Archive for November, 2015

You can’t avoid them. Photography Facebook communities are everywhere now. Most photographers belong to at least one. You don’t even get a choice – people just add you to groups, and before you know it your newsfeed is just one long stream of photography chatter. And, let’s face it, the quality varies!

Becoming an active member of a great Facebook group can be a fantastic source of inspiration, support, motivation and friendship. It can be a wonderful, life-enhancing experience. I have met true, like-minded friends via these groups over the years.


I used to be a member of a zillion Facebook groups. I tried to engage with all of them before realizing that I was losing weeks of my life interacting with stuff that didn’t really add any value to my photography, or to my life in general. So, I made the decision to cull the groups that I didn’t get much from, and just removed myself without a second thought.

Out of the groups that remained, I chose just three in which to be active. These were the groups I felt strongly connected to. I had become a core member of each and truly enjoyed the people and the chats.

This left a small number of groups in which I decided to become a silent member. I didn’t feel a bond with the group, but I was still getting value from the content. Yes, in some groups, I am one of the lurkers.

I don’t contribute. I might click Like occasionally if I see something wonderful, but I don’t post, but I am not alone. In larger Facebook groups the majority of members are silent. However, you are looking and reading, this doesn’t make you any less important. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. I am admin for a fabulous Facebook group of learning photographers, and I often get private messages of thanks from members who have never once contributed to a thread. These lurkers are actually very important to me. I know they are quietly consuming the content in the background.


But there is another type of member. They attempt to engage but others don’t respond. They post sporadically in different groups, get dejected, and sometimes even defensive when their posts do not get the engagement that other active members enjoy. No one commented. No one even pressed Like.

Some will grump in silence and decide never to post there again. Some are a little noisier about it…

It is human nature to feel this way. If we go to the effort of putting ourselves out there, then of course we hope for a positive response. When we don’t get one, we feel disappointed, or even rejected. They may think:

  • They are cliquey.
  • They are unfriendly.
  • They have not accepted me.

Sometimes stuff just gets missed. People are busy, posts get buried – that’s life. However, often the reason for the lack of response (or maybe the negative response) is much more to do with you than you might want to believe.

Let’s say you have found a photography Facebook group that you like. It just ‘fits’. You feel an affinity with the other members, the ethos of the group works for you and the content is pitched at your level. Maybe you have just joined or maybe you have been lurking for a while and now you would like to enter the fold.

How do you go about doing that? Especially in a well established group?


I have seen many newbies join Facebook groups and become much-loved members within a few weeks. However, I have also seen others try, only to crash and burn. Here is what I have learned from those who manage to succeed.

1. Take your time. Don’t ask for something straight away.

I see this all the time. A newbie’s first ever post is asking for something from the other members. It might be a request for critique, or a question about a challenge they are having.

Asking for something at this point is not ideal. The other members don’t know you. They don’t feel compelled to help you yet. Not because they don’t like you, but because you haven’t given them a reason to want to help you.

So how do you make people want to help you?

2. Introduce yourself (but your life story isn’t necessary).

Tell everyone who you are, that you are glad to be there, and that you’re looking forward to getting involved. Don’t post an image. Don’t ask for anything at all.

Keep it short and sweet. No one wants to read a random stranger’s autobiography on their newsfeed, however interesting you may think it is.


3. Give of yourself and watch it come back.

If you don’t take the time to respond to others, why would you expect them to respond to you?

Find images you genuinely like and compliment the photographer, or ask them a question about how they achieved it. Photographers love to be congratulated on their work and they enjoy talking about how it was created.

If there was a question posted that you know the answer to, then take some time to craft a response.

If you can identify with a challenge someone else is having, say so. Empathize. The person on the receiving end of your time will be grateful, and they will remember.

4. Engage selectively.

Don’t misinterpret number three above. I am not saying that you should hop onto every thread gushing about everyone’s images, answer every question, and agree with every statement. People-pleasers never win. Not only would other members see right through this, but you would also have no time left in the day for anything else.

Engage with posts which add value to the group and ignore the nonsense (there will be some). Be present in interesting discussions, and frame your responses with respect and intelligence.

You will be remembered.


5. Reach out to like-minded individuals.

We live in a new world. A world where it is actually possible to have good friends you have never met in person. Making friends online can be similar to making friends the traditional way, in that we gravitate towards those we have something in common with.

Look for those people in the group. Maybe they have a similar style to you, or they seem to get your dry sense of humour. Perhaps, like you, they love to geek out on equipment specifications, or they are struggling with the same issues that you are.

Connect with them within the group at first (in a non-stalker way) then later send them a friend request.

6. When posting or commenting, consider motive, wording and tone.

So let’s say you have done everything in numbers 1-6 above. Now your fellow members are much more likely to respond positively to you! They have seen your name pop up for some time now, alongside your considered comments. Maybe they have even been on the receiving end of some of your genuine praise.

They still have to feel inclined to engage with you though. Your motive, wording and tone will all contribute to whether other members interact positively with you.

That, however, is a whole other article…


Do you belong to a Facebook photography group? What makes you decide whether to become a part of that group, whether to remain a lurker or whether to leave?

The post How to Get the Most out of Membership in Facebook Photography Groups by Julie Christie appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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We’ve all seen family photos where everyone is happy, kids are smiling, and the whole brood looks like they are having the time of their lives. Photos like this seem so natural that it’s easy to think they required almost no work at all, when in reality the photographer was likely working like crazy behind the scenes trying to get the perfect pictures.

Shooting photos of adults is one thing, but working with kids brings a whole new set of challenges to the table. Whereas adults generally take directions and respond to requests, kids can be running all over the place, and getting kids to cooperate can be a bit like trying to herd cats. If you have ever had an experience like this, or if you are thinking about getting into family photography, here are four tips for photographing kids that might come in handy.


These usually help when I’m doing a family photo session, and if you struggle when taking pictures of kids, some of these tips might be just the ticket for that elusive perfect photo.

Get to know the children

Anyone who has spent time doing family photos already knows this rule, but I have seen plenty of photographers fail to get the shots they were aiming for, because they did not do this simple initial step. The first thing I do when taking family pictures is spend a few minutes getting to know the kids. I ask them what their names are, their age or year in school, and have them tell me a little bit about their lives. Ask them specific questions, otherwise you’ll get answers that are too general and unhelpful. “Do you have pets? What are their names? What’s your favorite kind of ice cream? What’s your favorite movie?”


By learning a bit about these kids they felt more comfortable working with me and I got much better pictures as a result.

Don’t stop there though. Use these first few minutes as a chance to build a relationship with the kids, and tell them a bit about yourself too, so they see you as a friendly photographer, and not a scary adult with a giant camera lens. One trick to doing this is answering the questions you pose to them after they have had their turn. I like to get a little goofy and set a fun tone for the shoot by giving fake answers that usually make kids laugh. “I’ve got a pet iguana named Mr. Pickles. I like peanut butter and green bean ice cream.” You might feel a bit silly doing this, but it accomplishes two very important things:

  1. It helps establish a relationship and sense of trust between you and the kids, making them much more likely to cooperate during the rest of the session.
  2. It shows the parents that you care about their kids, which can make all the difference between a successful shoot, and a series of awkward moments that will haunt you for weeks.


Have them bring something special

Once you have a foundation built with the little ones, it’s time to actually take some pictures. This can be a little difficult because kids aren’t used to doing things that you usually want them to do when taking photos. You might have a specific pose or composition in mind, but the kids would much rather be running around or climbing trees.

One of my favorite tricks is to have children bring artifacts from their own lives such as books, stuffed animals, or a favorite toy. Not only will it give them something on which to focus their attention during the photo shoot, but it gives you something you can talk about to build a good working relationship for your brief time together. Have them tell you a bit about their stuffed animal, ask if you can read a few pages from the book, or spend a minute playing with their toys together.

It may seem silly to have thousands of dollars of camera gear sitting idle while you and the kids are pretending to play house with stuffed bunnies, but think about the big picture (ha!) here: by doing this you are sowing the seeds for a successful session and impressing the adults at the same time. And that can be worth a lot when they call you for more pictures in the coming years.


This boy’s grandfather told me this was his favorite photo of his grandson, partially because of the book which was a family favorite.

Take some information and twist it

One of my favorite tactics to get kids to smile and laugh, is taking something they already told me when I was getting to know them, and asking about it later on, but with a twist. I purposely get some basic facts incorrect.

If a little girl brought along her favorite toy truck, ask her about her airplane. “It’s not an airplane, it’s a truck!” she will often reply with a huge grin. If a boy told you he is five years old, ask him how he likes being seven. When he corrects you, tell him you’ve always been bad at math so you might keep forgetting.

My favorite trick is to make up my own words. A couple of kids brought their well-worn copy of the children’s classic Green Eggs and Ham, but when I talked with them about it I pronounced it Green Freggs and Fram. These little intentional screw-ups almost always make the kids laugh and smile, and it also gives them a chance to teach you something in return, which kids almost always like doing. Let them correct your mistake and show you how to do it properly, and they will start to feel like they have a true back-and-forth relationship instead of seeing you as just another adult bossing them around. In doing so you will find the kids to be much more cooperative when you really do have instructions for them to follow.


Embrace the absurdity

As adults we have all too many inhibitions when it comes to expressing ourselves. We worry about what people will think, how our clothes look, and what everyone around us is doing, and as a result we generally don’t like to make waves, cause a ruckus, or deviate from the norm. Most kids have no such filters, and the results can make for some hectic and stressful photography sessions – if you let it. If you’re the kind of photographer who relishes control and order, perhaps photographing kids is not your particular cup of tea. If you can learn to accept the absurd serendipity of kids, you will not only get some better photos as a result, but you and your clients will have a much better time as a result.


This girl was so bubbly that she rarely stood still, and by embracing her goofiness I got some pictures that her parents were thrilled with.

Rather than telling kids what to do and how to pose, let them just be themselves and capture pictures in the moment. Shots of them playing, goofing around, and jumping on each other might not be what you had in mind initially, but these are the kind of pictures parents, family, and friends often enjoy the most. If your clients do want some specific poses try to get them done first, and then let the kids have fun and loosen up a bit.


“Mr. Ringsmuth, can we take some photos in a flower pot?” “Sure boys, why not?”

One point to remember is that you’re not just taking pictures but creating and capturing memories. Months down the road when clients show your photos to their friends and family, they will often discuss the photo session itself, and how you treated them and their kids. Even if your photos are stunning, your clients will often sour the moment with a bit of commentary about you as an individual. “Yeah this photo is nice but the guy who took it was such a jerk! He practically yelled at our kids to get them to smile.” You want them to be saying things like “We are so happy with the pictures, and our kids had such a fun time with the photographer. She really connected with them and made them laugh.” Not only are your clients more likely to appreciate their pictures, they will be more willing to book future sessions with you, and sing your praises to their acquaintance,s which will often lead to more customers.

What about you? What are your favorite tips and tricks for taking pictures of little ones? Share your thoughts in the comments below, along with any examples of your favorite kid photos.

The post 4 Tips for Connecting and Photographing Kids More Naturally by Simon Ringsmuth appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Some photographers are very inefficient when it comes to shooting in a portrait location. They will take a photo here by this tree, then move over to another tree, then by the pathway, and one at the rock. Then they can’t figure out where to shoot next, because they’ve already used every “backdrop” they can see in that area, and they only have a handful of shots to show for their efforts.

I’d like to share a few tips with you for using your locations fully and completely, without leaving any leaf, tree, stone, or pose unturned. You’ll speed up your sessions, and get a lot more useable photos by adopting these habits.


First, find a background that you like. Look for good light, elements that frame your subject, colors that complement, something to lean or sit on, etc. Once you’ve found a spot or background to start with, use it completely and quickly before you move on to a new spot.


I’ve created a few lists that can help you remember all the ways that you can pose your subject(s), and use a background fully, before you move on. Use these ideas to create your own list that you can carry with you until “wearing each spot out completely” becomes second nature.

All subjects with any background

  • Standing
  • Seated
  • Smiling
  • Serious
  • Laughing
  • Looking away
  • Close-up
  • Far away
  • Portrait (vertical) orientation
  • Landscape (horizontal) orientation
  • Full body
  • Head shot
  • With a prop
  • Without a prop
  • Unexpected composition (such as subject on the very edge of the frame, subject centered right in the middle, etc.)


Families, couples, or groups with any background

  • All looking at the camera  and smiling
  • Looking at each other
  • Hugging
  • Laughing
  • All sitting
  • All standing
  • Some sitting, some standing
  • Parents
  • Kids
  • Boys
  • Girls
  • Parent with child
  • Individual portraits of each family member
  • Couple hugging facing each other
  • Couple hugging, one behind the other
  • Holding hands
  • Walking towards you
  • Walking away from you


Individual with trees or walls (something to lean against)

  • Shoulder leaning on a wall or tree
  • Back to the wall or tree, looking at the camera
  • Hand to the tree or wall
  • Head leaning on the tree or wall
  • Arms folded
  • Hands in pockets
  • Hand on hip
  • Sitting against the tree or wall
  • Any of the above, looking away from camera
  • Funny/silly looking around tree or wall


If you move quickly through each of these poses, your subject won’t feel like she’s stuck in one place forever, but you will have so many options to choose from when you are sorting through the photos later. You might not choose to edit every pose, in every location. But, you may find as you go through the photos later, that you really like the serious face in one location, and you really love the close-up in a different location. Shooting so many options in each location at that moment gives you that choice, instead of being stuck with the one and only option you thought of in that moment.


Some of your photos may end up looking very similar to each other, but you may decide that you really like the full body pose better than the tighter shot. If you had only shot that location with a cropped pose, you wouldn’t have that option. Alternatively, if you don’t shoot a cropped-in pose at that time, youhave the option to crop it later, but you will lose photo quality by cropping it the file smaller.


As you learn to use each location fully, you will find that you can get many more useable photos in much less time, with less effort, and in locations that you might not have even noticed before. One tree and one person could be one photo, or it could end up being a hundred photos if you are extremely creative and efficient.

Give yourself a challenge to figure out at least 10 different photos in one location spot, and share a couple of your favorites in the comments! I’d love to see what you come up with.

The post Getting the Most Out of Each Portrait Location Spot by Melinda Smith appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Lightroom quiz lead image

New Lightroom users often get into trouble because of a lack of understanding as to how Lightroom works. Unfortunately the result of these misunderstandings is often that their precious photos are lost, either permanently or temporarily. When you are new to Lightroom it can help if you understand some basics about how Lightroom works to ensure that your precious photos are safe.

Here’s a quick five question quiz to see if your photos are safe in your hands.

Question 1: True or False?

Lightroom stores a copy of your photos for you. When you delete a photo from Lightroom even if you opt to delete it from disk, the original is still safe.

What happens when you select to Delete from Disk in Lightroom

Answer: False

Lightroom simply keeps an record of where your images are on your hard disk. It does not actually store any images. So, if you remove a photo from Lightroom, and when prompted select Delete from Disk, then then you’re deleting the original of that image. If that was your only copy you’ll have deleted that forever.

Question 2: True or False?

You have deleted all the photos from a folder inside Lightroom. This means that there are no photos left in that folder so it’s safe for you to open Finder or Windows Explorer and delete the folder itself.

Is an empty folder in Lightroom really empty?

Answer: False

Lightroom can only handle photo and video file formats. Even if you delete all the photos and videos from a folder in Lightroom there may still be other files in that folder that Lightroom can’t handle, such as PDF files, Microsoft Word, Excel and Quicken files. You cannot know that a folder is empty of files unless you check it by opening it in Finder or Windows Explorer.

Question 3: True or False?

Your photos are safe because every time you see a prompt to backup Lightroom you always click to do so.

Does Lightroom backup your photos when you select to Backup?

Answer: False

When you choose to backup upon exiting Lightroom, all you’re doing is backing up the Lightroom catalog, NOT your photos. Your photos are never backed up by Lightroom, so you will need to set up some other routine for backing up your image files. Also note that, in most cases, Lightroom saves the catalog backup on the same drive as the original catalog is stored so, if your drive crashes, you’ll lose the original catalog and all backups – so make sure you change it to save the backup on an external drive. (Note: you can only do this in the dialog box above when it pops up)

Question 4: True or False?

When you make changes to a file in Lightroom those changes are written to the file so, if you open the file in Bridge, Photoshop or some other graphics program you will see the image as it was edited in Lightroom

Are edits always saved to your Lightroom files

Answer: Not necessarily True

Whether or not the changes that you make to a photo in Lightroom are written to the photo files will depend on how your Lightroom preferences are configured. Choose Lightroom > Catalog Settings (Edit > Catalog Settings, on the PC) and select the Metadata tab. There are two settings of concern here: Include Develop settings in metadata inside JPEG, TIFF, PNG, and PSD files and Automatically write changes into XMP – for the edits you make in Lightroom to be written to the files themselves, both checkboxes should be checked.

Question 5: True or False?

You have moved or renamed some folders on your drive which contain photos. When you next open Lightroom you see that Lightroom can’t find those photos any longer. You must now reimport those photos into Lightroom.

how to resolve issues where you changed files outside Lightroom

Answer: False

When you move or rename folders outside Lightroom it is true that Lightroom will report the images as missing. However, instead of importing the images again, you simply need to tell Lightroom where the images now reside. To do this, click the exclamation mark icon, and choose Locate. Navigate to the folder that you renamed or moved, and select the image that matches the one that was missing (you need to find the exact image that was marked as missing). Click the image, and make sure that the Find nearby missing photos checkbox is checked, then click Select. The Lightroom catalog will be updated with the new location of the image and any other images that are in close proximity to it.

Note: You can also do this by right-clicking on a missing folder in the left panel of the Library module. Then navigate to find the entire folder and relink it to Lightroom.

In future, it is best to move images and folders, as well as rename folders, inside Lightroom. Changes such as this, that you make inside Lightroom, are written to your drive automatically. The benefit is that when Lightroom makes the changes, it always knows where your photos are, and won’t report them as being missing.

How did you do?

If you answered any of these questions incorrectly, your lack of understanding of how Lightroom works might be putting your photos at risk. Spending some time learning how Lightroom operates will help you keep your photos safe.

Now if you got all these questions right and if you are a Lightroom expert – what questions would you ask of a new user to help them keep their photos safe? We invite you to pose these as True/False questions – but remember, to help folks out – you should give them the answer, as well as pointing them in the direction of keeping their photos safe.

The post 5 Questions to Help You Make sure Your Photos are Safe Inside Lightroom by Helen Bradley appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Hands on With the Fujifilm X100T

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I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner, but after being bombarded by gushing hype about mirrorless cameras for years, I finally broke down and bought one.

It’s hard for photographers to buy a camera these days. There are so many good options, and it can be difficult to pull the trigger, knowing that some manufacturer’s new model just might be the Holy Grail.

I debated at length as to which direction to go with my next camera. Sony has the nice full frame bodies, Olympus has the petite and swanky OM-D and Panasonic has a couple nice models, but they are geared a little more towards video than I care for.

Eventually, I decided that Fujifilm was going to get my money. At first, the X-T1 started to win me over. The technical specs seemed to tick many boxes: the weather-sealed body is a big plus, along with several high-quality weather-sealed lenses to accompany it, not to mention the classic retro look.

x100t sample image

The X100T’s simplicity is easy to fall in love with.

The problem was that I didn’t really want to add a whole other camera system to my current Nikon kit. I could use my Nikon lenses with an adapter, but that kind of defeats the purpose of going with a smaller system. So after figuring out exactly what I intended to use the camera for – travel, portraits, a little landscape and to accompany my D800 during shoots– I settled on the Fujifilm X100T.

If you’re not familiar with it, the X100T is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, with a fixed 35mm lens, APS-C sensor, and a bunch of nice features.

First Impressions

There’s no doubt about it, it’s a sexy looking camera. To tell you the truth, that means very little to me in the end – we all know that a sexy camera does not necessarily equal sexy photos.

x100t sample image

Images straight out of the camera often look great and need little post-processing.

I immediately liked the size of it, and weighing in at only 440 grams (about a pound), there is no excuse to ever leave it at home. However, the feel in the hand is somewhat unrefined. There is the tiniest of nubs to get your right-hand middle finger wrapped around for grip. I bought the camera with a low-profile, more pronounced grip that also protects the bottom of the camera – probably a necessity for many.

It feels solid and of high-quality build. The shutter speed and exposure compensation dials are stiff, which is good, so it isn’t always spinning around when you don’t want it to. I wish I could say the same of the rear thumb dial which feels very plastic-y and has almost no resistance. The on-off switch also has almost no resistance as well, which results in the camera constantly ending up in the On position draining the tiny battery.

Shooting with the X100T


I popped in a memory card and battery while sitting in a coffee shop, fired up the camera, and took a few shots.

Surprisingly (to me at least) the camera had a hard time finding focus in the not-so-dimly-lit shop. It slowly searched several times before the autofocus locked on. I thought maybe the settings just needed to be tweaked, but after a few months of shooting with it, I’ve found the autofocus to be a bit slow and it needs a ton of contrast to find focus.

Switching on macro mode allows you to get 10 centimeters (about four inches) from your subject, which is pretty good. On the downside, images have a severe lack of sharpness while shooting wide open in macro mode. Facial recognition is hidden in there, and does a great job.

x100t close focus

The X100T’s close-focusing allows you more latitude for creative compositions.

Set to manual focus, the camera offers you the option of a zoomed focus peaking feature, to help you nail sharp images. I find the focus ring to be too unresponsive and it seems to take way more twisting than necessary to adjust the focus – definitely impractical for moving subjects.


The X100T gives you the option of composing the image through a rear LCD display, straight through the viewfinder, or with the electronic viewfinder (EVF). The rear LCD is stunning and functions really well in low light, showing minimal noise. The EVF features a small inset image, that can be toggled off or on, which shows a magnified portion of the shot for focus confirmation – pretty slick.

Exposure Control

One thing I really love about this camera is the fact that it has both a built-in neutral density (ND) filter, and an electronic shutter that can shoot at 1/32,000th of a second. This gives you the ability to shoot at wide apertures under bright conditions without overexposing the image. The tricky thing is that you can’t use the on-camera flash, or the hotshoe as a trigger, with the camera set to either electronic or electronic+mechanical shutter modes.

x100t neutral density filter

The combination of a built-in neutral density filter and an electronic shutter allow to shoot at wide apertures in bright conditions.

I’m a big fan of the exposure compensation dial front and center, and use it often.

If you are using the X100T in Manual or Aperture Priority mode, you’re going to have to fumble around to get ahold of the aperture ring, which is right up against the body. It has two little nubs which aim to assist, but unless you have dainty little fingers, you are likely to have difficulty here. There is a spot on my wish list for the ability to adjust aperture with the rear dial instead of on the lens.

Noise, contrast, and color saturation/rendition are all fantastic well into the ISO 3,200 range. I mainly shoot with a Nikon D800, which has stellar low light capabilities, and in comparison, the X100T really holds its own; in truth, it’s better than I expected.

x100t low light example

The X100T handles low light situations with ease.

Image Quality

The X100T simply takes beautiful images.

x100t sample image

Images taken with the X100T seem to always have a pleasing look to them.

The way that the camera records the information, and processes it, (and it appears that even the raw files are processed to some extent) yields very pleasing results. There’s a type of dreamy, silky look, to the images that is very subtle but works.

I always shoot in RAW, and will sometimes play around with the camera profiles in Lightroom (although I never use them in-camera). The Provia setting – a nod to Fuji’s infamous color film – works really well for some photos, and even their version of Kodachrome (Classic Chrome) can be attractive.

provia profile sample image

Although I’m usually not a fan of in-camera filters, I have a soft spot for the Provia profile.


I had reservations about buying a fixed lens camera. However, I have found that the simplicity of the Fuji X100T leaves you no choice, but to focus more on composition.

My strongest motive to acquire a camera like this, was to have something that I wouldn’t think twice about bringing with me when I walk out of my house. By no stretch of the imagination is the X100T a replacement for my D800, but it compliments it brilliantly.


  • Compact and lightweight
  • Above average image quality
  • Impressive list of practical features
  • Great low-light performance
  • Built-in neutral density filter
  • Flash sync speed up to 1/4000th of a second
  • Fantastic results using the built-in flash
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Built-in RAW converter
  • Can charge the battery in the camera


  • Short battery life
  • Sensitive on/off switch
  • Aperture ring difficult to adjust
  • Some controls are unresponsive when first turning on the camera
  • Video quality is laughably bad
  • No weather sealing

In the end, I have no regrets buying this camera. On one hand I feel that a camera as this price point should have faster and more accurate autofocus, and I hope to see the slow startup issue fixed in a firmware update. On the other hand, I have found the positives far outweigh the negatives, and I am really looking forward to shooting more this great little camera.

Do you have an X100T? How has your experience been with this camera?

Would you consider getting a camera like this? Why or why not?

The post Hands on With the Fujifilm X100T by Jeremie Schatz appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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27 Images Around the World of Circles

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Shapes can be seen everywhere, in everything. Look closer to find the circles in these images:


By sama093

Michael Orth

By Michael Orth


By novofotoo

Abbey Hambright

By Abbey Hambright

Richard Walker

By Richard Walker

Steve Johnson

By Steve Johnson


By magdalena

Joakim Berndes

By Joakim Berndes

Yamanaka Tamaki

By Yamanaka Tamaki


By J J

Bob Farrell

By Bob Farrell


By Wasile

Simon Harrod

By Simon Harrod


By fleetingpix

Ben O'Bryan

By Ben O’Bryan


By Catface27

Davide D'Amico

By Davide D’Amico

Sonny Abesamis

By Sonny Abesamis

Darlene Hildebrandt

By Darlene Hildebrandt


By tanakawho

William Warby

By William Warby

Hernán Piñera

By Hernán Piñera

Susanne Nilsson

By Susanne Nilsson

Bryon Lippincott

By Bryon Lippincott

Thomas Hawk

By Thomas Hawk


By TheGiantVermin

Karl Reif

By Karl Reif

The post 27 Images Around the World of Circles by Darlene Hildebrandt appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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As a mother to three little ones, I can say without any doubt nor a moment’s hesitation, that my kids are my most difficult subject – ever. My usual tips and tricks with other families, simply do not work with my own kids, and I have to employ new strategies along with controlling my own emotions. So yes, I do fully understand, despite my profession, the despair and frustration many of you parents go through when capturing photos of your very own children.

But, fear not! Below are my top five tips for taking the stress out of photographing your own children.

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1. Prepare yourself mentally

Keep your expectations realistic so that even if only one photo comes out decent, you can consider the shoot a success!

2. Plan the photoshoot

Plan the shoot in advance – a long way in advance. The first step in planning is visualizing the photoshoot. Schedule the shoot in your diary. Do mental and physical preparations weeks before; raid the wardrobes to see what clothes the kids can wear, accessories they can use, what might you need to buy to add to the clothes if necessary. Decide which areas of your home you want to use for the shoot, and choose well-lit one, or if you are going to the local park plan the spot ahead of time. What toys and props, if any, can they play with that goes with the tone and colour of the shoot – for example favourite teddy, lego, craft sets, etc?

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3. Talk about it with your kids – also way in advance

Chat informally to your kids about it far in advance, so they know it is happening at some point, and will not be taken by surprise. Slip it in conversation casually like it’s no big deal (of course it’s a huge deal) and that you are going to have some fun during the photoshoot.

4. On the day of the shoot

Leverage novelty and adventure.

If doing the shoot in your garden or patio set it up nicely so it’s a novelty. Keep it a surprise too, so you can capture their excitement. Use a tent for example or some buntings or teepee. Or better yet, take them to your local park for a little adventure or picnic. The important thing is to make the photoshoot a special experience for them.

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De-clutter if doing the shoot in your home

Clear and prepare the areas you want them to sit in so they are free of clutter, and other objects you don’t want to be in the photos. Choose a spot with ample natural light, somewhere next to a window for example. Put some favourite toys in a bag nearby. Get your camera settings ready and put your camera to one side. Make a clear space where you want your child to sit, and a clear space for yourself as well. Take out one toy from the bag you have already prepared, and put it in the space for your child. Invite your child to play with it.

Look towards the light

Make sure your child is either facing the light, or that at least half of their face is in the light. Whatever camera you use, especially if you are not using manual mode, the more light there is – the less the chance of getting blurry photos. If you shoot in semi-automatic mode (such as Aperture or Shutter Priority), just make sure you set a minimum to your speed so that it’s fast enough, at 1/125th or higher to avoid blurry photos. You can also bump up your ISO to make your camera more sensitive to light. If you can change your aperture, change it to a low number (larger opening) such as f/3.5 or lower, so you let in more light and also get the blurry background effect.


It’s always nice to have a mixture of candid shots, and portraits, and your child need not smile at all. Steer clear of making them say “cheese”, as that almost always gets a fake-looking smile. Trying to get a genuine smile or laughter captured on camera isn’t always easy.

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With younger children five and under, singing their favourite tunes and rhymes work well. If you have someone with you, get them to do silly things like crazy dancing, making bunny ears with their fingers behind your head, playing peek-a-boo and making toys dance behind you to some silly singing. The noisier, the sillier, the crazier – the better.

With older kids, talking about things they find hilarious is the key. Get in close so you can capture those expressions, the gappy teeth, the precious look in your child’s eyes. Ask them about their favourite activities and things that they LOVE, and you see those eyes begin to sparkle as they start talking candidly.

Use flash or a reflector if shooting backlit

If you want to shoot with a backlit effect so that your child is facing away from the light, you will need to use a flash or a reflector, otherwise you will end up with a silhouette. If there is some clear profile of the face or outline, a silhouette could be a very nice photo too.

Direct your flash

If there is not much light available, turn your camera’s flash on, but stick a card around the flash so that it directs the flash somewhat sideways, rather than firing the flash straight on which flattens the face and creates harsh shadows under the chin and jawline. Directing the flash provides light and shade. Bouncing the flash upwards or backwards gives you a natural look, as you are just using the flash as a little fill-light.

Take time to play

Play a little game with your child, talk, cuddle, create a relaxed atmosphere. Take some photos while your child is playing with the toys you have prepared. Interact with your child so you get photos of your child looking at you, as well as looking away, which are great candid shots.

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Top tip: give your child an activity and make your child laugh. Be mindful of your child’s attention span.

The younger your child is, the shorter the attention span. Don’t offer all the toys at once. Stick to one area for a quick photoshoot, or if your child gets bored take the adventure into another spot nearby, and start fresh but keep that quick too.

If your child has had enough, it’s probably better to stop and continue another day. In my experience, the ages between one and three years are the most difficult time to get clear, sharp, and good photos of your own children. But don’t forget to take a snap or two of those pouts and long faces – the images may come in handy at their wedding reception many years down the line, as well as being a special memory.

5. Celebrate!

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Have some snacks and little treats ready so you can celebrate afterwards. Even if you only manage to get ONE decent photo, it’s always good to celebrate. It makes the photoshoot a positive experience and will work in your favour at your next photoshoot. If you ended up with nothing, still celebrate that you had some play, snuggle, and cuddle moments together.

If the shoot does not go well at all, well there is always a next time…

Do you have any photos of your kids, or some other tips and tricks that have worked well for you? Please share in the comments below.


The post 5 Tips for Photographing Your Own Children Stress-Free by Lily Sawyer appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Tips for Creating Outdoor Portraits

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On now at Snapsdeals is Wayne’s ebook: Portrait Tips and Techniques: Timeless Portraits. Sale ends December 8th (2015) get it now and save 20%.

These tips are a follow-up to my previous article about 6 Tips for Taking Better Natural Light Classic Portraits, and the process of creating simple posing and composition for outdoor portraits. To me, these things are what refines a portrait. You can have the perfect lighting conditions and location, but if the subject looks awkward or the composition is unbalanced, the image will fail aesthetically.

Each of these images will give you some tips and understanding of the creative process for creating outdoor portraits:

#1 – Creating back-view portraits


Creating interactive back-view portraits is fairly easy. In the portrait above I asked the two older boys to put their hands in their pockets, and start walking slowly in a specific direction. Of course the youngest one followed and mimicked his big brothers.

Ideally you want to get your subjects to talk to each other while walking and watch for the unexpected reactions. Getting them to talk about sports, school holidays or any interests they have, will make them more cooperative and loosen them up, making the portrait more natural looking.

I suggest you use continuous autofocus and a zoom lens for these types of portraits. This was taken with a 70-200mm lens at f/4. The original image of the three boys was the normal 3:2 rectangle, but in post production I decided on a square.

#2 – Interactive poses


Same three boys in an interactive pose. I set this shot up like a movie director, by simply giving them some direction of what to do, then let them go, and recorded their reactions. Just letting them walk around and happy snapping doesn’t work for me. I prefer to place them in the scene I want, based on background and lighting, tell them what to do and then record their natural reactions.

In this study I placed the boys away from the headland, so they were against the sky, and let them kick a piece of driftwood around. A ball would have been another option. The composition I used is the Rule of Thirds which can be seen at the bottom of this article.

When doing these types of environmental portraits, I suggest you create it like a landscape, then place the subjects into it.

#3 – Find the light and pose for the subject


After establishing the location, background, and direction of light, I placed the the young girl near the edge of the path, her body turned away from the camera at approximately 45 degrees to the camera, her head turned back to camera.

There was a building to her left, which was subtracting light from the left hand side of her face. The umbrella was the client’s prop, which I decided to use. I felt that her hair would have blended into the background otherwise, but this way her head is framed by the contrast of the umbrella. I like the way she was holding on to the umbrella, it simplifies her hands from being a distraction.

If she had been older, I would have asked her to bend her front knee, therefore placing her weight on the back foot, creating an s-curve through her body. There was a temptation to place her to camera right, thereby in the RH third, but I chose the opposite side for a different look. No right or wrong reason, just my preference.

#4 – Connect people to each other and the background with posing


In the portrait of the children above, I wanted to place them between the old shed and the fence line, allowing their heads to appear against the soft muted tones of the out of focus trees. Having secondary backgrounds like the shed and fence against the distant background of trees can add extra depth, giving a more three dimensional look.

The pose is natural, with a small amount of refinement. I like the subjects to turn away from the camera, then look back, rather than shoulders square on to camera. Also by leaning the outside subjects to the centre, it creates more emotion through body language, which also creates a slightly more triangular composition (by luck matching the shed roofline).

The varying heights of the children allows each of them to have their own space. Often you will see heads in a row on the same plane. Note the simplicity of the hands, curled away from camera or in their pockets, not draped over the shoulders. Also with the two girls holding hands, and the youngest one leaning across towards her brother, it creates a connection within the group.

#5 – Match tones for high or low key portraits


When creating high key or pastel portraits, it’s important to “key-in” the clothing colours to the background. For example: white against white, or cream against cream, or soft muted tones against other muted tones, NOT light on dark. The idea is to be drawn to the face, not the contrast between backgrounds.

This young boy (above) has great eyes, so we don’t want to be looking anywhere else but his face. His karate outfit is white, but for my artistic license, I changed it slightly to harmonize more with the background. In the black and white version for the client, I left it white.

The pose is simple, and he is square to camera, with his body and head leaning more to his left. His head is also tilted slightly down, which allows us to see the full roundness under his eyes. I find this pose more engaging for him. Composition is close to the Rule of Thirds but I do prefer the Golden Triangle. (See below)

#6 – Camera angle is important


A low camera angle was selected for this portrait to bring the viewer down to the child’s level. Also by lowering the camera, this places her head above the gates in a neutral uncluttered area, allowing her face to stand out from the background. Another advantage is that the low angle causes the lens to blur the foreground so much, that it leads you directly to the sharp subject.

Again the subject is angled away from the camera and her head is turned back to camera. Her hands are naturally placed.

It’s very important to remember when posing children or adults, to turn the body and legs away from the camera to avoid unflattering crotch shots of all ages. If you don’t know how to pose hands, give a child something to hold, failing that, hide them as much as possible. Personally I recommend learning how to pose them to look natural, and then you will recognize when they’re not correct, and be able refine the pose.



  • Avoid the body and face being posed in the same direction.
  • Try keeping the face at about 45 degrees to the body as a starting point.
  • When seated, avoid knees and feet/shoes pointing directly at the camera. Turn them away.
  • Direct children to do natural things when creating interactive portraits such as talking to each other, kicking a ball, reading, etc. This will create realism.
  • Always watch your background, and give your subjects their own space to avoid a busy image.
  • Use hands to touch, and overlap bodies to create poses that have a connection between people. (E.g. the three kids above)
  • Try to shape poses to replicate objects that may be in the composition.
  • When possible, key-in clothing colours to harmonize or compliment background tones. (E.g. photo # 5)
  • Select a low camera angle when photographing kids. Get down to their level or below.
  • Use foreground blurring to make your subject pop. (E.g. photo #6)
  • Use the Rule of Thirds or the Golden Mean as a starting point for improving your composition.

On now at Snapsdeals is Wayne’s ebook: Portrait Tips and Techniques: Timeless Portraits. Sale ends December 8th (2015) get it now and save 20%.

The post Tips for Creating Outdoor Portraits by Wayne Radford appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Using Emotions to Take Storytelling Images

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A forgotten woman and her daughter – tips for storytelling

If you travel to remote places you will be sure to get extraordinary photos. Be brave, take a risk, and allow the warm winds of far off places take you on a journey you won’t forget. I’m always looking for opportunities that allow me to visit people and places that are off the usual tourist trail. I travel with an open mind and heart, and am often rewarded by meeting extraordinary people in the most unlikely places.


My interest is photographing landscapes and portraits. I especially look for people that are indigenous to the countries and the remote areas I visit. Their faces and traditional dress tell the stories of their ancestors, and I want to capture these people before they are no longer able to live as their forebears.

Traveling along the rough, dusty roads on the border between India and Pakistan you are immediately reminded of just how volatile these two countries still are. You take a great risk to visit these regions where many armed soldiers are seen in camps, at river crossings, and in long convoys of trucks as they continually patrol, ready to defend their respective countries.

Have patience and wait for opportunities

If you are able to travel in this area during October you will be rewarded with the magnificent autumn colors on display throughout the countryside. My intention was to capture these colors in all their glory, and photograph the natural beauty of the landscape. However, I arrived a little too early. I had a choice: I could stay and wait another week or two, or I could return home. I decided to stay and take the opportunity to have some time to relax, and see what other stories might present themselves.

It was the last day of my visit and I decided to take a walk, as I often do, to see if I could find a story by keeping an open mind, and a keen eye while I strolled.


I knew that in the next few days, this area would be totally cut off for six months during winter. I was feeling a bit low as I hadn’t taken any photos that I felt were of any substance. As I walked I noticed a lady sitting in the window of a very humble wooden house. She looked very sad and I felt drawn to go and speak to her.

Note: To shoot in this region you need permissions and local guide, which I had. My first image of the story has shows me shooting from outside of her house. Next to me were people of that village and my local interpreter. She was watching me shoot from above. My objective was to talk to her and cheer her up. 

Image 1


Allow the story to unfold and follow your instincts

As soon as I entered the house I thought why not test my new camera in this low light. Once inside, I’m sure you would get the same shock I did. In one corner was a small fire for cooking. The rest of the room was dirty and in complete disarray. Upon seeing me enter, she looked quite stunned, and started to use sign language – I realized she couldn’t speak or hear. I also had a feeling she was mentally challenged, so I thought I would give up the idea of taking some portraits of her. She was trying to talk and constantly moving her body.

Image 2

I smiled and sat opposite her trying to show her my camera. I wanted to explain that I was a photographer so she wouldn’t be scared of me. Normally most of the strangers in this area are suspected militants, or a threat. As I tried to communicate with her, she continuously tried to sign violence and killing, which she must have experienced since birth. In sign language I tried asking her if I could photograph her, unfortunately it was my first try with sign language and she did not understand. Something inside me pushed me to take a few shots and leave. Somehow I managed to take some photos despite feeling low after spending time with her.

Image 4


Then her mother walked inside the house and told me the story of her daughter. She was deaf, and mentally challenged since childhood. They were living a very difficult life and there was nobody else in family. I listened and took one shot as she broke down. All I could do was put my hand in my pocket and give her whatever cash I had.

Image 5

Look for the emotion parts of the story

When I left the house I felt heavy hearted. I looked back and saw the daughter smile as she was looking out from her window, and I smiled back at her. I clicked the picture as a memory and it turned out to be the best photo I had taken on this visit. If you keep an open mind and follow your instincts you may well find a story such as this.

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As I drove back her powerful smile did not leave my mind. I kept thinking about her, she had left an impression.


Look at your images after you take them as I did. It’s only then that you will realize how powerful they are.

Her smile started growing on me and I thought that perhaps I had made a small difference to her life. Her smile was so genuine. Even before arriving back home I decided to write about, and share her story. This story provoked my thoughts, altered my ego, and forced me to approach everyone with her story, whether they are my admirers or critics. I wanted to let the world know of her existence and those like her, as you will when you take those rare and unique photos and experience what I did. There are many such people on this earth for whom life is a day-to-day existence and there are only fleeting moments of happiness.

Take a risk and go for it

So… be brave, take a risk, and allow the warm winds of far off places take you on a journey you won’t forget. Trust me you won’t regret it!

Do you have any images that you took that inspire you and tell a story? Please share them in the comments below.

The post Using Emotions to Take Storytelling Images by Aarief appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Most often you may strive to capture photos which most closely reflect the scene the way it looks to your eye.
On the other hand, with having powerful editing software at your fingertips and an insatiable creative streak, sometimes you may find yourself experimenting with altering your images to create different “looks”.

setting moods in lightroom

Lightroom gives you ample opportunity to experiment with creative effects.

Some photographers find the idea of strong post-processing edits to be an unfair alteration of reality, but let’s face it, it can be loads of fun to play around with photos in Lightroom (LR) or Photoshop (PS) and the results can be stunning – even if they don’t accurately reflect the shooting conditions.

It’s important to keep in mind that edits don’t have to be super-strong or over the top, and just a few fairly minor changes can work wonders to create a mood that fits the photo. Naturally, what works and what doesn’t is subjective. That being said, it’s likely you wouldn’t want to use a soft, bright effect on a portrait of prison inmate, or a dark gritty effect on photos of a newborn.

The extent to which you are able to apply these effects will be largely influenced by the original file type. If you are working with JPEG, you are going to run into problems with color rendition, saturation, noise and other issues. If you plan on processing your photos with editing software, I recommend shooting RAW files 100 percent of the time.

#1 Add Warmth

setting a warm mood in lightroom

The warming effect works best to boost an already warm photo, but can also be created.

When trying to create a certain mood in a photo, it makes it easier if some of the characteristics of that mood are already present, and you can just accentuate them. This is especially true if you want to create a warm feeling in a photo.

The first slider you’re going to want to visit for this is color temperature. Increasing the color temperature is going to give the entire image a warmer tint, which can be exaggerated by increasing vibrancy.

Another way to boost the warmth is in the HSL/Color/B&W panel. HSL stands for hue, saturation and luminance which can be adjusted for eight different colors. You will work with the first three – Red, Orange and Yellow. I prefer to start with the Luminance tab, and find that decreasing luminance, and then sometimes increasing saturation slightly, works pretty well with many images.

Although you don’t have access to the HSL panel, don’t forget the power of the graduated filter to increase the warming effect in skies – particularly in sunset photos.

#2 Dark and Gritty

dark and gritty mood

The dark and gritty mood adds a brooding look and highlights detail, while taking the focus off of colors.

To achieve various levels of this effect, I work with various combinations of the following:

  • Increasing Clarity, sometimes more than 100 per cent by using graduated filters or the adjustment brush
  • Increasing Contrast, and decreasing Highlights and Whites
  • Further tweaking contrast with the Tone Curve sliders
  • Decreasing Saturation and Vibrance, or converting to black and white
  • Adding grain in the Effects panel

#3 Light and Airy

light and airy look

Light and airy is a good look for soft portraits, where super sharpness isn’t desired.

For this look, the idea is to make the image soft without any harsh shadows. Here are some steps to take that will start to produce this mood:

  • Lower Contrast
  • Increase Highlights and Whites sliders
  • Decrease Shadows and Clarity

Also note that a light hand with the sharpening slider should be used here to maintain the softness. If you add sharpening, try using a high value for masking to lessen the global affect.

#4 Silhouette

silhouette look

Silhouettes help to simplify your photo.

You certainly can’t create this effect in just any photo – nor should you. Look for elements in the image that would be enhanced by a reduction in detail. Do the areas of the image that are going to be reduced to black contain details that are important to telling the story?

Here are some adjustments that will get you moving in the right direction:

  • Increase Contrast
  • Decrease Shadows and Blacks sliders
  • You can decrease the darks and shadows sliders in the Tone Curve panel if needed

Depending on your image, you likely want to avoid the clarity slider as this will bring back shadow details that you’re trying to get rid of.

#5 Bright and Clear

bright and clear look

The bright and clear look makes your photos pop with lots of detail.

Along similar lines to the light and airy effect, you are looking to boost lightness while maintaining contrast and retaining detail and color. Here are some of the edits I start with while aiming for this look:

  • Boost Contrast
  • Increase Shadows
  • Increase Whites – you usually have to decrease highlights a bit as well to avoid clipping
  • Visit the Tone Curves panel if you need to work on the contrast more

The trick here is that after making these adjustments, the colors can get a bit washed out. A visit to the HSL panel, some tweaking of the luminance and saturation of the dominant colors in your image, will help you dial it in.


In case this hasn’t crossed your mind already, creating presets of these settings can save you oodles of time later on. Of course, all of the adjustments I’ve outlined above may not work on your original image (depending on exposure, contrast, saturation, subject matter, etc.), and the same goes for any presets which typically only serve as a starting point.

What tricks do you have up your sleeve for creating different moods in post-processing?

The post How to Create 5 Different Looks Using Lightroom by Jeremie Schatz appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Last weekend, I went out on a photo date with Madison, and came home swooning. In a world where camera bags largely take the form of backpacks, shoulder sling bags, and messenger bags, finding a vessel to transport camera gear is notoriously difficult for women who would rather carry something that appears more feminine.

That is the problem identified by Michele Ng, a former marketing executive who founded Aide de Camp with the intent of producing attractive camera bags for busy and active women. The result is a collection of bags that, on the surface, resemble purses or totes that a woman would be proud to flaunt on her shoulder, yet on the inside are padded and structured to keep expensive camera gear safe. I took Madison, one of Aide de Camp’s flagship bags, on a test run and was very pleasantly surprised with the results.


Impressive from the get-go

Aide de Camp’s products impress from the moment you open their packaging. Instead of the distinctly unstylish cardboard and bubble wrapped items we’ve come to expect from most other retailers, the Madison camera bag arrived at my doorstep in a sturdy black cardboard box and black fabric pouch, both totally solid enough to reuse in other ways. It was like unwrapping a Christmas present, and it set the tone for the pretty, yet functional, product inside.

fashionable camera bag

Surprisingly large

Madison’s approximate dimensions are 14.5″W x 8.5″H x 8″D, making it a pretty sizable shoulder bag, as pictured below with a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 in the frame as a reference to its size. The bag has two main compartments; one with a thickly padded, removable camera insert box, and the other with thinner compartments for holding everyday items such as a wallet, tablet, e-reader, etc.

The spacious, easily accessible, secondary pocket was a definite perk as many other camera bags seem to add extra pockets as an afterthought, making them impossibly thin and difficult to access. Also, the removable insert is sold on its own item on Aide de Camp’s website, making it easy to convert just about any spacious bag into a camera bag. Given the fact that Madison, and most Aide de Camp bags, come with a removable camera insert, this bag could easily double as a weekend or overnight bag.



Fits more gear than you would expect

Given Madison’s ample size, it should come as no surprise that you can pack almost all of your essential camera gear in this bag. The bag’s website promised that both mirrorless camera systems and small DSLR cameras could fit, yet I was amazed when even my larger Canon 5D Mark III with a 50mm f/1.4 lens attached was able to comfortably sit in Madison’s camera insert box without feeling too cramped. I was also able to put a Canon 580 EXII flash, a Canon 16-35mm f/2.8, and Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens in the camera section of the bag and zip it up without too much of a hassle, although the telephoto lens was just barely able to fit. Even with the camera section fully maxed out, the secondary pocket was still pretty spacious and I could easily slip a tablet, e-reader, and other essential items in with no problem.


Made of premium materials

After unwrapping Madison, I was struck by how solidly built the bag was, while at the same time maintaining a sleek, rich appearance. Madison’s exterior is composed of water-resistant lightweight nylon along with genuine leather handles and trim, and 14-karat gold plated zippers. The bag itself has two short 9″ long handles, but it also comes with an optional cross body strap that is adjustable from 34-53 inches in length.


Only one feature to be wary of

For all of Madison’s fashionable and practical features, there is one glaring detail that is hard to notice: the bag’s straps are not padded, making it not very ergonomic if you were to pack the bag with heavy camera gear. In that sense, it’s wise to follow Aide de Camp’s recommendation and only put mirrorless or compact DSLR camera gear in this bag if you plan to carry it for a long time.

Over to you

Do you think there’s a demand for camera bags that appear more feminine and fashionable? If so, would you give Madison a try? Have you tried other similar brands? What did you think?

The post For Women Photographers: Review of the Madison Camera Bag by Aide de Camp by Suzi Pratt appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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When you take a photograph, what is essentially happening is that the camera is capturing data, which creates a digital image. There are many different types of file formats, which can be retrieved and edited using a photo editing software. The most commonly used ones are:

  • JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)
  • TIFF (Tagged Image File Format)
  • RAW
  • DNG (Digital Negative Format)
  • PNG (Portable Network Graphics)
  • GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)
  • BMP (Bitmap)
  • PSD (Photoshop Document)

Choosing the right file format is important, and can be critical depending on the level of quality, and also the level of post-processing you intend to do. Here are the pros and cons of using each different image file format.


This is probably the best known of all image file formats, and what the majority of digital cameras provide as a digital output from a camera. The thing that you should remember is that JPEG files are compressed quickly in the camera, and thus result in a loss of detail and quality. They are essentially set up to store as many images on the memory card as possible. Some cameras will have options for different quality levels of JPEG (e.g., low, medium, and high). This basically means that the better the quality that you require, the less compression the camera will perform on the original photograph.

Generally speaking JPEGs should be used:

  • When the photos are for personal use, for social media, albums, and small prints and not intended for large size prints
  • When you don’t intend to enhance or edit the photos much in post-production (e.g., using Photoshop)
  • For sharing images via email (without the intention of large size prints)

Benefits (pros)

  • Small file sizes means more can be stored on a memory card
  • Quicker file transfer times, due to smaller file size

Negatives (cons)

  • Loss of quality due to image compression
  • Less opportunity for image manipulation in photo editing software


This is the most commonly used industry-standard file format, and is generally what print or publishers ask for. Even if the end file format required is a JPEG, the initial captured file would be TIFF. These file formats are usually uncompressed, and as a result offer the opportunity for extensive post-processing. Due to the fact that they are uncompressed, they are also much bigger files, so will take much more space both on your memory cards and also for storage on your computer. Some cameras offer TIFF as the highest image quality level in camera.


  • Ability to manipulate photos extensively in photo editing software
  • Option to print at the highest quality and at much larger sizes


  • Much bigger file sizes (more storage needed)
  • Longer transfer and loading times due to file size


RAW files are generally available on advanced compact cameras and DSLRs and quite simply put; it is the best option if you want to get the absolute best file from your camera – this is the option preferred by professional photographers. The problem with not using raw files is that your camera will make adjustments, which are permanently embedded into your photos.

Raw files are compressed using a process that retains all of the information originally captured. This means that adjustments such as white balance, exposure, contrast, saturation, sharpness can all be altered in an image editing software, after the image has been taken. Photographing in raw format will require plenty of memory cards, not to mention considerable post-processing time. It will also require some basic knowledge of image editing software such as Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop, as files will have to be edited and converted before they can be used (to share online, print, send to friends, etc.).


  • The best quality image file is captured
  • Extensive options in post-processing and image manipulation


  • Time needed to convert and edit photos (you must edit raw files)
  • Bigger file sizes mean more storage needed and longer post-processing times

DNG (Digital Negative)

Just about every camera these days uses a different proprietary format to capture raw files. Even cameras from the same manufacturer will often use different formats, which means image editing software must to be able read files from all of these different cameras and formats. As a result, the challenge that photo editing software providers face, is how to manage and continuously provide updates for their software to be able to read all the different camera formats.

Enter the DNG. This file format, created by Adobe, is an attempt to create a standard raw file format across all manufacturers and cameras. This is offered as a main raw file format, or as an alternative to the manufacturer’s native raw format. One of the problems with keeping images in their original raw format is that in years to come you may be unable to access them, as they are specific to that camera and manufacturer. But using an Adobe DNG Convertor means you can also store your raw files as DNG files for maximum future security. This does add another step in the post-processing workflow, which means more time is required. However, using image-processing software, such as Lightroom, can help in converting large batches of files so that it doesn’t have to be done manually.


  • Ability to use image processing software such as Lightroom and Photoshop
  • Possibly safer option long term, to guard against inability to open or access files in future


  • Extra time needed to convert camera raw files to DNG (if your camera does not have the option to supply files in this format)



Designed in the 90s as an improvement for GIF file format, PNG files are ideal for use on the internet. The strength of PNGs are that they are compressed in a lossless format, and so retain all the digital detail. But unlike other file formats, that quality doesn’t mean big file sizes, which are not useful on the internet where you need pages to be loaded quickly. The other benefit of PNG files are that they allow for partial (effects like drop shadows) or total transparency which is ideal for overlays or logos.


  • Lossless compression means good image quality, which isn’t compromised when editing
  • The ability to maintain transparency, which is ideal for things like overlays or logos


  • Quality will not be good enough for printing at any size


Like PNGs, GIF files are ideal for use on the internet. Lossless compression means image quality is not sacrificed, and like PNGs they also offer the ability to maintain transparency (but can’t support partial transparency) and also allow for animation. However, the limitation of GIF files are that they can only contain a maximum of 256 colours, and therefore are not the best choice for photos, but rather images with a limited colour palette.


  • Small file sizes makes these ideal for use on the web
  • Files can contain animation


  • Limited colours means it is not the best choice for photos
  • Does not support partial transparency like drop shadows


Another lossless file format, BMP was invented by Microsoft, initially for use on the Windows platform but is now recognized by programs on Macs as well. BMPs are large file sizes as colour data is saved in each individual pixel in the image without any compression. As a result this provides a high quality digital file, which is great for use in print, but not ideal for web usage.


  • Can be used for printing as images are saved in high quality format


  • Large file sizes means a lot of storage is required


This file type is what Adobe Photoshop uses as a default to save data. The big advantage of PSD files are that it allows for manipulation on specific individual layers, rather than on the main image itself. This makes it absolutely essential for any sort of extensive manipulation of the original photograph – such as retouching. This gives far greater flexibility and the ability to fine tune an image as layers can be added, removed or edited at any time without any effect on the original photo (as long as all editing has been done on layers) or other layers. But remember that once a layered PSD file is flattened (this process essentially merges all of the layers) it can’t be undone, so make sure you save your file as a PSD file before flattening.


  • Ability to manipulate the image extensively on separate layers
  • Once the image is ready it can be re-saved as any other file format


  • Layered files can be incredibly large in size due all of the additional data stored

These are the most common file types used. Professional photographers generally capture in raw format (even if the final file needed is JPEG), convert those files to DNG, then edit in photo editing software such as Photoshop or Lightroom. But as you can see choosing the right file format to capture the original photo and subsequently save it as is imperative.

Do you use any other file formats? What image editing software do you use? Share your tips and comments below.

The post Understanding all the Different Image File Formats by Kav Dadfar appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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