6 Easy Summer Photography Shooting Tips with Big Results

6 Easy Summer Photography Shooting Tips with Big Results

Shooting in the middle of the day is a photography no-no but sometimes, especially when traveling, you have no choice but to make the most of the harsh light. Here are 6 methods for getting better images in the heat of summer without having to carry a lot of extra tools with you. Turn Your Back on the Sky But Face the Sun It seems counterintuitive but you want your subject to face away from the sun. Light coming from behind your subject separates them from their background in a pleasing way. However, your subject’s face may be dark. To counter this, use Exposure Compensation or Meter specifically for your subject. This may overexpose your background a bit but it beats having a squinting, raccoon-eyed subject. Having a big open space behind you, as opposed to trees or dark buildings, will help keep your subject’s face bright even when they have their backs to the sun. The best combination is to find a location where the sun can be behind or at an angle to your subject while placing them against a dark background – like the very trees you’re trying to avoid having behind you. In short, a great formula for outdoor, high-noon portraits without additional tools is to have open sky behind you and the sun’s direction behind your subject, preferably filtered through darker scenery. Want to improve this even more? Put a reflector in front of your subject. The sun coming from behind them will hit that reflector and bounce that light back into the front of your scene. Seek Out Environmental Reflectors Beach sand, those creepy...
Leverage Multiple Camera Platforms with Adapters

Leverage Multiple Camera Platforms with Adapters

Recently, I completed a shoot for an article written by our own Alex Huff for 500px’s ISO blog. For it, I returned to my trusty old 5D Mark II and an even older lens: a Nikon 100mm f/2.8 AiS lens that’s at least 30 years old. For me, the results were well past what I’d expected from the setup. To marry that Nikon lens to my 5D Mark II, I used this Nikon G lens to Canon adapter. I added a lens hood I own to the setup to avoid some glare I was getting off an overhead light and this is what it looked like: As I said, the results were well past what I’d expected. Turns out, that lens was superb on my 5D and the shot of model Xela Gaerlan (below) that ended up on the blog is one of my favorites. Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve used a Nikon lens on my 5D. In fact, I wrote about this a couple of years ago. Moreover, I’ve also written in the past about using multiple lens types on Micro 4/3 cameras too. When I looked at my shooting kit now, however, I felt like it was time to visit the topic once more, especially given how much the adapter market has evolved. I own a 5D Mark II and a Sony a7S. When it comes to lenses, however, I own one Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens (which I never use) and five Nikon-mount lenses. I had a Canon 24–70 at some point, but it’s lying at the bottom of the San Francisco Bay near the...
Atomos Shogun First Impressions

Atomos Shogun First Impressions

A couple of weeks ago, we posted a few tips for folks shooting with the Atomos Shogun external monitor/recorder. I’ve had some time to put my unit through a few shoots and have some first impressions to share. Look and Feel Some folks have commented on the fact that the Shogun feels a bit cheap in terms of build quality, especially compared to the other big 4K recorder, the Odyssey 7Q. While it’s true that the Shogun definitely has a somewhat plasticky feel to it, I actually appreciated the weight savings. This thing is going to live on top of my Sony A7s, attached either with a shoe-mount ballhead or a magic arm. Add to that the fact that I use a pretty heavy Sony battery with my kit and the weight savings from going with a plastic body are even more appreciated. The plastic doesn’t bother me at all; the unit still feels solid enough for daily use, though I’m not about to subject it to a drop test. Moreover, I love the hard Pelican case that Atomos ship with this thing. It’s got cutouts for everything that comes with the Shogun, along with extra cutouts for more batteries. Features I have to say, I’m impressed with the featureset. The fact that it shoots 4K is enough of a party trick, but Atomos have packed it full of a lot of other features. From peaking and zebras to false color and vectorscopes, the Shogun is a full-featured video monitor that I’ve now come to rely on even when I don’t shoot 4K. I love having the ProRes codec (even...
5 Quick Tips for Shooting with the Atomos Shogun

5 Quick Tips for Shooting with the Atomos Shogun

We recently received the Atomos Shogun external monitor/recorder, a bit of gear a lot of customers have been eager to work with for some time now. We’re currently putting it through its paces and will have sample footage for you soon, but for now, we thought we’d put together a few tips and tricks that we’ve found useful when shooting with the Atomos Shogun. 1. Audio If you’ve got something like a Rode Videomic Pro plugged into your camera and intend to have the Shogun record the audio off that, you need to make sure the Shogun is set to do so. On the bottom-left corner of the Shogun’s screen is a small icon representing incoming audio (highlighted in red here). Tap that to bring it up, then make sure that the “Rec” button is a bright red next to the audio channel you want to record. If you’re not seeing any activity in your intended channel, check your camera; audio recording might be turned off. 2. Ensure clean HDMI output Cameras like the A7s can output not just the video signal to the Shogun, but also the on-screen menus – which will get recorded along with your intended footage. Make sure you turn those off!   3. Lock your screen Once you start recording, you can press the power button once on the shogun to lock the screen. This prevents any accidental touches from registering on the touch screen. You can also change a setting in the Shogun to power the screen down when you lock it, and save that use for in-between shots to save battery life. 4. Touch...
The Four Best Places to Post Photo Essays

The Four Best Places to Post Photo Essays

There’s no shortage of apps and services out there these days that help you manage and share your photos online. No matter what your needs are, you’ll likely find something that fits them well. The art of the photo essay, however, hasn’t had the best time finding a home. Most photo sharing sites lean towards large, full-screen images that look great, but leave little room for accompanying text. In this article, we’ll look at four services that are actually good places to post long-form photo essays. First, let’s talk about what makes for a good photo essay sharing site. I’ve got three basic criteria. I should be able to intersperse images with text. The site should still support the display large images. There ought to be a community to share with. Almost all content management systems and web hosting providers like Squarespace and WordPress allow me to do #1 and #2, but unless you already have a large following on your own website or blog, you’re mostly posting into a big echo chamber. With those three criteria in mind, let’s look at what we have. 1. Ello.co Ello.co is the much-ballyhooed new social network that has positioned itself as the anti-Facebook. Whether it’s actually going to succeed at deposing Facebook is something that’s a bit dubious, but in the process it’s turning into an ideal space for photo essays. Ello allows you to post images and text in a very linear fashion. There are no advanced tools available for layout; what you get is a basic image–text–image–text layout. This satisfies the basics of what it takes to post a...