Posts Tagged ‘Photo’

Review: Affinity Photo 1.5.2 for desktop

21 Sep

Affinity Photo for desktop (Mac + PC)
$ 50 | | Buy Now

Usually, the price of software comes at the end of the review, but with Affinity Photo 1.5, the image editor for Mac and Windows, the price is the starting point, along with a prominent qualifier from the product’s website: ‘No subscription.’

Key Features

  • Professional editing tools for almost anyone who needs to manipulate images
  • Edits are mostly non-destructive
  • Windows and Mac support
  • Inexpensive, with no subscription required
  • Batch processing

Affinity Photo’s developer, Serif, knows its audience. When Adobe shifted Photoshop and nearly all of its other products to a subscription model in 2013, it prompted an outcry from customers who didn’t want to be locked into a perpetual fee. Four years later, despite the move being apparently successful for Adobe, subscription pricing continues to be a point of contention for many people, turning into an opportunity for developers like Serif.

If you’re already familiar with Adobe’s flagship, it won’t take long to orient yourself in Affinity Photo.

However, simply offering a less expensive image editor isn’t enough. We’re beyond the point where photographers will put up with limited software to save a few bucks, and with Affinity Photo, we don’t have to. You won’t find some of the specialized features Photoshop includes, such as its 3D tools, but most everything else is there – sometimes to Affinity Photo’s detriment.

Getting Started

Affinity Photo’s personas break up the editing experience into five main categories.

Software should be evaluated on its own merits, and for the most part I’m looking at Affinity Photo through that lens. How does it perform for photographers? Does it get in the way when handling familiar operations? Does it improve the editing experience? Comparisons to Photoshop inevitably come up, and I’ll refer to them when needed, but this isn’t specifically a comparative review between Affinity Photo and Photoshop.

That said, if you’re already familiar with Adobe’s flagship, it won’t take long to orient yourself in Affinity Photo. If photo editing beyond the basics is new to you, it’s easy to pick up.

Working modes, aka ‘Personas’

Affinity Photo is built around four working modes, referred to as “personas,” each of which contains its own specialized tools. These personas include: Photo, Develop, Tone Mapping and Export.

The Photo persona is the main editing interface, with adjustments, layers, masks, and the like. The Liquify persona is a playground for distorting areas when retouching (creating an editable mesh of the entire image and then pushing and pulling the pixels to do things like make areas seem slimmer or to correct distortion). The Develop persona kicks in when opening a raw file for pre-processing, akin to Adobe Camera Raw. The Tone Mapping persona is exclusive for working with HDR (high dynamic range) effects, which can apply to single images as well as several merged shots. And lastly, the Export persona provides tools for creating versions of the image outside the application, from specifying file types and compression levels to preset slices.

You’ll also find tools for painting and drawing, including extensive controls for creating and manipulating brushes, but for the sake of brevity, I’m looking at the application in terms of editing photos.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (


Diversify Photo launches database of photographers of color to promote diversity

21 Sep

Diversify Photo wants to promote greater ethnic inclusion in the world of photography, and they’re taking concrete steps. Step one: Diversify has just established a database of ‘photographers of color’ that will make it easier for art buyers, creative directors and editors to find photographers from a wide range of cultural backgrounds to hire.

The point of the database, says Diversify Photo, is to, “break with the narrow lens through which history… has been recorded” by equipping those who commission photography with “the resources to discover photographers of color available for assignments.”

The groups says that calling for greater diversity in the media has proved not to be enough, so it took action by creating this online database. The website features a gallery of images taken by individual photographers, and clicking on any of those pictures takes users to the photographer’s website. The site also offers an email service that explains the self-identified ethnicity of its photographers, along with their areas of expertise and languages spoken.

The site was set up by Brent Lewis, a senior editor at ESPN’s The Undefeated, and independent photo editor Andrea Wise. In an interview Brent told Photo District News that the database was created to show photography buyers, “that there are a lot of talented people out there that they may not see, have the time to go looking for, or just don’t know where to begin to find.”

At the moment there are 340 photographers registered on the site covering a wide range of photographic genres. For more information, and to see their work, visit Diversify.Photo.

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Photo Experiment: Shooting macro photos of boiling water

21 Sep

Recently I’ve become interested in photographing boiling water in a glass tea kettle. It may sound boring and uninteresting, but with the right lighting you can get some truly interesting images.

It began when I was boiling my tea water one day in January this year, and I happened to have my camera with a macro lens and a speedlight mounted, laying nearby. I decided to try what would happen if I photographed the boiling water in the glass tea kettle and was very surprised by the results! It looked like melted metal, and the shapes were a lot more intricate and detailed than I would have expected.

When experimenting with this, I have gotten the best results when using a macro lens with a long focal length. I used my trusty Sigma 150mm f2.8 macro. You could probably get interesting photos with a non-macro lens, but you would likely have to do some cropping to take away the edges of the teakettle and the background, as you wouldn’t be able to focus as closely.

I set the aperture to around F6 or F7 for the sharpest results, and I focus fairly close, but not all the way to 1:1 magnification. I make sure that the room is as dark as possible, as this gives the photos a calmer background. I use either a normal speedlight mounted on the top of the camera, or, for more interesting results, I use two speedlights with colored gels, placed at different angles towards the teakettle.

In this case, I used two Godox TT 685s: cheap but incredibly well-built wireless speedlights.

Finally, I turn on the teakettle and let the water start boiling, while I press the shutter as many times as possible. Be prepared to take a lot of photographs, and know that most of them will turn out only okay. When I recorded my video about this, I took thousands of shots, and only deemed around 10-20 to be “good.” But when you get a nice composition of bubbles, with perfect sharpness and that metallic, futuristic look, it is worth the effort!

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The most interesting photos seem to come at two stages: when the water is boiling the most – when it is total chaos inside that teakettle—and when it has stopped boiling and you only see small, flat bubbles rising from the bottom with some distance between them.

Again, this might seem like a silly, boring idea but photographing boiling water is a fun and interesting experiment to try at home on a rainy day!

Micael Widell is a photography enthusiast based in Stockholm, Sweden. He loves photography, and runs a YouTube channel with tutorials, lens reviews and photography inspiration. You can also find him as @mwroll on Instagram and 500px.

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How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

21 Sep

Greater success with your event, street, travel or any other genre of photography can depend a lot on how prepared you are before you leave the house and how observant you are at the location you are making pictures. Here are some tips to help you be better prepared for your next photo shoot.

senior Thai woman taking part in a street parade holding a painted parasol - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

A participant in the annual Chiang Mai Flower Parade enjoys having her photo taken.

I’ve based this article on street and event photography so I can use my photos to illustrate specific situations.


Planning your photography session in advance can make it a much more rewarding experience. You don’t necessarily need to start making spreadsheets and contingency preparations if you’re going out to photograph a local farmers market or craft fair. But a little groundwork can make times you are out with your camera significantly more enjoyable.

Having some prior knowledge of your subject, the location, and the type of activity that happens there (if any) will increase the opportunities you have to capture better photos. Even the way you dress and the footwear you choose can potentially have an influence on your photos. Certainly, the amount and type of camera equipment you choose to carry will have an effect on the outcome of your photography excursion.

Women in traditional Thai costume prior to the start of the Flower Parade in Chiang Mai, Thailand - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

Girls talking before a parade starts.

For example

Performers rest prior to the start of a Chinese New Year parade in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Performers rest prior to the start of a Chinese New Year parade.

Before heading out to photograph the Chinese New Year Parade I checked so I knew the starting time, location, and the route it would take. I arrived at least an hour early for some behind the scenes moments when the morning light was rich.

Some prior knowledge of the type of subjects and activity I would encounter enabled me to anticipate the flow of action. So I was able to capture the dragon as it moved through the streets and received cash gifts from locals in its mouth.

A woman places money in the mouth of a Chinese New Year dragon during a street parade in Chiang Mai, Thailand. - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

A woman places money in the mouth of a Chinese New Year dragon during a street parade in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Prepare yourself too

I was wearing a good pair of sports shoes as I knew I would need to run at times to keep ahead of the parade. With many parades and festivals in south east Asia, there are often few restrictions for photographers assertive and considerate enough to just go with the flow of things.

I traveled light, without an abundance of camera gear. There’s always a choice between carrying more and having it weigh you down and making your movements more difficult and not having the right lens with you. I typically prefer to take two lenses so I have one on the camera and the other in a small belt bag. This way I am free to move and can often get closer to the action than if I was weighted down with a shoulder bag or backpack full of gear.

Chinese New Year parade and photographers - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

Photographing the dragon during a Chinese New Year parade.

Researching is easy these days. So planning and being prepared before you head out with your camera takes very little effort but can make a huge difference to the photos you’ll make and how much you enjoy your experience.


Once you’re on location it pays to take a little time to observe and anticipate how you can obtain the best photos.

  • Walking around, watching people, and considering what you think will be the best spots to take photos from is an important first step. Think about lighting and composition.
  • How many places will you be able to clearly see your subject?
  • What will the background be like?
  • Will the lighting work for the style of photo you want to make?
  • Are there any vantage points that allow you to get above your subject?
  • Is there some place safe to get down and lie on the ground for a low perspective?
Chinese New Year parade with a ceremonial dragon - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

Try to position yourself where there will be a good background.

Find a good vantage point

Once you’ve found a good location it can often pay to stay there for some time. Consider the flow of the action and if you can get a good variety of photos from your position, don’t rush off. This is particularly relevant when you have a pleasing combination of good lighting and a background you can incorporate into strong compositions.

If you are constantly changing locations you may find that you have to adjust your exposure frequently and your background is different which will require more attention to your framing.

Sometimes moving around is necessary to follow your subject. It’s good to be aware of your surroundings and considerate of who else is around you, especially if you are on the move a lot. At events with a lot of spectators, you don’t want to block their view but you also want to make sure you and your equipment are safe.

How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

Watching dancers practice prior to the start of a parade I observed the pattern of their movement and positioned myself so the background and light were best, and then made a series of photos. The image on the left illustrates reasonably well what’s happening. But because I had paid attention to the dance I knew the girl would arch her back and I would be able to photograph her face and a more interesting pose.

Get out of the flow of traffic

Putting yourself in position a little away from the traffic flow, when there is one, will allow you to work more freely also. I made this series of photos of cheese vendors at Istanbul’s spice market by standing in between two of the stalls where there were no other people. I got the nod from the men selling the cheese nearby that I was okay to be there and was even offered a slice of very tasty cheese to try.

Vendor selling cheese at the Istanbul spice market - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

It’s good to get out of the traffic flow so you can take photos without being bumped or disrupting business.

As I savored the flavor of the cheese I observed the action of the vendors offering cheese to passers by and got a feel for the rhythm of activity.

close up of cheese being sold in a Turkish street market - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

Once you find a good location make a series of photos.

Being out of the flow of foot traffic (which was very busy) allowed me to take my time without being bumped and jostled. I made a series of photos that illustrate this part of the market better than I could have with a single image taken as I was just passing by. This series of photos were made with my 50mm prime lens.

Istanbul spice market cheese - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot

A few tips for taking the photos

  • Concentrate. Don’t hesitate or be distracted from your task. Stay focused and single-minded about getting the photos that you have come to make.
  • Don’t worry about making mistake. These will help you learn. Keep all your photos on your card so you can compare them once you have them loaded to your computer.
  • Choose your moments carefully. Machine gunning your subject will result in an overwhelming number of bad photos which can be discouraging.
  • Use a narrow aperture and a fast enough shutter speed to avoid blur. You might need to raise your ISO even if you are working in bright conditions.
  • Use manual focus and zone focus to ensure greater success.

Kebab Seller, Istanbul, Turkey - How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot


With a little research and planning, you’ll be better equipped mentally to approach your chosen subject with confidence. Observing your surroundings and the flow of activity once you’re on location will help you find the optimal spots in which to position yourself to obtain the best photos. Then, employ some solid photographic technique to ensure you make some great photographs.

The post How to be Better Prepared for Your Next Photo Shoot by Kevin Landwer-Johan appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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This is the story behind that tragic, viral photo of a seahorse holding a Q-tip

20 Sep
Photo by Justin Hofman

When photographer Justin Hofman snapped this photo while snorkeling off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumbawa in 2016, he couldn’t have guessed the environmental impact the snapshot would have. A year later, the photograph is a finalist in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, and has been dubbed “the poster child for today’s marine trash crisis.”

Hofman is based out of California, but he travels all over the world leading wildlife expeditions. This photo was captured on one-such expedition in Indonesia.

He was gleefully watching this seahorse bounce from natural object to natural object, hitching rides on the current, when something changed. Here’s a piece of the official image caption:

“As the tide started to come in, the mood changed. The water contained more and more decidedly unnatural objects—mainly bits of plastic—and a film of sewage sludge covered the surface. The seahorse let go of a piece of seagrass and seized a long, wispy piece of clear plastic. As a brisk wind at the surface picked up, making conditions bumpier, the seahorse took advantage of something that offered a more stable raft: a waterlogged plastic cotton swab.”

When Hofman shared the photo on his Instagram account last week, it received over 17K likes and 1,100 comments, but it’s a photo he wishes didn’t exist. “This sea horse drifts along with the trash day in and day out as it rides the currents that flow along the Indonesian archipelago,” he wrote on IG. “This photo serves as an allegory for the current and future state of our oceans.”

A post shared by Justin Hofman (@justinhofman) on

As for capturing the photo itself, we asked Hofman if he would like to share anything with our audience of photographers directly. This is what he had to say:

The thing I would really like to tell photographers is to a) Listen to your gut and b) Don’t worry so much about gear.

If you look at this encounter, on paper it doesn’t really make that much sense: I captured a photo of a 1 inch sea horse using a 35mm lens (16-35mm). Most people, if you had told them of the scenario would say to bring a macro lens. But I never have a macro lens on my camera. I am always afraid that a whale will swim by while I have a 105mm on, which would make it worthless. If I am unsure or just goofing off, I will always bring with me the most flexible lens I can. This ensures that whatever comes by, I have given myself the best opportunity possible to capture the moment.

Of course there will always be sacrifices, but the flexibility is key. If I had had a macro lens, I can 100% assure you that this photo would not have been possible because we were both bobbing around too much to make a sharp macro shot possible. Even with a 35mm, I only have a handful of photos that are actually in focus.

And in case you are curious about gear, he also shared that the photo was taken with an A7R II and Sony 16-35mm F4 lens in a Nauticam housing with a Sea and Sea 240mm dome and two Sea and Sea ys-d1 strobes.

To see more of Hofman’s work, be sure to visit his website or give his account a follow on Instagram. And if you’d like to learn more about ocean conservation, Justin suggests you visit

Photo by Justin Hofman and used with permission.

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How to do a Themed Photo Walk to Break out of a Photography Rut

19 Sep

In simple terms, the more photographs you take, the more experience you gain. As they say, “the more the clicks, the better the pics”. It seems like an inevitable formula, right? But like many things, it’s easier said than done. Maintaining a constant flow of photographic material, let alone inspiration is hard work.

The dreaded photographer’s block means you can find yourself shooting one minute and stuck in a creative lull the next. Fortunately, there are plenty of small tasks you can set for yourself to break out of a rut. Doing a themed photo walk is a great way to get those creative juices flowing, with the added bonus of getting your daily step-count up in the process as well.

What is a themed photo walk?

A themed walk is just that. First, you select a theme. Then, armed with a camera, allow yourself to be guided by wherever your photography legs may take you. When you see a subject that fits your theme, take a quick snap and move on. The goal is to accumulate a body of photographs pertaining to the theme you preselected before you set off.

While taking a few random shots to shrug off a creative lull works well. But pot-shots make it hard to build up a series to revisit later. By taking on a themed photography outing, you’ll quickly fall back into the habit of actively seeking details and subjects, focusing your creative energies into a body of work with greater substance.

How to do Themed Photo Walks to Break out of a Photography Rut

Themed projects are a great excuse to document the world around you. Under the theme “desire paths” I photographed this series of pebbles – unearthed on a well-worn trail I take home.

Choosing a theme

The first step in this exercise can prove to be the hardest. Selecting a theme will define what you’ll be photographing on your walk. There are so many options to choose from, it can be hard to settle on a single one. Good themes are built on a strong idea of the target subject. A single color, shape, or pattern are simple yet effective choices, as are subjects that you’ll encounter frequently on your walk.

You may be tempted to choose a few themes at once, but focusing on a single idea will help construct your series with much greater detail. Plus, this project is about easing back into photography, not racing around madly trying to photograph as much as you can in a day.

Themes I’ve chosen in the past include dumpsters, traffic lines on roads (look out for traffic if you choose this one), spent cigarette packets, and squashed aluminum cans. As long as you don’t choose subjects like rain on a sunny day, you can’t go wrong. Once you make your selection and set off, you’ll be amazed how quickly you develop a discerning eye for your topic.

How to do Themed Photo Walks to Break out of a Photography Rut

For this photo walk I initially planned to photograph trees, though I let the theme evolve into a study of tree trunks instead. To draw greater attention to the form in each unique profile, I converted the images to black and white. Having the images arranged in a grid highlights the subtle differences in the subjects photographed.

Setting Off

Once you’ve settled on a theme, you’re ready to go. Start by having a good look at your surroundings. Depending on your theme, you may encounter photographic subjects as soon as you step out the door. Others may take a little more searching. Take your time and enjoy the process.

There are no hard and fast rules here. If you realize you’ve chosen a difficult subject, select a different one and start on that instead. This process is for easing creativity-fatigue and taking the time to see detail in your environment. Although this exercise is rewarding when used to create a series, the action of taking some downtime to work on your personal photography is what matters most.

How to do Themed Photo Walks to Break out of a Photography Rut

If, like me, you often find yourself time-short, try taking just a few snaps over the course of the day. I put this brief “yellow” themed series together while getting some fresh air on a lunch break. Once I had decided on my theme, it was a lot easier to pick out subjects to photograph.

Pulling it together

After you feel satisfied you’ve taken a solid amount of photographs, you’re ready to head home. Once you get back to your computer, it’s time to check out your handy work. So far, this project may have seemed a little sporadic, especially if you’ve chosen a broad theme. But this part of the project involves pulling all the images together to form a cohesive body of work.

Upload your images to the computer as you would normally and have a look over them with your preferred viewing software. Open a new document in Photoshop, select a few of your favorite images from your themed photo walk and drag them onto your canvas. Carefully resize each image so that they fit together in a neat grid. Make sure you hold down the Shift key while resizing images to maintain the aspect ratio of your photograph.

How to do Themed Photo Walks to Break out of a Photography Rut

Select your favorite images from your themed photo walk and drag them onto a new document in Photoshop. Remember to hold the Shift key down to maintain the image’s proportions.

As you build up the images in your grid you’ll start to see how easily your hard work comes together in a series. Although you may want to experiment with the order of your photographs, your overreaching theme will make a big difference in tying your series together. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and you don’t have to use every image you took on your walk. Just pick whatever you feel works. Once you have your images sorted into the one canvas, you are ready to share and can post the results in the comments below for us to see.

How to do Themed Photo Walks to Break out of a Photography Rut

Experimenting with the order that your images are arranged highlights the subtlety involved in creating a successful series of images. Working on a particular theme simplifies this process, leaving you to focus on the details that make the layout work.

How to do Themed Photo Walks to Break out of a Photography Rut

Another variation of my road signage themed walk. Don’t be afraid to change up your layout and experiment until it feels right.

The benefits

Aside from the exercise, themed photo walks help channel your photographic energy into a body of work. No matter how broad or focused, taking photographs within a specific theme widens your photographic experience and enhances your eye for detail. Hunting down subjects within a deliberately selected theme will help you create images you might never have considered before.

This will also help you to visualize future projects and help you pick out elements in photographs that work cohesively in a series. It’s a great way to improve your practice and get your head back into the photography zone.

How to do Themed Photo Walks to Break out of a Photography Rut

I took these images under the theme “looking down”. I plodded around with my camera pointed toward the ground for a few hours just to see what I could find. The results made a unique series built upon an unusual perspective.

How to do Themed Photo Walks to Break out of a Photography Rut

Another themed walk collage.

The post How to do a Themed Photo Walk to Break out of a Photography Rut by Megan Kennedy appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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These are the winners of the 2017 EyeEm Awards, the world’s largest photo competition

17 Sep
Photo © Sasha Dudkina, EyeEm 2017 Photographer of the Year

A month and a half after revealing the finalists of the 2017 EyeEm Awards, the photo sharing community and licensing marketplace has finally revealed the winners.

The 2017 EyeEm Awards have a few distinguishing factors. First, if you go by number of submissions, they are the world’s largest photo competition—over 590,000 photos were submitted by over 88,000 photographers. Second, for the first time in the awards’ short history, all of the winning images come from a full series. And finally, this year EyeEm added a Community Vote category.

Scroll down to see all of the winning series, along with a short description of the photographer and what they were trying to capture.

2017 EyeEm Photographer of the Year

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Sasha Dudkina is a 19-year-old photographer from Moscow, Russia. She shoots with a Canon 650D and occasionally her iPhone.

Sasha’s photographic style is characterized by glances and holding on to fleeting moments. She considers herself an observer, always taking in the people and events around her, often times snapping candid photos of her friends and strangers. Her photography is inspired by her home country of Russia, its literature, music, diversity of nature and especially the people.

“Sasha has been a super engaged community member since joining EyeEm in 2014,” said Brada Vivi Barassi, Head of Photography at EyeEm. “She regularly participates in Missions and shares life through her lens in a really consistent, intimate way. Sasha is brimming with potential. We’re so excited to work with her, help unleash her creativity to the full and provide support throughout her photography journey.”

The Great Outdoors Category Winner

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Guiga Pira was asked to join the crew of an anti-poaching ship as the drone pilot for a campaign to protect the most endangered marine mammal in the world from illegal fisherman. Drones were used to locate, identify and document illegal fishing activities in a protected area.

Pira said as the drone pilot in this campaign “I saw too much of the dark side of humanity in such a beautiful place. I decided to make the best of my time while flying, so every time the drones were launched I tried to capture the beautiful side of the area I was patrolling.”

The Street Photographer Category Winner

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The lead photo was taken as part of Julie Hrudova’s series, ‘LEISURE,’ which is an ongoing series Hrudova says is “core to what my work is about.” It’s a play with photography being a trustworthy and truthful medium by creating some confusion about what is actually happening in the image, or why. Hrudova says her subjects are focused on their leisure activities and often isolated.

The photos from the series are taken in Moscow, Tokyo and Amsterdam.

The Architect Category Winner

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Denise Kwong went to a popular spot in Hong Kong to shoot the markets below, when she looked to the left and saw this block of units. Kwong said: “With its lighting scheme, it was giving off a cinematic vibe and I also love how how each lit balcony made the building facade look like a sheet of negatives – each telling its own story.”

The Portraitist Category Winner

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The winning image was taken as part of Adeolu Osibodu’s series, ‘Losing Amos.’ Osibodu says: “My Grandfather Amos died in 2014. It was then that I realized how casual my idea of him was. I constantly asked myself why I couldn’t see beyond his heavy grins, why I couldn’t define him as more than the man who was never unhappy… these were unsettling thoughts that meddled with my conscience.” Osibodu decided to take a series of self-portraits wearing different clothes his grandfather owned at various times in his life.

“Maybe this is inspired by an urge to find consolation or my intimate affection for a time before, or me just being Adeolu. Regardless, I’m forever glad I happened to find myself in this state.”

The Photojournalist Category Winner

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The winning image is from Ramin Mazur’s series, “The Process,” documenting a production of Hamlet put on in a prison in Moldova.

The Republic of Moldova has one of the highest numbers of inmates per capita in Europe, including the highest rate of the long term convicted. To shed a light on the issues of penitentiary system, art centre “Coliseum” directed a play in the most secure prison in Moldova. For several months inmates were studying the craft of acting to perform on the same level as professionals from the National Theatre. Some of the inmates had already been in prison for more than half their lives. Through this play, directors Mihai Fusu and Luminita Ticu aimed to draw attention to conditions of lifers in Moldova, the penitentiary system as whole and most importantly, stereotypes.

Inmates and their right to be changed is a taboo topic among people and, paired with poor economical conditions and corrupted institutions, leaves little chance for those who want to be changed or forgiven.

The Community Vote Category Winner

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Robert Torrontegui‘s portrait series captured in Manila, Philippines was selected by the EyeEm community from all of the finalists.

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Photo of the week: Swimming with Humpback whales in Tonga

16 Sep

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Tonga is the only country in the southern hemisphere where you can actually swim with Humpback whales. Every year, starting around June/July, thousand of whales undertake the longest migration known, crossing half of the world to meet near the island of Tonga.

Before this, the last time I had had the opportunity to see humpback whales was in Antarctica, but I had never had the opportunity to swim with them. We purposely decided to go early in the season, and so Craig Parry and I headed out to Vava’u, Tonga in July. Going early in the season meant less whales, but also less tourists visiting those islands—a prime time if we were hoping to increase the quality of our interactions. And I have to tell you… we got really lucky.

Literally 3 minutes later, this young whale was swimming toward us, looking to play with us.

On day two, while we were swimming with a mother and cub, we noticed a lone teenage whale playing around. We slowly approached him and gently slipped into the water, hoping not to scare him. Literally three minutes later, this young whale was swimming toward us, looking to play with us.

A scary moment, you might say, when you realize that you can’t fit this airplane-sized animal into your fisheye lens. When his nose and tail are about to touch you… missing by just a few centimeters. This whale would swim in front of us, roll next to us and swim under us, only a few centimeters from our fragile human body.

We understood that this animal meant no harm to us, and as this realization seeped in confidence replaced fear, and we literally spent the next 2 hours playing with this beautiful creature. Those two hours were magical, intimate, and powerful. Having previously shot whale sharks underwater, I didn’t believe Craig when he told me that I would constantly need an ultra-wide angle lens. I couldn’t have been more wrong, and both of the shots you are seeing were taken with a fish lens.

We understood that this animal meant no harm to us, and as this realization seeped in confidence replaced fear, and we literally spent the next 2 hours playing with this beautiful creature.

In fact, I used the following configuration for this trip: Aquatech underwater housing, Sony A7r II, and a 28mm with Fisheye adaptor (16mm). I also used the Sony 11-22mm.

I decided to shoot 7 bracketed exposures in 0.3 stop increments, hoping to either get (1) A high dynamic range composition or (2) A correctly exposed photo (given how fast the whale was coming to us, I had no time to adjusting the metering of the camera). Regarding autofocus, those two lenses seems to focus too much on the picoplankton at wide aperture. Reducing the f-stop from F6.3 to F8 increased the amount of keepers. And finally, regarding shutter speed, I wouldn’t recommend going below 1/640s, given the movement of water and the speed at which the whale moves around.

Josselin Cornou is an explorer, contemporary and landscape Photographer, and an addict of the unknown. He’s travelled all over the world capturing some of the most stunning photographs you’ve ever seen. You can find more of his work on his website or by following him on Instagram.

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Photo of GoPro Hero6 leaked, will be able to shoot 4K at 60 fps

15 Sep

We’ve already knew the GoPro Hero6 was on the way thanks to company CEO Nick Woodman, who revealed the camera’s existence back in February. But a newly leaked photo of the Hero6 reveals one very exciting feature we didn’t know about: the little camera will allegedly be able to shoot 4K at 60fps.

The leaked photo was sent to Photo Rumors by a reader of theirs, and as with any unofficial leak, it’s worth taking the image with a grain of salt. But if it is legitimate, this is what the GoPro Hero6 will look like in its final packaging:

If the packaging is legitimate, we can see that the Hero6 is waterproof to 10m, takes 12MP photographs, and can shoot video at 4K and 60fps. The current Hero5 maxes out at 4K 30fps, which puts it at a disadvantage when you compare it to cheaper action cameras like the Yi 4K, which shoots 4K 60fps and costs just $ 340.

The Hero6 will very likely cost more than this—even the Hero5 still goes for $ 400—but with more accessories to choose from and a brand name people recognize, it might just convince some Yi fans to return to the mothership.

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Don’t Fear Photo Post-Processing – Shooting is Only the First Part of the Image Creation Process

14 Sep

You have just bought your new bright shiny camera and you are sure that it is just the thing that will help you create better images. You’re shooting JPG with the camera’s automatic program modes, but you’re not getting the results you wanted. You keep upgrading your cameras thinking that will do the trick, only to find that the quality of your imagery isn’t getting any better. What’s going on?

Lightroom Banner - Don’t Fear Photo Editing - Shooting is Only the First Part of the Image Creation Process

You may be missing an important part of digital photography, post-processing, with a state of the art processing program like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop.

Before and after

Iceland Light Before - Don’t Fear Photo Editing - Shooting is Only the First Part of the Image Creation Process

This image of a lighthouse in Iceland was taken on a bright yet overcast day. In a matter of moments with the help of Lightroom, it became a favorite.

Iceland Light After - Don’t Fear Photo Editing - Shooting is Only the First Part of the Image Creation Process

The role of post-processing in photography is not new

There are several integral parts to digital photography. The technical and creative aspect of using your camera, and the technical and creative application of post-processing your images. Each part is equally important and when all the pieces are put together, that’s when the magic starts to happen.

Unfortunately, many people are still thinking about the days of film when you took it to a lab and the post-processing was done for you. You never had to think twice about how the image was processed. Did you ever notice that different labs gave you different results? That’s because of their level of post-processing.

Now it’s time for you to understand the importance of post-processing if you are going to create better imagery. It will take some time and some dedication to learn, but it will improve your photography by ten-fold.

The first step – shooting with post-processing in mind

First of all, start shooting in RAW format and stop letting the camera make the decisions for you. When you shoot JPG format, it will automatically process your images in camera, even though you may even not be aware of it.

Have you ever taken a JPG and a RAW image and compared the two photographs? The JPG may appear bright and saturated and the RAW file looks flat. That’s because the JPG has been processed by the camera and the RAW file is an unprocessed digital negative.

That RAW file is ready for you to make your own creative adjustments and apply your photographic vision in Lightroom or Photoshop. Only then can you start to recreate that scene you saw when you first took the image.

What kind of post-processing decisions will the camera make for your JPGs? Depending on your camera, it can automatically increase saturation, sharpness, and contrast, but it will also compress your image. There are settings in your camera where you can make blanket adjustments for every JPG (Picture Styles), however, the camera is still making the decisions for you. That gives you zero creative control.

Raw format gives you control

RAW files contain more information and will allow you to have a wider range of tones (called dynamic range) to work with when you bring your images into Lightroom or Photoshop. When shooting in the JPEG format, image information is compressed and lost forever. In a RAW file, no information is compressed and you’re able to produce higher quality images while correcting problem areas that would be unrecoverable if shot in the JPEG format.

The Histogram

Once you start shooting in RAW, it’s very important to be conscious of the histogram. You can bring up the histogram on your Live View shooting screen or after you have taken the shot in your image review screen. Check your camera’s manual for the location of the histogram.

Note: If you shoot with a mirrorless camera you may be able to see the histogram on the screen before you shoot. Check your settings this is very handy.

Why is the histogram important for your photographic success?

If used correctly while shooting, the histogram will give you the information you need to know to bring up the shadows or bring down the highlights and pop out exposure and detail in an image.

The histogram shows you the brightness of a scene and it can be measured as you are shooting, or after you have captured the image. When look at the histogram and see the bulk of the graph pushing towards the right, this means you have an image that may be overexposed (or a really light toned subject).

Overexposed - Don’t Fear Photo Post-Processing - Shooting is Only the First Part of the Image Creation Process

If the data is mostly on the left of the graph, it’s an image that might be underexposed.

Underexposed - Don’t Fear Photo Post-Processing - Shooting is Only the First Part of the Image Creation Process

If the graph spikes on either the left or right “wall” of the histogram, that means that “clipping” has occurred. Clipping happens when you have areas in your photo with no information as a result of over or underexposure. When an area has no information, it is either pure white or pure black which is often referred to “blown out”.

Generally, it is undesirable to have large areas of your image that have highlights or shadows clipping. See the image below. The red areas show highlight clipping, and the blue areas show shadow clipping.

Clipping - Don’t Fear Photo Post-Processing - Shooting is Only the First Part of the Image Creation Process

Because of the limited dynamic range of a camera’s sensor, the area registering as clipped usually leaves the image with no information in the shadows or highlights. A spike touching the left edge of the histogram means that there is shadow clipping. A spike touching the right edge of the histogram means that there are highlights clipping.

What is possible with post-processing?

Many photographers have frustrating results with their images because they don’t embrace digital editing and post-processing. They are doing everything right when they shoot and are good at composition. They know how to expose correctly for the scene, but don’t know where to go with the image once they get home.

For example, maybe they are in a high contrast area and have taken an image with the histogram in mind. Then they open the image on-screen and throw it out because it looks over or underexposed. They don’t know what the post-processing possibilities are even though they may have a viable image. This is where they are missing a large part of the potential in their digital photography post-processing.

Here’s a great example. This image was taken in the Eastern Sierra in California.

Alabama Hills Before - Don’t Fear Photo Post-Processing - Shooting is Only the First Part of the Image Creation Process

It is obvious that the shadows are way underexposed and it creates an interesting silhouette. But, if you look at the histogram, you can see there is space on the left side of the graph which represents the shadows. This means there is more information there, and a good possibility of bringing up the shadows to create a whole different image.

Here is the result after brightening shadows in Lightroom. This adjustment took just seconds and creates a whole new scene.

Alabama Hills After - Don’t Fear Photo Post-Processing - Shooting is Only the First Part of the Image Creation Process

Start with Lightroom

Almost every image needs post-processing. Some people think that’s “cheating”. It’s not, it’s all part of the digital artistic process.

With post-processing, you can create the image you saw when you photographed the scene. Your eyes have the capability of seeing a wider range of light and color than your camera does, so the images need help in post-processing to duplicate the full range of light and shadows. The problem with a lot of beginners, is they tend to oversaturate or over-sharpen an image. So this talent comes with time and practice, practice, practice.

Once you have mastered the basics, there is a lot more you will be able to do with your digital post-processing that will add drama and interest to your photos. The above image of Bridal Veil Falls in Yosemite looks rather flat in the RAW version (left). Once you add saturation, sharpening, and a vignette to the whole picture it starts to pop. Then you can enhance the brightest areas by “painting with light”, and it now becomes a much more interesting image.

Start your post-processing journey with a full featured program like Adobe Lightroom. It is the standard in the industry for professionals, but it is also user-friendly for beginners and helps with both post-processing and image organization. Just be sure that your computer has enough memory and RAM to run these full featured programs. Check the requirements at

Check out our guide to LR:  The dPS Ultimate Guide to Getting Started in Lightroom for Beginners

Nothing is more satisfying than when you have a catalog of 30,000 images and you’re able to find your favorites in literally seconds by entering a few keywords and star ratings. Take some time to set it up, add a class or two, and you’ll be up and running!


Photo editing or post-processing is an integral part of the digital photography puzzle. Don’t think that you can skip this part and come away with satisfying images. It’s just as important to learn photo editing as it is to learn the basic functions of your camera. Only then, will you be able to bring that intentional photographic vision into post-processing and create great images

How are you going to start your post-processing journey? Is shooting in RAW and learning Lightroom in your future? Please share your thoughts with me on this subject.

The post Don’t Fear Photo Post-Processing – Shooting is Only the First Part of the Image Creation Process by Holly Higbee-Jansen appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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