Monday, April 30, 2018

Record label blasts photographer after stealing her photographs

Copyright infringement is all too common these days. It seems especially so in the music industry. One would think that fellow creatives, like musicians, would understand copyright and know better. But it turns out that they often don’t. Typically, when the photographer contacts them about it, the ensuing conversation is quite amicable. The images are […]

The post Record label blasts photographer after stealing her photographs appeared first on DIY Photography.

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“Filmmakers” stole woman’s video, made fake interview with her – and won an award for it

Unfortunately, plagiarism is not at all rare in the world of photography and filmmaking. But Cara Keilani, also known as Syrena, has had her work and even her identity plagiarized in the most outrageous way. A group who was part of the Creator Collective – Asia program contacted her to work together, but she refused. […]

The post “Filmmakers” stole woman’s video, made fake interview with her – and won an award for it appeared first on DIY Photography.

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Watch the new VR horror series ‘Campfire Creepers’ for free

  If you’ve ever wondered how it feels like to watch a horror film in virtual reality, then you’re in luck. Dark Corner Studios has released two episodes of the VR mini-series “Campfire Creepers” through their app for free. So grab your phone and your headset because you don’t want to miss this. Directed by […]

The post Watch the new VR horror series ‘Campfire Creepers’ for free appeared first on DIY Photography.

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AIs, predictions and judgment

This Mckinsey piece summarizes some of Ajay Agrawal thinking (and book) on the economics of artificial intelligence. It starts with the example of the microprocessor, an invention he frames as “reducing the cost of arithmetic.” He then presents the impact as lowering the cost of the substitute and raising the value of the complements.

The third thing that happened as the cost of arithmetic fell was that it changed the value of other things—the value of arithmetic’s complements went up and the value of its substitutes went down. So, in the case of photography, the complements were the software and hardware used in digital cameras. The value of these increased because we used more of them, while the value of substitutes, the components of film-based cameras, went down because we started using less and less of them.

He then looks at AI and frames it around the reduction of the cost of prediction, first showing how AIs lower the value of our own predictions.

… The AI makes a lot of mistakes at first. But it learns from its mistakes and updates its model every time it incorrectly predicts an action the human will take. Its predictions start getting better and better until it becomes so good at predicting what a human would do that we don’t need the human to do it anymore. The AI can perform the action itself.

The very interesting twist is here, where he mentions the trope of “data is the new oil” but instead presents judgment as the other complement which will gain in value.

But there are other complements to prediction that have been discussed a lot less frequently. One is human judgment. We use both prediction and judgment to make decisions. We’ve never really unbundled those aspects of decision making before—we usually think of human decision making as a single step. Now we’re unbundling decision making. The machine’s doing the prediction, making the distinct role of judgment in decision making clearer. So as the value of human prediction falls, the value of human judgment goes up because AI doesn’t do judgment—it can only make predictions and then hand them off to a human to use his or her judgment to determine what to do with those predictions. (emphasis mine)

This is pretty much exactly the same thing as the idea for advanced or centaur chess where a combination of human and AI can actually be more performant than either one separately. We could also link this to the various discussions on ethics, trolley problems, and autonomous killer robots. The judgment angle above doesn’t automatically solve any of these issues but it does provide another way of understanding the split of responsibilities we could envision between AIs and humans.

The author then presents five imperatives for businesses looking to harness AIs and predictions: “Develop a thesis on time to AI impact; Recognize that AI progress will likely be exponential; Trust the machines; Know what you want to predict; Manage the learning loop.” One last quote, from his fourth imperative:

The organizations that will benefit most from AI will be the ones that are able to most clearly and accurately specify their objectives. We’re going to see a lot of the currently fuzzy mission statements become much clearer. The companies that are able to sharpen their visions the most will reap the most benefits from AI. Due to the methods used to train AIs, AI effectiveness is directly tied to goal-specification clarity.
Tags: artificial intelligence   business

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Jackson Township Historical Society holds photography workshop - Suburbanite

JACKSON TWP. The Jackson Township Historical Society held a special photography workshop at the Jackson Center School on April 21. The workshop was called “Finding the Picture IN the Picture.” Award winning photographer and artist Carolyn Jacob ...

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The Photography of Shah Marai - Financial Times

Shah Marai, AFP chief photographer in Afghanistan, was killed on April 30 on assignment covering a suicide bomb in the capital Kabul. Below is a brief selection of his work taken during his time at the bureau. Afghan commandos walk down a road near the ...

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Daily photography improves wellbeing - EurekAlert (press release)

And just the thought: oh wait a moment, no, I'll stop and take a photograph of this insect sitting on my computer or something. Just taking a moment is very salutary I think." It also led to more exercise and gave a sense of purpose, competence and ...

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Dream Job Alert: Get Paid $10000 to Take Sunset Photos This Summer -

Who qualifies? To qualify for this job, you must be a U.S. resident who is at least 21 years old and has one-month free to travel this summer. Other than that, the requirements are pretty flexible. While the ability to take a decent photograph is ...
Get paid $10000 to travel the US for a month taking sun-soaked photographs Lonely Planet Travel News

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Dry Glass Plate Photography is Back

In the era of the “selfie”, of the relentless click-and-publish images on social media, of the mega sensors replete with megapixels, we are witnessing an unpredictable resurgence of many ancient photographic devices and techniques.

Wet collodion (tintypes) and many other alternative photo processes are being keenly rediscovered today and there is an ever-growing plethora of workshop available to those who want to learn and practice them.

A primitive photographer myself, a practitioner of what I like to define “slow photography” for most of my professional life, I observe this phenomenon with great interest, wondering about what its deepest rationale might be.

The amazing and light-fast technology that permeates our lives can become overwhelming at times. Images are indeed one of the most widespread and immediate forms of communication nowadays, when an ever-decreasing attention span makes just reading a few paragraphs a daunting task for many.

At the same time, creating digital images is devoid of the tactile, hand-dirtying, artisanal, alchemic qualities typical of the silver process heritage.

Today lenses and cameras are precisely designed and built by computers, there is no more space for the serendipitous human error neither in the photographic machines nor in the images they produce. Everything is simplified and automated, bringing the original Kodak Brownie advertising promise “ you press the button- we do the rest” to an almost dystopian level, thus hampering some peoples’ vision and their enjoyment of the creative process.

That is certainly my case and, given the choice, I’ll always opt for an ancient glass and wood large format view camera versus the latest digital device.

I suppose there are other factors too: In analog photography the creative process doesn’t end downloading your files to a computer or uploading them to social media, lost in a binary void forever, but it continues in the darkroom, where one carefully chosen image undergoes a complex voyage towards becoming a print, a tactile, permanent, often unique expression of the photographer’s vision.

To sum up, it appears that the impermanence of digital is finally starting to feel uncomfortable to some, hence a reversal to think more, click less, dabble with wet techniques from the past to create images that can actually still exist in the future.

Along those lines, I am happy to report the recent re-introduction on the market of a long gone photographic medium: dry glass plates.

Dry glass plates, invented by Dr. Richard L. Maddox in 1871, were a major advancement for photographers who until then were mostly using the wet collodion process. Wet collodion required to be poured just before taking the photograph and developed shortly afterward, something rather difficult and time-consuming outside of a studio environment.

Dry glass plates instead, being pre-coated with a light-sensitive gelatin could be easily transported to external locations and the photos developed at a later time, back in the darkroom, greatly helping photographers to expand their business in outside locations. You can admire a nearly unknown itinerant seed vendor-photographer exquisite dry plates photos taken on the Italian Alps here.

While I am familiar and have practiced in the past wet collodion photography, I too, a century later, find dry plates portability a great advantage over tintypes. With dry plates, I can even fly commercially, without having to worry about the strict Airlines regulations against the poisonous and explosive wet collodion chemistry.

Shooting these new old dry plates is not completely devoid of problems, yet, but things are improving rapidly. The first batches had some flaws and coating issues but that, by now, has been completely resolved.

The man that made dry plates photography possible again is Mr. Jason Lane, a brilliant optical engineer based in New Hampshire, who has a deep love and understanding of photographic media and techniques from a bygone era.

Mr. Lane’s production is still completely artisanal and made in U.S.A.: he painstakingly hand-coats his dry plates, boxes them and ships them.

A one-man operation fuels this unexpected and welcome renaissance inspired by the past but with an eye to the future, giving us the opportunity to experiment with one of the most archival-stable and fascinating photographic technology from the beginning of last century.

In a world that is often keen to forget and foolishly dismiss as useless many valuable assets from the heritage of mankind, not only in photography but also in everything else, including oral tradition, popular culture, and art, I find Mr. Lane’s work extremely remarkable and inspiring.

Editor’s note: Jason Lane has been selling his dry plates for several months now. The emulsion has a “normal” sensitivity, so it responds to UV and blue.

“In this way, it shares a lot of characteristics with wet plate, combining them with characteristics of film I really enjoy the look of the handmade plate era, and it seems I’m not the only one,” Lane told PetaPixel back in January.

Lane is selling a few standard formats and is also open to making custom plates of all sizes — he has made and delivered plates as large as 12×20″ and as small as 35mm.

You can find out more about Lane’s plates and purchase you own through his website, Facebook page, and Etsy store.

About the author: Giovanni Savino is a New York-based photographer and cinematographer. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Savino’s work on his website and Instagram. This article was also published here.

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Contest Judges Rule Wildlife Photography Winner Used Taxidermic Creature - Smithsonian

“The competition places great store on honesty and integrity, and such a breach of the rules is disrespectful to the wildlife photography community, which is at the heart of the competition,” Roz Kidman Cox, a member of the 2017 judging panel, says in ...
Museum disqualifies image in wildlife photography contest after learning it was a stuffed animal
Photographer is disqualified from Wildlife Photography Competition as judges discover his image is of a STUFFED ...

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Hannah Munroe's other-worldy photographs are as haunting as they are romantic - CT Post

The poster image for Hannah Munroe's photography exhibit at Byrd's Books in Bethel shows a young woman wearing what appears to be a gown fashioned from feathers while standing in a tree. Or maybe she's levitating. Whatever the case, while the woman ...

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Instagram testing slow motion video, Story reactions and a mute button

According to The Verge, it seems that Instagram are testing out a bunch of new features. Amongst them, there’s slow-motion video for Stories, Story reactions, and a mute button. It seems that we may also soon be able to tag Facebook friends on Instagram posts. The new features being tested look to have been discovered […]

The post Instagram testing slow motion video, Story reactions and a mute button appeared first on DIY Photography.

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On The Rocks – Episode Two

What The Format – Sensor Sizes Thank you, everyone, for the favorable comments on our first episode of On The Rocks. We wanted to make a video series that was fun and talked about photography. For me, photography is my life. Let’s face it: Life is short and we should have as much fun as we can while [Read More]

The post On The Rocks – Episode Two appeared first on Luminous Landscape.

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Composition Checklist for Beginners

At a recent meetup with several photographers, during a discussion on composition, one of the beginners commented: “Why isn’t there a composition checklist for all the things we need to think about?” It was a good question and was the inspiration that prompted this article.

It’s not about the gear

You can have the most expensive camera gear and the most amazing light. You could be in a fabulous scenic location, or shooting a stunning model. There are many situations that might provide you with the opportunity to shoot breathtaking images, but if the composition is not spot on, then it doesn’t matter how fancy or expensive your gear is.

Composition Checklist for Beginners - flower blooming

The reverse is true also, you can craft amazing images with beginner grade gear (even your cell phone) if your understanding of composition is good. When you know the rules and guidelines, can work them to your advantage, and even push the barriers and be really creative. No one will care what gear you used to get the shot, they will go “Wow, you must have an amazing camera!”

Learn the composition basics

Even though there are many different kinds of photography, whether you do street, landscapes, macro, studio or anything else, there are a lot of basic composition concepts that apply. Not every concept will need to be considered for every image but having a good understanding of the basics will get you a long way.

Truly understanding composition was one of the major steps in my photography making a big step up in improvement. Like every new idea, you have to put some effort into learning the idea, practicing, learning from your mistakes and practicing again and again. When you can frame up a well-composed shot without consciously thinking about what you are doing and why then you can really start to think about new ways to frame and shape your images.

First, you have to master the basics.

roller derby - Composition Checklist for Beginners

Getting Started

First of all, these are not rules. While there are some guidelines you should consider when creating an aesthetically pleasing image, it is entirely possible to ignore them all and still make a stunning image. It is, however, a lot easier to do that when you know what the guidelines are first. So this is a list of concepts you should consider for each image, not rules you absolutely have to follow.

Some things are easy and obvious, or so you might think. Yet the number of images with noticeably crooked horizons you see posted online is a testament to the fact that this stuff is not always obvious, and is hard to learn. Be kind to yourself and take it in stages. Maybe even write your list down and carry it in your camera bag as a handy reminder.

Also, every image will have different elements in it, and different concepts will apply. So pick and choose the ones that work for you and the scene in front of you. As an example, there are things you would do when framing up a landscape that won’t apply when shooting street photography shots.

So be sensible, pick a few that make sense to you or that apply to the way you shoot. Then practice them until it’s like breathing – it just happens automatically when you pick up the camera and frame a shot. When you get to that stage, add some more concepts to your process, and absorb those the same way.

Composition Checklist

So here is the checklist of things to look for in your composition as a starting point.

  1. Is the horizon straight?
  2. Is the subject strong and obvious within the image?
  3. Are the edges of the frame clean? Is anything poking into the frame that distract the viewer? Are there elements of the image that lead the eye out of the frame that could be positioned better?
  4. Is the background clean – are there distracting elements like a car parked in the background, or a fence or a house that doesn’t fit? Can you move or change the angle to remove that element?
  5. Is the foreground tidy? Are you shooting a landscape or natural scene where there might be branches or leaves or twigs in the foreground that could be tidied away?
  6. The position of people in the shot. Do they have a lamp post or a tree growing out of the top of their head? Have you chopped heads, feet, arms, or legs off?
  7. Eye contact – when shooting a group of people, do we have eye contact with all your subjects?
  8. Camera position – are you at the right height/angle for the best composition?
  9. Point of focus – when taking photos of people/creatures/animals have you focused on the eye? Do you have a catchlight in the eye?
  10. Is the Rule of Thirds being used effectively?
  11. Do you have a sense of scale – particularly valid for large landscape scenes?
  12. How does the eye travel around the image? Where does it go first? Where does it end up? Is that the story you want to tell the viewer?
  13. Lens choice – does the lens you are using affect the composition in a positive or negative way? Would a different lens be worth considering?
  14. Less is more – what truly needs to be in the frame? What can you leave out?
  15. Is it sharp? Do you want it to be?
Considering Composition in More Detail #1 – Is the horizon straight?

It would seem fairly easy to notice if the horizon is straight when you are taking a shot. It is also extremely easy to fix in post-processing, yet so many images are posted online that have crooked horizons, varying from a little bit to quite a lot. Our brains automatically hiccup when they encounter it, so it is a genuine composition issue that needs to be resolved.

You can take the time to set the camera up so it is completely level. When shooting a panorama, timelapse, video and similar things, it is worth the extra effort. For general purpose use, it can be easily edited in post-production.

tilted horizon example - Composition Checklist for Beginners

The horizon is about 3 degrees tilted down to the left – just enough to make your brain twitch.

#2 – Is the subject strong and obvious within the image?

There are some composition concepts that are fairly straightforward and obvious, like point #1 above. Then there are some that are more open to interpretation.

This point could be considered one of those things. However, I then propose this question to you. If the subject is not strong or obvious then how do we know what the point of your image is?

Composition Checklist for Beginners - green garden image

There are a lot of competing elements in this image, where do we start?

#3 – Are the edges of the frame clean?

Are there things poking into the frame that distract the viewer? Look for elements in the image which lead your eye out of the frame. Could they be positioned better?

Running your eye around the edge of the frame when composing your shot is a valuable step that can save you a lot of time. This is one lesson I personally had to learn the hard way and it applies to most general styles of photography.

Are there things poking into the frame from outside it that impose themselves on the image and distract the viewer? Are there blurry elements in the foreground that you could move or change your point of view to reduce their impact? Is there half a car or a building partially visible in the background perhaps?

Quite often when you are framing a shot, you are focused so intently on the subject, that you may neglect to see the whole image. So you may miss these extra details that can make or break the shot.

purple flower - Composition Checklist for Beginners

The extra leaf and bud in the top left corner are distracting.

#4 – Is the background clean?

Are there distracting elements like a car parked in the background, or a fence or a house that doesn’t fit? Can you move or change the camera angle to eliminate that element from the image?

This is an extra step on top of point #3 above – putting more effort into assessing the background.

Are you taking a nice landscape and there is a farm shed clearly visible? Perhaps there is a truck parked in the distance or a vehicle on the road you need to wait to move out of frame. Are the colors harmonious? Is the sky doing nice things? Is the sun a bit too bright in the clouds?

colonial mansion - Composition Checklist for Beginners

This lovely colonial mansion had a very modern hospital and school behind it and was difficult to frame it up to reduce those jarring elements.

#5 – Is the foreground tidy?

Are you shooting a landscape or natural scene? Are there branches, leaves, or twigs in the foreground that could be tidied away?

This is particularly relevant in nature and landscape photography, but still worth remembering in general.

Is what you have in the foreground adding to the image or distracting from the subject? Is there rubbish or stuff on the ground that looks messy? Are there twigs too close to the lens so they are blurry? Can you move any branches or things out of the way or do you need to change the angle of shooting instead?

Composition Checklist for Beginners - red mushroom

Look at all the mess of cones and twigs in the foreground, all blurry and untidy.

#6 – The position of people or the subject

Do any people in your image have lamp posts or a tree growing out of the top of their heads? Have you chopped heads, feet, arms, or legs off awkwardly?

Often a problem for posed outdoor shots, this is essentially a specific element of point #3 above – checking the background in relation to your subjects.

Is the camera straight, is the angle flattering? Are people squinting into the sun? Is the lighting good? Do you have all their body parts within the frame? Is everyone looking in the same direction or interacting in the desired manner?

cat photo - Composition Checklist for Beginners

His eyes are sharp but I cut his front paws off, not good.

#7 – Eye contact

When shooting a group of people, do we have eye contact with all the subjects?

Quite often when shooting people they will generally be looking at the camera. However, if some are and some are not, it has a weird kind of dissonance to the viewer. So make sure you have some way of engaging the people so they look at you and take several shots.

If worst comes to worst you can work some Photoshop magic to blend a few frames together if it’s a critical image.

Composition Checklist for Beginners

Notice they are not all looking at the camera.

#8 – Camera position

Are you at the right height and camera angle for the best composition?

Being at eye level with your subject makes a big difference to the feel of an image. When photographing people, the camera angle does have an effect on how flattering the shot might be to the subject.

You may want to push some creative boundaries and do something different for a particular scene. Street photography is one genre where the height and angle can directly impact the story you are telling.

On average most people tend to stand and shoot from that position, but what if you get down really low?  What if you find some stairs or some way to get higher up?  What if you shoot straight down on top of your subject rather than side on?

Start to think more creatively about how you use composition to evoke a mood or tell a story about a scene.

white swan - Composition Checklist for Beginners

This image works because I was flat on the shore at a similar height to the swan. Had I been standing you would not have seen the wonderful curve in the bird’s neck.

#9 – Point of focus

When taking photos of people, creatures or animals have you focused on their eyes? Do you have catchlight in the eyes?

If you have a subject with eyes in the image that is looking at the camera it is important to have the focus point on the eye. Faces of people, birds, and animals are very dimensional and it can be easy to get the focus point on the tip of the nose or forehead or somewhere else. So if you have a living creature looking at your camera, focus on their eye.

Another trick to make them look alive and engaged is to angle your shot so that there is some light reflected off the dark iris. This is called a catchlight and is important especially for animals and birds that have large dark eyes. Fashion photographers use fancy round beauty dish lights to give a distinctive ring effect in their shots.

Composition Checklist for Beginners - cat photo

The nose is sharp but the eyes are just a bit out of focus which is not desirable.

#10 – Is the Rule of Thirds being used?

While the Rule of Thirds is more of a guideline than a hard and fast rule, it is a good one for a beginner to take on board. It is easy to remember and does help you create a more dynamic and interesting image when used well.

So if you intend on using it, add it to your mental checklist.

birds - Composition Checklist for Beginners

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Alumnus Jason Varney to Exhibit Food, Lifestyle and Travel Photography on Campus - Drexel Now

In 2016, when food, travel and lifestyle photographer Jason Varney, BS photography '01, was named to Drexel Magazine's prestigious “40 Under 40” list of alumni, he was asked where he thought he'd be in five years. “My work schedule keeps me so busy; I ...

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Shape of Light: 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art review – an experimental masterclass - The Guardian

In the Shape of Light, Langdon Coburn's “vortographs”, blurred geometric arrangements of light and shadow, made using a set of mirrors to fragment the subject in an almost kaleidoscopic way, set the tone for an epic exhibition that traces the history ...
Visual art review: Shape of Light: 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art at Tate Modern, SE1 The Times
Shape Of Light: Photography's Relationship With Abstract Art – Tate Modern ArtLyst

all 4 news articles »

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Looking for Meaningful Landscape Photography in the Arctic - Fstoppers

Creative pursuits are inherently two-headed beasts. We are all too familiar with being passionate about photography, so much so that we can sink all of our spare time and a good portion of our money in it. Especially when you travel with photography in ...

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Garvan Woodland Gardens Hosts Spring Concerts, 'Landscape for Life' Course, Photography Exhibit - University of Arkansas Newswire

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — Garvan Woodland Gardens will celebrate sound as well as beauty with two concerts this month, along with a "Landscape for Life" course, a photography exhibit and a slate of classes and activities for all ages. The annual "Ringers of ...

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DxO to release updates to Nik collection in June despite going into receivership

When Google abandoned Nik Collection, DxO Labs acquired it and announced plans to develop it further. Despite going into receivership recently, DxO Labs hasn’t given up on updating the Nik Collection after all. According to the most recent announcement, the long-awaited update is coming in June 2018. The company has confirmed going into receivership for […]

The post DxO to release updates to Nik collection in June despite going into receivership appeared first on DIY Photography.

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LUT myths busted – What they can and can’t do for your footage

LUTs, or Look-Up Tables, were relatively unheard of until a few years ago. Now they’re everywhere. It’s like everybody has a LUT pack available for download. But, just as with Lightroom presets, LUTs are not a magic bullet. They can’t make a bad shot look amazing, and they can’t relight your scene. This video from […]

The post LUT myths busted – What they can and can’t do for your footage appeared first on DIY Photography.

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Do you really need to safely remove your drives?

I’m sure you’ve been warned plenty of times that you should eject your USB drive or memory card before removing it from your computer. But admit it, do you actually do it? In this video, Linus Sebastian of Techquickie discusses if you should really safely remove your drives, and when it can be absolutely necessary […]

The post Do you really need to safely remove your drives? appeared first on DIY Photography.

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This mom uses photography to help her autistic 4-year-old son socialize

When he was three years old, Max Pritchard was diagnosed with high-functioning autism. His mom Danielle knew how important an early intervention would be to help Max to overcome troubles with speech, anxiety and social skills. One of big factors in his treatment is photography. With a camera in his hands, little Max is successfully […]

The post This mom uses photography to help her autistic 4-year-old son socialize appeared first on DIY Photography.

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This wedding ring photo was taken with a phone and a sponge

I saw this photo in one of the wedding photography forums I visit and got curious. I contacted Dor Sasson of Happy Days Wed, the photographer and asked him how the shot was taken. It could not have bees simpler. The photo was not even taken with a “Real Camera”, it was taken with a phone. […]

The post This wedding ring photo was taken with a phone and a sponge appeared first on DIY Photography.

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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Thousands of years later, pinhole photography still 'really cool' in Hagerstown - Herald-Mail Media

The program also included a lecture on the history of pinhole photography and a talk by retired Martinsburg, W.Va., photographer Frank Herrera about how such photography works. Visitors were invited into a giant pinhole camera of sorts in the museum's ...

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Things to Think About When You're Not Satisfied With Your Photography - Fstoppers

In photography, like any art, you tend to experience ups and downs when it comes to your satisfaction with your work and ability to produce quality, innovative images. This great video examines why things may not be going your way and what you can do ...

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Tips for Converting an Old Camera for Shooting Infrared Photography

A few years ago I become friends with a guy who likes dong infrared photography. It was something that I had tried when I was shooting film, but never quite figured out. My friend had converted an old camera of his and it seemed like a good idea. At the time, I had two old cameras and thought perhaps I could use one of them for infrared. However, the price was too high then.

Tips for Converting an Old Camera for Shooting Infrared Photography

Port Arthur and the main Penitentiary looks a lot better in infrared.

Move forward to a few years, and after buying a second-hand camera from a friend, I found myself in the same position. I had two extra camera bodies, so why not convert one to infrared.

You can do this by putting a filter on the end of the lens, but from searching around for information, getting the camera converted specifically for infrared seemed like a better alternative.

What is infrared photography

Perhaps before going any further, it might be good to get an understanding of what infrared photography is actually all about.

Infrared photography is the capture of part of the spectrum of light that is invisible to the naked human eye. Infrared light is at the top end of the spectrum and is not visible to the eye, so to capture it with a camera some special techniques and equipment are required.

It isn’t an easy concept to understand, but once you get out there and start doing it, you will figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Tips for Converting an Old Camera for Shooting Infrared Photography

Late winter at Alowyn Gardens. It never snows here, but the infrared camera makes it look like it had.

Different ways of doing infrared

As with most types of photography, there are various ways to go about it. Infrared photography is no different.

Computer conversion to infrared

You can find ways to do infrared conversions on the computer. There are processes that you can use that will help give you that infrared look, however, it is just a look and won’t be the same as doing it with filters or a dedicated camera. If you are curious, though, you could try this first before investing any extra money into it.


Alowyn Gardens again, looking again like winter and snow, or perhaps a frost.

There are filters that you can get to put on your lens that will help you to get infrared-style images. These will let the IR light through to your sensor. The advantage is that you don’t have to give up a camera body to do this. I’ve never tried them, so I can’t comment on how good they are or are not.


One thing a lot of photographers who love this kind of photography do is to get one of their cameras converted to be dedicated just for doing infrared photography. Some do this themselves, or you can take it to camera repair place to do it for you.

I took mine to a place to get the infrared conversion done. I’m always wary of playing around with the sensor. They have to remove the filter that comes with the camera and replace it with one that will let through the infrared light, and block all visible light.

Tips for Converting an Old Camera for Shooting Infrared Photography

Late winter at Alowyn Gardens. It never snows here, but the infrared camera can give it that look.

Choosing which sensor filter

You do have to choose which filter you want and some places will give you many choices. Where I sent my camera there were only two options.

The first choice is the 720nm filter. This will give you close to a full infrared effect, but it will allow you to put some color into your images. The second is the 850nm which would give you very rich dark blacks and perfect if all you want to do is black and white infrared.

For me the choice was easy, I wanted to get some of that color. Not all the time, but it was important to have a choice, so I went with the 720nm filter.

Tips for Converting an Old Camera for Shooting Infrared Photography - color infrared image

The 720nm sensor filter allows you to get some color, like having a blue sky.

What to photograph in infrared

Like any type of photography, you can photograph anything with an infrared camera or one with a special filter. However, not everything will have the same effect or give you great results. You really need to experiment with it to see what will work.


Portraits can be quite weird, and the infrared light does strange things to the skin and facial features. The hair can look funny too and the lips almost disappear. I don’t know that many people would enjoy getting their portrait done this way. Perhaps for a special event or something, maybe. Who knows.

infrared portrait - Tips for Converting an Old Camera for Shooting Infrared Photography

The infrared camera gives Chris a completely different look.

Trees and nature – give your scene the look of winter

Trees are fantastic for this type of photography. All the leaves come out looking white. The more moisture the leaves have the whiter they are in the image. The gum trees in Australia don’t have quite the same effect as trees that are not indigenous to the area.

It makes photographing in rain forests pointless as everything shows up as white and doesn’t have the same effect as it does with a color image. It’s hard to see any definition between the plants.

Tips for Converting an Old Camera for Shooting Infrared Photography - b/w of trees and forest in IR

Australian natives are a little different with infrared photography.

One thing I found was that dead trees looked amazing in infrared. If you photograph them surrounded by lots of other trees, or on their own you would get a very different look. They stand out with an elegance that color photography just doesn’t give them.

When traveling around Tasmania with my infrared converted camera I was looking for dead trees everywhere.

dead trees in IR b/w - Tips for Converting an Old Camera for Shooting Infrared Photography

Dead trees on the side of the road in Tasmania.


One of the first times using the camera was in the city of Melbourne. I just walked around and took photos of the buildings and streets to see what could be captured in infrared.

The images were disappointing. Once converted to black and white they didn’t look any different than other images done with a normal camera. They did have a quality that gave them an antique look, but other than that there was no discernable differences.

b/w IR architecture - Tips for Converting an Old Camera for Shooting Infrared Photography

St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne, it looks like any black and white image, though taken with the infrared camera.

While on that same trip to Tasmania there did seem to be some buildings that were really suited  to infrared, like some old sandstone structures. Places like Port Arthur, where all of the buildings are made of stone, came out looking really good with the camera.

When visiting Port Arthur I took images with the infrared camera and the normal one. Once the photos were on the computer it seemed clear that the ones done with the special camera were by far more interesting. Many of the images were processed, some hand colored and then published on social media. The color images of the same subjects were boring in comparison.


All the images taken with the infrared camera need to be processed. You may find the sepia quality of the images quite good, but there is so much you can do to them. You can convert straight to black and white or play around with the white balance to get some color in the images.

hand colored IR image of a church - Tips for Converting an Old Camera for Shooting Infrared Photography

A small church in Tasmania, the sky was made blue because of the filter and the stone was hand colored on the computer later.


Really, this is what photography is all about. Get out there with your camera to see what you can capture, what will work, and what doesn’t. Each subject will look different with infrared photography, but you should try every type of photography you can think of to take images and then review your results.

Right now, I’m experimenting with a red filter on the lens. The images are interesting, but I need to try it a lot more.

Tips for Converting an Old Camera for Shooting Infrared Photography

Cascade Brewery is an old sandstone building that came out well. In the background, you can see the snow on Mount Wellington.


While it can be an expensive exercise converting a camera to infrared, if you have an old body lying around, then you might want to consider it. You can do a lot of experimenting with it and you will likely not regret getting it done.

If you like the look of this sort of photography, then there are also other options. It is amazing how much the world can change with infrared and it is a great way to add something different to your portfolio.

The post Tips for Converting an Old Camera for Shooting Infrared Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Ep. 275: An Anteater Too Far – and more

Episode 275 of the PetaPixel Photography Podcast.
Download MP3 –  Subscribe via iTunesGoogle Play,  or RSS!

Featured: Wedding and portrait photographer Marius Igas

In This Episode

If you subscribe to the PetaPixel Photography Podcast in iTunes, please take a moment to rate and review us and help us move up in the rankings so others interested in photography may find us.

Show Opener:
Wedding and portrait photographer Marius Igas opens the show. Thanks Marius!

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The anteater may have been too far in retrospect. (#)

Meyer-Optik Goerlitz introduces its Nocturnus 75mm f/0.95. (#)

A concert photographer pulls a classy move on a record label. (#)

A new Rolleiflex is debuted for the first time in decades. (#)

Instagram finally lets you get what’s already yours. (#)

Snapchat takes a shady crack at photography. (#)


My other podcast with Brian Matiash, the No Name Photo Show.

Connect With Us

Thank you for listening to the PetaPixel Photography Podcast! Connect with me, Sharky James on TwitterInstagram and Facebook (all @LensShark) as we build this community.

We’d love to answer your question on the show. Leave us an audio question through our voicemail widget, comment below or via social media. But audio questions are awesome!

You can also cut a show opener for us to play on the show! As an example: “Hi, this is Matt Smith with Double Heart Photography in Chicago, Illinois, and you’re listening to the PetaPixel Photography Podcast with Sharky James!”

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Earl Standerford explores his identity with a passion for photography - Colorado Springs Independent

Every year, Colorado Springs photographer Earl Standerford returns to Okinawa, Japan where he grew up, taking pictures of a place he once knew well and is now estranged from. It's part of a book project on the presence of outsiders (the American bases ...

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The Highs and Lows of ISO and How to Use it to Your Best Advantage

Treating ISO as the foundation of the exposure triangle and only adjusting it when you really need to will help you produce more consistently creative photographs.

Asian woman taking a photo - all about ISO

ISO 100 (allowing a wide aperture setting).

ISO stands for International Standards Organization, which does not really help you understand what it is. But it does indicate the standard is international and it is constant across all brands and types of cameras.

The ISO is the measurement of how responsive your camera’s sensor is to light. The lower the numeric value, the less responsive, the higher the value, the more responsive.

Editor’s note: ISO is actually much more complicated than that but for purposes of this article, this is generally considered the easiest explanation of ISO to understand, especially for beginners. 

Close up of twp people holding DSLR cameras - ISO settings

ISO 400


Choosing a low ISO setting, say less than 400, is best when there’s a lot of light or when you have a tripod and the style of photograph you want to make allows you to use a long exposure. When the ISO setting is low, the sensor is less responsive to light, so, therefore, it requires more light to create a well-exposed photograph.

Using a low ISO setting will result in better technical quality photos generally. There will be little or no digital noise, the colors and contrast in your images will be better.

Woman standing in a fresh market holding vegetables - ISO 100

ISO 100 allowing for a slow shutter speed in bright light. My friend was standing very still and my camera was on a tripod.

High ISO

Choosing a higher ISO setting is best when the light is low or you are not able to make a long exposure. Higher ISO setting means your camera’s sensor is more responsive to light, so it needs less light to reach the sensor to create a well-exposed photograph.

It also means the technical quality of your images may be affected by digital noise, colors may be less vibrant and overall image contrast is flatter. How much, depends on how high you have your ISO setting and your camera model.

Sensor technology is rapidly changing and, if you have a newer, higher-end model of camera you can more confidently choose to make photos at higher ISO settings than with older, lower-quality cameras.

Sky lanterns being released in Chiang Mai during Yee Ping festival - high ISO

ISO 6400. Allowing a fast enough shutter speed to avoid motion blur in the lantern in low lighting conditions.

When and Why to Adjust the ISO

Unlike shutter speed and aperture settings, the ISO setting has no direct creative impact on your photographs. If you think the inclusion of obvious digital noise in an image mimics a creative value similar to film grain I suggest you do some more serious study on the matter.

Adjusting the ISO can assist you to achieve the shutter speed and/or aperture settings you desire to create the style of photograph you have in mind.

Street scene at night in Thailand - ISO

ISO 100 allowing a very slow shutter speed (long exposure).

ISO and Aperture Creativity

If you are wanting to blur a background using a wide aperture setting when the light is bright, you will need to adjust your ISO to one of the lowest settings to accomplish this. If you were to use a high ISO setting you may not be able to obtain a good exposure with a wide enough aperture setting, so your background will not be as soft looking as you want it to be.

Asian woman portrait - ISO

ISO 160 allowing a wide aperture setting to achieve a blurred background.

Alternatively, if you want to create an image where everything in your composition is in sharp focus, it is best to choose a higher ISO, especially when the light is not so bright. By choosing a higher ISO you will be able to set your aperture to a higher f-stop number and achieve a greater depth of field than if your camera were set to a lower ISO value.

ISO and Shutter Speed Creativity

Choosing a low ISO can assist you in achieving a slow shutter speed when you want to create a photograph incorporating some motion blur. If you are photographing a moving subject, like a waterfall, and wish capture a lovely silky effect in the water, you will need to use a slow shutter speed.

This is easier to do when your ISO setting is low.

Mae Ya Waterfall - low ISO

ISO 50 on a bright day to set the shutter speed slow enough to capture motion blur in the water.

Freezing action by using a fast shutter speed will often require you to choose a higher ISO setting, especially if the light is not so bright. Being able to adjust your shutter speed so that is will render a fast moving subject as though it’s frozen in time will often mean balancing your exposure with a higher ISO.

Auto ISO

If you are comfortable with having your camera in control of your exposure, then Auto ISO is a good option to consider. If you set your ISO to Auto as you adjust your aperture and/or shutter speed settings, the ISO will modify itself to make an exposure the camera finds appropriate.

Night time photo of Chedi Luang Thailand - ISO 800

ISO 800

If you do choose to work with Auto ISO, I recommend you do some testing first to discover what maximum ISO setting you are comfortable with for your camera.

To do this, take a series of photos of the same subject in the same lighting conditions and double your ISO setting each time. Then compare all the photos (look at them close-up and full image) and find the ISO setting for the image you are comfortable with, the one just before you see too much digital noise.

Editor’s note: Try not to overly pixel-peep. By looking at your images at 100% on your computer screen you will not get a true feeling for the amount of noise which will be visible at a normal viewing distance. 

Many cameras have a means to set a maximum when using Auto ISO. So you can now set this to the number you determined with the test above.

Practical Conclusions
Three Asian woman review an image on a DSLR monitor - ISO

ISO 320

Adjusting your ISO setting is generally only necessary when you want to achieve a specific effect or when the light conditions change.

When we do our photography workshops we always make sure to choose some locations which are outdoors and some which are indoors. This gives us the opportunity to demonstrate when it’s good to make an adjustment to the ISO setting.

Thai Wood Carver - ISO

ISO 2000 allows for a shutter speed fast enough to freeze the action in this low light setting.

If you are photographing outdoors on a bright day, your ISO setting will most likely be between ISO 100 and ISO 400. If you go inside, especially to a dimly lit building with few windows, you may find yourself struggling to obtain a good exposure with a fast enough shutter speed if you are only adjusting your aperture and shutter speed settings.

By adjusting your ISO so your camera’s sensor becomes more responsive in the low light you will be more flexible and capable of being more creative with your camera.

The post The Highs and Lows of ISO and How to Use it to Your Best Advantage appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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