5 Steps to Achieve the Look of Black and White Film Using Lightroom

As a hobbyist, amateur, or professional photographer, you may be interested in achieving the look and feel of black and white film without the hassle and investment in equipment and gear. You can edit a digital image using Lightroom with this goal without having your hands smell like rotten eggs (developing chemicals). If you shoot black and white film often, as I do, then you might actually love that smell. If not, then you might want to read on.

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The feel of black and white film – research first

The objective here is to provide you with a few basic steps to get you started on the path to edit your digital images to look like they were shot on black and white film, without the mess. If you are not familiar with the qualities of film images or have not examined them closely, it would be a good idea to do so. Try to pick up and look closely at some actual prints on photographic paper. You might find these in your grandmother’s attic or your local museum. Photography books or online searches will yield many reprinted or scanned examples as well.

First, consider the subject of style as it relates to film photography. Film photographs generally have a certain nostalgic or vintage look and quality to them that distinguish them from the clarity and realistic look of a well-composed digital image. Film tends to render subjects and scenes in a more abstract manner. Although you can make tack sharp and very realistic looking images using today’s film and gear, that’s not really the role of film photography.

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If you want clean, shoot digital. Film should look old, slightly out of focus, and definitely grainy. All film has some or a lot of grain and it is basically the equivalent of digital noise. While you may prefer some of your images to look super sharp and smooth, you may also find it pleasing to add a little (or a lot) of grain from time to time.

Film adds an air of mystery

You might want to experiment with this more abstract style or look of film that comes with a distinctive aesthetic. One advantage of presenting this style of image is that the viewer is given the task of filling in the blanks, so to speak. Subjects in your image that are not entirely in focus or even blurry can be representative of anything or anyone. Your image can be more open to interpretation by the viewer as compared to an image that was sharply composed with a subject that is obvious. In other words, you might want to leave some room for mystery in your images. Film photography, or working towards the look and feel of film, can do that for your images.

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Like digital, film is really just another medium in which we can express ourselves as artists and photographers. I love many things about both film and digital and each has a place in my professional and personal photography life.

5 steps to getting the look and feel of film using Lightroom

If you shoot digital and are looking to achieve the look and feel of film, below are five easy steps using Lightroom.

1. Set your ISO high

ISO should be set to somewhere between 1600 and 6400. Digital noise is the modern day equivalent of the grain in film. The grain or digital noise creates atmosphere and the look or aesthetic that you are trying to emulate.

2. Make an image of something interesting

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Choose a subject. Framing and composition should be pleasing, and be careful to avoid too many distractions. Emotion is usually a good idea to include if there are people or animals in your photo. Any additional compositional techniques can be applied to the image. The subject could be in focus or blurry. This is completely up to you and your vision.

3. Convert the image to black and white

To convert your image to black and white, press V or use another method for black and white conversion in Lightroom. You can stay in color, but the look and feel of color film is more difficult to achieve and will require some additional steps.

4. Open the Develop module in Lightroom

Look feel black white film Lightroom11In the bottom panel of the Develop module called Effects, make the following adjustments:

  • Using the sliders, set the Post-Crop Vignetting to -10. Older camera lenses tended to impart some vignetting onto the image. This will give the image an authentic older film quality to it. Ansel Adams famously burned (darkened) the edges to all of his prints.
  • Set the Grain Amount slider to 50.
  • Adjust the Grain Size to 50.
  • Set the Grain Roughness to 25.

5. Review your image and make the finishing touches

Adjust the sliders to increase or decrease the three Grain options to achieve your vision for the given image. You can also dial in or out the vignette as well. All images are different and all digital image files will respond differently to these adjustments based on the sharpness and ISO settings.

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You may want to consider the following questions to evaluate your adjustments at this point. Do these edits help the image? Does it assist in the presentation of the image as more abstract so that it might connect better with the viewer? Did the adjustments achieve the look at feel of film that you were gong for? You can decide on the answers to these questions and make editing decisions as you see fit or recruit a friend to provide a critique.

If you like your results and would like to explore this topic further, there are free online software programs such as Analog Efex Pro that are part of Google’s Nik Collection. Presets are also available that will aid you in this process and even help you to achieve the look and feel of color film. You might want to consider making your own presets and applying them en masse to a given photo shoot or batch of images as well.

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Below are a few images representing multiple genres that I made with a digital camera then edited to achieve the look I was going for using the settings in the Effects panel above.

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Do you enjoy shooting film or reproducing the look of it using digital methods? Do you have a favorite way to achieve it? Please share in the comments below.

The post 5 Steps to Achieve the Look of Black and White Film Using Lightroom by Jeremy H. Greenberg appeared first on Digital Photography School.



Overview of the Samyang 12mm F2.8 ED AS NCS Fisheye Lens

There is nothing quite like seeing the world through a fisheye lens. The way it bends straight lines and creates curves where there were none. You get to see more of the world through it than you can with your own eyes, well that is unless you turn your head. Recently I was loaned the Samyang 12mm F2.8 ED AS NCS Fisheye lens to play with and I have been having a lot of fun seeing what it can do.

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Samyang 12mm F2.8 ED AS NCS Fisheye lens

Price out this lens on Amazon and B&H Photo.

Fisheye lenses have been around for a long time. But for most of us, they have not been something that we thought would be worth spending all that money on. However, the 12mm fisheye from Samyang is affordable and can give your photography a new look.

How wide is it?

There is nothing like using a wide angle for the first time and having objects fit into your frame like never before. This lens is very much like that. The first reaction most people have when they look through the viewfinder for the first time is “wow”. It is incredible what you can fit into it.

You get an 180-degree view with it. It really does fill the frame with all that you can see, including your periphery vision. While this is a good thing, there is also a downside. You can end up with unwanted distractions in the image. If you point the lens down too far you may end up with your feet in the image. Or if your camera bag on the ground is not behind you, it too will be included. Going out with friends to take photos means constantly asking them to step back behind you. If they are good friends, they won’t mind.

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Melbourne from across the river.

This lens won’t break the bank

When you consider how much other lenses with an f/2.8 aperture cost, you would think this one would also be very expensive, a thousand bucks or so. But it retails for around USD$500 (less if you have a mirrorless system) so it makes it a lot more affordable than the top brand fisheye lenses. It is a good quality lens and is a great alternative for those that can’t afford the pricier top brand ones.

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One of the rides at the Royal Melbourne Show

This lens is fun!

Without a doubt, this is a fun lens. It can have real uses, but in the end, I dare anyone to put the lens on their camera and not have a great time seeing what they can get with it. It is amazing to watch how the world is transformed through it.

I was first loaned the lens one day while in the city and I wouldn’t take it off my camera. I really enjoyed seeing what it could do and how much I could see with it. It was a challenge to see how I can make the world make sense with it. In the end you have to let that go and just take photos.

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One of the rides at the Royal Melbourne Show.

It is small

For a fisheye, it is very small which is great because it means it’s easy to carry around with you. You would expect a fisheye to be a large bulky lens with big bulbous glass on the front. The Samyang fisheye is a lot smaller and not much bigger than a normal 50mm lens. Don’t let the size fool you, as it still takes a great image.

Full frame lens

Surprisingly for the cost, it is a lens for a full frame camera. It seems that many lenses for these are usually a lot more expensive. You are going to get much wider images with the full frame, and if you put the lens on a cropped sensor that aspect will suffer and you won’t get as wide an angle (about like an 18mm), though you should still get the fisheye effect.

First time mounting the lens

When you first put the lens on your camera you can get some strange numbers coming up on your camera display. If that happens you need to change the aperture ring on the lens. Turn it all the way around until you can see the aperture on your camera.

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Looking at the city through the Seafarers Bridge.

It distorts the world around

For many the distortions may be too much and maybe the lens won’t be for them. The first time I posted a few photos I took with it, some people pointed out that I could get rid of the weird curves. My first thought was why would I, isn’t that the reason for using a fisheye in the first place?

It is a manual focus lens

For many people, the manual focusing for the lens is a negative. We have gotten used to autofocus, and having to go back to do it manually again can seem too hard. However, it is amazing how quickly you can adapt to it. The more you do it the easier it really does get. I seem to be using a lot of lenses lately that are manual focus and I don’t have an issue with it now.

One of the benefits with the Samyang fisheye is that for most subjects they are going to be several feet or meters from you so you can put the focus ring on infinity and just click away. It is rare than anything you shoot will be too close for that. Obviously if something is close you will need to focus the lens, but for the most part you can put it on infinity and just go for it. Just remember that it is on that setting and don’t forget to keep checking that the image is focused (zoom in on the image playback).

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Fireworks at the Royal Melbourne Show.

Conclusions

Working with the lens

If you have purchased the fisheye then it would seem you are looking for more than just a wide angle lens. The lens is known for its distortions, so work with that. Find subjects that will be enhanced due to the curve of the lens. If you are somewhere like in a city, try different compositions to see which will work the best.

If you want something to appear straight, like the bridge, if you put that more in the centre of the image the distortion is far less. The same is true for the horizon. If you put the horizon line in the center of the frame then it will stay straight, but if you move it up or down it will get a curve to it. That can be really effective as well.

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Looking down a pier into the night sky at Sorrento. See the horizon is almost straight as it is closer to the middle of the image.

Applications

The lens is perfect for astrophotography and that is mainly where it is used. You can get a lot of sky into a fisheye image and the distortions wouldn’t matter so much. You can get brilliant shots of the Milky Way, or great star trails. Samyang Australia tends to market it to aurora hunters too, but it has other uses as well.

Architecture is a great subject for this lens. It does give many of the lines a curved shape, and in people’s minds they know they are meant to be straight. But you can use those distortions to create unique images.

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Some of the new architecture down at Docklands.

Many sports photographers could also find it useful. Not for everything, but for some special images. Cycling photographer Graham Watson often uses a fisheye for unique views of races like the Tour de France. With cycling ,you can get very close to the cyclists. So the fisheye would be perfect for some races, especially for a criterium when they are going around corners.

As the lens is so wide, there are many types of photography that it is not well suited for. Landscapes could work, but you need to have something in the foreground, otherwise everything would be too far away. The use of leading lines is important for that type of photography.

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The full curve of the Webb Bridge in the Docklands.

Who is this lens for?

The most obvious answer to this would be astrophotographers and aurora hunters, but there are others who would also benefit from it as well, like sports and architectural photographers. Perhaps others who want to add something unique or different to their images. For the price and size, it could be a great addition to any photographer’s kit.

If you are looking for a challenge in your photography, or perhaps you want to start looking at the world in a different way, I would highly recommend the Samyang 12mm F2.8 ED AS NCS Fisheye lens. It’s a fun and not too expensive piece of kit. While you may not use it a lot, you will get it out and take photos with it from time to time. We all have lenses that we don’t use a lot, but enjoy using them when we do.

Price out this lens on Amazon and B&H Photo.

The post Overview of the Samyang 12mm F2.8 ED AS NCS Fisheye Lens by Leanne Cole appeared first on Digital Photography School.



How to Give Your Landscape Photos Extra Punch in One Easy Step

Have you ever felt that your landscape photography is missing a little punch? You look at other photographers’ images and their colours have a very appealing amount of contrast. But no matter how much you play around with HSL (Hue, Saturation, Luminance), Contrast, Vibrance or Saturation, your colours just don’t get the same depth and contrast and end up looking fake and oversaturated.

The quality of the lens being used affects color greatly (more expensive lenses generally give a much better colour contrast than entry-level lenses). But there is a step that you can do when post-processing your recent landscape photos to give the colours an extra little bit of punch and contrast and more importantly, keep them from looking overcooked.

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Color space

You may be aware of a term Colour space which essentially determines how devices represent colour. The two most common colour spaces are Adobe RGB and sRGB. Adobe sRGB is used on the web and for many smart devices. Adobe RGB is a little bigger than sRGB and can show more colors. However, these are not the only colour spaces around. Lightroom, for example, uses one of the largest (able to produce a larger amount of colours) called ProPhoto RGB.

But enough about colour spaces! I can already see your eyes glazing over, mine are already as I type this. But knowing that there are different colour spaces can be helpful. Knowing exactly how they work isn’t necessarily all that important.

Convert to Lab Color

The colour space that you’ll want to recognize is LAB Color. How does it work? Doesn’t really matter. But how can you use it give your images that extra punch? In this article, I’ll explain how a very simple step (and I mean simple!) that will help give your images that extra punch using the LAB colour space in Photoshop.

Okay, so first up you’re going to want to bring your image into Photoshop. Before you do this, you may need to develop the image a little in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom. Fix up any exposure issues, correct the white balance, etc.

This is the image that I’ll use as an example.

before

This image has had very little done to it prior to Photoshop. A simple crop, general contrast and exposure correction were all that was applied.

Now that your images is open in Photoshop, the very first thing you need to do is convert it from Adobe RGB or sRGB (depending on what you have set as the working colour space in Photoshop) to LAB Color.

To do this, go to: Image > Mode > Lab Color.

The tick next to RGB Color means that Adobe RGB is currently being used.

The tick next to RGB Color means that Adobe RGB is currently being used.

Now Photoshop is using LAB instead. You won’t notice a change at all at this step because nothing has changed on your end. All you have simply done is tell Photoshop which method to use to display colours.

Add a Curves Adjustment Layer

With your image in LAB Color, the next step is to create a Curves Adjustment Layer. Once this layer has been created, you should see something like this:

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Generally, this doesn’t look any different to any other Curves Adjustment Layer except for one thing. Instead of having RGB in the drop down menu, you will see Lightness.

With this adjustment layer created, the next step is to click on the Lightness drop down menu. This brings up Lightness, A, B; which is what LAB is short for!

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Adjust Channel A

Now, you need to select the A-channel. With the A-channel selected, bring in the shadows anchor point at the bottom-left corner toward the bottom-centre. You will notice the Input numbers increasing from -128. As a starting point, I like to bring this value to -100. Now, find the highlight anchor point (top-right) and bring that toward the top-centre by the same value; for -100 set it to 100.

Notice the anchor points have moved toward the centre equally?

Notice the anchor points have moved toward the centre equally?

You’ll notice strange things happening to your colours as you slide the anchor points along. Don’t panic – this is supposed to happen.

Adjust Channel B

Now do the same steps by the same values for both shadows and highlights for the B-channel.

Same steps have been done for Channel B

Same steps have been done for Channel B

NOTE: make sure your Output value remains at -128 for the shadows and 127 for the highlights. If these numbers are altered it means that the anchor point is being lifted from the bottom for shadows and dropped from the top for highlights. You just want to drag the sliders along horizontally (not move them up or down).

With both A and B channels having been done now, the colour and colour contrast of your image should look different from the original. This is how my original image looks after these steps.

This is after setting A/B shadows to -100 and highlights to 100.

This is after setting A/B shadows to -100 and highlights to 100.

Fine tuning

For me, that is looking a little overdone. But no problem! To change this, all you have to do is reduce the amount you moved the anchor points in both A and B channels. I generally find going by increments of 10 is most helpful.
If you feel your image needs more punch, then you will want to bring the anchor points closer to the centre. Just remember to keep each value across the shadow/highlight, A/B channels the same.

After increasing the numbers in my images, I felt that -110/110 in A/B worked the best (see below).

after-110

Convert back to RBG

Once you are happy with how your image looks, it’s time to change it back to RGB. To change your image from LAB to RGB, go to: Image > Mode > RGB color.

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You’ll be alerted that changing modes will discard adjustment layers, but that is fine. Select OK and you’ll be brought back into RGB. You’ll notice that the Curves Adjustment layer is now gone and that your image is now the background layer. However, the effect on the colours should remain. Now you’re free to go about editing the photo as much as you like.

So that’s a very simple technique to add more colour punch in your images. Just remember these two points:

  • This is something that you should do at the beginning of editing your image in Photoshop and not the end as you will lose all your adjustment layers when changing modes.
  • Remember to alter the anchors points from A/B b by the same value to eliminate strange things happening to your colours.

The post How to Give Your Landscape Photos Extra Punch in One Easy Step by Daniel Smith appeared first on Digital Photography School.



How to Travel Safely with Your Camera Gear

One of our favorite things about becoming photographers is the way the entire world seemed to open up once we picked up a camera. We currently live wherever we’re shooting. Over the past year, we’ve visited 10 countries on three continents, and countless cities in between. While we love the freedom of travel, our biggest concern is always how to travel safely with our gear. Whether you’re hopping on flights every other week or want to keep your camera with you to document your kiddos around town, there are some simple hacks to keep your gear in good shape and out of thieving hands.

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Make a list and check it twice

Before you leave the house, make a detailed list of every piece of equipment you’re taking with you, along with all the serial numbers. It’s helpful to be able to tally the list up whenever you’re in transit. There isn’t a worse feeling than hopping on a train and realizing you thought your 50mm lens was in your backpack when it is actually waiting for you on the kitchen table. Make a list, run through it, and save yourself the effort of keeping every piece of gear in your own head. Having the serial numbers recorded will help you report and track them should they ever go missing.

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Our travel gear checklist changes depending on how long and far we’re traveling. When we took a six-month honeymoon in Asia last autumn, our list looked very different from when we fly to say, New York to shoot a wedding. Our two checklists look something like this:

Personal Travel Checklist

  • 2 Canon Mark IIIs – one for each of us, though sometimes we get crazy and only bring one body.
  • 50mm f/1.2 lens – ALWAYS. We never leave home without this lens as it affords us the greatest flexibility to shoot any scene.
  • 45mm f/2.8 tilt-shift lens – When we travel through cities, having a tilt-shift is ideal for us, and since we also love shooting portraits with it, it somehow became one of our most versatile lenses.

Professional Travel Checklist

  • 2 Canon Mark IIIs
  • 50mm f/1.2 – If pressed, we could probably shoot an entire wedding with it!
  • 45mm f/2.8 tilt-shift – Again, awesome for setting scenes and for individual portraits.
  • 35mm f/1.4 – Shooting couple’s portraits with this one sets a slightly more interesting scene than the 50mm and allows you to get better environmental details. It’s also our go-to for dance floor shots.
  • 85mm f/1.2 – Though we wish this one had a faster focus, it is just nuts how gorgeous this lens is. It takes portraits to an entirely new level. But it also weighs roughly one million pounds, so we use it less often than we’d like because it’s just too heavy for casual personal travel.

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Depending on the size and scope of the project, we may also bring:

  • 70-200mm f/2.8 – This is a battle because we definitely prefer to not carry it. But it’s a great catch-all lens for shooting from the very back of large ceremonies or capturing wedding guests from a distance and staying out of a scene.
  • 17-40mm f/4 (we use this wide-angle lens less and less, but occasionally it provides a good way to grab an entire wedding ceremony or a building from closer up. We’re increasingly turning to our 35mm for the work we used to put on the wide angle.)

Our lighting setups are the most difficult part of travel, and inevitably earn us a long date with security. If we’re bringing our bare minimum, it includes the following:

  • Canon Speedlite 600EX-RTs – We have two matching Speedlites and the ST-E3-RT Transmitter. These serve us well for most weddings, but if we have to bring something a little heftier, we’ll also add . . .
  • Profoto B1 setup – This light is amazing. But it adds one more whole bag to carry on with us and we try to leave it for home studio work as much as possible to reduce our carry-ons. with the Profoto 36″ RFI Octa Softbox. The B1 also requires a . . .
  • C-stand –These are heavy as heck and a huge hassle to fly with, so we normally end up leaving it at home and just renting it wherever we land. For some equipment that is just too bulky, heavy, or awkward, consider the relative costs and benefits of renting it at your shoot location. For us, the $20 or so to rent a C-stand far outweighs the hassle of traveling with it.

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Before you leave for any trip, whether personal or professional, it’s imperative to know your ideal outcome for photos. We don’t bring a zoom lens or flashes on personal trips because we don’t shoot wildlife or anything that would require long lenses. We use only ambient light whenever possible and prefer our night photography to only incorporate the light that already sets the scene.

Even for professional projects, we pack very carefully and keep our projects in mind as we put our gear together. Some large weddings or events might require a wide angle lens or a longer zoom, but if we can avoid bringing a lens we will. This requires more work on the planning end, working closely with our clients, and knowing our equipment really well. But it’s worth it when we can pack all of our gear into a little bag and be very confident that we can produce great work with it!

Downsize

On that note, pre-travel is a great time to downsize your gear. Take only what is most important to you, and consider the images you’ll be aiming for while you travel. We never leave home without our 50mm f/1.2, but depending on the kind of trip we may also bring along our tilt-shift lens or our 1950s Yashica film camera as well. You want to have options, but bringing along your entire catalog of gear without a specific plan for it will only add stress to your life. Keep it light, and use what you’ve got.

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We got this case used for $20 at a camera shop and it has the best repackable/removeable foam pads in it.

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If you’re flying, this is especially true. Keep your gear minimal enough to fit in your carry-on luggage. We would rather crawl to a destination than check a bag containing our most precious gear and let it out of our sight. Yes, it’s a super hassle to run your gear through security (they always seem to be blown away by light sets, old film cameras, and unusual lenses), but it also leads to some good conversations, and the extra time is worth the peace of mind.

Going through customs

A thought on customs forms: If you enter a country that may have an iffy relationship with journalists, lay low and don’t mark “photographer” or “journalist” on their customs forms. Drawing attention to your camera gear and your ability to use it will often create more hassle at the airport when you land. While we don’t encourage anyone to lie on their entry forms, the more you can stay under the radar the better.

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Protect your data

We carry LaCie Rugged hard drives with us everywhere and back up whenever we can. We use online storage when we can find fast internet, but good luck finding wifi strong enough to upload a thousand raw files when you’re high up in the Burmese mountains. I keep track of this thing just as closely as I keep track of my passport. Why LaCie Rugged? The last thing we need is a hard drive failing because the dirt road was too bumpy when it was sitting in the back of some mud covered jeep.

Note: Price LaCie Rugged drives on Amazon.com and B&H Photo’s websites

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We also use large memory cards that we back up every night. We always have a backup card in our briefcase, but as long as our cameras are with us, the memory card is as well. 

Make your gear look cheap

Avoid fancy, overdone camera cases and accessories. Anything with brand logos or obviously expensive features will draw attention to you. While you move your gear into your new low-key camera bag (there are lots of solid options out there that look like a regular bag, or you can buy protective inserts to slip into the old backpack that’s already sitting in the back of your closet), make a couple of tweaks to your gear that will instantly make it look less conspicuous:

  • Remove your logo-covered camera strap (I mean, unless Canon is paying you to advertise for them, you don’t need their logo on your strap) and replace it with something more personal.Cover up your camera brand on the body with black gaffer’s tape (or even duck tape if you’re super committed). Not having that white print will make your camera look more average and take the attention away from how much you might have paid for it.

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  • Scuff it up, baby! We’ve been shooting on our Canon 5D Mark IIIs for over three years now, and they are certainly showing the wear and tear of being dragged all over the world—and I love it! It’s like that well-worn sweater that everyone else thinks is a bit too beat-up, but you love it more every time you wear it. Those scuffs and marks mean you’re using your gear and that it’s serving you. Don’t rush to polish it up or replace it when it looks old. That charm is hard-earned and will cause anybody eyeing your gear to think it’s worth less than it probably is. Double win.

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Safety at your location

Of course, getting to a place in one piece is only half the battle. Once you’ve landed, you have to keep your wits about you and work wisely. A few brief thoughts on shooting safely once you arrive:

  • Just like at home, don’t display your camera gear in a way that invites attention. Keep it close to your body, on a strap, or zipped into a bag that’s close to you. It’s amazing to me how many people will wander around with their cameras on full display, which doesn’t just make you look like a tourist, it’s inviting thieves to follow you.
  • Don’t talk to strangers about your stuff! We sat next to some drunk and friendly travelers in a bar once who wanted to show us their big zoom lenses they just bought. They made fun of our tiny 50mm, but we couldn’t help but feel like we’d get the last laugh as our camera setup was (though more expensive than theirs) tiny, inconspicuous, and less appealing to thieves who don’t know the difference.travel-safely-with-gear-8
  • A thought on tripods: we never, ever travel with them. They are awkward to set up in public areas, invite unwanted attention, and in 99% of cases aren’t actually necessary. We use makeshift tripods – things like banisters, tables, rocks, bar tops, etc., to get a steady shot when needed. We too often see other photographers making a big deal out of setting up a tripod Hi, thieves! We’re over here!) when they could have gotten just as excellent a shot with a slightly faster shutter speed. Strongly consider whether or not you need a tripod and make the best decision for yourself, and if you do bring one, keep your camera strap around your neck while you shoot
  • While you should always be careful in unsafe neighborhoods, we also recommend that you do not limit yourself to only visiting “safe” areas while you travel. Not only can theft happen anywhere, but you’ll miss some of the best parts of travel if you restrict yourself too much. When shooting in neighborhoods with a higher likelihood of crime, be alert. Walk confidently with your head up and avoid hunching around your gear as if you have something to hide. Keep your bags zipped and always be aware of pick-pockets, no matter where you are. Shoot confidently without inviting too much attention to yourself. 

Conclusion

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Capturing all the beauty and hidden corners of this world is one of the most satisfying things about becoming more proficient with our gear. Though there are risks anytime you leave the house with pricey items strapped to your shoulder, this gear is made to be used, to show some wear and tear, and not to be thought of as so precious that it’s left at home.

How do you protect your gear when you travel? Please share your comments and tips below.

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Some Tips to Help You Figure Which Camera is Best for You

As far as absolute requirements go, there aren’t many which are needed in order to make a photograph. There is, however, one certain necessity that cannot be dispensed with if you set yourself onto the maddening path of a photographer. You need a camera. Now, it doesn’t really matter which camera you have. A camera is after all just a box with an opening that allows light to pass onto some kind of receptor.

This simplistic technology is the facilitator of every photograph that has ever been made. A camera is indeed just a tool. That being said, there are virtually limitless cameras to choose from in this world. If there’s one question I receive more than any other it is this . . .

Which camera should I buy?

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On its own that is an unanswerable question. You see, as it relates to cameras and photography, the camera you use is utterly dependent on you. This is not a guide for how to choose the right camera from a technical standpoint, nor is it a commentary on what gear is better than any other. This is an article to help you to understand yourself and to that end, the type of camera that will allow you to fulfill whatever needs you have right now, and maybe even beyond.

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There are so many cameras to choose from (remember we’ve said this) that it can quite literally become overwhelming to make a choice. There are point and shoot cameras, cropped sensor digital SLRs, mirrorless cameras, full-frame mirrorless, and so on.

Of those cameras, there are also countless models and variations which muddy the waters even more. Each one essentially performs the same function, which is to make a photograph. Still, each type of camera offers many variables that work for a wide variety of different situations and for different people. But you have to decide which camera fits YOU best.

The biggest hurdle to conquer when choosing a camera is to understand exactly what you want and need. That is not always as easy as it sounds. However, here are some tips to assist in making your decision.

Where do you shoot?

The location where you will be doing most of your shooting takes up a big chunk of the pie when it comes to deciding on a camera.

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Will you be outdoors most of the time or will you be inside in more of a studio-type setting? Do you need weather sealing? How about wireless flash capability? Having an idea of the environment in which you will most often find yourself will help you to better understand the features you may or may not need in a camera.

What will you shoot?

The “what” you will be shooting goes hand-in-hand with the “where.” While it’s not possible to completely predict every subject you will ever photograph it’s still very possible to know what kind of photography you enjoy.

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If you understand what you like to shoot, then you can move forward in a more educated and deliberate fashion when deciding what camera to buy. If you love street photography then a smaller, more compact system, may be better to carry around for hours on end. Need a lot of resolution for landscapes? Ask yourself what you will use the camera for the most and the choice will become much clearer.

Where are you now in your photographic journey?

It’s a good idea to be constantly self-aware of where you stand in your journey as a photographer. The benefits of constant self-evaluation helps you to grow your skills and refine your craft. It also allows you to know when and if you have surpassed the capabilities of your equipment and need to upgrade. When it comes to finding a camera that fits your current position within the photography world, you must look at the realities of your situation and proceed accordingly.

which camera is best for you

Are you just starting out and need a learning tool? Are you a hobbyist who only shoots occasionally, or have you pushed yourself everyday and now feel like you need a more advanced camera body to facilitate your growing ability? Take stock of yourself and be honest (even brutally) so that you can find the best camera to fit your needs.

Where do you want to take your photography?

Perhaps even more important than learning where you stand in terms of your photography is knowing where you want to take your work. It goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway, that your camera is the link between you and whatever vision you want to express with your images.

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This expression can be personal, commercial, or something in between. Realizing where you want to go and setting goals is paramount in your development as a photographer. Naturally, your choice of camera should reflect this.

I remember when I was starting out on my own journey making photos. I realized that this was something I wanted to pursue seriously. So I invested in a camera that not only fit my needs at the time, but would also grow with me as I moved towards making photography a career. I still have that camera (Canon 7D Mk1) and it still sees a fair amount of use today. It was quite an investment for a lowly college student at the time but it has paid for itself time and time again, not just from a monetary standpoint.

Conclusion

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The internet is chock full of more reviews and tech write-ups than I can count. So I hope you didn’t come here looking for advice on the latest and greatest advancements in the camera industry. Instead, hopefully you got something much more meaningful from this article; the understanding of how important it is to truly know yourself and what you intend to do with your photography.

Are you a beginner? Are you a hobbyist set on taking your passion to the next level? Or are you still trying to decide if that shiny new dSLR is worth the money just to take pictures of your pet?

Whatever your current situation may be, before you buy a camera be sure you know why, how, and to what end you intend to use it. Take it from me, you can save yourself a lot of regret by simply understanding your own intentions on the front end before making the jump.

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