Phone tip

A phone tip today. Because iPhone.

So you want to take a clear picture of something, to post. Super clear, like this:

Then I have a few tips for you!

  1. Ensure you have plenty of light; preferably reflected light. Like at a window, but not in direct sunlight.
  2. Take the picture from some distance away rather than from very close up. Then crop. This results in an overall clearer image, because very close up images suffer from lack of depth of field, and are hard to focus accurately.
  3. Sharpen the image. I use ProCamera, a camera/edit app that costs a few dollars, but is worth every penny.

If you follow those three steps, your phone images will be better than ever!

 

Adobe again

I am helping a client re-install Lightroom 6 on a new laptop. NOT EASY! In fact Adobe is doing everything to make it well nigh impossible to not go to Lightroom Creative Cloud version.

Try to find LR 6 on the web site. And try to find a download file so you do not need to buy a new license when you buy a new laptop. I have been trying for a day. In vain, so far. In the past, you would download a trial version. Today, there no longer seems to be a trial version of Adobe 6.

And Lightroom perpetual license 6, as they call it, is not going to be updated, and it is slowly dying anyway. Look what Adobe’s web site says today, for example:

  • Due to an API behavior change introduced by Facebook, the Facebook publish service will no longer work in Lightroom 6 with a perpetual liscense [sic]. See this tech note for more details.

Also, the updater (from 6.13 to 6.14) shows this:

This sort of thing is what gives corporations a bad name. Awful corporate behaviour! Adobe, your commitment to killing LR6 an updating us al to a version where we pay every single month for the rest of our lives is noted. Your stock price reflects it; but there is such a thing as karma. As soon as there is an alternative, I expect a lot of people will go to it.

Meanwhile, I found an old .DMG I still had. I’ll use that. No thanks to Adobe.

 

 

iPhoning

Even when using an iPhone, you need to know stuff in order to take the best photos.

Like this one here (click to see it large):

Here’s Five Tips for this type of iPhone photo.

  1. Focus, if needed, by tapping the screen on the object you want to focus on.
  2. Adjust exposure as needed by dragging up or down on the screen at that point.
  3. For a macro shot like this, actually back off a little and crop the photo later. This is a key point.
  4. And most importantly, add plenty of light. This needs to be non-direct light. I prefer outside, but out of direct sunlight.
  5. Finally, adjust your crop and white balance, and anything else needed, afterward, by clicking on EDIT.

Enjoy!


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Flare.

Sometimes, you will experience lens flare, a lowering of contrast due to incoming bright light. Like here, from a recent event:

You can’t do much about this: it will happen especially with longer lenses and lenses prone to it.

What you can do is minimise it and its effects. Here’s how:

  1. Remove any protection filter that your lens has on it. These make flare worse.
  2. Ensure that the lens is totally clean.
  3. Use the lens hood your lens came with.
  4. In addition, shield your lens from incoming backlight with your hand if you can.
  5. Position yourself so as to minimise incoming backlight. As you can see in the photo, this is not always possible.
  6. Avoid overexposing.
  7. In Lightroom afterward, use “remove chromatic aberration” in the lens correction section of the Develop module.

If you follow those tips, you have done all you can!


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Coins and Uncle Bob

Photographing coins is notoriously tough. They are shiny and matte; the shiny bits can be dark or light depending on how you shoot them; they need to show coin detail without showing dust detail; and above all they are three-dimensional, not flat: to do it properly takes a lot of equipment and skill.

But you can do a lot with a little: an 80-20 rule says you can get 80% of perfect with 20% of the effort.

Let’s take a look. A macro lens and a ring flash gives me the following, for a 2015 proof quality coin.

First, the ring flash is held not quite right:

A better positioning gives me consistent results like this, for the obverse (front) side:

And here’s the reverse (“back”) side:

Not bad for five minutes work, no?

Remember that 80-20 rule. Often, you can do with “good enough”. Like when selling on eBay: perfection makes people suspect that you have simply copied a commercial picture, and hence the item pictured is not your item. So this is a good compromise: pretty good, little effort.

I used:

  1. Macro lens
  2. Ring flash (or in this case, Orbis ring flash adapter)
  3. Flash set to manual, 1/4 power
  4. White balance set to flash
  5. Camera set to 200 ISO, 1/125 sec, f/11

And Bob’s your uncle!