Friday, January 27, 2012

Invest On Your Equipment

Kit sets admittedly have their limitations. If you feel that you are technically knowledgeable enough, but are bound by your equipment and not achieving the results you want, maybe it is time to invest on new photography gear. There are many things to consider before adding gadgets to your arsenal, like: What are your needs? What do you want to achieve? Are you using it for your profession, or for hobby? How much are you willing to spend?

Lenses are usually the biggest investment on your set. You may want a recap of our article on camera lenses (http://photography-essentials.blogspot.com/2011/11/camera-lens-type.html) to help you decide which lens you want, depending on the purpose. You can buy the same brand lens as your camera body, but there are also third party lenses which are usually cheaper.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Join Photography Workshops and Classes

If you want to have more hands on, interactive learning experience, then photography workshops and classes are suitable for you. There are some things that can only be learned by participating in workshops. For instance, professional photographers with many years of industry experience are usually the ones conducting workshops. They can provide valuable tips, critiqques and guides based on their industry experience. Let’s say you want to know the settings of a particular shot, they can advise and explain to you on the spot. More importantly, photography workshops also conduct photoshoots guided by mentors, which could be a rich learning experience. These photoshoots are also great opportunities to build your portfolio. Photography workshops also provide good opportunities to network with co- hobbyists and professionals. There are many different levels of photography workshops; just choose the one which suits you. There are workshops for beginners, and there are more specialized workshops like for nature, travel, portraiture, wedding, and so on.

Some of the organizations / institutions which provide photography workshops offered in the Philippines are as follows:

1.       Philippine Center for Creative Imaging (PCCI) – http://pcci.com.ph
2.       Photoworld Manila – http://photoworldmanila.com
3.       Purpose Driven Photographer – http://purposedrivenphotographer.com

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Photography Communities

Online communities are a good way to interact with fellow photographers. Here are some famous sites for your review, but don’t be tied to this list! There are a lot more out there, just explore to find the community where you think you fit best!

1.    Flickr (http://flickr.com)
Flickr is an online community which hosts pictures and videos. One of the things I like about Flickr is that they have Groups for people with similar interests. Let’s say a group for Canon users, or a group for travel photographers. Members can use the Group function to communicate with like minded peers and exchange tips via discussion forums. They can submit their photos on the groups to attract views and comments, which can be helpful in improving your photography skills.

2.    JPG Mag (http://jpgmag.com)
JPG is an online community where photographers from around the world can share their photos and interact with other enthusiasts. There are also regular challenges, contests, and themes you can participate in. They also do a weekly feature on noteworthy members via voting! JPG is also rich in inspiring and informative articles, just look under the Stories section.

3.    deviantART  (http://deviantart.com) and Tumblr (http://tumblr.com)
Although deviantART and Tumblr are not technically online communities solely dedicated to Photography, many photographers also utilize these sites to showcase their works.

These communities are also great for building your portfolio, promoting exposure and expanding your network by meeting new people!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Photography Projects

Photography Projects are in a way, a personal challenge. It is like a self set goal of taking pictures within a given period of time (usually a year); where you can practice your skills and knowledge, and at the same time be also able to track your progress. Some people do photography projects for documentation, for personal or family purposes, but many do the project for feedback from other people.

1.    52 Weeks Project

The idea behind a 52 Weeks Project is to take a photo every week for 1 year, compile, and post them online (we usually store them on sites like Flickr). Here’s an example of a 52 Weeks Project Group on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/groups/photosof2012. Members create their own 52 Weeks Project Pool on their own account, and submit their individual pictures on the group page. A 52 Weeks Project is more ideal for hobbyists, or those who just started leaning photography because it is more manageable and one can have more leeway for thinking up a theme, for preparation and experimentation.
   
2.    365 Days Project

A 365 Project has the same premise with the 52 Weeks Project, but instead of weekly, you will shoot daily for one year. Digital Photography Online suggests dividing themes per week. Click here (http://www.digital-photography-school.com/53-weekly-themes-for-your-2011-project-365) to view their article and their suggested themes! Personally, I think a 365 Project is more effective if you’re really serious and dedicated about practicing your photography. It can be though because it requires dedication and a lot of time; plus you also need to bring your camera with you everywhere ALL the time. But ‘challenging’ can also be a good thing because it dares you to be creative, to think out of the box, especially under time pressure!

In doing photography projects, some people do random photography, some take pictures of significant event which happened within the day or week, but a lot agree that it is best if you stick with a theme. Speaking of themes, some use a single lens for the entire project; it could be a prime or zoom lens. Some people stick to black and white photographs for the entire project, while some people opt to shoot portraits only. But of course, it all depends on you and what results you actually want. More importantly, stick with the project, don’t give up! Eventually, you will see how your technical skills and your own style become more refined. So weigh your options, the pros and cons and more specially the time you can commit before embarking on a project. Either way you choose, their entire goal is your improvement!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sylights - a lighting diagram iPhone/iPad App

Have you ever been asked the question "How did you light this photo?"

Trying to describe your lighting setup without any visual aid is such a pain and attempting to create one takes a lot time. Fortunately Sylights is here to make your life a lot easier.


Splash screen and main menu

Sylights is a drag and drop lighting diagram that lets you create lighting diagrams in just a few taps. It is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad that are equipped with iOS 4.0 or later. You can save the diagrams in your library/camera roll and even edit them if you have forgotten something in your diagram. The app includes more than 40 photography equipments to create your lighting diagram with. And did I mention this app is free.



The app has many photography equipments to use for your diagram

 If you want to share or just note your planned lighting setup. Sylights is the app for you!


Left: Adding description 
Right: A sample diagram

Download the app by clicking the link below.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Nikon Asia Image Guide – iPhone/iPad App

Camera giant Nikon has recently released an Apple app that aims to guide and deliver information about photography on the go.


Splash screen and the home screen of the app

The Nikon Asia Image Guide is a free app that is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPod that are equipped with iOS 4.0 or later.

The app keeps you up to date with the latest news and videos about Nikon. It features photography tips, popular and inspiring images by Nikon.


Maintenance tips and news

This app also features an interactive learning tool, which allows users to adjust and play with the different camera settings right on the app itself. Thus, allowing them to have an idea of how the settings affect the photos even without a camera.


The interactive learning tool allows users to change the shutter speed, aperture, and iso.

Another sleek feature of this app is the Nikon service center/showroom finder, which allows users to find the nearest service center to their location.


Left: Service center and showroom finder
Right: Photography tips


Download the app by clicking the link below.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Nikon D4



The Nikon D4 is currently the latest flagship camera model of Nikon. It replaces the Nikon D3S and shows a number of improvements which includes a 16.2 megapixel sensor, faster auto-focus and more accurate metering sensors, it also adds the ability to shoot at an extended ISO of 204,800.

Features
  • 16.2 effective megapixel Full-Frame (36 mm × 24 mm) sensor with ISO 100–12800 (ISO 50–204800 Boost)
  • Nikon Expeed 3 image processor
  • 91,000 pixel RGB metering sensor with Advanced Scene Recognition System
  • Advanced Multi-CAM3500FX auto-focus sensor (51-point, 15 cross-type)
  • 0.12 s start up time and 0.042 s shutter release delay.
  • Image sensor cleaning
  • Ten frames per second in continuous FX mode (eleven frames per second with auto-exposure and auto-focus disabled)
  • Buffer for 100 RAW or 200 JPEG frames in one burst
  • Built-in HDR and time lapse modes
  • Built-in Gbit Ethernet port for data transfers and tetherred shooting.
  • 1080p Full HD movie mode at 24 fps worldwide and 25 or 30 depending on region, 720p at 25/50 or 30/60 fps, HDMI HD video output, stereo monitor headphone out, and stereo input (3.5-mm diameter) with manual sound level control.
  • Kevlar/carbon fibre composite shutter with a rating of 400,000 actuations
  • Live View with either phase detect or improved contrast detect Auto Focus
  • Virtual horizon indicates in Live View mode, also available during video capture
  • 'Active D-Lighting' with 6 settings and bracketing (adjusts metering and D-Lighting curve)
  • Dual card slots, one CompactFlash UDMA and one XQD card slot (mirror, overflow, back-up, RAW on 1/JPEG on 2, Stills on 1/Movies on 2, copy)
  • Fully weather sealed with O-rings

Watch the product tour video below