Posts Tagged ‘People’

How Including People or Manmade Objects in Your Landscapes Can Add a Sense of Scale

25 May

My natural instinct as a landscape photographer has always been to keep people and manmade objects out of my images. I want to create images of nature that are pure and free (or at least appear to be free) of human interference. That said, over the past few years, I have started to backtrack on this a bit, especially when the camera fails to show the true scale of a landscape. In this article, I’ll share a small collection of images from my portfolio that include situations where allowing people or objects into the scene made the image a success.

Add a manmade object to show size

Na Pali Coast Sunset Sony A7RII and Sony 16-35 f/4 | ISO 500, f/4.5, 1/800th.

Here is (quite possibly) the most beautiful and rugged stretch of coastline on Earth, the Na Pali Coast of Kauai. I’ve photographed it from land, sea and air and still there is just no way to truly capture how incredible it is in person. On my most recent trip to the Garden Isle, I took my workshop group on a sunset cruise up to photograph whales and the Na Pali Coast.

As we were taking in the incredible scenery, I noticed one of the many helicopters that tour the coastline cutting through the scene. Using my Sony FE 16-35 f/4 lens, I framed a shot with the helicopter (flying right to left) on the right side of the frame (it’s the tiny little white spot) with plenty of space on the left side to see where it was headed. Take away the helicopter and it’s still an incredible scene, but without the helicopter, there’s just no way to accurately communicate how massive these cliffs are.

Use tourists to show scale

Balanced Rock Sunset Sony A7 and Canon 16-35 f/2.8 | ISO 100, f/11, 1/20th.

One of the easiest to reach landmarks in Arches National Park (located in Moab, Utah) is Balanced Rock. You just drive to the parking lot, and you’re pretty much there. But to get the sunset in the background, you’ll need to walk to the other side.

As our group was getting into position for what was turning out to be a beautiful sunset, a tourist climbed right up onto the rocks and started taking selfies. Ugh. Well, instead of getting upset, I decided to make lemonade out of the lemons and yelled over to him, asking if he’d mind throwing his hands up in the air. We were able to get a shot showing just how huge this sandstone rock formation really is, and the pose of the tourist turned out quite nice.

Go with the flow

Grand Canyon Lookout Sony A7RII and Sony 16-35 f/4 | ISO 100, f/7.1, 1/10th.

Like the previous image, sometimes you just have to go with the flow. As Bruce Lee so famously said, “Be water, my friend.”

As the sun set over Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, I was in position to walk away with some really nice shots of the pink glow over the canyon. And just like in Moab, I saw a tourist walk right into the frame as I was about to press the shutter. This time though, he was much closer to the camera and as luck would have it, he was dressed in a cowboy hat, boots, and a leather backpack. Perfect! I never said a single word to this guy, he just stood there looking out over the canyon holding onto the tip of his cowboy hat. I assume he posing for someone else, but I was plenty happy to steal a few frames for myself.

Add yourself into the shot

Delicate Arch Beneath the Milky Way Sony A7S and Sony 16-35 f/4 | ISO 4000, f/4, 30 seconds.

You can’t always have people walk into your frame at the perfect time, wearing clothing that perfectly matches the location you’re photographing. Sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands, as I did here at Delicate Arch in Arches National Park.

My workshop group and co-instructor Mike were down inside the “bowl” beneath the arch and I stayed up top to light paint the arch for them during their 30-second exposures. We had walkie-talkies and Mike would give me a countdown to begin painting the arch in different ways. Since I couldn’t really concentrate on getting any of my own shots, I set my Sony A7S on a tripod, put it in time-lapse mode and just hoped to come out with one or two shots at the end of the night.

In the image above, that light shining under the arch is yours truly. I was standing beneath it, wearing a headlamp, so the students could get a silhouette of me looking up at the arch. After the shot, I looked over toward my camera (not on purpose though) and the direct light caused a starburst effect. This turned out to be my favorite image I’ve taken at this location by far. Not bad for the “set it and forget it” method!



Sometimes there just isn’t a good way to transfer a three-dimensional landscape to a two-dimensional photograph. Things always get lost in translation to some extent. At the end of the day, we are part of nature and if including a human or manmade object into an image help give the viewer a more accurate sense of scale, I say go for it.

The post How Including People or Manmade Objects in Your Landscapes Can Add a Sense of Scale by James Brandon appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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National Geographic highlights early ‘People’ entries to Travel Photographer of the Year 2017 competition

12 May

Travel Photographer of the Year 2017: People entries

National Geographic’s Travel Photographer of the Year competition is open once again for entries, and its editors have shared a few of their favorite early contenders in the ‘People’ category. Submissions are being accepted until June 30th, and a Grand Prize win will get you a ten-day trip for two to the Galápagos Archipelago with National Geographic Expeditions.

Photo and caption by Brandon Kusher / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

Slam Dunk. A basketball player flies high through the air attempting a slam dunk in which he puts the ball between his legs first!

Travel Photographer of the Year 2017: People entries

Photo and caption by Akiomi Kuroda / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

M. Portrait of Miho

Travel Photographer of the Year 2017: People entries

Photo and caption by Jobit George / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

Bridging Generation. A beautiful photo of a father and son sitting in white traditional attire with beautiful blue sky on the day of Eid al-Fitr in a mosque in New Delhi, India. The photo shows the beautiful bond which these two generation have been building up in a very simple and lovable manner.

Travel Photographer of the Year 2017: People entries

Photo and caption by Lorraine Yip / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

Retro Ride. Traveling through Cuba in a vintage 1950 Chevrolet with a speedometer which no longer works. We were passing by the city of Camagey known for its winding streets. The modern American Hawaiian hula figure and yellow taxi cab sign on the dashboard adds to the time travel-esque element of the classic Chevrolet, set against the backdrop of an old and perhaps dilapidated , but not forgotten, Cuba.

Travel Photographer of the Year 2017: People entries

Photo and caption by Hua Zhu / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

Old and Young. This photo was taken in a small village in Wuyuan, China. It estimates that there are about 250 million countryside people living in the big cities. Many young people are making money in the cities, leaving their parents and kids at their hometown.

Travel Photographer of the Year 2017: People entries

Photo and caption by Pradeep Raja / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

Ramadan Prayers. This is a shot of women praying inside Istiqlal Mosque, Jakarta which is the biggest mosque in Southeast Asia during the month of Ramadan.

Travel Photographer of the Year 2017: People entries

Photo and caption by Lauren Breedlove / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

Lady Havana. During a recent visit to Cuba, I encountered this bold woman on the street while strolling around Old Havana. Something about her just struck me, like her eyes held a million stories. Not having any cash on me, I borrowed some change from a friend and approached the woman with it, asking to take her photograph. She nodded and posed like a boss, stogie and all.

Travel Photographer of the Year 2017: People entries

Photo and caption by Mattia Passarini / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

Tibetan’s soul smile. This monk was running back to his room after the afternoon prayer. I was chasing him trying to get a nice shot, but he kept covering his face. In Chinese i called after him: (pai yi zhang ba) “just one shot!” He looked back and started to laugh..
Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, Tibet

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Comparing a 50mm Versus 85mm Lens for Photographing People

12 May

As a writer for Digital Photography School, one of the most frequently asked questions I receive from beginner and intermediate photographers is, “If I have to choose just ONE lens to buy right now, which one should I choose?” We’ve previously discussed the differences between a 24mm lens and a 50mm lens for photographing people, and in that same vein, it’s time for another lens showdown!

lens photographing people

In this article, we’ll be discussing the differences between an 85mm and a 50mm lens for photographing people. Once again, I’ll walk you through several sets of similar images taken with each lens so that you can easily see the differences between the two. Hopefully, you can walk away with a better understanding of which lens might be the best upgrade for you.

To keep things consistent, all images in this article were taken with a Canon 60D, and either the Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens or the Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens. The Canon 60D is an APS-C sensor (cropped sensor) camera, so in order to determine the functioning focal length of these lenses on this camera, multiply the lens focal length by 1.6 (multiply by 1.5 if you use Nikon). So on a cropped sensor camera, the 50mm lens functions roughly as an 80mm lens, and the 50mm lens functions as a 136mm lens.

1. Differences in Depth of Field

lens photographing people

This image was taken with Canon 85mm lens at f/1.8.

One of the biggest differences between the 85mm lens and the 50mm lens is the distance that you’ll need to stand from your subject. With the 85mm lens, the minimum focusing distance is 2.8 ft, and with the 50mm lens, the minimum focusing distance is 1.15 ft.

This means that in general, you will be standing further away from your subject with the 85mm lens, than you will with the 50mm. In turn, this decreases the depth of field, which means that images shot with the 85mm lens tend to have much blurrier bokeh than images shot with the 50mm lens, even when using the same aperture.

lens photographing people

This image was taken with a Canon 50mm at f/1.8.

You can see the difference clearly in the cherry blossoms in the background of the two images above, both of which were shot at f/1.8. The cherry blossoms are fairly well blurred in both images, but the shape of the blossoms is more defined in the image taken with the 50mm lens, and the blossoms are significantly more blurred and creamy in the image that with the 85mm lens.

Of course, everyone has a different preference when it comes to bokeh. Some prefer the more uniform creaminess that the 85mm lens offers, while other photographers prefer to have a little more definition in the background.

lens photographing people

Left: 85mm lens | Right: 50mm lens.

You may even find that you prefer different approaches in different applications! For example, I usually favor the more uniform bokeh of the 85mm lens. However, when I’m photographing in the grass, I prefer the bit of texture which the 50mm lens provides (see the examples above).

This is purely a matter of preference, so start making mental notes about which type of images you tend to prefer when you look at other photographers’ work. If you find that you are always drawn to the creamier texture, then the 85mm lens may be a better fit for you. If you prefer a bit more texture in the background, you may want to consider the 50mm lens instead.

2. Differences in Framing

lens photographing people

This image was taken with 50mm lens.

In addition, spend some time thinking about the content of your backdrops. Using an 85mm lens will result in an image that is more closely framed on your subject. On the other hand, shooting with the 50mm lens will result in an image that includes more of the background (though not nearly as much as shooting with the Canon 24mm lens).

Do you happily hike up to the top of a mountain for a photo session? You might want to consider the 50mm lens in order to more fully capture the trees and vistas in the background behind your portrait subject(s).

lens photographing people

This image was taken in exactly the same place as the previous one, only using the 85mm lens instead of the 50mm.

On the other hand, do you often find yourself trying to disguise the background in your images? Do you shoot on location with backgrounds that are sometimes out of your control and/or unpredictable?  In that case, you may want to consider the 85mm lens.

When you combine the decreased depth of field of the 85mm lens with the closer framing of your subject, the 85mm lens is stellar at creating beautiful portrait images at almost any location.

3. Differences in Shooting Distance

lens photographing people

This image was taken with 50mm lens.

Remember when I said that when you’re using an 85mm lens you’ll be standing further away from your subject than you would be using a 50mm lens? Here’s another reason why that’s important to know, I almost never use my 85mm lens inside our home.

Our house is just over 1,000 square feet, and depending on the room, sometimes I physically cannot back up far enough to use my 85mm lens. Aside from official photography business, it’s important to me to be able to capture little day to day moments of our family, and so having a fast lens that I can use indoors is a must-have for me.

As much as I love my 85mm lens, it just isn’t a great fit for that purpose given the size of our home. Your mileage may vary.

Lens photographing people

This image was taken with 85mm lens.

On the other hand, when we’re outdoors I often prefer my 85mm lens. In that situation, standing further away from my subjects is a good thing. I can let my kids play and have fun without being all up in their business. Having a bit more space between them and the camera means that they’re able to relax more easily, which in turn leads to more genuine expressions and candid smiles.


As you can see, both of these lenses are great for capturing portrait-style images of people – I personally keep both in my camera bag and use them with near equal frequency.

That said, if you’re only able to purchase one lens right now, both lenses have situations in which they outshine the other, so it’s important for you to think realistically about your preferences and the way you’ll use a portrait lens most often in order to get the most bang for your buck!

If you have one of these lenses – which do you use the most for people photography?

The post Comparing a 50mm Versus 85mm Lens for Photographing People by Meredith Clark appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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20 Tips for Getting People to Smile in Photos

29 Apr

One of the biggest challenges every photographer faces it getting people to smile naturally for a photo. Sure, you can ask someone to say “cheese!” and he or she will likely comply. But you’ll also probably end up with a cheesy smile that doesn’t look natural or attractive. After all, there’s a HUGE difference between a genuine smile and a fake one.

As a professional event photographer, spontaneously getting complete strangers to smile is a big part of my job, and I’ve picked up some proven techniques that I’ll share with you in this article. Note that I’ve broken up the sections into tips for photographing people by themselves, as couples, in groups, and children, but you can certainly mix and match. Also, be careful to always consider your audience and adjust your technique accordingly.

For Singles

1. Approach with a smile

A smile and friendly demeanor are contagious. Before you ask someone else to smile, make sure that you’re smiling yourself and approach with a friendly tone. If you want to get a real smile out of someone, you need to set the tone by approaching them with a giant, genuine smile on your face.

20 Tips for Getting People to Smile for a Photo

2. Offer a compliment

One of the quickest and easiest ways to get someone to smile is to boost their confidence. This is something you can easily do by offering a compliment based on a feature or quality you observe about them. Are they wearing an attractive outfit or an unusual piece of jewelry? Do they have a friendly smile or laugh? Offer a compliment!

3.  Smile with your eyes

How do you know if a smile is genuine or fake? It’s all in the eyes. A fake smile tends to only have the lower half of the face engaged, with the lips curled into a smile. But if the eyes aren’t squinting as well, you can tell the smile is forced and not very genuine. If your photo subject’s smile is looking a bit off and you can’t tell why, ask them to smile with their eyes, or “smize” as Tyra Banks would say.

4. Fake laugh!

To illicit a genuine smile, your photo subject needs to feel comfortable and relaxed. The best way to break the ice is to get them to laugh. Ask for a fake laugh, saying something like this, “Let’s see who’s got the biggest, loudest fake laugh! On the count of three, 1, 2, 3, LAUGH!” The whole point here is not to capture the fake laugh, but to get the resulting real laughs and smiles that you’ll get after the fact. It’s also important to note that your own enthusiasm for the activity and tone of voice is what makes this technique work.

20 Tips for Getting People to Smile for a Photo

5. Show me your happy face! Silly face! Sad face!

Most photo subjects respond the best if you give them specific instructions. Help them loosen up and feel less self-conscious by having them go through a series of facial poses. You might think this one only works with kids, but certain types of adults will totally get into this exercise.

6. Instead of “Say cheese,” say…

Most people expect to hear “say cheese” before getting a photo. Surprise them by saying something else, such as, “money” or “whiskey” for adults, or “pickles” or “chocolate” for children. Use your discretion and pick a word that suits your audience.

7. Tell them a joke (or ask them to tell you a joke)

One of the most obvious ways to get people to laugh or smile is to tell a joke. The trick is finding a joke that is appropriate for the audience. Personally, I use the joke below all the time for my corporate event photo shoots, and it almost always gets a laugh out of people. But I wouldn’t use this joke with children; I’d maybe use a knock knock joke instead.  You can also flip the tables and ask your photo subject to tell you a joke.

Q: “What’s the quickest way to make money as a photographer?”

A: “Sell your camera!”

20 Tips for Getting People to Smile for a Photo

For Groups

When photographing groups, you can use any of the above techniques for singles, but you can also add quite a few extra tricks to get creative, engaging shots.

8. Whisper a secret to the person standing next to you.

The idea is to get the people in your group engaging with each other. This technique can also elicit grins and giggles as people tend to whisper nonsensical noises to each other.

9. Everyone look at each other.

This works best for groups of at least three or more people. The reason why it works is that the instructions are vague. No one is really sure who to look at, and the resulting expressions tend to be smiles and laughs. This is great for capturing candid shots. Use it to loosen people up, and then move onto to the next few tips to work them into a more serious, smiling pose.

20 Tips for Getting People to Smile for a Photo

10. Everyone look at ____.

It’s essential to know everyone’s names or titles for this one to work. By calling out someone specifically in a group, you’re making them the center of attention and it’s often funny to the rest of the group to see how that person reacts.

11. Everyone look at me!

Follow this up after #8 or #9. After getting the group to engage with each other and laugh, they’ve loosened up. At this point, you can turn their full attention back to the camera and get everyone looking at you with a real smile on their faces. You can also take it a step further by saying something playful and silly like, “You guys don’t look happy enough! Make those smiles bigger!”

12. Action for a silly photo

Almost every single group photo will result in the group wanting to take a silly picture after the serious one. The problem is, most groups don’t know what to do for a silly photo. Help them out by throwing out some suggestions. My favorites for adults are:

  • Everyone clink your glasses together and say, “cheers!” if they’re holding drinks.
  • Hands in the air and raise the roof!
  • Point at the camera!
  • Thumbs up!
  • Give me your best impression of ____ (a celebrity, animal, etc)

20 Tips for Getting People to Smile for a Photo

For Couples

You can use many of the above group techniques for couples, but you’ll also want to have a few other tricks up your sleeve.

13. Tell me about how you met / first knew you were in love.

Talking about intimate, happy moments with couples is a great way to get them in-tune with each other and eliciting romantic smiles.

14. Give her a kiss on the cheek/forehead/nose.

Most happy couples will definitely smile when asked to be intimate with each other for the camera.

20 Tips for Getting People to Smile for a Photo

Photo by Jonathan Gipaya

15. Ask them to dance.

Get the couple moving and focus their attention away from the camera, especially if they are having a hard time relaxing. Almost any couple dancing together will be in good spirits. This also gives you a chance to grab some candid, action shots.

For Children

16. Stare at each other without laughing.

The minute you tell kids to be serious without laughing, you’re more likely to get the opposite effect. This is a simple, yet highly effective way to get kids to smile.

17. Play a game.

If you have the time and the space to get kids to play a game, take advantage of it! Have them play Simon Says, Duck Duck Goose, tag, or any other age-appropriate games that will get them engaged and having fun.

18. On the count of three, jump as high as you can!

Jump shots are always fun for kids and even certain types of adults. Make it more fun and engaging by turning it into a jumping contest to see who can jump the highest.

20 Tips for Getting People to Smile for a Photo

19. Stick your tongue out.

Admittedly, photos of kids sticking their tongues out often aren’t what you’re trying to achieve. But if you stick your tongue out at them or turn it into a game of who has the longest tongue, this can lead to laughs and smiles, which you definitely want to capture in photos.

20. Bunny ears.

You may not even have to ask kids to do this for you. Bunny ears seem to be a universal photo prank that even adults play on each other and seem to find funny.

In Conclusion

There you have it, 20 ideas to help people smile for a photo. Get out there and try some of these techniques and see how they go! But always be sure to gauge how your photo subjects are reacting to your suggestions. You might have to adjust your tone of voice and photo directions for different types of people.

Have any ideas to add to the list? Mention them in the comments below!

The post 20 Tips for Getting People to Smile in Photos by Suzi Pratt appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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How to Photograph People Outdoors Without Using a Reflector

28 Apr
How to Photograph Outdoors Without Using a Reflector

Subject: Kota Wade

You just got booked for a marvelous portrait photo shoot out in a gorgeous natural landscape. You run out the door, with camera gear in tow. Then you arrive at the location, the fresh air filling your nose, the beautiful natural world flourishing all around. You meet with your lovely portrait subject. The sun is beating down on you from above. Then it hits you… you forgot your reflector at home.

Or maybe you don’t have a reflector, maybe you just never felt the need to spend money on one. All of this is totally okay because there are some tips and tricks to take stunning photographs without the use of a reflective disc! Keep reading to learn more.

How to Photograph Outdoors Without Using a Reflector

Subject: Bina Monique

What is a reflector?

A reflector is a simple tool that redirects existing light. A reflector does not illuminate, it merely allows you to manipulate the light that you already have.

Photographers use reflectors to fill shadows, which is why you often see them used in outdoor settings where you cannot control the light. Being at the mercy of the sun, you add a level of control to your situation with the use of a reflector. However, there are ways to take advantage of your situation without one.

How to Photograph Outdoors Without Using a Reflector

Subject: Skylar Roberge

Find even lighting

Essentially, part of the trouble with shooting outdoors comes from the lighting. Clients often see a clear blue sky with the beaming sun and think that is an absolute joy for photographers. But we shooters silently scream in agony at the prospect of overblown highlights, underexposed shadows, and the dreaded contrast.

What’s the best solution for this? Find some even lighting!

Positioning your subject under a tree, in the shadow of a building, or simply positioning yourself so that the sun hides behind a mountain can all make for some nice even lighting. Although the background might be overexposed if you are simply using a small patch of shadow, try to change your perspective to make the most of the situation.

How to Photograph Outdoors Without Using a Reflector

ISO 400 – Shutter Speed: 1/100 – Aperture: f/2.8
Even Lighting: Rooftop overhang

Make even lighting

Are you out in a field or a desert and don’t have access to any form of even lighting? Is the sun too bright to have on your subject’s face? Then it’s time to get creative!

You can make your own even lighting utilizing things you may already have in your car. Use an umbrella and position that over your subject, or to block out the sun in your frame. You can use a vehicle windshield cover or shade to do the same.

How to Photograph Outdoors Without Using a Reflector

ISO 1250 – Shutter Speed: 1/500 – Aperture: f/2.8
Even Lighting: Umbrella

Use the contrast to your advantage

Are neither of the aforementioned tips applicable to your scenario? Well then, this is where we get inventive.

Photography is an art form, and artists are creative, imaginative, and inspired. Instead of fighting against the contrast, why not use it to your advantage? Work your shoot around the contrasting shadows and highlights, and create dramatic photographs. Several well-known clothing designers, such as Prada and Dolce & Gabbana, use contrast in their fashion editorials to stage a theatrical scene and illicit an intense response in the viewer.

How to Photograph Outdoors Without Using a Reflector

ISO 200 – Shutter Speed: 1/1000 – Aperture: f/2.8

Shoot at the right time of day

When a choice presents itself, shooting at the correct hour of the day can ease your lighting woes. The golden hour is infamous for being an excellent time to photograph. Aiming to photograph when the sun is low and producing a more even light removes the need for a reflector.

How to Photograph Outdoors Without Using a Reflector

ISO 1600 – Shutter Speed: 1/640 – Aperture: f/2.8

Fill shadows by finding a natural reflector

Various surfaces can double as reflectors, such as water or windows from a building. Positioning your model just right can garner the same effect as if you had a reflector yourself.

How to Photograph Outdoors Without Using a Reflector

ISO 2000 – Shutter Speed: 1/320 – Aperture: f/2.8
Reflector: Car windshield, parked to his right side

Fill the shadows in post-processing

The computer is your friend, and it is okay to use programs to help you bring your vision to light (no pun intended). Shooting in RAW format (an image file that contains minimally processed data from the image sensor of a camera – Raw files are named so because they are not yet processed) gives you better control over your image when you edit it. RAW files have more shades of colors compared to JPEG files, higher image quality, significantly better control over editing lightness, white balance, hue, saturation, etc., and all of the changes made on a raw image file are non-destructive. You can use any post-production software to lighten the shadows in your image and darken the highlights.

Original image before processing.

How to Photograph Outdoors Without Using a Reflector

After processing.

There you have it, sounds like you have a solution to your no-reflector problem.

The post How to Photograph People Outdoors Without Using a Reflector by Anabel DFlux appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Just Pull Some Strings: 8 Easy Transforming Furniture Designs for Lazy People

21 Mar

[ By SA Rogers in Design & Furniture & Decor. ]

gesture controlled transforming furniture

When you’re lazy, even the most intuitive transforming furniture isn’t easy enough to operate unless it’s on the same level as clapping your lights on and off. Luckily for those of us who fall into this category, some furniture makers are creating multifunctional designs for small spaces that work their magic at the push of a button, the pull of a string, a flick of the wrist or even a mere gesture.

Retractible Ollie Chair by RockPaperRobot

ollie chair gif

ollie chair flat pack

ollie chair

ollie chair

You really have to watch the video of how this chair works to fully appreciate its brilliant simplicity. It starts as an entirely flat panel of slatted teak wood with a slight curve at the top. Pick it up, pull a string and the whole thing unfurls into a seat in a single fluid motion that’s very satisfying to watch, and it works the same way in reverse. The slats are affixed to a textile canvas to make the seating flexible, and the rest takes folding inspiration from origami.

A-Board Flat-Pack Shelf


a-board 2

This bookshelf starts as a flat piece of laser-cut plywood. Yang the orange ribbon on the back, and it will pull the shelves down perpendicular to the face so you can rest the whole thing against a wall and use it as a bookshelf. Designer Tomas Schön used a laser-cutting technique to bend the wood instead of hinges, and there’s no other hardware or even glue involved.

MIT Media Lab CityHome

MIT cityhome

MIT cityhome 2

MIT cityhome 3

Still not easy enough for you? How about commanding your bed to slide out with a gesture of your hands? MIT’s robotic ‘home in a box’ can pack a full, spacious-feeling apartment into 200 square feet of space, including a bed, workspace, dining table for dix, storage and a mini kitchen. The box uses built-in sensors, motors, LED lights and low-friction rollers to respond to your voice commands or gestures.

Ori Robotic Home Controlled via Smartphone App

ori robotic home

ori robotic home 2

ori robotic home 3

There are all sorts of complex transforming furniture systems designed to fit maximum function into small spaces, but how many of them are operated through a smartphone app? The Ori system (taking its name from the prefix of ‘origami’) runs on robotic technology, featuring an on-device user interface as well as an app for your handheld device so you can press a button to initiate various configurations, like the bed sliding out, the table folding down or the entire unit moving to tuck itself against a wall to open up the floor area.

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Just Pull Some Strings 8 Easy Transforming Furniture Designs For Lazy People

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[ By SA Rogers in Design & Furniture & Decor. ]

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9 Ways to Ensure You Get Sharp Images When Photographing People

09 Mar

If you are struggling with soft or blurry images, you are not alone. Many photographers have difficulty with getting crisp, clear, in-focus images. This is especially true when taking pictures of people. It can be done, though, if you take the right steps. Try out these nine tips to make sure you get sharp images when you are photographing people. With a little practice, you should start seeing results right away.

9 Ways to Ensure You Get Sharp Images When Photographing People

1. Shutter Speed

If you set your shutter speed too slow, chances are that your images are not going to be as sharp as you want them to be. Make sure to set your shutter speed at least the same speed as the focal length of your lens. To be extra sure, you could even double it.

For example, if you are shooting with a 35mm lens, make sure your shutter speed is set to 1/35th (doubled – 1/70th) or faster. If you are shooting with an 85mm lens, set the shutter speed to 1/90th (double to 1/170th) or faster.

9 Ways to Ensure You Get Sharp Images When Photographing People

Shutter speed 1/1640th of a second.

2. Steady Hands

To hold your camera steady, firmly plant your hands on your camera and make sure that you are not shaking, even slightly. Ideally, a tripod could eliminate the possibility of this, but if you are shooting handheld, make sure to keep things as steady as you can. Even the slightest movement could cause your photo to become out of focus.

9 Ways to Ensure You Get Sharp Images When Photographing People - Shot hand held

Shot handheld.

3. Set Your Focal Point

There are a few ways to set your focus, but one great way is to set your focal point to the center focal point on your camera and focus in on the person you want to photograph. You can change the points around, but generally, the center one will give you the clearest focus.

9 Ways to Ensure You Get Sharp Images When Photographing People - Shot with center focal point

Shot with the camera set to the center focal point.

4. Look at the Eyes

If you are taking a photo of just one person, set your focus on their eyes. The eyes are generally what will stand out in a great portrait, so making sure that they are in focus is key. Remember those focal points? Make sure that center one is lined up right on their eye.

9 Ways to Ensure You Get Sharp Images When Photographing People - Focus on the eyes

Note: if the person is posed slightly sideways, always focus on the eye closest to the camera.

5. Pose Them

If you are taking a photo with more than one person or a family, the way you pose them can affect the sharpness and focus. An easy pose which helps to make sure the focus will stay sharp is lining them up. Keep everyone on the same plane (equidistant from the lens). This will be helpful especially if you are still learning manual shooting mode, and working with your aperture. When you pose a group of people for a picture and they are in multiple lines, or if you have some closer to the camera, while others are farther away, this could make it more difficult to get everyone in sharp focus.

9 Ways to Ensure You Get Sharp Images When Photographing People - Posed in a line

6. Setting Your Aperture

The wider you set your aperture, the greater the chance there may be some parts of the image that are out of focus. Remember how you’re going to pose them? When you pose the people in a line on the same plane, you can keep your aperture wider and lower the risk for a blurry photo. It is also easier to shoot with a wider aperture if you are just photographing one individual.

9 Ways to Ensure You Get Sharp Images When Photographing People - Aperture 2.2

Shot at aperture f/2.2

7. Focus on the Person Closest to You

If there are many people in your photo, set the focal point on the person closest to you. Ideally, this person will also be in the center of the group. This will help to make sure that they are in focus as well as any people in the photo that are behind them. Then, adjust your aperture to make sure all group members will be in focus.

8. Choose Your Lens

Not all lenses are created the same and some are better at capturing sharp images than others. It’s not necessarily always the most expensive lenses either. A good starter lens that has great focus and won’t break your bank account is the 50mm f/1.8. A few other great lenses that generally produce sharp photos and aren’t as pricey are the 85mm f/1.8 or the 50mm f/1.4.

9 Ways to Ensure You Get Sharp Images When Photographing People - Shot with 50mm f/1.4

Shot with a 50mm f/1.4 lens.

9. Clean Your Gear

If you’ve tried all these steps and you are still experiencing soft, blurry pictures, it may be time to clean your equipment. If it’s been awhile (or if you’ve never had it cleaned), take your camera and lenses into a local camera shop you trust and have them clean your gear for you. Hopefully, that will make a big different in the sharpness of your images.

Now you try it. Next time you go out to photo shoot, think about these steps and carefully plan to get sharp images. Don’t just assume it’s automatically going to happen. With practice you will get it, so keep trying.

The post 9 Ways to Ensure You Get Sharp Images When Photographing People by Emily Supiot appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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CP+ 2017 – Fujifilm Interview: ‘We hope that the GFX will change how people view medium format’

24 Feb
Toshihisa Iida, General Manager of Fujifilm’s Optical Device and Electronic Imaging Products Division, posing with the new medium-format GFX 50S.

We’re at the CP+ 2017 show, in Yokohama Japan where Fujifilm is preparing to ship its long-awaited medium format GFX 50S. 

We sat down with three Fujifilm executives, Toshihisa Iida, (general manager of Fujifilm’s Optical Device and Electronic Imaging Products Division), Makoto Oishi, (manager of Fujifilm’s Sales and Marketing Group, Optical Device and Electronic Imaging Products division), and Shinichiro Udono, (Senior Manager for the Sales and Marketing Group of the Optical Device and Electronic Imaging Division), to learn more about the GFX, some of the challenges of creating a medium-format system, and future plans for GX and X series development.

Now that the GFX is ready, and about to ship, this must be quite exciting for you.

Yes, absolutely. For the past four or five years we’ve been concentrating on the APS-C format, and a lot of people were asking us when we’d enter the larger format market. Once some time had passed, and we’d produced a good number of APS-C lenses, we started to look more seriously at large format to attract more customers. That was about two years ago.

The GFX 50S is a mirrorless medium-format camera built around a 43.8 X 32.9mm CMOS sensor. Although the camera borrows a lot of design cues from its smaller X Series cousins, the GFX offers a very different handling experience. Despite being based around such a large sensor, the combination of camera and 63mm prime lens is surprisingly lightweight and very well-balanced. 

Since the development announcement at Photokina we’ve received a lot of positive feedback from photographers. We started a program called the ‘GFX Challenge’, where we loaned GFX cameras to photographers from various fields, in order to get feedback. Based on that feedback we refined the camera’s software. Now that we’re almost ready to ship, I can’t wait to get feedback from customers.

What kind of changes resulted from the Challenge feedback?

Most feedback was more or less as we’d expected. Photographers were surprised by how small and light the camera was. We made a few changes on the firmware side, mostly small refinements, like how the dials work, for example, to make it less likely that you’ll make an accidental control input (etc.)

What were the biggest technical challenges that you faced when moving from APS-C to medium format?

The sensor size is 4X as large, so speed and responsiveness were two major challenges. Readout speed, processing and autofocus.

Makoto Oishi shows off the 50MP medium-format sensor used in the GFX 50S.

The GFX does not offer phase-detection – are the lenses designed to support this in the future?

Yes, definitely.

You’re joining Ricoh in the medium format market, and some long-established brands like Hasselblad and Phase One. Are you expecting other manufacturers to enter this market too?

We don’t know. Obviously, the other brands are focusing on full-frame at the moment. Obviously though we’d welcome any brand that joins this category, because it will increase awareness, and help the category as a whole.

When you were planning a product like the GFX, did you come up with any predictions about the growth of the medium-format market?

At the moment we’re just focusing on making the best product we can. We hope that the GFX will change how people view medium format, and this will help to grow the entire category.

What’s your medium-term strategy for growth in this product line? Will there be longer product cycles, for instance?

Obviously the sales volume will be lower, so the product life cycle will probably be longer. But whenever we have the right combination of the right hardware, the right sensor and the right processor, we’ll introduce a new camera.

When you were planning the GFX, what kind of photographers did you have in mind?

After our experience with the GFX challenge, we actually see a much wider potential audience than we’d originally thought. It will depend on what kinds of lenses we introduce. For example, we didn’t think that street photographers would use medium format much, but [based on feedback] we hope that we can reach a broader audience.

You have a six-lens roadmap for GFX right now – how will this lineup evolve?

After the announcement of the GFX we started to get a lot of requests from photographers about other lenses. For example a lot of photographers are asking us for telephoto lenses, in the 200-300mm range. Nature photographers for example. Also people are asking for a wide-angle, like a 15mm equivalent, and an equivalent to the 70-200mm on full-frame.

Fujifilm’s recently updated lens roadmap for the APS-C X Series, including new lenses coming next year. We’re told that ultra-wide and fast tele lenses have been requested for the GFX platform, too. 

If you do develop those kinds of longer lenses, aimed at wildlife photographers, presumably the autofocus system will need to be able to keep up?

The autofocus algorithm in the GFX is the same as in the X Series, but performance is different. The readout speed of the sensor is critical, and that’s not the same. Compared to the X Series, the speed is more limited.

Is this something you’ll be working on in the future?

Yes absolutely.

When you started coming up with the concept for a medium format camera, did you ever consider using a non-mirrorless design?

When we started studying the possible design, we were aware that some of our customers wanted a rangefinder-style camera. ‘It’s a Fujifilm medium-format, it has to be a rangefinder!’ However, at least in our first-generation camera, we wanted to reach a wider audience. We concluded that a mirrorless design would be much more versatile. Mirrorless gives us more freedom, and more flexibility.

The GFX’s 50MP sensor is 4X larger than the APS-C sensors in Fujifilm’s X Series cameras. This entails a lot of extra processing power, which is one of the reasons why the GFX sensor has a conventional bayer pattern filter array. 

Was it easier, ultimately, to design around a mirrorless concept?

There are fewer mechanical parts, which is simpler. No mirror or pentaprism also means smaller size and weight.

Did you design this camera with the intention that customers could use adapted lenses from other systems?

Yes of course. We made the flange-back distance short enough to accommodate mount adapters for legacy lenses. We are making two adapters, one for H (Hasselblad) mount, and one for view cameras.

When will we begin to see mirrorless cameras take over the professional market?

There are several things that mirrorless manufacturers need to focus on. Number one is speed, still, to attract sports photographers. Also viewfinder blackout, we need to innovate there. Maybe one more processor and sensor generation should be enough to make mirrorless beat DSLRs in every respect.

By the time of the Tokyo 2020 olympics, will there be mirrorless cameras on the sidelines?

I think so, yes.

From Fujifilm?


Can you tell us about the new Fujinon cine lenses that you’ve released?

Yesterday we announced new Fujinon cine lenses, in what we’re calling the ‘MK series. Fully manual zooms, and manual focus. Initially we’re introducing them in E-Mount versions, but X mount will follow. They’re designed to cover Super 35. The flange-back distance of E and X mount are very similar, so we can use the same optics.

The new Fujinon MK18-55mm T2.9 and 50-135mm T2.9 cover the Super 35 imaging area (~APS-C) and are being released in Sony E and Fujifilm X mount.

We have an optical devices division, which markets broadcast and cinema lenses, and I really want to maximize synergies between the broadcast and photography divisions.

Fujinon is well-known in cinema lenses, but until now, the lenses have been very big and very expensive. But now we’re looking at a new kind of video customer, who’s getting into the market via mirrorless. Mostly they’re using SLR lenses, which aren’t perfect. So a lot of those customers are looking for more affordable cinema lenses.

Do you see most potential in the E-mount, for video?

Yes, we think so. But obviously we’re releasing these lenses in X-mount too, and increasing movie quality in the X Series is very important. Traditionally, Fujifilm has been more of a stills company, but when we introduced the X-T2, we had a lot of good feedback about the 4K video, especially about color. Of course we need to do more, and we need to develop more technology, but I think there’s a lot of potential.

For now, Fujifilm tells us that they see most potential in videographers using Sony’s E-mount mirrorless cameras, but the company has ambitious plans to expand the video functionality of its X Series range. 

Moving on to the X100F – what was the main feedback from X100T users, in terms of things that they wanted changed?

A lot of customers wanted improved one-handed operability. So we moved all the buttons to the right of the LCD, like the X-Pro 2. And the integrated ISO and shutter speed dial, for instance.

The lens remains unchanged – why is this?

We looked into whether we should change it, but it would have affected the size of the camera, and we concluded that the form-factor is one of the most important selling-points of the X100 series. Of course we evaluated the image quality, with the new 24MP sensor, but concluded that it was still good.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The X100F features the same 23mm F2 lens as its predecessors, but Fujifilm ran the numbers and saw no reason to update the lens for 24MP. We do wish there was a 28mm version, though.  

Do your customers ask you for an X100-series camera with a 28mm lens?

Yes, of course. That’s why we have the 28mm wide converter for the X100, and the X70. And there’s potential to expand the fixed-lens APS-C camera range more.

Will X-Trans continue in the next generation of APS-C sensors?

For APS-C, definitely. For the GFX format, we’ll probably continue with the conventional bayer pattern. If you try to put X-Trans into medium format, the processing gets complicated, and the benefit isn’t very big.

How big is the extra processing requirement for X-Trans compared to bayer?

X-Trans is a 6×6 filter arrangement, not 4×4, it’s something like a 20-30% increase in processing requirement. 

Editor’s note:

It’s exciting to pick up and use a production-quality GFX 50S, after writing about it for so many months, and Fujifilm’s senior executives are understandably keen to get the camera in the hands of photographers. Due to ship in just a few days, the GFX looks like a hugely impressive product,. We’ll have to wait for Raw support to take a really detailed look at what the camera can do, but our early shooting suggests that image quality really is superb. 

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It was interesting to learn a little about the feedback process, by which Fujifilm gathered notes, impressions, and suggestions from professional photographers after the launch of the GFX last year. The end result is a very nicely balanced camera, both literally (it’s surprisingly lightweight) and figuratively. Although obviously very different to the X series APS-C models, the GFX is simple to figure out, and easy to shoot with. When Mr Iida says that he hopes that ‘the GFX will change how people view medium format’, part of this comes down to handling. 

It was also interesting to hear that Fujifilm considered other types of design for the GFX. Are there concept renderings somewhere of an SLR design, or a rangefinder? Probably. Will we ever see a medium-format SLR or mirrorless from Fujifilm? Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if the company releases a rangefinder styled medium-format mirrorless. An X-Pro 2-style camera with a medium-format sensor and a hybrid viewfinder? Yes please.

For now though, the GFX is quite enough camera to be getting on with. Beyond medium-format, indeed beyond still imaging, Fujifilm is eyeing the video market. While Fujinon cine lenses have been popular in the film industry for decades, Mr Iida has his eye on a new generation of videographers, who are growing up using mirrorless cameras like Sony’s a7S and a7R-series. This makes sense, but it’s interesting that the new Fujinon zooms will also be manufactured in X mount versions. This level of confidence from Fujifilm in its X series’ video capabilities is good to see, and bodes well for future product development. 

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The people and the sights of WPPI 2017

11 Feb

The people and the sights of WPPI 2017

This year’s Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) conference took place in Las Vegas from February 6th through the 9th, and DPReview was there. While we did see a few surprise announcements at this show, WPPI is chiefly an opportunity for industry leading photographers to showcase their work, provide workshops and information sessions, and for visitors take in a wide array of accessories that you never knew you needed and now can’t live without (and, of course, many that you probably can).

We spoke to some of those leading photographers about what their chief takeaways were from WPPI this year, as well as took in some of the sights as we traversed the show floor in the sprawling Las Vegas Convention Center.

Sights of WPPI 2017: Print competition

First up, it’s important to note that big parts of WPPI are the print and album competitions, with literally hundreds of stunning prints on display for all to see. They run the gamut from contrasty staged portraits to black and white wedding photojournalism, with a good amount of abstracts thrown in for good measure. It’s a fantastic (and easy) way to kill a couple of hours on the show floor.

People of WPPI 2017: Peter Hurley, with hair

He’ll never look the same. Well, at least not for a very long time. Here seen showing off his trademark ‘squinch,’ Peter Hurley actually shaved and donated his hair to Locks of Love on the final day of the show, after this photo was taken. 

When asked what stood out to him about this year’s conference, Hurley said, “we have fifty people here as part of the headshot crew, and after starting it just five years ago, it’s been amazing to see how the community has grown.”

Sights of WPPI 2017: Fresh lenses

In case you missed it, we saw some announcements for lenses from both Sony and Tamron at the show this year. Tamron announced new ‘G2’ versions of two zooms, their 70-200mm F2.8 and 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 lenses, which will retail for $ 1299 and $ 499, respectively, when they arrive this Spring.

Sony also had some surprise announcements, including an FE 100mm F2.8 STF G Master that promises to have some exceedingly smooth out-of-focus characteristics, as well as an FE 85mm F1.8 that brings an affordable 85mm option to the lineup. They will retail for $ 1500 and $ 600, respectively, and are expected to arrive come March.

People of WPPI: Cliff Mautner

Cliff Mautner is a wedding photographer who serves both Philadelphia and New York and has a background in photojournalism at the Philadelphia Inquirer. We got a chance to catch up with him at this, his fourteenth time attending WPPI.

For Mautner, WPPI is “all about community…this is worldwide recognition. What comes out of this convention generally sets a tone for the wedding and portrait industry globally.”

Sights of WPPI: Furry animals

Given the wide variety of styles and conventions for portrait photography, there was an abundance of themed backgrounds, knit outfits and hats for toddlers, and of course, stuffed animal props guaranteed to up the ‘cuteness’ factor of your newborn and children’s photography.

We found ourselves particularly drawn to a small assortment of imitation chicks, all holding differing poses poses and mimicking varying activities to suit whatever your creative cuteness needs may be.

People of WPPI: Brian Smith

Brian Smith is a portrait photographer specializing in celebrities, athletes and executives, and despite an extensive and impressive list of such clients, he is approachable, unassuming and professional. Smith’s favorite part of WPPI is the general attitudes of the attendees, which are chiefly of expanding creative expression and overall improvement. He enjoys being a presenter and giving attendees tools to make their photographs even better.

Sights of WPPI: Printing products before your eyes

3D printing has been around for a while, but we DPReview editors still felt we got a little dose of science fiction when we stopped by the 3D Flex Flash booth. Their products, designed to act as light modifiers for professional flash guns, are flexible (and therefore easily packable), and are created entirely via 3D printing, as they were demonstrating throughout the show. They offer the Wyng, a bounce diffuser (or flag if you get it in black) as well as the Nest, which is a sort of mini softbox and has optional grid attachments.

People of WPPI: Kenna Klosterman

Kenna Klosterman is a Seattle-based photographer and tour guide specializing on photo tours in Cuba, though she’s traveled to over 40 countries in total. She’s also a Host + Community Connector at CreativeLive, and finds that what she likes most about WPPI is getting to interact with people in the portrait and wedding photography industry in person. “So much of what we do is online,” Klosterman says. “It’s not so much the products for me [at this show], it’s all about the people.”

Sights of WPPI: Coffee faces

I mean, it wouldn’t be a photography show if you couldn’t get your headshot printed into a latte, would it? They’re whipped up in a special Sony lounge section of the show floor. Simply show your Sony camera (our own Wenmei Hill was toting an RX100 V in her purse) to get a caffeinated consumable of your likeness for your very own.

People of WPPI: Dixie Dixon

We ran into Dixie Dixon this year at WPPI’s Nikon booth before the hit the stage for a talk on ‘Bringing the Soul of Fashion to Life.’ Dixon is a commercial fashion photographer whose work takes her around the world. Dixie’s first camera was a Nikon FG which got her into photography at the age of twelve, and she’s become one of the original sixteen Nikon Ambassadors of the US.

Sights of WPPI: Touch the future of photo booths

Foto Master is hoping to bring some ease to the photo booth business. The Mirror Me Booth hides a touchscreen and digital camera behind one-way glass, making for a polished (pun intended) and intuitive photo booth experience. You simply tap to initiate the process, and can later input your printing or delivery preferences, as well as sign your group selfies. 

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Study: people don’t actually like looking at selfies

11 Feb

A couple of weeks ago a Sony-sponsored study found that consumers are ready to embrace selfies as a tool. Now a research paper, published by Sarah Diefenbach and Lara Christoforakos of Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich published in Frontiers in Psychology in January suggests that a majority of smartphone users enjoys taking selfies, but very few people like looking at selfies of others.

The paper is titled ‘The Selfie Paradox: Nobody Seems to Like Them Yet Everyone Has Reasons to Take Them’ and is based on a study that surveyed 238 people from Austria; Germany and Switzerland. Of those who responded, 77% said they take selfies at least once a month and 49% said they receive selfies from others at least once a week. While respondents thought of their own selfies as somewhat ironic and playful, they had less favorable views on others’ selfies.

‘Altogether, participants expressed a distanced attitude toward selfies, with stronger agreement for potential negative consequences (threats to self-esteem, illusionary world) than for positive consequences (e.g., relatedness, independence), and a clear preference (82%) for viewing more usual pictures instead of selfies in social media.’

Many respondents also thought selfies could have an adverse effect on self-esteem and create a superficial and inauthentic image of the person taking and sending them. 90% of participants regarded others’ selfies as self-promotion. However, only 46% of respondents said the same about their own selfies. The research team acknowledges that the results are potentially biased towards the surveyed regions, and that other cultures have more accepting attitudes towards selfies. As so often in science, further study is required.

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