Apple Acquires AI Tech That Can See a Photo’s Aethetics
Apple has quietly acquired a new French technology startup, Regaind, which specializes in AI and computer vision for analyzing photos. Apple’s Photos app is already able to search through images using keywords like “dog” or “tree” and pull out the relevant images, but this acquisition may indicate further AI developments for the app.
TechCrunch reports, based on multiple sources, that Apple stealthily acquired the startup earlier in the year.
“Regaind API gives meaning to photos,” the Regaind website states. “We help businesses and developers deal with massive flows of images by using state-of-the-art artificial intelligence to analyze and sort them.”
The technology is able to assess a photo’s “technical and aesthetical values” — things like aesthetics, sharpness, and exposure — rather than just determining the subject matter that’s featured in each image. This is something that will likely benefit lots of iOS features, such as Apple’s Memories which could pull together more meaningful collections.
On the Regaind website, you can see the technology in action. It applies different properties to each image, allowing a system to quickly determine which photos are actually worth highlighting.
Particularly impressive is its ability to properly analyze people in an image, even determining gender, age, and other details.
The “Properties” assigned to photos include things like “Interesting/original subject,” “Subject well framed,” “Annoying background,” “Great composition,” and “Good timing.”
Details of the acquisition are limited, though, and Apple tends to be rather secretive about such things.
“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” the technology giant said in a statement to TechCrunch.
New Japanese Anime to Feature Ultra Realistic Canon Cameras
There’s a new anime series coming out in Japan that may have the most accurately depicted cameras of all time. The reason is because Canon was recruited a consultant for ensuring that all the cameras and photography in the show are realistic.
Just Because! is a new original anime series that’s set to debut in Japan on October 5th, 2017. One of the main characters, Ena Komiya, is a high school sophomore who’s an avid member of the school’s photography club.
But the club has fallen upon tough times and is at risk of being disbanded. In order to save the photo club, Komiya plans to enter her photos in a photography competition.
How to Dramatically Shape the Light of a Landscape Photo in Lightroom
Lightroom’s adjustment brushes allow you to apply local adjustments to specific areas in your photos — great for landscape photography. In this 18-minute tutorial from PiXimperfect, learn how to use the brushes to “shape light” in landscapes.
In this example, the photo in question has some blown highlights and lost details in the shadows. But quite a bit can be recovered with some Lightroom editing.
Pressing ‘K’ will open the adjustment brush tool, and you can then paint a mask over the areas in the image you want to adjust. Once you’ve done that, move the sliders (the same ones you’d see for a more global adjustment) to create the edit. Ensuring that your adjustment brush is sufficiently feathered will ensure the changes look natural.
If you want to add warmth and color to an image, such as bolstering the look of a sunset, you can simply locally adjust the white balance. Just select a new brush, pull up the temperature slider, and paint on the orange.
If you adjust the tint for the brush you’ve used to introduce a white balance change, you can make it a little more magenta in color. This introduces some nice, subtle pink/red tones into the shot.
And don’t forget about the “flow” setting for your adjustment brush. It describes the opacity of the adjustment, so if you have a flow value of 10, you’re painting on your change at 10% opacity. You’d have to paint 10 times to get the same effect as 100% opacity (or flow). This is a great way to reduce the intensity of your change.
When you’re done, your changes can look something like this:
The secret is to keep in mind where the light is coming from in the original photo when you’re making the adjustments — that way you can keep things looking natural.
Couple Does Wedding Photo Shoot 60 Years After Their Wedding
Wedding photo shoots usually happen around the time of a wedding ceremony, but a couple in Brazil is showing that it’s never too late to create memorable photos for a lifetime. They just did their wedding portraits 60 years after they got married.
Rosa and Russo Dias tied the knot back in 1957 with a low-key ceremony and a tight budget. A grandfather arranged the backyard, an aunt baked a cake, and a godmother created a wedding dress. They didn’t have a photographer present, so no photos exist of that special day.
The Dias’ went on to have 9 children, 16 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren, and this year they celebrated their 60th anniversary.
When São Paulo-based photographer David Balatonfuredi learned that the couple had never done a wedding photo shoot, he decided to help them celebrate their anniversary in a special way. Balatonfuredi teamed up with a group of vendors and gave the couple a special gift of a wedding photo shoot. They got dressed up and created new photos to remember that special wedding so long ago.
“We’ve shot a lot of couples, but they had a special glow and connection that gave us so much hope,” Balatonfuredi tells HuffPo. “They represented what an ideal marriage and partnership should be about, [they were] really nice and patient to each other.”
I have been a very happy Sony customer for the last 2+ years. My a7R continues to serve me well, but I am inching closer to an upgrade. I know the a7R II is an awesome camera. I’ve read the reviews. There are photographers I follow and respect who rave about it. I’ve held it in my hands and it feels good. And there’s even the recently rumored a7R III.
However, I must also consider the “surround” that goes with a new camera body. Especially when a new camera body means an increase in megapixels. Having more megapixels comes with a cost. I think we photographers often fail to consider the ripples of a new camera body.
There is more to the decision than just the camera body, and that’s what prompted me to write this post. So let’s go. Here are 5 things you should consider before making your upgrade.
1. Storage Space
Hard drive space is the obvious impact when the new camera body you are considering has a higher megapixel count. More pixels mean larger photo files. In my example, the Sony a7R produces 36MB RAW files. The a7R II pumps out 42MB RAW files — that’s about a 16% increase. Non-trivial for disk storage, but manageable. But if I dabble with uncompressed RAW files, I’m looking at more like 80MB per shutter press. I’ll hazard a guess the a7R III will produce even larger RAW files, on the order of 50MB to 70MB.
What about memory cards? How large are the ones you own? If you are still shooting with 32GB memory cards, that may be a problem. Using my example again, my a7R could take around 900 photos before filling a 32GB card. That drops to more like 750 with the a7R II. Or a mere 400 for those 80MB uncompressed RAW beasts.
Storage is relatively cheap, but for prolific photographers (think sports, wildlife, weddings), you may be eating up disk space and memory cards faster than Pac-Man eats dots. Projecting your storage needs is easy enough math. Just know those storage needs come with a price tag beyond the camera body — and they are recurring costs.
2. Lens Compatibility
Many of us that have been into photography for a long time have an investment in lenses. Maybe you’ve scrimped and saved to get some really good glass. If you are considering a camera body from another vendor, you need to consider lens compatibility. A prime example is moving from a DSLR system to a mirrorless system.
All things being equal, it’s probably preferable to protect the investment you’ve made in lenses. There are lens mount adapters out there. Read the spec sheets. Adapters have gotten better and better. However, you have to do your homework. Does the adapter support your lenses? What features (e.g. auto-focus) will or won’t work? What features (e.g. focus speed) are hampered by the adapter?
3. Lens Resolution
You are drooling over that new, high megapixel camera. And maybe you are able to keep using your existing glass with an adapter. However… can your current lenses resolve enough detail for that big new sensor? A top-notch sensor paired with a lens of lower optical quality won’t produce optimal images. Good glass from a few years back may or may not be up to the task of resolving 40 or 50 megapixels of data.
In simple terms, the quality of your photo is only as good as the weakest link in the chain.
DxOMark added the “perceptual megapixel” to their lens ratings several years ago. A nice feature of the DxOMark site is you can check the ratings of a lens as mounted on a variety of camera bodies (assuming the combination has been tested). I checked my Sony lenses on DxOMark and the perceptual megapixel (sharpness) values increased going from the a7R to the a7R II. Sony built the lenses thinking ahead to larger sensors. Did they think all the way ahead to a rumored 50-60MP a7R III sensor? We will see.
I also temper by-the-numbers ratings by asking other photographers I know and trust that use the gear I’m considering. Of course, I can only ask about cameras that exist. I have plenty of photo friends that use the a7R II. If I jump on the a7R III train early, I won’t have much tribal knowledge to tap into.
4. Computing Horsepower
The power of your computer is something all to often overlooked by photographers when moving to a new camera body. Imagine going from a 20-megapixel to a 40-megapixel camera. You have doubled the size of every photo you are processing. Can your computer handle that?
In this example, you are asking your machine to do double the work. Of course, you don’t want to have a slow processing experience. Yet, if your system is a few years old, you will probably experience sluggish behavior. In my opinion, the days are gone in the photography world where we can expect to use the same computer for more than a few years without an upgrade (or tolerating a slower experience).
I try my best to get 4 years out of a desktop machine… and that’s pushing it. When I purchase a system, I get the maximum config, especially for components I know I can’t easily swap in and out to upgrade myself. I also add loads of memory and future-proof my system as much as possible. I’m not looking forward to my next iMac update — memory won’t be user replaceable. Apple’s pricing on RAM is… well, let’s just say off market prices.
If you’re able, get a few test files from the body you are considering. You may be able to find some online. Or find a photographer friend that is using the camera you are considering and try working with the files on your machine. Visit a local camera store and ask to take a few snaps to your own memory card. Or rent the body for a weekend and give your cataloging and processing workflow a real-world test. Another idea is to stitch together a few panoramas and take those through your workflow. They are morally equivalent to large RAW files with lots of pixels to push.
And prepare yourself: you may either need a computer upgrade as well or live with a sluggish experience for a while.
5. What Problem Are You Trying to Solve?
The last consideration on the list should be the first thing you think about. Why are you getting a new camera body? When I consider a new gear purchase, I ask myself what photographic problem the new gear will solve.
Sometimes the reasons are easy to rattle off. Your current camera 10 years old and reaching the end of its life. Or your current camera is flat out broken! Other times, the benefits are nebulous, the perceived problems are more subtle. You ask yourself “Do I really need that gear? Or do I just want it because it’s new?”
Let’s use me as an example. Why am I considering an upgrade when I’m quite happy with the a7R? I have a few reasons.
1. I need a second full-frame camera. My current backup body is a crop sensor system, an A6000. It works great and I like the A6000, too. However, when I’m traveling for a shoot, I’m always a little nervous that a problem with my a7R means I lose my full-frame goodness.
2. I want the in-body stabilization of the a7R II or a7R III (I’m assuming the a7R III will have this feature). This will allow me to take better handheld shots. My landscape work is always on a tripod. However, when I travel, I shoot handheld much of the day. And my hands aren’t all that steady.
3. This is part of a grander plan for my cameras and my photography. Once I have a new full frame camera, it will become my main body and the a7R will become my backup. I then will convert my A6000 to infrared and explore a whole new (to me) arena of photography.
So ask yourself: what problem will that new camera body solve for you? It is a way to temper that desire for a new “shiny object”. You might know this as GAS (gear acquisition syndrome).
Buying a new camera is fun. It’s exciting. It can reinvigorate your photography. It can get you off the couch and out making photographs. However, don’t overlook the ripples a new camera creates. There may be costs beyond the camera itself in lenses, disk space, or computing power. Weigh those costs against the value of solving the photographic problem you have with your current system. And after all that, if a new body makes sense… buy it, enjoy it, and make great work.
About the author: Scott Davenport is a landscape photographer and photo educator based in San Diego, California. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of his work and writing on his website, blog, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. This article was also published here.
Bald people can pose a bit of a difficulty for photographers, particularly because of the shine that can come off the skin in the studio. To illustrate this problem, Kalem from DSLR Video Shooter shaved his head for this 7-minute tutorial filled with tips for lighting bald people.
1. Use Anti-Glare or De-Shine Powder to Avoid Head Glare
Get hold of some anti-glare powder and use it to put onto the skin, removing unwanted highlights from the shot. It’s very easy with sweat or moisture for these bright spots to appear, especially under the lights of a studio.
2. Check Your Head Exposure
Use zebra or peaking tools on your camera to really check for overexposed areas. It’s easy to miss, and when you go into the edit there might be blown out areas that you didn’t spot before. Nothing is more embarrassing than having to call a client back for a reshoot!
3. Lower Your Key Light
Lowering the key light will stop the light glancing off the top of a bald head, and instead ensure it is hitting the front of the face to decrease highlights.
4. Reduce or Remove Hair Lights
Hair lights or rim lights will create really big, bright streaks on the top of the head. Either completely eliminate them, or reduce them to a very low light.
5. Think About Background Lights
A background light can actually replace a rim or hair light in this case, but the main consideration is the background color.
Try not to use bright backgrounds for bald caucasian people, and avoid using darker backgrounds for those with dark skin. This adds separation between the face and background, which you need to ensure you introduce because of the absence of hair which does this naturally.
Check out the video above for full explanations of each tip, and you can find more DSLR Video Shooter videos by subscribing to their YouTube channel.
BANKS Returns with “Underdog”
After the massive success of last year’s The Altar, BANKS has steadily climbed the charts and proved herself as one of the next big artists to watch. Today, the singer premiered her first song since The Altar, a hypnotic tune called “Underdog.”
Speaking to Zayn Lowe, BANKS discussed the influences of the synth-heavy song: “I was in a really ferocious mood,” she said. “There’s a beast inside of me that I haven’t let out fully. And I still haven’t, but I’m allowing it to poke its head above t…
This is the story of how I recently almost lost a Nikon D850 DSLR to a scam on eBay. Scammers are now targeting higher value eBay sales with fake PayPal phishing emails.
When it comes to buying and selling goods and services on the Internet today, the options are endless. The market that was once dominated by the likes of eBay and Craigslist is now seeing a surge of new options. Facebook now contains a marketplace and groups through which you can buy and sell goods and services with zero selling fees other than the standard PayPal fees on invoiced transactions.
But what has kept eBay afloat despite its hefty selling fees is the auction option and belief that they are a safe platform for both buyers and sellers alike – but are they?
The latest scam to hit eBay had almost fooled even me. I consider myself to be quite savvy when it comes to sniffing out potential scams, as I have done many times in the past.
One week ago I was one of the lucky ones to receive the newly-released and highly sought-after Nikon D850, a camera that has generated a huge number of backorders at B&H Photo and retailers throughout the country. The gradual release of limited units to retailers has created a hype, the likes of which has previously been seen with the release of new iPhone models.
It’s not to the point where people were camping out on the streets in front of retailers, but it did reach a point where the resale value of the few units being resold online has reached as high as $700 to $1,000 above retail. Seeing this (and not urgently needing the camera for myself yet), I decided to try to resell my D850 on eBay with a Buy It Now listing price of $4,200.
Just hours into the listing, the camera was sold at the full asking price. It surprised me that despite the option to submit an offer, this buyer opted to purchase the unit at my extremely high asking price.
A quick look at the buyer’s account revealed what looked like a dormant account. It was a member since 2013 with a feedback score of 4 points, none of which was recent. Being that this was such a high-priced item, I decided to further research the buyer by doing a quick Google search on the buyer’s name and address. I was delighted by the results I received; the name search matched to a family law attorney in Garrettsville, Ohio. What better buyer could I ask for, right?
An invoice request from the buyer was received immediately following the ‘Listing Sold’ notification from eBay, with a note stating the following:
Hi, Please send me more pictures of the item from all angles, send them to my email *********@outlook.com Once i receive it on my email I will submit payment via PayPal Thank You.
The first sign that something isn’t quite right was the reference to my precious Nikon D850 as “the item.” And this was coming from a person that just showed so much respect to my camera by purchasing it way above the MSRP.
As I have come to realize by now, the scammer’s intent with the above note was to get my email address and to show a slight distrust in the purchase. And in an attempt to put me in a defensive mode, he asked me to prove that the item he just purchased is indeed in my possession.
But hours later, before I even had a chance to reply with my photos, I received the below official looking email on my phone from what appeared to be a legit source: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note how the mobile email app completely masks the email address and only displays the email name. In this case, it was named by the scammer as email@example.com, but it actually came from the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gmail typically has a phishing alert in place on suspected sites that looks similar to this:
However, Gmail completely missed this one. And while no one may have reported this particular email address for phishing, Gmail should have detected a phishing attempt on an email named email@example.com that was not received from the paypal.com domain since it’s such a high target for fraud.
Here are the contents of those emails:
When I pointed on the question mark button next to the address it revealed the following address:
I should point out that handling your buying and selling on a smartphone possibly enables this scam to slip through undetected even to the most trained eyes. The words used in the email and the request to mail it to a different address triggered a warning in my mind. Something didn’t sound right, and when I opened my PayPal app, the funds were nowhere to be found there.
But as you can see in the email, the scammer has taken a step to explain as to why those funds are not showing yet, and someone not familiar with the process can get easily fooled by that explanation.
And It’s ultimately the scammer’s overly-assuring tone that pushed me to Google the buyer’s name again… and this time actually placing a call to the buyer. After a short conversation with the attorney that supposedly purchased the camera, it was clear to us that this was indeed a scam. She never placed an order for a camera and hasn’t been active on eBay for the past few years. She did not know how the scammer got a hold of her account.
The above screenshot shows the verified address on eBay.
And the address requested by the scammer in both the phishing email from PayPal and the personal email below:
I have just completed payment, kindly check for notification from PayPal and get back to me with shipment verification today Via FedEx Overnight Shipment Next Day Delivery
Below is the delivery address of my partner whom i am buying the item for as a birthday gift
2220 Meridian Blvd Suite #UP639
NOTE: It should be posted via FedEx Overnight Shipment Next Day Delivery (8.00 AM Delivery)
So after having my suspicions confirmed, I Googled the above ‘ship to’ address that was provided to me by the scammer. The address is registered to a company known as Shipito (or Eastbiz Corp.) a US package forwarding company (also known as a freight forwarder, a mail forwarder or a shipping forwarder). My search also uncovered a large number of complaints of people who have been scammed by people using Shipito.
A few hours later, I received an email from the scammer. At this point, I decided to play along for entertainment purposes. The following is our correspondence:
Kindly take note of the correct delivery address, the one i sent before was a mistake.
Below is the delivery address
2220 Meridian Blvd Suite #SX063
Once shipped kindly keep me posted.
It shipped already. Sorry.
No please call FedEx and redirect it, the address is not correct gave you the correct address please, act at once now very urgent. Would not like anything to happen to the package. Redirect it to the correct address i gave you then you update me with the shipment tracking number.
Oh my. I hope it’s not too late. Who lives in this other apartment?
Thats my partners real apartment, made a mistake while sending you the mail was at the middle of something. Its not late just call FedEx they will redirect it for you OK.
Kindly update me once you are done with redirecting the camera to the correct address.
I called. It’s too late. The truck has already picked it up.
Have your partner wait at that apartment at 8AM. The FedEx driver will hand it to him if he shows ID.
Hope it works out.
Can I have the tracking number from FedEx?
(End of correspondence.)
This scam appears to consist of hijacking dormant accounts with some feedback, as accounts with no feedback trigger a red flag to sellers. This is followed by sending fake emails “from PayPal” and finally the package is asked to be shipped to a shipping forwarding address, where the scammers take control of the package by either reselling it on eBay or shipping it off overseas.
To avoid being the victim of a scam on eBay, only accept PayPal as payment. After receiving an email from PayPal that the invoice was paid, you should confirm that the funds are indeed showing in your PayPal account. While PayPal may put a hold on the funds it will always show a pending transaction in your account. eBay will warn you if you attempt to ship an item before receiving payment. If such a warning is displayed, do not mail the item until your payment is verified by eBay via PayPal.
I should note that shipping forwarding companies are used in legit sales on eBay, and I have personally mailed to such addresses as long as the address is on file and verified with both eBay and PayPal.
If you receive email correspondence from the buyer, you should always confirm the actual email address that it was mailed from by clicking on the name. Correspondence from PayPal should come from the PayPal.com domain only.
Finally, you should only mail items to the verified address on file with PayPal and eBay in order to qualify for sellers protection. Mailing it to any other address will be at your own risk. This insurance by eBay is partly why you pay the hefty selling fees.
About the author: Eli Wohl is a hobbyist photographer and real estate appraiser in New York City who often shoots street photography in the Jewish Hasidic neighborhood he resides in. He also combines his real estate career and love of photography by shooting architectural, real estate, and interiors for his clients. Eli’s tips have also led to a number of articles on PetaPixel. You can find more of his work on Instagram.
GoPro Unveils the Fusion, a 5.2K 360° Camera with OverCapture
The GoPro Fusion is a new 360° camera that captures an immersive experience in 5.2K resolution at 30fps. It was announced by GoPro today alongside the new HERO6 Black camera at the company’s launch event in San Francisco.
Perfect for those wanting to try out VR and other modern filming styles, one of the Fusion’s coolest features is the fact that the grip mount can be automatically removed from your shots.
Here’s an introduction to the camera from GoPro:
But 360 footage looks at its best when viewed with VR goggles or a 360-enabled browser – so check out this demo if you have the capabilities (you can also change the camera direction by dragging the frame around):
What may appeal to most people here is the use of the OverCapture built into the GoPro app (coming early 2018 to iOS and Android). It allows you to manually select an area of the film, following your subject, to pick out the best angles and export it as a normal, non-360° 1080p video.
This means that you can shoot a 360 video and turn it into something like this:
GoPro is also including new Fusion Studio software for desktop computers to bolster the 360-editing process. This will include the OverCapture feature on the day of launch, so you won’t necessarily have to wait for the app’s update.
The Fusion also boasts “shockingly smooth” stabilization abilities, removing the need for a gimbal. It’s features like this which will mean footage coming out of the Fusion will open up a wealth of creative opportunities.
“GoPro Fusion marks the beginning of a new creative era,” said GoPro. “Fusion captures everything around you so you’ll never miss the shot.”
As well as imagery, Fusion also captures sound in a 360-degree direction too, meaning you have a totally immersive final film offering a surround sound experience.
You can also capture 18-megapixel spherical photos and create time-lapse videos. The Fusion has a GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass built-in – all of which allow it to properly stabilize footage internally.
Other features and specs include voice commands, waterproofing (down to 16ft/5m), and wireless connectivity (Wi-Fi and Bluetooth).
The GoPro Fusion is available for pre-order at GoPro.com for $700 (which includes the Fusion grip mount) and is expected to ship by November 30th, 2017.