Archive for April, 2019

DJI partners with RMUS to expand its UTC training program to North America

30 Apr

Drone operations, when implemented properly, save time, money and effort across numerous industries. The drone industry has grown exponentially in the past few years. In 2015, there were only a few hundred remote pilots available for hire. Thanks to the affordable and accessible Part 107 ruling, that was implemented by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in August 2016, there are now well over 100,000 remote pilots with certification to fly commercially across the U.S.

As enterprises and governments start incorporating drones into their daily workflow, the need for streamlined and efficient training programs has never been greater. DJI, the world’s top drone manufacturer, recently partnered with Rocky Mountain Unmanned Systems (RMUS) to expand its Unmanned Aerial Systems Training Center (UTC) program to North America.

The program will utilize RMUS’ eight training centers located in Utah, Washington, California, Hawaii, Delaware, Ohio, Texas, and Illinois. Each location will start off using Commercial UAS Training – Level 1, a new curriculum that provides a foundation for developing the knowledge and skills to pilot an unmanned aircraft. Training will be conducted both online and on-site. Compact, lightweight Tello drones from Ryze Robotics will be used for basic flight training.

Once on sight training and the successful passing of an administered exam is completed, individuals will receive UTC certification. The program will be available this June at all eight centers. Learn more and reserve a spot here.

The UTC team will be at the DJI booth (#811) at AUVSI Xponential from April 30th – May 2nd. Attendees are invited to visit and learn more about UTC and the new North American curriculum.

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How to Place an Image Inside Text in Photoshop

30 Apr

The post How to Place an Image Inside Text in Photoshop appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

In this article, I want to share with you one method of creating an image that appears inside text.

How To Use Photoshop to Create an Image Inside Your Text

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Making your photos stand out online, especially when using social networks is tough. Finding ways to enhance your pictures so they will capture people’s attention is a great way to grab more attention to them.

Placing an image inside text can communicate more than the text or the photo will say on their own.

Here are a few easy steps to show how you can make your images have more impact.

How To Use Photoshop to Create an Image Inside Your Text Inle Lake fishermen, Myanmar

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Set up your Photoshop file

Create a background layer of a solid color. Above it make a new text layer and then add the photo you want to include inside the text.

The size and font you choose are up to you, and they can be changed during the process if you decide they are not working as well as you’d hoped. You can also use a vector layer to place your image inside.

For this method, you will use a Clipping Mask. This allows you to use the content of a layer to control the visibility of the layers which are above it. This is how the shape of the text will control how much of the photo is seen in the final outcome.

How To Use Photoshop to Create an Image Inside Your Text Clipping Mask

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Creating the Clipping Mask

Select your photo. It must be above the text layer. Go to the top menu and select Layer ->Create Clipping Mask, (or press Alt + Ctrl/Cmd + G.)

You will now see your photo within the text. Everything outside the text area will be the solid background layer. You have effectively masked out most of your image.

If this is too much, as it is in my example, the effect is not going to attract many eyeballs. The text is easy enough to read and the effect is interesting, there’s not enough of the image remaining.

How To Use Photoshop to Create an Image Inside Your Text

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Reveal more of your photo

If you want more of your photo to be seen, rather than only what’s within the text area, you can do so.

Duplicate the layer by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + J. Now make a selection of the parts of your photo you want to be seen outside the text area. There are many methods for doing this. Here I have used the Quick Selection Tool.

Once you have made your selection, you can click on the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel. This will reveal only the selected area of this layer.

You can then refine your mask if necessary by using the Brush Tool. Make sure the mask is selected in the Layers Panel. Brush with black to reveal more and white to conceal areas you don’t want to see.

How To Use Photoshop to Create an Image Inside Your Text Refine the Image Mask

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

There are no rules as to how much to show. It’s purely up to what you think is best. Keep in mind that the text will be most legible with less of the image showing outside of it.

You should now have a compelling image with a message.

Experiment to add diversity

Every image and text combination will work differently. If you’re not satisfied with the outcome, change some aspect of it.

Using a different font is easy enough. With the text layer selected, choose a different font.

How To Use Photoshop to Create an Image Inside Your Text Change Font

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

If you can’t find one that fits your image exactly as you want it to, manipulate it. With the text selected, bring up the Character dialogue box. Here you can stretch your text wider or higher, or make it more compact. See if you can make it fit your image in a more pleasing way.

You may need to refine your clipping mask further if you make changes to your font.

Adding a shape on a new layer under your text layer will create a new look. Then, by duplicate your original photo layer. Drag it below the shape in the Layer Panel. This creates a background of your original photo.

Now you have a shape containing your text with your image inside and a shape with the image outside it.

How To Use Photoshop to Create an Image Inside Your Text New Background

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

I have moved the location of the text and shape as I didn’t think it looked so good over the main area of interest in my photo. After moving it I dropped the opacity of the shape layer to reveal some of the photo underneath. I also added a stroke around the text (using the fx panel) to help it stand out more.

How To Use Photoshop to Create an Image Inside Your Text Experiment with new layers

© Kevin Landwer-Johan


There are so many variations you can experiment with to place an image inside your text. These are just a few ideas to help get you started.

Remember, if you are using text, keep it legible. If people have to struggle to read it, then it’s not working. Likewise, if the text is not enhancing your photo, try something different.

There are no right and wrong ways of doing this. I hope you found this method helpful.

Try it out with photos for your Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook feeds. Done well it will help your photos stand out from the crowd and get your message across.

I’d love to see how you are making use of placing an image inside text. Please post your photos in the comments and let us know of any additional tips and techniques you like to use.

The post How to Place an Image Inside Text in Photoshop appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

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Nikon Z 14-30mm F4 S sample gallery

30 Apr

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Nikon’s 14-30mm F4 is a compact ultra-wide zoom for the company’s Z-series mirrorless system. By offering an F4 constant aperture rather than F2.8, the 14-30mm is lighter in weight (it’s just 485g / 17oz) and is able to accept screw-in 82mm filters. We’ve been itching to shoot with it ever since we got a glimpse of it at the CP+ show last month in Japan – click through our gallery to see how it performs.

See our Nikkor Z 14-30mm F4 S
sample gallery

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Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items

30 Apr

The post Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jackie Lamas.

Ever want to create interesting photographs without having to spend so much on equipment? Chances are that you already own ordinary household items that can give your photos that creative lighting twist to make them pop! Read and try these creative light tips using things that are already in your home.

In almost all of the tips, I use my smartphone to light my subject, which is also another item you can use that is already in your home!

1 - Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items

1. Shadows and patterns

To create shadows and patterns in your photos, try some of the following items that you have in your home already. Create a dot pattern with a colander. Hold it under the light – it can be a flashlight or natural light over your subject and you’ll see how the shadows form.

Experiment with different items with similar holes like a spatula, cheese grater, or laundry basket. Hold the items close and far away from your subject until you get the look that you want! Another easy way to create shadows is with the blinds on your windows. You can place your subject next to the blinds and angle them so that you get the desired pattern on your subject.

2 - Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items

Using one small light like the flash on my phone and a colander works for making patterns.

You can also cut out patterns on paper, cardboard, or other similar materials to get the patterns you want. Hold them over your subject, and under your light source, and you’ll have shadows and patterns for your photos.

2. Color filters

Using translucent paper like cellophane or even document protectors that are translucent can help you add color casts to your photos. Cut them into squares or circles the diameter of your lens and hold each one up as you take a photo. You can also use tape to keep them on the lens while you’re photographing your subject.

3 - Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items

I used cut up CD color cases. Document protectors would also work. Anything translucent.

Layer the colors or place them at the edges of the lens to create different color casts in the same photo. Another way is to put the colored paper in front of your light source, like a flashlight or sunlight, in order to achieve the color cast. This way you don’t have to have the paper over your lens and you can mix in different colors in the scene.

4 - Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items

You can also use a tablet, laptop, or phone to create color casts as well. Try and aim to photograph your subject in a bit of a darker place so that the color cast shows up a little more. Place your device close to the subject and see how the colors show up onto your subject. Make sure your camera is steady as less light will cause more camera shake if you’re using slow shutter speed. Use a fast lens so that you don’t have blurry photos.

5 - Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items

Use the color filter to the side of the lens.

3. Making rainbows

Using an old CD can create a rainbow light when it’s being reflected. Use this to create interesting rainbows on your subject or background. You can tilt it to get different effects.

6 - Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items

Another way you can use a CD to create interesting light is to cut it up and glue it to poster board or cardboard and hold it up to the light that way. See what kind of creative light you can get onto your subject!

Try moving it around so that you can angle the rainbow just how you want it in your photo. Get creative with placing the rainbow to highlight different parts of your scene.

4. Fairy or string lights

String lights can give your photos a creative twist all while lighting your subject as well. Place the lights close to the lens to get the blurry orbs of light or place them on your actual subject to get that warm and inviting color on your subject.

7 - Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items

Tape the lights to the wall so you can have free hands to photograph your subject.

String lights work best in a darker scene but you can experiment with different lighting situations to see what works best. Christmas lights also work for this but they are bulkier.

8 - Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items

Use the fairy light close up to your lens to get the orb effect.

5. Spray bottle

Water refracts light, this means that when the light hits the water, it bends and can give you a unique way of lighting a photograph! Grab a spray bottle and give the lens a little spray. You might have to point your camera toward the light source, like a backlight or the sun in order to get the light refracting.

9 - Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items

Using distilled water in a spray bottle gives some really interesting effects too. You could even go another step and use a colored filter over the light or lens to get a mixture of the effects.

In conclusion

10 - Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items

Create interesting images by combining all of the tips together. This image has the rainbow from the CD, twinkle lights, water droplets all lit by my smartphone flash.

All of these cool lighting effects will give you more creative lighting to your images all using household items that you already have or can create under a budget. Which one will you try?

Share some of the images you take using these techniques with us in the comments below.


The post Creative Lighting Tips Using Household Items appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jackie Lamas.

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ZTE Nubia Red Magic 3 comes with 8K video recording and cooling fan

30 Apr

Just like their computer-counterparts, gaming smartphones are more powerful than your average device in order to smoothly run the latest hardware-hungry games and applications.

With the new Nubia Red Magic 3 Chinese manufacturer ZTE is taking things to a new extreme, however, by building a cooling fan into the handset, in addition to a copper heatsink. The company says the fan can spin up to 14,000 rpm but still runs quietly. Overall the phone’s heat transfer performance is a claimed five times better than conventional passive cooling. So, if you’ve ever found your phone to run hot, or even crash, while playing the latest mobile blockbuster, this might be just the device for you.

The Red Magic 3 comes with some other features that are typically limited to gaming devices, such as customizable capacitive shoulder triggers and an RGB LED strip on the back, but otherwise offers pretty conventional flagship smartphone specifications. This includes a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset with up to 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage and a very beefy 5,000mAh battery. Gameplay (or photos) are viewed on a 6.65-inch FHD+ AMOLED HDR display.

Despite clearly being targeted at gamers, the Nubia has something quite unique to offer in the camera department as well; it is the first smartphone to come with 8K video recording. Additionally, the camera can record slow-motion video at a whopping 1,920 frames per second although no resolution has been specified yet for this ultra-slow-motion mode. In terms of camera hardware the Nubia comes with a single-camera that uses a 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor and an F1.7 aperture, but lacks optical image stabilization.

So, while other camera specs aren’t anything out of the extraordinary the 8K option should make the Nubia interesting to anyone who is creating high-resolution video. It will launch in China on May 3rd and start from approximately $ 430 for the version with 6GB RAM and 64GB storage. The top-of-the-line model with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage will set you back $ 640. A launch in other regions, including the US, Canada and Europe is scheduled for the end of May but no pricing information is available yet.

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Hubble ushers in 29th anniversary with colorful new Southern Crab Nebula image

30 Apr

Just in time for the Hubble Space Telescope’s 29th anniversary comes a new image of the Southern Crab Nebula (Hen 2-104) captured in recent weeks, offering a clear look at the nebula first captured by Hubble on August 24, 1999. Unlike the first image, which is pixelated and orange, the new image is colorful with a higher resolution.

The Southern Crab Nebula is located in Centaurus constellation’s southern hemisphere; though it is shaped like an hourglass, the nebula’s bright edges give a vaguely crab-like appearance, hence the name.

According to NASA, the nebula was first observed in the 1960s, though it was thought to be an ordinary star until the first image was captured by the ESO’s La Silla Observatory in 1989. It was Hubble’s initial 1999 image that revealed the nebula’s ‘complicated nested structures,’ the space agency explains.

The new higher resolution image is a composite created from multiple images captured by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3. The images were captured in different colors that are associated with the oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, and hydrogen gases present in the nebula. The Hubble Space Telescope website offers technical details on how the Southern Crab Nebula formed.

Other notable images captured by Hubble are available here.

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Five Steps To Making Better Pictures

30 Apr

The post Five Steps To Making Better Pictures appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jeremy H. Greenberg.

If you’re reading this, you are an aspiring artist and photographer. You might be just starting out or somewhere on the amateur, hobbyist, professional spectrum. Whatever your personal or professional aspirations may be, you might agree that there is room for improvement in your work. The purpose of this article is to suggest five strategies leading to the improvement of your craft. While not an exhaustive list, any single strategy or strategies described below, when practiced regularly, will result in significant improvements in your picture making. You can use this list to establish your photographic goals for this year and beyond.

1. Study photography

There are formal and informal paths to get better at just about everything. Photography is an art form and craft just like many others. If you wanted to learn how to make clothing, paint, or work with wood, you would take classes and lessons to learn how to do those, right? Photography takes time to learn and a lot of effort to become really proficient. You may even decide to go to art school and work towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts or similar academic credential at an accredited college or university. There are many good options in many countries if this is the route for you.

Depending on your situation and other factors, you might take the path that I did that was to pursue a professional certificate in photography online. The online option works well for people who have families, full-time work in another career, or just not enough time, money, or interest to enroll in an undergraduate program in the arts.

Other ways to study may include subscribing to online blogs and newsletters like Digital Photography School and read the material each week. Weekly newsletters get pushed to your e-mail, and you can reap incredible benefits from the wealth of free information online.

Online subscriptions are usually free and so easy to use that every photographer should be exploiting these valuable resources.

2. Go to the show

Art and photography exhibits are everywhere all of the time. We are surrounded by opportunities to view real art and images by rising and established professionals. There is a terrific site called photographmag that hosts information about current photography exhibits and shows across the US and other countries. If you travel from time to time as many of us do, take advantage of the opportunities to see photographs in these places. Use the site above to plan your photography excursions around your travel plans, and check out what is going on. Go and see the show!

Often you can get access to new work closer to home. Purchasing photography books (rather than new camera or lens), attending local museums, and of course reading through the plethora of websites related to photography should be a regular part of your artistic and self-improvement diet. Any or all of these activities, when practiced regularly, should lead to significant improvements in your work.

Seek critique

Looking for and recruiting “likes” will not improve your photography. Social media should work for you rather than you working for social media (unless you are employed by Instagram). Real improvement happens when you make and share your image and then receive a proper critique on your work. What’s a proper critique? The purpose of critique in the art world in its most simple form is about two things 1) describing the work, and 2) making statements about whether or not the image works, doesn’t work, and most importantly, “why.”

Critique isn’t really about whether someone likes or does not like an image. A proper critique goes beyond the obvious and subjective statements about an image in favor of a discussion on what constitutes a photograph that works. When viewing art becomes an objective process, we all benefit and can discuss the piece using more sophisticated vocabulary. This is the purpose of critique, and the process is not only extremely beneficial to the artist, but I would also submit that critique is essential to a photographer’s growth.

Avoid asking your friends and family about your work since they will likely love almost everything that you do. Seek proper critique by accomplished and successful colleagues, or professional photographers if you have access to some. Meetup groups or local photography clubs are an excellent source for periodic critique sessions where the participants aim to provide constructive criticism and proper critique of each other’s work.

Cross train for big gain

There are many interesting genres in the field of photography, such as aerial, events, food, macro, portrait, sports, wildlife, and many more. You might be lucky enough at this point of your artistic existence to be able to say “I shoot weddings and portraits, but I don’t do macro.” Maybe you are still learning what you like and dislike. I would strongly suggest doing a Project 365 and shoot every day to learn over time what you like, dislike, and what you are good at. This helps you narrow down your genre that is the first step in developing your own style.

Somewhere along your personal journey as an artist and photographer, you should experiment. Each genre within photography has its own lessons and techniques that can benefit your work in the area of your preference. Plus, the process of shooting across multiple genres, artistic cross training so to speak, will force you out of your comfort zone. You will have the opportunity to learn new lenses, processes, and techniques. The benefits and lessons learned will benefit your work in your genre of preference. If you prefer to shoot portraits of people, shoot landscapes for a while or vice versa. Try shooting sports, wildlife, or trick photography techniques.

If you really want to mix things up, shooting film and even developing it at home yourself may be the best photography lesson you can engage in. Composing, developing, processing, and scanning images from film teach you everything about the process of making images. Plus, it’s super fun!

Shoot, process, and repeat

I’m reminded of the old adage “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”

Practice, practice, practice!

It is self-evident that to improve at anything you must do it a lot. Do you shoot everyday? Do you wear a camera? Perhaps you should. If you do embark on a Project 365, you will wear a camera every day. This provides many opportunities to make images of all types. Shoot with your smartphone if you prefer, but shoot often, and learn to edit ruthlessly. Become your own best or worst critic.

Learn post-processing. Even if you are generally opposed to post-processing images, the techniques at your fingertips these days, are far beyond those of the darkroom days. Post-processing is a terrific way to see your image making through and aids you in the development of images that match your unique artistic vision.

When you think about making images, you have a sense in your mind’s eye of the finished image. Camera, film, and gear may get us close to the final image that matches our artistic vision, but post-processing may be needed to get you there. There are many applications available to us these days, although Lightroom and Photoshop are some of the best for this sort of activity.


In summary, you now have five steps to making better pictures. Each of these five strategies will lead to significant improvements in your photography. If you choose one, two, or all of these strategies, and work on them regularly, your images will improve. However, this will take some time. Start small and work at it regularly. You can only get better over time.

The light is always right.


The post Five Steps To Making Better Pictures appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jeremy H. Greenberg.

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Samsung patents wraparound phone display with unique photography features

30 Apr

Dutch website Let’s Go Digital has uncovered a Samsung patent that details a wraparound mobile phone display. Unlike the company’s folding phone, this recently approved patent shows a flexible display that wraps from the front of the phone up over the top and down partially across the back. Among other uses, the rear display could be used to provide an image preview to the photo’s subjects.

An illustration from the patent showing how the secondary display can be used to help the subject see themself in the frame.

The patent describes multiple potential uses for the rear display, including as a camera preview. A translation of the section describing this potential use reads:

For example, at operation 1620, the electronic device may confirm to the user that he wants to selfie. When the self-portrait mode is selected, the control unit of the electronic device can activate the rear display provided in the same direction as the direction in which the camera is mounted. The preview image generated in operation 1660 may be displayed through the activated rear display.

Who needs a high-resolution front-facing camera when a secondary display can turn the main camera unit into a selfie cam?

Though the idea of a dual-display smartphone isn’t new, Samsung’s method — using a flexible OLED panel for a seamless wraparound screen — is unique. Of note, this arrangement could enable users to capture selfies using the device’s superior rear camera in lieu of the front-facing camera.

As with any patent, it’s possible Samsung may never bring a device featuring this technology to market.

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Luminar 3.1.0 update introduces ‘human-aware’ Accent AI 2.0 technology

29 Apr

Skylum Software has announced the latest update to its Luminar 3 photo editing software, Luminar 3.1.0. Four significant upgrades have been added including improvements to its proprietary artificial intelligence tool that enhances photos. Upgraded from version 1.0, Accent AI 2.0 features facial and object recognition technology that help photographers create a more authentic effect in their images.

Accent AI 2.0 upgrade

Accent AI was developed to help photographers speed up their workflow. By automatically handling common tasks like shadows, highlights and contrast, time spent editing an image takes seconds instead of a few minutes. Accent AI 2.0 boasts improved presets and is “human aware,” meaning it recognizes people in the photo and provides skin tone adjustments selectively for a more natural look.

Accent AI 2.0 also includes more accurate color correction and detail boosts. If it can’t make a specific detail in a photo look better, it’ll remain untouched. While the artificial intelligence suggests enhancements including color, depth, detail, and exposure that eliminate the need to adjust several sliders in the development process, the photographer has the flexibility to customize all aspects of the image.

Improved Sync Adjustments command

Photographers can adjust one image, using Luminar’s image-aware filters or Looks, select a series of images that they want to apply the same changes to, and synchronize them. Filters and Looks are transferred while image-specific adjustments such as cloning and cropping remain untouched.

RAW + JPEG organization

For those shooting in RAW + JPEG mode, photos are easier to organize and view. When importing pairs of images into Luminar 3.1.0, the option to choose RAW, JPEG, or both files is available. Select one for less clutter or both for side-by-side comparison. If both RAW and JPEG versions of an image are uploaded, the option to delete one file and keep the other in that pair is available. Changes made in one file can be transferred to the other with the Sync Adjustments command.

Improved sorting method

When images are uploaded to Luminar, attributes such as ratings, file size, and color labels can be applied for organization purposes. When using the Gallery view, it’s now easier to locate images as a second organizational label is automatically applied. When sorting through images, they will be displayed by the new category first followed by the date.

Windows updates

The Windows version of Luminar 3.1.0 received a slew of updates. They include the ability to import images from a memory card or hard drive and copy them to a folder, post images directly to SmugMug, add folders and user albums to the shortcut list, rotate images by 90-degree increments in the gallery, and install the Luminar plugin into Photoshop Elements.

How to update

Users with Luminar 3 can update for free to version 3.1.0.

  • Mac users can update by choosing Luminar 3 in the top menu bar, then clicking “Check for updates.”
  • Windows users can choose Help > Check for updates on the top toolbar.


Skylum is offering special, limited-time pricing through May 14th on its photo editing software and courses. Mixed-computer households can share the same product key for Mac and PC. The software can be operated on up to five devices.

  • $ 60 / €60 /.£56 – Luminar 3.1.0
  • $ 70 / €70 / £65 – Luminar 3.1.0 & Photography 101 Video course by SLR lounge ($ 99 value)
  • $ 129 / €129 / £118 – Bundle (Luminar & Aurora) + Photography 101 Course by SLR Lounge ($ 99 value)
  • Standard pricing: $ 70/€70/£65 for all new users
  • Free trial and 60-day money back guarantee.
  • Free “Photography 101: A-Z Guide to Photography” course from SLR Lounge

DPReview will be independently reviewing Luminar 3.1.0, so stay tuned. To get a walkthrough of the improvements described above, check out the above video by professional photographer and Skylum’s Vice President of Product, Richard Harrington.

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Can New Gear Kickstart Your Photography?

29 Apr

The post Can New Gear Kickstart Your Photography? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Charlie Moss.

1 - Can New Gear Kickstart Your Photography - Charlie Moss

I’m sure you’ve heard of “Gear Acquisition Syndrome” or GAS for short. Photographers usually consider GAS to be negative; frivolously spending money that you don’t need on equipment that won’t make your photography better. However, I’m here to tell you that sometimes a new piece of kit is exactly what you need to inspire you to do something different with your photography.

White rose in a gold basket. 2 - Can New Gear Kickstart Your Photography - Charlie Moss

Getting out of your comfort zone

It’s easy to become complacent with the equipment that you already own. You’ll get to the point where you know it inside out, and you’re completely comfortable using it to create the kind of images that you love. Many photographers have gone for years always using the same system, the same set of lenses, and just upgrading to a new camera body every once in a while to keep pace with new technology.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that approach. Sticking with what you already know produces results that can be a wise use of your limited time and funds. However, sometimes a piece of new gear can push you outside of your comfort zone, forcing you to experiment with new techniques and styles.

A modernist piece of architecture. 3 - Can New Gear Kickstart Your Photography - Charlie Moss

A modernist piece of architecture. © Charlie Moss

New gear for a new style

For me, it was a combination of a new Fujifilm mirrorless camera and a 50mm equivalent lens that forced me into trying new styles. Lugging my dSLR camera around with me always felt like a chore; it was so big and heavy. The Fujifilm X-T20, on the other hand, is small and lightweight. It feels much more like the small Yashica rangefinder that my Grandfather used to bring with him on every family holiday. I found that I would shoot much more spontaneous and joyful images with my new little camera, rather than the “serious” images I shot on my larger dSLR.

But what really changed my photography, and could change yours too, was the investment in a new lens. I didn’t spend a fortune – a secondhand Fujifilm 35mm f/1.4 lens found its way into my possession. It is a 50mm equivalent lens (on the Fujifilm X-T20 crop-sensor body), so it’s the classic length for many styles of photography. It’s a great focal length for portraits, street photography, food, and still life. So as soon as it arrived, I began to test it extensively. I should point out that I shot every image in this article with the new lens.

Two images of bright yellow classic cars. One image is of a chrome-trimmd wing mirror, the other is a Humber logo. 4 - Can New Gear Kickstart Your Photography - Charlie Moss

Bright yellow classic cars – a chrome-trimmed wing mirror, and a Humber logo. © Charlie Moss

Do you really need new gear?

I get it; not everyone has the money to go out and pick up a new lens or camera just to see if it helps them be more creative. And maybe it wasn’t even the lens or the camera that inspired me to change the way I photograph. Plenty of people manage to change up their style without spending any money at all.

So with that in mind, I have a few suggestions for breaking out of your comfort zone before you break out your credit card.

Two images of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. 5 - Can New Gear Kickstart Your Photography - Charlie Moss

The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. © Charlie Moss

Look at more photography

I don’t just mean on social media. Get out and about in the real world. Take yourself off to an exhibition of photography or an art gallery with a photographic collection. If you live anywhere near a major city, photography exhibitions shouldn’t be too hard to find. Have an open mind about the kind of work you could see. Try to remember that you’re looking for something to inspire a new way of working!

Take a notebook with you too. Make notes in it while you’re walking around the gallery looking at images. Think about how the works of art make you feel or if there’s a particular detail you love. Perhaps there’s a subject you hadn’t thought about photographing before. Or maybe a new use of color that you hadn’t considered for your own work.

Don’t forget to look up the work when you get home too! Many photographers now have a social media presence so that you can keep up to date with their current projects. Historical photographers often have lots written about them on museum and gallery websites for you to read.

Two street images of Oxford, UK. One is at the Botanical Gardens looking through a doorway at a wheelbarrow. The other is a woman walking in front of a science lab. 6 - Can New Gear Kickstart Your Photography - Charlie Moss

Two street images of Oxford, UK. Left: Botanical Gardens looking through a doorway at a wheelbarrow. Right: a woman walking in front of a science lab. © Charlie Moss

Try a new genre

Pick something you’ve never done before in photography. Do a bit of research online and then go out and try shooting it. Be brave – what’s the worst that can happen?

For me, it was street photography. I read some tutorials, talked to a few friends, checked out some images on social media and then went out for the day and just had a go. If the images were rubbish, I’d still had a nice day out photographing!

It’s too easy to become very conservative with your approach to photography. Staying with what you know works well is an easy approach, but you might miss out on a new kind of photography that you absolutely adore. Becoming more fearless and trying new things is something that can benefit all photographers – from beginners to professionals! We all need a kickstart every now and again with our work.

Two images. One is a self-portrait with out-of-focus fairy lights. The other is a white and red doorway. 7 - Can New Gear Kickstart Your Photography - Charlie Moss

Follow a trend

Of course, we’d all like to be trendsetters rather than followers. But every once in a while it’s good to experiment with something that is clearly capturing the imagination of lots of other photographers!

Instagram is great for checking out what’s fashionable in the world of photography right now. That could be portraits with out-of-focus fairy lights that create bokeh, or beautiful doors and pretty houses. Even if you don’t love the images that you create, each trend will give you the opportunity to experiment with a new technique. You might learn more about the technical aspects of photography, about composition, or even about styling. The key is to take these new things that you’ve learned and use them in your own authentic way.

A photograph of new buildings on Albert Embankment, London. 8 - Can New Gear Kickstart Your Photography - Charlie Moss

A photograph of new buildings on Albert Embankment, London. © Charlie Moss

Whatever you do – do something!

If there’s one thing I’m certain about, it’s that if you never try anything new in your photographic practice, then you’ll come to regret it. So take a leap of faith and try something new.

Start by working out what you’d like to try photographically. See if you can try it without investing in any new gear. However, don’t be afraid to think about if a new piece of gear might bring you a new way of working. A lens, a flashgun, or a new lighting modifier. Perhaps even a new camera.

Also, don’t forget to let us know in the comments what you’re planning on trying out. Or if you’ve changed things up in the past let us know what you did to try and reinvigorate your photography and how well it worked for you!

The post Can New Gear Kickstart Your Photography? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Charlie Moss.

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