The Internet is Awesome

Google’s Marissa Mayer was recently hired on to helm Yahoo! as their CEO, and photographers who care immensely about Yahoo!’s beleaguered Flickr photo service decided to send her a message.

The folks at Yahoo! responded with a kind of “Help us help you” message, and posted the following:

Though it isn’t exactly what some folks would have liked, it is nice to see that Yahoo has their ear to the ground and is actually listening to what their users and critics have to say.

In recent times, they’ve been facing competition from multiple quarters. Google+, 500px, and even Facebook have improved their photo sharing features. One wonders if the wonderful community that exists on Flickr will eventually fall by the wayside. As fans of the service (and longtime users), we hope Marissa Mayer does, in fact, make Flick awesome again.

Zack Arias on DigitalRev

Just a quick “You gotta see this” post for you today. The folks at had Zack Arias on their show last week. Zack, who is visiting Hong Kong for a workshop with Joe McNally, appeared on the show that he calls the Top Gear of photography.

DigitalRev does a segment called “Pro Photographer, Cheap Camera,” which last featured Chase Jarvis. Now, Zack makes an appearance, shooting with a Kodak C142. The result? Sheer awesomeness.

On the Profoto Blog

Our recent Tip of the Week was picked up by the wonderful folks at Profoto and mentioned on their blog. If you haven’t been by there, you’re missing out – they post a ton of great stuff that’s worth looking at even if you never use a single piece of Profoto gear. We warn you though – watching some of their videos will induce a pretty severe case of Profoto lust.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you…

Visit Profoto’s blog at, and check out their mention of our piece here.

Photo Finds, July 16, 2012 – Philip Bloom

Photo Finds, July 16, 2012 – Philip Bloom

Philip Bloom

Philip Bloom

Welcome to Photo Finds, a feature where we point you to some of the best photography and videography around the web.

One of the most popular sliders that we rent here at is the Philip Bloom Slider by Kessler. I was speaking about this to a customer recently and she asked me, “Who’s Philip Bloom?”

The question took me by surprise a bit. Who’s Philip Bloom? Who’s Philip Bloom? Why, he’s… Philip Bloom! How could anyone not know who Philip Bloom is?

Then, reality intervened and I realized that not everyone knows every filmmaker and photographer whose work I follow religiously. I’m “in the industry,” as it as, so I know darn well who Philip Bloom is. I explained it to the hapless customer.

“Philip Bloom is this English guy. He makes movies.”

That grotesquely understated and inadequate introduction notwithstanding, Philip Bloom is one of those independent filmmakers that everyone who’s ever switched their DSLR to “video” mode should know about. read more…

Op-Ed: Giving Respect Where It’s Due

From time to time, we offer up Op-Ed pieces on various aspects of photography for your consideration. Please note that these articles are the personal opinion of the writer, not necessarily of 

I’m going to start this post off by sharing a video created by Zack Arias.

Next up, read this post, also from Zack: “Wedding Photographers Deserve Our Respect.” Now, the video here introduces a different topic, but at the beginning of the video, Zack actually talks about tipping your hat to wedding photographers. White the rest of the video is something that you absolutely, positively, mush watch. I won’t even try and summarize it for you – just go watch and read, then come back here. I’ll wait. read more…

Ken Block Makes Your Jaw Drop

The phrase “Thing of beauty” doesn’t do this video justice.

Turning San Francisco into your own personal rally car track is epic enough (just how did they get the streets that deserted?!). Capturing the run on over 100 cameras? That’s just icing on the cake. That’s the crew just rubbing your face in the awesomeness of this event.

Photographically alone, it’s a feat of epic proportions. Ken’s crazy skills with that Fiesta notwithstanding, acquiring footage from all those cameras as he streaks through SF is kind of a big deal. All of it has to be ingested, logged, tagged, and then edited. That’s the truly incredible part – someone sat down and cut all that together.

Excuse my while I pick my jaw up from the floor.

Speaking of cool, there’s a scene where Travis Pastrana does a cameo on his dirt bike in the video above. BL’s own Emotive Image ( was shooting X-Games just a little while ago, and saw Travis Pastrana rockin’ some of our long Nikon glass.

Travis Pastrana, rockin' our long Nikon glass.

Travis Pastrana, rockin’ our long Nikon glass.

Check out the video and watch for Travis’ cameo!

Get Your Gear On With the Canon 1Dx

Get Your Gear On With the Canon 1Dx

We’ve been waiting for this bit of kit for a long, long time. The 1Dx is finally here, and we run through a bunch of the features of Canon’s flagship body. This full-frame camera is set to replace the 1D mkiV and the 1Ds mk III. We show off the high frame-rate, some AF features, compare ISO settings and give a general rundown of this exciting new professional DSLR.

The 1Dx is available for rent now at

“Bullet-Time Backflip” sequence by:

Tip of the Week – Fast and Easy Model Releases with Top Model Release

Tip of the Week – Fast and Easy Model Releases with Top Model Release

Every week, we post a photography-related tip on our blog. These tips are typically inspired by questions we get from our customers. Sometimes we might feature a technique tip, and sometimes a gear recommendation. If there’s something specific you’d like to see in this section, let us know. Email us at

Model releases are often the bane of photographers’ lives. We go through a great deal of effort to put a killer shoot together, then fail to get a model release, rendering the shoot unusable till we get one. Photographers have ended up losing court cases and jobs over missing releases or improper wording in releases, which is why it’s extremely important to get your releases in order right away.

If you’re an iPhone or iPad user, there’s a new app that’s been getting a lot of buzz from pros like Scott Kelby and Scott Bourne. Created by photographer Catherine Hall, Top Model Release is an iPhone app that makes getting signed model releases from your subjects almost trivial.

read more…

Photo Finds: Fashion Photographer Melissa Rodwell

Photo Finds: Fashion Photographer Melissa Rodwell

Welcome to Photo Finds, a feature where we point you to some of the best photography around the web. This week, we bring you the work of fashion photographer Melissa Rodwell. I’ve been following Melissa’s blog since 2010 when it first came to my attention through David Hobby’s Strobist blog. Since then, I’ve read practically every post and watched every BTS (Behind The Scenes) video that Melissa has done, picking up a tip (or three) every single time.

Let’s get one thing out the way first. A lot of photographers say they are fashion photographers. What they really mean is that they’d like to be fashion photographers but, as Zack Arias points out, just taking a pretty picture of a pretty girl in pretty clothing isn’t fashion photography.

Melissa Rodwell

To shoot fashion, you have to live it, breathe it, consume it. You have to truly love the subject and understand it. Just as importantly, you have to shoot for fashion. By those simple standards, Melissa Rodwell is most definitely a fashion photographer.

Melissa’s client list is pretty darn impressive. Among others, she counts as her clients Ralph Lauren, KURV, Mademoiselle, and Harper’s Bazaar. She has shot in locations all over the world, from New York to Dubai, and has exhibited her work in Australia and Amsterdam. She has repeatedly broken out of her role as a fashion photographer to work on personal projects.

Now, there are a lot of fashion photographers out there. The major markets are flooded with people looking for work in that industry. There are, however, two things that make Melissa pretty unique and cause her to stand out in the crowd.

The first is her sense of style and execution. Fashion photography has gotten especially bizarre (to me) of late in what often seems to be a crazy race to absolutely incomprehensible surreality. Go through the pages of Vogue to get an idea of what I’m talking about. Why on earth does a Bvlgari ad have a lion in it? It’s almost like someone flipped the crazy switch to max and said, “Hey, you know what would be awesome? A lion in an ad for our perfume. With Rachel Weisz! And Kirsten Dunst!”

Can anyone tell me what a lion has to do with perfume?

In the midst of that insanity (inanity?), Melissa’s work seems to restore a significant sense of balance and clarity. Where too many photographers resort to gimmickry, she assembles the most simple elements to create image-powerful photographs. Take her “White” story for KURV magazine (image above). Her light sources here are window lighting and some Christmas lights. That’s it.

Now, that’s not to say that she can’t gang together a bunch of Profoto lights in a shoot to overpower the sun. It’s more that she has a great sense of what’s needed to bring out drama and impact in a shoot and doesn’t overdo it.

The second reason why I think Melissa stands out in the crowd is because of her openness.

The fashion photography world often feels closed, insular, and exclusionary. People don’t often talk about it as if they’ll lose some competitive advantage if they do.

Through her blog, Melissa tears down several of the barriers preventing you from getting a good look into that exclusive world. From BTS videos and articles, to interviews with other photographers, models, and assistants, she spends a good amount of time helping the outsider construct the semblance of an idea of what this world looks like.

And if that wasn’t enough, she conducts workshops all around the world, the most recent one being in Berlin. Moreover, she has taken her role as an informer and educator one step further by releasing an educational DVD about the world of fashion photography. Priced at $249, this is an investment for those serious about getting into this field. If her blog is any indication of the contents of the DVD then it will likely be worth it.

Speaking of her blog, Scott Kelby, whose opinion I pay a great deal of attention to, named her blog in his “Best of 2011” post, calling it the best blog for fashion photographers.

Take a look at Melissa’s work on her portfolio site and visit her blog.

5 Things Worth Celebrating About the New Canon 1D X

5 Things Worth Celebrating About the New Canon 1D X

A new member is about to officially join the BorrowLenses Canon 1D pro body family tomorrow. The 1D X (“X” representing the merger, or “crossover”, of the 1D and 1Ds series) takes the impossible choice out of sports/wildlife vs portrait/landscape by being able to, seemingly, do everything!

1. Speed

The 1D X has the fastest FPS of any 1D so far (up to 14 FPS).

2. AF Overhaul

The 1D X uses a 61-point/41 cross-type AF system. Cross-type focus allows for higher accuracy in contrast detection. read more…

4 Important Things to Know About Canon’s New 40mm Pancake Lens

4 Important Things to Know About Canon’s New 40mm Pancake Lens

1. Long History of a Short Lens

What’s all the fuss surrounding Canon’s new 40mm “pancake” lens? So called because of their flat, short-barrel look, pancake lenses are primes made with thin glass and have been a convenient carry-along for photographers for over 100 years. They are an unobtrusive lens with aesthetic appeal, a longtime favorite in the mirrorless/Micro Four Thirds crowd. Canon has finally jumped on the bandwagon with its inaugural pancake: the EF 40mm f/2.8.

2. Better Focusing Distance and Bokeh

Most pancakes fall into the normal-to-wide focal range and this one is no exception. While most, especially older, pancake lenses are unable to focus down on anything closer than 18 inches, this one is able to home in at a relatively close 11.8 inches. And with 7 diaphragm blades at f2.8, the bokeh on this lens is quite good.

3. STM Enables Video Auto Focusing on the Canon Rebel T4i

This lens is certainly a great go-t0 for travelers looking to pack light, however, the technology of the 40mm is principally for video and will allow the camera to focus continuously while shooting video. The STM (STepping Motor) feature of this lens offers smooth and quiet continuous auto focusing when used with the video functionality of the new Canon Rebel T4i (for our review of the T4i, click here).

read more…

Photo Finds, June 15, 2012 – Matt Furman

Photo Finds, June 15, 2012 – Matt Furman

Matt Furman

Matt Furman

Welcome to Photo Finds, a feature where we point you to some of the best photography around the web.

The business of photography isn’t an easy one. If you’re a pro, you have to deliver – and you have to do it consistently, day after day. Even more difficult is the fact that you have to stay fresh, flexible, stay in tune with the styles of the day, and evolve with time. Few photographers can do this over any length of time.

Matt Furman, a commercial and editorial photographer based in New York city, is one of these few. With a client roster that includes Forbes, CFO Magazine, American Airlines, Billboard, and Barron’s, Matt’s work reflects a sort results-oriented aesthetic that stops far short of being “typical.” read more…

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