Archive for May, 2019

LIT wireless xenon flash Kickstarter campaign cancelled after project reevaluation

31 May

The Kickstarter funding campaign for the LIT wireless xenon flash has been canceled. The team behind the device detailed their decision to end the funding in a post published on the Kickstarter update page, where they state, ‘After doing some additional calculations during the campaign, we realized we won’t be able to make it a reality with just our initially set funding goal and newly uncovered product ambitions.’

As DPReview reported last month, the LIT wireless xenon 40W flash was intended for use with a smartphone, and would have—if everything had gone according to plan—included a built-in rechargeable battery capable of powering 200 full-power flashes. The device was also expected to feature HSS and support for smartphone shutter speeds as fast as 1/10,000s.

Though the Kickstarter campaign exceeded the $ 40,000 funding goal, the LIT team explains in the update post, ‘Based on the current funding rate, we might be able to push the product development and production through, but it would take considerably more funds to make it in a way that would meet our high standards.’

The LIT xenon flash Kickstarter project was canceled at just over $ 65,000 in pledged funding from 367 backers. The LIT team said in its post:

We don’t compromise and that’s why we’ve decided to cancel our campaign and maybe revisit Kickstarter at some later time with a new campaign. It feels so wrong doing the right thing.

Saying goodbye is the hardest solution to any problem. But sometimes it’s the only choice we have. It’s not forever, is not the end. It simply means we’ll miss you until we meet again.

We still believe that the future of image making is in your pocket. It is in our nature to work hard. To listen. To think. To question everything. To fail, stand up and change.

LIT will not collect the Kickstarter funds.

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Tips to Take Better Photos in Direct Sunlight [video]

31 May

The post Tips to Take Better Photos in Direct Sunlight appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

Sometimes, as photographers, we don’t always have the luxury of shooting in the lovely early morning/late afternoon light. We just have to shoot in the middle of the day where the harshest light of the direct sun exists.

In this video by Peter McKinnon, he shares his tricks on how to take better photos in direct sunlight so you don’t end up with a bunch of photos that are super-contrasty and leave your model with harsh shadows around their eyes etc.


Tips to Take Better Photos in Direct Sunlight

1. Bounce the light

You could use a reflector or bounce card. Consider using natural reflectors such as light-colored concrete. Concrete acts as a natural reflector for the sun.

2. Diffuse the light

Have someone hold a diffuser in the line of the light source coming from the sun. This will defuse the harshness of the direct sun and soften it on your subject’s face.

Find areas of shade and if

3. Use the shadows to your advantage

If you don’t have a diffuser or a friend to hold one for you and you just have to shoot in the direct sunlight, take advantage of the shadows.

Find great spots (like a staircase) that have interesting patterned shadows to create interesting effects on your subject.

4. Move your model around

Keep in mind the direction your model is facing. Have them move around, and watch how the sunlight hits their face. Have them move until you get the most flattering/even light.


You may also find the following helpful:

  • How to do Portrait Photography in Bright Midday Sun
  • How to Photograph in the Harsh Midday Sun
  • How to Beat the Midday Sun!
  • 5 Ways to Create Dramatic Landscape Photos at Midday
  • Review: Lastolite 6×4 Foot Panelite Collapsible Reflector with Translucent Diffuser
  • Side-by-side comparison between reflectors and diffusers for portraits

The post Tips to Take Better Photos in Direct Sunlight appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

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An introduction to video tripods

31 May
The Benro S8 tandem

So you’re looking to shoot video and you need a tripod. Do you have one that you use for stills or maybe you’re starting out with nothing and looking at purchasing your first one?

Either way there are a few things that you need to consider. If you’re not planning to move the camera during the shot then your existing setup may work for you. As a stepping stone using the same tripod with no extra outlay can work out in the short term. As you develop your skills you will probably find that your existing tripod will cause some frustration through its limitations.

There are things that you don’t need when shooting stills that are key when shooting video and some features that you can live without but once you upgrade you will wonder how you ever managed without them.

Let’s have a look at the constituent parts, the legs and the head, and investigate some of the considerations.

The legs or sticks

One of many options, the Manfrotto twin tube carbon fiber legs and mid level spreader

This is the part that is the easiest to deal with. A good set of stills legs (often referred to as ‘sticks’ in the video world) will actually have more longevity in terms of use with video than a typical stills head. You may find that the legs you have already work fine, however there are some things to consider if you are planning to upgrade.

Bowl or Flat mount

A typical stills tripod with detachable head will often have a flat base; in contrast, a video tripod usually has a bowl mount. These are available in a number of diameters, usually 50mm, 60mm, 75mm, 100mm and 150mm. There are exceptions to this, especially with cinema cameras.

Having a bowl allows much easier adjustment for leveling, no longer do you have to adjust the tripod legs to achieve a level camera. Instead of multiple adjustment points there is only one underneath the head at the top of the legs. (Sometimes you may find that leg adjustments are still necessary.) Some legs are sold with an adapter so that you can easily use a head with a smaller ball with a larger bowl.


Video tripods offer three different ways of adjusting the angle of the legs for better stability at low or high extensions. The choice of these is mainly down to experience and personal preference.

The ground level spreader

This can get dirty very easily and needs frequent maintenance but provides great stability. With a lot of tripods you do need to remove it if you want to use the leg spikes or place it on uneven ground.

The mid level spreader

This doesn’t get as dirty but sometimes can be more awkward to remove and re-attach, although easier when setting up and packing away. It also allows you to use the legs on uneven surfaces without having to remove the spreader.

The no spreader approach

The angle adjustment is achieved through limiting the spread with angle locks at the top of the leg.

This has gained a lot of traction in the video world over the last 15 years, although it doesn’t work well with very heavy payloads. It does offer the unique advantage of not being left behind as can happen with separate ones.

Leg construction

There are two styles of tripod leg, the single tube, which is not very different from stills legs and the twin tube. The twin tube versions tend to offer greater rigidity as they use two connection points at the top of the legs. Video work often involves lots of camera movement, and you don’t want the top of the legs to twist in any way while moving the camera as this can cause the tripod to lift. This can be more noticeable if moving the head quickly with a heavier setup.

As with stills legs you also get two main choices with materials, alloy or carbon fiber. The choice is mainly down to budget although weight saving and sturdiness can also be deciding factors.

Leg locks

Clamps that rotate 90 degrees to lock the legs, the Pozi-Loc system from Vinten.

As with stills legs you have two main options here, a twist lock or a flip lock. For twin leg systems the default is a flip lock. Some manufacturers use a rotating clamp instead, Vinten for example has it’s Pozi-Loc system.

Another option is the flowtech system from Sachtler. This system has only three clamps located at the top of the legs next to the head, very quick and easy to adjust but at a cost.

A single lock at the top of each leg simplifies adjustments

The feet

One option, removable flat feet that attach over spikes

In a similar way to stills legs there are usually two options here: spikes or flat feet. A lot of legs offer screw down rubber feet over spikes. Some video tripods offer completely removable flat feet that attach with clips over the spikes. There are some advantages to this, such as when you need to clean them or if they get damaged and need replacing. However, as they are detachable they can be left behind if you’re not careful. The other common option is feet that are integrated into a ground level spreader.

Center column

Center columns are useful but make sure they’re not over loaded

A single center column extension is normal for stills legs but not for video. There are some video focused tripods that offer this option, but it’s not widely adopted and requires care in use as stability can be an issue due to the higher weight demands of some video set ups. Benro among others do offer a number of tripods that offer this feature.

The Head

A handy way of using a flat head on a set of legs with a bowl

There are two main types of heads – flat or ball – and they interface with their associated leg type, although flat heads can often be adapted to fit most bowl mount tripods. Another option is a leveling head that allows you to add a half ball mount in between a head and a flat base for quick and easy adjustment.


Heads meant for video often use a longer plate

There are a lot of different plates for different manufacturers and some of them are interchangeable, however don’t rely on that without checking. A video plate is often elongated for use with heavier payloads. These plates also tend to have measurement marks on them so that positions can be easily repeated. A lot of plates are lined up and inserted from the rear of the head and once past the safety lock can’t accidentally fall off. Although that’s not to say that the whole tripod and head can’t fall over if not correctly set up.

Some heads like the Manfrotto N8 have a side loading plate

Something that is becoming more readily adopted and is trickling down from very expensive cinema heads are side loading plates. These are elongated as usual but attach more like a stills plate. They need to be angled slightly so that the left or right lip of the plate engages under the corresponding lip of the head. Then the locking lever is engaged when the plate is placed flat on the head. This can be advantageous when using heavier payloads.


The need to achieve a good balance should not be underestimated. The counterbalance, or ‘spring’ as it’s often termed, is there to balance the camera on the head. This can take the form of a dial or a knob which increases or decreases the amount of tension in the head in the tilt direction. This is not the same as tilt friction.

Manfrotto’s Nitrotech CBS system uses a nitrogen cartridge for a variable counterbalance

The counterbalance control should be adjusted according to the weight of the payload. The ideal situation is to increase the control in steps until you can tilt the camera to any position then let go of it and it remains stationary. In practice this might not be achievable at first and can take a few minutes to get an acceptable result.

Remember that better results can be obtained by making sure that the weight is correctly centered on the head. This is achieved by moving the camera back or forth on the head via the sliding plate and then locking it into place. Some setups might even require unscrewing the camera from the plate and relocating it fore or aft slightly especially when changing the weight of the rig.


Making sure that you’re not outside the recommended payload range of a head is important. The counterbalance and brakes are only designed with a certain weight range in mind. Ensuring that you don’t under load your head is also important, this might seem a bit odd but there’s a good reason for this. You won’t get a good result with a head that has a strong counterbalance when using a lighter camera, especially if you can’t turn it off. It will fight you when you try and tilt the camera even with the drag dialed down to minimum. You might get away with overloading the head but smooth movement then becomes difficult. The rating of the legs also come into play, you don’t want them collapsing!

Friction and brakes, or drag and locks

The tilt fluid drag control and lock on the Benro S8

Pan and tilt frictions or drag are usually adjustable independently of each other, commonly with a dial. The more expensive the head, the more positions on the dial. Lower end heads tend to have quite limited adjustment ranges for pan and tilt drag, sometimes only a simple on or off setting.

You will see some heads marketed as fluid heads, and these use a fluid to dampen or smooth out movements. The more professional ones contain the fluid in a cartridge, the very cheap ones don’t and some have been known to leak. Brakes or locks are usually either dials or small levers and shouldn’t be over tightened.

Pan Bar

The lightweight Manfrotto X PRO fluid head, a budget option for lightweight kit especially if you want to use your existing stills tripod

While not exclusive to video heads this bar doesn’t offer the ability to lock the head position as with some stills heads. It’s simply a handle, sometimes extendable, that helps with smooth movement. It’s not exclusively for pans; despite the name it also works well with tilts. It needs to be properly tightened before use or you will get some very sloppy movements. Be aware that it’s very easy to wear down the rosette at the head end of the bar and some manufacturers sell user replaceable rosettes to fix this issue.

Quality vs Cost

If you think that you’re going to move into video work then a decent tripod is important. As a general rule any tripod is better than none, but one that is so big and heavy that you don’t want to take it with you is mostly useless. A good tripod should be an extension of your arm, you should be working with it and not fighting to tame it.

Tripods may not attract the sort of gear envy that cameras and lenses do – they’re not sexy and don’t contain any electronics (apart from maybe a backlight for the bubble). This means they don’t date quite as quickly and can usually last many years or even decades if looked after properly.

It’s not elegant but well balanced set ups mean smooth moves

Good tripods can cost many thousands of dollars but they don’t have to. What’s as important as purchase price is after-sales service. Are you going to be able to get the spare parts or servicing you require a few years down the line?

So how much should you spend? That’s entirely up to you. As a guideline I’d be thinking about something in the $ 250-$ 750 range. For that you can get a decent set of legs and a fluid effect head. You can of course get much cheaper tripods but you will probably end up wanting to upgrade very quickly when you realize the limitations that budget kit brings.

Finally, if you’re new to the world of video tripods and don’t quite know where to begin, I’d recommend starting with one of the tripods listed below:

  • Manfrotto MVH502AH
  • Manfrotto MVK500AM

Each of these offers great performance at a reasonable price and can be a good starter system depending on your particular preferences and budget.

Do you have a favorite video tripod, or one that has worked really well for you? Let us know in the comments!

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Learning to See Like an Artist – 7 Powerful Techniques to Help You See More Compelling Images

31 May

The post Learning to See Like an Artist – 7 Powerful Techniques to Help You See More Compelling Images appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anthony Epes.

Being an artist has nothing to do with your camera, your kit or your photo knowledge.

It has nothing to do with how long you’ve been taking photos or if you shoot on manual or automatic.

Being an artist is totally and completely about the mindset you inhabit when you are out shooting, and what you create from this state.

It’s about looking at the world in a way that is different from how we usually see it. It’s ridding ourselves of the habits to ‘get somewhere,’ to accomplish and tick things off our to-do lists.

It’s all about immersing ourselves, our senses, our beings in this beautiful, wild, chaotic and amazing world.

It’s diving deeper, seeing more and finding new and interesting ways to capture what we discover.

What you get from bringing this artistic approach into your photography are unique images.

Your photos become about expressing who you are, encompassing everything that you have seen and experienced in your life.

This to me is the joy of photography. So I have some simple, but immensely powerful tips that will help you connect to your inner artist.

“There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.” – Ernst Haas

7 Powerful Techniques to Help You See More Compelling Images

First – ignore everyone

We spend so much of our lives in contact with other people. At work, our efforts are analyzed by our colleagues, boss or clients.

At home, our children, partner or family will comment on how we live, wash clothes, what we eat etc. We post something on Facebook and someone comments; everyone has an opinion.

As we are in constant contact with other humans, we find ourselves playing a role, fitting into expectations or rules or ways of living. We probably don’t even think about how the constant stream of people in and out of our lives makes us adjust and alter our behavior.

Creating art operates in a very different space – completely outside this interaction with other humans.

Being in the space of creativity is about forgetting what other people might think of our work, what other people are doing, literally everything that connects us to other human beings.

We need to release ourselves from our ‘normal lives’ and the way we live.

Because art can never be created by a committee. And what is completely unique and interesting about you is what will make the most compelling photos.

2. Know that we aren’t seeing the world as it really is

“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” – Jonathan Swift

Did you know that your brain processes two billion pieces of visual data per second? And yet we only see about 50 bits of this information.

Of course, our brains are doing us a massive favor. If it didn’t block out most of what was happening around us, we couldn’t focus.

What’s interesting here is what 50 bits of information are you seeing, and what 50 bits am I seeing?

If we are seeing such a small selection of what’s available, then it’s highly unlikely we are all seeing similar things.

Which makes our personal world highly selective.

I find this so exciting because it shows how we are always able to create something new if we only open up our awareness.

This explains why we can all stand in front of the same scene and take different photos (this happens all the time on my workshops.)

Let’s celebrate that there is so much more to discover in the world around us.

3. Take your time to really observe the world around you

One thing I constantly see in my workshops is when people find a subject they love, they shoot it, then move on way too quickly.

I think it’s a natural response to how we live in this modern life. We are very driven by results. We shoot something, then we move on to the next thing. Almost like we are ticking a box.

But the way to be more creative in your photography is to forget about where you want to go next.

In fact, forget about everything that is not totally related to the present moment you are inhabiting, and the subject you are facing.

Take your time. Watch the light. Maybe wait for the light to change to see what would happen to your subject.

Look at the shadows. The people that are passing. What’s happening around your subject? Feel the atmosphere, and maybe how it is changing.


As you see more and get to know your subject more, new angles will open up on how to shoot. Maybe the weather will change, making more dramatic images, or the light will soften creating a totally different feel to the mood of the shot.

The more you observe your subject the more it will reveal different qualities to you. You will notice more subtleties.

There is no rush. Allow yourself all the time you need to observe and shoot your subject.

4. It’s all about the light

“I am forever chasing light. Light turns the ordinary into the magical.” – Trent Parke

When people ask me what I photograph, I always say the same thing – light.

My biggest passion and main subject in photography is light. I love light in all of its forms.

The joyful, effervescent light of a spring morning; the deep, brooding, metallic grey light before a storm; the deep, deep blues of twilight in the city; the misty, melancholic light of a winter’s afternoon.

Light is always changing. Each day brings us something different and each part of the day has different qualities. And when you have interesting light it makes your subject so much more compelling.

Your job is to play with light and your subject, seeing what happens when the light changes.

What qualities are revealed in your subject in different light?

“Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.” – George Eastman

5. Photography is all about feeling

When we see a photo we really love it’s rarely only because it’s nice to look at.

Beyond the composition, color, light and all of the things that we can organize, there is a more important element to a photograph that is more elusive and hard to capture.

This element is emotion.

“Photography’s a case of keeping all the pores of the skin open, as well as the eyes. A lot of photographers today think that by putting on the uniform, the fishing vest, and all the Nikons, that that makes them a photographer. But it doesn’t. It’s not just seeing. It’s feeling.” – Don McCullin

When a subject stirs emotion in us – joy, love, fear – it will transfer into our photo. And when the viewer sees that image, we want that emotion to be evoked in them too.

Capturing emotion is an art, and it’s not automatic. But it’s totally worth focusing on. Find subjects that stir your emotion, and try to capture that feeling in your images.

The most iconic photos that we remember for years, or the ones that really speak to us personally, will be communicating a powerful feeling.

6. Be in awe

“Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” – Mary Oliver

If we think that photography is all about feeling then the most sensible option when deciding what to photograph is to find subjects that fill you with emotion.

I like to ask myself – what fills me with such deep excitement I am in total awe when I see it?

You can probably guess that light is what makes my heart burst with excitement and makes me want to get my camera out.

But there are other things too.

Exploring nature is always something that excites me. Spending days walking through the hills near where I live in Southern Spain, or through the pretty English countryside of my adopted homeland on a beautiful summer’s morning.

Cities too, especially at sunrise when they are empty and beautiful. I like to explore, wander and see what I come across.

It doesn’t matter though what your subject is, the most important part of your decision of what to photograph is that it has to be something that stirs your soul. It has to thrill you. It has to fill you with awe.

Otherwise, what’s the point of taking the photo?

7. Stop thinking

Now, the last step is often the hardest. We are trained from an early age to be in our heads. To be thinking and doing all the time.

However, if you want to hit that artistic mindset where you are present, connected to the world and in total creative flow, you will not be thinking or analyzing what’s happening around you.

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things” – Ray Bradbury

Once you have made the choices of when and what to shoot, then you can let yourself go.

Being an artist is losing yourself and becoming part of this magical and amazing world.

It’s daring to lose yourself to see what you can find. It’s being prepared to forget all the things that you have to do or worry about.

For this we have to be a little courageous, we have to experiment and try, we have to make mistakes and trust that we will take good photos (eventually). But –

“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” – Vincent Van Gogh

I hope you enjoyed these ideas.

I’d love to know if these sparked ideas or inspiration for you. Let me know in the comments below. Thanks!


The post Learning to See Like an Artist – 7 Powerful Techniques to Help You See More Compelling Images appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anthony Epes.

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How to Nurture and Build a Child’s Interest in Photography

31 May

The post How to Nurture and Build a Child’s Interest in Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

One of the most important things you can do as a photographer is to help guide, nurture, and inspire the next generation of artists. It’s a humbling experience to know that you might be the person who inspires the next Ansel Adams or Annie Leibovitz. It could come from something as simple as sharing some pictures with a young person or helping them figure out how to use their camera. You never know when you might have the opportunity to make an impression on a child, or anyone for that matter.

But if you’re not careful, these moments of creative awakening can quickly die before even given a chance to blossom. With that in mind, here are a few ways you can help and build a child’s interest in photography instead of accidentally snuffing it out.

It’s not about you

Before I get into some specifics, I want to make it clear that the important thing here is to realize that it’s not about you.

When you’re helping kids explore photography (especially this generation of digital natives), there’s going to be many times when you might be inclined to sigh, roll your eyes, or tell them that the latest filter, effect, or trend isn’t real photography. Or it’s not how you do things.

I’ve got kids in elementary school, and I also help out with my church youth group. One of the things I’ve had to come to terms with is that kids today are not learning photography how I did. My first camera was a Kodak that shot 110 film. It cost money to buy and develop each roll.

Today, like it or not, most young people get introduced to photography via mobile phones. They seem to snap away without any care for composition.

They would rather use filters, effects, and apps instead of learning about aperture, shutter, and ISO.

And that’s just wrong! It’s not real photography!

If you’ve ever shown a child how to fix things, you know it’s not about the end result but about passing on something special to the next generation. The same holds true for photography.

Or is it?

Who am I to say that a child using Instagram filters is any less worthy of creating meaningful images than me with my big chunky DSLR?

Just because mobile phones and photo apps aren’t my tools of choice it doesn’t mean other people, especially children, can’t find joy and creative outlets when using them.

There are two choices when faced with the dilemma of what to do when working with kids who are interested in photography.

You can make it about yourself and tell the kids what you think they should be doing. Show them the tools you think they should be using, and explain how to get pictures you think are interesting.

Or you can help young people find what they like. Explore photography in a way that is meaningful to them, and even (gasp!) learn to use apps and filters to create images they think are beautiful.

My wife and I were with a group of kids at the local botanic garden. One of them shot dozens of pictures of this outdoor train set.

The former can easily lead to apathy or resentment, while the latter often gives way to a whole new creative outlet for the child. It’s about them, not you. If that means you have to leave your comfort zone and explore photography in a way that makes you uncomfortable, then do it for the sake of the child and his or her learning and growth. Who knows…you might just learn something new along the way!

Give compliments instead of criticism

When a youngster invites you to look at a stream of pictures from his or her phone, you might have an initial tendency to offer unsolicited advice or, worse yet, outright criticism.

You might find yourself thinking things like:

  • The lighting in that shot is all wrong.
  • I don’t get it. What is this picture supposed to be about?
  • Your picture is way underexposed!
  • What’s with all the selfies?

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.

A lot of people may react similarly, but remember that children’s egos are fragile things. One word from an adult they admire or respect can be all the difference between sparking enthusiasm and causing depression.

Most of the time, when a child wants to show you their photos, what they are seeking isn’t criticism but validation. They want to know that they are doing a good job. That their efforts are worthwhile, and that they are on the right track.

The kid who took this photo thought it would be really cool to have the rope cut across the frame. I thought about telling him to shoot it differently, but instead, I just said “Nice job on those colors!” He was really really happy to hear that.

As an adult, you might think you’re helping if you offer what you think is constructive criticism, but there will be a time for that later. The most helpful thing you can do is offer compliments and words of encouragement. Even if you don’t find their photos entirely compelling, find something nice to say.

Try tactics such as:

  • That’s a really interesting lighting choice!
  • I like the colors in this photo.
  • Can you tell me how you got this shot?
  • Look at those fun selfie filters you’re using! Can you show me how to do that?

Give children compliments instead of criticism, and ask questions to show them you are interested. It sends a strong message that you care about their creativity and value their work. This could help set them on a lifelong photography journey, and you might be just the person to do it!

Shot by a seven-year-old who thought this dinosaur was really fun to look at. Fun enough to take over two dozen photos of it.

Encourage experimentation

As someone who grew up with analog cameras and physical rolls of film, there’s a lot about modern photography I don’t quite understand. This goes double when it comes to mobile phones. Especially with filters, effects, stickers, and other image-altering features found in a lot of photo apps.

But for kids today, these types of alterations are just enjoyable ways to explore photography. Just because I, and others my age, didn’t grow up with all this technology doesn’t mean we should spoil it for the next generation!

One of my young relatives loves playing with color-inversion filters. I think the results look awful, but he loves this picture that he shot and others like it. And if he likes it, then who am I to tell him otherwise?

Instead of dwelling on what we might not comprehend, try the opposite approach when dealing with budding photographers. Don’t run away from filters if you’re with kids who are excited about them, and instead get them to try even more.

Some might seem silly, and you might never choose to willingly give yourself cat’s ears or apply an over-saturated look to your nature shots, but there’s no harm in trying things like this when you’re with a child who wants to experiment for fun.

My son took this picture of me sharpening a lawnmower blade. He used a night-time mode which, as he discovered, made the shutter stay open longer and capture some spark trails.

You can also encourage kids to try new techniques like time-lapse photography, look at accessories like the OlloClip which lets you take macro shots with a mobile phone, and experiment with basic editing and image processing. Photography today, especially with mobile devices, allows creative possibilities light years beyond what we had when I was a youngster.

Just imagine what kids can create with a few encouraging words from an adult photographer whom they admire and respect!

Another one of my young relatives was really interested in shooting familiar objects from different perspectives. This was the result of one of his recent experiments, and while it won’t win any awards, he was thrilled to try something new. I happily encouraged his experimentation.

Give advice, but only if they ask for it

This is one of the hardest but most important parts of helping a young person nurture their interest in photography. To illustrate it, I’ll share an example from a visit with my out-of-town family.

My 14-year-old niece is constantly snapping pictures with her phone of anything that she thinks is interesting: insects, flowers, fences, cars, and, of course, her friends. During their stay, she bombarded me with requests to look at her pictures. She couldn’t wait to show me the photos she took even just out in the backyard.

While this happened, it was difficult for me to hold my tongue and just let my niece bask in the glow of her newfound love for photography. I wanted to give her advice about lighting, offer tips about composition, show her how to hold her phone at different angles to get better pictures, and so on. However, I held my tongue and just tried to be a voice of encouragement and validation, telling her I liked her pictures and asking if I could see more.

My niece loves taking pictures such as this one using portrait mode on her phone. I wanted to tell her she could get better results with a real camera. But that kind of attitude is toxic and hurtful for a child who just wants to experiment with photography.

What my niece (and most young people) aren’t looking for are instruction and advice. They’re seeking validation, often on a personal level, that their work is good and that they are pursuing worthwhile goals. When you, someone whom they respect and admire, can only tell them why their work isn’t good or instruct them on how to fix what they are doing, it sends the wrong message even if you have good intentions. You could inadvertently stifle the very sense of creativity you are hoping to inspire.

What you should do instead is play the long game. Use opportunities like this to build a sense of trust and goodwill. That way, when young people do want you to help them with their photography, they will ask you.

Later that same weekend, my niece asked if she could use one of my cameras. So I let her use my old Nikon D7100.

We talked about lenses, apertures, and how to control the camera to make the background get all blurry. Then we went out to take pictures of flowers as the sun was setting. She was eager to learn all about how to control the camera settings to get photos she could never pull off with her cell phone and some filters.

When she showed interest in some of my camera gear, I let her try it out and gave her some advice about composition, lighting and controlling the aperture. But only after she asked me for help.

After putting her photos into Lightroom, I showed her how to do some basic cropping and adjustments. She told me repeatedly that these were some of her favorite shots she had ever taken. If I had started the weekend by chastising her for not using a real camera, or told her what I thought she should be doing differently with her photography, she would probably not have wanted to go out and get flower photos later on.

This is the result of her efforts, and she was extremely pleased with the results. Hopefully, this is just the start of a lifelong photographic journey!


Young people are finicky, and their moods and tastes change as quickly as the wind. Today their interest may be in photography, and by next week they have moved on to archery, pottery, or guitar. You never know what’s going to stick with them in the long run.

If you want to nurture an interest in photography and help make sure it’s not just a passing phase, you have to be careful what you say and do. Make it about them and not about you. Hopefully the photography seeds you help plant will take root in good soil to produce a lifelong appreciation for the art.


The post How to Nurture and Build a Child’s Interest in Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

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Ricoh denies rumors it will lose the right to use the Pentax brand name

31 May

Rumors that Ricoh will lose the right to use the Pentax brand name in 2020 are being denied by the company. In a statement, Ricoh acknowledged that the Pentax name belongs to Hoya but explained that there are no restrictions on Ricoh using it in the camera business.

The rumors first appeared on the Pentax Rumors website in an article that claimed that Ricoh’s license to use the Pentax name would expire in 2020. According to the rumor, this served as the reason for no new announcements in some time. Ricoh, however, states that it will introduce new items in the future, and will continue to use the Pentax name for its cameras.

In a statement to DPReview, a Ricoh spokesperson said:

‘No, [the rumor] is not a fact.

Hoya is the owner of the PENTAX trademark, but there are no restrictions or limitations attached for RICOH to use the PENTAX brand in the camera business.

We will continue to offer the PENTAX brand products including new items.’

There’s no telling what might come from the Pentax brand next, but now there’s confirmation straight from the source that the Pentax brand will continue to live on via Ricoh.

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Sample gallery: Fujifilm GFX 100 in Japan

31 May

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While in Japan for the Fujifilm GFX 100 launch event this week, our DPReview TV team had the opportunity to spend a couple days taking photos on the streets of Tokyo. Check out some of their favorite images from this new medium format camera – and find out what they think of it if you haven’t already seen the video.

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Fujifilm Camera Remote app version 4.0.0 for Android is now live with new UI and more

31 May

Fujifilm promised back in April that the Android version of its Fujifilm Camera Remote app would be available in May. Now, with only a few days to spare, it fulfilled its promise, releasing version 4.0.0 on the Google Play Store.

Like the iOS version, the new Android version features an updated user interface and many other features designed to streamline the remote capture process.

The new interface sheds wasted space and is specifically designed to make use of smartphones with larger displays. Additionally, Fujifilm has simplified the pairing process and added a new ‘Album’ feature, making it easier to sort through images transferred to the device. Other improvements include support for new cameras and numerous bug fixes.

Below is a list of features the Fujifilm Camera Remote app provides, according to the app’s description:

  • Transferring images and movies to a Smartphone
  • Browsing the Camera from a Smartphone
  • Downloading Location Data from a Smartphone
  • Shooting Images by Remote Control(*)
  • Easily transfer pictures from the cameras that offer Bluetooth capability.
  • Synchronizing “date and time” and/or “location information” with the cameras that offers Bluetooth capability
  • Firmware update via a Smartphone to the cameras that offers Bluetooth capability.
  • Bluetooth wireless remote control camera shutter release is now supported for cameras that offers Bluetooth capability.
    *How to change the setting depends on your camera.

Fujifilm’s X-T30, GFX 50R, X-T3, XF10, X-H1 and X-E3 cameras support all the above features while the FinePix XP140 supports all but number seven. The X-T100, X-A5 and FinePix XP130 support features one through six and the GFX 50S, X-T20, X100F, X-A10, X-A3, X-T2, X-Pro2, X-E2S, X70, X-T10, X-T1, X30, X100T, X-E2, FinePix XP120, FinePix XP90, FinePix XP80, FinePix S9900W and FinePix S9950W support features one through four. Wrapping up, the X-E2, XQ2, XQ1, X-A2, X-A1, X-M1 and FinePix Z1100EXR support features one through three while the FinePix Z1000EXR only supports the transfer of images and movies.

Fujifilm Camera Remote version 4.0.0 is live in the Google Play Store for free and works with smartphones running Android 5.0 or later. Geotagging functionality only works with devices equipped with LTE connectivity.

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Yongnuo reveals YN560TX Pro TTL flash and EF-E II Adapter for Sony E-mount

31 May

Chinese camera gear manufacturer Yongnuo has announced two new products: the EF-E II Adapter for Sony E-mount cameras and the YN560TX Pro TTL flash. The new adapter is available to purchase from online retailers now for $ 99.99 USD, but the YN560TX Pro flash won’t be available to buy until some time in June.

The Yongnuo EF-E II adapter makes EF and EF-S series lenses compatable with Sony E-mount cameras. This model supports AF and mixed-focus systems, and also offers a function key, USB interface (for firmware updates) and a 1/4-in screw hole for tripods.

Joining the new adapter will be the YN560TX Pro scheduled for release in June. Yongnuo describes the product as ‘a new generation of flash signal transmitters’ that will integrate with the YN622 and YN560TX systems. There will be full support for ‘flash mode, focus control, high-speed synchronization and other functions such as GR/TTL/M/Multi,’ according to the company.

No pricing information for the YN560TX Pro TTL flash is currently available

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Tips for Achieving Minimalism in Photography

30 May

The post Tips for Achieving Minimalism in Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Karthika Gupta.

Minimalism seems to be a hot topic of discussion these days in almost every facet of life. It has made its way into a lifestyle that is often associated with a particular way of living, of creating and even a certain way of traveling. Even though the interpretation is subjective, the Webster dictionary defines it as a “style or technique that is characterized by extreme sparseness and simplicity.”

Karthika Gupta CulturallyOurs Minimalism in photography Jaipur Fort India

Many of us are drawn to the ‘less is more’ concept, with simple lines, geometric patterns, clear shadows, colors, and isolated subjects. Sometimes these elements occur automatically in our surroundings and at other times requires some manipulation in terms of decluttering and removing elements from the frame.

The key is to train your eye to assess what is required to create a strong story. Here are a few tips and examples to get you started in your quest for minimalist imagery.

Tips for achieving minimalist imagery

1. Composition techniques

One of the key elements of minimalism is the concept of less is more. Keep it simple, light – concise.

However, keeping it simple does not mean keeping it boring.

Contrary to popular belief, a minimalist approach requires a lot of creativity. Well-placed subjects and key elements that help communicate a story are all challenging to get right all the time. These concepts often require much practice until it becomes the way you see.

Start asking yourself these questions even before you bring the camera to your face to take the shot. Take your time in composing and don’t be in a rush to click and move on. Put some thought into it. Sometimes if it is not obvious, look through the viewfinder and see the shot instead of cropping unwanted distractions in post-processing.

Karthika Gupta CulturallyOurs Minimalism in photography Portugal

I did not have room to move back and take a wide-angle shot. So in post, I just added a few layers and made the scene appear further than it actually was, and added negative space.

In situations where it is not possible to remove distracting objects from the frame, use depth of field to isolate your subject from the background by shooting with an aperture as wide (smallest number) as your lens allows. This, in effect, blurs the background, distracting elements and gives a sense of minimalism. You will need a lens that can effectively give that bokeh effect.

2. Colors and textures

Bright colors or even contrasting colors help with the minimalistic approach by adding the right amount of contrast. The key is not to go extreme but to pick one or maybe two colors that work well with each other and use them prominently in the image. Sometimes even adding a little texture in the image can assist in improving the visual appeal like the lines of sand in the image below.

Karthika Gupta CulturallyOurs Minimalism in photography

Initially look at the color wheel and familiarize yourself with contrasting colors. But don’t just focus on that. Trust your eye to catch situations like this one to practice minimalism – even if its on your phone (like this shot).

3. Leading Lines and Patterns

Lines and patterns, if done correctly, can also assist in the minimalistic approach. However, aim to keep it simple. Leading lines and other geometric shapes can make great backdrops for minimalist pictures.

But if there are too many elements in the frame, it can make the image appear chaotic and busy, which is not the minimalistic clean way.

Sometimes all it takes is to find a creative angle to photograph. Experiment with different angles – straight on, high up, or low down until you get a shot that showcases your vision for the image.

Karthika Gupta CulturallyOurs Minimalism in photography Portugal

A typical leading line lead the eye and the camera to this lady drying her rugs (which add a pop of color in an otherwise monotone scene).

4. Negative Space

Learning to use negative space is a huge advantage when embracing the minimalistic movement. Negative space allows the main subject matter to breathe freely. It conveys a sense of lightness in both place and space. Negative space is a great way to isolate your subject so that the viewer can easily interpret the story you are trying to convey.

Remember negative space does not always mean a single subject and nor does it mean always photographing in the rule of thirds. It means allowing less clutter in the frame. Negative space, along with the posing, can add a lot of drama to an otherwise simple portrait.

Karthika Gupta CulturallyOurs Minimalism in photography

Karthika Gupta CulturallyOurs Minimalism in photography Horses in shadow

5. Concise Storytelling

One of the best ways to practice and perfect minimalistic photography is to tell a story. Ask yourself if the elements in the frame help move the story forward or are hindering the story. Sometimes a human element is needed to tell the story, and other times, it is not needed. Symmetry, lines, patterns, and shadows take on the role of telling the story.

Karthika Gupta CulturallyOurs Minimalism in photography Utah

In the above image, the lack of a human subject is overcome by using the yellow median as well as the curve in the road to communicate the feeling of going off the beaten path. There really was not a single car for miles, and we had this magnificent landscape all to ourselves.

Sometimes the story and the environment come together spontaneously, and it’s the photographer’s job to see it and respond quickly. Other times it requires a bit of patience for the right subject to walk through the frame.

The good thing is that a minimalist approach to photography can be applied in nature as well as in an urban environment. You can practice anywhere, so get out there and open yourself to a different way of seeing with your camera – no matter the genre.

6. Post-Processing

Minimalistic photography doesn’t end once you take the shot. You can extend this concept into post-processing as well. The easiest way to approach minimalistic photography in post-processing is to keep the image treatment simple. Avoid highly saturated images, a lot of contrast, and intense color corrections.

With portraits, don’t correct all the skin and tone imperfections. Let the subject’s natural beauty show without too much retouching.

The image below uses grain and emulates a film look. This adds to the minamalism.

Karthika Gupta CulturallyOurs Minimalism in photography Lifestyle Editorial

A simple lifestyle editorial that focused on solitude and idleness was the epitome of minimalism. The post-processing here supported the story with a very light and airy look and feel.


In photography, minimalism is a visual statement where the story of the photograph is simplified, elements reduced, and clean space added. Not only has minimalist photography become its own genre, but photographers specializing in the discipline have come into their own. They have created an attractive space of art and creativity for us all to enjoy. As industry professionals, it behooves us to pay attention to this trend and see how we can apply this in our own body of work.

Feel free to share some of your minimalist images with us in the comments below.


The post Tips for Achieving Minimalism in Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Karthika Gupta.

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