First, I think it’s important to note who Jeff Mermelstein actually is: a photography giant who has influenced generations of Garry Winogrand’s disciples with his work. He’s faculty at the International Center of Photography in New York, which would also suggest some level of thought is going into this enterprise. He’s not some dick with an iPhone 6 chasing a runaway gimmick.
Mermelstein is a photographer’s photographer for the “In-Public” set. His photography of other people’s publicly visible smartphone text conversations, from the mundane to the scandalous, is made on New York’s sidewalks and subways, and if not aesthetically, it is very much in the spirit of not only his seminal photobook, Sidewalk, but of a whole strain of street photography. It’s a series that gives insight from a master about where to look if you really want to capture the essence of our society today.
Just like everything else in this age, it’s never been easier or more direct to reveal something about a person’s immediate state through photography — instead of getting at how people are feeling and expressing themselves by reading into the subtleties of urban movement and human interaction we now can go right to the source these days and get the goods wholesale — they’re spelling it out in a new way that is utterly universal.
The impulse to reveal something true about someone by just pointing a camera at them, by just being there with them, close enough to take their picture, is the spirit of wide swaths of the street photography genre. There is perhaps an unspoken faith street photographers have that their work will somehow reflect the current zeitgeist by its inherent nature but this doesn’t always bear out. Jeff Mermelstein seems to be the only one concentrating on accumulating the most relevant cultural artifacts of our time.
The arguments against Jeff Mermelstein’s work (see this PetaPixel article and its comments) seem to be on grounds of privacy, which should be part of a larger nuanced questioning on the ethics of shooting street that many wrestle with already. There is I believe a knee-jerk reaction to this series simply because it goes so far in pushing the boundaries of an art form and documentary practice. It’s also likely being conflated with the serious privacy exploits of digital institutions like Google, Facebook, and Apple.
But back to the merits of the work beyond the displaced bashing it received. I’ve secretly thought to myself for awhile now that many of the most talented people working in the genre today are missing something fundamental about life on the streets of the 21st century, and that Jeff Mermelstein is the only one who’s found it. Many of us might as well be out there trying to remake Jeff’s 1990s era work, using cameras from that time even. Jeff Mermelstein, the legendary street photographer who of course shot his classic stuff on film Leicas, is now making this important work about a smartphone society with his smartphone and it’s searing.
One thing the active street photographers here in New York City love is that we get to share the streets with Jeff Mermelstein, even if he sometimes seems aloof or (I’m projecting here) borderline freaked out when we cross his path and take a photo of him (the universal street photographer’s show of affection to other street photographers). We sometimes share the photographs we’ve taken of Jeff in the wild when we’re all together in a digital backroom somewhere — Jeff stalking the streets like an alien investigating unknown lifeforms, following his oversized cellphone in perfect traction — and we have a laugh, always well-meant. O sweet brush with greatness!
If there’s any mischievous feeling of having caught the old man at his own game when we get a candid snap of him the reality is as cold as a wet duck. The truth may be that Jeff Mermelstein is the only one doing real work in New York right now and that we’re chasing his old dragons while he’s got his sights on what’s really going on.
Twenty years, fifty years, a hundred down the line, whose photographs will they go to to map the psyche of this generation?
About the author: Frank Multari is a photographer in New York and a member of the NYC Street Photography Collective. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can see his work on his site and on Instagram. This article was also published here.
Image credits: Header photo of Jeff Mermelstein at work by Frank Multari
In this article, I’ll share my top 16 favorite apps that I use almost every time I have to plan a photography session, a photo trip, or a complex spot with a long hike in the mountain to get there.
What’s one thing almost every photographer has on their person every time they shoot? A smartphone. Smartphones can act as fully-featured photography assistants that are capable of helping you capture the best possible shots with your dedicated camera. This post isn’t an in-depth review or a guide for every single app. I just wanted to make a list of the apps that I use the most for all sorts of situations, from editing photos to performing in-depth location scouting and calculations in the field.
Note: I’m not getting paid by any of these companies to promote their apps. These are simply apps I find useful for my workflow.
1. Photo Pills
The most complete suite to plan your shooting sessions
PhotoPills is my favorite app ever. It’s an awesome and very robust app with tons of features, especially for landscape photographers. PhotoPills can help organize your planning, including saving and sharing your plans and managing locations.
You’ll get access to plenty of info about the sun and moon to be in the right place at the right time with just the right lighting. It also includes augmented reality for viewing the position and path of the sun, moon, and Milky Way.
PhotoPills can also help you to calculate exposures, depth of field, and compute the parameters need for time-lapse sequences. This app is a MUST for every landscape photographer, and that’s why it occupies the first place on my personal list of the Best Apps for Landscape Photography!
The Photographer’s Ephemeris is a very popular app that allows you to plan landscape photography shots by showing you the position of the sun and moon. The original app allowed you to see the direction of the sun or moon at any point in the day from a given location (more or less the same functionality as Photo Pills). The brand new 3D version is a game changer and it will let you see how the light itself falls onto the topographical landscape.
The Photographer’s Ephemeris 3D, allows users to watch a sunrise or sunset from the future. You can view land anywhere in the world in 3D and watch the light fall onto it as it will in real life. The new app also offers the ability to watch the stars in 3D movement. So, finding the Milky Way and keeping it in your sights will be a breeze. As will tracking sunset shots behind mountains. So in TPE3D you navigate to the area you are interested in by swiping, pinching, etc., and then place a ‘marker’. You can then double-click on the marker to get a view at ground level (and if you’re slightly wrong, you can “walk” your viewpoint around to get a better vantage point).
Along the bottom of the picture, there is a strip that shows the current time, the elevation of the sun and the moon and some markers to show sunrise, sunset, moonrise, etc. You can swipe this left to change the time and the sun will move around in the picture and show the landscape lit correctly including shadows. Absolutely one of the best apps for landscape photography I ever used.
The app is not perfect of course, the detail of the top and overlaid satellite imagery in Google Earth is light years better, but it is not intended to be used in this way. In my view, it is best used when you already have an idea of where you want to shoot, but you want to better visualize how the light will land on the landscape prior to your shoot, or find out exactly where the milky way will be in relation to the landscape. This app has become an indispensable tool in my planning kit, I highly recommend it!
Instant weather forecast and rain radar for your location
Weather & Radar is one of the most comprehensive free weather apps available. The app delivers current, hourly and 8-day forecasts from million locations around the world. You have an accurate radar, wind, temperature, alerts, pressure, humidity and rain: probability, quantity, duration.
The weather for your location is instantly displayed with the weather forecast, rain radar or weather radar. Looking at the weather forecast for the next hours and days, you can instantly see if there will be rain or sunshine. Swipe to the left underneath the radar to see the weather outlook for the coming hours and days.
The weather radar shows you where the sun is shining at the moment, or where it is cloudy. you can also see where it is raining, snowing or hailing, and where there is currently thunder and lightning. The extensive details provided by the weather radar also include temperature information. Using the search function you can easily find every location and it will automatically be added to your favorites and called up directly. When you tap on the weather radar it will display in a fullscreen view.
Locate dark sites where the sky will not be affected by light pollution
Light Pollution Map allows you to easily locate dark sites where the sky will not be affected by light pollution, allowing the best observance, star gazing, and photography of the night sky.
The map automatically locates you via GPS, and you can find locations with an easy search. Or just look around the map! It’s easy to save your favorite dark sites, just push and hold a spot on the map and click the save button. Is the light pollution map overlay too much? You can adjust the opacity to your liking! The map also features an easy to use legend, so you can be sure you are getting the darkest skies possible for star gazing or night time photography.
Also included is information on the Moon, such as the Moon’s phase, moonrise time, and moonset time! And guess what? That moon information is not only good for the current day but any day in the future!
Note: Free version is ad-supported, has lower resolution/accuracy, and does not allow you to save your favorite locations. Free version also has limited zoom levels. Upgrade to the pro version in-app for a very small fee to remove ads and unlock all pro features.
The names of all mountains and peaks with a 360° panorama display
The Dolomites are my favorite place to shoot, and this app helps me to learn step-by-step a lot of the peaks’ names. Peak Finder gives you a 360° panoramic view identifying mountains nearby and further afield (up to 300km). The app works offline with GPS, so no mobile data required. You simply launch the app, point your phone towards your desired direction and Peak Finder will identify the mountains and hills in front of you.
I’ve been using Peak Finder for three years and I’m really impressed. The app fires up quickly and dependent on how fast GPS works on your phone, the app usually finds your location within a few seconds. With all apps that require GPS, occasionally you might have to calibrate your phone.
The rendering of the landscape drawing is sharp and it is easy to pick out mountain peaks and ridges.
NiSi Filters App makes it easy to shoot long exposure photography
The NiSi Filters ND Calculator App is the most intuitive neutral density calculator I have used. This app is designed to calculate your image exposures. The idea is you can set the shutter speed you’re by a meter reading without any filter on the lens, the ND filter gradation that you are planning to use, and from there you can calculate what the shutter speed would be if you added the ND filter chosen. It’s a very straightforward and very intuitive process.
I could use the specific function within PhotoPills app (below on the right, the interface in PhotoPills), but I prefer the simplicity of the minimalistic controls in the NiSi app and help me to be a bit faster on the field.
A Wi-Fi–enabled DSLR or mirrorless camera, paired with a smartphone or tablet, offers several advantages, such as wireless transfer of images, the ability to review shots on a screen larger than the LCD on the camera body, remote shutter control, and other features. All of that requires good software, and too often the manufacturer’s efforts are basic or unreliable.
In my case, Fujifilm has a terrible mobile app to control X-Series cameras, bad Wi-Fi connection performance, problems with synching images between camera and smartphone, and so on. Fujifilm, I love your cameras from the bottom of my heart, but what are you waiting to make the app up to expectations?
Cascable 3 (available only for iOS) is the better alternative that adds features many of the camera companies don’t. It’s available for free with a limited but solid set of capabilities. An in-app purchase adds Cascable Pro features.
Even better is the ability to adjust the image settings from the app itself. Tweak shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and exposure compensation using easy to use controls. Tap on the screen to set the camera’s focus point. You can display a live histogram to help you avoid over- or under-exposing areas and a focus peaking option highlights sharp areas in red to aid in getting your focus correct (especially helpful when shooting in the camera’s manual focus mode, although then you need to be near the camera to adjust the lens manually). Definitely one of the best apps for landscape photography.
A responsive image-editing app with a range of useful tone-adjusting presets and photo sharing community
This is the “go-to app” I use to give a look to the BTS shots captured with my smartphone before I share them on social networks like Instagram or Facebook. The user interface of VSCO is very minimal, in spite of having a large number of tools, with a wide range of gorgeous filters inspired by film look. The main menu is easily accessible as you can swipe to the right, across the screen. In this menu, you have access to different features and areas within the app.
The Visual Supply Company is well-known for their sets of Adobe Lightroom presets — for Windows and Mac — that mimic specific kinds of film, like Kodak Portra 160, Fujifilm Xperia 400, and Ilford HP5. Most of the presets in VSCO for iOS have a similar film look, but, unlike the desktop packs, don’t reference specific films. They come in families with cryptic names like M or C — M, VSCO says, is a set of “moody” and “underexposed” filters numbering M1–M3, while C is both “vibrant” and “classic” in C1–C3, and “chromatic” in C4–C9.
C1-C9 and M1-M6 are my favorite series of presets. The first one has a Teal & Orange flavor, while the second one is more suitable for muted tones (like forests, foliage, mountain landscapes, etc…).
VSCO is a brilliant photo editing, sharing and camera app. You can create quality and subtle edits using this app. Even though VSCO camera doesn’t have different modes like the stock iPhone camera app, you still have access to manual features for better control. Also, you have a platform where you can discover and share photos. The community is brilliant and it is a great place to discover new talents and get inspired.
Lightroom CC is a brand new application that works across all platforms: desktop, web, and mobile. The new software offers nearly all of the same editing features we’re used to, but with an entirely new organizational structure reliant upon the cloud. There are so many photo and camera apps, and all work pretty much the same: Take an ordinary smartphone photo and jazz it up with colorful filters. You know the names (in this article I mentioned VSCO and Snapseed).
Lightroom CC takes the darkroom approach to photography. Instead of primarily adding colorful filters to dramatically alter the look of the image, you adjust the things photographers care most about: exposure, shadows, blacks, whites and color balance, as well as cropping, curve adjustments, split toning, HSL color panel.
Editing on the mobile app is free, but you won’t get Adobe Sensei, web galleries and selective editing. But you’ll still get a decent set of high-quality tools for making adjustments, and an app with a superb sense of focus, rather than throwing as many tools at the wall as possible to see what sticks. It comes with 1 terabyte of storage yearly as part of the subscription price.
The most powerful and intuitive “On the go photo editing app”
Load a photo into Snapseed and it first resembles any me-too one-click filter tool, with you prodding a thumbnail to update the look of your pic. And even if that’s all you download it for, it’s a good choice, because the presets are pretty great. As an editor, Snapseed excels. The range of tools is wide, covering the basics (tune, crop, rotate, heal and vignette), adding pro-level stuff (curves, DNG support, precision masking, perspective), and enabling you to be properly creative (double exposure, frames, text and grunge overlays).
Working with tools is wonderfully tactile, with you dragging up and down to select a property and then left or right to adjust an effect’s strength. Best of all, you can visit your edit stack and amend any of your previous steps at any point – everything you do in Snapseed is non-destructive. The big plus over Lightroom CC, it’s totally FREE!
Countless routes for all sorts of Outdoor activities
What makes this app one of the best apps for landscape photography? GPSies lists countless routes for all sorts of Outdoor activities. Using various search parameters of the request, the tour can gradually narrow down. In the App, the selected path is displayed in color, and the Track appears in a different color.
The great, free tour community GPSies has provided for each of the matching Track to bearing, he invested a little time in the search.
With GPSies you can view and download tracks which have been recorded by a GPS device. Whether you are searching for running courses or hiking tracks, with GPSies you can see what tracks others have recorded. And you can download all the tracks and put them onto your GPS device so you won’t lose your way.
It’s a very useful app when I have to scout some location in the Dolomites or difficult spots where a mid-long hiking is needed.
The best hiking app all around. Find trails, plot routes, and download info for offline use
Why it’s on my personal list of the Best Apps for Landscape Photography? Terra Map is the app to satisfy all my hiking’s needs. You will be able to download the best topo maps and enjoy your new outdoor season. Press the RECORD button, put the phone in your pocket and record your day. Amazingly clear maps, thanks to the Retina technology usage. Easy to use user interface. You can download maps (for FREE, no additional purchase is required) on the device, to be used later without any internet connection. Topo Maps for US, Canada, Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, Oceania (the whole world.).
Share tracks, tours, markers and photos in various formats (KMZ, KML, GPX). Share your track together with all the photo taken along in one single file. Store an unlimited number of tracks, tours, and markers. Optimized battery usage with battery monitoring. Store your track without the need for cellular data or phone signal. Customize your Marker’s icon and Track’s color. Switch between Map display modes (Offline, Satellite, Roads) and different map coloring. Customize the map selecting the information to be displayed. Measure distances on the map. Load any track, tour and marker from internet communities (KMZ, KML, GPX even if zipped). Search objects around you and around a point selected on the map. Search world places by name. Graph of the elevation profile. Graph of speed and pace.
The new mode will greatly extend your display; you will have the details you need for a safe navigation seamlessly integrated with a large overview area. Using this new mode you will see a map 64 times larger than the standard mode without losing any detail in the center part of the screen. Terra Map lets you download for FREE the best topo maps with elevation contours, trails, huts, parks, etc.and all it is necessary to enjoy your best outdoor experience and no additional purchase is required. You can download the maps at home within your device and then use them without any Internet connection need.
The effective battery duration depends on the battery condition, the temperature, other apps currently running in background mode, and the device usage. Like any GPS, the signal quality can vary very much depending on the amount of visible sky, foliage, weather condition, etc. GPS is not reliable indoors. The continuous GPS usage, also in the background, can drastically reduce the battery life.
The free app-based GPS navigation with its robust location database and smooth interface
No matter if you’re planning your next photo road trip or you’re scouring the city streets looking for the perfect viewpoint, Google Maps is the most valuable tool to add to your arsenal for finding the perfect photography location.
While planning a trip from home, you have much more time to explore the area in a virtual capacity instead of being out there with boots on the ground. Nothing can compare with actually being there, but the tools available to you are getting better every day and the ability to nearly frame your shot is a real time saver. Time to turn the volume on your pre-visualization up to 11. It may seem obvious, but for me, Google Maps App is without any doubt one of the apps for landscape photography and I couldn’t live without it.
Another incredible tool integrated into Google Maps is My Maps that enables users to create custom maps for personal use or sharing. I can add points, lines, and shapes on top of Google Maps. Moreover, I can also have layers and customize the items in each layer with uniform styles and having labels for the name or description. There are many different objects you can have as your points, such as the town point, accommodation point, bus point, car park or a hut points. You can change the color of anything and change the thickness as well.
Fly over a virtual globe and view the Earth through high-resolution graphics and satellite images
Good old Google Earth. If you’ve spent any time near a computer in the last decade or so you’ve probably played with Google Earth, but did you also know you can also use it on your phone?
Google Earth is an incredibly useful tool for scouting out locations from afar. It allows you to easily see buildings, geological features, and other areas that might be of interest to you in planning a shoot. Google Earth uses a very simple interface that you’re probably already familiar with. There’s not much of a learning curve here. Just download the app, start getting the lay of the land, and get ready to shoot away.
I would typically use Photo Pills in conjunction with Google Earth to understand how the light and shadows would look on the mountains, but Google Earth’s representation leaves something to be desired as well. Anyway, it’s a fantastic tool that I love to use and which is a perfect choice that complements the TPE 3D app, and with Google Maps it’s one of the best apps for landscape photography.
The simplest and most elegant cloud storage and file-syncing services
Google Drive is my favorite app for images and documents storage and file-syncing. I use it intensively to store images master files, documents about planning and custom google maps, images sharing with photo magazines and web magazine, to backup my smartphone data, and so on. It gives you access to your files from nearly anywhere.
You can install Google Drive on virtually any computer or mobile device. Dozens of apps integrate easily with it, too, making it highly versatile. Google Drive is much more than just a cloud-based storage and syncing service. It also excels at letting you create, edit, store, and collaborate on documents. The service is truly impressive in just how far it goes to help you create and edit files, whether you’re working solo or as part of a team.
Compatibility is rarely an issue with Google Drive: You can upload files, convert them to Google’s file format to edit them online—or create new documents, spreadsheets, and slide presentations in the Web interface—and export the finished products to standard file formats, such as .doc, .rtf, .pdf, and so on. With the recently introduced Microsoft Office plugin for Google Drive, you can now use your Google Drive as storage for files you edit with the installed Microsoft Office apps, removing any chance of incompatibility. The first 15GBs are free!
Professional landscape photographers travel a lot and one of the most important thing when you are on the road, or before to running a photographic tour, is the gear inventory. Manage your gear in the proper manner is a crucial part of the photographer’s life. My Gear Vault is an app designed to let you catalog all of your photography equipment in one location. You add data, images and serial numbers for all your cameras, lenses and other items via the app so in the event of a theft or loss you have all the insurance-relevant information you need in one place.
With My Gear Vault, users can search through the app’s illustrated database of contemporary digital gear and assign those items to virtual “kits” along with the serial number of each item. The list of cameras, lenses, and accessories in the app is exhaustive, but you won’t find your precious analog Leica or medium format cameras there. For older or unique items, My GearVault has a manual input option that allows users to photograph their more novel equipment and record serial number information.
About the author: Andrea Livieri is a photographer based in Venice, Italy. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of his work on his website, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. This article was also published here.
Photographer Captures the Beauty of Bioluminescent Plankton
There are certain kinds of plankton that glow when they’re disturbed by movement. Photographer Kris Williams recently went out to a shore in Wales and captured a set of photos and videos showing the beauty of this bioluminescent plankton.
Williams is a landscape and nightscape photographer based on Anglesey, an island on the north coast of Wales. He has found that his local beach (Penmon Point) is always a good spot to find bioluminescent plankton, as it gets caught in the bay instead of getting swept out in the current.
Since the plankton emit light when they’re disturbed, they turn waves washing onto shore into sparkling blue light shows. Wading into the water, stirring water with your hand, and throwing rocks into the ocean also cause mesmerizing light displays to appear.
“You can scoop the water up in your hands and see the plankton covering your fingers like tiny stars, or swim in the water and watch as the waves light up where you swim through them,” Williams tells PetaPixel. “It really is something magical to see and experience!”
Here’s a 5-minute video Williams made with a compilation of clips showing the glowing plankton in real-time:
This Instant Camera Takes Pictures and Prints Them as Cartoons
How accurately do you expect your camera to be in representing the real world? If your answer is “not very,” then Draw This is an instant camera designed for you. It snaps pictures and prints them as cartoon drawings.
The camera was created by Dan Macnish, an engineer and visual artist based in Melbourne, Australia.
“There is something eternally amusing about a physical, unique image, that is uniquely different to digital,” Macnish writes. “Playing with neural networks for object recognition one day, I wondered if I could take the concept of a Polaroid one step further, and ask the camera to re-interpret the image, printing out a cartoon instead of a faithful photograph.”
After the camera snaps a photo with its digital camera, it uses a neural network and Google data for object recognition. Once the objects in a photo are determined, the camera uses “The Quick, Draw! Dataset” from Google (50 million user-submitted sketches in 345 categories from a game).
The Raspberry Pi-based camera then prints out its cartoon-ified version of the photo using a thermal printer.
“One of the fun things about this re-imagined polaroid is that you never get to see the original image,” Macnish says. “You point, and shoot – and out pops a cartoon; the camera’s best interpretation of what it saw.
“The result is always a surprise. A food selfie of a healthy salad might turn into an enormous hot dog, or a photo with friends might be photobombed by a goat.”
3 Legged Thing’s New Trent Monopod is One of the World’s Tallest
The British tripod maker 3 Legged Thing has announced a new monopod called Trent. With a fully-extended height of 80 inches (6.66ft/2m), Trent is one of the tallest monopods available on the market today.
The Trent was named after Trent Reznor, the lead singer of the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails. It’s formed of aircraft-grade magnesium alloy, giving it both vertical (e.g. supporting a heavy camera kit) and lateral strength (e.g. using the monopod as a boom). The Trent has a maximum load capacity of 66lbs (30kg), and with a weight of 1.4lbs (0.63kg), it has a load-to-weight ratio of 50-to-1.
Trent uses 3 Legged Thing’s Bubble Grip technology on its leg locks and column grip, allowing photographers to make adjustments to the monopod even in difficult weather conditions.
Both ends of Trent feature dual 1/4”-20 and 3/8”-16 threads, giving you a variety of options for mounting gear and accessories.
The rubber foot that comes with the Trent can be detached, allowing you to replace it with other 3 Legged Thing “footwear” products.
When collapsed, the Trent measures 24 inches (2ft/0.61m) long.
Here’s a short video showing Trent (the monopod) in action:
Trent will be available starting August 1st, 2018 with a price tag of $80. Pre-orders can now be placed through the company’s website and with authorized retailers around the world.
10 Tips for Taking Your Vlogging to the Next Level
In our recent Creative Hustle video series, PetaPixel challenged two photographers, Steven John Irby and Nate Luebbe, to vlog their way through 24-hour photo challenges. This meant the photographers needed to not only be the star of the show, but also the directors and producers too. For photographers interested in giving vlogging a whirl and becoming the next Peter McKinnon, here are 10 things we learned from the Creative Hustle vlogging experience…
#1. Learn classical narrative structure
If you can tell a good story, you’ll be able to create a good vlog. Generally speaking, classical narrative structure involves a beginning (a hero sets off on a quest); a middle (the hero suffers setbacks) and an ending (a dramatic conclusion where the hero overcomes the odds and achieves victory). If you can adopt this structure into your vlogs, you will create winners.
#2. Give yourself a quest
Giving yourself a creative photo challenge is the perfect ‘quest’. It positions you as the hero and all the problems you encounter will only serve to heighten the drama. In Nate’s vlog, he states his desire to shoot the northern lights early on but he is at the mercy of the bad weather. At the end of the vlog, the weather clears, and he managed to get the shot in a dramatic conclusion.
#3. Shoot, shoot, shoot
The more you shoot, the more options you’ll have for when you’re cutting the video. Whether it’s b-roll or a seemingly unimportant detail – you’ll be grateful for the options in post. But don’t worry, with experience you’ll soon develop an instinct for shooting the right stuff.
Timelapses are a tool you can use to transport between scenes or locations. Don’t just throw these in randomly, it’ll ruin the flow – rather use them strategically to move the story along.
#5. Find fun ways to tell your stories
Little editing tricks can make all the difference. Whether it’s clapping to ‘magically’ add clothes, appearing twice in one frame or teleporting from one side of the frame to the other – there are plenty of fun editing tricks that your audience will appreciate.
Sony hooked us up with the Sony RX100V and it was superb. After our experience, we agreed the 4 key criteria for a good vlogging camera would be: a flip screen; speedy autofocus; 4k footage and as light as possible. The RX100V checked all these boxes and even in freezing conditions in Norway, never gave us a problem.
Although holding the camera selfie-style has its place, it’s a tough watch for a whole vlog. A light tripod and one of those GorillaPods are essential for giving you the freedom to move around.
#8. Forget perfection
Perfection is not realistic when vlogging – there will be rough edges. Just do your best to nail the shot and cut down on “fixing it in post” as much as possible — top vloggers pump out multiple videos a week. So focus on developing a workflow that is not too draining and find the right line between quality and quantity.
#9. Find your thing
You need to consider what value you are offering. Are you a naturally funny person or do you have lots of tips to share? Are you aiming for a blend of ‘Edutainment’? Experiment to see what works with your personality and look to build your vlogging game around that.
#10. Personality and energy
Perhaps the hardest part of the whole game: your on-screen persona. This will get easier with experience and you will begin to feel more comfortable in front of the camera. However, again this is really up to you to find the right energy that your audience can connect with and let your true personality show.
In case you missed them the first time around, here are the two videos we made:
A big thanks to the Sony Alpha Collective for sponsoring the Creative Hustle challenge and to Nate Luebbe and Steven John Irby for participating!
About the author: Matthew Rycroft is a filmmaker and content creator based in Salzburg, Austria. You can find more of his work on his website and Twitter.
Dear Newbie Wedding Photographer, Here’s Some Honest Advice…
Last week I received an email from a local wife-and-husband team of wedding photographers. Here’s what it said…
We hope your wedding season is going well and you are enjoying this beautiful weather!
We are a husband and wife photography team based out of [a Wisconsin area] who still have dates available to book for weddings this year and next. We would love to be able to coordinate with you on dates that you may already have booked but are getting inquiries from prospective couples.
As part of this collaboration, we would like to offer you $50 for each booked wedding package that you refer to us upon completion of the wedding.
Our portfolio and packages, starting at $900, are available on our website www.example.com to view. Since we work together for each wedding, we have the advantage of being able to shoot multiple angles and styles for each moment of their big day.
We look forward to hearing from you and collaborating with you in the future!
[The Wife and Husband Photographers]
I have been thinking about that email over the weekend. I felt I had to say something. I didn’t want to talk about their $900 wedding package. Nor did I want to ask them why the boy in the first image I see on their website is out of focus. I wanted to talk about something else: wedding photography ethics.
So today, I sat down, put together and emailed them my response:
Dear Wife and Husband photographers,
Thank you so much for the generic email you’ve sent out last Friday. I’ve talked to a few of my colleagues and it seems like we all got the same copy/paste version.
Bravo for doing your homework and making it very much personal!
Now, I don’t want to sound like a complete a**hole, but let me tell you few things here.
I know you’re just starting. I know, because I see “under construction” message on your About Us page. “This site was designed with the Wix.com website builder.” banner beautifully sitting right above your website navigation says so. And 4 posts in your Instagram account is pointing at it.
And let’s be honest: your pictures say so as well.
And it’s OK.
And I’ve been in your shoes.
We all started from the scratch.
But I never took shortcuts.
And that’s exactly what your email is.
A lousy shortcut.
A shortcut, that won’t take you anywhere. In fact, it will make quite a few wedding photographers you’ve emailed mad. Or at least it should.
And there are a few reasons for that.
First of all, we’ve never met. I don’t know who you are. You don’t know who I am. And you didn’t even bother to learn my name and put it in your email.
Why I should pay attention to anything you have to say if your email looks like the rest of the emails that go to my Spam folder: “Dear Sir or Madam?”
As a wedding photographer, I have one job: to give my client what they want and do my best while doing it. So by default, if I am booked, I will try to match a couple with someone who’s wedding photography style is closest to what I offer.
Thirdly, (and that’s a biggie) if I refer a wedding couple another photographer, it will be someone who I trust. Someone who will push through the day no matter what. Someone, who will do their absolute best. Because if my recommendation fails, I fail as well.
Finally, the whole idea of paying someone for a referral in the wedding photography industry is disgusting. Because if I would accept your offer, unless I’m really sending a client the next best recommendation available, I’m simply would be serving my own interest.
And that’s not how a client and wedding photographer relationship should be.
So, thanks for offering me $50, but no thanks!
I hope you still have a real job and didn’t jump into full-time photographer’s career yet.
Because on your path as a full-time photographer there will be a lot of homework to do and a lot of inner demons to face.
And for sure it won’t happen overnight.
Or over a year.
And the formula is really simple: Be nice. Work Hard. Care about people. Repeat.
It’s simple, but it’s not an easy formula to follow.
And shortcuts won’t take you anywhere.
And maybe you know it already, but from your email, it doesn’t look like it.
I won’t explain to you how and where to begin.
You’ll have to figure it out yourself. It’s really not that difficult if you push hard enough for long enough.
And if you do, you’ll be rewarded.
Also, I can tell you right away, while exciting, this journey won’t be easy. And it definitely isn’t for everyone.
I hope you’ve read all the way to this line.
I wish you the best of luck.
About the author: Paulius Musteikis is an award-winning wedding photographer based in Madison, Wisconsin. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Musteikis’ work on his website, Facebook, and Instagram. This article was also published here.
This is the First Confirmed Picture of a Newborn Planet
Behold: this is the first confirmed image of a planet being born. The image was captured by SPHERE, a planet-hunting instrument on the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope.
The planet is seen as the glowing spot to the right of the black circle, which was caused by scientists using a coronagraph to blot out the light from the star at the center of the frame — without the coronagraph, the star’s blinding light would have prevented scientists from imaging the fainter disc and baby planet surrounding it.
“This glimpse of the dust-shrouded birth of a planet was only possible thanks to the impressive technological capabilities of ESO’s SPHERE instrument, which studies exoplanets and discs around nearby stars using a technique known as high-contrast imaging — a challenging feat,” ESO writes. “Even when blocking the light from a star with a coronagraph, SPHERE still has to use cleverly devised observing strategies and data processing techniques to filter out the signal of the faint planetary companions around bright young stars at multiple wavelengths and epochs.”
ESO scientists say the planet is in the process of being formed from the dusty disc surrounding the young star (PDS 70), and that the atmosphere of the newborn planet is cloudy. Despite being so close to the star in the photo, the planet is actually located about 3 billion kilometers (~1.86B miles) away from the star in space.
The Life and Work of Atlanta Hip-Hop Photographer Zach Wolfe
Here’s a 7-minute video by Adobe Create about the life and work of Atlanta hip-hop photographer Zach Wolfe. (Warning: the video contains strong language and mature themes).
Wolfe says his career journey began back when he was 18 years old when he listened to the debut album of the Atlanta-based hip-hop duo OutKast for the first time.
“I don’t know what’s going on in Atlanta, but I have to go there,” he thought.
So, Wolfe picked up and moved to Atlanta with zero connections and began working to build a name for himself in the photo industry there. Initially, things were difficult since Wolfe had no access to the industry, but one day he caught the big break he needed.
While chatting with a neighbor, Wolfe learned that the person was the secretary of a then-lesser-known rapper named Lil Jon. Wolfe shot some photos for Lil Jon, and the chance encounter helped launch the photographer’s career. He has since photographed many of the music industry’s biggest names.
“I was young and hungry, just like these [rappers],” Wolfe tells Adobe Create. “My passion to make it as a hip-hop photographer matched the passion of these guys wanting to be nationally known as rappers. There was this common bond. I adopted a similar intensity as some of the artists that I shot.
“I’m not motivated by fame, but by that tingly feeling I get when I get the shot. That’s why I do this.”
500px Founder Joins Skylum to Grow Its Software in Asia
500px founder Evgeny Tchebotarev is joining Skylum, becoming the new VP of Growth in Asia of the photography software company (formerly known as Macphun) that’s behind Luminar and Aurora HDR.
Tchebotarev originally founded 500px back in 2004 as a community for photographers before bringing co-founder Oleg Gutsol on board in 2009 and relaunching the service. 500px then rose in prominence as photographers viewed it as an independent alternative to Flickr, which was then owned by Yahoo (and now Smugmug).
In the 14 years he was with 500px, Tchebotarev helped grow the photo-sharing service to 13 million photographers at the time of its acquisition. Through his work, Tchebotarev has developed significant experience in the Asia-Pacific market, which is what Skylum hopes to tap into by adding Tchebotarev to its team.
“I have always been inspired by what Evgeny has done for the community,” says Skylum CEO Alex Tsepko. “He has created the most innovative and user-friendly social platform for photographers. I believe that as a part of the Skylum team, Evgeny can do even more for creators around the globe. We have revolutionary plans, and it’s an honor to have such team players on board.”
“What’s important to me, is Skylum’s complete dedication to building great software, and providing exceptional value to photographers, all while building a real community of passionate photographers,” Tchebotarev says. “This strongly resonates with my personal and professional ambitions and being able to do so in a highly competitive, fast paced, and unique market, such as Asia, is an additional challenge that I’m excited to take head on.”
At Skylum, Tchebotarev will be tasked with building up Skylum’s presence in Asia and building a “strong photography community” in order to bring the company’s software to more people in that part of the world.
“Evgeny will take his knowledge of photography, product development, and the Asia-Pacific market to expand Skylum’s presence, both online and on the street, by organizing events including photo walks, community meetups, and contests across the region,” Skylum says.