RSS
 

Posts Tagged ‘Photographers’

Wedding photographer’s work lambasted by clients in detailed 30-page report

12 Jan

A dissatisfied newlywed couple in Hong Kong have reportedly published a 30-page report that extensively details the various issues they have with photos taken by their wedding photographer.

The critique, which was released on Chinese social media and later published in a report by DCFever, is said to be written like a lab report, including highlighted explanations of alleged issues in individual images. Many of the images even included a rule-of-thirds overlay with specific compositional mistakes pointed out.

According to DCFever’s video, the critique was “leaked” onto social media, where it has since been heavily discussed. Complaints reportedly include overexposed backgrounds and framing issues, with some commentators agreeing and others backing the photographer by saying that the photos hadn’t yet been retouched.

It is unclear based on DCFever’s written report whether the photos had been retouched before the couple received them, and whether the photographer was paid for their work. But if you want to see the full report for yourself, DCFever published several screenshots with thumbnails of the alleged wedding photos… for better or worse.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
Comments Off on Wedding photographer’s work lambasted by clients in detailed 30-page report

Posted in Uncategorized

 

WD launches two new portable SSDs designed for photographers and drone users

10 Jan

In addition to revealing the world’s smallest 1TB USB-C flash drive, Western Digital has launched two new portable SSDs specifically designed for “avid photographers and drone enthusiasts” at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD offers both high performance and durability in an extremely portable package, while the My Passport Wireless SSD gives photographers a solid state version of WD’s popular My Wireless Pro, which features built-in WiFi, an SD card slot, and other convenient features for photographers on-the-go.

SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD

The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD is a lightweight (79g / .17lbs) pocket-sized USB-C drive encased in a durable housing with an IP55 dust- and water-resistant rating. Thanks to the housing, the drive can withstand operating temperatures ranging from 0°C to 45°C (32°F to 113°F), as well as storage temperatures ranging from -20°C to 70°C (-4°F to 158°F).

The Extreme Portable SSD drive has a USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface, read speeds up to 550MB/s, and out-of-the-box compatibility with Windows and macOS.

The drives are currently listed on SanDisk’s website as “not in stock” at the following capacities and price points: 250GB for $ 100, 500GB for $ 170, 1TB for $ 350, and 2TB for $ 700.

WD My Passport Wireless SSD

The My Passport Wireless SSD, as the name suggests, is a solid state version/update to the original My Passport Wireless Pro that we reviewed and actually quite liked.

Housed in an enclosure with an integrated 802.11ac wireless connection, this drive allows users to access content on the drive over WiFi, including streaming 4K videos to a computer or mobile device. The wireless feature works with the My Cloud mobile app, as well as some third-party apps including LumaFusion and FiLMiC Pro.

In addition to wireless access, this My Passport product also has an integrated SD card reader so that photos and videos can be copied onto the SSD directly from the media card at speeds up to 65MB/s. For other types of media cards, the Wireless SSD supports direct transfers via a cable and connected media card adapter. Finally, the drive also features a USB port for transferring content to a computer via USB 3.0 at speeds up to 390MB/s.

Because this model has built-in wireless, Western Digital has packed a 6700mAh battery into the drive case, enabling the WiFi feature to be used for up to 10 hours before it needs to be recharged. And for convenience’ sake, the device’s built-in battery doubles as a power bank for charging other USB devices, such as a smartphone.

The My Passport Wireless SSD will be available in 250GB ($ 230), 500GB ($ 300), 1TB ($ 500), and 2TB ($ 800) capacities. Pre-orders are available now, with shipping estimated to start on February 15th.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
Comments Off on WD launches two new portable SSDs designed for photographers and drone users

Posted in Uncategorized

 

The Best Promotional Alternatives To Social Media For Photographers

28 Dec

There is a love/hate relationship the majority of us have with social media. We promote our work there, but we also waste a huge amount of time on it.  What are the best alternative to social media then? Where can we publish our work in order to gain visibility and, why not, some paid projects? Let’s step back for a Continue Reading

The post The Best Promotional Alternatives To Social Media For Photographers appeared first on Photodoto.


Photodoto

 
Comments Off on The Best Promotional Alternatives To Social Media For Photographers

Posted in Photography

 

5 Must-Know Photoshop Retouching Tips and Tricks for Photographers

23 Dec

Here are five quick tips for doing retouching in Photoshop that are essential to know. Learn them to do better retouching on your photos.

#1 – Load Luminosity as a Selection

In Photoshop you can use the luminosity of an image (the bright pixels) as selections. The easiest way to make a selection out of the bright pixels of a photo is by pressing Command+Option+2, (Windows: Ctrl+Alt+2).

If you cannot remember the keyboard shortcut, you can also load luminosity as a selection by holding Cmd/Ctrl and clicking on the RGB thumbnail in the Channels panel.

01 selection - 5 Must-Know Photoshop Retouching Tips and Tricks for Photographers

With a selection active, you can create an Adjustment Layer to apply the selection to the Layer Mask.

02 adjustment mask - 5 Must-Know Photoshop Retouching Tips and Tricks for Photographers

This Adjustment Layer will only target the brighter pixels of your image. If you make an adjustment, you’ll notice that you will only affect the bright pixels and not the dark ones.

03 adjustment lights - 5 Must-Know Photoshop Retouching Tips and Tricks for Photographers

You can target dark pixels by inverting the selection. To do so, Select the Layer Mask, and clicking on Invert in the Properties panel.

04 invert mask - 5 Must-Know Photoshop Retouching Tips and Tricks for Photographers

Now if you make an adjustment, the dark pixels will be affected and not the bright.

05 adjustment darks - 5 Must-Know Photoshop Retouching Tips and Tricks for Photographers

#2 – Spot Healing Brush Tool Modes – Lighten and Darken

One way to remove wrinkles, blemishes, and other distractions from the face quickly and efficiently is to use the Modes in the Spot Healing Brush Tool and Content-Aware.

First, think of the blemish, wrinkle, or distraction that you are trying to remove. Is it darker than the skin tone or is it brighter than the skin tone?

06 portrait - 5 Must-Know Photoshop Retouching Tips and Tricks for Photographers

In this case, the wrinkles are darker than the skin tone. That means that you want to “lighten” those wrinkles.

With the Spot Healing Brush Tool selected, in the Options bar, click on Content-Aware, and under the Mode drop-down menu, select Lighten.

07 lighten - 5 Must-Know Photoshop Retouching Tips and Tricks for Photographers

Then start painting with a small brush and small strokes over the wrinkles to remove them. But you will not lose essential details in the highlights. The Spot Healing Brush tool is only targeting dark pixels which are the wrinkles.

08 before after - 5 Must-Know Photoshop Retouching Tips and Tricks for Photographers

If your blemish or distraction is brighter than the skin tone, such as the bright wrinkles above the lip, then select Darken from the Mode drop-down menu, and paint them away.

10 final heal - 5 Must-Know Photoshop Retouching Tips and Tricks for Photographers

To learn more about how this technique works, check out this video on the Spot Healing Brush Tool:

#3 – Open the Same Image in Two Windows

In Photoshop, you can open the same image in two windows and set them side-by-side to work on both details and the overall image at the same time.

This technique is great when you are working with two monitors. But even with one monitor, this technique can be very useful.

To open the same document in two windows, go to Window > Arrange, “New Window for [Name of Document].” Then go to Window > Arrange > Two up Vertical to put the two tabs side-by-side. You can then Zoom into one window, and zoom out on the other.

same doc two windosw - 5 Must-Know Photoshop Retouching Tips and Tricks for Photographers

These are not two separate files. They are the same document, and any adjustments that you make to one will reflect on the other instantly.

#4 – Targeted Selections with Color Range

The Color Range command can be an excellent tool for selecting difficult areas of an image. However, if you simply use the Color Range on a problematic image, it may not give you the results you want. Sometimes there is too much information on a single image, and you need to focus on just one area.

To focus the Color Range in only one area, create a selection around the object that you want to select. A simple rectangular selection will be fine.

12 selection - 5 Must-Know Photoshop Retouching Tips and Tricks for Photographers

Then go into Select > Color Range, and you will see that Color range is now focusing solely on the selected area.

13 color range - 5 Must-Know Photoshop Retouching Tips and Tricks for Photographers

Select a red color on the shirt using the eyedropper, then use the fuzziness slider to adjust the selection.

Keep in mind that it is going to be next to impossible not to select the hands or the railing that she’s leaning on because the skin tones and the paint on the railing are very similar in color to the red that you are trying to select.

But you can use the Lasso tool to quickly deselect those areas, leaving only the red in the shirt selected.

14 selection only red - 5 Must-Know Photoshop Retouching Tips and Tricks for Photographers

With a selection active, you can create a Hue and Saturation Adjustment Layer that will just target the red in the shirt.
Then use the Hue slider to change the color of the shirt.

15 change color - 5 Must-Know Photoshop Retouching Tips and Tricks for Photographers

#5 – Use the Lab Color Mode

Most of the time, you will work with RGB or CMYK while in Photoshop. But there is another Color Mode that you can use that can be very useful in certain situations. If you go to Image > Mode > Lab Color, you will change your photo’s color mode to Lab.

16 color mode - 5 Must-Know Photoshop Retouching Tips and Tricks for Photographers

The Lab color mode has three channels: Lightness, A, and B.

  • The Lightness channel contains the detail of the image – the Luminance values.
  • “A” is the relationship between green and magenta. These are the same colors as the Tint slider in Lightroom and Camera Raw.
  • “B” is the relationship between blue and yellow. These are the same colors as the Temperature slider in Lightroom and Camera Raw.

17 lab graphic

One of the most significant advantages of working with the Lab color mode is that Lab separates detail (luminosity) from color. This separation allows you to work with color without affecting detail and vice versa.

17 red dress - 5 Must-Know Photoshop Retouching Tips and Tricks for Photographers

For example, you could turn a red dress green by duplicating the layer, and then selecting “A” from the Channel’s panel, and pressing Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert the channel.

18 a channel

Notice that the color of the image changed, but the detail was left intact.

19 green layer - 5 Must-Know Photoshop Retouching Tips and Tricks for Photographers

You could then use a Layer Mask to contain the adjustment to only the dress.

20 mask dress

Another advantage of using the Lab color mode is that you can sharpen without affecting the color of a photo. If you apply any sharpening filter to the Lightness channel, you will only target the detail and will leave the color intact.

The example below has the same Sharpening filter applied to both the regular image and the Lightness channel in Lab Color. I’ve made sharpening effect an extreme one for demonstration purposes, to make the results more noticeable.

Notice that when you apply sharpening to the Lightness channel (right), the colors on the edges are not saturated or changed. They only become brighter or darker. While the sharpening on the regular layer increases the saturation of the edge pixels.

21 sharpening

As a side note, Photoshop doesn’t really add detail to an image when you apply sharpening. It creates the illusion of detail by adding contrast to the edges in the photo. You can see that edge contrast in these extreme adjustments.

You can learn more about sharpening in this video on sharpening photos in Photoshop:

One important thing to note is that the Lab color mode does not have access to all the Adjustment Layers, and some Adjustment Layers will work a bit different than their RGB counterparts.

If you are working with Adjustment Layers and you would like to go back to the RGB color mode, you will have to put the image, and the Adjustment Layers in a Smart Object then make the conversion. Otherwise, Photoshop will ask you to delete the Adjustment Layers or flatten the image.

Conclusion

I hope you found these tips helpful for retouching or editing your images in Photoshop. Do you have any other tips or tricks that you use? Please share in the comments below.

The post 5 Must-Know Photoshop Retouching Tips and Tricks for Photographers by Jesus Ramirez appeared first on Digital Photography School.


Digital Photography School

 
Comments Off on 5 Must-Know Photoshop Retouching Tips and Tricks for Photographers

Posted in Photography

 

German publisher Steidl ordered to pay $77k after losing photographer’s prints

22 Dec

German publisher Steidl has been ordered to pay photographer Lawrence Schwartzwald €65,000 / $ 77,000 after losing his portfolio prints. According to Artnet News, Schwartzwald sent the prints to Steidl in September of 2014 for inclusion in a book project. The photographer was reportedly told in June of 2015 that the project wouldn’t proceed, and that he’d get his photos back… but that never happened.

Despite repeated requests, Schwartzwald never did receive his portfolio. And so, after a year of waiting, he filed a lawsuit in a German court against Steidl for the return of his prints, which he valued at $ 1,200 each. That lawsuit has now culminated in a ruling that Steidl must pay Schwartzwald €65,000 in compensation for the lost prints, plus legal fees.

Gerhard Steidl, the company’s founder, gave Artnet News a different version of events, claiming that Schwartzwald’s photos had been selected for print publication, but the photographer grew impatient with the duration of the process and requested that his prints be returned.

Regardless of which version of events is true, however, the outcome is the same: Schwartzwald’s portfolio went missing.

Steidl acknowledged this in his statement to Artnet, explaining that it was an accident and that the portfolio couldn’t be located. “Someone probably packed it incorrectly and it ended up somewhere else, but it’s not there anymore,” said Steidl. “It just happened, in my opinion I don’t deserve the death penalty.”

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
Comments Off on German publisher Steidl ordered to pay $77k after losing photographer’s prints

Posted in Uncategorized

 

When photographers become pitchmen

14 Dec

This article was originally published on the PhotoShelter blog, and is being republished in full on DPReview with express permission.


It’s not surprising when camera companies hire photographers to pitch their products. But photographers have also been enlisted to sell other types of products; the result of Madison Avenue trying to romanticize the occupation, even though the reality often fails to meet the expectation. Nowadays photographers are more likely to spend the majority of their time sitting at a desk in post processing, or trying to collect on invoices that are 6 months past due.

Nevertheless, we’ve seen a number of companies in a variety of industries employ photographers in their ad campaigns in the past few years, spaning the gamut from the old living icons to the newest generation of light chasers.

Elliott Erwitt for Cole Haan

As a part of their “Born in 1928” campaign launched in 2013, shoe brand Cole Haan teamed up with the legendary Elliott Erwitt to celebrate the “off” year 85th anniversary of the brand. The cherubic-faced Erwitt looks smartly dressed in a pair of Cole Haan kicks, while draping his camera over his shoulder. Photographer Daniel Jackson shot the campaign.

Lynsey Addario for Audi

Decorated war photographer Lynsey Addario’s decision to appear in a 2014 Audi ad wasn’t without controversy, given the glamorization of the job vis-à-vis the death of her driver at the hands of her captors.

On the other hand, the choice to use a female war photographer undoubtedly had an impact on the public’s understanding and definition of war photographer—showing that both men and women put their lives on the line to cover the atrocities of war.

Steve McCurry and David Alan Harvey for Filson

In 2014, Filson, the longtime purveyor of outdoor clothing and bags, teamed up with Magnum Photographers Steve McCurry and David Alan Harvey to design a set of camera bags that Harvey described as, “something I could use in the Favelas in Rio, but still take to a dinner party.”

Although the bags had a limited run, Filson cleared banked on the mythology of two of the industry’s heavyweights.

Pei Ketron and Paul Nicklen for American Express

Photographer and educator Pei Ketron burst to prominence as one of the early “recommended” photographers to follow on Instagram, helping to make her one of the first photographers to gain half a million followers.

Biologist/photographer Paul Nicken’s incredible undersea images and prominence in the National Geographic’s Instagram feed has helped to propel him to over 3.8 million followers and growing.

The significant social media reach likely influenced American Express’ decision to tap both photographers in early 2016 for a series of travel-based ads touting the benefits of the AMEX Gold Card (“double and triple points, plus no foreign transaction fee!”)

Barbara Davidson for Volvo

Former Los Angeles Times photojournalist and Pulitzer Prize-winner Barbara Davidson was tapped by Volvo in 2017 to show off their XC60 urban camera safety system. Volvo’s unorthodox approach used Davidson’s skills as a photographer combined with the car-as-camera to create a commercial and gallery exhibition.

Andre D. Wagner for Cole Haan and Theory

Omaha-born social worker turned NYC street photographer, Andre D. Wagner, has been blowing up lately. His timeless street photography has gained him an appreciative audience and broad media coverage with simultaneous comparisons to photographers like Garry Winogrand.

Doing what I do, chasing light and life in @ColeHaan’s grand explore all terrain. #Extraordinaries #ColeHaanPaidSponsor

A post shared by Andre D. Wagner (@photodre) on

Young, talented, black, and handsome—it’s no wonder that brands like Cole Haan and Theory has started to flock to him as an authentic voice of a generation. Plus, he’s still shooting and developing black and white film!


Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and Co-Founder of PhotoShelter. He’s an avid photographer and frequently speaks on how photographers can use online marketing to grow their businesses.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
Comments Off on When photographers become pitchmen

Posted in Uncategorized

 

7 Tips for Business Cards for Photographers

29 Nov

Having a proper business card is the first step towards establishing branding as well as earning potential customers, regardless of whether you are a freelance photographer or engaged within photography agencies. Not only do they serve to boost the reputation of an individual or corporation, they are also an opportunity to showcase the many good qualities one has to offer. Continue Reading

The post 7 Tips for Business Cards for Photographers appeared first on Photodoto.


Photodoto

 
Comments Off on 7 Tips for Business Cards for Photographers

Posted in Photography

 

Are Photographers Artists? Let’s Discuss

21 Nov

Are Photographers Artists? Let's Discuss

I took this image while on a trip out west to the Grand Teton Mountains and Yellowstone National Park with my family and about 50 other people. We were driving towards our next lodge, past the mountains and the Snake River where we would be rafting the next morning when I became rather fascinated with the scene that lay before me.

Having never seen mountains before in my life – besides seeing the photographs online and in movies – I was awestruck. Immediately I grabbed my camera and began snapping away, fighting the glare of the window while also paying careful attention to the meter in my viewfinder. After I had arrived home about a week later, I was culling the images I had taken on the trip. Almost immediately, this became my favorite.

Are Photographers Artists? Let's Discuss

This image was also taken in the mountains, another favorite of mine, was a much more thought out composition. Our tour guide had told us that we would be stopping to see a church with plenty of photographic opportunities. Almost immediately I knew the shot that I wanted.

I set up my tripod ever so perfectly, did a few test shots to make sure my exposure was right-on, and then explored the area, leaving my camera in position until everyone else was back on the bus. Although I knew I would be the last back in my seat, I knew it would be worth the wait. And it most definitely was, for as everyone else was loading on the bus, the scene was almost completely empty. I took three exposures of the scene, bracketing it just in case the light had changed, and got back on the bus.

Are we artists or photographers?

The reason I’m telling you about these two images is not to make you jealous of my amazing adventure with my family. Rather, I tell you about these to get you thinking. You see, since the days of Ansel Adams, there has been a major debate regarding whether or not photographers should be considered artists.

Ansel Adams himself had struggled with this, having been amongst many other photographers in the beginning of the craft who used soft-focus lenses to create images which looked less like reality and more like paintings. Why? Because photography as a form of art was not taken seriously at the time and to make it among other artists, you had to make your images look like they were painted, not photographed.

Do we document or make art?

So, this begs the question: as photographers, are we crafting works of beautiful art? Or are we simply documenting the world around us with some special – yet easily done by others – ability?

Are Photographers Artists? Let's Discuss

One argument that is commonly brought to light against photography being an art form, is that anyone can do it. There is no need for special gear, no apprenticeship is mandated; you do not even need to take a class to learn photography. Most professional photographers haven’t taken a formal education.

But if this is the case, why do we bother honing our skills? What is the point of constantly learning new compositional techniques, new ways of post-processing? Why do we bother to buy “better” camera bodies, new lenses, sturdier tripods, if our craft is not considered a form of art? If anyone can do it, what is the point of buying a $ 4000 Nikon D850 that everybody is drooling over?

Because not everyone can do what we do

Are Photographers Artists? Let's Discuss

Yes, everyone can be a photographer; every random guy on the street can pick up a camera – or use his smartphone – and take a pretty picture of the sunset. Just look on Instagram and you will see what I mean. But that can be said of painters, sketch artists, etc., as well. Everyone can be an “actual artist” as well. I can pick up a paintbrush, slap some paint on a canvas, and call it modern art. I can draw a single line in the center of a 20×30 foot canvas, hang it in a prestigious art gallery, and sell it for millions. It’s been done before, and it will continue to be done. So, the question is, is this still art?

So if you tell me that painting a single stroke on a canvas is art, then you must also allow me to tell you that photography is art. Otherwise, you are saying that everyone can do photography yet not everyone can paint a line, correct?

Are Photographers Artists? Let's Discuss

Photographers as documentarians

There is also the argument that, as photographers, we are simply documenting the world. We are merely at a location at the right time; we are lucky.

But if we are lucky, how can you explain the countless hours we spend sitting in one spot, waiting for the light to hit, only for the photograph to not turn out as we had hoped. And then we go back to that same location and wait even longer, hoping that the light will turn out this time. Then when it doesn’t, we continue to go back until finally, that light works out. Is that truly luck?

Are Photographers Artists? Let's Discuss

Yeah, just like painters we could probably find a way to Photoshop in some light, replace the sky in the scene to something more visually appealing, and then call it a day.

It’s more than just luck

To say, however, that we are lucky with almost all the shots that we obtain only undermines the countless hours, months, years that we have spent attempting to get better at our craft. Studying compositions of the great photographers before us, buying tutorials of the photographers we admire in hopes that they know something we do not – that does not constitute luck.

Yes, as photographers, we rely on chance. We rely on the weather turning out how we had hoped and the scene we are looking for to be found. At the same time, however, we must learn to adapt to our surroundings, and to our situation. If we are to make it as photographers, we must learn that not everything will turn out as perfectly as we had hoped.

Are Photographers Artists? Let's Discuss

And at that point, we can either come back to the location later or find a way to make it work. We must use our creativity to craft a scene that will be just as good, if not better, than the one we had originally planned in our head.

Looking back at the photographs I had taken while out west, I must ask myself, am I an artist?

What does the master say?

I think Ansel Adams had it right when he said:

“A photograph is made, not taken. A photograph is not an automatic recording, neither is it an accident. It is a concept, a vision of the world translated into shades of gray, communicated in terms of simple devotion to the medium – a statement of the utmost clarity and perfection possible…”

Are Photographers Artists? Let's Discuss

 

Art has always been subjective. It doesn’t matter if you are taking a picture of your cat or a grand vista in Iceland. In my opinion, if you have an opinion, a mood or emotion, that you are trying to convey to the world through your imagery, then you are an artist.

So, the question is, do you consider yourself to be an artist? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

The post Are Photographers Artists? Let’s Discuss by Cody Schultz appeared first on Digital Photography School.


Digital Photography School

 
Comments Off on Are Photographers Artists? Let’s Discuss

Posted in Photography

 

Best Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals for Photographers

19 Nov

While Black Friday was born in the United States, people from all over the world now wait for this day to do some serious shopping too, and photographers are no exception. The Friday after Thanksgiving has become popular everywhere marking the beginning of the winter holiday season. So are Black Friday deals really a “big deal” for photography enthusiasts? Yes, Continue Reading

The post Best Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals for Photographers appeared first on Photodoto.


Photodoto

 
Comments Off on Best Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals for Photographers

Posted in Photography

 

Surface Beast: A photographer’s review of the Microsoft Surface Book 2

17 Nov

This review was originally published on Blair Bunting’s blog, and is being republished in full on DPReview with express permission from the author.


Over the last year I have been slowly migrating from Apple to Windows, and to be honest, breaking out of the walled gardens that I lived within (some known, some unknown) has not been easy, but it has been freeing.

I have to hand it to Apple, they made a system, an environment, that has been comfortable and creatively useful for many years; however, slowly the sparkle that was once held in such high regards by artists, has begun to dull. For me, there was one piece of hardware that remained from my Apple past, one that traveled with me to all my photoshoots and pre-production meetings, coffee shops and airport bars, studios and locations alike… my MacBook Pro.

When I began transitioning to Windows, I had made concessions. I thought at the time, that one of the few pieces of Apple hardware that would stay in my repertoire was the MBP. I had even decided to upgrade it to the newest one before the announcement, for I knew it would be cutting edge in the ways that other Apple products of the past had been. Then, to the horror of myself and many around, we watched as Apple gave us the new MacBook Pro, complete with… wait for it… the scroll bar (ready to suit all of my emoji needs).

That very day I bought a Microsoft Surface Book (the very one that I am typing this blog on) and never looked back. To be honest, I had intended to write a review of it for quite some time, however, that blog had been put on the backburner. What was striking about the original Surface Book was something I had a very hard time quantifying. While there were many things I fell in love with on it, such as the keyboard, and the detachable screen, the thing that won me over more than anything was how much it just worked.

Almost overnight I started to see my productivity rise as I was able to re-focus on the business side of advertising photography.

I was transporting my RAWs from set on the original Surface Book and would occasionally do minor edits on it in airports; however, the 100-megapixel files from the Hasselblad H6D-100cwere taxing on it once layers were added in Photoshop and file sizes surpassed the 5GB mark. Now I know that 5GB files are rarely opened on a laptop, but I had to test it out and did notice that the large files sizes were tough on the processor.

Then, about a month ago, the phone rang and it was Microsoft, wondering if I would like to hear about a new piece of equipment… the Surface Book 2. Previously they had let me try out their Surface Pro, which I liked, but still found myself using the Surface Book more. It was a no brainer and I quickly signed to have a loaner unit sent over immediately.

The Surface Book 2 arrived only days before I was to fly out for a campaign I was shooting in New York and New Jersey. I have always had a rule that any gear headed to set has to have a backup. No matter how different the backup is, there needs to be a safety net in case something unforeseen happens.

For the past year, I was traveling with the Surface Book in my carry on while the MacBook Pro was in my checked baggage. Perhaps there was part of me that was nervous about letting go of that laptop. However, the campaign on the East Coast would be the first one completely void of an Apple product, backups included.

All this had been planned before the Surface Book 2 arrived.

Then the FedEx delivery man arrived with the package that I had been sitting next to the door waiting for all day (on a side note, does FedEx know when I am anxiously awaiting a package and then decide to be late as hell delivering it?).

In the box was the clean white box containing a new Surface Book 2, and to my surprise… IT WAS THE 15” MODEL. While I knew it existed, I had told the gentleman on the phone to send out whatever was easiest and I didn’t want to hassle them with demands. To be honest, I had grown quite comfortable with the 13-inch model that I bought and didn’t think there was a need for the extra two inches… I was wrong.

As it turns out, the new model was completely rebuilt from the ground up, and I could tell it within the first hour of using it. The details were even more refined and it was even MORE comfortable to type on. A funny little side note… with the screen being completely detachable, you can pop it off and walk around set with a tablet bigger than any other on the market and, as it turns out, the only thing my clients talked about for hours.

Now at this point you are probably asking, “but Blair, how does it perform?” … please refer to the title of this blog.

I have NEVER used a laptop that felt as powerful as the Surface Book 2. The thing ate 100 megapixel files for lunch and came back for more. In a way, it felt as though my laptop had hooked up with my desktop and the resulting baby was the Beast. Credit where it is due, the phrase “Surface Beast” was actually coined by one of the art directors on the photoshoot when he compared it to his MacBook Pro (scroll bar and all) and decided we would preview the shoot on the Surface from there on out.

One area where there isn’t even a comparison to my previous Apple MBP life is when it comes to retouching. More specifically: while traveling. Even more specifically: sitting at the airport bar while the airline tells you the delay is because the plane can’t fly (FML).

The Surface Book 2 has an option to have a secondary processor in the keyboard base of the computer. What this means is that you can detach the screen, flip it around and fold it backwards and have a drawing tablet with near desktop power—it is completely insane. This feature, combined with the increasing inebriation, led to me laughing/near-cheering with the announcement that my flight was further delayed.

In three hours of sitting at the airport bar, I had finished key art retouching on one of the images from the campaign (this is huge) and rung up a healthy bar tab of Hendricks.

For me, the Surface Book 2 was the MacBook Pro that we had all wanted/expected from Apple—it just wears a different logo.

While other reviews will read off the spec sheets and talk about the 17 hour battery life and GX yadda yadda yadda processor, they sometimes forget that we (the creative professionals) use these as tools. What Microsoft has done with the Surface Book 2 is make a system void of gimmicks, because gimmicks don’t hold up in the working world. Our jobs will not benefit from being able to tap an emoji on a scroll bar… they will benefit from the ability to get work done.

As a photographer, it feels extremely odd to say this, but I sincerely feel that the Surface Book 2 is not only a strong contender for the laptop to own, but actually the clear cut choice of the computer to have on set.

These weeks with the Surface Beast have won my allegiances completely, and probably resulted in me making a third computer purchase for the year. However, it has also given me the confidence and comfort to say that the transition away from Apple will soon be complete.


Blair Bunting is an advertising photographer and Hasselblad ambassador who has shot campaigns around the globe for a diversified list of clients that range from television shows shot for The Discovery Channel to athletes photographed for Muscle Milk.

To see more of his work, visit his website, check out his blog, or follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
Comments Off on Surface Beast: A photographer’s review of the Microsoft Surface Book 2

Posted in Uncategorized