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The Bokeh Effect: How Sensor Size Affects Background Blur

Gear Talk

Of all the things that photographers argue about in our secret monthly meetings, sensor size and its impact on our work is perhaps one of the most heated topics that can come up. From the true “bigger is better” snobs (“Sensors? Bah! 8X10 film is where it’s at!”) to the ones who prize portability above all (“Micro-Four-Thirds rules!”), the debate between advocates of MFT, APS-C, and full-frame sensors often reaches religious fervor.

Contentious topics related to sensor size include resolution, high-ISO performance, and dynamic range, but the quality and characteristic of bokeh, or out-of-focus backgrounds, is perhaps the most fiercely contentious. While there’s no contest that the bigger sensors can clearly produce much smoother and, well, blurier (not a word, I know), it’s also an unfair statement that the smaller sensors like the ones in Olympus and Panasonic Micro-Four-Thirds cameras can’t produce good bokeh. (more…)

Calibrating your Monitor: Using the ColorMunki

Tips & Tricks

So often I hear of photographers, both pros and hobbyists , whose pictures live only on hard drives and online. If this is you, it’s time to get printing! As photographers we spend countless hours in front of our computers editing our work to create dynamic imagery that reflects us as artists. Every level adjustment and brush stroke is an artistic choice made to emphasize our vision. For this reason, it is vital to work with a color calibrated system which produces accurate color and contrast during printing and instills confidence when transferring images off-site. Here is an abbreviated lesson on how to painlessly calibrate your monitor and printer in under an hour.

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Join Us On a Paramount Studio Backlot for Cine Gear: Win a GoPro HERO3+

BL News

We’ll be soaking up the sun from our booth on the Paramount Studio Backlot for Cine Gear June 6th and 7th. Please visit us because we’ll have two brand new GoPro HERO3+ cameras burning a hole in our bag to give away! Stop by booth #34 in the New York Street Outdoor Exhibits portion of the expo and get your badge scanned for a chance to win 1 of 2 GoPro HERO3+ cameras. (more…)

Illuminating the Face, by Peter Hurley: A Review

Tips & Tricks

Back in 2011, photographer Peter Hurley teamed up with our friends over at FStoppers to create a tutorial video called The Art Behind The Headshot. That 4+ hour video more or less became required watching here at BL for anyone shooting any kind of portraiture, not just headshots. In fact, I still refer to it from time to time to prep for a new client; it was equal parts motivational video and coaching tutorial.

Now, three years later, Peter Hurley returns with another tutorial called Illuminating The Face. This is the next logical release after The Art Behind The Headshot, and Peter sent us a copy for review.

Here’s the one-sentence review: This is yet another home run for Peter Hurley, and if you happen to photograph the human face, regardless of your genre, this needs to be on your “must watch” list of tutorials. (more…)

Writing an Effective Artist Statement

Tips & Tricks

Standing consensus says that great art speaks for itself and needs no explanation but a simple and genuine statement has a way to reach out and welcome people to your art. When I attend a curated show or see an installation around town that grabs my attention, I will make sure to read the artists’ statements or biography. Taking the time to better read the intention of the artist will open the work up to broader interpretations and understanding. There are many instances when as an artist you will be asked to provide such a statement. Here are a few key points to consider while writing. (more…)

Stock Photography that Gives Back: Winners of the Call to Action Contest

Photographers
StudentStock isn’t your average stock photography site. It’s populated by imagery created by students of all ages and a certain percentage of the proceeds goes towards scholarships. Started by a couple of photography teachers, StudentStock is a launchpad for students who are creating great work but need a platform for selling. It helps beginning photographers grow their skills, develop a sense of what sells, and, ultimately, be a part of the stock photography marketplace that is often so hard to find success in. The following photographers are on that path to success. They recently won the Call to Action photo contest, put on by StudentStock with support from BorrowLenses. See their winning entries below!

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The Beginner Videographer’s Guide to Frequency Blocks

Gear Talk

Wireless mics are an essential part of documentary filmmaking. The mics are small and easily hidden from view and the wires are minimal. If you’ve seen a reality show (if so, my condolences), sometimes you get a peek at the metal mound protruding out of the backs of people’s clothes. Those are lavaliers and they are handy. They are used often by wedding videographers since shotgun mics aren’t super awesome at picking up the vows from clear across a church. You don’t see them as often in movies because people have to actually wear them (and that is distracting) but for sit-down interviews, or most TV applications, they’re great. If you’re just starting to get into any of these fields, read up on frequency blocks – you’ll impress (if mildly) your sound tech. (more…)

Beginner’s Guide to Achieving Better Flash Photos

Tips & Tricks

Using a flash gun, such as a Nikon Speedlight or Canon Speedlite, is designed mainly to be used off-camera and fired optically or via a radio. However, there are situations when time or gear restraints force you to keep your flash on the hotshoe to be used as an overly powerful pop-up flash. Here is the quickest way to take advantage of your external flash when its stuck on your camera.

Bouncing Flash off Ceilings (more…)

A Beginning Photographer’s Guide to Photographing The Northern Lights

Tips & Tricks

Dean J. Tatooles specializes in fine art panoramic landscape photography, wildlife photography, and indigenous portraiture from remote locations around the world. He also works with top-rated travel companies and fellow professional photographers to lead photographic safaris in Iceland, India, Kenya, and more. Fresh off a trip in Iceland, Tatooles and colleague Tim Vollmer answer some common questions about the eerie natural anomaly known as the Aurora Borealis. If shooting the Northern Lights is on your photographic bucket list, be sure to check out their tips below, which have been gathered from years of experience.
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The Insider’s Guide to Choosing a Wedding Photographer

Tips & Tricks

As we approach wedding season, brides, grooms, and photographers alike work to assemble seamless itineraries leading up to the big day. I have firsthand experience speaking with a wide variety of wedding photographers regarding their client relationships and have embarked on my own year-long wedding planning experience. Here are a few tips I have learned by being both the client and the photographer.
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Cool Stuff — April 14, 2014

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a recurring feature where we post our favorite links, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

Cool Stuff articles are culled from BLFlip, the official Flipboard Magazine of BorrowLenses.com. If you’ve got an iOS or Android device, you can download the Flipboard app for free now.

  • Just in case you missed it, we were at the National Association of Broadcasters last week. There were a ton of things to see, and we posted a few of our favorite sightings on our blog.
  • If you want a more comprehensive listing of what was going on at NAB, we’ve got two sites you need to go check out.

BorrowLenses’ Favorite Gear Sightings from NAB

Gear Talk

Update: We had a great time at the 2014 NAB Show! Our special is now over and done with (too bad, so sad if you missed it). To cheer yourself up, check out the new gear we’ll be hopefully getting later in the year!

1 more day at the 2014 NAB Show! Stop by our booth #12341 for our NAB Show Special: $250 off video rental orders of $500 or more. Get it before it is gone forever!

Can’t be at the show? Here’s a visual guide to some of the latest things to be excited about this year (all taken with a crappy cell phone camera – oh the irony)! (more…)

BorrowLenses Lighting Resource: Sync Cables

Gear Talk Tips & Tricks

Strobes are triggered from your camera to fire every time you hit the shutter button in the following ways:

1. Transmitters designed specifically for that strobe that you connect to the camera.

2. Radio transmitters that you connect, usually with small sync cables, to the strobe and to the camera. (more…)

Photographing the Lunar Eclipse

Tips & Tricks

Rent your super telephoto lenses now so that they arrive in time for you to shoot the lunar eclipse, which is happening next week, April 14th and 15th, 2014. This is the first visible total lunar eclipse since December 10th, 2011. The first hints of action begin at approximately 12:30AM EDT with the real action not starting until about 3AM EDT (better details below) – prepare coffee. (more…)

Visual Vitamin D: Inspiration for Spring Shooting

Photographers

Longer days, weddings, and vacations – there is a lot to look forward to in spring (unless you’re a night-photographing curmudgeon workaholic – you know who you are). Here are some inspirational images from our friends that exude “spring” to them in their own way. Hopefully they will inspire you to stay out late (or stay inside the studio – the sun is overrated anyway) and shoot, shoot, shoot! (more…)