Natural Light Portraiture - Photography Tips

This article is part of the section Photography Tips

Discover the elements required for perfect natural light & fill in flash portraiture.

AnalogRev feat. Eric Kim with Leica M6 & M2

In this very special video we meet Eric Kim in Hong Kong to talk about Leicas: the M6 & M2. We shoot some streets shots and get dressed up in rather appropriate costumes.

Do check out Eric Kim's website:

Nokia 808 PureView and the hoax about the 41 Megapixels

Since some days ago is circulating the news (also on important newspapers) on website and youtube videos that the new smartphone, Nokia 808 PureView has 41 megapixels in its camera, the finnish brand itself that is attracting a great publicity.

But the official videos shows clearly that the camera has 41 megapixels

Certainly there's no much clarity about it, from an official announcement appeared on tom's hardware it is said that the 41 megapixes are essentially to zoom keeping a reasoneble quality oh 5MP, then a DIGITAL ZOOM, but unless it doesn't makes miracles, wich i doubt, the image will have a poor quality, far more lower than a 5MP medium-low level camera provided with an optical zoom.

Moreover the current technology doesn't allow to obtain 41 megapixels on such a little sensor as the one mounted on the cellphone without incurring in huge problems, you have to know the important fact that the amount of megapixels is not a direct rating of a camera quality; it is true that a larger amount of megapixels allows, theoretically, an higher potential resolution, but taht's limited by the optical system used to channel the image on the sensor.

If the potential resolution of the lens is lower than the pixel matrix, then you'll not gain anything by raising the number of pixels, instead the system performance will decrease cause of the higher electronic noise introduced.

I doubt that the lens mounted on this smatphone may have such a high potential resoluion since it's not reached by lenses that costs more than this nokia. Even professional cameras avoid raising too much megapixels, tha new nikon D800 reach 36MP and costs more than 2000€, do you think you can do the same things with a cellphone with the same megapixels? Try to take pictures with a phone with 8MP and to do the same with a reflex with the same MP and let me know...

Articles where i can find senseless sentences like that make me laugh:
"that means that you can zoom without loose any sharpness"
Congratulation to all the pseudo-journalists that pretended to act as photographers leaving behind pearls of wisdom like the one above (that is just one of many).

Maybe this smatphone is really revolutionary, but i bet that in the practice of printing (i.e. a 30x40cm) or pc visualization, we wouldn't notice any difference between a nokia 808 and an Iphone 4s, or other high quality smartphones, or on the contrary we may find the others even better...

I personally think that is just an exaggeration to attract inexperienced users, if you want to have a zoom on a smartphone, to increase MP out of all proportions it's not the right way, it's just a marketing operation to draw attention.

moreover i'm not daring to introduce concept like gamma dynamic, ISO sensitivety etc...

The light - Photography course - Lesson 12

This article is part of the online digital photography course.

We spoke of the camera and its main accessories, but the most important thing in photography is the light, the word photography itself derives by the union of two Greek words phos (light) and graphis (write), so it literally means, "write with light".

It is the light reflected by the surrounding world that allows the world itself to be visible, it's important to know that the behavior of light changes according to the reflecting surfaces, coarse surfaces scatter the light in every directions while smooth surfaces don't. Regardless of the subject and the camera you use, the quantity and quality of the light present on the scene is crucial for the success or not of a photo, hence the photographer must take the best advantage from the available light.

The clearer a surface the more light it will reflect, in fact white ones reflect the most while black surfaces don’t. The meaning of a picture can greatly change depending on the used light, because it depends on how we perceive the shape and the volume of objects, by changing the lighting we can give a more or less dramatic tone to a picture, bring out or hide certain details.

Without going into physical details, we can say that the light, depending on the source, has a warmer or colder temperature. In the next image you can see the light colors and their respective Kelvin degrees.

The following are indications about colors and their temperatures.

  • Candle 1800°K very warm light
  • Domestic light (tungsten) 2500°K warm light
  • Sunset 3000°K - Tungsten Studio lamp 3200°K
  • Sunlight/flash 5500°K white/neutral light
  • Cloudy sky 7000°K slightly cold light
  • Fluorescent lamp super bright 8000°K cold light
Actually there are much more light sources and it's not uncommon to have a condition of mixed light. It's important then to set the correct color temperature on the camera or the risk is to obtain blue/red/yellow pictures.

Working in raw makes possible to manage the correct light color measurement in post-production, topic that we'll approach later speaking of the balance of white.

The certain advantage of natural light is that we can use it a zero cost, but as you can imagine it's difficult to manage, it continuously varies its slope, intensity and color; based on the day or the month time, the geographic zone it gives different chromatic effects, I suggest you to make an experiment, take a picture of the same landscape at different times of the day and during different seasons to see how it changes depending of the light variation.

In the interiors, the light can enter only through windows, that way only a portion of the subject will be lit creating shadows on the opposite side, to soften the shadows there are two methods, using a reflecting panel or, if present, using the white curtain, that way we'll have an appreciably softer light because the curtain act as a sort of soft-box, however consider that the curtain will absorb part of the light lowering the brightness level of the scene. Remember always to keep the room’s light turned off to avoid mixed light situations.

Photographing with diffused lighting, shapes and volumes get highlighted, because, as we already said, the shadows become softer and the colors less marked.

On the other side the direct sunlight (like the one that you have at noon) produces a strong contrast, with deep colors and very dark shadows: when we are outside in a cloudy day the contrast is lowered and the lighting becomes more uniform, if the sun is totally covered by clouds the differences between light and shadows totally disappear, the lighting is uniform and shadows are formed just where the light of the sky can't reach (for example under objects). Personally I don't like to take pictures with this light condition.

Dawn and sunset are the moments I prefer (particularly dawn), the sun is low on the horizon and the light is warm and soft, especially at dawn there's a particular atmosphere and the pictures result more unusual compared to those realized in the sunset, moreover is wonderful to feel the clean air and the silence of the city that have still to get up.

Translation by Nina Kozul

What is Non-destructive Editing - Lightroom Course - Lesson 2

Non-destructive and destructive editing are common terms thrown around in the photography industry. It is also one of the key features in Adobe Lightroom 3.

In this Lightroom video tutorial, I am going to briefly discuss and describe non-destructive editing, as well as provide a brief example of this feature in Lightroom 3.

Lightroom course, lesson 1: What is Lightroom 3 and Basic Editing

Photography Tips - Action Photography

This article is part of the section Photography Tips

Keep the action alive in your photographs, it's not all about freezing the action. Essential Photography Tips Here!

Henri Cartier-Bresson - Masters of Photography

"Inside movement there is one moment in which the elements are in balance". Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson (Chanteloup-en-Brie, 22nd August 1908 – L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, 3rd August 2004) was a French photographer, considered by a lot of people the father of photojournalism.

After the studies of his youth, Henri was soon attracted by painting, thanks to his uncle Louis, and he started his studies with Jaques-Emile Blanche and André Lhote that will introduce him to the French surrealists, initially uninterested in photography.

Only later, in 1930, during a journey in Côte d'Ivoire, cause of his continuous pursuit to immortal reality, he bought his first camera, a Leica 35mm with a 50mm lens that will accompany him for many years.

During 1931 he worked in the movies as the assistant of the French director Jean Renoir and, in 1937, he direct personally Victoire de la vie.

Meanwhile, in 1934, he knew David Szymin, a polish photographer and intellectual, that later will change his name in David Seymour (1911-1956). They became good friends in no time, they had much in common culturally. It'll be Szymin to introduce to the young Bresson a Hungarian photographer, Endré Friedmann, that later will be remembered with the name of Robert Capa.

During World War 2, Cartier-Bresson joined the French resistance, keeping up constantly his photographic activity.

In 1947 he established, with Robert Capa and David Seymour, the famed Magnum Agency. He begun several journeys where he did many reportages that gave him a world renown.

Photography brought Henri in many corners of the planet: China, Mexico, Canada, United States, Cuba, India, Japan, Soviet Union and many other countries. Cartier-Bresson became the first western photographer that photographed freely in the Soviet Union in the postwar period. In 1968, Henri Cartier-Bresson gradually started reducing his photographic activity to devote to his first artistic love: painting.

During 1979 in New York is organized a tribute exhibition for the genius of photojournalism and reportage. In 2000 he created with his wife Martine Franck and his daughter Mèlanie the Henri Carter-Bresson Foundation, that had as its main goal the collection of his works and the establishment of an exhibition room open to other artists; in 2002 the foundation has been recognized by the French government as an agency of public utility. He died in Cèreste, (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France) the 3rd August 2004, he was 95 years old.

In his career he also portrayed important personalities of any field, Balthus, Albert Camus, Truman Capote, Coco Chanel, Marcel Duchamp, William Faulkner, Mahatma Gandhi, John Huston, Martin Luther King, Henri Matisse, Marilyn Monroe, Richard Nixon, Robert Oppenheimer, Jean-Paul Sartre and Igor Stravinsky. Since Cartier-Bresson's death, to avoid capitalizations untied by the artistic value of the works, the foundation doesn't authorize anymore the printing of the master's photos, offering however an authentication service of any printing in circulation in galleries or antiquarians. In a letter dated 20th October 2000, to avoid printing commerce or the sale of stolen copies, the photographer himself declared: “I, the undersigned, Henri Cartier-Bresson, domiciled at 198 rue de Rivoli 75001 Paris, declare what follows – I have always signed and autographed my photographs to the people I wished to give them to – all other prints, that are only identified with a "Henri Cartier-Bresson" stamp or a "Magnum Photos" stamp, belong to my own person. Therefore, anyone in possession of such a print cannot possibly claim in good faith that he or she owns it".


- As we already said in 1968 Henri Cartier-Bresson left photography to go back to painting declaring: "The photograph itself doesn't interest me. I want only to capture a minute part of reality".

- During the 90s 551 Henri Cartier-Bresson pictures were destroyed, the news appeared on the newspaper Le Monde. The shots were given to the State by the same Cartier-Bresson and thrown in the garbage because damaged. A treasure lost forever. ù

- The most famous Cartier-Bresson’s book is "The decisive moment", Simonand Schuster, New York. The French title is Images à la sauvette. Written in 1952, further than containing a collection of some of the most famous pictures

Henri Cartier-Bresson L'amour tout court Part 1

Henri Cartier-Bresson L'amour tout court Part 2

Henri Cartier-Bresson L'amour tout court Part 3

Henri Cartier-Bresson L'amour tout court Part 4

Henri Cartier-Bresson L'amour tout court Part 5

Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) was a French photographer considered to be the father of modern photojournalism, an early adopter of 35 mm format, and the master of candid photography. He helped develop the "street photography" style that has influenced generations of photographers that followed.

Trained as a painter, he began his career in photography in 1931 on a trip to the Ivory Coast. He was one of the first photographers to shoot in the 35mm format with a Leica camera, and helped to develop the photojournalistic "street photography" style that influenced generations of photographers to come.

It was there on the Côte d'Ivoire that he contracted blackwater fever, which nearly killed him. Returning to France, Cartier-Bresson recuperated in Marseille in 1931 and deepened his relationship with the Surrealists. He became inspired by a photograph by Hungarian photojournalist Martin Munkacsi...

Cartier-Bresson said: "The only thing which completely was an amazement to me and brought me to photography was the work of Munkacsi. When I saw the photograph of Munkacsi of the black kids running in a wave I couldn't believe such a thing could be caught with the camera. I said damn it, I took my camera and went out into the street."

The photograph inspired him to stop painting and to take up photography seriously. He explained, "I suddenly understood that a photograph could fix eternity in an instant".

He acquired the Leica camera with 50 mm lens in Marseilles that would accompany him for many years. He described the Leica as an extension of his eye.

Cartier-Bresson is well known for his concept of the "decisive moment" in photography. He defined this moment as "the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which gave that event its proper expression During his photographic career Cartier-Bresson photographed all over the world - Mexico, Canada, USA, Europe, India, Burma, Pakistan, Indonesia, Africa, Burma, China, Japan, Cuba, and the USSR, among other places. He also photographed many famous personalities and artists of the 20th century, including Matisse, Picasso, Coco Chanel, Truman Capote, and Gandhi. His interest in the visual arts also extended to film - he made films with Jean Renoir, Jacques Becker and André Zvoboda and a documentary on Republican Spain (1937).

During the Second World War Cartier-Bresson was taken prisoner by the Germans and escaped, then photographed the occupation and liberation of France. During this time rumors reached the USA that he had been killed, and the Museum of Modern Art began to prepare a "posthumous" show. Cartier-Bresson later spent a year in the US helping to prepare this show. In 1947 Cartier-Bresson co-founded the photographic cooperative Magnum along with fellow photographers Robert Capa, George Rodger, David Seymour, Bill Vandivert and others.

Valuing his anonymity as a tool for capturing decisive moments with his camera, Cartier-Bresson did not like to be photographed, and shot with a Leica camera which was smaller, quieter and less intrusive than other cameras.
Cartier-Bresson retired from photography in the early 1970s and by 1975 no longer took pictures other than an occasional private portrait; he said he kept his camera in a safe at his house and rarely took it out. He returned to drawing and painting. After a lifetime of developing his artistic vision through photography, he said, "All I care about these days is painting — photography has never been more than a way into painting, a sort of instant drawing".

Cartier-Bresson is regarded as one of the art world's most unassuming personalities. He disliked publicity and exhibited a ferocious shyness since his days in hiding from the Nazis during World War II. He hated to be photographed and treasured his privacy above all. Photographs of Cartier-Bresson do exist, but they are scant. When he accepted an honorary degree from Oxford University in 1975, he held a paper in front of his face to avoid being photographed. He did recall that he once confided his innermost secrets to a Paris taxi driver, certain that he would never meet the man again.

The Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation was created by Cartier-Bresson and his wife and daughter in 2002 to preserve and share his legacy

Cartier-Bresson photos A photographic gallery of Bresson made of more than 50 pictures foun on the Magnum Photos agency website here: Henri Cartier-Bresson Portfolio.

I've found on youtube a wonderful video entitled Henri Cartier-Bresson à propos de Paris.

Translation by Nina Kozul

The light meter and the exposure methods - Photography course - Lesson 11

This article is part of the online digital photography course.

The light meter can be internal (built-in in the camera) or external and it's a tool of vital importance for a photographer.

It's used to measure the light needed to obtain a correct exposure suggesting both shutter time and aperture to use depending on the ISO that we have set.

Light meters are divided in two categories:

Reflected-light meters: all the internal light meters are in this category, the measure is taken pointing the camera towards the subject so the light meter measures the light reflected by the subject.

Incident-light meters: they are external light meters generally used in studio photography, they are placed next to the subject pointing the white hemisphere to the camera, it may happen that the scene presents an high contrast, in that case you have to point the light meter directly in the direction of the light source and calculate the average of this value and the one on the areas in the shade.

In the camera light meter, the light reading can be done in five different ways that you have to choose depending on the light conditions and the atmosphere that you want to create.

  • Multi-zone metering: It's the standard mode used on reflex cameras, also called Matrix, the scene is divided in different zones, precisely in small squares, like in a chessboard (or in a matrix), the exposure is assessed on every single square and later, with a particular proprietary algorithm different for every manufacturer, is calculated an average value, the light is measured and elaborated according to standard scenes stored in the camera, it is currently the more reliable and advanced measurement system.
  • Center-weighted average metering: It uses the whole framed area but it gives more importance to the central part, where usually the subject is placed, once it was the most used exposure mode but today it’s slowly becoming unused because with the multi-zone or the partial metering you obtain almost always better results, moreover it can bring to rough errors cause of light sources or shadow zones in the scene. It's more fit for portrays because it reads properly the skin tones, but the subject must be in the center of the frame.
  • Partial metering: It defines an area in the center of the frame to which it gives more "importance" in the light measurement. The size of this area varies between cameras, but it's usually around 8% and 10%. It's useful when you have a subject in the foreground with light or bright backgrounds, or when you are taking you picture slightly in backlight. As we are going to see it’s similar to spot metering but the framed angle is wider, about 9° and it’s more complex to use for novices.
  • Spot metering: It's like a partial metering but even more marked. Practically it defines a single area in the center of the frame (it can vary too and it’s about 2% or 3%) and the light meter calculates the shutter time and the aperture just for that little framed portion ignoring the rest of the scene. It's fit for particular light conditions, as for example theatrical performances or fully in backlight; measuring the exposure precisely on the framed subject, the camera won’t be fooled by the surrounding light (or the shadow), useful but hard to use.
  • Multi spot metering: It’s the evolution of the spot metering system, it's used every time you have different light conditions in the scene, instead of letting the multi-zone metering decide (if ineffective) we can choose the parts that we are interested in and the camera will do the average to find the correct exposure.
This part of the 5 exposure mode was written with the contribution of Leonardo Tuttoleo Nucci

Translation by Nina Kozul

The origin of photography [1569] - History of photography

According to Wikipedia the history of photography was made by the events that allowed the invention of a device able to record the world surrounding us thanks to the properties of light, a correct although constraining definition, because I believe that it’s the history of PHOTOGRAPHY and not just of the camera, that includes also various photographic genres, artistic and cultural movements, the great masters and everyone that until now gave an important contribution to this wonderful world.

Photography originated from observation, study and the application of physic and a chemical phenomenons, both related to the behavior and action of light.

When a ray of light enters a dark place through a very small opening, it projects inside the reversed image of the external setting; this phenomenon was well-known since the ancient times, insomuch as some text place the beginning of the history of photography since Aristotle, one of the first who observed and made specific experiments relating the behavior of light rays; he realized that the light passing through a small hole projected a circular image. The Arabian scholar Alhazen Ibn Al-Haitham came, (before 1039) to the same conclusions, defining the box where all the images are reproduced, "camera obscura".

Right after the year 1000 the phenomenon was studied by many Arabian scholars and in the second half of the 13th century by the English physicist Roger Bacon. In the 14th century, Francesco Maurolico from Messina (Photismi de lumine et umbra) and later Leonardo da Vinci (in the collection of writings known as Codex Atlanticus) explain how the camera obscura works in relation to the eyes.

The image below was realized by Leonardo da Vinci during his studies about the light behavior and the functioning of the human eye.

In the same period he started the studies oriented to the application on the camera obscura.

The latter is realized in various forms, the most common is a box made of wood, provided on one side with a tiny hole made on a thin metal sheet (pinhole), that allows the entrance of light that on the opposite side has a ground glass used to observe the image.

Camera Obscura become an instrument: during the Renaissance it's used to project, on walls or canvases, the traces used to realize drawings or paintings.

It's used by a painters such as Raffaello and in the following centuries it will be used by other artists (Canaletto, Vermeer), generally by those who are in need to reproduce landscapes and perspectives in the most possibly faithful way.

The Italian scientist and philosopher Girolamo Càrdano towards the half of 1500 applied to the camera obscua a biconvex lens instead of the pinhole in order to concentrate the light rays obtaining in that way an higher clearness and quality of the image.

A few years later (1569) the venetian Daniele Barbaro, Professor at the university of Padova, showed that the application of an aperture with a smaller size respect the one of the lens improves the quality of the image.

Speaking of lenses we should remember that in 1609 Galileo Galilei projected and built his first telescope.

In 1646 in Amsterdam, Athanasius Kircher build a giant camera obscura for drawing.

Its size is so big that the artist and his assistant can work on the inside.

Kirker realized that the camera obscura phenomenon can work in the opposite way, projecting outside and he formulate the idea of the so called "magic lantern". An image projector very similar to the future film projector, precursor of the slide projector.

Athanasius Kircher - Magic Lantern
A further improvement was the work of Kaspar Schott, in 1657, who build a camera obscura made of two sliding drawers one inside the other that allowed to move the lens in a way that you could change the distance between the lens and the projection plane and then to focus the image.

This system will be used till the birth of photography, and it will be outdated only after invention of the bellow in the second half of 1800.

Let's consider now the chemical phenomenon that we mentioned at the beginning. It was well-known to the alchemists of the late middle age that some substance blackened or changed color under some circumstances.

The phenomenon was difficult to handle because the conditions when it happened weren't clear.

During the XVII century, the famous Irish scientist Robert Boyle considered that the blackening of the silver chlorate was determined by the exposition to air and no to light.

The first that used the experimental method to prove that the blackening of certain substance was due of their photosensitivity was the German chemist Johann Heinrich Schulze. Professor in anatomy at the Altdorf university, during some experiments with calcium carbonate, aqua regia, nitric acid and silver, discovered that the resulting compound, basically silver chloride, reacted to light.

He noticed that the substance didn't change if exposed to the fire light (Orthochromatism opposed to Pancromatism), but it became dark red if illuminated by sunlight, exactly like the most of films and black & withe papers used in the first half of 1900 based on the unmodified silver halide.

In 1725 he redid the experiment filling a glass bottle that, after the exposure to light, darkened only on the lit side. To the purpose of verify and confirm the result he apply to the bottle paper silhouettes or leaves, observing that, when removed, on the compound remained their brighter shape.

The shape of these silhouettes was naturally temporary because the exposure a light caused in a brief time the darkening of the bright parts.

He called this substance scotophorus, darkness bringer. Once published, Schulze's studies caused turmoil in the in the scientific research world.

Some years later, the experiments of the Italian physicist Giovanni Battista Beccaria proved permanently that the blackening phenomenon was related to the substances that contained salts of silver, which is itself photosensitive.

Furthermore he wrote an essay on how to use a camera obscura to ease drawing. The image of the persons (out of the camera obscura) was projected on a canvas inside with the painter(the camera obscura was more like a bigroom in this case) that tried to copy it.

The method is very similar to the one used in the animation with the rotoscoping technique used at the beginning of the XX century. The process to use the camera obscura scared the people and Giovanni Battista had to give up the idea after being arrested and put under trial for witchcraft.

An attempt to apply in a practical way the photosensitivity phenomenon to obtain images was effectuated by Thomas Wedgwood, son of Josiah Wedgwood and heir of the homonymous dynasty of British potters.

Thomas Wedgwood

Student at the Edinburgh university on the end of the XVIII century makes several experiments using silver nitrate to sensitize some paper sheets and obtain on them the silhouettes of object leaned on them, in a similar way of what Schulze did.

He realized light prints on paper or leather but they were visible only at light by a candle's flame because the a brighter light made them inexorably disappear.

He was forced to stop his experiment cause of his bad health conditions that brought him to death in 1805 at just 34 years.

His friend Sir Humphry Davy described his results obtained describing the in the essay Method of Copying Paintings upon Glass published on “Journal of the Royal Institution of Great Britain”.

In this text is specified that Wedgwood didn't find a way to stop the blackening process, that is a way to desensitize the paper parts never reached by light, even though a recent exam of some documents exchanged between Wedgwood and James Watt brought someone to think that it happened.

"It was going to occur the 7th April 2008 at Sotheby's but the auction was postponed. It was a paper attributed to Thomas Wedgwood with an impressed tree leaf. Until now it was considered a Talbot's "photogenic drawing" but a little W impressed in a corner made change his mind to the photography historian Larry Schaaf. We might have got to move the production of the first photography of about 20 years."

In the same years, between the XVIII and the XIX century begun the experiments of the French Joseph-Nicéphore Niépce, that have a crucial importance.

To Joseph Nicéphore Niépce is attributed to the first photo of all times.

Translation by Nina Kozul

Eve Arnold - Masters of Photography

Eve Arnold was born in 1913 in Philadelphia and she’s been living in London since 1961.

She is one of the photographers of the Magnum Photos agency since 1957 and in 1995 was elected "Master Photographer".

After moving in London she traveled as news photographer in China, Egypt, Afghanistan and Soviet Union.

Her pictures of Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe are particularly popular. The pictures taken of the latter were realized between 1955 and 1960 in both color and black and white.

In this video found on Youtube you can enjoy some pictures of this great photographer.

We can find her portfolio on the Magnum Agency website at this link: Eve Arnold Portfolio

On the same website we can also find her biography: Eve Arnold Biography

Eve & Marilyn - part 1

In 1987, the American photojournalist Eve Arnold was interviewed about the photos that she made of the actress Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn trusted Arnold more than any other photographer, which resulted in many beautiful and intimate portraits, made between 1951 and 1962.
On 17 June 1991, this half hour interview was broadcasted by the BBC (English audio, no subtitles).

Eve & Marilyn - part 2

Eve & Marilyn - part 3

Unlock Pro Secrets & Take Your Photography to the Next Level

This article is part of the section Photography Tips

This is the trailer for our Advanced Digital SLR Photography DVD. Part out our Photography Masterclass DVD series.

In this programme we help take your photography to the next level as we look at several specialised areas of capturing stunning images. See step by step how to paint a night scene with light on a 20 minute exposure. Learn the skills of working with models and using flash and reflectors in the day. Watch as Karl gives you his top tips for action shots and gives you an insight into essential pro equipment for Macro, Remote Capture and much, much more.

On this DVD you will learn: * Painting with Light Just like an artist you can actually use light to paint your scene! Karl takes you step by step through this fascinating process of turning night into day with simply stunning results. * Macro and Extreme Close Up With todays reduced chip size DSLRs its possible to capture great macro shots in minutes! Discover how a few extra pieces of economic equipment can take your macro shots even further. * Capturing Action Its all about timing! If you are trying to freeze the action or add a sense of motion to your picture this fantastic chapter shows you how to use different lenses and shutter speeds for the best effect. Also learn the essential tips on focus and planning. * Nightscapes and Light Trails Expand your shooting skills beyond the magic hour by applying these simple rules to your night photography. * Flash in the Day When to use it and why! Discover how the professionals make the best of the light by adding more. * A Fashion Shoot with Models Working with models requires communication and direction. See how Karl works with the model to find the best shot. * The Essential Pro Equipment What kit do you really need to get that great shot? Take a look at what the Pros are using to get those stunning images! * Remote Capture Techniques Ever wondered how to capture those elusive wildlife images? Discover the equipment and techniques to get an incredible wildlife shot not too far from home! * Outdoor Natural Portraits Beautiful outdoors light and choosing the right time of day go a long way toward the perfect portrait. This essential knowledge will guide you to getting great pictures of people with natural light and professional reflectors and shows you how it compares to fill in flash.

Features of this DVD: * 85 minutes run time * 16:9 widescreen * PAL (Standard) or NTSC (N. America, Japan) formats

Customers also receive Online Photography Knowledge Group access * Enjoy Privileged Access to the Photography Knowledge Forum * Receive Ongoing Video Tutorials & Downloads * Enter Monthly Photography Competition.

Find Out More at:


Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* E 24mm f/1.8 ZA Review

In this video Kai takes a look at the new Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* E 24mm f/1.8 ZA and also a look at some potential haircuts.

Extension tubes and supplementary lenses - Photography course - Lesson 10

Photo by JD Hancock
This article is part of the online digital photography course.

These accessories are used for macrophotography, usually they are used by novice amateur photographers that have a limited budget, a macro lens is usually pretty expensive, therefore it’s right to explore this genre trying to spend the less we can with remarkable results before deciding if it is going to be the genre we want to perform or not.

Let's begin talking about supplementary lenses, they are mounted on the reflex lens to raise the magnification factor, while for compact cameras you need to buy a ring adapter.

You can combine together more lenses to increase more the magnifying capacity, but you have to pay attention and mount first the lenses with the higher rating.

If you don't want to mount more lenses the best choice would be a single lens with an higher capacity.

Supplementary lenses have usually 2 advantages:
  • They don't absorb light
  • They make the object appear closer.
Unlike supplementary lenses, the extension tubes raise the enlargement of the object and lower the minimum focusing distance increasing the space between the lens and the sensor (they have to be placed between the lens and the body of the camera), they are without lenses and are sold in sets of three pieces of different length, using longer tubes or combining more elements together the amount of light that hit the sensor decrease.

Extension tubes are provided of electric contacts that allows the reflex and the lens to communicate in order to keep the automatisms of exposure and autofocus.

Photo by Pascal
Disadvantages of extension tubes:
  1. To mount them you need to disassemble the lens exposing the sensor to dust.
  2. The brightness decreases of about 1 or 2 stops.
  3. The focusing will be harder because in the viewfinder the scene will be darker.
While summarizing the supplementary lenses they present these advantages:
  1. They are cheaper than extension tubes.
  2. They don't reduce brightness.
Photo by Guy Sie

Pay attention, supplementary lenses must be of a good quality or you'll experience aberrations that will influence the image quality. Aberrations increase with the increase of diopters and add up mounting more lenses together.

The best lenses are made of achromatic doublet stick together.

Between +1 and +3 they may work fine also with single lens cause of the minor aberration but with a +4 it's easy for a chromatic aberration to show up.

Translation by Nina Kozul

Invasion of Normandy, D-Day picture by Robert Capa [1944] - Photos that made history

Photo made by Robert Capa, during the invasion of Normandy, one of the few frames that avoided the laboratory mistake, the others was burnt...

The versions are contrasting and legends have piled up on real facts, anyway it seems that Capa during the first moments of the invasions used four rolls of 35mm film of 36-exposure (144 shots), he probably used some 120mm rolls(medium format), but the most of the invasion was on 35mm because remains a note where he reported the importance of the 35mm rolls (but someone, considering the number of the safe shots, thinks that the good shots were taken with the medium format).

Anyway, aside the support used to take pictures, these rolls arrived to the editorial office of Life in London that at the time was inside a development laboratory; everyone was waiting for Capa's pictures because, even though the event was covered by several photographers, no one landed in the middle of the battlefield side by side with soldiers at the beginning of the battle... Once the roll arrived, it was immediately sent to the laboratory where they started the development and where, before the photo proofing, they developed and placed them to dry in the appropriate drying room. It seems that the room was too hot and the door was closed, so when he came back in the room the negatives were melted and gray, only 11 frames, which were far from the heat, vaguely survived, showing some images though ruined and confused cause of the error, those that we all know.

When Life published the pictures, they never mentioned the error in the laboratory and just apologized because the picture were slightly out of focus but the agitated situation of the invasion justified the quality. Capa, who perfectly knew how he took the shots, during his writing of a diary of those experience called them "slightly out of focus".

Photo's complete list: Photos that made history

 Translation by Nina Kozul

Filters - Photography course - Lesson 9

Photo by Tim Collins
This article is part of the online digital photography course.

In the times when photographers used film they couldn't do without filters, while today it's pretty uncommon to find someone who uses them.

In digital photography is possible to apply in post-production those effects that once you could obtain only during the shot, but despite that they are still commercialized, because some effects are still useful and can't be reproduced using Photoshop.

Let's start with the polarizing filter, a photographer's equipment can't do without it because its effects aren't reproducible with any software. It serves to polarize the light reflected by object’s surfaces and atmospheric particles, it reduce the reflexes from any not metallic surfaces and grant the higher contrast.

It removes undesirable reflexes even from water surfaces, but it can also add relief, you just need to rotate the filter to obtain the desired effect. While taking a photo of a shop window you can avoid being reflected on it and take a shot of just what is inside, that's why it's also used to take pictures of paintings or any other object protected by a glass.

There are two kinds of polarizers:
  • Linear
  • Circular
On cameras provided with autofocus, the polarizer must be circular, it has to be mounted on the lens, as we already said by rotating the filter you can obtain several effects than you can see directly from the reflex viewfinder.

Thanks to the polarizer we can obtain during the shot a natural color saturation so that we will don’t have to force the image in post-production, this effect is due to the removal of reflexed light. In landscape photography it can be used to add depth to blue skies.

WARNING: it doesn't work if we take a shot with the sun in front or at our back: we have to stay between 45° and 90° to obtain good results, it also absorbs the light of about -2 stop.

Other filters used in digital photography are:

UV filter: today we don't need it anymore because modern lens have a built-in anti UV layer, it's only purpose is to protect the lens front element, but pay attention because it changes the lens performance.

Neutral density filters and graduated filters are mainly used in landscape photography.

Neutral density filters: it modifies the exposure without adding any prevailing color, this kind of filter is classified as ND, there are ND2, ND4 and ND8, this classification is based on their light reduction.

This filter usually appears to be gray and reduces the light that passes through it, the ND2 filter reduces the light by 1 stop, the ND4 by 2 stop and the ND8 by 3 stop.

But why should we reduce light?

There are practical situations where independently of how much we close the aperture or we lower the ISO, the light is still too much, for example when we want to realize a picture with an high shutter speed.

30 sec, F/10, ISO-100 and ND Filter - Oceania by Kyle Kruchok
Graduated filters (or graduated neutral density): this kind of filter is graduated from high to low, they are more transparent on the low part and darker in the upper part, which helps in the compensation of the changes in the exposure of a scene, for example in a landscape they allow to screen the sky more relatively to the land under the horizon.

As you can see from the picture, they may be in different colors.

It's better to use plated ones (there are also with screws) that allow to regulate the height at our pleasure, so that we can superimpose the change of density with the line of the horizon, they are very useful to balance the light level of a too bright sky and a dark close-up; did it ever happened to you that taking a picture of an urban or natural landscape the buildings or trees
result correctly exposed while the sky is overexposed? Using one of this filters the problem is solved!

Pay attention to the position of the darker area, if it goes under the horizon the effect will appear unnatural.

We can find two kinds of graduated filters, soft and hard. Hard filters are more fit for very straight horizon lines as the sea one, while soft have a softer fading, more fit for mountain landscapes or those with many trees, those who don't present a well-defined horizon line.

For the sea sunsets with a frontal sun it's better to use a reverse graduated, soft filter that are darker in than low part and fade softer going up.

Having analyzed the various kind of filters we have to make a practical consideration, usually a photographer uses various lens many of which have a different diameter, you should also have a specific filter for every lens with a consequent costs raising, luckily there are adaptor rings that allow to mount the same filter on lenses with different diameter.

Photo by Tim Collins

Translation by Nina Kozul

Canon Powershot G1 X Hands-on Review

Canon Powershot G1 X tested in the real world.

Photography Tips on Travel and Landscape

This article is part of the section Photography Tips

Photography Tips on Travel and Landscape Photography - by Karl Taylor.

Project Fashionable Photography Vest

The bloody producer sets the team a challenge to make a photography vest that is both practical and fashionable...can Alamby and Kai do it?

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Fujifilm X-S1 Review and Technical Specifications

Fujifilm X-S1 review by What Digital Camera

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20th Century Fox, Betty Grable [1942] - Photos that made history

Betty Grable, since the World War 2 till the Korean war, has been a symbol for thousands of American soldiers at front, whom kept her image on backpacks, lockers and on the dashboards of their vehicles.

It was for her and other actresses of the burlesque or fetish genre, as Tempest Storm and Gypsy Rose Lee, that was coined the term pin-up.

Nicknamed The Legs, she became an idol of the overseas youth dancing and singing in a series of musical movies produced by Twentieth Century Fox that had a great success in the first half of the 40th years.

This article is part of the section: Photos that made history

Translation by Nina Kozul

SD Memory Card Guide - Photography course - Lesson 8

This article is part of the online digital photography course.

This article is meant to explain how memory cards works aside from the technology that will continuously improve.

SD memories, almost strangers: a brief trip in the intricacy of this small world that can confuse those who approach it for the first time.

Surely you asked yourselves where will the photos you were going to take be stored; nothing easier, in the specific memory card that you have to put inside your camera. In compact cameras you have rarely an included memory, while it's often present in reflexes even though it has usually a low capacity. Most of the times you have to choose your own card and between brands, capacity, speed and price, it often happens to be pretty confused.

The first question you are going to ask yourself is: what am i buying? What's the difference? Why this one costs twice? Which should I take? With this mini-guide we are going to understand the different features that distinguish the various cards.

Let's begin from the start. With SD, that means Secure Digital, we label the currently most popular memory card format. There are also other formats that we'll list just for knowledge: Smart Media, MultiMediaCard, XD Picture Card (in disuse for years), Memory Stick format owned by Sony, Compact Flash (Cards used just on high level devices, favored for reliability and performances).

Inside the cards you can store big quantities of information, data, photos, videos, music etc... that may be used with your ordinary usage devices. They are used in GPS, Mp3 readers, digital frames and cameras. We are interested mostly in the usage of the last one, but before going into details it's important to discern the various kinds of SD cards on the market.

Cards we will find:
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
  • SDHC
  • UHS-I
SD cards are the most used ones.

Then we have the SDHC, Secure Digital, High, Capacity that, as their name says, differs from normal SD for their higher storage capacity. This kind of cards starts with a capacity higher than 2GB (4GB) and goes to 32GB (limits that will be surely surpassed by technology advancement).

Going up with the category there are SDXC, short form of Secure Digital eXtended Capacity. They start from 32GB and can theoretically reach the capacity of 2048GB or 2TB. They are new in the market and their price is high, they have a different file system owner. Before buying this kind of card you should be aware if your device support this format.

Finally we have SDHC UHS-I, that are SDHC cards with the UHS-I(Ultra High Speed) feature that can reach the speed of 312MB/second.

Here we'll talk about the SDHC cards, the most popular kind.

On the shelves of shopping centers you can find on sale several cards of different brands, capacity and class. They are literally "classified" based on speed standards. This classification is made by the SD Association that is nothing more than a sort of global alliance between more than 1000 producer societies, in development, in production and in marketing of products that use the SD card technology.

If you look closely an SDHC card you'll notice aside the brand logo and the capacity a number inside a circle, it’s the speed class.

The higher the class is the faster is the writing speed, the card is more performing and more expensive. 

In addition to the class there's the number that certifies the speed expressed by that number followed by an X, like 100x 133x 200x or a speed expressed in MB/s as a 15MB/s 20MB/s 30MB/s.

What does this mean? Regarding the speed expressed with numbers followed by X (for ex. 133x), this means that the card can reach the marked speed.

In numbers we'll have: if on the card there's a 133x it means that the amount of data written in a second is equal to 133 times the unit of measurement used for the CD writing speed (that is 0,15 MB). In this specific case we'll have 133x0,15 that's equal to 19,95MB/s. If we find a 200x card, the speed would be 200x0,15 or rather 30MB/s.

If the cards show the speed expressed in MB/s we don't need any calculation. However we have to pay attention to this data, the maximum speeds are declared by the manufacturer and aren’t verified in an impartial way. Often on the package or on the card the manufacturer, to avoid customer's complaints, places an "up to" before the speed, or you can even notice the presence of an asterisk that points that the expressed speed is the maximum one.

How can we untangle from this series of signs and numbers? Surely the card class is a pivotal point you can refer to, but I’d say that it’s important to consider the brand, some manufacturers in fact, are definitely more reliable than others. Between product of the same brand you can also find the high-end products, meant for the more demanding users, labeled as "prosumer" (professional-consumer).

Fortunately the net can help us, you just need to type on any search engine the words "SD comparison" and you'll fine hundreds of websites that offer comparisons between manufacturers or different products of the same brand. Some offer the comparisons performed using professional equipment, others with empirical methods, but you have surely to pay attention and check the reliability of the provided results.

Which card should we choose? Naturally is related to various factors. Primarily you have to check the device with which you are going to use the card and your actual needs and those that you may have in the near future. On a compact camera a 32 GB SDHC of the 10th class with a write speed provided by the manufacturer of 30MB/s would surely be wasted. On the other hand for a reflex, even if for an entry-level and for amateurs, it would be constraining to have a class 2 2GB card.

The factors to keep in mind to avoid making a mistakes are:

Card capacity: Jpeg files of pictures taken with a compact camera at the highest resolutions are about from 4 to 6 MB, and having a 4GB card the capacity should be pretty satisfying unless you're going on a long trip. Using a reflex and saving files in raw format, or even in raw+jpeg 4GB wont surely be enough. You should start considering a card starting from a 8GB or more and thinking to keep one or two cards in store.

Card class: For a compact that doesn't record Full HD videos a class 2 card is enough, and a class 4 is more than enough, for a reflex that records bigger files and if you want to use it in the sport field, taking many shots in a brief time, or with the coming of new cameras that take videos in high definition, it's advisable to choose a class 6 or higher card.

It's true that cameras are provided with a large buffer, but to avoid filling it, slowing writing processes, it's better to choose a more performing product.

A different matter is the transfers of files from the card to the pc, it's not the same to transfer 8GB from a class 2 card or from a class 10 card, you should consider that this process could last even four times more with a lower class card.

Brand: Brand is a subjective thing, it's surely better to choose a renowned brand with experience in this field than an unknown one.

On the other hand you can often find products from less popular brands that offer a better price-quality ratio.

You have to choose based on your needs without be influenced by price, you'll buy your card once and it's going to store your pictures, your videos, your work, your memories... Now just go and choose!

Translation by Nina Kozul

Lightroom Course - What is Lightroom 3 and Basic Editing - Lesson 1

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