposure.

Setting your flash to automatic (TTL or E-TTL) works best when the subject to flash distance is constantly changing. Using automatic means your camera can adjust the output of the flash as it needs to.

3. Use Exposure Compensation when shooting sports or wildlife

This is another situation where the light level is likely to change frequently and you need to concentrate on tracking the action and capturing important moments. You don’t want to be thinking about exposure when trying to capture the peak of the action in sports or photographing fast-moving wildlife. Let your camera do the work, and use exposure compensation if you have to.

Conclusion

Everybody works differently, so the points in this article should be taken as suggestions only. The more experienced you become as a photographer the more you will learn to judge whether you should use Manual mode or Exposure Compensation to take control of your exposure.

It may make it easier to think of it in terms of time. If you have more time to think about your camera settings, then use Manual mode. If you have less thinking time and need to be ready to react quickly to capture the action, then use an automatic exposure mode and Exposure Compensation.

Do you prefer to use Manual mode or an automatic exposure mode with exposure compensation? Please let me know in the comments below,

Want to learn how to get perfect exposure on your digital camera? Then check out my new ebook Mastering Exposure and say goodbye to all your exposure problems!

The post Manual Mode or Exposure Compensation – Which is Best? by Andrew S. Gibson appeared first on Digital Photography School.



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5 Surprising Habits That Will Make You a Better Photographer

When you’re learning photography, it seems natural to pay the most attention to the gear and techniques you use to create images. You’ve probably received advice about developing great habits like photographing every day, carrying your camera everywhere you go, trying different compositions, learning processing skills, and backing up your photos. These things are important, no doubt! But there is more to becoming a better photographer than that.

Getting the shot often comes down to being there at the right time, so these tips have to do with getting out in the field and staying out in the field. If you cultivate these surprising habits, you’ll surely become a better photographer.

Canon Beach, Oregon, by Anne McKinnell - better photographer

#1 – Research Locations

Before you set off on your photo shoot, doing a little research can go a long way to making better images. First, think about what potential subjects are available. I like to create a Pinterest board and start collecting images I like from the location. Once you get an idea of what is there, how can you create images that are different from what you have seen? Is there a different perspective you want to check out? Or maybe a night shot? Don’t forget to take note of the direction of light in the images you see. Imagine what it would look like at a different time of day.

Once you get an idea of what is there, how can you create images that are different from what you have seen? Is there a different perspective you want to check out? Or maybe a night shot? Don’t forget to take note of the direction of light in the images you’ve seen. Imagine what it would look like at a different time of day.

Joshua Tree National Park, California, by Anne McKinnell - habits better photographer

This is the location where the Joshua Trees are the densest in Joshua Tree National Park, California.

The second part of your research should be looking at maps and figuring out where exactly the best subjects are located and how to get there. Is the location close to the road or will you have to hike there? How long will it take?

#2 – Watch the Weather

Keeping a close eye on the weather forecast will dramatically affect your photos. Remember, bad weather is usually a good thing for photography! Storms bring the potential for seeing dramatic clouds, wet leaves, and even rainbows. You’ll get photos with fewer people in them too.

Red Rock State Park, Sedona, Arizona by Anne McKinnell - habits better photographer

Waiting for a break in the weather resulted in this rainbow at Cathedral Rock, Arizona.

When I was visiting Cathedral Rock in Sedona, Arizona, I noticed that there were a lot of people around and it was difficult to get a photo without a lot of tourists in it. Then it started to rain and everyone left. I waited in my truck for 45 minutes during the downpour. Mine was the only vehicle in the parking lot, and when the rain began to die down, I headed out and was rewarded with a beautiful rainbow. I had the location all to myself.

If a clear sky is in your forecast, instead of photographing your scene with a plain blue sky, you might have the potential for a great night shot.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to check when the sun rises and sets and when the moon rises and sets. If you’re going to be on the beach, tides are also important.

#3 – Carry Less Stuff

Whether you choose to go out with your camera and only one or two lenses or switch your whole system to a lightweight mirrorless system, you’ll undoubtedly find that you can hike farther and get to more remote locations with less weight on your shoulders. The potential for finding unique subjects and unique compositions increases the farther away you get from the beaten track.

Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas, by Anne McKinnell - habits better photographer

I don’t think I would have made it this far up the hill if I had carried all of my heavy gear.

#4 – Don’t Forget the Comfort Essentials

Despite the last tip about carrying less stuff, it’s equally essential that you carry the right stuff to allow you to stay out there longer. Anything that makes you uncomfortable in the field will probably cause you to leave earlier than otherwise.

Thirst, hunger, being cold or wet, getting bitten by bugs and looming darkness are just a few things that can make you leave a location too soon. A few things on my “always carry” list are food, water, rain jacket, sweater, bug spray, and a headlamp. These items will get you more potential shots than that extra lens.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona, by Anne McKinnell habit better photographer

I probably wouldn’t have this photo if it were not for my trusty headlamp that I used to make my way back through the cacti in the dark.

#5 – Hike With a GPS

Getting lost is one of my fears when I’m out exploring, so I have started hiking with a handheld GPS. It took me awhile to get used to it because it’s not the fancy kind with built-in maps. All I do is mark a waypoint where I park my truck and then it tracks me as I walk. No cell signal or internet required. I can always figure out the direction to get back to my waypoint, or even follow my tracks to go back using the exact route I took to go out. It’s worth it to carry a couple of extra batteries for it too.

Now that I have the GPS, I am more willing to go off the trail and explore new things. It’s a whole new level of freedom!

Bisti Badlands, New Mexico, by Anne McKinnell - habits better photographer

At Bisti Badlands, New Mexico, it is very easy to get lost with no trails and strange rock formations in every direction. My GPS was a lifesaver.

Conclusion

These tips should help you figure out where to go when to get there and make sure you are comfortable in the field so you can stay as long as you like to get that special shot. Sometimes photography is a waiting game, but if you are comfortable you can be patient and wait for the magic moment to happen.

The post 5 Surprising Habits That Will Make You a Better Photographer by Anne McKinnell appeared first on Digital Photography School.



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Photography education in the park - Sierra Star

Camera walks: free 1.5 hour camera walks, led by staff photographers, are available every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, meeting and departing from the porch of The Ansel Adams Gallery at 9 a.m.. The Monday walk also meets at 9 a.m., at the Majestic ...



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Swiss village bans tourists from taking pictures - prompting group to cancel photography trip - Telegraph.co.uk

The news has forced one photography group to cancel a trip to the village this autumn. "Fortunately, there are other villages in Switzerland, where we are welcome," wrote Andreas Zürcher on Facebook. The resort announced the ban in a statement on its ...

and more »


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Pippa Middleton Proves She's Not Afraid Of Heights On Her Honeymoon






One honeymoon location just isn’t enough for Pippa Middleton and her new husband, James Matthews. 


The two jetted off to Tetiaroa, French Polynesia ― one of Obama’s recent vacation spots ― after their wedding last weekend. Apparently they’ve had their fill of South Pacific sun, as Middleton and Matthews were recently spotted in Sydney, Australia. 




On Wednesday, Middleton and her hubby climbed the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge at night. The bridge offers 360-degree views of Sydney and stands about 440 feet in the air.


The night climb costs around $253 - $388 for adults and can take up to 3.5 hours to complete. 




The couple is staying at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Sydney, which offers views of the Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Opera House, according to a press release.


So far, they’ve explored the city by way of a water taxi and a sea plane. The two recently flew a seaplane to lunch at the Cottage Point Inn, which looks like a cute spot for the newlyweds: 



Sunday morning vibes #nature #beautiful #photography #restaurantaustralia #weekend #sydney #eatout #seeyousoon

A post shared by Cottage Point Inn (@cottage_point_inn) on May 27, 2017 at 4:36pm PDT





#weekend #lunch #finedining #food #eatout #sydney #seeyousoon

A post shared by Cottage Point Inn (@cottage_point_inn) on May 19, 2017 at 8:20pm PDT





Haven't dined with us in a while?! Come see what's new! #eatout #sydney #finedining #newchef #newmenu #seeyousoon

A post shared by Cottage Point Inn (@cottage_point_inn) on May 18, 2017 at 3:36am PDT




Where will they jet off to next?


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New regulations aim to end harassment of tourists by photographers at Indian monuments

Image © Yann Forget / Wikimedia

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is amending its photography policy that aims to reduce both 'pestering' of tourists at thousands of monuments by licensed photographers. The proposed amendment reads:

'No person shall, within a protected monument, hawk or sell any goods or wares or display any advertisement in any form or show a visitor around or take his photograph for monetary consideration, except under the authority of, or under, and in accordance with the conditions of, a licence granted by an archaeological officer or additional director general, ministry of tourism.'

The number of permits issued per monument will be based on its 'size, growth potential and footfall.' Further regulation will put commercial photographers in designated areas and have ministry-managed tourist rates. ASI is also considering using biometrics to 'regulate [photographers] movement inside the monuments.'

ASI manages over 3600 monuments in India, including the Taj Mahal in Agra and the Red Fort in Delhi.



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Black Grads Are Deservingly Flaunting Their Masters Degrees With This Hashtag

Black graduate school students are celebrating their accomplishments in an awesome way. 


In a movement started by Indiana University alumnus Anthony Wright and Columbia University alumnus Brian Allen, both of whom recently completed their master’s programs, grad students are flaunting their black excellence using the hashtag #BlackAndHooded.



You can't take our knowledge. You can't take our joy. And you sure as heck can't take our HOODS. #BlackAndHooded

A post shared by Dannie (@dannieantionette) on May 15, 2017 at 6:38pm PDT




Wright told HuffPost that the idea for the hashtag sparked from a conversation he had with one of the black undergraduate students he advised at school. She told him that the black graduate students set a good example for the undergraduates. 


“That made me think about how in my time in undergrad, I didn’t have that type of representation or example and how it almost deterred me from applying at all,” he said. “Seeing people like you in any educational or professional space is important in planting the seed of believing you can be there, and by using the hashtag across social media platforms, I sought to create a large pool of that representation across regions, institution types and areas of interest.”


Wright and Allen also created the hashtag to combat the negative stereotypes associated with black people in hoodies, “to redefine what ‘hood’ people could immediately associate with black people” ― though nothing is wrong with hoodies, Wright clarified.


They first sent out the hashtag on their social media accounts in late April, around the peak of graduation season. 



Representation!
Graduating black masters/doctoral students please use #BlackandHooded to share and archive your accomplishments #Classof2017 http://pic.twitter.com/1ETzPUO7aR

— Ant (@AyyoAnt) April 26, 2017








Soon after, 2017 graduates bombarded their timelines using the #BlackAndHooded hashtag.














Only about 13 percent of black people graduated with a master’s degree in 2015, according to a National Center for Education Statistics study. With the unique obstacles people of color face in the world of academia, #BlackAndHooded is meant to celebrate and uplift them. 


 “I think it’s clear that the higher education system was not constructed with Black folk in mind and their success was definitely not a factor that was considered either,” Allen told HuffPost. “I believe #BlackAndHooded displays the infinite possibilities of black excellence and shows that Black people around this nation are doing amazing things, specializing in all fields and disciplines, and that we are no longer adhering to the confines of lack of access and opportunity that many of our ancestors experienced before us.”


The duo decided to take the idea a step further and create a photo series. In an effort to highlight black grads in one place, they created a website to allow graduates to submit themselves to be featured. They post photos from folks who use the hashtag on social media and those who email them at hashtagblackandhooded@gmail.com. So far, they’ve featured more than 180 graduates. 














Wright said he hopes #BlackAndHooded inspires others to get their degrees, but if education isn’t in their plans, he hopes people at least look at the photos and feel a sense of pride.


“Celebrating black accomplishments is always important in my opinion. Everyone has that inner auntie with the disposable camera in them waiting to cheer on another black person who is out here achieving great things,” he said. “This hashtag just serves as a reminder to some and an eye-opener for others, that black people are more than just the negative images displayed on television and that we are and will continue to make positive contributions to society ― in this case through our scholarship.”


Check out more of their photos below.








Run me that Masters Degree!!! #BlackandHooded M.S.Ed http://pic.twitter.com/L7hwM0A8rz

— Ant (@AyyoAnt) May 5, 2017






I passed my defense today, let's go ahead and add M.A. to the end of my name. #BlackWomenInGradSchool #EverydayBlackness #BlackGirlMagic http://pic.twitter.com/MPC9MNamsp

— #BOLDblackgirl (@____MissB) April 4, 2017






Just a girl who went from the one of the lowest performing high schools in DETROIT, to one of the top graduate programs in the COUNTRY! ✊ http://pic.twitter.com/pkcaoHjnwv

— CJ (@Celeste_Jean) April 29, 2017












commencement. #PennGrad #BlackandHooded http://pic.twitter.com/HT5z8Z9sc1

— gabrielle. (@gabgotti) May 15, 2017




On the way to Dr. CKJ #blackandhooded #mastersmami #GWU : @Drsuisse http://pic.twitter.com/HbEDCWlqnA

— Cierra Kaler-Jones (@_cierrajade_) May 6, 2017






#Blackandhooded ‍ ✊ and it feels goooood!! http://pic.twitter.com/qAOrZyf24v

— Natasha Winston (@Hazelnlove) May 8, 2017




schoolin life.
G.I.H, Master's of Science in Education. ✨#blackgirlsgraduate #BlackandHooded #BlackGradsMatter http://pic.twitter.com/ZFlz9jwSgI

— gabrielle. (@gabgotti) May 13, 2017




Defying odds. Breaking barriers.#BlackandHooded #IvyLeague http://pic.twitter.com/kUC2VM4fmr

— Ian D. Deas, M.S.Ed. (@ianddeas) May 14, 2017





 

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Matterport Pro2 3D Camera launches with 4K still image support and GPS

Matterport has taken the wraps off its new 134MP Pro2 3D Camera, an update to its existing Pro 3D camera designed to create 360-degree renderings of real estate interiors. The Matterport Pro2 adds support for 4K-resolution 2D photography on top of its VR walkthrough and 3D functionality. Matterport has also integrated GPS into the camera for automatically adding location tags to content.

According to Matterport, the new Pro2 camera enables users to capture 2D photography and capture 3D spaces using the same device. The Pro2 features 2D image capture, as well as spherical image creation, 360-degree content, and it can automatically generate both 2D and 3D floor plans for rooms or buildings captured using the camera.

The newest model features the same '3D sensing capability' of the older Pro model, the company explains, as well as simplified end-to-end automated content processing, an iPad Capture app, and both social and syndication features for distributing content. As well, Matterport says its recent Google Street View partnership will allow its customers to publish their Pro2 content on Street View easily starting this summer.

Matterport has launched the Pro2 camera for pre-order at $3995, and it plans to start shipping the model on June 15.

Via: PRNewswire



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Jerusalem International Photography Challenge exhibition coming to capital - The Jerusalem Post

The International Photography Challenge, JerusaLENS, featuring the most popular photographs of the capital based on millions of votes, will hold a two-month exhibition in the city displaying the winning images in honor of the jubilee year of the Six ...



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Is This AI Photo Assistant Taking the Art out of Photography? - Resource Magazine

Recently launched on Kickstarter, Arsenal is an AI photography assistant that looks at a scene and scans thousands of photos, then refines camera settings based on those results in order to produce “the best” photo. To do so, it analyzes 18 different ...



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Kathy Griffin attempts to stay relevant with tasteless decapitated Donald Trump photo shoot

I imagine a world where, at some point, somebody told Kathy Griffin she was funny as some kind of prank. But, she believed it and has ran with it ever since. Sure, I’m probably not all that funny, either, but I’m not attempting to make a living out of it. Her latest act of “comedy” […]

The post Kathy Griffin attempts to stay relevant with tasteless decapitated Donald Trump photo shoot appeared first on DIY Photography.



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Kathy Griffin attempts to stay relevant with tasteless decapitated Donald Trump photo shoot

I imagine a world where, at some point, somebody told Kathy Griffin she was funny as some kind of prank. But, she believed it and has ran with it ever since. Sure, I’m probably not all that funny, either, but I’m not attempting to make a living out of it. Her latest act of “comedy” […]

The post Kathy Griffin attempts to stay relevant with tasteless decapitated Donald Trump photo shoot appeared first on DIY Photography.



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Photography exhibition surveys 40-year career overseas - Asbury Park Press

Some photographers take a long time to plot their work. But not MaryAnn Vitiello. No, she never had the option for meticulous preparation. As an AIDS nurse in Africa, her photography came more out of urgency and therapy. And yet, somehow, she captured ...



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Free Stock Photography: Where are all the brown people? - Palm Beach Post

Christina Mestre, a West Palm photographer attributes the lack of diversity to a sheer lack of knowledge: “A lot of these stock photos sites don't have a pulse on our community or culture. So they probably wouldn't portray it well any way. It leaves ...



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Of Trees, Leaves, and Petals photography exhibit at Winona Public Library - Winona Post

Of Trees, Leaves, and Petals is a photography exhibit that represents the embodiment of nature featuring close-ups of trees, leaves, wildflowers and garden flowers. The photographer, Ulrike Schorn-Hoffert, grew up in a family of gardeners and foresters.



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How to turn 360° footage into Tiny Planets using Adobe Premiere Pro

One of my favourite things to come out of the whole 360° camera thing is tiny planets. They’re getting pretty popular, too, almost to the point of cliché, but I still rather enjoy them. They’re often simple just fun and unusual. Sometimes, though, they can add an intriguing element to a story that would otherwise […]

The post How to turn 360° footage into Tiny Planets using Adobe Premiere Pro appeared first on DIY Photography.



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How to turn 360° footage into Tiny Planets using Adobe Premiere Pro

One of my favourite things to come out of the whole 360° camera thing is tiny planets. They’re getting pretty popular, too, almost to the point of cliché, but I still rather enjoy them. They’re often simple just fun and unusual. Sometimes, though, they can add an intriguing element to a story that would otherwise […]

The post How to turn 360° footage into Tiny Planets using Adobe Premiere Pro appeared first on DIY Photography.



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How to Retouch Environments Using Photoshop

Retouching isn’t just for portrait photography — it can make a huge difference when you want to clean up distractions from an image. This video from Phlearn will teach you in 30 minutes how to utilise various Photoshop tools to remove objects and blemishes from your environmental photos.

In the video, Aaron Nace demonstrates how to use the Brush Tool, Spot Healing Brush, Clone Stamp, and Pen Tool for retouching. The example is an indoor shot of an office, which you can download yourself (after creating an account with Phlearn) to work on in parallel with the video.

The tutorial really shows the power of even the most basic tools in Photoshop like the Brush Tool, which is used to paint over and flawlessly remove a wall heater in the image. It also provides a good lesson in cloning objects from an image and warping them in-place to replace unwanted elements.

(via Phlearn via Fstoppers)



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Glidecam and Ronin M gimbal stabiliser go head-to-head in these running shot action tests

Camera stabilisation has always been a big deal. It’s the difference between a good shot and a piece of footage you can barely watch. Until fairly recently, stabilisation was the realm of Hollywood. Mere mortals could one day only hope to see a Steadicam in person. Now, though, that’s all changed. There’a a whole plethora […]

The post Glidecam and Ronin M gimbal stabiliser go head-to-head in these running shot action tests appeared first on DIY Photography.



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Glidecam and Ronin M gimbal stabiliser go head-to-head in these running shot action tests

Camera stabilisation has always been a big deal. It’s the difference between a good shot and a piece of footage you can barely watch. Until fairly recently, stabilisation was the realm of Hollywood. Mere mortals could one day only hope to see a Steadicam in person. Now, though, that’s all changed. There’a a whole plethora […]

The post Glidecam and Ronin M gimbal stabiliser go head-to-head in these running shot action tests appeared first on DIY Photography.



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Halide is a New iOS Camera App Made by an Ex-Apple and Ex-Twitter Duo

Halide is a new ‘premium camera for your phone’ that provides advanced control over camera settings along with a gesture-based interface that aims to become muscle memory, like the dials of a camera.

The app’s creators – ex-Apple designer Sebastiaan de With and ex-Twitter engineer Ben Sandofsky – aim to best Apple’s own app with a focus on advanced users, whereas the inbuilt Camera app acts as more of a ‘point and shoot’ option. While Apple’s recent how-to guides give some way to improve the photography of the average user, Halide goes beyond the possibilities of Apple’s own app by offering professional tools such as focus peaking, a detailed histogram, adaptive level grid, and RAW support.

Halide begins in a ‘smart automatic’ mode, but with a tap can be switched to full manual mode, giving the user control over ISO, shutter speed, white balance, and focus.

The duo put huge effort in to the design of the application, even commissioning a custom typeface for the user interface, developed by Jelmar Geertsma and called Halide Router. The app uses both visual and haptic feedback, giving it a tactile quality that is unmatched in the many other camera apps available in 2017. Speaking about the work put in to the app’s design, Sebastiaan explained:

Nothing matched the pleasure of using a well-built camera. Halide aims to fix that.

The app is available at the time of writing for a discounted price of $2.99, rising to $4.99 in a week’s time. It can be found in Apple’s App Store – no Android release for the moment, unfortunately.

(via Halide via TechCrunch)



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Getting Started with Behavioral Email Marketing

When sending out automated emails to your list, how personalized are they?

I’m not talking about things like $firstname, or order by $date for free shipping – but actual personalization based on their behavior.

According to MarketingSherpa, 39% of marketers found that sending emails automatically based on user behavior was their most effective email marketing strategy. At the same time, DMA reports that emails triggered by behavior were responsible for 30% of revenues in 2014, up from 17% in 2013, and that 77% of ROI comes from segmented, targeted and triggered campaigns.

Let those numbers sink in a minute.

The potential for making the most of behavioral email marketing is wide open, and yet, according to eConsultancy, only 20% of marketers are using behavioral targeting.

email segmentation marketers surveyOnly 20% of marketers surveyed use behavioral targeting (Image Source)

Why is that? Let’s take a closer look at the core issues and learn how to get started with behavioral email marketing.

Getting the Big Picture with Behavioral Tracking

Oftentimes, marketers want to start behavioral targeting, but they have no idea how or where to start. The first step, if you haven’t done so already, is to monitor how people are interacting with your brand.

Kissmetrics can deliver this kind of invaluable behavioral analytics data. Like the brain of your behavioral marketing outreach, it seeks out and stores details about your visitors, including:

  • Who they are, and when they converted
  • What they viewed, where they clicked on your website, and when they purchased
  • Group visitors based on shared criteria
  • Identifies where people are dropping off before converting
  • Whether or not they submitted any forms, conducted any live chats, and so on

Because of this powerful people-based analytics platform, you can tailor your behavioral email triggers to suit precisely what your audience is looking for.

Decide Which Customer Actions Warrant an Email

Now, not all of these points will be email “action-worthy”, so it’s up to you to figure out what actions the user takes (or doesn’t take) that are worth sending an email. You may have even seen this kind of behavioral targeting at work when you sign up for a service, but don’t complete your profile or don’t verify your email address. If the company is smart, they’ll send you an automated email reminding you to do so.

But re-targeting the user in this way isn’t the only way to leverage behaviorally targeted emails. You can also send out targeted messages, for example, when a customer:

  • Submits a form to download your white paper, video, case study or other free item
  • Views certain content on your web page. If they spent some time browsing the FAQ, you can set up a behaviorally targeted email to check in and see if they have any specific questions
  • Leaves an item in their cart without checking out. You could send them a reminder email with a small discount, remind them of limited stock (or that their cart will expire) and so on

Remember, with behavioral email marketing, it’s the customer at the wheel — not you. They’re making choices while interacting with your content. Behavioral marketing is designed to act on those choices with the kind of engagement that increases conversion rates, grows profits and vastly improves customer retention.

Unearthing More Behavioral Email Trigger Opportunities

Once you start collecting and analyzing the information that you gather on your customers, new opportunities for behaviorally targeted emails will percolate to the surface. You’ll start getting all kinds of great ideas on how to guide users back into your service. To help get you started, however, here are some of my favorites:

The “Getting Started” Email

Also known as an “onboarding” email, this message is usually sent after you create an account or register for a service. It’s designed to get you clicking and interacting with the service as quickly and fluidly as possible. Here’s an awesome example from Stocksy, a stock photography site:

Image Source

Notice how they’ve carefully curated images on a specific theme – then encourage you to click through and check them out for more design inspiration. Here’s another example from Airbnb:

airbnb sonoma email giftImage Source

If you’ve been browsing trips to wine country, this targeted email can help make your tour much more palatable through the offer if discounts, local guides, special attractions and more.

The Notification Email

The notification email is generally just a canned response from your account or user management software that tells people their username and password, and maybe has a link to some documentation to get started. That’s where most of the getting started process ends — which results in a lot of confused or frustrated users.

Instead, encourage them to take the first step toward trying out your product by offering more of a guided, hands-on tour. If you have a SaaS, walk them through using it by helping them to create their very first _____ — such as a website, playlist or campaign. This sort of guided, pop-up tour will help them feel more at ease, and can also give you even more valuable data for your behavioral targeting goals.

The Icing on the Cake Email

These are the unexpected but highly welcomed emails that encourage better customer retention. Here’s a great example from Shopify that lets users extend their free trial of the service:

shopify free trial extended emailImage Source

Another example comes from TurboTax, which is designed to pique the user’s curiosity about how much their tax refund could be, before they ever see a check in the mail:

turbotax sign in email notificationImage Source

It also promotes the benefits of using the TurboTax service, but without being overly “sales-y” or pushy. Rather it shifts the focus onto the customer and their end goals – which revolve around getting the biggest refund possible at tax time.

The Reward Email

Everyone loves getting an unexpected reward — even if it’s a digital “good job!” Here’s an example of an email from Withings, which is a Fitbit-style product that helps inspire healthy habits by tracking your activity. Here, you can see a user has won a badge for taking 8,000 steps in a day, and unlocked the Marathon reward. They can also share their progress on Twitter or Facebook.

withings reward emailImage Source

The Recommendation Email

Oftentimes, great customer service from a company is enough to get you to recommend them. But what if the brand sweetened the deal? Bombas, which sells socks online, provides free socks, with no limit, to people who tell their friends about them. Those friends get a discount on socks, and the referrer gets more socks. And we all know you can never have enough socks.

bombas refer a friend emailImage Source

Transactional Emails

Did you know that transactional emails (receipts, shipping notifications, etc.) are opened up at 8x the rate of regular emails? With this in mind, it’s worth going through the ones your company sends and doing away with those dusty old “order confirmed” messages, to make every note you send one that not only thanks the customer for their order, but does so in a way that’s more akin to having a conversation than making a statement.

So Just How Do I Set All This Up?

Until now, behavioral email targeting was difficult to set up because so many pieces of technology had to communicate with each other. With the new Kissmetrics Campaigns, behavioral targeting via email (and other channels) is built right in, so you can customize precisely when automated emails are sent to your customers, based on their behaviors. It’s better targeting, discovery, engagement and retention all rolled into one.

Be sure to check out the detailed article link above to learn how to use this new feature to the fullest, and be sure to share your behavioral targeting email success stories with us in the comments below!

About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis. Learn more at iElectrify.com and download your free web copy tune-up and conversion checklist today!



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The Xiaomi Mi6 isn't quite an iPhone 7 Plus, but it's not bad

Xiaomi Mi6 Quick Review

The Xiaomi Mi6 is the Chinese manufacturer's brand new flagship smartphone and comes with an impressive spec sheet all around. The Android 7.1.1 operating system is powered by Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 835 top-end chipset and a generous 6GB of RAM. Our test unit comes with 128GB of built-in storage. A 64GB version is available as well, but unfortunately the Mi6 lacks a microSD-slot.

The Mi6 is also one of the first Android phones to feature an iPhone 7 Plus-style dual-cam that combines a 27mm-equivalent wide angle with a longer 52mm lens. In the camera app, you can switch between the two by pressing a zoom button. Both lens modules come with a 12MP resolution sensor, but have otherwise different specifications. The wide angle module features a 1/2.9" sensor, an F1.7 aperture and optical image stabilization. The longer lens comes with a smaller sensor and has to make do without optical stabilization. At F2.6, the aperture is considerably slower as well. 

Images can be viewed on a 5.15" Full-HD display and all components are wrapped up in a splash-proof, sleek looking and very solid feeling body with metal frame and a shiny plastic back plate. The stock camera app comes with a manual mode that allows for manual shutter speeds down to 1/4 sec but unfortunately the device does not support DNG Raw-capture. A portrait mode that simulates a shallow depth-of-field is on board as well.

Thanks to retailer Gearbest.com, which ships Xiaomi devices worldwide, we've had the chance to try the Xiaomi Mi6 and its dual-camera, shoot a wide range of samples and see how it performs in the hands of a mobile photographer.

Key specifications:
  • Dual-camera
  • 27mm wide angle: 12MP 1/2.9" CMOS sensor, 1.25 µm, F1.7, 4-axis OIS
  • 52mm tele: 12MP, 1.0 µm pixel size, F2.6
  • 4K video
  • Slow-motion video at 720p and 120fps
  • Dual-LED flash
  • Hybrid-AF with phase detection
  • 8 MP front camera
  • 5.15" Full-HD IPS LCD display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset
  • 6 GB RAM, 64/128 GB storage 
  • Android 7.1.1
  • Li-Po 3350mAh battery  
Image quality in bright light / 27mm

In bright light, the Mi6 wide angle camera generally captures good exposures and colors that are just a touch on the warm side and vibrant, though may be a little too saturated for some tastes. The lens is usually sharp across the frame, but occasionally softness becomes noticeable in varying areas of the image, probably due to the optical image stabilization overcompensating for camera shake. 

When viewing at a 100% magnification some smearing of fine low-contrast detail is noticeable but overall the camera captures good textures and well-defined edge detail. Luminance noise is very visible in dark blue skies, though.

As you can see in the samples below, the Mi6 camera unusually adds by default a watermark to its images. This can be turned off in the settings. 

 ISO 100, 1/1213 sec

Skin tones tend be very slightly warm but pleasant.

 ISO 100, 1/230 sec

Overall the Mi6 is doing a pretty good job at keeping highlight clipping under control but, as with most smartphones, in some high-contrast scenes it is unavoidable. The Mi6 is also a little sensitive to red tones, which sometimes can lead to channel clipping on bright red subjects in a scene. 

 ISO 160, 1/688 sec

Luminance noise and grain are quite noticeable in areas of plain color, such as blue skies.

 ISO 100, 1/1739 sec
Image quality in bright light / 52mm

In bright light the 52mm is a great option to have. It allows you to vary your angle of view and get closer to the subject at the press of a button. It also offers a perspective that is more suitable to portraits than the wide angle. 

As you would expect, image processing looks very similar to the wide angle camera but the longer lens module is just a touch more prone to highlight clipping and also shows higher levels of luminance noise at base ISO and slightly softer textures.

 ISO 100, 1/641 sec

The 52mm lens comes with less distortion than its 27mm cousin which allows you to get closer to human subjects and capture more pleasant and natural portrait images. 

 ISO 125, 1/120 sec

In overcast conditions both fine detail and edges looks softer than on the 27mm lens module. Due to the slower F2.6 aperture, the longer lens often uses slower shutter speeds in auto mode, which can lead to motion blur on fast moving subjects, as you can see on the skater in the image below.

 ISO 100, 1/120 sec
Image quality in low light / 27mm

The Mi6 wide angle camera performs well in low light. Exposure and color remain good down to very low light levels and noise is generally well-controlled. Fine textures and detail are suffering as the ISO value is increased but the Mi6 maintains a good balance between noise reduction and detail retention. 

 ISO 400, 1/30 sec

Luminance noise is visible in the ISO 800 exposure below but the grain size is pleasantly small and high-contrast edges still show very good definition.

 ISO 800, 1/24 sec

For very dark scenes the Mi6 uses a multi-frame night mode which does an admirable job of achieving good exposures, even in very dim conditions. At a 100% view there is a lot of noise and smeared fine detail, but the images are still more than usable at smaller viewing sizes, for example on social media.

 ISO 6400, 1/12 sec
Image quality in low light / 52mm

In low light the Mi6's 52mm module suffers from the same issues that we've also seen on the iPhone 7 Plus. With a smaller sensor and slower aperture the longer lens' image quality deteriorates much faster in low light than the wide angle's.

Like the iPhone, the Mi6 switches from using the longer lens to digitally zooming the wide angle when things get too dark, usually dimly-lit interior spaces. Unfortunately, the system is unpredictable and sometimes even uses the digital zoom in pretty bright conditions. On other occasions it leaves the telephoto module activated for quite a long time. You'll only find out when looking at the image on a large screen or checking the EXIF data, though.

For the shot below, which was taken in a well-lit interior, the camera still used the long lens but had to increase ISO to 1000, resulting in high noise levels and little detail.

 ISO 1000, 1/60 sec

In darker scenes than the one above, the camera uses the digital zoom of the wide angle sensor instead of the longer lens. As you can see below this reduces detail quite noticeably. That said, images are still usable for social sharing and similar purposes.

 ISO 500, 1/24 sec, digitally zoomed wide angle image

For the night shot below the camera again zoomed digitally on the wide angle instead of capturing the image on the longer lens.

 ISO 1250, 1/17 sec, digitally zoomed wide angle image
Portrait mode

The Mi6 comes with a portrait mode similar to the one found on the iPhone 7 Plus. Like on the iPhone, the Mi6's longer lens offers a perspective that is better suited to portrait photography than the wide angle lenses on most competitors. However, as you can see in the sample below, in terms of background separation the Xiaomi doesn't come close to the iPhone. There are very noticeable artifacts around the hair of our foreground subject.

ISO 160, 1/120 sec, portrait mode 
Panorama mode

The Mi6's panorama mode captures panoramic images with the device held in portrait orientation. The capture angle is only just over 180 degrees but the images are fairly large and show decent detail. The Xiaomi panorama mode is not quite on the same level as its equivalents on Apple or Samsung devices, but delivers good results in most situations.

 Panorama, 14336 x 3776 pixels
HDR mode

HDR mode can be activated on the main screen. The Mi6 is pretty good at maintaining highlight detail but on those occasions when some clipping is unavoidable, HDR mode is not of much use. It focuses on lifting the shadow areas, which leads to a brighter overall impression than the standard exposure.

Given it also causes a noticeable processing delay and some moving subjects show ghosting artifacts, most users should probably leave it deactivated most of the time.

 ISO 160, 1/991 sec, HDR off
 ISO 160, 1/991 sec, HDR on
Video

In video mode Xiaomi Mi6 users are limited to the wide angle lens as the longer lens is not available for movie recording. The 1080p footage shows decent detail across all light levels and, as you can see in the sample below, panning is quite smooth. Video stabilization doesn't keep things quite as steady as on the best in class, but overall the Xiaomi performs well in video mode.

The 720p slow-motion mode offers a smooth 4x slow motion effect but in terms of image detail cannot quite keep up with the best in class, such as the iPhone 7 or Google Pixel.

Conclusion

When I first got the Xiaomi Mi6 into my hands I was hoping it could be an alternative to the iPhone 7 Plus and its dual-cam in a considerably smaller form factor. Depending on your requirements it can be such a device, but the Xiaomi also comes with a few niggles you should be aware of.

The wide angle camera's image quality is good across the board but not quite on the level of the best in class. Like on the iPhone, the longer lens is only really useful in bright light. As soon as the light levels drop image quality deteriorates very quickly and the camera soon switches to digitally zooming the wide angle instead of using the 52mm. The latter occasionally also has trouble focusing in lower light and, unlike on the iPhone, cannot be used for shooting video. Unfortunately, the results of the Xiaomi's portrait mode noticeably lag behind the Apple version as well.

Those who like as much control as possible over the capturing process should be aware that the Mi6 is one of very few current flagship models to not support DNG Raw capture and in manual mode the slowest selectable shutter speed is 1/4 sec. 

However, if you can live with those limitations, then the Mi6 dual cam offers - in good light - a lot of flexibility in terms of framing and gives the Xiaomi a clear advantage over most competitors in the Android camp. Given its premium look and feel and high-end components, for example Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 835 high-end chipset, the Mi6 is currently also an extremely good value proposition. At $460 for the 64GB version currently (with coupon code MiF4G) and $520 for the 128GB variant (with coupon code GMi64G) it saves you a sizable sum when compared to similarly specced devices from the more established manufacturers.

What we like:
  • Decent detail across the ISO range on wide angle camera
  • Well-controlled noise at higher ISOs
  • Dual-cam offers great framing flexibility in bright light
  • Good detail and stabilization in video mode
  • Premium build quality and look
  • Very responsive in general operation 
  • Value
What we don't like:
  • Longer lens of limited use in lower light
  • Very noticeable luminance noise at base ISO
  • Occasional softness on wide angle and focus errors on longer lens in low light
  • Inefficient HDR mode
  • No Raw file format 
  • Slowest shutter speed of 1/4 sec in manual mode
  • Long lens cannot be used in video mode
  • No microSD slot 


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