Lumu Light Meter

A while back I gave money to a Kickstarter for a team developing a light meter adapter for you iPhone and Android device called Lumu.

Here is a shot of the T-Shirt and Tin the Lumu Came in:
WP_20131219_18_51_02_Pro

I am looking forward to using it this holiday season and beyond.

I do have two complaints though about the Lumu though.

The first being the little leather case it come in is a pain to close (Hope fully it will get better over time as the leather stretches a bit from use).

Second is that the Lumu team does not have a windows phone app. I love my Nokia 1020 but since I can’t use my Lumu on it I’m forced to carry a second phone which defeats the purpose of having a bought the Lumu over just getting a full sized “normal” light meter.

Thanks for reading!
Jason

So you want to shoot a car show?

One of my favorite people to get photography advice from had this to say in a recent DPS post:

1: Your going to be outside shooting at high noon on a sunny day. The WORST time of day to shoot EVER! The dynamic range is going to be hell for you on all those great cars.

2: GET A POLARIZER. They aren’t cheap, but it will make all the difference in the world when your shooting cars. The reflections are going to piss you off like mad. Especially that chick with the hot pink shirt on who’s reflection ruins the deadly black paint job of your favorite car.

Everyone there will be absolutely in love with the car you want to shoot and will be standing 2 inches away from it. There will be so many people in your way that if you get 1/10th of the car without a human in the way you could call yourself lucky. Shoot the whole thing when you can, but when you can’t….

SHOOT THE DETAILS.

You can’t do anything about the other people, so you’ll have to content yourself with shooting the emblems, guages, curves, wheels ect of the cars. Most people put in a lot of effort to details on their cars, take shots of those. These details are the uniqueness that will set your images apart from those with their iphones cursing the crowds. I garantee you will love the detail shots far, far more than the “whole car” shots. Shooting the details will also help reduce the problem of the extreme dynamic range.

So remember.

1: Polarizer
2: watch reflections
3: details

Good luck!

(Yes this is shamelessly stolen advice from Jason Gendreau. He rocks when it comes to giving photo advice!)

Thanks for reading
Jason

Need to get more shooting practice? Volunteer!

As any established photographer will tell you then best way to improve your skills is to always take pictures. You do this by take your camera with you everywhere and just shoot everything. However just taking random pictures of things isn’t always conducive to learning.

Sometimes you need a specific subject to focus on as I stated in a previous post on doing Weekly Assignments over at DPS. However this is only a once a week thing and it will not take all your free time to complete the assignment.

To fill up some of that time and give you experience with working for a client one option is to Volunteer.

So how do you volunteer your skills? There are several ways.

First you could do a Google Search for “volunteer photography work” which will give a huge list of links with information on volunteering your skills. If those results give you information overload and want to be more focused you can do look at your local community or work place.

My full time work has a whole department dedicated to something called the “Community Involvement Program”. Where I work they are very big on doing volunteer and charity work so much so they plan large events around things such and UNCF and United Way. Additionally they have a system in place where you can log your volunteer hours so that when you have your yearly reviews you can show how much you volunteer. There is even an event calendar where you can sign up to volunteer at events if you don’t know what you want to volunteer for.

This is how I volunteer my time and skill as a photographer. Different people will have an events scheduled and I go to them and photograph the event and share my pictures with our Community Involvement Office and the Organization the event was at. This way they can use the images for their own promotions and at the same time I get to shoot at different locations and in different environments as well as get my name out there and network.

You can also ask you local charity or not for profit establishments if they need any photography done for promotional items or just for record keeping purposes for their events.

I will warn you however, some places may say you can take photos for them but when you get there you are told you can’t! This happened to me for a charity event where a local Symphony was playing. I was not allowed to take any pictures because the Symphony brought their own “In House” photographer. When I asked why it was because the Symphony sells images of all it’s concerts it does for money so if I took pictures it would hurt their ability to do so. If something like that happens to you just shrug it off and find something else to shoot. There will be other opportunities out there for you.

Either way, I do highly suggest that you volunteer your time in taking photos for organizations that are out there. This way you can not only get practice in you also get your name out there and network with people.

Thanks for reading

Jason

Five Photography Sites You May Want To Follow

There are many places on the internet to get your photography related news and information. So much so that it can be a bit overwhelming to any one just getting into photography.

Here is a list of Five sites you may want to start following as they have great information that will stay with you as you progress in photography:

Scott Kelby’s Site – Like him or not, his site does have a lot of information to digest and make your own as a photographer.

The Strobist – If you really want to learn about using light in your photos this is the place to start. Scroll down a bit and use the right side drop downs to read the Lighting 101 & 102 Archives!

DPReview – This is a great place to look up camera and lens reviews. Plus they have a decent forum to glean information from as well!

Chase Jarvis’s Site – A legend of adventure photography. He is a down to earth, inspirational, and really makes you want to run out and shoot anything and everything. Just Google the man!

DIY Photography – Gear costs money, you don’t always make enough to cover the cost of buying equipment. Why not build it yourself when you can?

Thanks for reading!

Jason

500PX

I have started up my 500px account finally and have a few pics up there for viewing.

Here is the link: http://500px.com/jebrewer

Some prints are available for purchase as well there.

Thanks for reading

Jason

YouTube Channels for Learning Photography

In a previous post I talked about a few website to go online to learn more about photography. This week I wanted to give you a list of a few YouTube channels that I and others feel are ones you may want to subscribe to for free learning.

DigitalRevTv
As it’s YouTube description says, “The most subscribed and viewed photography show on the interweb, presented by an Asian dude with British accent.”

This channel is one of the funniest and yet informative photography channels on YouTube  I will warn you right away if you are or have any prudishness in you then skip this channel. Kai Wong, Lok C and Alamby  their team do a great job at keeping each episode informative without stuffing your head full of tech jargon. They have gear reviews, photography ideas and shooting techniques done often with a lot of humor to the point they may seem to get off track from time to time but it’s normal for them and it does keep their videos form getting stale over time.

Adorama TV
Being one of the largest consumer electronics retailers for camera gear they have made this channel to help you the consumer with how-to articles, buying guides and gear reviews. They cover not just shooting but also post processing techniques as well.

B&H Photo Video
Just ask any serious Pro and they will tell you about the “Disney Land of Photo” that the B&H store in NYC is. To extend their support of the photographer they have this channel that show photography and post processing tips, gear reviews, and workshop lectures from guest speakers at their NYC store.

Great Photography Tips
Karl Taylor brings his 15 years of professional photography skills into his videos. I find his photography tips informative for new photographers.

There are many others out there as well. Just do a search for “Learn photography” and you will see loads of videos. I just happen to watch these channels more regularly than others.

Thank you for stopping by to read this!

Jason

Challenging yourself with Weekly Assignments

Sometimes it is best when learning to not just take pictures at random of different subjects but to have predetermined subjects to shoot. This allows you to focus on one thing at one time in order to better learn.

If you are like me and sometime have difficulty thinking of things to practice your skills on you should find a place that does online photo assignments. One place that I do is at the Digital Photography School. They have a forum with a Weekly Assignment Section. I will admit that I do not always submit every week but I do try to do each assignment.

The assignments run from Wednesday to Wednesday each week. However you actually have a week before  the start of that specific assignment where you can take the photo so that you are not rushing to plan out what you will shoot for the subject of the assignment. They do have rules you must follow for what and how you post images for review by members of their staff. There are a lot of people that do these challenges so it really makes you think about what you submit if you really want to “win”.

There is no real prize other than bragging rights but with all the substitutions and feed back you sometimes get from people on your photo it really does help to boost your confidence in your skills even if you do not win.

Thanks for reading
Jason

Where to Upload Your Images Online

There are many places to upload your images online to share. As a new photographer I would suggest that you limit where you upload stuff at first. This way you can better network and interact to establish yourself as your skill grows.

In this post I’m going to focus on what I would consider the “Big Three” photo sharing places that you should use. Note this is not about posting to places to sell images just to places to share and get feed back on them.

The “Big Three” I’m talking about are Flickr, 500px and Google+.

But what about Facebook? Why am I not including that? Right now Facebook is only for personal and private friends and family interactions. I only put pictures there I would not put up on Flickr. I do not use Facebook for my more “Professional Photography”. That may come later when I make a Public Page for my services down the road, but for now I do not use it as that.

To continue on the three listed above. I am not here to tell you which one is better than the other. I feel they all have their specific uses. I’m just here to state why I feel you should use them.

Flickr
Even though this site is now the “old dying dog that no one wants to put to sleep” it is still the best place for a new learning photographer to put up images and get feed back through the long established and still very much used community groups.

The Pro account ($25/year) is well worth it gives you unlimited uploads (50MB limit / photo) and storage of your photos. Not even Google can give you this.

The photo stream is a great timeline that can show your progress in learning so Flickr makes a great photo dump for almost all images you take related to learning. There are numerous amateur and beginner groups where you can get feed back on images and constructive criticism about how to improve a shot.

I feel there is no other site that gives you the flexibility to organize you online photos into multiple sets, collections and share with community groups like Flickr can for archiving you images.

Use Flicker to learn and participate in challenges to advance you skill through the groups. Use the organization tools to create Sets and Collections of learning themes. For example you are working on Macro photography. So you have a one Set for flowers, another set for insects and a third set for everyday object. You would then put these three sets into a “Macro” collection to better find them later to share.

One thing I do not suggest is that you go and join a 100 or even 10 different groups right away. Pick only one or two at first. This way it will let you interact more with the groups and then branch out as you learn more. This is especially true if you are limited in time like I am.

Google+
This is the new kid to social networking. It’s been out there for over a year now and it has picked up a lot of steam. I will admit for interaction with a community of photographers (all the “Cool Photogs” are there) there is nothing as close to this unless you hang out with people like Thomas Hawk, Scott Kelby or Bryan Peterson in person daily.

I love Google+ for the interactions and feed back. You can get great feed back by posting photos in one of the “Daily Themes” or being apart of their new Communities they just added. I hear hangouts are cool too! (but I never do them as I am a bit shy… :p)

Unfortunately you have some limits to what you can upload. If you go over 2048 x 2048 pixels in size they start to count against your 1GB Picasa web free storage size. That is not a lot of space really and I have hit my milit a few times on accident easily. To buy more space it is at minimum $2.49/month (only) coming to $29.88/year that only gives you 25GB max space of storage.

This size limit forces you to put up lower resolution files but you usually get more views on them once you build up your circles and use proper hash tags to make them searchable. Google plus unlike Flickr does not show the number of views but often people +1 it when they view it and even make comments (especially if you ask for feedback). 

I would highly suggest as well that you fill out a profile on Google+ if you have it and plan on using it for sharing. I know many people that will not put you in a Circle if you where half-assed in filling out profile information.  

As new photographer I would suggest you use Google+ to follow other photographers and pick one or two daily themes to work on. I would not use it as a photo dump like Flickr, I would use more like what the creators of 500px wanted for their site. Save it for your best images and upload them into albums under a single common album theme and ask for feed back on the images.

500px
As a new photographer I would have to say that you should hold off on creating an account on this site. 500px while having some great pieces on it to view for inspiration is really designed for showing your absolute best images. They have a user driven rating system and until recently they would not admit to it begin abused by a select few individuals to push everyone else’s rating down so their images or their friends images would always be in the popular view sections.

If you think you have photos that will fit I would suggest looking at how many +1s they have on G+ or Views/favorites on Flickr first to give you an idea of what to upload on 500px.

Once you get to the point you may want to sell you images 500px maybe a good place to start doing that to get your feet wet.

Thanks for stopping by and reading.

Jason