Tag Archives: technology

Conferences, Tradeshows, Conventions, Oh My!

3 Oct

Unless you’re shooting in some deliciously warm and perpetually sunny locale, chances are the late autumn and winter months are when you rest, recharge and revamp. It’s also a perfect time to invest in a conference to get inspired, learn some new tricks and techniques, see what kinds of cool products and gadgets are out there, and meet other wonderful photogs like yourself! Here’s our abbreviated list of conferences coming up; some are geared towards wedding and portrait photographers, but we also threw in a few others for those who want to explore outside their comfort zone.

2011

PDN & WPPI PhotoPlus

October 27-29, 2011 | NY, NY
“Get ready for the hottest industry event for photographers and image-makers, PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo, brought to you by PDN. It’s the only place where you have infinite access to emerging technology, trends and talent while test driving new imaging tools, discovering creative solutions and expanding your network. And this year PDN and WPPI are joining forces in New York City to roll out WPPI NYC, an entire expo dedicated to wedding and portrait photography, making PhotoPlus Expo even better. Choose from over 115 educational seminars and hands-on labs to expand your expertise. Come be informed and entertained, leave inspired.” (c/o website)

Her Photography Conference

November 1-3, 2011 | Grand Rapids, MI

“Be a part of the ONLY boutique women’s photography conference! With a limited number of attendees, HER PHOTOGRAPHY CONFERENCE provides a boutique atmosphere that facilitates empowering relationships for female photographers as well as the opportunity to spend time with the photography industry’s elite professionals. If you are a woman, a photographer, and you have a strong desire to grow your business and build empowering relationships with other female business owners then this is the conference for you! Our hope is that you walk away from this conference inspired, motivated and ready to take your business to the next level!” (c/o website)

The Foundation Conference

November 7-8, 2011 | New Orleans, LA
“Foundation Conference 2009 was an incredible opportunity to connect with old friends, make new friends, and hear from some of the world’s best documentary style photographers in one place! Egos were left aside, as teaching and learning flowed from speaker to audience and back to the speaker. It was a wonderful environment to push the boundaries of creativity, to critique and be mentored, and to be introduced to new ways of seeing. It is safe to say that there is no other photography conference like FC, and I can’t wait to go to the next one!” – Kate (c/o website)

2012

Digital Wedding Forum

January 15-18, 2012 | New Orleans, LA

“It’s Friday afternoon and I’m still sitting at the hotel bar reminiscing about the weeks events. I had the best week at DWF to date! Not only were the speakers fabulous… but everyone really opened up and shared a bit about themselves and their passions…. usually at the bar at 2:30am. Looking forward to seeing you all in New Orleans! – buttermedia” (c/o website)

Imaging USA

January 15-17, 2012 | New Orleans, LA
“At Imaging USA, you’ll find just what you need to breathe life into your photographic dreams—no matter where you are in your business! Art and business education, inspiration and great trade show deals await both established professionals and newcomers to the professional photo industry. It’s the convention and expo that was created with your needs in mind, so what are you waiting for? Register Today.” (c/o website)

Senior Photographers International

January 24-27, 2012 | Buena Vista, FL
“Senior Photographers International Inc., is an organization of professional photographers specializing in High School Senior Portraits. We are dedicated to bringing the best in photography and business practices to our members. The organization was founded on the principle of photographers sharing information with one another. We remain committed to that philosophy. All newsletter articles and convention programs pertain specifically to the subject of senior photography.” (c/o website)

PhotoPro Network

February 2-5, 2012 | Covington, KY
“4 Full Days! 10 World Class Speakers! 1 Fantastic Opportunity! PhotoPro Expo 2012 is shaping up to be one of the top 2012 photography conventions nationwide! The anticipated speaker line up will blow you away!” (c/o website)

WPPI

February 16-23, 2012 | Las Vegas, NV

“Last year, WPPI attracted over 16,000 attendees. This year, we are expecting WPPI to be the biggest and best event in our history. With an all-star speaker lineup and a diverse and unparalleled menu of special events, WPPI 2012 is primed for another banner year. Winning programs like WPPI Plus, Photographers Ignite and the Awards Night extravaganza, as well as helpful features like Pre-Board, will make WPPI 2012 our best show ever. And don’t forget about the amazing WPPI Trade Show, where you’ll find the best deals anywhere. We’ll see you in February!” (c/o website)

Society for Photographic Education

March 22-25, 2012 | San Francisco, CA
Intimacy and Voyeurism: The Public / Private Divide in Photography
“Photography’s relationship with intimacy and voyeurism is as old as the medium itself. From its inception photographs have been used to sustain, affirm, or remember loved ones, expressing intimate and profound connections between people. At the same time photography has offered voyeuristic pleasure, allowing the viewer to see without being seen, to take visual pleasure without risk to oneself. Rarely can photographs themselves be clearly divided into one or the other of these categories. Images become voyeuristic or intimate based on context, societal expectations and interpretations.” (c/o website)

Photoshop World

March 24-26, 2012 | Washington DC

“Most photography conferences consist mainly of one huge photography Expo with some peripheral classes on the side that require pre-registration. Photoshop World is almost the opposite. Here’s you’ll find an enormous line-up of Photoshop and photography classes on subjects ranging from portrait to outdoor photography and more that require no pre-registration (you can come and go in between classes as you please) in addition to a huge expo floor with even more bonus classes. If there’s one thing Photoshop World can guarantee, it’s that you will come away reeling with knowledge and inspiration after three short days.” (c/o website)

Travel Writers & Photographers Conference

August 9-12, 2012 | Corte Madera, CA
“The Premier Conference in the World for Travel Writers and Photographers!

The Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference has an extraordinary, international reputation among publishers, editors, and writers. This four-day Conference offers an array of writing and photography workshops in the morning, a full afternoon of panels and discussions, and evening faculty presentations. There are optional, working field trips to explore the resources of the Bay Area. The faculty includes publishers, magazine editors, photographers, travel essayists, food writers, restauranteurs, guidebook writers, and more. There are hours of informal interaction between faculty and students during lunch and in discussions that often last late into the evening.” (c/o website)

Thursday Morning Pancake Sessions

7 Sep

Source: Pancake Sessions: Video Light and Getting Ready Details Post

Tomorrow after you roll out of bed and grab a warm beverage, head over to Justin & Mary’s website to check out their next Pancake Session post. There’s a fresh one every Thursday, which promises to be interesting and informative, plus they break everything down into bite-size, easy to understand pieces. Best of all, they’re up there on the interweb for posterity, so you can visit right now and learn about everything from Black and White Post Production Tips, Branding, Off Camera Lighting, Destination Wedding Tips and much, much more.

Thank you fellow Photo Betty Susannah Gill for sharing another helpful tip with us!

Review: The WPPI Road Trip

29 Aug

WPPI Road Trip

Who:  WPPI
What:  Road Trip
Where:  Philadelphia
When:  August 22, 2011

Why?  Couldn’t get to Vegas for the largest Portrait and Wedding Photography Convention? Well, WPPI decided to make a Road Trip to select cities bringing speakers and vendors right to your hometown.

Pros:

– Avoided Philadelphia International Airport – just had to take a train.

– One day commitment only, which meant no need for an overnight stay.

– The same impressive speaker lineup – right in your own backyard

Cons: A Fellow Photo Betty, Amanda Young, and I did not win any of the awesome prizes that were drawn. We think there was a serious conspiracy…

Speakers:

Susan Stripling

I am a big fan of her work. What I appreciated about her opening was the challenge she posed to the audience on never being satisfied. The challenge was to always challenge yourself. This is the competitive edge that will set you apart. She discussed composition techniques and working to search the room, to go beyond the obvious. Her work can be found at www.susanstriplingblog.com

Dawn Shields

Dawn was able to speak about the power of a personal project. She shared her “Legacy” Album, which won the Grand Album award at WPPI in 2010. As photographers, it is important to always be growing creatively. When you can find something that is truly your own project, from beginning to end, the creation in itself is both rewarding and fulfilling. Learn more about Dawn’s work at www.dawnshields.com

Damon Tucci

Very fun and engaging speaker. I loved the image examples shown and discussion of how he used lighting. He focused on the usage of speed lights, video lights and available light to enhance your photos while shooting in the field. Beyond just usage, we discussed how to use these tools to make images more dramatic. He had great examples for posing brides and grooms to relax them, giving them a completely natural appearance. To find out more about Damon, visit his site at www.damontucci.com.

Jared Platt

In just 90 minutes, we were given great solutions to reduce editing workflow by almost 50%. His discussion identified time wasters, and how to effectively eliminate them while focusing on true post-production efficiently. I loved his teaching style and was glad that he can be found on Vimeo with quick sessions, under Jared Platt. A sample is here http://vimeo.com/24735627 and his site is  www.jaredplatt.com.

Lindsay Adler

Lindsay covered the essential concepts of fashion photography and how these can apply to portrait and wedding photography for stunning imagery. She discussed key concepts such as simple location, utilizing unique props, posing, lighting and styling. Quite frankly, I am not sure what my opinion is on the usage of props for shoots, but Lindsey was able to show and demonstrate creative ways to set a scene to make the images vivid and inviting. There were truly some great learnings from this presentation. She will also be speaking at PDN in October on Social Media Marketing, which I think will be something worth attending. You can find out more about Lindsay’s work at www.lindsayadlerphotography.com.

Tech Tuesday: Apple’s OS X Lion

12 Jul

A few weeks ago we reviewed Apple’s new mobile operating system iOS5 and the introduction of iCloud – and how they’re going to make photographer’s digital lives more streamlined. Today, we’re covering the new version of Apple’s desktop operating system, which according to Apple should be available for $29.99 – any day now.

OS X Lion – a whole new animal

Multi-Touch Gestures

Inspired by the tactile functionality of the iPhone and iPad, Apple has integrated the gestures that mobile device users have grown to love. Now you’ll be able to use the same fluid and realistic gesture responses, including rubber-band scrolling, page and image zoom, and full-screen swiping, right on your desktop.

What does this mean for photogs?

– You’re in Photoshop or Lightroom, and want to get a closer look. No need to mouse over to activate the zoom tool or hit a keyboard command, simply pinch to zoom in or out. Get a closer look in your favorite web browser by simply double tapping.

– Within an application, like a word document, or several open tabs in your browser, just swipe, like turning pages of a book, rather than mousing over to scroll the scroll bar.

– If you have multiple apps open, you no longer will need to mouse down to the dock or hit COMMAND+Tab on your keyboard to browse the other open apps. When viewing an application at full screen (another new feature we love!), it’s as easy as swiping with three fingers, which shuffles your full-screen apps like playing cards.

What you’ll need:

If you don’t already have one, you’ll need a Multi-Touch Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad to take advantage of gestures.

Full-Screen Apps

Now instead of resizing your browser windows to fill up as much space as possible to hide that messy desktop, you’ll be able to clear away the clutter and see one App and nothing else – instantly – by just clicking the new full-screen button in the upper-left corner of your app window. BAM!

Mission Control

Mission Control is simple – it helps you get all your ducks in a row and see what you have open, with a highlight window for each App. So instead of just glancing down to see my dock, and trying to recall what I have going on in Lightroom, iChat, Photoshop, Word, Illustrator, Safari (etc.) I’ll just be able to swipe up with three fingers on my trusty trackpad, and get the lay of the land. Kinda like this:

Launchpad

Launchpad is kind of like Mission Control’s orderly cousin – which lets you see a neat grid of all your apps as icons on your desktop (accessible from your dock) rather than having to navigate to your Applications folder and view them in a dialogue box. Clean, simple and right there. Functionality is the same as the iPhone or iPad, so you can:

– Hold down an icon with by clicking on touch pad to activate all the apps, and click the “x” in the corner to quickly delete an app

– Drag an app icon onto another icon to categorize them into folders like “Business”, “Post-Production”, “Games”, etc

– Swipe across your trackpad to move between pages

– Open any app with a tap or click

Mac App Store

If you’re an iPhone user, this is not a new concept. But the fact that the App Store will now be integrated into OS X Lion, letting you browse, download and install immediately – rather than buying discs (in person or online… which equals time and/or waiting) is pretty cool.

In addition to quick downloads, you’ll also get easy integrated updates, and fast, simple installation across devices.

It’s not the sexiest update – but it’s certainly pretty darn sensible. Think about the big apps. Like Lightroom. Or perhaps when you get a last minute word doc from a client and don’t see it until 1 am the night before big the event – and you don’t have the most recent version of Microsoft Office! No worries! Just search, click, download, and viola! It’s open. Maybe now the App Store looking a little sexier?

Auto Save and Versions

Sometimes I’m groovin’ on an edit or retouch, music blaring, feelin’ inspired, and suddenly remember “Oh yeah – I haven’t saved yet…” after 20 minutes of work. Then I quickly save my .psd and breathe a sigh of relief. Well, with OS X Lion, Apple’s got a fancy new update that will let me edit to my heart’s content, without having to worry.

Auto Save automatically saves your work, while you work, during pauses and every five minutes. This is what I’m most excited about – and can’t wait to see in action.

Why’s it so great?

– It saves versions within the same file, rather than multiple versions of your file (therefore saving room on your hard drive).

– If you’re editing an email or shotlist, for example, and halfway in, realize you erased something important- no problem! The Revert feature returns your document to the state it was in when you last opened it, and Versions shows you the current document next to a cascade of previous versions which have been saved. And if you just want to grab a section from an earlier version, you can copy and paste between versions.

Mail

Last but not least for the OS X Lion updates, is a fancier, shinier version of Mail that offers a widescreen, two-column view of your emails, one-click access to folders, quick drag-and-add folder functionality, detailed preview (so you glance at your list of emails and get an idea of content before opening), enhanced search, and best of all Conversations.

This new feature (which gmail users enjoy) automatically groups messages from the same conversation, in chronological order. Why’s it great? It removes redundant text from previous message threads to save time scrolling and searching for old emails and details, in an easy-to-follow, linear format. Not too shabby.

What’s next?

So there you have it – all the updates – some which are a bit more “fluff” but others that will certainly save time and make life easier when you’re on your desktop. Which, let’s face it – is a good portion of the week. If you’re interested in upgrading (for just $29.99 – it’s a great deal) you’ll need to:

1. Make sure your Mac can run Lion

– Click your Apple icon in the top-left of your screen, choose “About this Mac” and find out if it has an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, or Xeon processor. if so, you’re good to go.

2. Make sure you have the latest version of Snow Leopard

– Click your Apple icon in the top-left of your screen, choose “Software Update” to install version 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) if you don’t already have it

3. Download OS X Lion from the App Store.

– It’s not ready just yet, but you can sign up for a notification when it is.

Tech Tuesday: iCloud and iOS 5

7 Jun

Apple’s commitment to user experience, function and design was summed up in Steve Job’s opening statement at yesterday’s WWDC 2011 Keynote: “If a hard drive is the brain and sinu of the computer, the software is the soul.”

If you didn’t watch the 2-hour video, and haven’t made sense of all the articles and posts that have bombarded the interweb, you’re in the right place. We’ve got the highlights that photographers will appreciate – with big visuals* and details on how it’s all going to make your digital life easier. It’s a lot of ground to cover – so today we’re going to start with the mobile benefits you’ll get from iCloud and iOS 5.

Farewell MobileMe. Hola iCloud!

Apple has replaced MobileMe and it’s $99/year fee with iCloud, which syncs all your documents, photos, books, music, videos and app data automatically, and backs them up over wifi.


– Works on Mac, iPod touch, iPhone and iPad
– Seamlessly integrates your apps – including iTunes, Photo Stream, Apps, Books, Documents, Backup, Contacts, Calendar and Mail – so all your content is available and up to date on all devices
– Keeps your email, contacts and calendars up to date across all your devices
– Manages and backs-up your content effortlessly – no syncing required
– Includes 5GB of FREE storage when you sign up, which excludes any purchased music, apps, books or your Photo Stream

Better, faster, smarter – with iOS 5

The newest version of Apple’s mobile operating system has over 200 additional features. It’s available this Fall and is compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone4, iPod touch (3rd and 4th generation), iPad and iPad2.

Camera: Never miss the shot again

When not wielding fancy dSLR’s, chances are we’re grabbing inspiration or special everyday moments with our phones. Apple’s updates to the Camera app make it possible to capture a photo at a moment’s notice, instead of fumbling to unlock, load the home screen and then open the app.

– Access the Camera directly from your Lock screen with the new Camera button
– Zoom in and out, take a photo using the volume-up button
– Use the new Photos app editing features from the same screen to enhance, remove red eye and crop

– If you have Photo Stream enabled in iCloud (more on that in the OS X Lion section), your photo will automatically download to your other Apple devices

Reminders: A smarter way to get things done

There are tons of to-do list apps out there, each with their own benefits and caveats; I mentioned my love for Teux Deux in a recent post on iPhone apps. And it rocks. But Reminders is different. It isn’t just a simple list making app. It’s smart. Super smart. Say you need more Compact Flash cards and batteries. Next time you are near your camera store, Reminders will send you an alert based on your GPS location. How cool is that?

– Create tasks from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
– Specify due dates and locations for your tasks
– Create location-based alerts that remind you to perform tasks when you’re in a specific place
– Works and automatically syncs with iCal, Outlook, and iCloud

Notification Center: Everything in one spot

No more jumping from app to app to check your new messages, listen to client voicemails, check Saturday’s weather for your upcoming shoot or see what’s on your plate for the day. Now you’ll get all of your notifications, alerts and updates in one place, including Weather, Stocks, Reminders, Calendar, Mail, Messages and more! How it works…

From the Lock screen:

– Notifications appear right on your lock screen so you can see what’s happening at a glance
– Easily swipe any item to view it directly in the app

From the Home Screen:

– Wwipe down from the top of your screen to view the list
– Tap on an item – like a new email – to be taken directly to that email in the app

From an Application:

– A subtle notification bar appears up top when you have an alert
– Tap to view it, swipe down from the top of th screen to view your entire list, or do nothing – and quickly it disappears
– Customize which notifications you want to see and which you don’t

Twitter: Native integration for easier tweeting!

– Enter your twitter account information once in Settings, and every application and device links up
– Tweet directly from Safari, Photos, Camera, YouTube or Maps
– Add locations – no matter where you are
– Take a photo and tweet it in three simple taps; take a photo, tap tweet and send!

PC Free: No Mac? No PC? No problem!

Apple has finally cut the cord. Now users will be able to use the iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch right out of the box!

– Activate and set up wirelessly
– No more cables required; OTA (over the air) software updates can be downloaded directly on to device
– Back up and restore automatically using iCloud

iMessage: Now iPad and iPod Touch can chat too!

– Chat with friends between iPhone, iPod touch and iPad
– Works over Wi-Fi and 3G

Other Great Stuff

With over 200 new features, we could go on and on. Here’s just a few more great updates worth noting:

+ Safari reader strips out ads and other distractions for easier reading.

+ Mail now offers rich text editing and a system-wide split keyboard option.

+ Newstand lets you keep all your magazine and newspaper subscriptions in one beautifully designed spot – and organize it to your liking.

The only thing we’re bummed about – is that it won’t be available until the Fall! Good thing we have summer to keep us distracted…

If you want to check out the complete list of iOS 5 features, visit Apple or watch the video.

* All content was sourced directly from Apple’s website and YouTube page, and includes links to learn more.

Tech Tuesday: Improving Load Times

10 May

While most photographers’ websites are often built with fewer images per page and are formatted to load quickly, blogs are a different animal. We upload many photos to a post – sometimes dozens, and if those files are large, it can take web browsers several seconds to load them all, resulting in a less-than-impressive user experience, and often times, sending bored/frustrated/unhappy visitors off to another site.

Loading is time. And time is money.

The best way to keep visitors on your blog, checking out your lovely photos, reading your witty posts and getting to know you better, is to make their experience fast, easy and enjoyable.

Kissmetrics just posted a fantastic infographic on the topic: How Loading Time Effects Your Bottom Line, and found that “a one-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.”

How fast are you?

Industry standard varies, but many web developers recommend that load times not exceed 5 seconds. Obviously pages with rich content (ie. photos and video) take slightly longer and visitors will be a bit more patient on those types of websites. If you’re wondering how fast your own page loads, check out loads.in, a nifty site that offers a free test drive! Enter your URL and you’ll get:

  • The load time of your webpage
  • Snapshots of the webpage as users experience it at different intervals of the load process
  • Errors or warnings if they occur
  • A complete timing break down of all elements of your page in a waterfall chart
  • Downloadable timing results in the Http Archive (HAR) format
  • Go ahead, give it a try. It only take a few seconds. See what you get!

    How’d you do? Our site was 6.4 seconds. Not bad!

    If your numbers were a bit high or in the double digits, talk to your web developer and see what they can do on the back end to improve things.

    Roll up your sleeves!

    There’s one thing you can do on your own that won’t cost any money, and will take just a few minutes: Optimize the photos you’re uploading to your blog.

    Even correctly sized and exported at a lower setting they may not seem big, but they’re often larger than they need to be. Your best bet is to optimize them to reduce the file size while retaining quality – making the files quicker to load – and the experience even sweeter.

    There’s a few ways to go about optimizing your photos, but Photoshop is my tool of choice since I can preview each image and see exactly what I’m getting, rather than batching the whole group at one standard setting.

    Why take the extra time?

    Well, a close-up portrait of a bride and photo of the reception venue will have completely different color, information and details. And I’d rather take the time to make sure each image is fine-tuned and lovely, since they will live forever on my online portfolio. It’s a matter of a few minutes, and super simple:

    1. Open your photo(s) in Photoshop.

    2. Select File>Save for Web & Devices.

    3. Once the dialogue box opens, choose your preferred file type (mine is JPG) and adjust the Quality slider at right to make the file size smaller.

    The image window will automatically preview for you – and you’ll want to make sure to find that delicate balance of smaller size and good quality. This always depends on the image content, detail, and number of colors, so there’s no hard rule. Try 60%-80% quality, depending on the dynamic range of the image, and see what works best for each.

    If you’d like to compare different quality settings, click on the 2-Up or 4-Up tab in the top left corner to preview one or several options alongside your original. You can click each section which will highlight with an outline, and then change that specific version’s pixel preview and file size.

    4. Once you’re happy with your selection, click the Save button and rename the file (so you don’t overwrite your original).

    The image I started with (at 700 pixels wide, 72 dpi) was 512K, and once optimized, it was 183K. We’re not talking a huge difference, but it adds up quickly when you have dozens of images loading on your page!

    There are hundreds of other articles and tips for shrinking page load times; if you have any helpful ones to share please leave a comment!

    PS: One last reason to care about load speed: Google search results.
    Google wants to promote pleasing user experiences, and therefore takes site speed into account with their search rankings. The faster your load time, the better chance they will send people your way!

    Tech Tuesday: iPhone App Love

    26 Apr

    Aside from my gear – the most helpful tool I have with me is my iPhone. And I’m constantly searching for helpful apps that will make me do my job better, smarter and more efficiently.

    The problem is when you google “photography app” you get all kinds of fun, iPhone camera specific stuff like Hipstamatic or Instagram, and tools to tweak or edit your iPhone photos, but there’s very little out there that’s geared towards professional photographers. So… I thought I’d share my list of favorites to start a conversation. And if anyone out there has more – please comment and share the love!

    Sunrise Sunset Lite: FREE!*

    Great for when a client has me on the phone and wants to schedule a portrait 7 months from now. I can quickly search the location and date and viola! I know when sunrise and sunset will be – in less than a minute. Then I can pick the perfect time so I know I have lovely light.

    Pocket Scout Lite: FREE!*

    No more emailing iPhone pics with addresses to remember a great spot. Pocket Scout to the rescue! This wünderkind lets you snap a photo and automatically grabs a GPS location and street address, lets you enter a name/title, add notes, share with ease, and even gives you directions back when you’re ready to visit.

    The only thing I wish it had was a map view of locations closest to where I am (rather than a line list of each). Still, a great resource and tool!

    Dragon Dictation: FREE!

    Press. Speak. Send.

    That’s the simple tagline for Dragon Dictation and it’s spot on! I find this voice-to-text tool incredibly helpful for car rides when inspiration hits, or at a wedding when I want to remember specific details like the story behind the bride’s dress or the best man’s witty joke.

    There sometimes are slight errors – punctuation drops out for me at times – so make sure to proof before copy/pasting. You can also push to Twitter, Facebook, email and SMS.

    TeuxDeux: $2.99

    If you haven’t read it, The Design of Everyday Things is an amazing book, about how you experience and interact with, well, everyday things – and why we naturally like those that are better designed; they feel right and make sense.

    This is why I love TeuxDeux.

    Smart design, intuitive interface and simple function. It actually makes me excited to view my lists and start knockin’ things out. I tried other apps that were OK, but this one is just so lovely!

    TripAdvisor: FREE!

    OK, so it’s a travel app, not really a photography-focused app, but it’s fantastic. User-generated reviews about restaurants, hotels, sights, anywhere you want to go.

    Booking a hotel for a gig that’s overnight, but aren’t sure which mid-range hotel kayak.com served up is best? Want to stop for a bite or coffee before a session but don’t know the area well? Trip advisor’s got your back.

    Worldwide reach. 28 languages. Real reviews, photos and ratings. Need I say more?


    *Upgraded paid and/or pro versions available with more fancy features

    What are your favorite apps? iPhone, Blackberry, Droid… don’t be shy! And if you have some cool ideas to share that are Tech Tuesday worthy, give us a shout! Email info@phillyphotobetties.com and send us details. We’d love to hear from you!

    Tech Tuesday: Memory Card TLC

    5 Apr

    Fancy lenses, flash accessories and the latest dSLR aside, the most important thing in your bag is your memory cards. You probably realize this – but are you treating those little guys the way they deserve to be treated? Here’s some tips and information you may not have known… to help you keep ’em safe and cared for:

    Don’t skimp.

    Go with a reliable manufacturer (SanDisk, Lexar, etc.) and choose the best card you can afford. When I say “best” I’m purposely being vague; the right card will vary based on your personal needs. Research, figure out your budget and ask a professional at your camera shop which is best for you.

    (This can be an entire post in itself – so if you’re interested in learning more about specifics a few good places to start are here and here.)

    Find the perfect fit:

    A few big cards? Or several smaller ones? You’ll find photographers split on this one – but personally I feel I’d rather have several back-up cards and switch more often – and not put all my eggs in one basket. Using smaller cards lets you spread out your photos and reduce the probability that you’ll lose them all at once. Heaven. Forbid.

    Label ’em:

    Number and date your cards – for several good reasons. To help keep track of them, to know which cards have been used and which cards are empty while shooting, and to know how old they are. If you already have a bunch in your bag, find a taxonomy that works for you. It could be largest to smallest, fastest to slowest, ROYGBIV… whatever make sense for you.

    I shoot primarily weddings, so I began numbering with the smaller, slower cards that are “safe” for getting ready, then followed with the larger, faster cards. I know I’ll want those later in the day for quick bursts and lots of action – and when I won’t want to worry about how many shots I have left, or switching cards.

    Protect ’em:

    Lightware's Compact Flash Media Wallet (in Raspberry Pink)

    We’ve all thrown our memory cards in a pocket or bag once or twice when rushing, but they are super sensitive and easy to lose… so be careful!

    Keep them dry and clean, away from extreme temperatures or electro/magnetic currents (this includes magnetic enclosures for purses/bags) and don’t ever drop, crush or bend them. Although those plastic holders that come with the cards offer an extra layer of protection – when you’re going through a dozen or so cards – they aren’t realistic. Pick up a protective wallet (or two) to keep track of and protect them.

    Many manufacturers now have fine-tuned cards which now work in extreme temperatures and survive dirt, dust, and even submersion in water. SanDisk even has a video on their site showing how their cards pass the “Stomp Test”, where a dozen eager, energetic middle school kids go to TOWN on a half dozen cards. If you invest the money and trust in those – awesome. But being careful couldn’t hurt, right?

    Stick to a plan:

    Have a method when you gear-up, during your shoot and once you get back to your studio. Have a simple set of steps – and stick to it.

    Format beforehand:

    Always format your cards before you begin shooting to save time. This will wipe any data, images and file names – and prevent accidentally shooting with old photos on the card – and therefore less room for you to shoot. Also, it will just make life easier and leave one less thing to remember, so you can focus on capturing amazing images.

    Don’t fill up:

    Don’t shoot every last frame available on the card. Leave room for a few shots as some cards can run into issues when they are completely full. Some photographers only fill them halfway, I’ve heard of others who split portions of the wedding day or session over multiple cards to serve as a safety net, this way they have some images if a card goes bad.

    Turn off your camera:

    Don’t forget to shut off your camera before removing the card, and wait a second or two as a precaution. This avoids ‘voltage shock’ when removing it – which is less common but still a possibility. (Lexar recommends you “count to 5 before turning the power off. This will ensure the camera has finished writing to the card – especially large files – and helps avoid possible corruption.”)

    Also – be sure to keep charged batteries in your body; don’t let it run all the way down, which could result in the camera turning off while buffering.

    Heed the warning signs:

    If an image preview is damaged, your camera gives you an error message related to your card, or things just don’t seem right, stop using the card and switch to a new one. Everything might be fine, but there’s a chance the card is corrupt and not recording your shots, or that you are overwriting existing files.

    Have a Back-up Plan:

    Lexar® Image Rescue® 4 Software


    Obviously, as safe as we are, stuff happens. And when it does, you can be prepared with recovery software. Each manufacturer has their own, and includes information in your memory card packaging.

    Just remember that if you have an issue – be it an error, accidentally formatting the card, whatever – stop shooting and stay calm. Your photos might be fine. If you continue shooting, the images that you capture will override the files already on the card. Remove it from the camera and run your recovery software on it to retrieve the images.

    “Wedding in a Week with Lightroom” Recap

    23 Mar

    Last week Isabel March welcomed fellow Photo Betties to her studio to introduce us to the wonderful world of Lightroom. Some of us were die-hard Photoshop users intrigued by the hype over faster production and ease-of-use, and others had taken baby steps with Lightroom and were ready and eager to learn more.

    What a reception! Isabel and her husband Mike greeted everyone as they arrived, and there was a delicious spread and super cute notebooks with pens to jot down notes. She jumped right in and literally flew through an engagement session – from culling to editing and final export – in no time at all.

    When I heard Isabel could edit an entire wedding with Lightroom in a matter of hours, not days, I was mystified. After seeing her intuitive and efficient process and Lightroom skills, it made complete sense to me how she accomplishes it. She also shared tons of helpful tips about workflow, her favorite presets and tools, and answered any all all questions we threw at her. Much of what we learned was explained with on-screen examples, but here’s a few fantastic tips that translate without visuals:

    • Before you even begin editing, back-up your files multiple times so there’s no danger of losing anything (Isabel has six back-ups, two of which go off site).

    • Work on photos stored on an external hard drive – rather than your computer – to process faster and ensure everything is safely stored.

    • Give each of your clients their own folder within your system. Keep everything subdivided within that folder, i.e. contracts, sessions, weddings, albums and your Lightroom catalogue. It makes everything related to your client easy to find.

    • When culling and editing your images, let go of super fantastic perfection. Select the very best photos and spend your time and effort on those specifically.

    • Isabel uses Photo Mechanic for culling – rather than Adobe Bridge or Lightroom – because it renders quickly and provides clear, detailed previews of your images. First she rates the top images then exports them to a folder – to edit only those select shots in Lightroom. There’s no need to import an entire wedding into Lightroom…only the images that will be presented to your client.

    • When importing a new project into Lightroom, give each project its own catalog so that your computer can process everything faster. Save each catalog with the respective job so you don’t have to hunt to find it later.

    Courtesy: makmebel.eu

    If you’re switching over, or looking to increase your knowledge of Lightroom, here are some helpful places to go:

    • Adobe’s Learning Center has articles, video tutorials, links and resources for all things Lightroom.
    Julianne Kost is the guru of LR. She’s amazing!
    • Lynda.com is an excellent resource for online training with easy-to-follow tutorials – there are hundreds on Lightroom alone!
    TheLightroomLab.com has a wide range of tutorials from practical to fun to search and be inspired!
    Kelby Training offers online and in-person courses in Lightroom.

    A few spots to pick up presets:

    Kubota Image Tools has a bevy of Lightroom goodies including presets, a RAW workflow system, and SpeedKeys!
    Totally Rad has a set of 103 presets (including 9 for the adjustment brush exclusively), plus tips and ideas to make photos uniquely your own.
    Marcus Bell has educational DVDs and presets available, and is also donating 20% of your purchase toward the Brisbane Flood Relief.
    Cuba Gallery has tutorials and a wide range of presets.
    Flourish, PresetsHeaven and Presetopia have a few awesome presets as well.

    Tech Tuesday: The Boda Bag. In Plum.

    1 Mar

    It may seem to some of you as though we spend a fair amount of time talking about camera bags on the Photo Betties website. But let’s be honest with ourselves: we’re women! Of course we want to talk about bags! And while camera bags as a fashion statement totally interests us, it’s even more phenomenal when we come across something that is easy on the eye AND functional in the field. Which brings me to the Boda lens bag. In Plum.

    Heather and I pounded the WPPI tradeshow pavement looking for all the great new products that would make life easier in the field. And there were plenty. But behold, the Boda bag sucked us both in almost instantly. We were intrigued intrigued by its smart design, and the ability to access what you need quickly without having to take your eyes away from what’s happening. It may sound über techy, but every second counts, right?

    At the show they had two versions: The Boda V3, and the Boda V3 JR. While we appreciated the compactness of the JR (with capacity for 2 lenses – or three if you invest in the Boda Booster), we totally fell in love with the Boda V3, which fits 3 lenses. Both have sleek compartments for your flash, memory cards, batteries and all the necessary pocket-sized trinkets on the job. It’s a winner. It provides quick and easy access to your lenses while you’re shooting as well as keeps your gear safe and secure. Add to that the fact that it offers a comfortable, ergonomic waist band that cinches to your hips leaving your aching shoulders free to hang your camera harness, shootsac or any other preferred item in your bag.

    Here are some of the features:

    • Locking hinge points
    • Molded high strength Ballistics Cordura
    • Sealed weather-proof, fray resistant zippers
    • Ergonomic zipper pulls
    • Ergonomically advanced shoulder-strap
    • Retractable lens cleaning cloth
    • Expanded media wallet
    • Expanded battery compartment
    • Multi-Purpose O-rings for customization
    • Multi-function storage spaces/organizer
    • Wallet style organizer
    • Improved lens separators
    • Sleek aerodynamic design
    • Ergonomically designed pivot points
    • Superior comfort padding

    And did I mention, in addition to standard black it also now comes in a gorgeous, plum lined version? Totally sexy.

    Boda Lens Bag in Plum & The Boda Booster

    It would be insane to not mention that Boda is owned by Jim Garner who gave an amazing platform lecture at WPPI. If you aren’t familiar with his work, you should try to carve out some time to peruse both his website and the many products and workshops he offers. Based on his presence at WPPI, it would be well worth the time to check it out.