• Shortcuts : 'n' next unread feed - 'p' previous unread feed • Styles : 1 2

» Publishers, Monetize your RSS feeds with FeedShow:  More infos  (Show/Hide Ads)


Date: Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 15:43

An 18 year old and a 19 year old are in a relationship. They’re committed to and respectful of each other. They enjoy consensual sex and every now and again they share a naughty photo.

A 16 year old and a 17 year old are in a relationship. They’re committed to and respectful of each other. They enjoy consensual sex and every now and again they share a naughty photo.

What’s the difference? Both couples are over the age of consent and no one is being forced into doing anything they do not wish to do. Yet the younger couple is breaking the law. By sharing photos of themselves, they’re distributing indecent images of children. They are, of course, under the age of 18 and therefore still children. That they are accustomed to each other’s bodies in the flesh means nothing when they’re pixillated.

The penalty for distributing indecent images of children is much more serious than a slap on the wrists, too. It can result in being placed on the sex offenders’ register. For anyone, that is a life-altering punishment; for someone who is 16, it could be life-ruining.

This issue has been brought into the public consciousness again (it raised its head towards the end of last year) after Nottinghamshire Police sent a letter to schools in the county asking them to advise their pupils about the potential consequences of ‘sexting’. Recently, the police have dealt with several cases where sexting has taken a turn for the nasty, and while they’ve not prosecuted the young people involved, the outcome could have been different.

That's quite enough!

That’s quite enough!

Much of what I’ve been reading around this topic today—for it seems to be overtaking the BBC—involves admonishing young people not to be so stupid or to consider the consequences of their actions should these photos make their way onto the Intergoogles; invokes despair that young people are capable of such recklessness and disregard for other people’s feelings and reputations; or it criticises their lack of self-respect and gutter behaviour. There’s also a great deal of concern about the pressure that might be applied to young people to take and share lascivious photos when they really don’t want to.

Some of these concerns are valid. The teenaged equivalent of revenge porn can be deeply painful and horribly humiliating with tentacles that spread much further than school. While its perpetrators might be content to wreak harm and havoc on those whose images they share, I doubt that they realise just how extensive the consequences can be. As for coercing young people into sharing pictures that they probably wouldn’t want to show their parents; it’s another of those pressures of conformation piling up on young people: to be thin, to wear particular clothes, to smoke, to drink, to have sex. Between Snapchat and Slingshot and WhatsApp and any other means of sharing an image, we have for ourselves the social media age incarnation of ‘I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,’ behind the bike sheds, except with potentially longer-lasting and farther-reaching consequences.

We cannot and should not tell young people what to do; it’s about giving them the skills, the self-confidence, and the information to make their own choices and about providing them with non-judgemental support when they have to live through it. Vilifying them for a lack of self-respect is unlikely to achieve very much.

It's a naked body, but not as we know it, Jim! (Photo by Haje)

It’s a naked body, but not as we know it, Jim! (Photo by Haje)

These are all pertinent points for anyone under 16 who’s legally regarded as not being able to give consent. Indeed they remain valid for anyone over the age of 16; but there’s a particular issue relevant to 16 and 17 year olds that seems to be overlooked.

There’s a disconnect between the legality of their engagement in consensual physical sexual activity and the illegality of recording that same consensual physical sexual activity. A law that’s designed to protect young people from exploitation has the potential to criminalise them. I hope that those who have to enforce it apply some common sense to any situations that come their way.

This article was originally posted at The unlikely and serious consequences of teenage sexting , on Photocritic.

PLEASE NOTE -- The contents of the Photocritic blog is strictly copyrighted, and this feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of this feed on other websites is a copyright infringement, so you should only ever be able to read this text in a feed reader. Digital Fingerprint: d07805f964d211dfdfe227d609f7448f

Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "News, Opinion & Editorial, age of consen..."
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 17:59

For over a decade Stephanie Sinclair has been documenting the issue of child marriage and the horrific impact it has on the lives of girls and young women—from irreparable gynaecological damage to self-immolation. UNFPA and photo agency VII brought together her works in the exhibition Too Young to Wed, and as part of Girl Summit 2014, held in London today, it is on display at the London School of Economics.

Nujood was ten when she fled her abusive, much older husband and took a taxi to the courthouse in Sanaa, Yemen. Her courageous act—and the landmark legal battle that ensued—turned her into an international heroine for women's rights.

Nujood was ten when she fled her abusive, much older husband and took a taxi to the courthouse in Sanaa, Yemen. Her courageous act—and the landmark legal battle that ensued—turned her into an international heroine for women’s rights.

Girl Summit, hosted by the UK Government and UNICEF, aims to spearhead an end to child, forced, and early marriage and an end to female genital mutilation within a generation.

Too Young to Wed is being exhibited at the London School of Economics in its Atrium Gallery in the Old Building. It’s free to enter and you can wander through from 10:00 to 20:00, Monday to Friday, until 1 August.

Too Young to Wed at the London School of Economics, Atrium Gallery, The Old Building, London School of Economics, WC2A 2AE

This article was originally posted at Too Young to Wed: an exhibition for Girl Summit 2014 , on Photocritic.

PLEASE NOTE -- The contents of the Photocritic blog is strictly copyrighted, and this feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of this feed on other websites is a copyright infringement, so you should only ever be able to read this text in a feed reader. Digital Fingerprint: d07805f964d211dfdfe227d609f7448f

Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Events, News, child marriage, FGM, force..."
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 13:32

When I’m offering feedback on the assignments submitted by our Photography School students, one of my most frequent questions is ‘Did you think about framing this vertically?’ Or at least, something along those lines. Human vision is binocular, meaning that we have two eyes that happen to be positioned adjacent to rather than on top of each other. We are, therefore, predisposed to scanning things along a horizontal plane rather than a vertical one. It’s no surprise then that we’re more inclined to capture horizontally oriented pictures. The vast majority of cameras have been designed around this fact, thus have a default horizontal orientation and it’s just about uncomfortable enough to rotate it that we sometimes overlook doing so.

Sweet peas
It is a truth universally acknowledged that landscape format pictures work more successfully in articles than their portrait format counterparts.

We shouldn’t be so hasty.

The case for horizontal

The long and the short of it (ahem) is that the majority of subjects that are wider than they are longer will benefit from being photographed in landscape format. You’d have to be standing an awfully long way back to fit all of the Schonbrunn Palace into a portrait format picture. Most of the time, the horizon in a landscape photo will demand to take up as much space as possible, stretching across the frame. Typically, there’s more to see when you scan left-to-right than there is up-to-down. But not always.

Corn field

The case for vertical

It’s hardly an accident that vertically oriented pictures are referred to as ‘portraits’. Any subject that is taller than it is wider—people, trees, skyscrapers, doorways, bottles—will suit a portrait shot.

Sheara i
It’s hardly a co-incidence that portraits are called portraits.

It’s a case of letting the natural lines in the image dictate how it’s framed. Don’t be afraid to swing your camera through 90° and give it a go.

Arrow slit
The entire point of this image is the vertical. Why would I shoot it horitonzally? Let the subject dictate the line.

Creative choices

If you stop to think about it, the majority of the time it will feel obvious whether you should be framing your subject horizontally or vertically. There will be a natural line and flow to your composition. Sometimes, however, you might be presented with a compositional dilemma or you might want to spread your creative wings.

Lonely Apostle
The Lonely Apostle might be a vertical feature, but it’s the landscape that gives it context and the horizontal framing emphasises that.

For example, you might have a landscape that features a mountain range running off into the distance—a horizontal motivation—but with tall trees in the foreground that would enjoy the vertical emphasis of a portrait framing. Which do you go for? What you have to decide is which element do you want to be the dominant one and therefore be emphasised by your framing. There’s not necessarily a right or wrong here; it’s about ensuring the subject and the framing complement each other.

Sheara ii
But portraits don’t always have to be oriented vertically. A landscape format can look fabulous.

If you’ve time, shoot both. You’ve nothing to lose.

Sunset kayaker, Mullaloo
The traditional landscape format works perfectly for this sunset seascape…

It is worth trying something new and different, though, to challenge your thought processes and expectations. You don’t need to be wasteful and practise obscure compositions for their own sake, but it is always worth moving and rotating and shifting and changing. Don’t feel constrained by what is expected, work to produce an image that tells a story.

Mullaloo beach
… but take nothing away from the vertical version.

This article was originally posted at Up or across? The choice between horizontal and vertical frame orientation , on Photocritic.

PLEASE NOTE -- The contents of the Photocritic blog is strictly copyrighted, and this feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of this feed on other websites is a copyright infringement, so you should only ever be able to read this text in a feed reader. Digital Fingerprint: d07805f964d211dfdfe227d609f7448f

Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Feature Articles, Photography Theory, fo..."
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Friday, 18 Jul 2014 07:09

I was flipping through a book on film-making when I stumbled over a box-out mentioning the C-47. Or a clothes peg. Wooden clothes pegs are much-used on film-sets, where they don’t conduct heat so can’t burn people or melt. They make perfect handles for hot barn doors and they hold gels in place without dribbling into a puddle on the floor. Not to mention their grip over scripts, straws, and cables. Sometimes simple soilutions are the best.

It did set my mind a-thinking, however. How did the humble clothes peg come to be known as a C-47? After a little digging, I don’t have a defnitive answer, but I do have some pleasing stories.

Pass me a C-47!

Pass me a C-47!

After a plane?

The C-47 was a plane used extensively throughout the Second World War for troop movements, medical evacuations, and reconnaissance, and afterwards when it played a crucial role in the Berlin Airlift. It was a versatile plane, which mirrored the versatility of the clothes peg. Servicemen returning from the front to film studios carried over the name.

From a storage bin?

Some film studio somewhere stored its clothes pegs in a bin designated C-47. The name has stuck.

Its requisition number

Clothes pegs were assigned the catalogue or military requisition number C-47. They became known by their catalogue number rather than their common-or-garden name. Which leads neatly into the accountancy theory…

For accounting purposes

When gaffers and key grips were submitting requisition forms or expenses claims to film studio executives, accountants, and tax officials, they had trouble doing so for a bundle of clothes pegs, no matter how vital their presence was on set. By changing the name to something far more significant sounding, for example the clothes pegs’ catalogue number, nit-picking officials were none-the-wiser and the best boys’, grips’, and lighting crew’s fingers remained unburned.

Finally…

It makes a great joke to ask the new boy or girl for a C-47 and they have absolutely no idea what one is. And I’m reliably informed that what I know as a clothes peg (or even just ‘peg’) here in the UK is known as a clothespin in the US. Not that I’ll be using any today for their traditional purpose of hanging washing on a line: it’s pouring down.


Written with help from:

This article was originally posted at Pass me a C-47 – or how a clothes peg got its film-set name , on Photocritic.

PLEASE NOTE -- The contents of the Photocritic blog is strictly copyrighted, and this feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of this feed on other websites is a copyright infringement, so you should only ever be able to read this text in a feed reader. Digital Fingerprint: d07805f964d211dfdfe227d609f7448f

Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Feature Articles, Photocritic Q&A, C-47,..."
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Wednesday, 16 Jul 2014 17:03

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Elvis Halilović, the man behind the ONDU Pinhole camera company, asking me if I’d like to try out one of his handmade, wooden pinhole cameras. It’s not the sort of offer I’m likely to decline. Last week my entirely gorgeous 135 Pocket Pinhole arrived through the post. On Monday I took advantage of glorious sunshine and the flourishing abundance of the allotment and headed out with a few rolls of film to see what the camera could see. Today I collected an envelope of developed images from the shop in town.

One ONDU 135 Pinhole camera, with an approximate focal length of 25mm

One ONDU 135 Pocket Pinhole camera, with an approximate focal length of 25mm and ƒ/22 aperture

How did they turn out? Actually not all that brilliantly. The film was expired, which has resulted in all of my photos having a rose pink cast. Despite the very useful exposure guide provided by ONDU, judging shutter speed was a very hit-and-miss affair that was counted in pink elephants and almost everything is over-exposed. My little Lollipod stand is a perfect match for the ONDU pinhole, but I’ve not mastered opening the shutter without disturbing the camera, and of course the longer exposures means motion blur, so everything is hazy. And without a viewfinder, you’re guessing at just what the camera can see, so what’s in the frame isn’t necessarily what I’d anticipated would be there.

Proof of the pinhole

Proof of the pinhole

But the truth is, none of that matters. What matters is that I’m proud of these pictures and that I had fun taking them. I enjoyed experimenting with exposure times and attempting to determine what the camera could see. I recalled the anticipation of my childhood, when I’d send films off to be developed and have no idea what would be sent back to me. It was, in fact, the most fun that I’ve had with a camera for a very long time.

I won’t deny that I had a few frustrations, but they weren’t enough to deter me. The ONDU requires you to tape the film onto the receiving spool and count one-and-half rotations to wind on between frames. Loading the film was a bit tricky and I succeeded in breaking one roll with a heavy-handed winding action. There were a couple of unintentional double-exposures, too. No one said this was going to be easy, or indeed fast, though.

The ONDU pinhole in action

The ONDU pinhole in action

Perhaps the best tip that I have is to head out with a notebook when you’re shooting, to record the lighting conditions and exposure time for each frame. When I go out next time, if the lighting conditions are similar, I’ll know to open the shutter for a fraction shorter duration. If the conditions are different, I’ll be making more educated guesses. Whatever the light, I’ll be having more fun.

Pinhole photography itself is intuitive, with the requirement to judge and estimate and guess. It’s also visceral and plays on your emotions of surprise and vexation. The more that you practise it, the better you’ll become, not just at pinhole photography, but at the general discipline of photography. It pulls you back to the founding principles of expose and compose: a simple concept but with a nuanced practice.

The opportunity that a pinhole camera gives you is to play with light in a box: photography in its most deceptively simple form. If that doesn’t intrigue and inspire you, and remind you what’s wonderful about taking pictures then I’m not sure what will. Get hold of a pinhole camera and go back to basics; you won’t regret it.

This article was originally posted at Back to basics with a pinhole camera , on Photocritic.

PLEASE NOTE -- The contents of the Photocritic blog is strictly copyrighted, and this feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of this feed on other websites is a copyright infringement, so you should only ever be able to read this text in a feed reader. Digital Fingerprint: d07805f964d211dfdfe227d609f7448f

Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Feature Articles, Photography Theory, ex..."
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Tuesday, 15 Jul 2014 17:49

In the early hours of this morning (if you’re in Europe), Ricoh announced a new bridge camera, the Pentax XG-1. But what exactly is a bridge camera, and who constitutes the target market?

Spanning the gap

It’s all in the name, really. A bridge camera spans the gap from small compact cameras with fixed lenses to larger and heavier dSLRs with interchangeable lenses. They’re fixed lens cameras that enjoy impressive optical zoom capabilities—in the case of the XG-1 a 52× zoom or the 35mm equivalent of 24 to 1,248mm—and the full manual control that you’d expect from a dSLR. However, although they might share a similar shape to a dSLR with its characteristic pentaprism hump, they don’t share the mirror and the optical viewfinder mechanism. They function akin to compact cameras, making them smaller and lighter than their dSLR cousins.

Ricoh's new Pentax XG-1 bridge camera

Ricoh’s new Pentax XG-1 bridge camera

Benefits of bridge cameras

Although a bridge camera usually comes in bigger and heavier than a compact camera, they’re smaller and lighter than dSLRs; this means you get the advantages of manual control and impressive telephoto prowess but without the bulk. As the lens with all the optical zoom is built into the camera body, there aren’t any expensive, bulky lenses to schlep about, either. You can switch from wide angle to telephoto with the movement of a button, rather than the inconvenience of a lens change and the potential of subjecting your sensor to dust and dirt. If you’re shooting in dirty or dusty conditions, a bridge camera might be preferable to an interchangeable lens model.

Bridge cameras present you with control and magnification in a neat, cheap package. The new Pentax XG-1 is priced at £250 £280*; the Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, and Olympus equivalents aren’t too far off that mark and have generally similar specs.

Drawbacks to bridge cameras

My 70-200mm zoom lens doesn’t extend nearly as far as the 1,248mm of the Pentax XG-1. But it does have a fixed maximum aperture of ƒ/2.8. So whether I’m zoomed in or out, I can open my aperture as wide as ƒ/2.8. This isn’t usually the case with bridge cameras. At its maximum zoom, the XG-1 has a maximum aperture of ƒ/5.6. (When it is zoomed out, the XG-1 has a maximum aperture of ƒ/2.8.) While this might not be a terrible state of affairs where depth-of-field is concerned because the magnification factor is so high, it can be an issue with respect to letting in sufficient light.

With such an enormous zoom, camera shake is a big issue for bridge cameras and to help mitigate that, you need a fast shutter speed assisted by a large aperture. Most bridge cameras do have image stabilisation to help prevent camera shake making itself obvious in your photos, but that smaller aperture at maximum zoom can be problematic.

The huge zoom can you close to the action with a bridge camera, but they don’t always enjoy lightning fast autofocus and the EVF can be slow to refresh if you’re shooting action scenes. That might mean the difference between shot made and a shot lost, particularly if you’re trying to photograph sports or anything fast-moving.

Most bridge cameras use a 1/2.3″ sensor. Although that gives them more klout than many compact cameras, they aren’t as well endowed as dSLRs, which come with APS-C or full-frame sensors. This can be detrimental to image quality, with noise rearing its ugly head in images.

Bridge cameras versus EVIL cameras

While both bridge and EVIL cameras tend to be smaller than dSLRs, there remain significant differences that set apart the two groups. EVIL cameras come with a range of different sensor sizes, but they need separate lenses. They’re also more expensive than bridge cameras, particularly when you factor in lenses, which doesn’t place them in direct competition.

So bridge cameras are meant for…

People who want the flexibility of manual controls, incredible zoom, and a lightweight camera are the ideal consumers for bridge cameras. They’re excellent for travel, even if they can struggle in low-light and be a little slow to focus. Bridge cameras don’t require an arsenal of lenses, but do get you close to your subjects. And they tend to be afforable, too.


* We received a price correction from Ricoh on Tuesday 22 July

This article was originally posted at Bridge cameras – what are they and who are they for? , on Photocritic.

PLEASE NOTE -- The contents of the Photocritic blog is strictly copyrighted, and this feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of this feed on other websites is a copyright infringement, so you should only ever be able to read this text in a feed reader. Digital Fingerprint: d07805f964d211dfdfe227d609f7448f

Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Equipment, Feature Articles, Bridge, bri..."
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Tuesday, 15 Jul 2014 11:38

I wasn’t paying attention; it was an advert. But when I heard the words ‘And with its big screen, even my photos look fab!’ my ears pricked up. Did I actually hear that correctly? It took another few advert breaks to establish that my aural capabilities were not deceiving me and some marketing team somewhere was touting at least one major feature on a smartphone as a screen that’s sufficiently large to ensure that poor photos look good.

Insert a mildly despondent sigh here. In terms of marketing hyperbole, it does make a welcome change from the might of the megapixel, but I’d prefer a claim that had a ring of credibility to it at least. Logic dictates that a bigger screen won’t make an out-of-focus, badly exposed photo look better. It will just make it look bigger. And the out-of-focus-ness more out-of-focus.

What is this smartphone with the magical photo-improving screen? It’s the Nokia Lumia 630. You can check out the statement for yourself. It comes at around 15 seconds.

Sorry sweetheart, I don’t want to burst your new purchase bubble, but the size of the screen on the Nokia Lumia 630 isn’t going to improve your photos if they’re already not terribly good. You’re responsible for that. Go out, take more photos, think about the composition and the lighting, take more photos, and apply what you’ve observed. That’ll make your photos look better, because they’ll be better. Photography’s a skill that can be improved with practice and evaluation. Trust me.

As for the marketing team behind the Lumia 630, please don’t try to convince people that there’s a technological solution for everything. Some improvements require effort and application. I know that might seem awfully old-fashioned and not necessarily fit with the image you’re attempting to promote, especially in our increasingly visual society that appreciates immediate advancements, but there’s only so far your phone can go. Oh, and lay off the gender-stereotyping, too. Women the world-over, and a great many men, will thank you for it.

This article was originally posted at The Nokia Lumia 630′s magical photo-improving screen , on Photocritic.

PLEASE NOTE -- The contents of the Photocritic blog is strictly copyrighted, and this feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of this feed on other websites is a copyright infringement, so you should only ever be able to read this text in a feed reader. Digital Fingerprint: d07805f964d211dfdfe227d609f7448f

Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Opinion & Editorial, image, image qualit..."
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Thursday, 10 Jul 2014 13:59

Olympus has two competitions on the go right now. Maybe one of them is for you? Don’t forget to check the terms and conditions to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into before you submit any images, though. And don’t forget to check out the round-up of calls-for-entries from last week, either.

Olympus Protégés

Take your pick from four genres of photography—animals, landscape, fashion, or music—and submit your best shot and a supporting statement to be in with a chance of being mentored by a leading photographer in that field. Lindsay Dobson takes on wildlife, Mark Cargill will look after the landscape enthusiast, Damian McGillicuddy is the fashion mentor, and music photographers will be under Mick Hutson’s guidance.

Over the course of one month and under the tutelage of their mentors, each mentee will enjoy a trip away, the use of an Olympus OM-D E-M10 and a complement of Micro Four Thirds lenses, be set challenges by Olympus and the general public, and keep a blog diary charting their progress. The experience culminates in an exhibition show-casing the winners’ best work from the project at the Olympus Image Space gallery in London.

Olympus proteges

Entries need to be received by 23:59, Sunday 27 July 2014. All the details and submission guidelines are on the Olympus Protégés website.

Olympus Open Space on Exhibitr

This one is smaller deal and it’s reserved for people who shoot with Olympus kit. They want to feature your work on the Olympus Image Space over at Exhibitr. Exhibtr was founded to provide artists and writers a vehicle to showcase, share, and discuss their work on an international stage, so you’d be in good company if your image made it there.

If you would like to have your work featured on the Olympus Open Space, you need to sign up to Exhibtr, at exhibtr.com, and start uploading your best and most original Olympus images. If Olympus UK favourite your piece, it will automatically appear on the Open Space.

Olympus Open space

You can see the Olympus Image Space here and read the details here.

This article was originally posted at Two competition calls from Olympus , on Photocritic.

PLEASE NOTE -- The contents of the Photocritic blog is strictly copyrighted, and this feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of this feed on other websites is a copyright infringement, so you should only ever be able to read this text in a feed reader. Digital Fingerprint: d07805f964d211dfdfe227d609f7448f

Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Events, News"
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Wednesday, 09 Jul 2014 19:59

When you tell people that image processing and manipulation isn’t anything new, but is just about as old as the art of photography itself, you can get some funny looks. Many of the processes that we carry out without a second thought were equally normal for analogue developers. Depending on how proficient you are with Photoshop, compositing might be faster today, but it’s not new. Think of Man Ray and his image Le Violon d’Ingres. And beautifying subjects with the help of a brush was a far from alien practice for Cecil Beaton.

Yes, really.

The difference is that now the ubiquity of editing suites means that techniques that were once the preserve of skilled darkroom practitioners are accessible to anyone with a computer. The degree of skill required to complete subtle, effective, and credible edits is still high, but the mystery has gone. Or rather, the mystery has assumed a new narrative as the dark arts of the darkroom remain under wraps.

To try to set some of that record straight, here’s an extensive, but not necessarily exhaustive, list of the techniques that bridge the analogue and digital divide.

Crop

Have you noticed how the crop icon is a variation on a theme, in almost every editing package you encounter? That’s because it’s based on the tool that would be used to crop and resize images in the darkroom.

Crop away in Lightroom... Aviary... and Pixlr

Brushes

The brush icon is another familiar one, whether you’re in Photoshop or Pixelmator or Aperture or GIMP. Brushes were used extensively in the darkroom, to define edges or enhance details, to hand colour, to spot correct, to complete just about any task for which you might now use a digital brush.

dodge.jpg

Dodging and burning

Haje has already written an article that explains why the dodge icon resembles a lollipop and the burn one a fist. Of course, they’re techniques that were used in the darkroom to lighten or darken specific areas of an image as required. The dodging ‘lollipop’—or piece of black paper on a stick—could protect the photographic paper from too much light during the development process, thereby keeping the areas in question lighter in the final image. The fist would be your hand, controlling how much light got through to darken areas of your photos.

Masking

Using red to distinguish masked from unmasked elements in an image wasn’t an arbitrary choice by software engineers. That too is a hangover from darkroom days. Mask an area that you don’t want developed with red, gel-like rubylith and the light won’t be able to penetrate it in the darkroom, so it won’t be exposed. If you’ve ever found yourself irritated when masking a complicated outline in Photoshop, imagine what it would be like doing it with a scalpel!

Photoshop's Quick Mask overlay isn't red arbitrarily

Photoshop’s Quick Mask overlay isn’t red arbitrarily

Sharpening

Yes, there’s a reason why the sharpening tool in Photoshop is called the Unsharp Mask. Again, Haje has a comprehensive explanation here, but the short answer is that images were sharpened using a not-quite-sharp positive of the image to make a mask (an unsharp mask) combined with the negative. The blurriness of the positive image should work with the negative to create a sharper final image.

Split-toning

Maybe you use the split-toning feature in Lightroom to create cross-processed effects, or to give a golden-hour glow to your photos, or perhaps to correct the white balance in your images. But it was originally a darkroom technique that allowed different tones to be present in the highlights and shadows of an image. Split-toning was something of a dark art, relying on the interplay of different papers and different chemical toners deployed after the standard developing and fixing process to produce different colours in the final image. Getting the balance right with your sliders might be a frustrasting experience now, but I’m sure it beats fiddling with gold-, selenium-, and sodium-based chemicals!

Split-toning isn't a new-fangled Lightroom thing

Split-toning isn’t a new-fangled Lightroom thing

Contrast

It might be simple to adjust the contrast in your photos on a slider in a digital darkroom, but you had at least three ways of doing so in an analogue darkroom: with graded papers, with variable contrast paper, or with filters.

Colour

Unless you’re shooting with a Leica Monochrom, you can choose between colour or black and white for any given photo now, switching back and forth between them as many times as you like in a non-destructive editing package. But in the early days of film it was black and white, maybe sepia, or the perhaps the vagueries of split-toning, unless you opted to hand-colour your images. Love or hate selective colouring, for some people that was all that they could afford when hand colouring was a time-consuming art form. It isn’t just a Photoshop abomination.

Airbrush

Finally, the much-maligned airbrush. It’s not just a new-fangled phenomenon that magically reduces the size of an already-stick-thin model’s thighs. The airbrush has been removing undesirables from images since at least Stalin’s time and Cecil Beaton was famous for slimming his subjects.

I think you’ll find, then, that there is very little that’s new between the red light of the darkroom and the digital glow of Photoshop.

This article was originally posted at Nothing new under the sun? The darkroom techniques we apply digitally , on Photocritic.

PLEASE NOTE -- The contents of the Photocritic blog is strictly copyrighted, and this feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of this feed on other websites is a copyright infringement, so you should only ever be able to read this text in a feed reader. Digital Fingerprint: d07805f964d211dfdfe227d609f7448f

Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Feature Articles, Photography Theory, an..."
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Friday, 04 Jul 2014 05:30

Looking for something to do over the next few weekends? Here’s a round-up of some exhibitions taking place across the country.

Sony World Photography Awards at Liverpool ONE

If you weren’t able to make it to Somerset House in London for the Sony World Photography Awards exhibition, the pictures have hit the road and made it to Liverpool. Viewing is from 11:00 to 19:00 daily until 17 July at 40 South John Street, Liverpool. Entry is free.

Sophie Gamond's dogs and many other pictures on show at Liverpool ONE

Sophie Gamand’s dogs and many other pictures on show at Liverpool ONE

Silent Exchange at the National Theatre

An exhibition comprising over 50 of celebrated photographer Charlie Waites’ landscape images are on show in the Lyttleton Gallery at the National Theatre. Subjects span the globe from Libya two days before the revolution, the Amish in Pennsylvania, the poplar avenues of the Loire valley, to the Welsh mountains. Entry is free.

Silent Exchange at the Lyttleton Gallery, National Theatre

Silent Exchange at the Lyttleton Gallery, National Theatre

This article was originally posted at Something for the weekend? Photography exhibitions and events , on Photocritic.

PLEASE NOTE -- The contents of the Photocritic blog is strictly copyrighted, and this feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of this feed on other websites is a copyright infringement, so you should only ever be able to read this text in a feed reader. Digital Fingerprint: d07805f964d211dfdfe227d609f7448f

Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Events, News, event, exhibition, free, l..."
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Thursday, 03 Jul 2014 13:41

Editing, post-processing, whatever you want to call it: some people love it, some people hate it, some people are fortunate enough to work with professional retouchers, and some people just don’t know where to start. There are a few businesses out there who are seeking to unite those people who feel frustrated or flummoxed by the editing process with people who can work post-processing magic, and the newest one is Spruced up!

Spruced up! was founded by Rob Willingham, who used to work with photographer Rankin, and the Spruced up! team seem to be an experienced bunch, having worked on campaigns for the likes of Christian Dior and Calvin Klein and been let near photos of the Queen and Kate Moss. They’re looking to provide a complete editing package for users, from simple enhancements to total overhauls.

Lose the celebrant in the background and convert to black and white. Ta-dah!

Lose the celebrant in the background and convert to black and white. Ta-dah!

Each image incurs a £2.49 handling fee, with simple changes—for example exposure tweaks, black and white conversions, and sharpening or softening—priced at 49p a go, rising to 99p for cosmetic changes (tooth whitening, nail colour alterations, for example), £1.99 for removals, and ending at £12.99 for a full make-over. You check out the menu and price list here.

This isn’t the first time that we’ve looked at editing out-sourcing options. Our conclusion now isn’t that much different from our conclusion then: it’s not for us. It doesn’t really matter if the resulting photos are good, bad, or indifferent, but that but that processing our images ourselves is important to us. It ensures that we realise our own creative visions and intentions, rather than placing them into the hands of others.

Sure, post-processing can be tricky and tiresome, but at £2.98 for a black-and-white conversion or an exposure fix, I’d be inclined to suggest that learning a few key adjustments in a free editing package such as Pixlr or Aviary (which is built in to Flickr) would be a relatively pain-free and definitely cheaper alternative. But a bit of Stalinesque airbrushing at £4.48 a time isn’t too bad. If you’re not in regular need of re-writing history, and don’t therefore have the processing package or prowess, it makes sense to send your photos to someone who’s more talented and less frustrated by the procedure, to do it for you. And that’s where Spruced up! comes in.

If you’ve a digital copy of a vintage print that you’d like tidied up, that can be done, too.

Spruced up! is available as an iPhone and iPad app, or via the Spruced up! website.

This article was originally posted at Spruced up! wants to make your pictures perfect , on Photocritic.

PLEASE NOTE -- The contents of the Photocritic blog is strictly copyrighted, and this feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of this feed on other websites is a copyright infringement, so you should only ever be able to read this text in a feed reader. Digital Fingerprint: d07805f964d211dfdfe227d609f7448f

Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Equipment, News, app, edit, out-source, ..."
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Wednesday, 02 Jul 2014 14:30

The Museum of London released 16 gorgeous and ghostly images of London today merged with London of yesterday to mark the launch of its revamped app. To celebrate the Bridge exhibition, which runs until 2 November 2014, the museum has continued this historically creative adventure by releasing 16 images of London’s bridges, spanning from present to past.

Tower Bridge c. 1903–10, by Christina Broom

Tower Bridge c. 1903–10, by Christina Broom

The original images, which are all part of the museum’s photography collection, were shot in the 19th and 20th centuries. Their photographers include: Henry Grant, Henry Turner, Sandra Flett, Christina Broom, Roger Mayne, and George Davison Reid. They depict Tower Bridge c. 1903-10; the demolition of Old Waterloo Bridge c. 1934; Albert Bridge c. late 19th century; London Bridge c.1937; and the view of London’s skyline from Tower Bridge c.1930, among others.

Richmond Bridge late 19th century, photographer unknown

Richmond Bridge late 19th century, photographer unknown

Francis Marshall, curator of the Bridge exhibition says: ‘Contrasting historic shots with those of today allows us to see how the city has changed over time. Or in some cases, how it has remained the same.’

A Windy Evening on London Bridge c. 1937, by Henry Turner

A Windy Evening on London Bridge c. 1937, by Henry Turner

You can see all of the images at the Bridge exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands. It’s free!

Charing Cross Railway Bridge, late 19th century, unknown photographer

Charing Cross Railway Bridge, late 19th century, unknown photographer

This article was originally posted at Bridging the past: hybrid images of London , on Photocritic.

PLEASE NOTE -- The contents of the Photocritic blog is strictly copyrighted, and this feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of this feed on other websites is a copyright infringement, so you should only ever be able to read this text in a feed reader. Digital Fingerprint: d07805f964d211dfdfe227d609f7448f

Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Events, News, Bridge, Bridge exhibition,..."
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Wednesday, 02 Jul 2014 13:32

Should you ever have thought ‘What made the judges choose that photo?’ or wondered just how tough it is to choose one stand-out image from a huge selection, now’s your chance. To celebrate its fiftieth anniversary the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition has created the People’s Choice award. Fifty images have been posted online and you get to choose your favourite.

The image that has accumulated the most votes will be announced at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards evening and be exhibited as part of the 2014 collection on display at the Natural History Museum. That exhibition opens on 24 October before embarking on an international tour. The top five People’s Choice images will be displayed online, with the rest of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 collection.

Facebook update, Marsel van Oosten (Netherlands)

Facebook update, Marsel van Oosten (Netherlands)

It’s a one-person-one-vote set-up; I’ve taken a look at the entries and am weighing up my vote. Some are just too obviously processed for me, but choosing a favourite isn’t going to be easy. At the moment I’m torn between a photo with a fantastic story and another that I think is technically better but narratively weaker. Ah the quandary!

Caiman night, Luciano Candisani (Brazil)

Caiman night, Luciano Candisani (Brazil)

You can cast your vote over on the Wildlife Photographer of the Year website.

This article was originally posted at Wildlife Photographer of the Year – cast your vote! , on Photocritic.

PLEASE NOTE -- The contents of the Photocritic blog is strictly copyrighted, and this feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of this feed on other websites is a copyright infringement, so you should only ever be able to read this text in a feed reader. Digital Fingerprint: d07805f964d211dfdfe227d609f7448f

Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Events, News, competition, natural histo..."
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Tuesday, 01 Jul 2014 15:59

If you’re brave enough to pit yourself against fellow photographers, the following competitions have made calls for entries recently. We try to feature only competitions that don’t appear to attempt nasty rights grabs from their entrants, but please do read the terms and conditions carefully prior to entry.

Sony World Photography Awards 2015

With categories for professionals, amateurs, students, and young people, the Sony World Photography Awards have somewhere for any type of photographer to submit their images. Prizes include kit and cash, as well as a glitzy awards ceremony held in London.

  • Professional – 15 categories judged on a series of work
  • Open – 10 categories judged on a single image
  • Youth – three categories for photographers under 20. Judged on a single image
  • Student Focus – for higher education photography students aged 18-30

The Open and Youth competitions will close for entries at 23:59 GMT on Monday 5 January 2015. The Professional competition will close at 23:59 GMT on Thursday 8 January 2015.

Winner of the Open Category: Chen Li for his 'Rain in an Ancient Town' (Chen Li (China) Winner Open Travel 2014 Sony World Photography Awards)

Winner of the Open Category: Chen Li for his ‘Rain in an Ancient Town’
(Chen Li (China) Winner Open Travel 2014 Sony World Photography Awards)

All details and entry instructions can be found on the World Photography Organisation website.

Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2015

We’re not overly keen on paid-for competitions here at Photocritic, but the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year competition has an excellent young people’s competition that’s free to enter. And we love encouraging kids and teens to get out with their cameras. Under 18s can enter three photos free of charge into their age category, they just have to be of food. The competition closes on 8 February 2015 at midnight GMT.

Philip Harben Award for Food in Action: Tessa Bunney (UK/PDR of Lao) - Noodle Making.

Philip Harben Award for Food in Action: Tessa Bunney (UK/PDR of Lao) – Noodle Making.

All details and entry instructions can be found on the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year website.

FXB ‘Framing Hope’ competition

The NGO FXB is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a photography competition. It is asking entrants to capture the concept of hope in one image. All entries will be displayed in an online gallery, with the five most-voted for by the public, shortlisted for judging by our expert panel who will select the overall winner.

The prize for the winning entry will be an exclusive half-day photography masterclass with photographer Jillian Edelstein and the opportunity to have her or his photograph exhibited alongside Edelstein’s at London’s gallery@oxo in August.

Hope in one frame?

Hope in one frame?

Entries can be submitted until 25 July 2014 and submission details can be found on the competition website.

This article was originally posted at Calls for entries! Care to pit yourself against the photographic opposition? , on Photocritic.

PLEASE NOTE -- The contents of the Photocritic blog is strictly copyrighted, and this feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of this feed on other websites is a copyright infringement, so you should only ever be able to read this text in a feed reader. Digital Fingerprint: d07805f964d211dfdfe227d609f7448f

Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Events, News, competition, contest, ente..."
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Monday, 30 Jun 2014 19:51

Now that everyone has got over their shock that Apple will be consolidating its image editing and organisation features later this year, with the result that its top-end programme Aperture will be closing up completely, people are probably beginning to think about alternatives. I’ve pulled together ten Aperture alternatives and sought out their positive and negative features. They’re all Raw compatible, but do double-check their non-destructive capability.

A standard gripe for the majority of these programmes is that they’re tricky to get to learn, or that the interfaces aren’t intuitive. While it is entirely possible that some of these programmes do have seriously unfriendly workflows and interfaces, it might also a case of them being different to what you know. I remember opening Lightroom for the first time and wondering if it controlled the International Space Station, too. It’s all a learning curve. Still, it’s probably worth bearing in mind that the open-source options don’t have such pretty interfaces as the paid-for programmes.

And finally, we really don’t know what Apple’s plans are for its photo management and editing programmes. It’s possible that Aperture’s features will be integrated into whatever comes next. Or maybe they won’t, if Apple is looking for a simpler, more consumer-friendly package. But it remains to be seen.

Adobe Lightroom

Lightroom is probably the most obvious option for people looking for an Aperture replacement. It’s a comprehensive editing suite that sets the standard in its field. In addition to the expected functions, Lightroom includes advanced features such as brushes, gradient tools and specific lens corrections. It’s my editing suite of choice that I feel offers me almost everything I want in an image editor.

However, some photographers—me included—are concerned that the option to purchase Lightroom as a stand-alone editor will be subsumed into the subscription model Creative Cloud and we’ll find ourselves beholden to Adobe in perpetuity. If the potential for that bothers you, you might wish to look elsewhere.

Positives

  • Regarded as the market-leader in its class

Negatives

  • Feature-laden interface can be overwhelming
  • Some people unhappy with Adobe

Lightroom perpetual licence: £102.57
Adobe Photography CC bundle (Photoshop CC + Lightroom): £8.78 ($9.99)/month

Corel AfterShot Pro

If anyone doubted that Corel were still in business, yes, it is. And if you’re wondering what happened to image editing software Bibble, it was bought by Corel… and became AfterShot Pro. The first version met with significant criticism for lack of basic features such as red eye correction and a reset button. This has been corrected for version 2, together with improved batch editing features and new noise reduction features. By all accounts, it’s a pretty nippy piece of kit.

Corel has also stated that it is looking to make life as easy as possible for Aperture users who are looking for a alternative programme. It’s reasonable price together with its comprehensive feature set makes AfterShot Pro a compelling option. And you can check it out for free before buying, too.

Precise control with selective editing in Corel's AfterShot Pro

Precise control with selective editing in Corel’s AfterShot Pro

Positives

  • Quick and responsive
  • Comprehensive feature set
  • Supports layers
  • Batch processing options
  • Enjoys local editing features

Negatives

  • Idiosyncratic lay-out
  • Limited plug-in selection
  • No web or email sharing capability

Corel After Shot Pro: £57.99 (usually $79.99, currently $59.99)

Cyberlink PhotoDirector Suite

PhotoDirector claims itself to be ‘a unique application that combines all the features you need for photography in a single workflow – efficient photo management, complete adjustment and creative editing.’ It comes with some serious editing firepower—from body-slimming tools to content aware object removal—and some sparkling reviews. You can try before you buy with a 30 day free trial. If the PhotoDirector Suite is a bit too pricey for you, have a look at PhotoDirector Ultra, instead.

Create tilt-shift effects in PhotoDirector

Create tilt-shift effects in PhotoDirector

Positives

  • Intuitive interface
  • Comprehensive feature set
  • Facial recognition

Negatives

  • No batch processing
  • Inconsistent import times
  • No geo-tagging capability
  • Limited lens correction profiles

Cyberlink PhotoDirector: £114.99 (currently £89.99)

PhaseOne Capture One Pro

You might think of Capture One as being a medium format image processor, but it’s capable of handling dSLR- and EVIL-created files, too. It’s history of medium format processing means that many of the features that you’re accustomed to seeing in places such as Photoshop as well as Aperture and Lightroom come as standard in Capture One. You might need to take a deep breath when you look at the price, but there is a free trial to test it out first.

Positives

  • Comprehensive feature set
  • Supports layers
  • Local adjustment tools
  • Clean and customisable interface

Negatives

  • Expensive
  • Can be sluggish

Phase One Capture One: €229 (currently €114)

Darktable

Darktable is a free, open-source image editing suite that does seem to offer the most comprehensive and user-friendly experience without having to pay for anything. While one should never judge a book by its cover, the Darktable website is the most professional looking one in the open-source category.

Darktable in action

Darktable in action

Positives

  • It’s free
  • Impressive range of functions, including split toning, film emulation, watermarking
  • Tethered shooting support

Negatives

  • Interface requires refinement
  • Clumsy and confusing image filing system
  • Undo system could be better

Darktable

digiKam

The digiKam website does give me a mild headache, but plenty of people seem to like the software. In particular it includes some features that aren’t available in places such as Lightroom yet, for example fuzzy search and facial recognition.

digiKam in action

digiKam in action

Positives

  • It’s free
  • Map integration for geo-tagged images
  • Facial recognition and fuzzy search capabilities

Negatives

  • Can be buggy
  • Idiosyncratic workflow

digiKam

Lightzone

Once upon a time, Lightzone was a commercial enterprise under the aegis of the now-defunct Light Craft company. It went off-line unexpectedly in Sepember 2011, but resurfaced as an open-source initiative tentatively in December 2012 and then more fully in June 2013. Given it was once a commercial product, Lightzone does benefit from better-than-average-for-anope-source-project documentation.

Lightzone, with notes

Lightzone, with notes

Positives

  • It’s free
  • Extensive functionality
  • Well documented for an open-source project
  • Intuitive layout
  • Previews effects in miniature
  • Supports layers
  • Localised adjustments

Negatives

  • Users need to register before downloading the software
  • Weak image management tools

Lightzone

Hasselblad Phocus

Hasselblad’s Phocus might have started out for Hasselblad cameras, but it now supports a wide range of manufacturers’ devices.

Positives

  • It’s free
  • Mobile app
  • Intuitive, attractive interface

Negatives

  • Not that many people know about it or use it (maybe that’s a good thing?)

Hasselblad Phocus

Photivo

Most of what I’ve read about Photivo suggests that it’s a powerful piece of kit, but that it isn’t necessarily easy to leap into it and get started. It doesn’t offer any management features, just development functions, and is open about it not being for beginners.

Photivo in action

Photivo in action

Positives

  • It’s free
  • Localised adjustments
  • Extensive control
  • GIMP integration

Negatives

  • Not necessarily intuitive
  • Not designed for image management

Photivo

Raw Therapee

Raw Therapee seems to offer a peculiar mix of some incredibly advanced editing capability with some serious oversights. While its demosaicing feature is super for low noise images, it’s reported that it doesn’t cope well with noisier photos. With today’s strospheric ISOs, it might be a dciding factor.

Raw Therapee dealing with chromatic aberration

Raw Therapee dealing with chromatic aberration

Positives

  • It’s free
  • Demosaicing feature
  • RL Deconvolution sharpening tool

Negatives

  • Slow
  • Complicated workflow
  • No batch processing option
  • No localised adjustments
  • Wobbly image management interface

Raw Therapee

This article was originally posted at 10 alternatives to Apple’s Aperture , on Photocritic.

PLEASE NOTE -- The contents of the Photocritic blog is strictly copyrighted, and this feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of this feed on other websites is a copyright infringement, so you should only ever be able to read this text in a feed reader. Digital Fingerprint: d07805f964d211dfdfe227d609f7448f

Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Equipment, Feature Articles, adobe light..."
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Monday, 30 Jun 2014 12:00

Right now Adorama has a slightly crazy deal on the pint-sized (for a dSLR) Canon SL1 for its US customers.

Fancy the SL1, get it before 11:59 (EST) tonight for an amazing deal

Fancy the SL1, get it before 11:59 (EST) tonight for an amazing deal

You can pick up the SL1 body, together with a 16GB SDHC memory card and a camera bag, for $449 before midnight tonight (EST). That includes 2% Adorama rewards and free shipping within the US. Not bad.

However, if you add a Pixma Pro-100 printer, priced at $334, to your purchase and then claim back a $400 mail-in rebate, you get the camera and the printer for a total of $383. You’ll pay $783 at the checkout, but that rebate and free US shipping means that even if you don’t want the printer, it’s worth it if the SL1 is the camera you’d like.

The deal ends 11:59 (EST) tonight. There’re no codes to be entered at the checkout, but you need to remember to submit that rebate form.

This article was originally posted at Super Adorama deal on the Canon SL1 , on Photocritic.

PLEASE NOTE -- The contents of the Photocritic blog is strictly copyrighted, and this feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of this feed on other websites is a copyright infringement, so you should only ever be able to read this text in a feed reader. Digital Fingerprint: d07805f964d211dfdfe227d609f7448f

Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Bargain buys, 100d, bargain, bargain buy..."
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Friday, 27 Jun 2014 19:53

There have been at least two pieces of news this week featuring companies that sell stock images created on mobile devices: first, EyeEm announced that it has redesigned its Android app and has partnered with Uber to offer new users a free ride to let them go places to take photos; second, Fotolia has also released a new Android app—Fotolia Instant—to complement its iOS version, which allows photographers to upload and sell their mobile images via the stock site. This got me thinking: how many stock agencies are mobile photo-friendly? Or where can you buy images made on mobile devices if that’s what you want or need?

I did a little digging and a little thinking and put together this list. I’ve tried to limit it to agencies or sites that are mobile-specific, have dedicated mobile collections, or easy means of uploading mobile images. There are sites such as Picfair that readily accept mobile images, but that’s just part of its library.

Mobile-oriented sites

logo_black

EyeEm

EyeEm is a mobile photography sharing app and community that launched Market, a platform for its members to sell their photos, earlier this year. Invitations are still being issued to join Market, but it’s simple enough to request one.

EyeEm Market
EyeEm apps: Android; iOS

Foap icon

Foap

Images can only be uploaded to Foap via its app. As well as adding images to the Foap library, image-makers can participate in missions set by brands and agencies searching for more specific content. Foap’s terms of use are quite broad, which is worthy of consideration before deciding to sell images there.

Foap website
Foap apps: Android, iOS

Scoopshot icon

Scoopshot

Scoopshot expands on Foap’s model, with buyers setting tasks for photographers in order to acquire the images they want. If someone sees a news image that they think is vaulable, it can be sent to the news task. Scoopshot doesn’t go in for manipulated or filtered images; they prefer fresh and newsworthy content that meets task criteria.

Scoopshot website
Scoopshot apps: Android, iOS

Twenty20 icon

Twenty20

We took a look at Twenty20 last year and while we thought its simple pricing structure for selling mobile image files was great, the sales mechanism required some refinement. It’s still in the beta stage, but it is there!

Twenty20 website
Twenty20 app (iOS only)

Mobile-friendly agencies

Stockimo icon

Alamy

The more traditional Alamy stock agency has embraced mobile photography and its photographers can use the Stockimo app to upload their mobile images for sale amongst the Alamy library. Buyers can look for mobile images in the dedicated Stockimo collection.

Alamy website
Alamy Stockimo collection
Alamy Stockimo app (iOS-only)

Clashot icon

Depositphotos

Depositphotos is a microstock agency that sells images under royalty free licences. It has a dedicated mobile photography app and collection: Clashot.

Depositphotos
Clashot
Clashot apps: Android, iOS

Fotolia Instant icon

Fotolia

Fotolia is home to over 20 million images and it’s prepared to add mobile photos into that mix. You can find all its mobile images in its Fotolia Instant collection.

Fotolia website
Fotolia Instant collection
Fotolia Instant apps: Android, iOS

Getty Moment icon

Getty, including iStock by Getty

When people think of stock agencies, they think of Getty. If they don’t think specifically of Getty, they might well think of a Getty subsidiary. Getty photographers are being invited to join Moment, along with the old Flickr collection, while new photographers should be able to join in due course. Whether or not you want to get involved with the Getty licensing machine is another matter.

Getty Images
Getty Moment app (iOS-only)

Any other suggestions? Leave them in the comments section!

This article was originally posted at Buying and selling mobile imagery – where to go , on Photocritic.

PLEASE NOTE -- The contents of the Photocritic blog is strictly copyrighted, and this feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of this feed on other websites is a copyright infringement, so you should only ever be able to read this text in a feed reader. Digital Fingerprint: d07805f964d211dfdfe227d609f7448f

Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Business & Legal, Feature Articles, alam..."
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Thursday, 26 Jun 2014 14:26

I recently saw an article that listed sound advice when it comes to saving money when purchasing new camera gear. Amongst other suggestions, it mentioned part-exchanging your gear, buying at demo days, and waiting for manufacturers’ seasonal cashback offers. What it didn’t suggest was to buy second-hand, however. Someone did point out to me that then the gear wouldn’t be ‘new’ in its strictest sense, but I take a slightly less stringent view of the word ‘new’ in this respect. It’s still new to the buyer, after all.

I’m a huge fan of buying camera gear second-hand. Some of the lenses that I’ve picked up have been practically box-fresh, but bought at a half or two-thirds of the retail price. And it’s a small step towards reducing waste and the use of valuable resources. But buying second-hand does require you to put some trust in the seller as well use some of your nous and common sense. So what should you do? This guide has been put together using my own experiences together with advice from Campkins Cameras in Cambridge (where I buy lots of my kit) and Adorama, who sell used as well as new gear. It is of course advice, and while it’s as thorough as I can make it, it probably falls short of comprehensive somewhere.

What to buy

My own preference is for new bodies but second-hand glass, still there are great deals to be had on very well kept camera bodies. Used accessories can be picked up on the cheap, too. Almost anything that you’d like to establish or augment your photographic arsenal can be purchased second-hand, from vintage kit to barely used up-to-date digital gear.

Given that there are so many places to look for used photographic equipment, it’s advisable to begin your search with a clear idea of what you want and how much you have to spend. You might not get very far with ‘I want a new lens!’

Where to buy

How long is a piece of string? There are so many places offering second-hand sales it might feel a little overwhelming. The first places that might spring to mind are eBay, Craigslist, and Gumtree. Then there are major retailers who offer second hand sales in addition to their new business: Adorama, KEH, Wex Photographic, Wilkinson Cameras, for example. Your local independent camera dealer probably has a second-hand range, too. It’s also worth watching Twitter as well. I quite often see people offering their kit for sale there before taking it to a dealers or trying eBay.

Anyone want to buy my Holga? Boxed. I think I've put two rolls of film through it. Make me an offer.

Anyone want to buy my Holga? Boxed. I think I’ve put two rolls of film through it. Make me an offer.

All of these come with their advantages and disadvantages. Online auction sites offer you the opportunity for great deals on price, but you have to place your trust in the seller that they’re honest and reliable and that their descriptions are accurate. What you might think of as mint condition could be different to someone else’s idea; and heaven forfend that someone takes your money and doesn’t deliver the goods, or fences stolen property. The aftersales care and protections, for example returns and warranties, are less straightforward than with established traders, too.

Purchases made through established companies might be a bit more expensive than what you’ll manage on eBay or similar, but most of them have a clear returns policy and even offer a warranty on goods. These companies’ ratings systems usually afford you a clearer indication of the condition of the product you’re looking to purchase, so you shouldn’t receive any nasty surprises when it arrives. But, if you’re buying over the Intergoogles, you don’t have the opportunity to hold the product in your hand and test it out for yourself. This is perhaps the biggest advantage of local traders. I pop down and test out lenses before spending money on them and ask about a gazillion questions as well. Where I shop offer me a six month warranty on second-hand purchases, which is a great benefit.

It all depends on how confident you are buying over the Internet and how comfortable you feel spending money on goods sight unseen.

When to buy

If you’re in the market for a particular camera or lens, it’s worth keeping an eye on manufacturers’ release cycles. When new models in the line that you’re interested in go on sale, you’re likely to find a bump in people selling their older versions when they upgrade. For example, Nikon announced its D810 today; as a consequence, people wishing to upgrade from their D7100 or even their D800 or D800E will probably start thinking about selling them on soon.

Nikon's new D810 - what will people be selling on as they upgrade to it?

Nikon’s new D810 – what will people be selling on as they upgrade to it?

Taking a look at the second-hand market just after Christmas is a good idea, too. People receive gifts, they’re given money to put towards new gear, and they resell their old equipment as a consequence.

Or you can do what I do. Decide on the specifics of your next purchase, but not restrict yourself to a timescale and ring up your local dealers every week to ask if they’ve anything that fits your requirements.

Questions to ask

You might not have the opportunity to ask questions of goods being sold online by major retailers, but you can ask questions of sellers on auction sites and in bricks-and-mortar shops. The first question I always ask is ‘Why is it being sold?’ If the seller can’t give you an answer that sounds reasonable, you might want to reconsider the purchase. I ask about the original paperwork for the product, too. And I always double-check on the returns policy and the warranty.

If you’re buying via an auction site, don’t be afraid to ask the seller to clarify anything mentioned in the description, for more images of the product, or anything you’d like to know but hasn’t been covered, for example where and when it was purchased originally.

What to look for

Should be buying via a site that uses a grading system for second-hand goods, read their ratings descriptions carefully to understand the condition of the product you’re looking to purchase. Some sites won’t sell goods that don’t function normally but others will, indicating that they’re good for parts. Make sure you know the code!

If you’re looking at goods graded N or D on Adorama, these are just about as good as new and it’s unlikely that there will be much difference in the price from a brand new product. You’re likely to get a better deal on something that Adorama grades as E or OB. OB means ‘Open Box’ and it’s the equivalent of a demonstrator car: it’s been used as a display model or for training purposes.

Here are some of the things to look for, but remember it isn’t an exhaustive list by any means.

Cameras

  • Actuations – how many times has the shutter been released? Obviously the fewer the better
  • Battery and battery connectors – you don’t want the battery to have leaked or for any of the connectors to be mis-shapen
  • SD card slot – do cards move in and out cleanly and record without issue?
  • Sensor – are there any dead pixels (you can spot them by taking a shot into the lens cap and looking at it in an editing suite) or dust or oil spots?
  • Lens mount – it mustn’t be mis-shapen or have worn threads
  • Auto-focus – does it work properly?
  • Scrapes and scuffs, dents and dings – a couple are to be expected, but you probably don’t want it looking as if it were dropped down a well and dragged out again
No. You can't buy the Trip.

No. You can’t buy the Trip.

Lenses

  • Dust and spots – you’ll never get a lens that’s perfectly dust-free, even brand-new, but you really don’t want obvious dust or dirt spots
  • Fungus – lenses that have been left in dark, slightly damp conditions are prone to growing fungus. You don’t want any of that.
  • Scratches – you want a scratch-free lens
  • Aperture blades – check the aperture blades work properly and are clean
  • Zoom and focus rings – twist the zoom and focus rings to ensure they’re in full working order
  • Auto-focus – check the auto-focus works properly
  • Threads – you don’t want the threads to be stripped or in any way mis-shapen

Finally, remember the adage: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Now: happy shopping!

This article was originally posted at The Photocritic second-hand kit buyers’ guide , on Photocritic.

PLEASE NOTE -- The contents of the Photocritic blog is strictly copyrighted, and this feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of this feed on other websites is a copyright infringement, so you should only ever be able to read this text in a feed reader. Digital Fingerprint: d07805f964d211dfdfe227d609f7448f

Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Feature Articles, Tips, auction, bricks-..."
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Wednesday, 25 Jun 2014 20:20

There are three things that affect an exposure: speed, aperture, and ISO. They work in a triangle to achieve an exposure.

When you give with one you take with another to ensure that you don’t over- or under-expose your shot. In your early days of setting your exposure manually, it can be a bit tricky to remember how they fit together. But if you think of exposure as a glass being filled by water from a tap, it might help. Here’s how it works.

Aperture

Think of aperture as how much you open the tap. The wider you open it, the more water flows into the glass. Open the aperture wider and you let more light into the camera.

Shutter speed

If aperture is how far you open the tap, shutter speed is how long you open the tap for. If you open it for a long time, a lot of water comes out. If you open it only briefly, just a little water comes out.

ISO

The final control in the exposure triangle is ISO. From the perspective of our water-glass analogy, ISO could be described as the size of the glass. At a low ISO, the glass is a large one. At a higher ISO, the glass is smaller. In effect, if you are shooting with a high ISO, you need less water to fill the glass.

Equivalent exposures

Much like filling a glass with water, getting an exposure can be achieved quickly or slowly, but you’ll get there in the end. You can use a trickle of water—so that would be a small aperture—for a very long time, and the glass will eventually be filled. Alternatively, you can open the tap all the way—the equivalent of a large aperture—very briefly, and the glass will be filled.

The same is true in photography. Two different exposure settings can result in the same amount of light being recorded inside the camera.

Sunset beer
Okay, it’s a glass of beer. But that’s much more fun than beer.

How, then, do you put this into practice? It depends on what you want to achieve with your photo. If you’re looking to secure a particular depth-of-field you’ll set your aperture accordingly and then adjust the shutter speed and ISO to complete the exposure. For a long exposure shot you’ll need to think about whether it needs a small or a large aperture and a low or a high sensitivity.

Drink up!


More unusual ways of looking at things and remembering rules are in my lovely book, The Rules of Photography and When to Break Them. Available as an e-book and in a dead tree version (UK, US).

This article was originally posted at Struggling to understand the exposure triangle? Try thinking of it as a glass of water , on Photocritic.

PLEASE NOTE -- The contents of the Photocritic blog is strictly copyrighted, and this feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of this feed on other websites is a copyright infringement, so you should only ever be able to read this text in a feed reader. Digital Fingerprint: d07805f964d211dfdfe227d609f7448f

Author: "Haje Jan Kamps" Tags: "Feature Articles, Photography Theory, eq..."
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Tuesday, 24 Jun 2014 16:49

After our look at the value afforded by Pentax cameras when compared to other brands last week, Adorama has just popped up with an offer on the Pentax K-50. As much as I would love to say this was instigated by our article or was the result of careful planning, it isn’t. It’s just serendipity.

You can choose from:

K-50-packhsot-black-SD

Whichever bundle you choose, they come with Pentax AF-200FG dedicated shoe mount flash, a photo video bag in black, a 16GB class 10 SDHC card, Tiffen Dfx Essentials (full version digital filter software for Win/Mac), and 4% back in Adorama rewards.

The offer runs until 30 June 2014 and you’ll need to enter the code PENTAXJUNE at the checkout. Happy shopping!

This article was originally posted at Deals on the Pentax K-50 with Adorama , on Photocritic.

PLEASE NOTE -- The contents of the Photocritic blog is strictly copyrighted, and this feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of this feed on other websites is a copyright infringement, so you should only ever be able to read this text in a feed reader. Digital Fingerprint: d07805f964d211dfdfe227d609f7448f

Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Bargain buys, adorama, camera, deal, dsl..."
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Next page
» You can also retrieve older items : Read
» © All content and copyrights belong to their respective authors.«
» © FeedShow - Online RSS Feeds Reader