BL Blog

Instagram Weekly Photo Challenge: BLUE

BL News

Want to get your photography featured on our blog and Instagram accounts? Each Wednesday BorrowLenses is announcing a theme of the week and you will have until the following Tuesday to submit your entry. You may already have a photo that suits the theme or you can view it more as a weekly photo challenge. Continue reading to discover this week’s theme and how to enter! This is an exciting new opportunity that we hope will get more of our users and fans showing us what they shoot. (more…)

Win a New Camera from BorrowLenses: Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, Panasonic GH4 4K Mirrorless Camera, or Canon 6D

BL News

Tired of shooting with the same old camera? Take 1 minute to enter our camera giveaway!

You could win your choice of a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, Panasonic GH4 4K Mirrorless Camera, or Canon 6D Digital SLR with more chances to win runner-up prizes, including great gifts from Cinevate, Zacuto, Think Tank Photo, SmugMug, Videopixie, and many others.

One entry is all it takes for a chance to win a brand new camera and change the way you capture the world around you. Enter now below! (more…)

Part 2: Basic Steps and Lessons of Using Tilt/Shift Function

Gear Talk

This is part 2 of a series on tilt-shift lenses. Be sure to also check out part 1: Will Learning Tilt-Shift Lenses Improve Your PhotographyJohn Cooper specializes in corporate, industrial, and commercial photography for various business communities in Texas and teaches basic skills to other burgeoning photographers. If you are just starting out, or looking for a refresher, check out his advice below. You can also read more tips for architectural photography from John on our blog


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Part 1: Will Learning Tilt-Shift Lenses Improve Your Photography?

Gear Talk

John Cooper specializes in corporate, industrial, and commercial photography for various business communities in Texas and teaches basic skills to other burgeoning photographers. If you are just starting out, or looking for a refresher, check out his advice below. You can also read more tips for architectural photography from John on our blog. Here is his advice on whether tilt-shift lenses are worth it for photographers.


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Instagram Weekly Photo Challenge

BL News

Want to get your photography featured on our blog and Instagram accounts? Each Wednesday BorrowLenses is going to announce a theme of the week and you will have until the following Tuesday to submit your entry. You may already have a photo that suits the theme or you can view it more as a weekly photo challenge. Continue reading to discover this week’s theme and how to enter! This is an exciting new opportunity that we hope will get more of our users and fans showing us what they shoot.

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Breaking the Rules to Get the Most Out of Natural Light

Tips & Tricks

In photojournalism school, students are taught to underexpose when out in the field in order to achieve the richest colors and most intense contrast possible in a photograph. The trick, conventional wisdom explains, is to bring the exposure back up in post processing. I shot this way for years and it always treated me well. I’m still a big fan of the ‘underexpose method’ when shooting landscapes and documentary stories. The technique brings out the drama of what you’re trying to capture; old, wrinkly faces look like they belong to lost souls with millions of years of stories to tell, a canyon or mountain scape appears to be straight out of a dream with rainbow-like colors and dark, cloud-filled skies seem to hover over every crevice of the earth. Depth and drama are what this technique creates  — perfect for telling stories with a ‘wow’ effect. (more…)

Prime Lens Basics and Why You Should Ditch Zoom Lens Photography

Gear Talk

Prime lenses are a not-so-secret weapon favored for their fast apertures, crisp detail, and creamy bokeh.  They differ from the more commercially popular zoom lenses because of their ability to better maximize available light and separate foreground from background with aesthetically pleasing crispness.  They also possess the power to be a catalyst for creativity since they force the shooter to be more physically involved in their compositions.

50mm f/1.8 used in two different ways.

What is a Prime Lens?   (more…)

Freelance Filmmaker Uses BL Gear for Documentary Project

Gear Talk

Jason Aron is an avid freelance filmmaker and customer of BorrowLenses. In 2013 he raised over $50,000 for the production of a documentary film project entitled Back in Time. The film that is scheduled for release in the fall of 2015 examines the Back to the Future franchise and its cultural relevance. Aron made a 3-week journey from Santa Monica, California to Maui, Hawaii capturing the scenes for his movie with gear he rented from BL. Check out what Jason had to say about the BL gear he used while filming Back in Time.

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A Photographer’s Guide to Modern Urbexing Jamie MacDonald

BL News Tips & Tricks

Jamie MacDonald is an Olympus Trailblazer who shoots nature and wildlife in the Mid-Michigan area exclusively with the Olympus Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds camera systems. He is also a contributor for Small Camera Big Picture. As a nature and landscape photographer he enjoys exploring new areas that have often been abandoned. Learn the tools of the trade to modern “urbexing” in the article written below by Jamie MacDonald. He has also been featured on our blog discussing a new light painting tool to create a successful light painted photo

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Adding Value to Your Image Archive with Keywords

Tips & Tricks

Seán Duggan is a fine art photographer, author, educator, and an Adobe Certified Photoshop Expert with extensive experience in both the traditional and digital darkroom. His Lightroom Viewfinder series provides photographers with the tools they need to effectively use Lightroom for organization, editing, and printing. 

Adding Value to Your Image Archive with Keywords

by Seán Duggan

Maintaing a well organized image archive is an ongoing project. There is always work to do, whether it involves importing and editing new photos, or organizing and culling older images. One of the most important ways that you can “upgrade” your image catalog is by regularly adding keywords to your photos. In this article we’ll take a look at some essential keyword strategy for your photo library.

Adding Value to Your Archive

Keywords not only ensure that you can easily find the photos you’re looking for, but they also can significantly add value to your image archive. That value can be something that will impact you on a personal level, for the simple reason that you will enjoy your archive much more when you can easily find a photo when you need it. Value can also be measured in financial terms, because an image archive that makes good use of keywords will allow you to respond quickly to opportunities for monetizing your photographs. The more information you can add to your images that describes the scenes and people they contain, the more potential value they have.

Starting Points: Basic Keywords

How many keywords you apply to your photos, and what type of keywords, really depends on how you use your images. A portrait or wedding photographer might only need the names of the clients, or the location of the event venue. Stock photographers or those who use their images for illustrations, may find that more detailed keywords serve them better.

In their most basic form, keywords are a way for you to find a specific image, so you should think about what words or terms come to mind for a particular image or set of photos and use those as a starting point. At a minimum you should add keywords for the location where an image was made, the event it portrays, or, if you’re photographing people, the name of the subjects. You might also consider tagging files with the client name or job number if that makes sense for your business.

Apply Keywords on Import

If you use Lightroom, keywords can be applied as you import the images (look in the Apply During Import section in the right panel of the Import dialog). I would recommend making use of this feature if all of the shots on the memory card are of the same subject, event or were taken in the same location. Even if there are several locations represented on the card, you might be able to apply a couple of very general location keywords (i.e. Europe, Germany) that work for all the images on the card. Once the import is finished you can add additional keywords to further identify specific locations.

Beyond the Basic Keywords

Once you’ve applied basic keywords, consider what other terms might be appropriate for an image of group of images. As mentioned previosuly, how you use and search for your images (or how potential clients might search for them) should be your guide in how detailed to get with your key-wording. If you photograph for stock, or just want to be able to find an image based on the content or activity pictured in the scene, then you’ll likely want to get much more specific with your keywords.

Depending on your interests, you may find yourself adding very specific keywords. For example, someone who studies historical architecture might choose to add not only the name of the architect of a structure, but also the name of the architectural style, such as Colonial, Greek Revival, Art Deco, or a name that describes a general historical period (i.e. Renaissance, Baroque, Victorian). Or, for photographs of plants or animals, others might choose to include the scientific classification names.

Conceptual Keywords

In addition to being more specific about different elements within the image, consider also how an image might be used to represent an idea or a concept. For instance, in addition to basic keywords for the location and the primary elements in the scene, a shot of a container ship sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge might also have keywords that reference transportation, commerce, trade, and the global economy.

If you’re interested in creating and marketing images that can be used for illustrative purposes, try to think beyond the literal terms that describe the scene and what it contains. What else might a scene represent? Can certain images be used to portray ideas that are connected to memory or emotion? If so, then go ahead and add those keywords to it, even if it seems like a bit of a stretch. If someone is searching for images on a stock site and they enter a term related to a concept in the story or article they need an illustration for, your image is more likely to show up in that search.

An Essential Part of the Workflow

There is no one “right way” to use keywords. Every photographer will employ them differently depending on the type of images they shoot and how they need to access them. The only wrong way to use keywords is not to use them at all, because even the presence of a few minimal keywords can help you locate images. Key-wording your files may not be very exciting but finding images fast right when you think of them is exciting (OK, I’m a keyword geek, I admit it!). Making key-wording a regular part of your workflow will enhance your experience with your image collection. In a follow-up article, I’ll take a look at specific keywording techniques and strategies in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.


Seán Duggan is the co-author of Photoshop Masking & Composting, Real World Digital Photography, and The Creative Digital Darkroom. He is on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts in New York City and leads workshops all around the world. See all of Duggan’s Lightroom tips below:

Lightroom Keywording Tips
• Adding Value to Your Image Archive with Keywords
Adobe Lightroom Tips for Beginners: Merging a Travel Catalog with your Main Catalog
Adobe Lightroom Tips for Beginners: The Island of Lost Files
The Lightroom-Photoshop Connection: Sending JPEG Files Back and Forth
The Lightroom-Photoshop Connection: Sending RAW Files Back and Forth

 

Behind The Shot: Rocking Up Close

Behind The Shot

Behind The Shot is a recurring feature where we dig deeper and find the backstories that accompany amazing photos. Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email!

Photographer/Filmer/Editor: Curt Dennis

Gear: Canon T2iSigma 17-70mm 2.8

Settings: 17mm, 1/200th second @f/2.8, ISO 400

K2 (1)

Backstory: I’ve been photographing concerts for the past 9 or so months. I usually do local photography, but managed to obtain a pass for a festival in Florida, Fort Rock. It was a really great time, and this is a picture of Korn bassist Fieldy. I hadn’t seen Korn live or read anything about them, so I didn’t expect him to be so photogenic. The entire set, Fieldy in particularly, really played with the crowd. This shot was just either perfect placement by me, or Fieldy being really cool. He got right in front of me and started playing just like this. When I was going back through my photos, I didn’t realize I caught such a great shot where everything lined up: he’s in focus, exposed, and there’s some slight flare going on which I love. Definitely a fun band to photograph, and one of my favorite shots I’ve ever taken.

Check out more of Curt’s work on his website & Facebook page.

If you like this photo be sure to share it! Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email!

8 Helpful Tips for Firework Photography

Tips & Tricks

Each year millions of people pack up their cars and head to a local destination to watch the sky light up and crackle. Firework shows are not only a desired destination for families but also for photographers looking to capture that perfect firework photo to add to their portfolio. This year we want to help you capture a special photograph by offering you a couple tricks that will prepare you for the beautiful lights in the sky on the Fourth of July.

 8 Helpful Tips for Firework Photography

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Destination Wedding Photography : The Checklist

Tips & Tricks

Being a destination wedding photographer is on the bucket list for many budding and professional photographers alike.  The industry is all about connections and referrals; once you have impressed several couples and their wedding parties, chances to be hired outside your region will have grown exponentially.  If you’ve proven yourself in terms of having a unique perspective and polished craft, couples who are planning destination weddings often bring their preferred vendors along with them.   The best method for success in this, and all facets of business, is preparation.  Here are a few tips to help you along the way if you are newly experiencing this avenue of photography. (more…)

Affiliate Tips: Creating Custom Links

Tips & Tricks

Whether you are writing a gear review, talking about a lens you used on a recent shoot, or promoting a new camera, linking to a specific product with a custom link will lead your readers to gear they are more likely to rent and increase the chance that you will earn commission. You can create your own custom links in three simple steps utilizing the ShareASale Custom Link Tool!

Sign up to become a BorrowLenses affiliate and start earning your commissions today!

STEP 1: Copy Destination URL

This is the URL to the page where your readers would land after clicking the link – typically this is a deep link to a category page, a sale page, a specific product page.

STEP1 (more…)

Bird Photography Advice from Nature Photographer David Bernstein

Gear Talk Photographers Tips & Tricks

As the weather gets warmer and daylight hours are lengthened, those who have been stuck inside for the long winter months are ready to begin exploring the great outdoors once again with camera in tow.  I caught up with local wildlife photographer David Bernstein to answer a few questions regarding his experiences. Bernstein started out using a humble Rebel series camera and over time grew into being what he calls a “photo-naturalist”, taking pictures of landscapes and creatures large and small. He especially loves photographing birds and has graciously shared a few tips for those of us looking to brush up on our skills or begin a new photographic hobby. (more…)